Archive for May, 2015

“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus.”

– Philippians 2:3-5

As I share my thoughts and heart today regarding the opposing ideas of ‘Purposeless vs. Purposeful’, my mind is overcome with the specialness of this time of year. A time when the whole of the United States celebrates Memorial Day! It is a time of reflection, reverence, and respect toward all the military who have been and currently are in service. It is a time when those who have given their all are embraced for their courage, their devotion, and their total commitment to something and someone they were willing to give their life for. It is a time when our men and women, who so bravely carry on their duties to protect each and every right of freedom for humanity in America are saluted for their acts of sacrifice from their families, their dreams, and their everyday life. This is how we celebrate Memorial Days here in this country, the land of the free.

These men and women exhibit the epitome of Phillipians 2:3-5. They are unselfish and humble. They have set aside or given up their interests for awhile, and sometimes forever, for they have truly placed others before themselves. THANK YOU for all you have done, and for all you have given! You are all appreciated much more than you know! As for us here, we salute you! We honor you! You have been an inspiration to those of us on the home front. You have exhibited purposeful lives, when in this world we see so many purposeless lives. You have been an example of the mindset and the heart of Christ, even though you may not have known it! May God’s Angels and His Blessings go before you; and may you know He is watching over You!


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While they were traveling, [Jesus and His followers] entered a village, and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home. She had a sister named Mary, who also sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what He said. But Martha was distracted by her many tasks, and she came up and asked, “Lord, don’t You care that my sister has left me to serve alone? So tell her to give me a hand.” The Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has made the right choice, and it will not be taken from her.” Luke 10:38-42

Who do you relate most to in this story?  Are you like Martha or Mary?

I am trying to learn that all things that serve the Lord are “good,” but at certain times/seasons, not all are necessarily of “added value” to my relationship with God, my family, and others. I think one way to keep ministering to others as worship is knowing my practical and spiritual limits and trusting that God has given me seasons in which to do specific activities.  But I have to protect my attitude and be careful about the obligations I take on because I tend to be a Martha—handling duties and responsibilities rather than sitting quietly building a relationship with Jesus Christ through studying, reflection, and reading God’s word.

Service can be a form of worship, but frequently, like Martha, I can get caught up in the duty itself, believing that meeting my responsibilities is more important than relationships. Duty, or working for the Body of Christ, can lead to a perspective like Martha had—look at all I am doing for you, Lord. Duty may try to impress with work or an attitude of superiority.

The things we do in service to the Lord do not make Him love us more or make us more valuable. Duty often distracts from the main thing. Jesus moments are limited and Mary recognized that, and she chose devotion. Devoted Mary sat at the feet of Jesus and focused on the relationship with Him, while Dutiful Martha missed the moment. Mary knew that activity doesn’t equal connection, nor does working for Jesus equal worship. Working for Jesus can keep me from taking care of my relationship with Jesus. There are times when I am more comfortable doing something for the Lord than I am with being with the Lord. There is a vulnerability and intimacy when I am being, while I remain in control when I am doing something for Him.

Martha wanted Jesus to listen to her, while Mary wanted to listen to Jesus. The lesson we can learn from Martha and Mary’s situation is that when Jesus is in the house, we need to give Him our full attention. When Jesus passes by, stop what you are doing and give Him your all. After all, Jesus gives us His full attention being fully present every moment.

Oh, Lord, I want a relationship with You that reflects my devotion to You. I am a mess but You love me and give me Your full attention. Clear my mind and heart from distractions today so that I can keep pressing in closer to Your heart—ALL and ONLY because of Your grace and power will I be able to surrender the sense of duty and like Mary, pursue You with full devotion. Amen

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“That is me! I am that woman!” Perhaps, like me, you have read a passage in the Bible and immediately recognized it was your story—your situation. Through the years, every time I read John 4 about the woman from Samaria who meets Jesus Christ at the well, I identify with her shame, regret, fear and sense of unworthiness to be considered acceptable in the community around her. She felt so ashamed that she could not even handle normal household duties, such as drawing water from the well during the hours when she might have to interact with her neighbors. In fact, she asked Jesus, “How is it that You, a Jew, as for a drink from me, A Samaritan woman? For Jews do not associate with Samaritans?” (John 4:9)

However, it wasn’t just because of cultural or ethnic differences that resulted in this woman’s sense of shame and guilt. For you see, in her community she was considered “damaged”—she had been married and was, as an unmarried woman, living with a man. In the culture of those times, it was a disgrace to be divorced and she hadn’t just been divorced once, but had 5 husbands. We don’t know the rest of her life experiences, but we can know and celebrate that Jesus Christ comes for “damaged goods.”

