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Angela Light

Walking it out- the great, the messy & in between

Drawing Circles

Posted by angela on April 2, 2018
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So I’ve been really hesitant about doing a post like this. Not really sure why I hesitate but I’m putting it out there to be transparent and to be honest, vulnerable. My thought is I may not be the only one with these struggles so the hope is that if you are also in this boat you’re not alone…we walk it out together.

I’m struggling and to be quite honest, quite annoyed with it. I’m in that place where I’m sure I heard from God on something but I’m seeing nothing that is moving me forward. Well, to be honest, nothing that is moving where I THINK I should be moving towards. So I’ve been going through a crazy cycle of questioning if I really heard correctly, maybe I missed my moment (does that even happen), maybe God changed his mind when he realized what a wreck I still am, maybe I’m just too messy to be used anymore, etc. But then I realize I let my thoughts go nuts and where is my faith-my trust-what am I doing spinning like this?!

Does ANYONE ever have these wonderful self talks that make you want to scream?
It’s a struggle since I know that I know…He did give me a sense of where He is taking me. It is taking much much longer than I ever imagined…(years, not months)….then I get annoyed with myself for being so short on faith that it will come to pass in His timing. Then I’m annoyed all over again that its taking too long and sick of waiting for breakthroughs. Circle back to feeling like a jerk that I’m so selfish and self focused that I’m annoyed that God isn’t jumping to my timeline in the way I think it should go. OK….I’m dizzy! I keep drawing circles-
Anyone else?

I really hope this message is speaking to someone and not just a crazy rant and rave (ok, confession) of how I get in that cycle of up/down/all around and back again.

Without any doubt, I know that He is good. He keeps His promises and just because things are not happening in ways I see, ways I think they should-it doesn’t mean He gave up on me. It means He is working it out as He wants. I will not mature in my relationship with Him until I persevere. So persevere I will and encourage you to as well! I’m so encouraged that God promises he is working IN me, helping me obey Him. I’m not the lone ranger in this!

Philippians 2:13 He is working in you. God is helping you obey Him. God is doing what He wants done in you

However I ask…how have you handled these situations? You are in a waiting period, going for a breakthrough but it is not coming that you can see, nothing on the horizon. How did you get through it? Did you wait it out, walking thru each day with expectation? Or did you give up, throw in the towel and ‘cut your losses’ for time spent?
Let me know…post your comments-I’d love to hear from you!

Romans 5:3-4 And not only that, but we also rejoice in our afflictions, because we know that affliction produces endurance, endurance produces proven character, and proven character produces hope

(Love this quote from Peter Haas in relation to Phillipians 2:13): Its not up to us to strive and whip it up in a frenzy. We just surrender…step out in faith ALTHOUGH we don’t feel the feeling YET.

Stop, Drop & Roll

Posted by angela on March 22, 2018
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A conversation with my brother had me really thinking about this….stop, drop & roll.

We mentioned how we handle things when we feel put off by God. He doesn’t seem to be listening or answering something we’ve asked for so we feel like we’re riding around in the trunk of the car while He’s driving. Oh, we’re with Him, but we’re on the back burner…not a priority He’s focusing on. Ever feel that way?

So…I hate to admit but we’re being honest….sometimes I take over. Yep. Even at times I don’t mean to but it seems to just happen. I’m praying and crying and begging for an answer… I don’t get one that I can see, so I step out on my own. Sometimes it’s a time sensitive decision that needs to be made. I ask God with no clear direction as a response so I assume I’m to continue as my ‘best guess next step’ and he’ll stop the process if he disagrees. Is this true? Well, sometimes.

But lets be real here….its this point in the process where I get stuck…when its not time sensitive but I’m sick of waiting. That I make up assumptions and scenarios in my mind and then act in response to these assumptions.
Anyone else do this?

It’s the times I’d had it with waiting or can’t see anything moving or changing that I feel God is putting me on the back burner or kicked me to the trunk of the car. And what do I do? Unknowingly, I put him on the back burner in response.

Then I’ll proceed with whatever action plan I’ve made up in my mind, no matter what obstacles I run into-because this time it’s about getting done…I’ve already given God his chance to weigh in and didn’t get confirmation or a ‘STOP’ so I’m moving forward.

