Archived Posts from this Category
Archived Posts from this Category
Richard and I are reading a book by Richard Twiss entitled “One Church Many Tribes”. It is most interesting as we learn more of our Anglo-American culture and more of the Native American culture. At times we find ourselves in grief and abhorrance of the things our Anglo ancestors and predecessors, innocently or not, have perpetrated on the Native American population. (I noted that these kinds of abusive behavior is not limited to Anglo-Americans. It happens all over the world.) Other times we find ourselves receiving encouragement and a greater understanding of the potential of good interaction with and acceptance of different cultures. I need to spend more time now processing what we have been reading, finding out where we “fit in” to the overarching picture of God’s Love and Redemption for the world. Thanks for “listening”.
When we reject the Author of morality and character, morality and character in our society will decline and eventually be extinguished like a candle snuffed out, resulting in personal and societal chaos and dictatorial governments.
Lord, forgive us for rejecting You. Come! Rebuke the leaders who put on the appearance of “good” but reject the Only One who is truly Good.
I turned 60 this year (2007). I just held my sixth grandchild. I have raised three sons and I would compare them to anyone else’s…and win! I have struggled and fought to see who I am and what I am to be when I grow up. And you know…I found it…I am going to be me!
I know that may sound silly but living it has been anything but silly. I thought I had to do something to have value. You know…write a book, perform before many people, be an influencial public speaker, what ever it took to get recognition publicly. Yet through the struggle I have found that I have a big heart and I care. I care about the poor, about Gypsies, displaced people, about being able to reflect what I believe about God, His son, Jesus and the purpose He has for my life.
As I have worked to find myself, I have attempted to listen and follow what I have heard God say to me and been confirmed by several independent sources. I have gone to Eastern European Gypsies in Greece, Romania, Bulgaria and Turkey; I spent six weeks learning to teach English to speakers of other languages; took sign language classes so I can “speak” to two of my granddaughters.
Over all this time God has lead me and continually encouraged me that I was moving where He wanted me to go. Looking back at my footsteps I see that teaching my children was out of love. Going to Russia with Steve’s family, our oldest, to adopt their second daughter was out of love. Three trips to the Gypsies were out of love. Going to South Africa and assisting in a hospice for AIDS patients was out of love. Spending my time in Texas to learn to teach English was out of love. Supporting women locally with various life issues is out of love.
I have been made to BE in love. There are many scriptural references to loving the lost and BEing a light. As I read them I hear God gently encouraging me to see that this is who I am, this is who He made me to BE, this is who I like to BE and feel most comfortable BEing. I am beginning to REALLY like me!
This is the basis of my next step. I am going to Israel and Palestine in February. My group will do some sightseeing but our purpose is to serve and feed and pray for poor Palestinian refugees in refugee camps, and persecuted Palestinian pastors and leaders. I will BE loving them. We will host and lead conferences in Bethlehem and Jerusalem.
Before I made this commitment I discussed and prayed with Richard and I sought other counsel. It surprises me that I am not alarmed by news reports. I am doing what I am made to do…BE! You are part of my family. I am asking for your prayers, letters of encouragement or warning, and requests for pictures I can take for you while I am there!
I leave you with one of my favorite quotes:
“And now Lord, with your help, I shall become myself.” –Soren Kierkegaard
Sometimes a morning can feel like a poem! I awakened feeling happy and free this morning. The weather was beautiful and I had slept with the windows all wide open! How lovely!! I opened my eyes and was met by a beautiful bouquet of Crépe Myrtle blossoms! Opening my window and leaning out, I find this beauty!!
Leaning out through the window, my camera found this luscious cluster of this wonderful southern flowering bush!
The Rose of Sharon dressed in sunlight & lavendar skirts, and dancing in the breeze!
I am noticing that taking offense from what others do is counter-productive to my peace. This is not a new concept to me, as I recall a past mentor talking about this. He said that we have time, even if only a split second, to choose how we will respond to people and situations. He emphasized how important it is that we not lose or yield our peace when people and events don’t go our way. I discovered that he was right! However, as time goes by, I seem to forget what I’ve learned.
A few weeks ago, some friends commented that they had committed to not take on offenses. They have many opportunities to take offense, but instead of picking them up, they turn the opportunities with prayer over to God. This is very hard at times, easy at other times. People have sensitive hearts that are easily wounded. But picking up the Shield of Faith protects us from firey shrapnel spewed in our direction. As we watch the offenses fall to the ground and fizzle out we can rejoice in God our Savior who is always with us.
Some offenses are much harder to get deal with than others. Wounds from our childhood, wounds from last year, wounds from yesterday… these all hurt!! But we still have the choice of whether or not we will take offense and harbor the wounds in our hearts.
I appreciate this wise advice: “Let everyone be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God.” Also this: “Be angry, yet do not sin.”
Anger today only reveals the wounds and offenses of the past. May you choose wisely how you will respond.
In visiting Steve, Jodi and Adelina with Julia, and conversing about child-rearing, we discussed the need for – within limits – children to work things out for themselves. It occurred to me this morning that adults as well as children need to learn to get along together, to be considerate of and respect others as persons. Adults need to remember and understand that other adults also have needs, desires, preferences and agendas. Adults get their feelings hurt. Adults need to be affirmed. Guess what? So do kids! Kids have needs, desires, preferences and agendas. We as adults have the responsibility to help our children explore their world and learn what their own needs, desires, preferences, and agendas are, and what limits are necessary and good. We need to respect and honor each other as persons of worth, which we all are. Families and communities, places of employment and worship are all good places to practice this.
