Sunday, December 31, 2017
In 2001 on September 11 I sat in the student lounge at Campbell Divinity School. This is where I learned that America was under attacked. As chapel began my friend, and Admission Director at that time, said, "America is under attacked." She reported what we knew at the time and led us in a time of prayer. Then the service proceeded as plan. This struck me as completely wrong and I left to talk with one of the Office administrators. I needed to process what was going on but the someone didn't think, for whatever reason, chapel would be the time for that. In my opinion, they avoided the elephant in the room. That elephant was fear.
Fast forward to May 2017, when I learn a co-worker, who had been fired, was arrested by the Feds for having Child Pornography in his possession. My knowledge of this did not come from the upper management but from a co-worker who was present when the Feds came to our work. There was mostly silence, except among those of us who knew.
On this last night of 2017 I have decided that silence cannot have a place in my life or this world any more. We have to create space for people to talk about what troubles them, upsets them, angers them and causes them to fear and distress.
I still struggle, to figure out how I still love my former co-worker, someone I considered a friend, could feed his addiction that has endangered thousands of minor children. As a survivor of sexual abuse, assault, sexual harassment and rape I will not be silent anymore.
To many of us have seen the evils of this world. Evil that is spoken of in the Bible. If my voice makes you uncomfortable, then GOOD. Just because you want to ignore the elephant in the room I will no longer do that. I will join the #MeToo movement and I will continue to demand that all elected officials, including our President, be removed for engaging in behavior that victimizes children and adults.
Thursday, December 28, 2017
Relationships are what can make the Holidays Good, bad or sad. On Friday, December 22 I was driving from my Home in Virginia to my parents in North Carolina. A common road I take i passed a road I drove many times in 2015. In 2015 my best friend was battling cancer and I would visit him at UNC Medical Center in Chapel Hill, NC. Friday, as I passed that road, the tears began to fall. He died on May 29, 2016. He was my best friend since High school and just when you think you are over something or someone the Holidays always get you.
The desire to distance ourselves from family and friends can be very tempting in an effort to avoid this inconvenient and unpleasant emotions. But I want to make a statement of caution here.
If we refuse to have relationships during our lifetime then what do we really have? Yes, we avoid, pain, heartbreak, anger etc. because no one can hurt us. But we are also missing out on love, support, encouragement and blessing be retreating from those around us.
I would give anything to have my best friend back. He was my cheerleader and I could use a good cheerleader right now. But I do not regret having him in my life despite the grief I feel with him gone.
On Christmas day this year I learned a fellow CBF pastor and his family lost their home to a devastating fire. In addition the pastor's wife died and his oldest daughter is fighting sever burns and smoke inhalation at UNC's burn center. This is a family that has suffered great loss and I cannot even imagine the pain. But in the midst of this pain they have a church that is responding in love and support for their pastor and his family.
It is only through relationships that we can receive the love of God through those we have relationships with.
Is there anyone you need to reconcile with? Do it before next Christmas.
Monday, December 4, 2017
Mark 13:24-37 New International Version (NIV)
24 “But in those days, following that distress,
“‘the sun will be darkened,
and the moon will not give its light;
25 the stars will fall from the sky,
and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’[a]
26 “At that time people will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. 27 And he will send his angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of the heavens.
28 “Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. 29 Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that it[b] is near, right at the door. 30 Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. 31 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.
In the Barkley commentary Barkley stress an important point about these four verses that I want to share with you. When Jesus is speaking here he is not giving us a map or a sign for how he will return but simply retelling what the Israelites told in the Old Testament. When reading Mark or any apocalyptic texts we must remember that this is poetry. It is dreams that people had of what they thought of how the Lord would return. The truth is we have our own ideas about what that day will look like when the Lord returns but we must not take these readings as a literal direction as to what to look for. The final truth is we just don’t know when or how our Lord will return. Let’s continue with the remainder of the passage.
The Day and Hour Unknown
32 “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 33 Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come. 34 It’s like a man going away: He leaves his house and puts his servants in charge, each with their assigned task, and tells the one at the door to keep watch.
35 “Therefore keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back—whether in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or at dawn. 36 If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping. 37 What I say to you, I say to everyone: ‘Watch!’”
