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The One Thing

LI

I am a professional singer. I am not a professional guitarist. Believe me. I know. I have performed and recorded with some of the best in the business.

I am also a realist. And, unfortunately, a perfectionist. Perfectionists aren’t perfect. They just desperately want to be.

So you can understand why I don’t want to play guitar.

I used it as a songwriting tool when I was young, naïve, and untrained. I actually wrote some pretty good songs on it. But that was a spiritual yielding and had nothing whatsoever to do with skill. That was a God thing.

And then suddenly, for ten years, I put my guitar down. I’d been going through a lot- a divorce and struggling to make it on my own- a spiritual displeasure with the music I’d been doing (both secular and gospel)- and an incredibly long journey back to self.

Finally a few years ago I wandered into the basement, found my guitar and an old CD player, and started playing along with some of the old favorites I’d grown up with. And a strange thing began to happen. I was hearing better than I ever had before. I was picking things up pretty fast. I was dismantling every song and putting them back together again thoroughly and completely. This was odd. To become a better musician one must practice. I hadn’t been practicing. I had, however, been growing spiritually in leaps and bounds. I’d thrown off some heavy burdens, emerged from an oppressive relationship, found time and space for proper healing (thank you Tim), and began to understand what “freedom in Christ” really meant.

On other levels, too, I can recall a huge surge in thirst for knowledge. I wanted to know everything. I was at the library every week checking out books. Organic gardening and landscaping books. Books detailing the design and structuring of irrigation systems. Woodworking design and refinishing, environmental issues, astronomy, solar energy, farming and homesteading, holistic health, and the list goes on.

Then, too, I took a certified IQ test. I was surprised with the results. Granted, I’d had a little wine beforehand and no doubt my brain was a little more…ummm….free…lucid. It was as though I’d been struck by a lightning bolt!

But I digress. My whole point is that music is a spiritual thing. Deficiencies in spiritual health block our ability to receive this highly attuned medium. Wow! That is my conviction and I hold fast to it.

And so I played. And I played, and I played. Sometimes learning up to five songs a day.

I started thinking about playing out again. All of these songs that brought me such genuine joy. These oldies. These love songs. These Dylan tunes. I knew, of course, that when it came time to perform live, I would just sing. I’d find a “real” guitar player. Someone like the people I was used to playing with in the past.

But do you know it’s been over a year and I haven’t been able to find that guitarist. I have found a lovely female pianist/keyboardist. I have found a talented female bass player. But try as I may, I just can’t seem to find the right guitarist. This, too, is odd. Maybe it’s the location. Back in Canada there was always an abundance of good players up for playing with a decent singer. Maybe it’s the fact that we are just a little too far from Austin where all the musicians are.

Or ….maybe….I am the guitarist I have been looking for. The thought has crossed my mind a few times in the last year. A few times I resolved to try it. But frustration, lack of belief, and that wretched perfectionism, would always send me back on the hunt for someone who did what I struggled to do, effortlessly. Then I could finally stick to what I do effortlessly- sing.

But you see, that One Thing that God is calling me to -and I do hesitate to put this down in writing because it sounds like too much of a commitment!- that One Thing he is calling me to is the one thing I must do. Why? I do not know. Why wouldn’t he just hand me a ready-made band on a platter instead? Good grief. Heaven knows I’m not a guitar player.

And then, not one, but three professional musicians told me they did not understand why I wouldn’t just play guitar for myself. “You’re good enough. Your meter- your dynamics are perfect.” They are. I know that (I told you I was a realist!), but that is a result of my vocal instincts- my musical intuition. But because I know my actual guitar playing skills don’t touch the pros, I have avoided this one thing like the plague.

But I will tell you that I have decided to play my own guitar for our trio. I’m putting in the effort and just moving ahead with it, come what may. I am finding in some sense a possessiveness regarding how I want each song played and a slight gratefulness that I know how to convey that probably better anyone else, albeit with less skill, if that makes any sense.

I like to end all of my blogs with a pleasant resolve. Go ahead and look, they all end that way. I’ll even wait months before writing something that is pressing on my heart, if I have not yet found a resolution, a key to a mystery, or a lesson to be learned that I may impart to my readers. But there is no resolve (no musical pun intended!) to this blog. This time I am not trying to impart some great gem of wisdom into your life. This time I am asking you to impart your great gems of wisdom into mine.

