Monday, June 7, 2021
This series has had a tremendous impact on my life and my family's lives. As I did the research for the one not like me I discovered that the LORD actually provides us with an ethic we should live by as we serve those around us. I found that the Bible Dictionary stated that there were five ethics of hospitality that the people were expected to live by in the ancient biblical middle east. What surprised me was that when I studied Bible stories using these five ethics as my lens, I saw that blessing came to those that honored and did not to those that did not. It was quite profound. I am seeking to grow in my gift of hospitality. This is born from the reality that I had much to learn. So, please do not think that I am an expert. I am far from it. I am merely a student in the journey of growing and seeking to hold sacred that which God does reveal to me. I pray this series blesses you as much as it has blessed me. Shalom y'all.
Saturday, June 5, 2021
When I was recording the audio for the next video I was creating, it as a typical "how-to" video when I heard in my heart, "You should tell it as a parable and let the story show the how-to." I stopped in the middle of the recording and wrote this little parable. I realize that no one else will love Bob and Fred as much I do. I am okay with that! But, it is silly how I can fall in love with a little character. The graphics of Bob and Fred were created by Audio Scripture's Storytelling Graphic Artist, Allison Wilcox. I had fun creating little scenes around her little guys. It is my prayer that this video will help those that receive the Audio Bibles to know what to do once they have listened to the Audio Bible.
Please pray with me that GOD will get this into the right ears and then hands and feet! Pray that Bob and Fred are blessed with many people discovering how to LEARN, SHARE, and TEACH the WORD of GOD!
You would greatly bless me if you would watch and share! And maybe GOD might want you to come alongside and partner in sending Audio Bibles to those that do not have access to the Word of God in their heart language! 😉
Tuesday, June 1, 2021
(Taken from http://cojs.org/three_graces_coin-_c-_300_ce/)
Have you ever seen the statue called the “Three Graces?” Apparently, it is so famous that many artists through-out history have created statues and paintings depicting an image of the “Three Graces.” I recently discovered that Seneca wrote that the “Three Graces” stood for the “3-fold aspect of generosity: the giving, the receiving, and the returning of benefits.” I have not been able to stop thinking of the “Three Graces”. I am seeing it everywhere.
(Taken from https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/ba/Le_tre_Grazie.jpg)
I once heard a message by Dr. David deSilva on Reciprocity and Patronage. Dr. deSilva emphasized that Seneca stated that the beauty of the “Three Graces” is that the three are in a circle where their generosity never ends. As one gives the other in turn gives it to another and it invariably will return to the initial giver. The circle is never ending. Dr. deSilva also pointed out that the women are always depicted as young because the act of giving should never go long without giving in return. The beauty of the graces is that it is done in haste not because one must, but because one cannot help, but do so because the gift automatically prompts the desire to give so generously because one now knows the wonder and awe of receiving the gift.
(Taken from https://www.arsmundi.com/en/artwork/the-three-graces-pompeii-mural-painting-467635.html)
I wish I could go and sit and just look at the statues or some of the paintings of this wonderful concept depicted in art. What a gift to communicate such a profound message through images! It causes me to stop in awe and want to be speedy to give grace. This morning as I read Isaiah, I found a verse written to the nation of Moab! It is important to recognize that Moab was a nation known for idolatry and arrogance. The prophet Isaiah was giving them a warning. In his warning, I found this verse.
Isaiah had just told Judah to receive the outcasts of Moab and now he is challenging Moab to receive the outcasts of Judah. I realized that Isaiah was writing about the gift of reciprocity among the nations! If Isaiah were able to talk to us about the statues of the “Three Graces” I believe he would have given a hearty, “Yes!’ You get it! We must speed the cause of righteousness! Be kind! Remain faithful and dwell under the house of God! Seek justice!” The crazy beauty of Isaiah is that he is a prophet that cared deeply even for the enemies of God.
As we reflect on Isaiah’s heart for the nations, we discover that he worried about the fate of the nations. This is a lesson for us to observe and learn from so must we worry, too!
If I may I would like to rewrite Isaiah 16:5 in descriptive way, in place of king I am going to write leader. Sometimes, I do this to help me develop a deeper understanding of what God might ask of me or those around me. Consider the message this might bring to us.