Is this smart? Godly? Obedient?

Of course, every situation can be different. But in many instances, I’m hearing the cautionary words of “STOP! DROP & ROLL”. But…stubbornly, I ignore.

Stop, Drop & Roll is reaction to being on fire. Is this a fire? Acutally, it is of sorts. I’ll be on fire to do something and bustle thru a season or decision. But quietly those words are an echo…’stop, drop & roll’. WHAT?!

Stop running
Drop the ‘I got this’ attitude & let God be God
Roll the drama off my back give it back to him…and let him handle it.
There are 2 verses smacking me (in a gentle loving way)…this one that encourages us to wait but be strong in the waiting.

Psalm 27:14 14 Wait patiently for the LORD. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the LORD.

Then the verse from Paul: Romans 7:18-19 And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature.[d] I want to do what is right, but I can’t. 19 I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway

So I may know God is gently leading me to wait…but I don’t. I want to wait on a clear word from Him, and I want to do what is right, but I can’t. I don’t want to do the wrong choice, but in my lack of patience of waiting, I do it anyway.
I’ll try to remind myself…

STOP…step back, get quiet for a second and talk with HIM who is in control anyhow.
DROP the panic, the control, the urgency if its not truly urgent.
ROLL the decision and the trust (aka…FAITH IN HIM TO DO IT) over to the one who has this all anyhow.

Thank you Father for being a GOOD Father and having my best interests in your hand.

Take a Breath

Posted by angela on March 14, 2018
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Thanks for stopping by to read this blog. I have a favor to ask: Please give it a try…Breathe in slowly….now exhale. Okay great, now repeat it…breathe in…and exhale.
Great job!
No, today’s post isn’t going to make you break a sweat and do exercise. Relax

I just felt we all need a moment to breathe. Take a break.
Don’t misunderstand…I’m in no way saying things that are happening around us is unimportant. But to be blunt, I’m beat. Weary.

So much negative and horrific things all around us. All the division, seriousness, disagreement, violence, mentally unstable. Ugliness is esteemed. Ungodliness is celebrated. No morals.
We grieve. We know God grieves over His creation and its blatant rejection of Him.

I’m trying not to get too down. The culture shifting focus from the root issues & twists things to suit their own agendas. The overt aggressiveness of many make some of us want to take a step back, ignore or get quiet and not stand for our beliefs. We see others who take a stand being shunned, ridiculed or worse. So we shrink back, then the sadness settles over us.

We are hungry for holy justice and wisdom. We seek it out, study it in the word then shudder when we see the opposite happening in the world around us. What do we do? How do we move forward in a positive way without losing our focus when we feel too tired to stand?

Sometimes a step back, not a shrinking away, but a moment to breathe. And as silly as it sounds…I’ll just say it: I need to laugh. You? A giggle, something funny. Something light hearted.
Does it mean I’m not taking the seriousness around me to heart? Of course not, it just means…a moment to breathe. I didn’t throw my shield or breastplate of righteousness away…I just am taking a break to give a little breathing room to my soul for a little lightheartedness. Laughter is good, right? Does God even address this? Glad you asked!

Proverbs 17:22 A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.

Ecclesiastes 3:12 I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live.

He didn’t say ignore the things around us or excuse us from standing firm and doing right. His spirit gives us a breath….exactly what we need. He tells us He is our strength, our shield so we don’t need to think its all on us. Its exhausting to think so! We can be joyful in the midst of the YUCK…as opposite as that sounds.
Psalm 28:7 The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him.

So I tell Him…how tired, disgusted and worn out I am from the world/the culture/the constant current against His way. I’ve actually been asking for some fun, some giggle time and some breathing room. He enjoys laughter, he invented a sense of humor and wants us to feel joy. Joy in Him, despite all the surroundings.
So I’m going for it…a moment to breathe….giggle, relax, hopefully something so funny it makes me laugh so hard I can’t breathe….
You’re allowed a moment…take it!! He loves you, loves watching you enjoy life…so take a moment & step back from it all. Just giggle a little .
Job 8:21 He will once again fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy.