Is there One Thing in your life that you have stubbornly refused to embrace? How is that working out for you? If you did embrace it, what have the results been? Are there any more insights you could share concerning some of my thoughts here?

With much love and thanks!

Beauty!

aspen20leaves

 

Growing up in the Rocky Mountains of British Columbia with six amazing, exciting, and adventuresome siblings gave me the most enviable of childhoods. OH if only you could have been there to see and experience!

I can still remember seeing the sun speckled between leaves as they turned and danced in the breeze. One side green- now turning to expose silver in their glorious choreography. Lying in the grass with one hand behind my head, the other holding the stem I was chewing, I was mesmerized. Intermittently blinded by splashes of light, my gaze never left the tree-top performance.

I stayed for hours on end. One hour? Two? Three? I don’t know. It seems to me time wasn’t actually measured back then. I was five years old. I was ten. I was thirteen. It was my childhood that’s all I know for sure. One other thing is certain: I had no idea, nor concept of the wisdom I held. None whatsoever.

I listened. He spoke. I believed. He taught. I followed- meditating, thinking. Without interruption. Without distraction. Fear was distant. Pride was absent. I guess you could say I was open. Children usually are. I couldn’t tell you where I went. I don’t recall. Oh, how could I explain the journeys He used to take me on, when human understanding cannot enter in?! All I know is that I know what I know. He sat with me. He played with me. He whispered deep truths to me. I was His student. He was my King. There was no doubt in my mind. I learned more about God and truth in those moments than all of my years of Bible College and Bible studies combined.

Later, He came beside the river. He’d catch my attention where the rushing waters pooled into calm below the rocks. I’d see Him where the terrain suddenly shifted into a steep cliff and water cascaded in a sheer and powerful line, safely landing on horizontal ground, and once again meandering in a gentle slope until it reached the lake.

He’d walk with me in the evening as my eyes finally adjusted to the dark, beholding all of the night wonders. The blue spruce bows reflected moonlight onto our path while we crept over the forest leaves. And millions and millions of stars were so enchantingly revealed, it’s as though they came into view one by one, yet all at once. I can still hear His giggle when I gasped at the falling ones.

You tell me God can be found in the cities too and I agree. I’ve seen Him on the street corner in Manhattan where the messenger stood on the corner and cried, “Repent! Come away and meet God.”

I’ve seen Him in the after-school hours where a teacher missed another meal in order to give more time to a nearly illiterate child who was falling behind.

I have seen Him in the city, but it is harder to see him. To really focus; to meditate without distraction; without pride; without an ever-conscious awareness of time and time management. God’s presence almost becomes a foreign thing- pushed out and unappreciated. Not grasped. Not fully understood.

What is more, we have become a society that holds a warped concept of beauty.

Time Square in Manhattan in inundated with worldly beauty. The billboards are plastered with women in beautiful clothes and silken hair. Is this beauty? Really?

Paved residential streets hold houses with beautiful architecture that are lavishly and charmingly furnished. We admire the taste, the colors, the comfort. But is this beauty? Really?

Jay Leno has a magnificent and enviable car collection. Such artistry. So many beautiful sleek lines. But is this beauty? Really?

In Japan, teenage girls are wearing short skirts and fantasizing over a handsome pop singer. Is this beauty? Really?

All of these things are man’s inventions (or concepts) of beauty.

I urge you to run away! Run into your own quiet place. Listen. Pray. Read the Word. Meet your God. The true God. Do you even know what He looks like? What He sounds like? Build a foundation that cannot be moved. Build it on the real deal. Find genuine beauty.

He designed the earth in such a way that we could walk with Him, talk with Him, sup with Him, play with Him, and learn from Him. (Remember the Garden of Eden)?

Look how we have polluted our quiet place. Look how we have corrupted natural beauty with:
Pride, fear, hate, cosmetics, false sense of security, fame, concrete buildings, vehicles, clothes etc.
None of this was there in the beginning. None of this matters.

I pray for you beautiful journeys with your God. I struggle every day to find my way back to innocence. Do you recall your innocence, child?