Oh, leader serve in kindness born from benevolent love and it will be done unto you. As you lead, do so in truth born in the faithfulness of character that provides protection and aid to those in need. Dwell with the Almighty- Most High God. Let Him be your shelter in and out of season. Be quick to seek justice by doing right and reconciliation will occur among those around you. Dear leader, speed your cause toward righteousness. Do not be slow in doing what must be done. Be quick in giving kindness and allow your benevolence to be known to all. Give protection to those in need, for in doing so, you will one day meet your own need.
When I read this verse, I see the beauty of the “Three Graces” coming alive. I want it! Don’t you!
In what ways have you observed the beauty of the “Three Graces” taking hold in your life? Have you known the beauty of giving, receiving, and returning benefits? How might this idea cause you to want to speed toward righteousness? What might these look like for your nation or people group?
Wednesday, May 26, 2021
Do you ever feel like what you do does not matter? And maybe you tell yourself, "I am not the ___. So what does it matter?" You fill in the blank. As I read about the choosing of seven leaders full of faith and the spirit to become table servers in Acts 6 so the disciples could devote themselves to prayer and the Word, I noticed that after praying over the seven table servers we are told, "So the Word of God spread. The number of disciples increased..."
Do you see how each person's part is so important? Seven full of faith and spirit led people can make a huge difference as a table server. We might wonder, Is this because it gave the disciples more time to pray, study, and share? Or is it because the seven are so full of faith and spirit led that they are doing the ministry where they are as they serve?
I would like to say, "Yes!" to both!
The first table server mentioned was Stephen. Stephen was so full of God's grace and power that great wonders and signs came from him and people noticed. Opposition arose against him. Yet, the opposition could not stand up against Stephen's wisdom so they plotted against him and stoned him to death.
Stephen was a table serving Saint! And the first Christian martyr written about in Acts.
Do you get it? Whereever you go there you are! Whatever you do you are supposed to be! Give what you have as you go. It is never about the position. It is about who you are as you do!
If we humble ourselves and ask by faith for the Holy Spirit to fill us with His presence, power, and grace. He will answer, "Yes!" That is a prayer God will not say, "No!" to if we seek to do it for His glory.
Beloved, you matter right where you are, right where you are at! God will use you if you ask.
Do you live your life right where you are so full of faith and the Spirit of God so that the Word of God spreads because of you?
And if yes! I imagine there is a bit of shine on your countenance!
Saturday, May 22, 2021
Have you ever noticed that true growth is never about the other, but about you? I literally can reflect on images in my mind of times when I really wanted God to do something in another person, but when I stopped and took time to pray and seek the LORD, He always showed me that He wants growth in me not movement.
I have discovered that when I focus on the other person's "issue" or "fault" I toss to and fro. When I am in a pendulum of movement it has no place to stop because I cannot control another. I can only control me. So, when I pause and ask God to grow me, I stop tossing and become peaceably settled because I begin to move from the Spirit's grace and gifting and not my need for control or even revenge.
I love it when I live in it. I hate it when I don't. Because movement causes motion sickness, but growth bears good fruit.
I found some rich truths that bring spiritual growth in my life. These are not exhaustive, but they help me settle in and stop being tossed to and fro. May you might find this to be true for you, too.
Dwelling richly in Ephesians 4:1-16 (Consider reading it).
1. I am called to live a life worthy of the calling I have received in Christ. I am also called to the 7 fold Oneness in Christ.
2. When I dwell richly in Christ I am able to be humble, gentle, patient, in the Spirit, and in peace.
3. The actions I must take are bearing with others, loving others, and making every effort to keep spiritual unity with others.
4. I have received the gift of grace (kindness of God) and leadership gifts by God.
5. I am to use the grace and gifts to serve, build up, grow the unity of faith, and to encourage maturity, wholeness, and the full measure of Christ among those who believe.
6. I am to guard against being spiritually an infant, being tossed to and fro by every kind of teaching, craftiness, and scheming.
7. I am to seek growth over movement by speaking truth in love, growing, maturing, building up in love, and doing my part.