Just throw a scrap

Posted by angela on March 7, 2018
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I started this blog several years ago after wrestling with God—I couldn’t see myself blogging. Well, I’ve been on a hiatus and feel He’s leading me back. I miss it! I invite you to join in…there will be some raw moments, some insights and general living posts. Feel free to comment and join in this journey of life….the good, the bad and the messy.
Right now, life is in the messy season…still. At least today is, in some respects. I’m sure everyone has something they’ve struggled with for a while…maybe many years. Its something you may have prayed about, cried about, perhaps thought you finally got to the other side of it only to find yourself planted back on the battle lines with this thing. It could be anything you’re wrestling with—a person, a relationship, an addiction, an bad habit, a situation, marriage, friendship, rejection, financial, health, etc.
I’m planting my stick in the sand and saying I’m really sick of it. Yep. I know, it may be teaching me something in the long run. Great- but I’m sick of waiting for the end of that ‘long run’ to get here. (anyone else?) I’ve been crying and wailing out that ‘I’m done with this, please take this from me’, I’m weary, battle worn and basically feeling like I’ve been run over by a truck, backed over, and ran over again.

Please tell me I’m not the only one (although I don’t want anyone to feel this way). But I know its out there. I know others are struggling. Sometimes this ‘thing’ is pretty big…something that alters the course of a life, or cuts you to the core. I get it. Your battle worn face is scarred with the many times you’ve tried to face this thing and was beaten down.

I’m there with you right now. In the past, admittedly, I would stay here crying. I do that too, don’t get me wrong. But in the past I wouldn’t move from here. I wouldn’t know I could. It was the ‘thing’ that had me in a chokehold so I cound’t move. I didn’t feel movement was possible. Many times it wasn’t.

However after battling some of these things longer than I ever want to admit, I did something this morning. I told God I was TIRED of pleading and crying out for his help in fixing, resolving and rescuing me from this. I know…sounds crazy and not too Jesus loving…stay with me a moment….
I was overwhelmed (again) and something in me shifted. I’ve cried and prayed over this so many times for so long, I was shocked to sense this shift. I caught myself saying ‘Father, if you even threw me a scrap of wisdom or guidance in this, in even a flash of a second of you would finish this battle’. That’s when the ‘SNAP” happened.

“NO”….I felt it loudly and suddnely. Oh no…I’ve been praying for rescue for so long and finally I hear something back and its “NO”??…OH MY GOSH IT CAN”T BE….

But it didn’t stop there. It was ‘NO…don’t ask for a scrap’. (HUH?)
Then in an instant, I understood. I am his daughter, a daughter of THE king. You don’t hide behind the throne of God, scurrying beneath the chair and begging for a scrap. I’m beloved by HIM…not a offhanded pain in the neck he tolerates (althought I admit I struggle not to see myself this way). It was clear…stand boldy in front of the throne of your Father and ask expectedly. Wow.

No a whisper of a scrap but to be boldly in His presence asking for not rescue only. If that’s his will, great (I’m prefer this of course). But now I ask ‘help me see what you want me to in this mess. What are you showing me, teaching me. I pray for your wisdom to see and understand.

I hope to post again soon what I learned but right now…this moment…I’m picking myself up from crawling and getting to my feet, trying to be steady to stand and ask. I’m asking, I’m shaky from crawling so long but what else? Do I quit? Do you? NO…there is not quitting. But we don’t stay here…we stand, on possibly shaky legs (shaky from fatigue of fighting) and asking for his strength to renew and his eyes to show what we need to see. I’m hopeful this will wrap up this fight for a new season. Of course, that remains to be seen. I’m guessing we’re tired, beat up but we have a stronger one in us that will hold us up when we can’t stand.
Lets lean into that-He has us in His hand. No matter how we feel. We may be hurt, heartbroken, MAD and weary. He knows and He holds us. Imagine if he weren’t holding us…yikes?!
Stay with me…we go forth, maybe in baby steps but we’re standing, not cowering in the corner.

Hebrews 4:16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Ephesians 3:12 Because of Christ and our faith in him, we can now come boldly and confidently into God’s presence.

Crazy Calm

Posted by angela on November 14, 2015
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So I’ve been away from my blog site lately…I never intended it to be so long!

Thank you for visiting again!  