Go find it.

Go meet your God.

The Month Of June

dance in the rainI wrote this a few June’s ago while living up North and never posted.  Here we are in the thick of June in Texas, and it has been an unusually and wonderfully rainy month here where it rarely rains this time of year.  I thought this post might be refreshing and a good time to add it.

The Month of June

It is the end of June. I sit on the porch out of the rain, coffee in hand, and without complaint. It’s been uncommonly wet for a while now. Or so they say. But every year we forget. And every year we are alarmed by the downpour. We curse at the rain that threatens our anticipated backyard barbecues, our showcase of form-fitting shorty shorts, the donning of sandals, and lost days that could be spent basking in the sand beside sparkling lake.
But this is June. Our rainy month. Lest we should forget. And a good thing at that.
For too many years, I have been spoiled and impractical. I have been a city slicker. And quite frankly, I have been out of touch. When I curse the rain, I am not living in harmony with nature. I have missed her rhythm- her flow. I have missed kinship with the soil from whence I came.
But this year, for the first time, I have planted a grand and purposeful garden. And I have never watched the weather so much. I’ve anticipated and welcomed the rain with all of my being. I have stood in place- my place- as a human being in the eco chain- deriving life from the elements: The soil (food!), the rain (crisp food!), the sunshine (organic, pure, healthy food!). Even the wind, too, makes hardy vegetables and weathers my skin. Do you have any idea how attractive that is- sun and wind-worn skin- with a dash of rain to moisturize? :)
I have an alternative irrigation source. If it does not rain, I can turn on my hose. I can partake of the city water designated for every family in our town, so I am not entirely desperate for rain. Still, rainy days save on our water bill.
Even though this little bit of gardening has opened my eyes to my place in nature, I am far from experiencing that fully. A scant one hundred years ago, my ancestors relied fully on the rain, and fed their families through it. There are underprivileged people in parts of the world today who have learned to harmonize with the elements in order to feed their families. In order to survive.
And I have to be honest. The idealistic and purest part of my soul envies them. Oh sure, life would be hard if we had to rely on nature so. But isn’t that the path God designed for us? (To Adam, He said, tend the garden, name the animals, drink from the spring). Wouldn’t we be fully alive? Our men would be men, and our women would be…enthralled!
But I guess we know better after all. We know better than God. We’ve designed motor cars after all. Mommy and Daddy have left the land (and the harmony of a family that works together, but separate) for the industrial revolution. We have altered our food taste and nutrition with chemicals. We have so much technology to keep us busy indoors that we rarely have to venture outdoors. And when we are outdoors, we have created machines to till the ground for us, so we never have to get our hands dirty- not really.
Yes, look how far, how fast, and how furious we have come! In our arrogance and our thirst for man-made knowledge and solutions, we have…well….we have….become….
…poisoned by our food, diseased, overweight, dummed down, unhappy, unfulfilled, our families are disintegrating, and we are so out of touch that we no longer know how to read the skies at night or understand changes in the wind. Rain has become the enemy- God, out of date. Is it any wonder the world finds itself in the pickle it is in today?
Hello month of June. Bring on the rain! Our scorching July and August will be glad of these investments you deposit.
And as for me, I sip the liquid of crushed beans and breathe deep the freshest scent on earth as she pours steady in wisdom from the sky. I rejoice with the earthworms on wet walkway, and dream of daring to leave it all behind, running away from this man-made mess and right into the arms of God in mountain wilderness or wild plains.

 

hairGrey

I had a child ask me last week, “Why’d you do it?”

I replied, “Why did I do what?”

Child shot back, “Why’d you color your hair white?”(I took that as a huge compliment.  Obviously I still looked a little too young to have grey hair, or at least that is what I preferred to think he was implying) :)

“I didn’t color my hair white, sweetie, it’s naturally white.”

“Oh, I’m sorry.”  (I didn’t take that as such a huge compliment, but smiled just the same, knowing I had a wonderful story to tell).

So I began to tell him what I have been telling everyone else who’s felt the unction to ask.  For him, I put it in young people language.  For you, today,  I’m  putting it in big people language.

