The Least Of Them

What if we really saw THEMCaring? What if we chose not to look past THEM? What if did not criticizeTHEM in order to make our disregard of their presence okay? What if we trusted God with THEIR motives? What if we didn’t sidestepTHEM on the sidewalks? What if we didn’t ignore THEIR phone calls? What if we didn’t pass on the opportunity to touch THEIR lives? What if we chose to empathize? What if we carried their burden with THEM?

Who are they? They are the ignored, the marginalized, the forgotten, the hurting, the needy, the lost, the sick.  They are the ones that need something from us that they can never pay back. As children of The Most High, we have been given the ministry of reconciliation; leading the lost back to a right relationship with our King. But how can they hear the message of the cross, when they have not seen a good picture of His love for them in the people that say they serve Him?

When my sons were small boys they had such compassionate hearts. When Joe was 8 years old, he cried when we drove through a skid row type area in Dallas; he wanted us to bring the homeless home with us. When Jeremy was around that same age, he saw a family’s house burned to the ground on the news and felt that we should clean out our whole house and give it to them. We nurtured their compassion and we were careful to teach them that this compassion was a necessary part of the gospel message. It is not by happenstance that they both care deeply for the souls of people AND for the lives of people.

Here’s the deal:  everything that we have and everything that we are can only be credited to The One who made us;The One who provides for us; The One who has gifted us. So … to complete the message of the gospel it is necessary that we not only live holy before men, but that we live before them in a way that says that we love them. We are not autonomous beings, though we live like it most of the time. It is not okay for us to hand out tracts to people and then treat them like they should fend for themselves. It is our duty, and it should be our joy as a part of the gospel message that we see them — really see them. They might need money; food; clothing OR they might need love, a hug, an encouraging word; prayer — but whatever the need is we should be standing ready to give or to be a connector as we preach the salvation message of the cross.

Don’t worry because He won’t call you to do anything at all without ensuring that you have the filling of the Holy Spirit to get it done!

The Body of Christ is powerful! We have within us the power to change the world; to bring life, hope and peace into the world. We should live our lives fully for Him as a blessing to the world; as messengers of both hope and salvation, so that when the end comes we will have exhausted the resources He placed in us to be a blessing in this world. Blessed to Be a Blessing!

What if I was ‘they’? What if you were ‘they’? What if HE were ‘they’?

The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’ (‭Matthew‬ ‭25‬:‭40‬)

Can You Handle The TRUTH?!

truthTruth.  A small word with such significant impact.

Defining it is not as easy as you might think. Dictionaries say that truth is 1)  which is true or in accordance with fact or reality.  Dictionaries also say that truth is 2) a fact or belief that is accepted as true.  In the world today it seems that the 2nd definition is holding more weight than the first.

I’ve heard it said that truth is a matter of perspective. I’ve heard it said that truth is a matter of experience. I’ve heard people say that they walk in ‘their own truth’. What defines truth is morphing into something unrecognizable. Truth becomes truth based upon what notable person said it; which political party said it; which news outlet reports it; which group of friends holds it to be true.

In the world today it appears that we all take our opinions and our personal views of right and wrong and hold to them as truth. It can be something as trivial as a person who believes that you should never wear white after labor day; or something as serious as America does not need/want a woman or minority as their president. It can be as silly as you have to have turkey and dressing for Thanksgiving; or as critical as not wanting to host your colleagues of different ethnicities in your home. It can be as ridiculous as whether the television should be mounted over the fireplace; or as severe as not wanting your children to date a person of another ethnicity. We – all of us — take our own opinions and hold them out to be truth.

Here’s the bottom line:  There Is But One Truth!

The Truth — the Almighty, True and Living God.There is no shadow in Him — no deceit – no hidden agenda – no preference for one group over another – no ulterior motives. When you want to know what the truth is — Just Ask God. Listen to Him through prayer; worship; scripture on tape; bible reading; etc. As you lean into Him – you lean in to Truth. Jesus prayed that we would be sanctified in Truth. Jesus declares that He is the way, the Truth, and the life. The truth is not merely what is said — it is a force – The Force by which we must live our lives.

