Wednesday, March 31, 2021
Tuesday, March 30, 2021
Monday, March 29, 2021
Sunday, March 28, 2021
My friend said to me, "I really like the Christmas story of God loving us and sending His Son, but why do we have to go through that awful story of Easter?" My heart clenched because I get it. The Easter story if you take time to know it, it is excruciatingly painful. An innocent man willingly gives His life to die on a cross. But, here is the deal. Jesus was still the Son of God sent by the Father as He allowed the days to unfold. He chose to do the Father's will that we might live. He gave us the greatest gift we will ever know. He gave His life as a sacrifice to pay our debt of sin. So, as painful as it is to listen to or watch the Easter story unfold. It is our hope. It is where new life begins. This is why people use little Easter eggs and put things in them. They symbolize Jesus dying, being buried and then rising again. Last year to give hope I recorded the Easter week stories and posted them. Please take time to listen and receive the gift so freely given.
Tuesday, March 23, 2021
Sunday, March 21, 2021
My very first memory of someone trying to disciple me happened in my stepsister’s bedroom when I was about five years old. Dorcas, my cousin, was five years older than me and I thought she was the most amazing person in the whole wide world. She could tell stories in such a way that I just wanted to stop and listen. And on this day as I sat on the floor leaning against the yellow flower print bedspread, Dorcas told me that I was a sinner and that I needed to ask Jesus to be my Savior. I was five at the time. I honestly had no clue what she was talking about, but if Dorcas said that I needed God’s forgiveness because I was a sinner then I was going to kneel and pray because she said so. I got on my knees and leaned with my elbows against the bed and prayed what Dorcas told me to pray. I was clueless that this was Dorcas’ attempt to disciple me or to show me how to become a follower of Jesus. I honestly do not even know if she understood that was what she was doing. But this is obviously what she had been told she should do and so she did.
What does it mean to be a disciple? I feel like my life has little glimpses that later became profound moments that shaped me over time. Each of these little moments added up so that I could understand discipleship. My memory of Dorcas reminds me of the day that John the Baptist pointed Jesus out to his disciples and said, “Look, the Lamb of God!” (John 1:36). And immediately the disciples of John just got up and started following Jesus. One moment, they were the disciples of John and the next they were the followers of Jesus. Did you catch that? A disciple follows the one they want to learn from. This disciple transition happened in part because as Jesus' ministry began, it was time for John's ministry to end. John clearly explained to his disciples he was sent to prepare the way for the Christ, the one to take away the sins of the world. As John's testimony pointed to Jesus, as the true Lamb of God, Jesus started inviting men to be His disciples by asking them to come and follow Him. So, John's disciples stopped following him and started following Jesus.
The Greek word for disciple is mathetes and it means to be a pupil, learner, or student. Please read John 1:35-51, in this passage, we have the example of what it looked like those first days that the disciples started to follow Jesus. Who were the people that followed Jesus? We know that two of John's disciples followed Jesus, Andrew plus one more. Then Andrew took Simon Peter to follow Jesus while Jesus invited Phillip personally to follow Him. Phillip in turn invited Nathanael. I love that there is no set way that any one of them started following Jesus. Each one was invited or told in a different way. Did you notice that each one gave a different title that revealed something about Jesus' character? John pointed to the Lamb of God. John’s former disciples called Jesus, teacher, or Rabbi. Andrew called Jesus, the Messiah and the One Called the Christ and Philip called Jesus the One Moses and the Prophets talked about, Jesus of Nazareth, and Son of Joseph. Nathanael called Jesus the Son of God and the King of Israel. Even Jesus got in the name identifying and called Himself, the Son of Man.
What does this tell you about our invitation to follow Jesus or what might happen as we become a disciple of Jesus? One thing is for certain, our invitation to become a disciple of Jesus will come in many different ways and by different people. For some, it will be by a specific invite from Jesus Himself. Sometimes, people will point to Jesus and emphasize different truths about Him that will cause us to want to go and see for ourselves. I love how our invitation is so personal and so relational. I wish I could talk to each disciple and ask them why it was important for them to know that character trait of Jesus. It makes sense to me that John would tell his disciples that Jesus was the Lamb of God. Jesus is the final sacrifice that all of history had been waiting for. As I pondered this, I happened to notice something that became quite profound for me. As I looked at each name given for Jesus, I noticed that each one represented something unique about Jesus’ historical identity that His future disciples would need to know. This is what I saw:
Rabbi… HIS MISSION. He is our heavenly teacher.
The Messiah... HIS GIFT. It is through Jesus we receive the gift of eternal life.
The One Called the Christ... HIS TITLE. No one else holds this title.
The One Moses and the Prophets talked about ... HIS HISTORY (HIS story). God planned for Jesus all along.
Jesus of Nazareth... HIS EARTHLY HOME. This allows us to see Jesus’ earthly dwelling.