We tend to go white (or grey) in our family early.  It’s not just me.  It came from Mama.  All of my siblings do so as well.  Here’s my handsome brother Matt:

matty

Distinguished looking right?  It’s distinguished on guys.  Society accepts it.  Makes them look even more handsome to some.  I’d have to agree with that assessment.

But women?  Not so much.  I knew that, and was in my thirties or forties (memory is not serving me well, but I think in my mid 30’s) when I first started to dye my hair to its natural chestnut brown color at first and then experimented with different shades of red later.

My hair was starting to lose its luster with each new application, but I didn’t care.  Anything was better than those dreaded roots.  Photos started to look phony as hell, especially next to my daughter’s lovely profile.  I started to experience frequent migraines, and spent money we didn’t have every month on a new box.  Ah, well, but we do what we must.

Then one day, while reading my Bible, I came across this verse in Proverbs:

Gray hair is a crown of splendor; it is attained in the way of righteousness~ Proverbs 16:31

I’d read it before.  Mama had pointed it out to me years ago.  Well that was good for her, but I certainly wasn’t ever thinking of adopting it into my set of priorities.

But this night as I read it again, I heard God speak.

“Do you understand what you are reading?  Read it again.  I value it! Me,-God,  I see it as a CROWN- a splendorous crown.” And then I heard him plain as day: “Who would you rather impress?  Your friends?  Other women? Men? Or would you rather please Me? 

“Read it again.  Do you not see that I give it to you as a gift? You get it along the way of a righteous life.  …it is attained in the way of righteousness. ‘ ” (Now I aint saying I’m Ms. Righteous, so that part of the scripture still puzzles me a bit).

“Kathleen, when you insist on coloring your hair, you are telling me that you do not appreciate the gift I have bestowed upon you. You are telling me that the gift I am telling you is so valuable, is not good enough for you.  You are, essentially, throwing my gift back in my face.”

Gulp.  I read the verse again, just like He asked me to. And then I read it one more time.

“I look too young to have grey hair, (okay this was seven years ago folks….lol) people won’t get it.  They’ll do a double take.  I won’t be attractive to anyone anymore.  Women won’t know how to take me.  Goodness only knows what the men will think. ” I hadn’t even factored in all of the precious reactions from children that I would get- and yes, there has been some most precious honesty from the children.

“But you know what God?-  You matter to me more than all of that.  If You are asking me to leave my hair in it’s natural state to glorify You, then I will do it. ”  And I got down on my knees and worshiped and never looked back.  Perhaps the one good thing I did in all my life.

My husband of only a few months was nothing short of amazing when I told him my decision.

“You must do what you feel in your heart God is asking you to do and I support you one hundred percent.  AND you will still be beautiful.”  Sigh…what a doll.

Well God has a way of blessing our sacrifices.  I have never, in all my life, gotten so many compliments on my hair as when it finally all grew out and I got a really nice cut.

One such compliment stands out above all the rest.

I was using the ladies room in an upscale restaurant and in walked the most drop-dead gorgeous black woman I have ever seen.  I mean, she was like perfect.  Beautiful skin, eyes, hair, and the coolest wardrobe.  Just really great taste all around.  I just couldn’t help but admire her.  I finished drying my hands, gave her a smile and started to walk out the door.

“Ma’m, I’m sorry,” she called from behind.  “I just have to tell you before you leave that your hair is truly stunning.  It’s the nicest thing I have seen in a long time, and you wear it so well.  You’re really a beautiful lady.”  Those were her words to a T.  I gushed my thanks and swept out the door.

“Awww, God, you are soooo good to me!”  Thank You, Thank You for that!  I know that came straight from You!”

Beauty is so much more than what we perceive it to be isn’t it?

My Saturday was especially enchanting this week.

Timothy was busy in the garage all morning getting the motorcycle he’d rescued from a sedentary storage life road worthy again, so I ventured into our lovely little town on my own.

As is our Saturday custom, I searched for the less fortunate to see if there was anyone the Lord desired me to bless.

I like venturing out with Tim.  He seems unafraid to strike up conversations with people and, in turn, gives me the vast courage of the uninhibited. But this – being on my own- is quite a different story.  It takes me a while.  An introvert who can quickly morph into the life of the party makes me a puzzling study in extremes.  Puzzling to me at least.