Don’t you want to live free from the strongholds and encumbrances of this present age?? Lies are the stronghold of our enemy, satan. Lies are what are dividing us and causing us to think more of ourselves that we ought. We are mere clay – we are vessels to be used by our King — we are servants of the Most High God. We are not autonomous entities who operate in our own strength and power and we Do Not have the wisdom necessary to form our own truth!

When we hold fast to the Word of God; making it the guide and allowing the Holy Spirit to guide and to teach us, then (and only then) will we know Truth.

Knowing the Truth about who He is and about who you are in Him – You Will Live Free. You will not hold to irrational thoughts as truth; you will not even hold to your own personal feelings as truth — you will be able to stand in the Truth.

I want to learn to stand on His truth in all that I think, say and do! I want to reflect His glorious majesty on this earth and not my own lackluster shine. May He make my heart to live His way; love His way; believe His way. Help me Father to walk in Truth! Help me to walk Free!

and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.

John‬ ‭8‬:‭32‬

Serving in Sorrow

Jesus WordleThere are some things about the culture of the world that are the same across boundaries; across ethnic differences; across color lines –  and selfishness is one of those things.  99.9% of us think of ourselves first especially when we are in difficulty – we want people to see us and care for us and we want a break from giving ourselves away.  Unfortunately, that is not the way the call of God works.

Those who we are discipling need teaching and direction.  Those who are hurting need love and compassion.  Those who are lost need the path to our Lord, Christ. Those who are in despair need to be given a picture of hope.  And wouldn’t you know it! – the children of God; those redeemed by Jesus Christ; we are responsible always for giving our lives, hearts, love, compassion, truth, hope, peace, joy – to the world.  Even when we ourselves are in need!

In the last year I’ve lost both my nephew and his mother, my oldest sister.  I’ve also had some health challenges that have been both an enigma and an inconvenience.  People who love me are constantly telling me to rest; to take some time away; to take a break – and I am giving my mind and heart times of rest, but not neglecting my calling. As I read God’s Word and look at the beheading of John, I know that Jesus was retreating from danger and opposition; but in light of my recent losses, it appears to me that my Savior is also grieving the loss of His cousin and ministry forerunner.  However, even in this time of struggle and bereavement He continues in His ministry, allowing His compassion for the world to reign!

I want to be like Him! So … I too will keep going; keep pressing; keep loving; keep listening.  I do have to readjust some things – I have to travel to Africa for shorter periods; I cannot drive; I have to keep my stress down – but it doesn’t mean that I cannot show love and be a missionary right where I am.  Inviting my neighbors into my home; speaking words of grace to the cashier; showing love in ways that speak to my mother and my sister in our family’s great grief.

I cannot allow the troubles of this world or the pain that is piercing my heart to keep me from carrying out my calling.  It is my privilege and duty to be God’s love in a lost world!  I need His compassion and peace in my heart – so I’ve got to be ready to give His compassion and peace away!  Blessed in order that I might Bless others.

God Himself will strengthen me and He will also be The One those in need see!  I’m His chosen one even in my own times of trouble.  My duty is to Him – ALWAYS!

His disciples came and took away the body and buried it; and they went and reported to Jesus.  Now when Jesus heard about John, He withdrew from there in a boat to a secluded place by Himself; and when the people heard of this, they followed Him on foot from the cities. When He went ashore, He saw a large crowd, and felt compassion for them and healed their sick. Matthew 14: 12- 14

Tame That Tongue!

My dear friend and mentor, the late Brenda Waters, wrote a song that she taught me before we relocated to Ghana — the chorus says,

“You talk about who’s been sleeping with who; and you talk about who’s been cheatin’ with who.  You talk about the preachers and the way they preach, you even think you want to try to impeach them.  You talk about whose been smoking that stuff, and you talk about whose been shootin’ it up. And you talk and you talk, and you talk and you talk, and you talk and you talk!

Don’t you know that God wants to use your tongue for glory?

You know that He’s worthy! Give Him the Glory!”