I want to be honest with you today and share some of my personal testimony today to impress upon you what God is telling me about why Jesus is telling us to Be Alert and watch! I grew up in the church. At the age of 6 I knew Jesus wanted to be in my life and I knew I wanted him to be in my life. I shared this with my parents and they arranged for me to talk with the pastor. What followed was a discipleship class and baptism at the age of 7. Despite the fact my parents grew up in a segregated south I never saw or witness anger or judgment towards people who were different than them. I can even remember mom telling me in my teens how when she was at Meredith College she had a sweet mate that was gay. Through my parents example I learned that faith in Jesus Christ was demonstrated as a love for others. When I got to high school I learned about the love of God and the sin of man. I learned that adults can follow their own selfish desires and when they do bring great harm to children, whether it be physically, emotionally, mentally or physically. I learned that adults in my church didn’t like me and would bully me by saying lies about me to disparage my character. But it was at my public high school that I would have a circle a friends that still remain in my life today. This group was included many races, many faiths and non-faiths diversity of orientation and ability and disability. Just last week I was reflecting on the fact that all my closest friends have never professed a belief in Jesus but never the less God showed me what unconditional love is. We accept each other for who we are. We love each other, support each other in difficult times and celebrate with each other in the good times. Sadly, my faith in God exists despite the church I was raised in. As I consider this sad fact I am convinced that when Jesus says to Be Alert and to watch he is speaking to the Body of Christ. During his ministry, and again when Mark was written around 80 BC and now in 2017 God is saying to us, Be Alert and watch lest we fall asleep and are caught by surprise when the Lord returns.
So how do we remain Alert and Watch for the Lord to return in this day and time? This question led me to my textbook for New Testament theology and Ethics. Richard B. Hays wrote The Moral Vision of the New Testament. In his Chapter on Mark he says the entire Gospel centers on one question Jesus’ asks in chapter 8. He asks his disciples, “Who do you say that I am?” Hays points out that it’s not until the final chapter when a Gentile Centurion says, when Jesus has died, “Surely this man is the Son of God.” Hays asserts that we cannot not know that Jesus is the Son of God until he has died. We take this for granted simply because we read the gospel already knowing this but the disciples didn’t. Hays’ conclusion lead me to another and final question that I posted to fellow ordained clergy and lay ministers I know. I asked them what a life looks like when one knows that Jesus is the Son of God. There were varying answers and most centered on a change in the person. Whether that change is evident in how one makes decision to how one sees other people. Two answers that hit squarely with my own personal response to this question I will share. One came from my Childhood Pastor and the other from my Spiritual Director. Dr. Coffey, my childhood Pastor stated that when one knows that Jesus is the Son of God then we will see with the eyes of God. He emphasized this by noting that we are seen by a God that is a God of mercy, love and grace wholly revealed in Jesus. Through faith we become God’s children too. In turn we should look at all of creation with eyes and hearts of mercy, love and grace. Then my spiritual director focused solely on love. That to know Jesus is the Son of God is to love others as Jesus has loved us.
This is where the rubber meets the road. In 45 years of life I have learned that much in life is less black and white and mostly grey. But make no mistake, there are some things that are simply black and white when it comes to the Gospel and the commands that have been placed upon us. Consider these passages from the Bible.
Regarding the Poor:
I, the Lord, command you to do what is just and right. Protect the person who is being cheated from the one who is cheating him. Do not ill-treat or oppress foreigners, orphans, or widows; and do not kill innocent people in this holy place. (Jeremiah 22:3)
No, the Lord has told us what is good. What he requires of us is this: to do what is just, to show constant love, and to live in humble fellowship with our God. (Micah 6:8)
Rich people who see a brother or sister in need, yet close their hearts against them, cannot claim that they love God. (1 John 3:17)
And now I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. (John 13:34)
Do all your work in love. (1 Corinthians 16:14)
The command that Christ has given us is this: whoever loves God must love others also. (1 John 4:21)
Above everything, love one another earnestly, because love covers over many sins. (1 Peter 4:8)
Meanwhile these three remain: faith, hope, and love; and the greatest of these is love. (1 Corinthians 13:13)
You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things.
Romans 2:1 | NIV | righteousness neighbor
Do not judge, or you too will be judged.
Matthew 7:1 | NIV | law
A person may think their own ways are right,
but the Lord weighs the heart.
Proverbs 21:2 | NIV | righteousness understanding thoughts
Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister.
