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Take a Stand

Take a stand

Quick stop – RIGHTEOUS REMINDER: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I (Jesus) have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” – Jn. 10:10 (emphasis mine) he (little ‘he’) comes to steal and destroy our JOY, our confidence, our trust, our LIFE!  ANYTHING that is good and right and brings glory to God, he will indeed attack.  Attack with fierce vengeance.  Cripple the person’s heart, mind and spirit, he has an ‘in.’  He can then play with insecurities, pain and even our sorrow.  Doubt, fear and a host of other non-God focused things are a result.

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” – Eph. 6:12 Paul continues, “STAND FIRM, with the belt of truth…” (v 14) When we have struggles in relationships, or circumstances, may we remember the truth…it is not that person or the event, BUT the stinkin enemy who is attempting to destroy.

Take a stand… while we stand up, let’s grab the God stuff, and not just hold them in our hands but put them ON and USE them!  The belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness. Get our feet fitted with the gospel, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and then wield that mighty sword of the Spirit, God’s word.  STAND FIRM against the dinky deceiving dude!

In Him,  DeDe  (“Let us consider how we may spur one another on towards love & good deeds.” – Heb. 10:24)

Confessions of a Geeky Gal

Patience Truck

Ever have a day, that you’d just like to crawl back in bed and pull the covers up, with just enough breathing room, peaking out wishing the day away, or at best START OVER! I had one of those this week. However, it was of my own making. Confession: As I drove to work that particular morning, while praying I sensed the Lord tell me ‘patience’, I was going to NEED patience. Alrighty then, that’s nice! But by golly who in their right mind (or lack thereof) would seek to PRAY for patience. I made note of it and went head first into my day. As the day progressed, I was easily irritated by those around me, even irritated by the time on the clock. I found myself reacting to the WORLD. The hardest was with a loved one, instead of loving beyond, I stood and confronted. NOT good.

Patience. (I KNOW better!) God told me.

Geeky Gal’s notes: In short, there are two words used for patience in the Bible, (N.T.)  both of which I have studied extensively. First, ‘makrothumia’, this patience is with people and motivated by mercy. Mercy, NOT getting what you deserve! In essence, it is extending an open hand, as opposed to a fist full of … stuff! And we got us some STUFF don’t we!  God’s mercy, is withholding what we deserve and loves beyond. Here His grace picks up … giving. One hand pulls back while the other reaches forward and gives. It is a God quality, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” – Gal. 5:22-23 Mercy. The other is ‘hupomone’ patience or perseverance (a bearing up under, in and through) circumstances, this is motivated by hope. Hope, waiting strong with great expectation. It is found in the ‘knowing’. KNOWING that God is, and does and will. Hope.

So mercy and hope. Without these, we fail with people (we humans are terribly inpatient with each other) and our ‘situation’ only seems to worsen when there is no hope. An example of both of these can be found in James, 5:10-11.

Brothers and sisters, as an example of patience (makrothumia ) in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of  the Lord. 11 As you know, we count as blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance (hupomone)  and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.

I failed at both that day, miserably! Especially when God told me ‘patience’ (I should have known!!! DUH!) I am ‘impatient’ in my current situation. Thinking in the wrong direction caused me to get upset. I am not walking in hope. Making it all worse. I was impatient with others, not granting them mercy, like the mercy I want granted to me. I had to approach my loved one and ask for their forgiveness for how I reacted to them. I again asked God to re-focus my perspective on some details in my current situation, turn me towards Him and Him alone. THERE lies my hope, my perseverance.

Patience, not something favorably to pray about, but a quality I desire and long to walk in. How is your extended mercy and hope? Rhetorical, now ponder.

“For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.” – Heb.10:36   As the picture above depicts, patience can be like being STUCK behind a slow moving boring rig. Don’t honk your spiritual horns, or attempt to pass on dangerous ground. Wait. Go the journey. Hope on…. a promise awaits YOU!

In Him, DeDe (“Let us consider how we may spur one another one towards love & good deeds.” – Heb.10:24)

 

 

WAIT NOT!

Have you noticed how the art of handwritten letter writing is increasingly fading? Our once, ‘hi how are ya’, or ‘
thinking of you’, followed by a more lengthy note of encouragement, has been replaced with a quick text “how r u ttm” (How are you, talk to me).

Fountain-Pen-WritingOur words of encouragement to others hold TONS of weight. To see in writing, that you are loved, appreciated, then with word imagery, we pull out the pom~poms and cheer each other on. I strongly believe ‘encouragement’ is universally lacking.