I have been on quite a journey these past few months and God is doing some work…and many results are still to be seen but I wanted to update everyone…and get back to the blog!!

I’ve been on a path of doing more writing and now speaking. Yes…speaking! The past few months have been travel, attending conferences, an unexpected move (oh the packing & boxes) and a new direction! Busy, crazy but all good.
I look back over the past few months and realize that wow…much of the things that happen to us can be so unexpected (barring tragedies), sudden and not envisioned that we get lost.

Confused. Frustrated.

We think surely God wouldn’t want us spinning in a circle trying to catch up with happenings…wouldn’t He hand things to us in a nice orderly fashion? HA! Not this time. I’m sure there are times when this is exactly how He’lll do things but recently I marvel at how He pulls a zillion details together and lays out a path for us. Do we see it? Do we miss it?

I miss it too many times.

He can design and create the entire universe so why am I so amazed when he pulls together details in my world? I chalk it up to human perspective…

So when things accelerate in our lives and we’re not sure why or how to continue…how do we handle it? Do we keep walking out our routines? Do we turn to supposed stress relievers like food, shopping, drinking, relationships, etc? an extra latte?

Admittedly, I used to turn to all these things in search of respite. [ I still turn to Pringles a few too many times and its not pretty!]

But through this journey and especially during the past few months, I have been clinging to the Father more. More for daily talks, discussions over next steps, crying out my concerns and giving praise for His faithfulness.

And guess what? I’ve noticed a shift.

A calmness when I’m spinning. A deeper stillness in the midst of the chaos…and I realize…it’s a change in my heart. I’m trusting more. I’ve trusted in the past, yes…but this is a deeper sense of ‘well, whatever crazy nutty thing happens, He is here & with me so its okay’.

No….. I may not like the outcome or the direction
No….. I most likely do NOT understand the turn of events
Yes….. I get frustrated and whiny

But a deeper calm is there…more than its been in the past.

He’s reaching for you too. A hand is being held out for steadying you on your walk…grab His hand and hold on…even in the unknown…especially then…He won’t leave you!

They cried out to God during the battle, and he answered their prayer because they trusted in him. 1 Chronicles 5:20

Those who know your name trust in you, for you, O Lord, do not abandon those who search for you. Psalm 9:10

My prayer : Thank you Father for being so faithful. For not getting sick of my complaining and turning away from me but instead holding me closer and letting me know you are here. Thank you for growing my faith and trust in you Lord.

Weary Warrior?!

Posted by angela on July 8, 2015
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A nation is distraught. Not confident in their place in the world. Everything has changed, nothing is what it used to be. Yes, change is something that always happens but the new culture and environment haven’t set a precedent before now. The nation isn’t sure how to move forward. Do we go back to the way it used to be? Do we keep moving forward? We’re not sure where we’re headed.

One thing is certain—to move forward in the right direction, there will be challenges and battles ahead. How do you encourage a weary nation to KEEP going, keep fighting the fight?
The obstacles seem overwhelming.

People are disgusted, weary, nervous and not confident of the future.

How do you stand when the nation seems unstable?

On top of the bigger picture is the daily struggle concerns. Safety, providing for the family, health. Is the focus to be on the bigger picture or on the immediate family needs? How can both be juggled?

Is this the first time people had to face such a shift in all they’ve known? Of course not. We cry out…HELP! We need direction!!

Take the paragraph above and instead of thinking of our nation’s current issues; it can also apply to the Israelites when in the wilderness. How can this encourage us?
In reviewing Exodus 17, the Israelites were in a battle. They’re living on the road, left all they knew and are moving forward toward a better future, although it wasn’t a clear picture. Then suddenly they’re attacked and must stand up to the enemy and fight. They just witnessed a miracle of water being provided for them but before they could relax, an attack happens.

Do they retreat? Stand and fight? We know the story, they stand and fight. I’m guessing they’re tired and the last thing they want is more drama.

Do they get the choice to ‘not get involved’ and forget about the battle? Nope. They must stand and fight.