Romans 14:13 | NIV | gentleness neighbor
We live in a country and world filled with great immorality and because of that fact Jesus’ message in Mark is ever more urgent. For the church to stay awake we must love as Jesus has loved us lest we fall asleep because we have succumbed to the ways of the world. It is not okay, nor has it ever been for us to turn away anyone in need. Regardless of race, gender, age, disability, nationality, religion, orientation or identity we must embrace the call to love. Defend the poor and their right to basic necessities. Ensure community rebuilding occurs around the world when natural or manmade disasters occur. Providing all children safety from abuse and violence because Jesus tells us to not hinder the children for they shall inherit heaven. Guaranteeing all people the same rights we enjoy to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. And calling for justice when others have violated or robbed someone of their rights that God has so freely given us. Jesus reminds us in Matthew that we are a light on a hill and now more than ever the world needs to church to let the light of love shine brightly that God may add to the church and that we will remain awake and are ready when the Lord returns.
Thursday, September 28, 2017
Since 1990 I have been on Medication for a medical diagnosis. Last year I learned that the medication I was taking for this diagnosis was creating two other problematic medical diagnosis; renal failure and diabetes insipidous. In July of this year I began the transition off of this medication and onto another one. After 6 weeks on this new medication I was suffering unbearable GI issues from chronic heartburn, re-flux, stomach upset and vomiting. That medicine was stopped abruptly and I was placed on another medication. This medication caused high blood pressure and extreme lethargy. My brain was unable to process anything and I began to have memory lapses. At that point they increased one of my medicines to counter the side effects and all that one did was cause me to be hungover. Those were stopped and I was placed on another one. We thought this one would work because I had been on it before but what I did not realize was when I was sick earlier this year it was actually being caused by the medicine. What's so serious about this is this medication can cause what is known as Stephen Johnson's Syndrome. You can die from this.
When taking the medicine i had a mild anaphylactic shock. My cheeks swelled causing me to bite the inside of my mouth. I developed a chronic cough, had body aches like the flood and had a rash break out. We stopped this immediately. Because I was on this twice God made me realize that I am a miracle.
Both times I was on this medicine I could have died yet I am still here. So much happens to us in the world and rarely do we realize what God has brought us through. The reality for me is that God literally sustained me against a medicine trying to kill me.
If you doubt the love of God take a moment to evaluate why you are still here. Romans 8:37 - 39 is my favorite verse because it tells us what can separate us from the love of God.
Saturday, August 26, 2017
Last week I posted a submission titled Silenced. I have since deleted it because I just realized how steeped in white privilege it is. I would call that post a glorified whine.
"Oh, how dare they silence me."
"Who do they think they are?"
"I am just speaking for God."
"Whine, whine, whine."
I am sorry. When you grow up in a world not having to worry about people watching you when you shop, or people mispronouncing your name, or getting any job your want or into the school of your choice you become blind to the blatant racism and inequality against your friends of color.
I am also sorry to my boss. He is a man of color with relative success in the working world but I am sure that doesn't exclude him from the rampant racism that still exists in America.
It just hit me today, that for him to tell me that people were bothered by my post, "The Silence is Deafening," calling it political he had to be told that.
It tells me that the complainers are so comfortable in their white privilege they did not even consider how their words were felt by him. How does it make him feel that his feelings were dismissed as they complained? How does he now work with these people with the idea that they may think they are better than him simply because of the color of their skin.
I don't know if you read this, but I am sorry. Sorry for my ignorance, for my selfish sensitivity and my blindness to your pain and anguish. And I appreciate you too.
Thursday, August 24, 2017
My favorite summer show is So You Think You Can Dance (SYTYCD). It is in its 14th season and the talent never disappoints and the choreographers always find a way to make you uncomfortable about serious issues. Last night was one of those moments.
Travis Wall took the famous song Strange Fruit, originally written and sung by Billy Holiday, back when lynchings of black people was a common occurrence. He used this song by Nina Simone and choreographed a dance that was captivating, harrowing, disturbing and much needed for our times.
You can watch it here within the article.
I continue to hear White American Christians down play the acts of the KKK and Nazis in Charlottesville. Yet these groups have started spreading threats through posters in Durham, NC.
White Supremacy and Nazism is a sin. This hate is perpetuated on the belief that the White race is superior to all races. If when people say that #ALLLIVESMATTER we should also be condemning White Supremacy from the same mouth.
Wednesday, August 16, 2017
I do not want to reinvent the will so I want to share a link to a sermon, delivered by Brian McLaren at the 25th Aniversary of CBF General Assembly. In his message he gives a good history of White discovery and settlement of America and how far back Christian hate spans the history of the earth. When you have time to watch it in its entirety, please do.
After watching this please click on the following Link for Bryan McLaren's observations of the events in Charlottesville, VA on August 12, as he participated in the march against the White Supremacist and Nazi's. Here is an excerpt:
Monday, August 14, 2017
"You are not walking on the lake like Peter
but on another sea, for this world is a sea;
Trials its waves, temptations its storms,
and men devouring each other as fishes do.