It was truly a lovely day.  We are in the middle of January here in Texas, and by noon temperatures were already in the 70’s as I pulled into the city park.

There were people out.  Many and various at the basketball court, the tennis court, and down by the water.  I am drawn to water, so naturally first headed toward the sparkling lake lapping into shore.

That’s when I saw the two native women walking together.  One was about my age, the other probably in her 60’s or 70’s.  They didn’t appear too well off.  And I thought it was sweet to see them together.  I could tell by their body language that they had a strong bond.  I have been blessed with looking at people and immediately being flooded with dozens of impressions of the unseen.  It happens to me all the time, always proves accurate, and in the Bible is called the gift of discernment.

These must be the ones, I reasoned.  I had money in my pocket and today somebody was going to get it.  I don’t always like to bless with cash.  In fact, I prefer to buy people fruit and vegetables, help with an outstanding bill, put gas in someone’s car etc.  But today I knew that I was supposed to actually give someone money.  No judgements about how they might spend it.  Just an unreserved giving.  By now I trusted the Holy Spirit in me enough to know it was the thing to do.  And so I followed, to do.

As I watched the two women approaching, their intensity with one another suddenly made me feel  that any attempt to interrupt would be an intrusion.  So I  moved on.  I walked back up toward the tennis courts with a tinge of guilt:  Probably it was them I was supposed to give it to.  And my shyness, my self protection, had just thwarted God’s work.

The family of four drew me in immediately.  Why does this happen?  Why is there an immediate Spirit of safety, familiarity, and comfort around some people, while with others there is not?  So it was with this family.  Mom and kindergarten girl on one side of the net, Dad and grade school boy on the other.  Papa was so kind.  Every attempt at a swing from his boy gained both praise and instruction.  While Mama’s over-zealous swing careened far above her husband’s reaching racket.  “Sorry Babe!” she offered politely.  I wanted to stay.  I just wanted to stay and watch.  Soak them all in, and receive some of the joy.  But honestly, I felt nosy and like I’d stick out like a sore thumb.  That, of course, is the adult in me.  It had taken years of conditioning to get this way.  A child would have plopped down and stayed.  The child in me wanted to stay.

But of course, I moved on, passed by some serious father-daughter one on one basketball finesse, then departed the park entirely, walked to another nearby outdoor recreational area, observed many people, started conversations with a few, but no one jumped out as my beneficiary that day.  But I didn’t mind.  The sun was glorious and I was alive with wonder on this beautiful day.

Once back in the truck, I headed to one final outdoor playland in hopes of finding someone to give the Lord’s money to.  And lo and behold there were the two women I had first seen around noon.  They were picnicking at one of the city-donated tables.  And me, what did I do?  Drove into the parking lot and drove right back out again.  Just blew them off, like they weren’t even there.  It didn’t make any sense.  You can only imagine my self loathing.

I drove past a cool little place I’d never noticed before.  I saw a sign that read, “The Helping Center.”  The truck went into U turn mode and I was back in the Helping Center’s lot writing down information, their hours, their mission statement, “Ecumenical Christian Service in the name of Jesus Christ.”  I liked that.  How did they help, I wondered?  And then I saw the gardens.   Raised beds out back.  Joy!  We used to have a ministry in Washington state where we grew all of our own organic produce to give to the food bank.  It was always my hope to teach the not-so-well-off how to grow their own food in their own back yards.  So 10-12  & 1:30- 3:30 Mon- Fri next week would find me back again.  Possibly, I could be of some help.  Not a lost day after all.

Tim and I eat quite good (healthy).  Lots of fruit and vegetables, fish, some turkey, and very rarely pork or red meat.  Once a month, and once a month only, we go to McDonald’s for an oh my goodness chocolate dipped ice cream cone.  We’d already gone this month.  But I reasoned in my heart, that today was a special day.  A Kath day.  I had plans to go sit by my favorite river by a near by town.  A far off river, secluded, still, and silent.  Beautiful in the country, and my favorite place to go to meet God and have deep conversation with Him.  A quick stop at McDonald’s first, would be the cherry on top of a perfect day.