As followers of Christ, we may feel battle weary while seeing how culture and the world is reacting to believers. We may want to drop out of sight, lay low and keep our heads down and hope for things to get better. Not happening.
Many may feel confused, sad, angry and not sure which direction to turn. Our spiritual leaders may feel the same way and need our support to keep going.
Just like Moses in this story, he supported them by standing with the staff raised. The battlers continued to rage against the Amalekites knowing others were standing in support.

Yes, weariness kicks in. How to encourage each other to continue to stand strong, continue our journey in confidence? We keep going- knowing who we march forward in representation of. We are warriors of the Most High…we may be weary warriors…but warriors nonetheless and we will be strengthened!

As with Moses, weariness steps in. His arms were exhausted and dropping the staff. Then Aaron & Hur held his arms up high so the battle would be won. What a great example for us!

We hold each other, continue in the support of the ‘good fight’ and keep going.
It may get ugly, hard and seem like we’ve lost the winning position.

Wouldn’t it be easier to NOT stand up, but appear to go along with the crowd and not take a stand for what is right?
It’d be easier, less opposition.
We must encourage each other AND our leaders to stand for biblical truths…despite others giving in and going with the tide.
•Yes, of course it’d easier in this culture.
•Yes, the number of supporters may lessen.

But in the LONG RUN, we will be victors. Hold each other up, supporting each other when one is too weary.
This was an encouragement to me as I was praying for direction and clarity. My heart was breaking seeing the cultural decline and the reaction of the majority of citizens….sadly not a reaction to stop and repent but to push forward in opposition to what many hold dear as a moral compass.
So where do you fall?

•Are you battle weary, in need of someone to hold your arms high while you stand in the midst of the battle?
•Are you supporting others who are exhausted and ready to drop?

Hold strong, support one another…we are in this together and the best news is we already know who wins!

 

 

But you, dear friends, must build each other up in your most holy faith, pray in the power of the Holy Spirit… Jude 1:20

So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing. 1 Thessalonians 5:11

Moses’ arms soon became so tired he could no longer hold them up. So Aaron and Hur found a stone for him to sit on. Then they stood on each side of Moses, holding up his hands. So his hands held steady until sunset. Exodus 17:12

“The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is? But I, the Lord, search all hearts and examine secret motives. I give all people their due rewards, according to what their actions deserve.” Jeremiah 17:9-10 NLT

Redirect…..On Purpose!

Posted by angela on June 25, 2015
Posted in Uncategorized  | 3 Comments

How can this matter? One more day of doing mundane chores that no one notices unless its not done. One more day of driving thru relentless traffic, going into the office to do work that doesn’t seem to matter in the big picture of life. Oh sure, it gets stuff done in the process of daily work but to matter on a bigger scale of life’s big picture? For eternity? Hardly…this isn’t work for the Kingdom, it’s a job. Back to the home front for family chores…people want to be fed, have clean clothes. She snaps about chores not being done. More bills arrive in the mail, the pets need a checkup, the kids need braces, and if one more person asks for a new pair of $20 socks, the latest celebrity endorsed pair of shoes, a new techno gadget, and rides to various events….ENOUGH.

She’s takes a deep breath, silently asks Jesus to give her a better attitude while stirring dinner on the stove. Of course, this brings the comment of ‘eeewwww I don’t want THAT for dinner tonight!”.  ‘Fine. Don’t eat’ she whispers to herself.

She takes a break, steps outside in the heat just for some space. How can she feel this way? She’s thankful. She’s blessed and she knows this. But the lack of gratitude. Lack of noticing what she goes through to provide, trying (not always successful) to keep a good attitude, keep everyone moving on the path of life…it’s just too much. Not just busy…but busy for what? It seems meaningless. How could one more load of dirty clothes matter in eternity? Oh Lord she whispers, I want to do something of meaning, of significance. …how is this doing anything important? I want something MORE.

Can you identify with this? Or know someone who can?

We may want to extend encouragement but somehow, feel empty ourselves and wonder…what is the answer? How do we keep moving forward when nothing feels like it matters.
The guilt sets in:
• Self pity is so ugly, forgive me!
• I’m blessed and happy to have what I do Father, thank you and forgive me for complaining!
We are sincere but the empty feeling seems to grip tighter somewhere deep inside.
Help Jesus…release this emptiness and fill me with you!