There are many days when what I hear (or read) coming from the hearts of my Christian brothers and sisters just breaks my heart. I hear (and read) words of hate, deception, anger, disdain and judgment and it leaves me concerned for the world – because if the Body of Christ is not getting it right, who will? Whether in response to that person that cuts you off on the freeway; that driver that seems to be going just a little to slow when you’re trying to get somewhere; in response to the blatant injustices happening in America; in response to political decisions that we do not like; in response to a loved one being hurt by another; in response to being taken advantage of; in response to the feeling that our rights have been treaded on; in response to sin in leadership that seems to have been overlooked — in response to the myriads of things that can cause us angst; we must be careful not to allow our mouths to be used as a tool of the enemy.

When we open our mouths to speak what is evil/sin/wicked/hateful/not godly — we open our lives up to evil/sin/wickedness/ungodliness. The old Dracula movies said that he could not come in unless someone opened the door and invited him; our enemy Satan is the same way. The Word of God tells us that the power of life and death are in the tongue. Don’t you want your life to be blessed? I do! I’m not trying to create hell here on earth for me to live in.

I made the decision long ago to speak life into my own life; into the lives of the people around me; into this world. What is life? Life is God. What is God? God is Love!! Love!! Love!!!

If you want to live a life that is marked by His blessings – choose to open your mouth and speak love and life. Don’t malign someone just to make yourself feel better. Don’t gossip and say it is a call to prayer. Don’t repeat something that you know is not true and use the excuse that so and so told you. Don’t spread falsehoods and use the excuse that you found it on the internet. Don’t let the media form the message that comes from you. Make a stand for love and for truth.  You see, it is a sad commentary when the world can’t tell us from them!

Some of you are dealing with serious issues that will require divine intervention — it would seem that if you need the divine power of God in your life, you would live, act and speak in ways that invite His power in to your life. I want everyone who encounters me in this world to know that I am different. As a new friend said to me recently – I want them to be attracted to the Jesus glow in me. I want to walk in the favor and blessing of God.

I will NOT be used by the enemy to bring hate into the world. I will NOT spread the story when I don’t even know if the story is true. I will NOT invite the enemy into my life, my heart, my mind, my home. My yes will be yes; my no will be no. I want my life to bring God glory. I want my tongue to bring God glory. I want to experience the blessed life that believers have been promised. May the Holy Spirit work in me to make it so.

‘For, “Whoever would love life and see good days must keep their tongue from evil and their lips from deceitful speech. ‘

1 Peter 3:10

Birthday Message 2018

It’s my Birthday! God has allowed me to see another year! I have joined the 50 club!  I Am Grateful!

If you know me well, you know that I love to gift gifts – so my 50th birthday gift to you is to share 18 things I learned in my own life or in dealing with others that I will carry into 2018.

  1. I’m not responsible for anyone’s actions but my own.
  2. Better to preserve a relationship than to hold on to my right to be right.
  3. Failures are not optional; they WILL happen. Learn from them and move on.
  4. Family … be grateful for the and show them love/support every chance you get. They won’t be around forever.
  5. Not Santa Claus or M&Ms that can walk and talk – but … Stupid people – they do exist! 🙂
  6. Don’t let misunderstandings fester. Work it out.
  7. Take care of your body. Do what the doctor says. Eat Well. Exercise.
  8. Learn something new.
  9. Expect miracles.
  10. Be you! Find out your life purpose and pursue it.
  11. Invest in friendships that matter.
  12. Practice Sabbath. Rest and reflect. Enter God’s presence. Quiet your spirit so that you can hear His Spirit.
  13. Love.
  14. Face fears. Facing down fears gives you super powers!
  15. “No” is not a bad word!
  16. Pay attention to your money. Manage your debt and be intentional about your giving.
  17. Love Jesus more this year that you did last year.
  18. If you’re married, your spouse is your true ‘linkedin’ partner. Walk instep. Trust. Adore. Be grateful.

OK 50 — Let’s do this!!

but just as it is written,“Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard,And which have not entered the heart of man,All that God has prepared for those who love Him.”

1 Corinthians 2:9