I pulled into the parking lot and got in at the back of an enormous drive-through line.   No, I wasn’t having that, so exited the line right into a parking space. 

Once inside, I went to the counter to order my cone, and voilà, there she was!  About my age.  We talked about the glorious day.  How she should be outdoors and not behind the counter, and is Texas always this warm in January?  And yes it is, and how she knew all about my Northern winters, her being from Michigan.  Her clothes were frayed.  Her hair a flying mess.  Her shoes barely holding together, dark circles under her eyes, and the sweetest disposition on the planet. You could just tell she was a hard worker, trying desperately to make ends meet.  She really balled up my cone.  It was lopsided and chocolate dripped more on the cone than it did the ice cream.  I could see her frustration and embarrassment as she handed me the pathetic thing with profuse apology.  We both roared with laughter.

I reached for her hand and simultaneously stuffed the money without a home into its rightful dwelling as her fingers curled around it, then said the words Jesus asked me to say,

“Hey hon, Jesus loves you today.”

“Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.”  Colossians 3:17

The Value of a Person

poor

We’re living in tough times.  People aren’t acting right.  There are a record number of mass shootings and murder suicides, the young are maliciously beating the old, there is more selfishness, loneliness, and incessant talking than ever before.  There is a frenzy of greed and arrogance possibly never before paralleled in the history of evil.

But to anyone who knows their Bible, the outrageous behaviors in these last days don’t surprise:

“But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God.” 2 Timothy 3: 1-4

“Perilous times.”  Interesting way to phrase it.  I often think of peril in terms of violence inflicted, natural disasters, or some kind of debilitating disease.   But, here, the Bible states clearly that selfishness is perilous.  I suppose that would account  for the violence.  But what about the heartbreak?  The pain brought on by a people who continually devalue one another as human beings?  Could that be considered perilous?  I think it is.  And how is it perilous to be unholy? Unthankful?  A humbled and honest few can attest to the fact that being unthankful, unholy,unloving, unforgiving, & despisers of good, will lead to peril.

So we are living in perilous times.  How do we cope with it? I have three suggestions that I think hold some weight, they are,

1). Know who you are in Christ…center yourself.

You have every reason in the world to be the most self-assured person on the planet, for you are a child of the Living God.

Yes, you do, and you are, but for all that, don’t let it go to your head. Keep your humility. Remember scripture says that God chose Moses because he was the most humble man on the face of the earth (Numbers 12:3).

“For I say to every man that is among you, through the grace given unto me, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.” Romans 12:3

This compilation by Neil T Anderson expresses beautifully exactly who you are in Christ and how God views you according to scripture:

      I am accepted

I am God’s child ~ John 1:12

As a disciple, I am a friend of Jesus Christ ~ John 15:15

I have been justified ~ Romans 5:1

I am united with the Lord, and I am one with Him in spirit ~ 1 Corin. 6:17

I have been bought with a price, and I belong to God ~ 1 Corin. 6:19-20

I am a member of Christ’s body ~ 1 Corin. 12:27

I have been chosen by God and adopted as His child ~ Ephesians 1:3-8

I have been redeemed and forgiven of all my sins ~ Colossians 1:13-14

I am complete in Christ ~ Colossians 2:9-10

I have direct access to the throne of grace through Jesus Christ ~ Hebrews 4:14-16

I am secure…

I am free from condemnation ~ Romans 8:1-2

I am assured that God works for my good in all circumstances ~ Romans 8:28

I am free from any condemnation brought against me, and I cannot be separated from the love of God ~ Romans 8:31-39

I have been established, anointed, and sealed by God ~ 2 Corin. 1:21-22

I am hidden with Christ in God ~ Colossians 3:1-4

I am confident that God will complete the good work He started in me ~ Philippians 1:6

I am a citizen of Heaven ~ Philippians 3:20

I have not been given the spirit of fear but of power, love, and a sound mind ~ 2 Timothy 1:7

I am born of God, and the evil one cannot touch me ~ 1 John 5:18

I am significant…

I am the branch of Jesus Christ, the true vine, and a channel of His life ~ John 15:5