Don't be afraid, step out stoutly lest you sink.When the gale blows and the waves rise, and your weakness makes you fear you will be lost, cry out, 'Lord, I am sinking,' and he who bade you walk will not let you perish.
-Augustine of Hippo 354-430
I hear nothing in the liturgy at church of the events in Charlottesville, VA
I hear a mention of hate in the prayer but a proclamation of not knowing where it comes from.
The sermon we learn how Paul denies himself and all his qualifications so that Christ is lifted up. This would be a great way to say that White Supremacy boasts of their inherent(?) privilege and demand them to deny themselves and let Christ be lifted up. But no, I didn't hear that either.
The problem with having a theological education, where I studied the bible intensively, and being called by God as a minsiter is that I am picky and I am a cynic. I know I am called to the pastorate, but when you're a woman and you preach the word God has given you people don't really want to hear it. So for now, I will use my blog as a way to get the Lords word out.
"The hate that was on display in Charlottesville this weekend comes from the foundation of our country. The belief that White Man is superior to people of color and those of the opposite gender. As a beneficiary of white privilege, my silence makes me complicit. I cannot be silent."
This is the email I sent my pastor yesterday in response to the silence I heard in the service.
After further prayer and reading of the scriptures, I know that this hate while still evident in White Supremacy began long before its presence in our world but it is all rooted in the same thing. See God and Jesus represent the truth and evil one does not like the truth. We see it in the very beginning. Let us look at Cain and Abel. In Genesis 4 we read the following:
When it comes to God's teaching the teaching is really simple, that may be why we struggle with God's truth. God told Cain the truth, that if you do what is right you will be accepted. He was trying to help Cain, love him and protect him. But we know, instead of allowing God's truth to change him he became angry and resentful which led to the murder of his brother Abel.
Galatians 6: 7 says, "Do not be deceived, God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows."
If we sow anger we will reap killings, murder and death. In John 10:10 Jesus tells us that the thief (enemy) comes to steal, kill, and destroy but Jesus has come that we might have life and have it more abundantly.
There is no mistaking the similarities between Cain, the Pharisees, Hitler and the Nazi regime, White ancestors of America and White Supremacy. All of these, including those of us who identify with the white race have chosen to become angry at God's truth. We have harbored anger towards those of a different races, religions, nationalities, etc. And it has ended in killings, in murders, and in death. Because American history records White Christians complicity in the oppression, enslavement, and killing of blacks, Jews and women we must now repent of our sins. We must now embrace the new kingdom that God is bringing here on earth and in America.
What does God's kingdom look like on earth? I want to start with a portion of the Declaration of Independence and the US Consitution and use scripture to support the utmost ideal we should all be striving for in our country.
Declaration of Independence (a portion)
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
Article XIV (Amendment 14 - Rights Guaranteed: Privileges and Immunities of Citizenship, Due Process, and Equal Protection)
1: All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
When we read the Declaration of Independence there is a declaration of equality. Meaning one is not superior to another. There is also a declaration that one's Creator has created them to have an innate right to live, to have freedom and to know happiness. If white men in America continue to declare supremacy over everyone else then everyone else is being denied equality, life, liberty, and happiness.
At the beginning of our Constitution it states that we are establishing our country on the basis of Justice, freedom from war and a promotion of the general welfare; ie. that everyone has a right to live life fully without fear from others.
These documents alone demand that all Americans denounce White Supremacy, KKK, Alt-Right and Neo Nazi's that act and behave in opposition to the founding fathers original intent for the basis of our country. Now while I am fully aware that white men wrote this document, that many of them owned slaves and they believed that these rights for them only, many of us will agree that the omission of white in these writings was a divine directive of God. (More on that later). These documents and people through out our history as a country have been instrumental in abolishing slavery, ending segregation, giving the right to vote and own property to women, guarantee voting rights to the Black community and to guarantee equal access to higher education (Affirmative Action). I think it is no accident that our own foundational documents are being used to silence the oppressors and usher in God's new kingdom. Remeber, Galatians says, God can not be mocked.
Back to my question stated earlier. What does God's kingdom look like? We know it includes Jews and Gentiles, Samaritans, Greeks, Romans and Eunics. If we can step back and resist the temptation to read scripture literally we see a pattern here. Jesus's truth is for ALL. In scripture, we find the idea of equality in Galatians. Paul says: There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. Jesus also speaks to what truth is, "For I am the way the truth and the life, no one comes to the father but by me", John 14:6. The truth is that Jesus loves everyone. We are all the same in his eye, children created in the image of God, his father.
