Waiting…

whatWhat are you waiting for?

We’re all waiting for something.

Are you waiting for snow?  For sun? For someone else to wash the dishes in the sink? (yes!)  For your hair to dry?  For your meal to finish cooking?  For a red light to change? (If so, you should not be reading this blog, put down your phone and drive.)

Are you waiting for a spouse?  A child?  A job?  A raise?  A decision?  An answer? Healing?  A season to pass?  Your child to grow up?  Your child to move out?  Your spouse to change?  To be reunited with someone you love?  For reconciliation?  For closure?

Are you waiting for God to give you the “okay?”  For Him to speak?  For Him to act?  For Him to give you any indication that He is actually listening to your broken-hearted prayers?

Take a moment and think about this…what are you waiting for?

(Go ahead, I’ll wait….)

We live our lives waiting for decisions and answers and the next “thing” to happen.  We live our lives wanting and waiting.  And oftentimes (who am I kidding, nearly always) waiting seems like a terrible plan.  So we question God’s motives.  “Why isn’t He answering?”  “Doesn’t He love me?”  “Surely, if He were good, He would have moved on my behalf by now.”

We just want the “__________” so badly. (Fill in the blank with whatever it is you are waiting for.)  Sometimes we want it so badly it hurts.  We long for the “whatever” so intensely, we literally ache.  Our hearts ache.  Our minds ache.  Our bodies ache.

We want the “________” more than we want God. (Pause. Read that again.)

Friends, God is always better.  God is better than the job.  God is better than healing.  God is better than having all the answers and knowing the whole plan.  God is just better.

And guess what?

We have Him.

We just don’t grasp how wonderful this really is.  If we did, we would live peace-filled lives.  Our lives would not be characterized by the waiting (and the fretting) but by the peace in knowing that we already have the best…we have Immanuel.  We have God with us.  God.  With.  Us.

As you wait for your “whatever,”  I urge you to lean into God.  Ask Him how He would use your time of waiting.  Draw upon the Holy Spirit who resides in you. Maybe He wants to use your time of waiting as a time of renewing, refreshing and resting.  Possibly He wants to use you in some way (and you’re too distracted by waiting to see how you could be serving).  It might be that He wants to teach you or grow some virtue in you during this time.  He may even be preparing your heart for what is to come.  Probably He wants to use this time to show you more of Himself and take you into a deeper relationship with Him.

No matter what it is that He is trying to accomplish during this time of waiting, you can be sure of two things…

  1. He can and will work good even through your time of waiting.  “We know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them.” – Romans 8:28  
  2. He is with you – Immanuel – God with us.  “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you.”  – John 14:16

My prayer this Advent is that I would be more and more aware of Immanuel – and that my awareness would change the way I live.


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You can thank my dear friend Sara for this blog post.  I was mulling it over in my brain…and then she gave me this sweet new mug…and the encouragement I needed to take my thoughts from my brain to my blog.  Thanks sister!  I love my mug…and you!

 

 

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The Sun

From the rising of the sun to its setting, the name of the LORD is to be praised!.pngTuesday morning as I drove Daniel to school, I listened to the science video he was watching on his tablet.  As we sat at a red light, I was intrigued by the facts about the sun that were being shared.  I’ll confess, I was a bit sad to arrive at school before the video was over.

Some of the things that the woman with the serene voice shared:

  • Everything in the solar system centers around the sun.
  • The sun is almost 93 million miles away from Earth, which is why it looks so small even though it is the largest thing in the solar system.
  • The sun makes up more than 99% of the mass in the solar system. (Wow!)
  • You could fit more than 1 million Earths in the sun (Theoretically, you could stand 51 quadrillion people on the surface of the Earth…so just imagine how much larger than a human the sun is!!!)
  • The sun holds the solar system together.
  • Without the sun there would be no heat, no light, nothing would grow, nothing would survive.

I have thought about that video all week.

The sun is central.  It is absolutely vital.  It is ridiculously huge, so huge we can’t really even fathom its hugeness.  Its enormous gravitational pull keeps all the planets in their places.

Compared to the sun, the Earth is teeny.  Itty bitty, in fact.

God is a lot like the sun.

God is the source of light and life.

God is unfathomably huge.  He is perfectly and eternally powerful, intelligent, creative, loving and good.

Without God, we’d all cease to exist.

And just like the sun, we frequently underestimate God.  We look at the sun and from our vantage point it looks kinda puny.  Often we look at God from a very limited, very human vantage point and we’re tempted to think He’s kinda puny too.