Ephesians 4:32 says, “Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.”
Today I ran across a meditation in my notebook from March of 1996. I think this is a result of some discussion with my friend, Walt Wissinger. For me, it is God’s message to me, and perhaps to you, too. It is as fresh to me today as it was back when I wrote it. May you receive blessing and wisdom and understanding as you read on and ponder these words. Thank you for allowing me to share my heart with you.
Psalm 37 – “Rest,” “Do not Fret”
Verse 1 “Do not fret because of evil-doers, …be not envious of wrong-doers.” Verse 3 “Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness.” Verse 4 “Delight yourself in the Lord” Verse 5 “Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He will do it.” Verse 7 “Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him; do not fret because of…” Verse 8 “Cease from anger and forsake wrath; do not fret, it leads only to evil doing.” Verse 27 “Depart from evil and do good.” Verse 34 “Wait for the Lord, and keep His way…”
Fretting and God’s Answer to Frustration
Fretting is meditating upon a matter in a negative way. It often has to do with a matter that is at least partially out of my control. It also involves a degree of anger, whether in as low a degree as frustration, or as high a degree as rage. This lack of my own control over a matter produces frustration (which may escalate to full-blown rage) and consequently evil-doing. It is this process which Psalm 37 addresses.
Meditating negatively (fretting) leads me to lose Godly perspective and concentrate progressively more intensely on the negative, therefore seeing the matter as hopeless or disastrous (evidenced often by panic) unless I become integrally involved in the solution. This premature involvement is called “taking matters into my own hands,” and this is precisely what the Scripture implies is “evil-doing.” This is because evil-doing is the natural result of the negative energy produced by fretting. Therefore, the person enacting his own solution will often resort to violence (physical, emotional, or verbal) against someone or something.
Again, there are varying degrees of violent reaction. The degree of violence may range from wishful thoughts of harm toward someone or something to outright physical destruction of property or person, including murder and suicide. This is why Jesus says that to hate in my heart is equal to murder. Both are the sinful result of not trusting a matter to God for His judgment or solution. Psalm 37 repeatedly explains that God will indeed act on my behalf, and even what those actions will be.
A not-so-obvious result of fretting, because it appears to be positive action, is an intense, take-command attitude. However, if my positive action issues out of the fretting, the negative side will become apparent as people and things “get in my way” or “slow me down” or “don’t cooperate” with my self-made solution.
An underlying problem here presents the need to constantly keep my perspective, my mind on God. Because this is an imperfect world, impacted as it is by sin, people and situations will inevitably present themselves as impediments to a solution even to God’s solutions. If I resort to finding my own solution, i.e., “figuring it out,” the results will always go in the negative direction, leading to evil-doing.
Psalm 37 also tells me when offended or frustrated, what I am to do about it, which is first and foremost to not fret, and to trust God and do good. It is the turning over of a matter to God, and sealing that transaction by doing good, that enables me to gain and maintain God’s perspective on the matter, and thereby cease from anger and avoid evil-doing.
How do I turn a matter over to God? The most effective and direct way I’ve found is to “Stop, Look, and Listen.” “Jesus!” I say, “Please help me see this person and this situation from Your Perspective.” Then I “look” again, and listen to Jesus’ words to me about it. These words come as a quiet voice in my mind, or a sense in my heart, or a Bible verse. How do I know if it is “God and not my own thoughts?” The answer will always be consistent with God’s character as revealed throughout the Bible. The quick and easy answer is the revelation of a new feeling in my heart, a new, positive perspective, a new way of seeing. I call it “seeing with God’s eyes.” So now I finish with this thought… Am I fretting? STOP! LOOK! LISTEN! Jesus is always near. “Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He will do it.”
I am sitting in my husband’s office, web-surfing. As I read over some posts from our Gypsy trip this summer, I see something that strikes my heart. I quote it below. I have to ask again, HOW can people be so cruel to each other? I mean, the people meant well to the Americans, but what about God’s beloved Gypsies? Lord Jesus, please forgive us all… some of us don’t know what we’re doing, some of us do. We ALL really need Your forgiveness and changing grace.
Because of You, I live. Because of You, I have Joy. Because of You, I am healing. All because of You, Jesus.
Because of You, I walk. Because of You, I think. Because of You, I write. All because of You, Jesus.
Because of You, there is Richard. Because of You, there is Steve. Because of You, there is Sean, Because of You, there is Bob. All because of You, Jesus.
Because of You, there are Mom and Dad. Because of You, there is Jodi. Because of You, there is Amy. Because of You, there is Suzy. All because of You, Jesus.
Because of You, there is Julia. Because of You, there is Adelina. Because of You, there is Andrew. Because of You, there is Jesse. All because of You, Jesus.
Because of You, there is Happiness. Because of You, there is Sunshine. Because of You, there is Bravery. Because of You, there is Grief. All because of You, Jesus.
Because of You, Joy displaces sadness. Because of You, Sunshine displaces darkness. Because of You, Bravery displaces fear. Because of You, Grief displaces sorrow. Because of You, Life displaces death! All because of You, Jesus. Thank You.
(c) 2006 Nancy C. Ivy
Scarlet Cord, Red Light District
Why Scarlet? The Blood of Jesus. We ALL need the saving Blood of Yeshua.
Perhaps, as the Scarlet Cord of Rahab was a plea for Mercy from the advancing Israelites,
Perhaps the “red light” of the prostitute is not merely an advertisement for clientelle, but also a plea for Mercy, for healing and relief from abuse.
May we always see the Blood of Yeshua offered to “the least of these”, and extend His Mercy to them, to us.