While White Supremacy has carried the banner of Christ as the basis for their belief we have to call out their bigotry, their blasphemy, and their heresy in light of what Christ says.
While America is definitely at a crossroads the church is at a dividing point. To ALL my white brothers and sisters in Christ. We are at a point where we must make a decision. Either we will ignore the truth and perpetuate our false belief of superiority or we will denounce all hate, all that contradicts Jesus teaching and all that comes from the devil.
I want to leave you with another verse and a thought. Ephesians 6:10 - 12
When Christians remain silent to the obvious work of the devil we are complicit and we reject the truth of our Savior. Make no mistake, the hate that was on display in Charlottesville this weekend, at the hands of White Supremacist is of the devil. May we turn our eyes to Jesus, may we repent of our complicity and may we always preach the truth in the face of lies and hate.
Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. Martin Luther King, Jr.
1 John 4:20 Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen.
Monday, June 19, 2017
On June 18, 2017 I had the priviledge of preaching at Heritage Baptist Church in Wake Forest, NC. This is the church that ordained me on May 15, 2011. Below please find the message I brought.
I want to read a letter to you from God.
“Good morning my children. It’s good to have this time to talk with you. I know it has been many thousands of years since I have written but I felt given the circumstances of our world a letter was needed. I am writing to you from a place of concern and discouragement. When I look at the world I see violence every way. At the root of this violence is a deep seated hate people have for one another. This hate manifests in many ways; ISIS, gangs, and white supremacy, or alt right as some may call it. When I look upon this world I created I see a lack of civility, divisiveness and disrespect everywhere. If I get specific to the problem in America I have to say the individualism has become a barrier to the spread of the Gospel. Individualism can breed selfishness and greed. When these two dominate we see racial inequality, groups treated as 2nd class citizens. We see hunger, poverty and people not being educated. In a nutshell we are quick to hold people accountable to the law rather than extend grace to them. We are quicker to judge rather than forgive. More people hate others rather than loving one’s neighbor. People exclude rather than include. You ignore one another rather than engage. You hold on to more things than you share with others. You are quick to reject someone, for whatever reaction rather than accept them as one created in my image. And lastly but not least, you walk away from others too quickly rather than welcome them into your life, home and church. My prayer for you dear children is that you learn to live by grace rather than by the law.
So how you do this? I know reading the bible in its entirety can be a daunting task so I want to take this time to highlight what I call the attributes of me, your creator.
First, I want to remind you that I am your Mother. In Genesis 1 I made mankind in my image, male and female, I made them in my image. Regardless of ones gender all bear my image. As a mother, I will comfort my people as a mother comforts her child. Just as a mother would never forget her nursing child I will never forget you my children. I am also like a mother eagle who hovers over her young to protect them as they grow. And just as a housekeeper will search for a lost coin I will search the ends of the earth to find all my children. I am also like a midwife. Just as a midwife cares for the child she delivered I will care for you. And like a mother bear will release her furry when she is robbed of her cubs, so shall I release my fury until my children are found. Lastly, I am like a mother hen who desires to have all her chicks under her wings. As your mother I will never stop looking for all my children.
I am your Father. My own son, Jesus, knew this and taught you how to pray with this knowledge. As your Father and Creator of the universe I care for each one of you. I am also Jehovah-M’Kaddesh. Meaning I am “the God who sanctifies.” I am separate from all that is evil and require that the people who follow me be cleansed from all evil. I am good. I am the embodiment of what is good, and is kind, benevolent, and full of good will toward all creation. I am love also. My love is so great that I gave My only Son to bring you into fellowship with Him. My love not only encompasses the world, but embraces each of you personally and intimately. I am Jehovah-jireh. I am “the God who provides.” I am Jehovah-shalom. I am “the God of peace.” You are meant to know the fullness of my perfect peace, my “shalom.” I am also just. I am righteous and holy, fair and equitable in all things. You can trust me to always do what is right. I am Jehovah-rophe. I am the “God who heals.” I alone provide the remedy for mankind’s brokenness through my son, Jesus Christ. The Gospel is the physical, moral, and spiritual remedy for all people. I am merciful. My merciful compassion is infinite and inexhaustible. I am faithful. Out of my faithfulness I will honor my covenants and fulfill my promises. I am full of grace. Grace is my good pleasure that moves me to grant merit where it is undeserved and to forgive debt that cannot be repaid. Lastly, I am your Comforter. My son called the Holy Spirit the “Comforter,” and the apostle Paul wrote that the Lord is “the God of all comfort.” —2 Corinthians 1:3,4
. My son, is like me, for he is me. He lived in humble service by washing the feet of his disciples. He also lived a holy life. He lived a life of righteousness by doing what was right. Just as my son is pure, you who place hope in him will be purified. Jesus is love because he laid down his life that we might have eternal life. Through my son’s death you have been forgiven and so should you forgive others. In the same way my son has shown you compassion please show compassion to others. By considering himself not equal to me, Jesus humbled himself. He assumed to the role of servant and I need you to do the same. Consider yourselves less than and let me move through you to transform the lives of people you encounter.