This morning as I found myself once again tossing to and fro God used these seven reminders of who I am and what I am called. Generous grace will bear witness. I may not ever see it, but I can trust the gift of this truth.
Father, please help me to grasp grace (Your loving kindness) so that I might live a life that is gracious and full of generous gratitude that brings growth for Your glory. In Jesus name amen.
Thursday, May 6, 2021
What is Bible Engagement? What makes Bible Engagement so important? When I was a young girl in my 20’s in college, I would treat the Bible as if it was a Russian roulette game. I would take my Bible and flip it open and randomly read whatever popped up on the page. In my mind I had this idea that somehow that was what God wanted me to hear. I don’t know what made me think that this was a good way to engage the Bible. It wasn’t very helpful. We must remember the Bible is more descriptive than it is prescriptive, since over 70% of the Bible is in narrative. What does the Bible say about Bible Engagement? Psalm 78:1-4 describes for us why Bible Engagement is so important. “Oh, My People, listen to my instructions. Open your ears to what I am saying, for I will speak to you in a Parable. I will teach you hidden lessons from our past-stories we have heard, and known, stories our ancestors handed down to us. We will not hide these truths from our children; we will tell the next generation of the glorious deeds of our LORD about His power and His mighty wonders.” Psalm 78:1-4 Bible Engagement includes: 1. LISTENING to GOD and HIS INSTRUCTIONS 2. RESPONDING to WHAT GOD SAYS 3. RECEIVING FROM GOD HIDDEN LESSONS FROM THE PAST 4. SHARING THE STORIES to the NEXT GENERATION 5. PRAISING GOD for HIS POWER and WONDER Bible Engagement is intentional, it is personal, it is generational, it is educational and worshipful. Why do we want to engage the Bible? “And I will rescue you from both your own people and the Gentiles. Yes, I am sending you to the Gentiles to open their eyes, so they may turn from darkness to light from the power of Satan to God. They will receive forgiveness for their sins and be given a place among God’s people, who are set apart by faith in me.” Acts 26:17-18 Bible Engagement shows us how to rescue… a. Opens our eyes and allows us to see darkness. b. Shows us how to move toward the light. c. Opens our eyes and allows us to see the power of Satan. d. Show us how to move into the righteousness of God. e. Opens our eyes to see our sin. f. Shows us the forgiveness of sin is available. g. Shows us that we have a place among the people of God. We cannot know that we are set apart by faith if we have not heard! When we engage the Bible, it enables us to put on our new self because the knowledge we are gaining about Him changes us. Be in the Word. Be with Jesus. Be transformed! Shalom y’all! 😉 I am starting a new series on Bible Engagement! I would love your feedback. What would you like to see in the series? What aspects of Bible engagement was most helpful to you and why? What aspects of Bible Engagement was frustrating for you and caused you to struggle? What would be helpful in your pursuit of getting into the Word of God and why? Thank you for taking the time to share your feedback! ;)
Sunday, May 2, 2021
My step-dad has always said, "You have a hot line to Jesus!" He is correct in that I cry out for help alot! But, the reality is that it is no hotter than the next person who cries out. We all have a holy hotline to Jesus. If we ask Him for the words, knowledge, or spiritual gift for that moment, He will answer! We just need to ask. When I do this, I am often amazed and sometimes flat out confounded because He is so generous to listen and help me. Please do not get me wrong in thinking this is like genie magic because that is not what I am saying. This is about seeking to live, speak, and serve with words that build up and give honor to restore, refresh, reconcile, and redeem. It is not about getting what I want when I want it. It is a blessing when I get it right and it is a blessing when another does so in return.
When was the last time you enjoyed this kind of conversational beauty? Would you consider today praying in the moment, "Father, please help me to speak and serve in Your Spiritual gifting and not in my own?" Then walk in obedience as the Spirit leads you in all truth for that moment.
"I always thank my God for you because of His grace given you in Christ Jesus. For in Him you have been enriched in every way—with all kinds of speech and with all knowledge— God thus confirming our testimony about Christ among you. Therefore you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed" (1 Corinthians 1:4-7).
Beloved, you do not lack!