Son of Joseph... HIS EARTHLY DAD. This allows us to see Jesus’ humanity.
Son of God... HIS HEAVENLY FATHER. This allows us to see Jesus’ divinity.
King of Israel... HIS HEAVENLY KINGDOM. This allows us to see His kingdom.
Son of Man... HIS HUMILITY. This allows us to see His servant leadership.
In knowing Jesus’ story through His character and different titles that He was given helps us to know His identity and as we know Him, we are better able to know ourselves. We will identify with a character trait that will help us grow in our relationship with Him which will in turn help us grow in our relationship with others.
Did you also notice the disciples moved to action immediately? John pointed his disciples to Jesus. Andrew brought Simon Peter to Jesus and Philip brought Nathanael. Have you ever had a teacher that taught you something and it stayed in your head for days? And every time you spoke to someone you shared what you heard or learned? When we are a disciple of a teacher, we follow this person because we want to know what they know so that we can be like them. And when we have a teacher that catches our attention, we always want to bring someone along. Just this morning, I met with a young leader friend, Katie, that calls me periodically to meet, and she asked me, “What is God teaching you today?” I was more than happy to share with her that I read a truth in the John C. Maxwell, Leadership Bible that really blessed me. Christian discipleship is about multiplying Jesus in us so that we can multiply Jesus in others. We will do what we can to share what we have seen and heard.
What if Jesus said to you, “What do you want?” Would you be willing to say, “I want to know where you are staying?” Are you open to respond to Jesus saying, “Come and you will see!” Would you be willing to follow Him? Are you willing to be like John the Baptist, Andrew, and Phillip and invite those around you to know Jesus and share with them what you discover about His name, character, or identity? Can you say you are a disciple of Jesus? WHO should you invite to follow Jesus?
What is your talent? How do you create or serve others through your talent or gifting? In middle school, I just knew I wanted to grow up to become a famous artist. I took art and quickly became dear friends with my art teacher. I drew all the time. I would practice drawing for hours every chance I could. But, one day I heard that you have to die to be famous or really make an income. This sobered me up and caused me to believe that my art gift that gave me so much joy was just a hobby and I should spend my time developing my other talents. Once I started college I left my art behind. I no longer had time to spend hours drawing or creating even for the fun of it or atleast that is what I thought. I thought I needed to spend hours growing other talents and gifting that seemed to rise up as more relevant.
Thursday, March 18, 2021
Monday, March 15, 2021
Do you struggle with whose voice to listen to? I find myself wanting to say, "You are not my Shepherd!"
What might you have discovered about the Good Shepherd and hearing His voice? I would love to hear!
Wednesday, March 10, 2021
Do you battle with insecurity or pride?
"Insecure leaders inevitably destroy people; secure leaders develop people... God reduces prideful leaders but resources humble leaders" (John C. Maxwell leadership Bible).
On any given day I can be caught in the spin of insecurity and the pit of pride. It truly is the crazy cycle. No wonder God calls us to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. How do we guard ourselves from living in this crazy cycle? Look at the words develop and resource. If I take the time to ask in my insecurity how I can help the people or process develop this will give me a focus that is not about me, but about building others up which in turn gives me confidence because it casts off fear.
If in my pride I ask, how can I resource someone else? This gets me off my high horse and puts me where they are at which makes things less about me and more about them. Essentially, in both of these it is about dying to self and thinking of the other first. Hard to do when I am thinking about me. It gets easier the more I think about others. If I honor you, I find honor comes back to me. It is quite beautiful.
Today, what if we stop and ask ourselves, How can I develop you or give you resources? Remember, a resource can be as simple as a smile, a handshake, or a hug. Or if we asked, How can I help you move closer to your goals? How can I help you move closer to God? May our good LORD find cause to resource and develop us today!
Sunday, March 7, 2021
So, I am to lead the section for our staff on submission based on Spiritual Disciplines by Richard Foster. I read the chapter a few weeks ago. The only thing I can pull up since is that a spiritual discipline is meant to give me freedom. But, when I think about submission and all I have been taught, told, and demanded to live by freedom is the last word I would choose to describe submission or submit. Now, do not get me wrong! I am not one of those females that is going around demanding my way. I get it! I am to die to myself as a follower of Christ (Matthew 16:24). I know this and as hard as it is at times, I seek to live by it. I know that in our marriage which I believe is a good one for the most part. Oh, don’t get me wrong. I have tried to take authority and he has totally surrendered it at times. We both have messed up. But, what I do know is that when both of us are willfully and lovingly submitting to God, we get it right and it feels so good to submit because who doesn’t want to submit to someone that is walking in righteousness (Ephesians 5:21). It is beautiful, compelling, and well quite honestly, joyful.