The sun is the center of the universe, the thing which holds everything else together.  Yet, from the way most of us talk, you’d think the Earth was the main event.

Similarly, God is the beginning and end.  He is the center, the One who holds all things together.  Yet, from the way most of us talk, you’d think we are the main event.

If one million of us combined our collective awesomeness, we wouldn’t even breech the threshold of God’s perfection. Not even close.

Yet, we all think we’re pretty amazing.  And we want others to think so too.

Most of us live like we are the center of the universe.  We expect others to bow before us and to make our lives easy and to comply with all our unspoken wishes and expectations.  We believe our opinions to be more enlightened than the opinions of others.  We think our achievements are greater than those of others.  We live as if every little thing that goes wrong was intentionally done to ruin our day.  (like Daniel, when one of us accidently bumps him and he screams, “You did that on purpose.  It is your fault.  You hurt me on purpose!”)

Well, I’ve got news for you.

The sun is the sun.  God is God.

You are neither.

You are not the main event.

And neither am I.

 

 

Why Tomorrow is a Big Day: and Why Christians Should Buy Fair Trade

Tomorrow is a BIG day. I may not sleep tonight.

Tomorrow a dream I didn’t even know I had will come to fruition.  God had the dream and He’s been prepping me for a few years now.

Several years ago I was introduced to Mercy House Kenya (which today is Mercy House Global) by Ann VosKamp’s blog.  At that time, Ann was helping raise money for Mercy House to build a maternity home for pregnant teens who worked as survival prostitutes in the largest slum in Kenya.  Mercy House was founded by Kristen Welch, a blogger who had traveled to Kenya with Compassion International.  Kristen’s journey of saying “yes” to God and following His leading to love and serve poor and marginalized women around the world has been eye-opening.  It was Kristen who first introduced me to the term “Fair Trade.”  Over the past few years I have continued to follow Kristen’s work and my heart has been broken repeatedly for those living in poverty around the world.

As I have learned much about how most of what we purchase in America is produced, I have become an advocate of Fair Trade.  Fair Trade has become a passion of mine.

So, imagine my delight when our lead pastor called me one Saturday morning this spring and asked if I’d open a Fair Trade shop in our church lobby!

Um, yes!

I got off the phone and did a happy dance!

And in a few short hours, that God-dream…the opening of a Fair Trade shop…will actually happen.

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Tomorrow morning The Purchased Project will be open for business.  Each item we sell has already been purchased from the artisan or worker who produced it.  Each purchase not only benefits the artisan, but also the ministry that employs the artisan.  In addition, the profit of each sale will support the missions endeavors of New Life Gillette.  AND, each purchase will make my heart very, very happy.  Tomorrow is a BIG day!


A few days ago, our church staff discussed the shop opening.  As we did, several admitted that they had not heard of Fair Trade before we started planning for The Purchased Project.  Those who had heard of Fair Trade, had previously believed it was a hippie movement.  Here are a few reasons why I believe Fair Trade should be a Christian movement.

  1. Jesus taught us to lift up the poor.

In Haiti alone, more than 4 million people live below the poverty line, making less than $2.41 a day.  Half of those live on less than $1.25 a day.  Fair Trade ensures that workers are paid a livable wage.  When we choose to purchase Fair Trade products made in poor nations, such as Haiti, we help the extreme work themselves out of poverty.

12 Then he turned to his host. “When you put on a luncheon or a banquet,” he said, “don’t invite your friends, brothers, relatives, and rich neighbors. For they will invite you back, and that will be your only reward. 13 Instead, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind.  Luke 14:12-13

2. God’s people are called to do what is right and just.

Around the world, the poor are being exploited.  Many of the products we purchase in America have been produced in factories that employ those living in extreme poverty.  Those who work in these factories are oftentimes subject to terrible conditions, working long hours for little pay.  Many women and children around the world are bought and sold as slaves in order to pay a debt.  Young girls become survival prostitutes, selling their bodies in order to pay for food.  Fair Trade ensures safe working conditions and good jobs. You can be assured that those who produced your Fair Trade products were treated in a just and fair manner.