I have begun an intense study of the book of Philippians. I start by looking at Philippi, then Paul the author. Paul wrote this letter while in prison in Rome. This, his most personal of all letters to a church, his main directive is to thank them for their love and support.

So basically the letter is a huge ‘thank you’ note. Yet, he doesn’t stop there, he continues. Here’s a bit of encouragement … “I thank my God when I think of you … I have you in my heart …. stand fast…be of the same mind… rejoice in the Lord always… don’t be anxious … but by prayer… be thankful … let your request be made known…and the peace of God…shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus … think on these things (dandy of a list) …” Wrapping it up with “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit…” THAT is some high five-ing, high flying pom~pom action! “GO PHILIPPIANS!”

May we pause for a brief moment, Paul wrote this while in CHAINS in prison. He could have, in his humanity, turned the letter into a huge ‘whine.’ He could have withheld the encouragement until the ‘conditions’ were better. MANY excuses could have surfaced. He could have waited until he walked free in the streets, felt the warmth of rubbing shoulders with others, breathed in fresh air. But he didn’t. He spoke from his captivity. He had faith, he reached for his God and shared that experience with others.healing-words

What an example to us all, that we not “WAIT.” Wait, until we have it all together. Wait until ‘we’ think the conditions are just right to reach out to someone else, EVEN in our own pain, our own struggle. Sure, some of us are thinking, “But he was PAUL, the dude had a direct blinding link to Jesus!” Yes, yes he did. But so do we. We have the same Lord, the same Spirit dwelling in us.

Our words whether they be verbal, written, texted or twittered, posted or pasted. May we reach out. May we hug with our words. Remember a time when someone reached out to you? You felt the warmth, the love, the lift? The image of the old adage “Measure twice and cut once,” comes to mind. May we seek the accuracy of the fit. The fit of our words.

Don’t wait … someone out there needs YOU. The hurting, the lonely, the confused. Embrace them. They need your words of encouragement. They cant wait for you to ‘get it all together’. They need it NOW! They need US, now!  ” So thankful you are in my life …. Hang in there … stay focused … be happy in God … don’t freak out … cry out to God … tell Him like it is …. God will take care of you … think about God stuff.” Ok, so it’s not Paul fancy, but it speaks …

In Him, DeDe (“Let us consider how we may spur one another on towards love & good deeds” ~ Heb. 10:24)

Do not shy away, don’t back down

 

reach out

Jesus, the disciples and the crowd were leaving Jericho. A blind beggar named Bart (Bartimaeus), was sitting beside the road. When he heard that Jesus was there, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” “Dude Be quiet!” the people yelled at him. But this only got him more excited, he shouted even louder, “SON OF GOD, HAVE MERCY ON ME!” When Jesus heard him, He stopped and said, “Tell him to come here.” So they called the blind man. “Cheer up” they said. “Come on, He’s calling you!” Bart threw his coat down, jumped up, and came to Jesus. “What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked. “My teacher,” the blind man said, “I want to see!” – Mark 10:46-51 (paraphrase & emphasis mine)

I LOVE the quotes of Jesus, THIS is one of my favorite. Blind Bart, works his way to Jesus, VERY apparent he lacks the ability to see, Jesus being God … KNEW! Yet, Jesus asks… “ What do you want me to do for you?” When the people tried to hush Bart, would he quiet himself? NO, he was desperate! Bart initiated the ‘ask’, would he follow through? How often do ‘we’ ask, find we are perhaps scorned by others for it, and hush up. Are we desperate enough? Jesus wants us to come to the place that we tell Him… He already knows, but we say it. Notice too, that when Jesus asked, Bart’s response was NOT full of excuses or explanation, “Well, when I was 10, I was in a scuffle with my brother, I fell, my head injury resulted in my blindness, actually I am sure my brother pushed me. We haven’t spoken since. I have sought help from the doctors for years, but to no avail, it did not help. I am still blind, so here I sit every day waiting. What would I like? I would like to be able to see again.”

He simply stated, “I want to see!”

May we too, in Jesus’ presence, not shy away, don’t back down, stay desperate… get straight to the point… and ask of Him.

What happen to Bart? Jesus healed him.