This morning I decided that I should go and look up submit or submission in Hebrew in the original pictograph form to see what it meant and as is the case any time I seek to learn more our GOD has a way of surprising me and blessing me. If you do a basic Google search on submit you have to work pretty hard to get past “wives submit” to try to find someone that is actually teaching from the original context. So, I just jumped to the original Greek (5293) word “Hypotasso” because this is the word that everyone quotes from Ephesians 5:22. As I was scanning a whole host of dictionaries, etc. I wrote down the word SUBMISSION. I realized SUB… MISSION. Okay, wait! How cool is that! Look there is a “sub” “mission” in submission. Hold on! You will get it in a moment. “Hypo” means to be under or to place and “tasso” means arrange. Stant Litore spelled it out so beautifully. Litore pointed out that submit is a military term and that we cannot forget the context of where this section is placed. To submit to one another in Ephesians 5:21 follows the passages about waking up because the days are evil and our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against principalities (Ephesians 5:14-20). Litore then reminded the reader that it comes before we are told to put on the full armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18). We cannot forget that this is a military term couched in a military position in the context that Paul wrote it. Okay, wait! That does not sound very weak to me! You need to know the lioness was rising in me with great interest. In fact, you might just hear me roar! Litore pointed out that in fact if we truly are submitting to one another then we will set ourselves up to support our spouse as we fight against the enemy. Hhhhmmm. But, wait! There is more!
I kept searching because I needed to know. How is that I have been taught so much for so long about submission and no one told me that I should be in a military stance as a protector of my spouse? Y’all! That is seriously messed up! If I can protect my Greg and my children from harm I am so there! Envision yourself standing firm against the enemy or anything that should rise up against your spouse. Envision coming alongside your spouse and fighting against anything that might seek to harm them. Wait… this sure sounds like the Holy Spirit to me! A long time ago, I learned a really long word and was so profoundly impacted by it that I memorized it, internalized it, and assimiliated it into my life and teaching. The word is sunantilambanomai. It is the Greek (4878) Word for help. It is used to describe the Holy Spirit and how the Holy Spirit comes alongside us, together with us, and with whatever is against us to assist us. As a woman being called the “helper” I owned that and made it my definition. Today, I just found it supported in the Greek for submission. BUT WAIT! There is more!
My “Sub” “Mission” in Hebrew in the pictograph even supports this! WHY HAVE I NOT BEEN TAUGHT THIS! The Hebrew spelling for submission is “Shin”, “Lamed”, “Chet”. I posted a drawing of the letters and pictograph at the very beginning of this post. So, with each pictograph letter there is a definition that is used. Shin is defined as “teeth, press/destroy, or separate.” Lamed is defined as “shepherd, staff/teach, or to/from. And Chet is defined as “wall, fence, or separation.” I have not taken Hebrew. I have always been afraid to study it because I have it in my head that I am not good with languages, but I am beginning to think that I could learn Hebrew by using the pictographs. If I may make a stumble at a definition based on the meanings intended from those images. Submission or to submit is to press in or destroy as a shepherd or teacher the wall, fence or separation that is at work. Now, think on that for a moment. What if as a spouse I took this as my mandate? As I love and serve my Greg, I am to press in or destroy as a shepherd or teacher anything that provides a wall or separation for him. But, then I asked, “What is the wall separating him from? Is it me? Is it God?” BUT WAIT! There is more!
As I was scrolling, I noticed that there were numerous references to the word “davar” as a part of the root of submission! Holy WHAT?!!!! WOW! Oh my goodness! What for it! “davar” is the Hebrew word for “WORD!” Essentially, the implication is that if I am “DAVAR” then I am submitted to God’s plan or under God’s plan. It means that I am willing to speak, write, illustrate, or experience the WORD of GOD and do likewise with those around me. So, if I am “davar” then I am seeking to live my life in obedience to the Word of God fighting against any principality that sets itself up against God’s plan. Drop the holy mic, y’all! Seriously, I can honestly say, “I love submission!” Do you understand that to live in obedience brings blessing? Thereby, if I take the time to arrange myself for the battle to stand up against anything that will hinder my Greg’s walk with the LORD then I will be blessed. So, does that change your view of submission? It sure does for me!
All-day I have been pondering my newfound old/new truth! I realize that so many times in our marriage, I have been been the one set up against Greg as the enemy. UGH! Seriously, that is not okay! And there have been times that Greg has been set up as the enemy against me. That is messed up as well. We are married to one another to be mutually serving each other so that we can stand against the enemy of God and then in turn GOD willing do so for others as well. We actually rob ourselves of the blessing when we do not submit to one another. I want to live in blessing. I love submission. Don’t you!
 Hudson, Carmen Rane, et al. “The Misleading Translation of ‘Wives, Submit," ... and a Tale of Battle-Ready Women.” STANT LITORE, 18 Apr. 2019, stantlitore.com/2018/06/25/
 “The Ancient Pictographic Hebrew Language · Mini Manna Moments.” Mini Manna Moments, 13 Nov. 2019, www.minimannamoments.com/