This is what the Lord says:

“Be just and fair to all.
Do what is right and good,
for I am coming soon to rescue you
and to display my righteousness among you. Isaiah 56:1

3. We did not chose where we would be born.  Neither did those living in poverty.

As Christians born in America, we have been gifted a tremendous amount of freedom that our brothers and sisters around the world do not have.  While many of us do not feel wealthy, in comparison to others, we are extremely wealthy.  Most of us are among the wealthiest 10% of the world.  Did you know that 71% of the world’s adults only have 3% of the world’s wealth, while .7% of the world’s adults collectively own 45% of the world’s wealth?  We have the freedom to choose how we spend our wealth.  When we choose to purchase Fair Trade items, we use our freedom to serve and love others.

For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love.  Galatians 5:13

4. Everything comes with a price.  And, we are accountable to God for our choices.

Most of my life, I lived for a bargain.  I shopped at the clearance racks of outlet centers.  I felt accomplished when my receipt showed that I had saved more than I had spent.  What I didn’t realize was that my “bargains” came with a price.  My $3 tshirt made in Bangladesh, was probably sewn in a sweatshop by a woman who made twenty-five cents an hour.  I only paid a few bucks, but the real cost was paid by a woman on the other side of the world. When I think of that today, my heart beats hard and fast and tears well up in my eyes.  MY purchase, my “bargain” cost that woman her dignity, her freedom and the chance at a reasonable livelihood.  Today, I choose to purchase Fair Trade whenever possible, because someday I will stand before the Lord.  I am accountable to Him for how I spend His money.

13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes, and he is the one to whom we are accountable.  Hebrews 4:13

I don’t think we can continue to live in ignorant bliss, because our ignorance is costing others their lives.  Christians, we must do better.  We need to educate ourselves and make better choices when it comes to our purchases.  Today I buy less, and buy better (fair trade) in order that others might have more.  Won’t you join me?


I could go on and on…but I need to try to sleep because tomorrow is a BIG day.  Pray for The Purchased Project!  If you want to join in the celebration, we will be broadcasting the Ribbon Cutting at 8:15a.m. on Facebook live from the New Life Gillette Church Fb page.

 

One Another Challenge – Day #30

one another challenge

We have made it!  Day 30 of our one another challenge!  We could keep going and cover all 59 (or however many) of the one another verses, but…I have a couple work projects that are needing my attention, so I will be taking a writing hiatus for a couple weeks.  I can’t wait to fill you in on my projects, as soon as I catch my breath!

But for tonight….Romans chapter 12.  I wish I had the time and space to unpack this entire chapter.  Maybe that will be a series of posts for another time.  It is so practical, so straightforward, so hands on.  This chapter just lays it out for us.  This is how you live.  Do this, this and this.  I simply love this chapter.

In the midst of Romans 12, we find this little nugget:

16 Live in harmony with each other. Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all!  Romans 12:16

Live in harmony.  The word we find here, once again, is that Greek word that means faith fleshing itself out in action.  We live out what we believe and as Christ-followers, we are to live in harmony.  Our actions may not always be exactly the same, but they work together.  Side by side with other believers, our lives together become a beautiful symphony of love in action.

We’ve all seen the opposite.  We’ve seen what happens when we all live for ourselves and look out for number one.  We know what happens to churches that are divided into factions.  They split and splinter and fall apart.

Surely, that is not God’s will or design for the body, His body.

As this verse goes on to point out, this requires a level of humility.  We recognize that we don’t have all the answers and we must be willing to associate with those who are “ordinary.”  God’s people don’t play favorites.  In order to live harmoniously with each other, in order to allow our faith to be fleshed out in action, we must all work together, each one in unity and perfect harmony, with God as the conductor.


Challenge #30 – What role has God given you in his grand symphony?  Do you know?  If not, spend some time praying and asking God what part you play.  If you do know, then embrace who God has made you to be, and the role he has given you.  Live it.  Be you.  Serve.  Love.  Shine for Jesus.

 

One Another Challenge – Day #29

one another challenge

(I am a day late on this one…but I decided to show myself some grace last night.  I was just too tired to write.)

Paul injured his leg and is wearing a walking boot for the next month.   He is going to learn to let other serve and help him and the rest of us are going to learn about serving him.  We’re on day three of the boot, and I am exhausted already. (Which makes me think of the countless times that I have been sick or injured or recovering from surgery and he has had to do my jobs around the house…and I am so very grateful that he is a better servant than am I.)

Paul usually unloads the dishwasher and then I reload it.  Now I am loading and unloading.  Last evening in my haste to “get it done” I dumped a bowl full of “soup” down the drain.

Let me back up.