I have been chosen and appointed to bear fruit ~ John 15:16

I am God’s temple ~ 1 Corin. 3:16

I am a minister of reconciliation for God ~ 2 Corin.5:17-21

I am seated with Jesus Christ in the heavenly realm ~ Ephesians 2:6

I am God’s workmanship ~ Ephesians 2:10

I may approach God with freedom and confidence ~ Ephesians 3:12

I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me ~ Philippians 4:13

And I would add:

“…you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.”  1 Peter 2:9

As a Christian you have been rooted in the solid foundation of God’s love & acceptance toward you.  You are among the most blessed and privileged in all the land.  Do not mistake this!  Walk with your head high and your heart courageous because of it.  When others rail false accusations and hurtful comments your way, you do not need to be shaken, or lose your resolve.  Stay centered always in the truth of who you are in Christ.

2.) See others as God sees them:  God views each one with great worth. 

“Everyone is someone in the kingdom of God.”  Truer words were never spoken.  We are each wonderfully and fearfully made. (Psalm 139:14).  If we understand this, then we will never look down on anyone regardless of class, color, gender, or any other factor that differentiates. Each is a person of optimal value to the Lord.  In fact scripture plainly states that it is often the lowliest by the world’s standards who are chosen by God:

For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty”  1Corinthians 1: 26-27

Did not God choose the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him?”  James 2:5

When we hold our fellow man in such high esteem, we would never dream of using them for our own gain, or demeaning them in any way imaginable.  Kindness toward all people shows a mature understanding of God.

Hitler’s master race, and her modern twin, depopulation, are a few of the extreme dangers that grow out of a warped view of our fellow man, whose parent view is a warped view of God.

3.) Do good deeds.  Get out of yourself.

The best way to battle an evil age is to overcome evil with good.

“Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.  Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.  Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12: 17-21

Love the poor. All through the Old and New Testament, we are exhorted to help the poor:

Deut. 15:7. If there is a poor man among you, one of your brothers, in any of the towns of the land which the LORD your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart, nor close your hand to your poor brother; but you shall freely open your hand to him, and generously lend him sufficient for his need in whatever he lacks.

Deut. 26:12. When you have finished paying the complete tithe of your increase in the third year, the year of tithing, then you shall give it to the Levite, to the stranger, to the orphan and the widow, that they may eat in your towns, and be satisfied.

Lev. 19:19ff. Now when you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap to the very corners of your field, neither shall you gather the gleanings of your harvest. Nor shall you glean your vineyard, nor shall you gather the fallen fruit of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the needy and for the stranger. I am the LORD your God.

Is. 58:66ff. Is this not the fast which I choose, to loosen the bonds of wickedness, to undo the bands of the yoke, and to let the oppressed go free, and break every yoke? Is it not to divide your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into the house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?

Jer. 22:3. Do justice and righteousness, and deliver the one who has been robbed from the power of his oppressor. Also do not mistreat or do violence to the stranger, the orphan, or the widow; and do not shed innocent blood in this place.

Luke 12:33. “Sell your possessions and give to charity; make yourselves purses which do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near, nor moth destroys.”

Luke 3:11. And [John the Baptist] would answer and say to them, “Let the man with two tunics share with him who has none, and let him who has food do likewise.”

Mt. 5:42. Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you.

1 Jhn 3:17 But whoever has the world’s goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him?  

Matt 25: 34-40  ” Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”  

Unhappy because someone has ridiculed, hurt, or used you?  Unhappy because of the overwhelming evil in the world?
Go do something good.  Show immense value to your fellow human beings, and value yourself in the process.  It’s a miracle cure.  Will you suffer even more evil because if it?  Probably.  I won’t lie.  BUT yours, a full and rewarding life will be, and in the end, will yield a life eternal.

May God richly bless you all.

Lord help my Unbelief

Image

LOVE IS PATIENT

 If it takes a lifetime

For you to know what love is

I won’t run ahead.

I’ll stay right there beside you

I’ll be your friend instead.

And if it takes forever

For you to ask the questions

Well I’ve got the time.

I won’t throw up my hands

And leave you behind

Cause love is patient,

Love is kind.

Love’s a calming river

That we can sit beside.

Love is open

Love’s known pain.

But love just keeps on giving

Time and time again.

© Kathleen Robbins

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