In Him, DeDe (“Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love & good deeds.” – Heb. 10:24)

The Oil Will Not Run Dry

Ever hit that ‘wall’? The wall commonly known as the athlete’s wall. Picture a runner, nearing the end of the race, all energy has been spent, their breathing is labored, their body screams in agony. Doubt, fear, and confusion, even road aheadanger now rages through them. “There is nothing left, I have nothing left to give!” is their cry. Yet and yet, they do finish the race.

There are many ‘walls’ of life.  Moments when we feel we have little left to give, and what we do have, we feel we need to conserve it to make it to the next day. Perhaps, our supply is empty, seeing the bottom is to easy.  For many of us, we have opted to just allow ourselves to dry up and die. I have been there, it is painful.

This morning I was awaken very early in the morning. The calm of the soon coming dawn still lingered outside my window. My thoughts went to Elijah. How often do our thoughts go to Elijah at 3:30 am.? The story of the widow and her son came to mind, out of 1 Kings 17. They had just enough flour and oil to make one last meal, after that nothing was left, they surely would die. In walks Elijah into their story, (God is always on time) asking her to make him a meal first. Telling him of her plight and empty cupboards, he tells her “Don’t be afraid” God says, “your supply of flour will not end, and the oil will 200448042-001not run dry.” She does what he says, and miraculously there is plenty of continuous oil and flour.

‘The oil will not run dry,’ what a wonderful promise. This encouraged me. Just when we think we have spent all that there is in us … there will be more. More coming from HIM. More energy to face another day. When our breathing is labored …more power to enable us to fight the good fight. When all that is in us SCREAMS … there will always be more. The oil will not run dry, a continuous flow of God is offered to us. We accept the oil by doing what God asks of
us. Take what we have and give it to HIM, He increases it.

Whatever we are facing, whatever our race, “Don’t be afraid”, the walls of life are met with a jug of oil. Allow its continuous flow.

In Him, DeDe (“Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love & good deeds” – Heb. 10:24)

Trim Your Wick

Candle and the word

The CANDLE … warm glow, the dancing of the flame,  slow drip of the fragrant wax.  Soothing isn’t it?  One could sit for hours in its shadow, just admiring the effect it has on us.  I love illumination.  One of my favorites rests on my coffee table, a round candle sits in a bed of coffee beans in an attractive clear glass vase.

A few years ago at bible study, as the women entered the room,  they were greeted with a white linen covered table; with two tapered candles burning in long stem crystal holders.  The atmosphere was warm and elegant.  There is something about … a flickering flame. In the middle of the table was a gold Jewish Menorah, it too was burning gently. Our study at the time was the Tabernacle of Moses, I wanted each gal to experience the peace, the invitation of the … flame.

The Lord revealed Himself many times in the flame, the bush with Moses, where he was commissioned, and Yahweh gives us His name, “I AM THAT I AM” (Ex. 3), and the pillar of fire at night to the Israelites, extending His guidance (Ex. 13).  Solomon dedicating the Temple, fire came down from heaven as God’s glory filled it (2 Chron. 7). One can not talk fire, forgetting to mention the show down on Mt. Carmel, Elijah, and his God against the prophets of Baal, go God! (I Kings 18).  Then the tongues of fire on the heads of those gathered at Pentecost (Acts 2)

Oh, we may not be calling God down from heaven these days to consume our sacrifice to prove a point, but the use of the flame on a smaller note, we can understand.  The theme of the candle or lamp in the bible is strong.  In Psalm 18:28 David writes “For thou wilt coffee and candlelight my candle: the LORD my God will enlighten my darkness”.   Psalm 119:105 “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path”.   It is God that burns, His presence, His word that lights our way; it is in our very next step we desire Him to be present.  Light our way O God!

With the joy and privilege of the candle comes responsibility, tending.  The priests DAILY tended to the lamp in the Tabernacle.  Along with the sacrifice, the water, the light, these needed daily attention.  When God gave strict instruction of the articles for the Tabernacle, He included the ‘wick trimmers’.  Exodus 25:38, the wick trimmers were made of pure gold.

As I researched this, I was amazed to find, the need that as we trim the wick short; we ‘cut off yesterday’s fire.’  It was described that the wick begins to have a small build up, causing the flame not to burn pure, and too fast.  This is the black soot that flows from the flame; it is drowning in a large pool of melted wax.   This soot seems to fall and attach itself to those things closest to the candle.  Hm… think on that.   We trim for a fresh, even, pure, lasting flame!  Fresh Fire!  Does that stir something in you?