Daniel loves to play scientist.  He regularly enters the kitchen and declares that it is time to do an experiment.  If I tell him, “no, it is not experiment time,” he settles for making “soup.”  (Experiments require mom’s help, soup can be done solo.)  He then pulls out random bowls and fills them with water and whatever other ingredients he can access on his own.

Yesterday afternoon Daniel made a bowl of soup.

And now I was rushing about the kitchen doing dishes and I dumped said bowl of soup into the sink.  As I did, I heard a strange “kshhh” sound.  My heart sank.

Earlier in the day, Daniel had been playing with a handful of BB’s.

They were the secret ingredient in this particular bowl of soup.

I frantically grabbed as many as I could from the sink bottom, but I knew that some had gone down the drain…and into the garbage disposal.

Sigh.

Remember, my husband is injured.  This is not the time for him to have to play plumber and take my sink apart.

Double sigh.

10 Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 1 Peter 4:10

We are called the body of Christ for a reason. None of us is an island.  We operate in unity and we function best as a team.  We are to serve each other.  When I am weak, you come alongside me with your strength and pick up my slack.  When you are weak, I step up and give you a hand.  Each of us uses whatever gifts and talents and abilities we have been given to help the other, keeping in mind that God is the one who has given us the capacity to do all that we are able to do.  When we live as God intended, we become this beautiful illustration of His love and grace for us.  In order for that to happen, each of us must recognize the gifts we have to offer the body, and then be willing to serve.


Challenge #29  – What is it that you are good at?  Do you know what your spiritual gifts are?  Find a way to use your gifts/talents/abilities to serve a brother or sister this week.


P.S. Any plumbers out there?  I could use a hand.

One Another Challenge – Day #28

one another challenge

Have you ever been to a church potluck dinner (aka. a covered dish dinner in some regions)? If so, you know the joy of trying others’ cooking and getting to feast on a veritable smorgasbord of tasty dishes.  I always felt bad for the one family that came in late.  Maybe they had soccer practice or piano lessons or dad worked late.  But, no matter the reason, all the good stuff had been picked over and they were left to eat celery and bean salad and some indistinguishable dish that contained sauerkraut.

You don’t wanna be late to a church potluck, am I right?

The Lord’s Supper (what we commonly call Communion) was the original church potluck. The early church would gather together for a meal that included a remembrance of Christ’s death.  Individuals and families would bring food to this shared meal, a potluck dinner.

33 So then, my brothers and sisters, when you gather to eat, you should all eat together. 1 Corinthians 11:33

However, as we read the preceding verses in 1 Corinthians 11, we hear Paul chastising this group of believers for the ways in which they were “getting it wrong.”  There were divisions among the group, rifts that had formed.  It seems that some in the group felt they were better than others.  Isn’t it wonderful that we don’t have these same issues in our church today? (eye roll)

In addition, it seems that these believers, in their little cliques, were having their own mini-potlucks.  Small family groups, or groups of friends would just start eating their meal, not waiting for the entire group to arrive.  This was causing some of the believers to be left on the fringe.  They weren’t a part of the “in” crowd and they were being excluded from the Lord’s Supper.  Some of these people were poor and did not have food to contribute to the meal, and therefore were going hungry.

This should not be, said Paul.  The Lord’s Supper is a place where the whole body comes together to remember and commemorate our Savior’s death.  Paul did not approve of this abusive handling of the meal that should have been uniting.  Therefore, he instructed the Corinthian believers to wait for each other and all eat together.

We rarely celebrate Communion with an actual meal any more, but I believe this passage has implications for us that go beyond the Lord’s Supper.  At the heart of these commands is love.  Christ’s followers should be known by the hallmark of their love for each other.  Showing preference, excluding people and behaving selfishly are actions that are detrimental to the cause of Christ.

Some questions for self-reflection:

  1. When you come to worship, are you primarily focused on self and what you will “get out of it”?  OR do you come with the purpose of building up the unity of the body?
  2. Do you always talk to the same friends, to the exclusion of others?  Who might God be prompting you to include?
  3. Are there poor among your church family?  How might you better care for their needs and show them Christ’s love?
  4. Do you give preference to the wealthy, the popular, or the powerful?  IF so, why?  What might God say to you about this?
  5. Do you notice a lot of cliques in your church?  How might you work to bring unity in the body?

    Challenge #28 – Go out of your comfort zone and intentionally include someone that you would not normally talk to or invite. (And, at the next church potluck, if you know someone is coming late…at least save them a piece of pie.)