So why do I remind you of who I am? I do so to show you how I want you to live with others. In the same way I care for you I need you to care for others. Like a mother, I need to care for and protect those who are abused, mistreated, hunger and fight to stay alive. I need you, like a mother bear, to be angry at injustice in our world and seek justice for those who have been wrongly treated or convicted. As the body of Christ I need you to have a passion to seek out my children who are lost and bring them back into the fold as mother hen works to gather her babies. Just as I am there as a midwife when a child comes into this world I need to be there for these children throughout their lives. Ensure they are cared for physically, mentally and spiritually. Like a Father, be good to all you meet. Love not only those who do good to you but love also your enemies. Provide for those who lack so they will not be in need. Promote peace with what you say and how you treat others. Act justly by being fair and equitable in all your dealings. Bust most importantly, do the work of my son and bringing healing to all. This world is broken and in need of healing.
Lastly, let me share with you about one of my children. You know him as Paul, but he wasn’t born Paul. His original name was Saul. When he was Saul he was an enemy to my people, you might say he was a terrorist to the growing Christian Community. But I knew what he could become, and like a mother and a father I could not leave him to his own devices. I had to rid him of the evil that consumes him. And you know what? He became one of the biggest voices for the cause of Christ. Lest you forget. You know the gospel because of his missionary work to the gentiles. It took time for Paul to grow into who I called him to be but in the end he got it. Please hear these words from Paul.
Philippians 2:1 - 8
Imitating Christ’s Humility
Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
6 Who, being in very nature[a] God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
7 rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature[b] of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
8 And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
7 rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature[b] of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
8 And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
I stated in the beginning of my letter that America’s Individualism is a barrier to the gospel going out. If we look closely at the words of Paul he encourages us to embrace humility, obedience and servanthood. You live in a time now where if you are to fully live out the Gospel you will live contrary to the ways of the world. I know what this can bring. It can bring difficulty, suffering and persecution, but please remember that I am with you always, even unto the end of the age. Dear children, I pray you will imprint these words upon your heart and go out into this world to change the direction it is going. Live so that others know the love of God and the peace that passes all understanding. I love you my children. Love, your Creator God.”
Tuesday, February 14, 2017
Tuesday, January 31, 2017
The other day a friend posted the following picture:
He would love first.
This is the answer to the WWJD question by a young man.
I don't know about you but when I look at our country right now I see a lot of people living in fear, including our President and administration. 2 Timothy 1:7 says, For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. It is very tempting to fear strangers due to the violent world we live in but God has called us to love not fear. Even in Psalm 27 we read,
The Lord is my light and my salvation—
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life—
of whom shall I be afraid?
Now more than ever, we need Christian ready to love all whom we encounter. It is the only answer to our problems. I close with the words of my friend Kheresa Harmon.
I am thankful for the ones who see through the eyes of love. Through the eyes of love, they see beauty and potential in lives around them. Those who see through the eyes of love tend quietly and lovingly to the needs of those around them. They are the unnoticed ones who bear life.
Those who see through the eyes of love are not bound by fear, suspicion, prejudice, and hate. Those who see through the eyes of love see the face of God in the hopeful and fearful faces of immigrants, refugees, and the marginalized.
Those who see through the eyes of love have hearts that are open wide to the possibility that maybe, just maybe, the other (either by virtue of religion, nationality, gender, sexuality, education, or socio-economic status) is not unlike them at all. Those who see through the eyes of love open their hearts and open doors of hospitality. The do not shut the other into a box of misunderstanding.
Those who see through the eyes of love are the hands and feet of Jesus. They get their hands and feet dirty serving God's people. We may have much to learn from them. We have much to learn from God, who welcomed us, when we were yet strangers, to God's own self.