The Lord spoke to me about the need to come DAILY, seeking His presence, His word, that FRESH  FIRE, depending not on yesterday’s experience!  As I trim my wick and prepare for a fresh word from God, His presence comes.  As He did with Moses, He will reveal Himself to me, commissioning me for the day.  As the Israelites, He will guide me.  As His temple, He will fill me.  Just like Elijah He will do great things in my midst.

How is your flame burning?  Is it yesterdays fire, or has it gone out completely?  Seek as David did, ‘light my candle O God!’

Fresh Fire… trim your wick, for a pure, even, lasting flame, Go God!  (wouldn’t that look great on the Yankee candle label)

In Him, DeDe (“Let us consider how we may spur one another on towards love & good deeds.” – Heb. 10:24)

Suspicious Kindness

kindness

It was the summer of 1983, home between semesters of my seminary days, I was standing behind the counter of my father’s fast food restaurant, when a small boy reaching his arm up, releases a fist full of coins onto the counter. The smile on his face could melt any Dairy Queen blizzard. Raising his eyes to mine, he simply stated “A vanilla cone please.” Looking at the coins still rolling on the counter, I knew he didn’t have enough. Taking my index finger, I began to count the silver and a few copper. When there was none left to be counted, the boy’s face grew very solemn. He too knew it wasn’t enough. I reached into my pocket and pulled out a couple more coins and placed them along side his own.

His response shocked me. With a suspicious look, he again reached forward and began to pull his coins away. I told him, it was ok. He now had enough. I tried to match the tone in my voice with that of the kind gesture. With a slight pause as if struggling against his better judgment, his smile returned, and I quickly scooped the coins away and proceeded ice cream boyto make him the LARGEST ‘small’ cone I have ever made complete with a curly-Q top.  That moment impacted me, and has never been forgotten.

Suspicious kindness, sad isn’t it. We often are not used to receiving kindness, our first reaction is … pause .. question the motive …then refusal, worried that there HAS to be something wrong, or WAIT, what do you want in return? Our society has become so ‘ME’ oriented, that to think then act on behalf of another with goodness takes great concentration, not to mention ‘risk.’ For some, to be kind is a sign of ‘weakness.’ DUDE!   Sad.

St. Paul speaks directly to the qualities that do NOT (notice the ‘NOT’) come naturally to us, “Therefore, God’s chosen ones, holy and loved, PUT ON heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience…” (Col. 3:12, emphasis mine) we are not born with them, they are a CHOICE. A day-to-day, moment by moment choice. We slip our arms into the garment and wear it, we wear …HIM, Jesus.

Kindness is the softer side of creation, the God in us peaking through with love, and mercy. It is described by scholars that kindness is the inner heart attitude of tenderness, gentleness, then goodness takes over and acts on the heart attitude. I see it in the word picture of one walking by a blind man, holding a charitable cup for money. The HEART sees the man, the heart feels the man, the heart responds with God to the man, filling his cup. Love, kindness and goodness all go together. Love sees, kindness feels, goodness does, read that again.  (see also: 1 Cor. 13, Eph. 4:29-31) I might add, that in one of Paul’s ‘lists’ (oh how he loved his lists)  Gal. 5:22-23, he shares the ‘Fruit’ of the Spirit, notice it is ‘singular’, it is not ‘Fruits‘, he admonishes us to walk in the ‘package deal’ of Jesus.   Picture if you will, someone has just delivered a most fabulous fruit basket and sets in in front of you, individual delicious items, but all in the basket as one gift. “Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” ALL evidence of Jesus.

Abraham Joshua Heschel, a leading Jewish Theologian had this to say about kindness, “When I was young, I used to admire intelligent people, as I grow old, I admire kind flowerspeople.” TRUE Godly kindness does not require a return on your investment. It is self-less-ness. We see, we feel, we do.

What is the opposite of kindness? Severity, cutting something or someone short or quick, in that we do NOT see THEM! We do not feel them or do for them. We see, feel, do only for ourselves. (ouch!)

May we all be challenged to be kind beyond ourselves. Spreading some Sonshine, with wonderful bouquets of gentleness. Remembering that WE have been bathed in God’s kindness and goodness.  Taking an extra moment to listen. Find more coins in our pockets, open more doors, whatever is needed at the moment. Like the little boy with ice cream at the counter, he now has ENOUGH! God uses US in the ‘enough’ equation.

In Him, DeDe (“Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love & good deeds” ~ Heb. 10:24)

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