One Another Challenge – Day #27

one another challenge

My mom, who taught math for many years, purchased a really awesome set of wooden blocks for my children years ago. I honestly think it may have been for Andrew’s first Christmas (long before he would use them).  She did so, with the knowledge that blocks are one of the best developmental toys for children, fostering creativity and teaching spatial concepts.  Those blocks have been used to build garages for HotWheels cars, homes for little Trolls, playgrounds for plastic animals and countless towers.

The funny thing about building block towers for kids, is that inevitably my children are far less excited by the building than they are by the knocking down.  “Mom, build me a tower,”  Daniel will exclaim.  The artist in me sets to work, building a beautiful and exquisite tower, which, rather than being appreciated, quickly becomes the target of flying balls or Nerf darts.  “Daniel Destructo,” as we call him, takes great delight in watching my masterpieces come tumbling down.

It would seem that many in the church have that same fascination.

The church is called the Body of Christ, and Christ called his body the “temple.” In 1 Corinthians, Paul explains:

16 Don’t you realize that all of you together are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God lives in you? 17 God will destroy anyone who destroys this temple. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.  1 Corinthians 3:16-17

There are those in the church, the body of Christ, who seem set on destruction.  They talk negatively (often with little information to back their opinions) about the work of the local church, they spread gossip about others, they verbally attack the pastors and the decisions of the leadership.  Unfortunately, it seems that in many cases, those who go about kicking down the “blocks” do so, not led by the Spirit and genuine concern, but instead led by misinformation and opinion.  Their claims may sound impressive and they may be convinced of their “rightness,” but the Bible says that if love is not their motivator, they are merely a loud gong or a noisy cymbal (1 Cor 13).  In the years I have spent in the church (which is all 42 of them), I have yet to find someone who is negative and disruptive who is truly seeking the Lord.  Those who do seek the Lord and follow the Spirit, who are convicted to leave a church for whatever reason, do so quietly and respectfully, without causing disruption in the body.

Paul explains in this 1 Corinthians passage, exactly how God feels about those who knock down the tower. It is not a pretty picture.  We see a God of righteous indignation, a God of justice, who will not tolerate the destruction of His holy temple.  Tearing down the Body of Christ is a high offense, one which, will lead to your own destruction.

How are we to live instead?

11 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. 1 Thessalonians 5:11

Love is always our highest goal as Christ followers, and in our ever-growing love, we are to encourage one another and build one another up.  We are not taught to be critical, negative, condescending or harsh.  Instead, we are to build each other up.  Lovingly and with great care, just as I build my block towers, we are to work side by side with the goal of the building up of the body.  We “call to each other from close beside” (the definition of parakletos, the word translated “encourage”) encouraging each other in our walk with Christ.  When God prompts us to confront another Christian, we do so in love and with the hopes of building up the temple into a healthy, working unit designed to bring God glory, remembering all the while that it is first and foremost our job to pursue holiness in our OWN lives.

Negative, hostile and destructive attitudes have no place in the Body of Christ.  And God simply will not stand idly by as individuals destroy his temple.

We need to get to work.  Our purpose, in all that we do is the glorification of God and the building up of the temple.  We are to be master artisans, craftsmen and women who go about our days with the intent of building a holy temple, the body of Christ, that functions in love and unity that we might display Christ’s love to this dark and broken world.


Challenge #27 – Build up the temple.  Find a way to encourage your pastors or church leadership.  Church leaders often hear complaints and negativity. Look for where God is at work in your local church and encourage those in leadership.

Seek ways to build up other believers, rather than (in pride) looking down on someone whose faith may be weaker than your own.

If you struggle with a decision that your church leadership has recently made, rather than talking to others about it, have a non-confrontational discussion with a church leader.  Don’t enter the conversation with the goal of convincing him/her why you are right.  Instead, get all the information, try to understand that some decisions are made with knowledge that cannot be shared publicly.  Then seek God’s heart in the matter.  Rid yourself of pride and seek to build up rather than tear down the local church.  Let love be your highest aim.

One Another Challenge – Day #26

one another challenge

Our military would be chaos if everyone was a general.  If all were the commanders, giving orders and no one executed the commands, nothing would ever happen.  Similarly, if all were privates and there were no generals to give commands, the troops would fall apart for lack of direction.  There is purpose to rank and position.  Leaders need followers and followers need a leader.

Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Ephesians 5:21

This section of Ephesians is a bit infamous because the next verse instructs wives to submit to their husbands.  Many women bristle at the sound of the word “submit.”  The word has gained a negative connotation that seems to infer inferiority and deference even when the husband is an ogre.