I know someone (okay, several people) who can relate to this situation. I asked a wise friend…someone who has walked through some pretty significant trauma…how do you keep going when it feels like we’re stuck? Her wise words are worth repeating:
Do it for the one
Focus on the one

Don’t focus on the empty, the feelings, the drudgery, the routines, the neglect, the lack of thankfulness. Focus on the one. Do what we do for the One. THE ONE.
It sounds so simple….so how do we lose our focus? Daily life. Daily struggle.

Sometimes we have to smack ourselves back into focus and MAKE our thoughts take a new pattern…focus on the One. Do it for the One.

Thank you wise friend! Thank you for redirecting this wandering mind that tends to trot off into places it doesn’t need to go.
Places that cause unrest and confusion.
Take control and purposely redirect…on the One!

Of course we’ll stumble. Of course our minds will wander. I sometimes get caught up in the ‘but I don’t feel like xxxxx’ and have to be very ON PURPOSE to make my thoughts redirect.

Almost like the GPS systems we used to have in our cars with the audible voice giving directions. We take a route it didn’t recommend and we’d hear ‘Rediecting’…
well…maybe I should take that to heart. You too?

Redirecting. Recalculating. A Do Over for our thoughts and where they drag us sometimes.
I know this doesn’t mean we’ll be skipping through the tulips in 3 easy steps.

But maybe, possibly…the redirection can crack through the stagnant empty place to one of hope…to see something we may not have recognized before. A new perspective through Him. A fresh thought that otherwise would never have developed. He is living water which never runs dry…so He CAN quench the empty place.

Help us Father keep our focus on you, Help us and guide us to redirect our wandering minds!

Hebrews 2:1
Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it

Isaiah 26:3
You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.

Romans 8:5-6
For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.

Philippians 4:8
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

purposefulfaith.com

Hashtags

Posted by angela on June 18, 2015
Posted in Uncategorized  | No Comments yet, please leave one

 Join me in welcoming guest writer Robb Morgan today!!

Current culture; polarized views; how do we respond?

Check out Robb’s poem & perspective…

 

#Hashtags
Baltimore; Common Core; Climate Change and Lebron James
Internet trolls; primary polls; Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan
To those who are listening…
Do good, bless and pray….Love your enemy

Oil Fracking; NSA hacking
Gay, Straight, and Presidential Debates
Red or Blue, black or white; Clinton or Cruz, through pain and fright
To those who are listening…
Do good, bless and pray…Love your enemy

He did this, she said that
Gossip, slander, terrorist attacks; another divorce and excessive force
PARCC tests and civil unrest; Koch Brothers and countless others
To those who are listening…
Do good, bless and pray…Love your enemy

Pros and cons, for and against
Same-sex marriage, military defense
Poverty, charity; unmanned drones
Glass houses and a handful of stones
The list goes on and on…. and on
Whether 1 percent or 99 don’t just tout the party line
From both pride or prejudice comes the cry for justice …”Crucify Him!”
The human race…. is starving for grace

To those who are listening…
Do good, bless and pray…. Love your enemy

 

We live in a world that is highly polarized and in communities (and even households) that are often deeply divided!  A world in which complex dynamics of systemic poverty, racial inequality, economic opportunity are often reduced to over-simplistic statements and insensitive tweets and social media posts and #hashtags.

Beyond that, we live in a world that is constantly asking us to choose sides, to take up arms, to pick which team we are on and which team we are against and to walk in lockstep with their political ideologies and platforms.  Our teams are often depicted by colors, demarcations that allow us to know who is with us and who we are against – red and blue, black and white, light and dark; Scarlet & Gray, Maize & Blue. [Ohio reference for those not in O H I O]

We are about to enter into a political season in which our state, and specifically our portion of the state will be overwhelmed by political rallies and campaign slogans.  A battleground state contested between opposing forces highlighting, in some cases, competing values between spouses and siblings OR  mortal enemies – right or left, liberal or conservative.  We live in a political battleground state – a swing area, in the swing county, of the swing state for the presidential election each year proven true since the 1960s. As Columbus [OH] has gone, so has the presidency. And many of us have perspectives, thoughtful ones, informed ones, backed by grounded research, family heritage and legacy –  convictions for which are prepared to  “die in a ditch.”