Whether the Samaritan woman, or for me or for you, Jesus Christ comes to give us a new name and a new label. When we say “yes” to accept Jesus Christ as our Savior, the Bible reminds us that God forgets our past. We are new creatures! (II Cor 5:17) He doesn’t remember we are “damaged goods” even though the culture around us may try to remind us of that label. Jesus took all of those parts of our past and sent them away—as far as the East is from the West. (Psalm 103:12) At that very moment, Jesus gives us a new label—a new name! (Isaiah 62:2, Rev. 2:17, Rev. 3:12) We become His trophy of grace. (John 1:16-17)

It was for this reason that the Samaritan woman could be the one to return to the village and shout the news that the Messiah was present. She understood she no longer had to accept the world’s label. You and I don’t have to accept whatever label the world would paste on our life. We are daughters of the King of Kings and He has given us a new label all because of His grace. Walk in your new name today as you shine for Him.

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For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you received a spirit of adoption, through which we cry, “Abba, Father!” (Romans 8:15 NAB)

Father, Daddy, Papa, words we are all familiar with to address the man who gave us life here on earth. Some of us have strong positive relationships with our earthly father, others have strained or perhaps even non-existent relationships. Perhaps you are one who doesn’t know your earthly father, or even who he is. But no matter you relationship with the man who gave you physical life, there is One Father each of us can have a deeply profound and rich loving relationship with.

Perhaps like me, this is difficult to accept and embrace because you have felt rejected, abandoned or orphaned through much of your life. For over 30 years of my life, the little girl inside of me carried deep anger towards my earthly father for failing to protect me, even knowing (in my adult logical mind) that had he been aware of the circumstances, he would have fully protected me with all of the protective forcefulness of a mother bear protecting her cub. Yet, because the child in me hadn’t felt the healing touch of my Heavenly Father’s love, I carried within me the sense that I had been abandoned, rejected—orphaned. Oh, it wasn’t an actual abandonment, but an emotional one of my own making.

Whatever your relationship with your earthly father, whether you had a strong positive relationship, a strained or non-existent relationship, there is One who fully embraces you and wraps you in His lavish love when we seek to draw close to His heart. Galatians 4:4-5, “But when the completion of the time came, God sent His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.”

When Jesus Christ taught His disciples to pray, He taught them to begin, “Our Father…” Luke 11:2-4. Did you know that no matter the gender of a new baby, the first word normally spoken by a child is “da”—da, da, daddy. A Jewish child of similar age in the time of Christ (and perhaps even today), would begin by saying “ab” — ab, ab, Abba. Teaching His disciples to pray “Our Father…” was revolutionary. Jesus offered that we could address the Almighty God (the God of Abraham, Jacob and Isaac) with the deeply personal and intimate, familiar address of a 16 month old baby sitting on his father’s lap—da, da, daddy.

With child-like faith, trust, and openness we can come to our Heavenly Father as His daughters (and sons) and say, “Abba, I belong to you.” “Abba, I love you.” “Abba, Help me….” “Abba, I need….”

Fortunately, for me, there was a defining moment when my inner child-anger was confronted and I discovered the love of my earthly dad. This has made my acceptance of my Heavenly Father’s love much richer, but if that hasn’t happened for you, you can still know that deep abiding love of a Father and crawl into His lap to be held close to God’s heart of love for you, personal and intimate love. Matthew 7:11 reminds us that God wants to pour out His lavish love on us, as His fully adopted and beloved children. We are not orphaned, rejected or abandoned, but are unconditionally and eternally loved by the One who reminds us, He has loved us with an “everlasting love;” and He will continue to extend “faithful love” to each of us if we will only allow Him to do so today. (Jeremiah 31:3)

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