Yet, this is far from the truth.  The Biblical term submit, comes from the Greek word “hypotasso” which means to “arrange under” or “to put oneself in rank beneath.”  Submission is an ordering (placing in order), it’s a recognition that all cannot be the general.  It is a conscious humbling that orders oneself under another, thereby elevating the other.  As followers of Christ, we submit ourselves, first to God, and then to each other.  We make the choice to put others ahead of self.  We choose to submit to the authorities that God has placed in our lives.

If those who are the leaders live as Christ has called them to live, submission is a joy for the followers.  It is pleasant to align yourself with one who you know is in turn submitting to Christ.  If you are one that God has placed in leadership, you have a high calling and a holy responsibility to lead like Christ.  Christ led by loving and his love led Him to the cross.  A Christlike leader will be humble, loving and a servant. Submission to this type of leader does not stir up feelings of inferiority.

Our society tells us a lie that we can each live as the god of our own universe.  We have been told that “it’s all about me,” and many have believed this lie, living as if the rest of us should bow to them.  But this simply isn’t the manner in which Christ followers have been called to live or lead.

Even leaders must be followers.  Even generals must submit.  We all fall into rank.


Challenge #26 – Who are the leaders that God has placed over you? (Boss, government, Pastor, parents, etc.)  How can you submit (place yourself in rank) to their authority?  One easy way to fulfill this command, is to use your words in a manner that is respectful of your leaders.  Choose to respect and love, even when you disagree.

One Another Challenge- Day #25

one another challenge

 

Have salt among yourselves, and be at peace with each other. Mark 9:50

I spent the last 2 hours talking with my two teens, trying to diffuse a tense situation between some youth at church.  The situation boils down to a misunderstanding and hurt feelings.  In an attempt to not hurt another’s feelings, feelings were hurt.

I wish I could say this was simply teen drama, but I have experienced the same thing as an adult.  You say something, intending one thing and the recipient receives a very different message.  Or, you avoid the hard conversation for fear of hurting a friend, but neglecting to talk about it makes it worse. An attempt to keep peace leads to discord and disharmony.

Aaaaaaaaaah…..

“Have salt among yourselves” – What a strange statement.  Salt is metaphorical for the cleansing power of the Holy Spirit in our lives to rid us of selfishness and sin.  Jesus is telling his listeners to be open to the cleansing of the Holy Spirit.  If we do so, if we allow the Holy Spirit to work in our lives there will be much more peace  in our relationships.

We (all of us) need to have salt among us in order for this to work properly.  One person can allow the Holy Spirit to rid himself of selfishness and sin.  And that will certainly bring more peace.  However, if an entire family or church or youth group had “salt among” them, peace would abound.

Unfortunately, we are not there yet.  All any one of us can do is allow the salt of the Holy Spirit to refine us so that we might bring as much peace as we can.

And, as I encouraged my kids, “be humble and kind.”


Challenge #25 – Are you ever tempted to get defensive?  Allow the Holy Spirit to cleanse you. (ie. take the log out of your own eye before picking at the speck in someone else’s) Be humble and kind and bring peace into your relationships today.

 

 

 

One Another Challenge – Day #24

one another challenge

This weekend I had the joy of spending the weekend with fifty-some sisters in Christ at a lodge in Saratoga, WY.  There are so many beautiful souls in this world (I just love getting to meet more of them).  But, oh, how I am struck, again and again, by the immense pain that so many carry.

We talked about the valleys in Scripture and the valleys in our lives and then I had the privilege of watching these sisters share their valley stories with each other.  Young and old.  Baby Christians and mature women of faith.  Unified in their love of Jesus and in the common experience of being battered by walking through life in this broken world.

There isn’t one among us who hasn’t felt pain, not a one of us who hasn’t suffered injustice or unkindness or loss.

When will we realize we live life on a battlefield…but we’re battling the wrong opponent?   For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. (Ephesians 6:12)

We are not the enemy.  A person is not your foe.

You have heard the saying, “Hurt people hurt people.”

Why do we continue to wound each other?  When do we say, “Enough! ”  Hurt people need to stop hurting each other.

Brothers and sisters, we are called to love despite our brokenness.

Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins. 1 Peter 4:8

Continue to show deep love, because others have been deeply hurt.  Your love for another may be the bandage their wound requires.


Challenge #24 – Do you know someone who is hurting?  Go out of your way to reach out with a deep love – a love that goes above and beyond what is required or expected.