And then there is the “other” – sometimes a distant faceless foe, in other cases close to home – a sibling, a spouse, a schoolmate or roommate, the neighbor with yard signs – the other, our enemy.

As opposed to our perspectives, theirs are ill-informed

  • OR they are uneducated
  • they are deceived OR
  • worse – immoral; they are darkened, blind or deaf and dumb.  By action and deed – real and perceived, thought and ideology – the “other” is our enemy.

And the narratives, agendas and platforms of all sides are akin to a “kingdom”  governing principles – social, familial, relational, economic that dictate how we live and how we think the “other” ought to.

Kingdoms with fortified walls and strong defenses.

Kingdoms with spokesman and experts, attorneys and statistics, with leaders and legends.

As in days past, kingdoms look for allies, for kindred spirits and like minds.  Unlikely alliances can be formed- but the enemy of my enemy is indeed my friend.

And as modern day Kingdoms look at the landscape for allies and allegiances, we look for those who will validate our position and posture.  And many turn to Jesus – He likes us and therefore is like us.  We like what he likes and therefore he likes what we like.

We hate what he hates and therefore he hates what we hate.

“I wonder If he’ll join our team?”   

And Jesus’s response, “how about you join my Kingdom?”

 

Luke 6:27 “But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.29 If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. 30 Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back.31 Do to others as you would have them do to you.

Luke 6:32 “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. 35 But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

 

Robb Morgan is the Lead Pastor at Delaware City Vineyard in Delaware, OH.

Robb and his wife, Julie Morgan, comprise the Pastoral Team. It is their responsibility to seek and follow God’s leading and, in so doing, to set direction for the church. http://delawarecityvineyard.org

Run? No thanks!

Posted by angela on June 5, 2015
Posted in Uncategorized  | Tagged With: , , , | 2 Comments

So what does it mean…’run’? I think to keep going. Keep moving. Keep walking running on the path. The daily life. Keep the feet going, one in front of the other. Don’t stop, don’t give up. Even when you want to, when you feel dry and crusty and can’t give or do anymore. Keep running.

Why? Well, what is the alternative? To stop? Abandon ship? Run away? None of these options give what we want or need in the long run. [Well…run away if it’s to a vacation spot somewhere tropical…but then you have to come back sometime. Maybe:)].
We’ve all heard ‘run the race’ which signifies us continuing on our path of life. Running the race of life with hope and expectation. I believe this but also slam into walls sometimes. Walls that may be invisible to others but stop me dead in my tracks along the path.

Walls that surround me at times with things like exhaustion and whispers of ‘just stop, its not worth it. no one notices anyhow’.

I have to smash thru that wall. Then as you pick yourself up to continue running, SLAM if you haven’t run face first into another wall called ‘disillusionment’.

Yep, this one whispers to me and my continual declarations that it doesn’t exist…well, I’m not being truthful. I get disillusioned. We all do at times. We know to keep going, living life, doing the basics but sometimes…when we come up for air and plead with the Father for change or progress and see nothing on the horizon…well, DISILLUSIONMENT. Disappointment.

I start wondering did I miss something? Am I doing what God wants me to? If I am on the right path, why does it seem so barren, empty and unfruitful at times? I must have misunderstood my path and I’m doing everything wrong I tell myself. Anyone else fall into this cycle?
So I pray for strength to continue running, endurance and guidance that my feet are on the path He wants them on. Then the hard part…keep running and waiting. Yes, I know. Even when I’m not seeing anything happening. When others around me have enlightening stories of success, impacts, breakthroughs, etc.

I’m still here…running along my path and trying to keep my focus on Him and not my feelings of failure or inadequacy. I remind myself feelings are not always reality…to focus on what I know is truth and not let my feelings guide me.
Yes, I get super frustrated. I ask God if He’s sick of hearing me cry out to him for change, for guidance. I wrap myself in a bubble of doubt and despair. I have to kick myself to crawl out of that ugly place-where my thoughts make it worse than it is. Just RUN.

Sometimes that is the answer. We don’t understand why things are happening in our world the way they are; why breakthroughs don’t seem to materialize; when will things improve or change; when will others change or cooperate (insert whatever word applies); when will we see something good from the continual steps we take each day. Just RUN.
I don’t want to keep going since it doesn’t seem like anything is moving forward. It feels stagnate at times. So my option is to quit running? And do what? Sit and cry out that I’m quitting this race until God does what I want Him to? Hmm…I realize that doing this is me trying to manipulate God into doing what I want, when I want it. Yikes! So….Run.

Keep running. Until He tells me to stop. Because really…isn’t that what we’re doing?
We’re running the race set before us (since he orders our steps), continuing in faith that we’re doing the right things even when it doesn’t feel like it (as long as we’re obedient, he is faithful)and don’t quit or give up. I encourage you…keep running. Even when you don’t feel like it, even when it doesn’t look like the path will take you where you envision you should be going in the timeline you think you should….just Run.

He has your back and if you are truly trusting in Him, He won’t leave you to be in this race alone. Just Run. This is the hard part…to not give up when things don’t seem to look like we thought it would—to keep putting one foot in front of the other. We do this in faith-Just Run.

 

Put your hope in the Lord. Travel steadily along his path. Psalm 37:34

The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. Psalm 37:23

 Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path. Psalm 119:105

 

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Slow Burn

Posted by angela on April 28, 2015
Posted in Uncategorized  | 5 Comments

What does ‘slow burn’ mean to you?

I understand it to mean something is changing, slowly…usually so gradual that you don’t really notice it.
It’s happening all around us.
We see it in our culture—except its not really ‘slow’ anymore, its turbo speed!
Its in our schools, work, church and even home. Is it a bad thing? Depends on what the change is moving towards.
I’m seeing such a big trend lately in fellow believers falling into the pattern of this slow burn. You want to scream STOP!!! But no one hears.

You try to stand firm and but told you’re being inflexible. You begin to quietly retreat, keep your opinions and comments to yourself since others are headed in a different direction and reject your input.

You read devotions or commentaries that encourage you to be strong! You step out again with encouragement to others to hold fast to our faith and let the Bible be our guide. You’re told you ‘don’t get it’ and you are too restrictive.

Someone even suggests we should revise what we consider sin since some churches are doing so. WHAT?! When did we decide sin instead of God?

I’m stepping up and sending out a SOS call to you, my fellow traveler on this journey. We do need to stand tall. We call this being brave but now I’m wondering….is it bravery or just obedience? I see it as obedience but being obedient means we have to be brave enough to follow through.
Will there be others coming against us? Of course.

Will we stand alone at times? Definitely.

Will it feel uncomfortable, lonely or make us second guess our commitment to stand? Absolutely.

But I’m willing Father! If this means I have leave my comfort zone and risk being shoved to the side, so be it. Are you willing also?

I’m willing to step on the path despite the crazy looks, snarky comments or general rejection. I mean, if we’re not willing to risk rejection in His name, what’s the point of anything we do in His name?

We’ll only do what is comfortable and safe in His name but when it gets ugly or scary, we step back?
To me, that isn’t following Him, that is being a ‘fair weather’ follower. We’ll follow Him when it feels good and is easy. Otherwise, count us out?

I pray this isn’t the case! As followers, we need to be just that…followers of Him. Not part time, not good season only, not fake. True followers…at all costs. Father, help us be strong, obedient and even brave.

I pray for others to come along side us to walk this out. At times we may stand alone but other times we will be an army.
We may lose our grip on our faith or beliefs but we can be assured God doesn’t change and neither does the bible.
I don’t recall seeing an expiration date anywhere in the bible that claims once we hit ‘2015’ all the information from the bible expires. It doesn’t say anywhere ‘follow these guidelines and learn about God except when you don’t feel like it anymore and everyone says its okay to blow this off’. No, don’t think that is in the bible either.

The slow burn is deception at its core. It goes by many different names to dress it up and sometimes it works in making it not sound so bad. Some words I’ve heard that don’t sound as harsh as ‘selling out your faith’ include:
• Tolerance
• Flexible
• Understanding

We all sin of course. No question there. There is a difference in wallowing in it, celebrating it and promoting sin versus repentance. Yes…an old fashion word that many tell us is outdated and a concept no one wants to hear anymore: “repent”.

In today’s culture, the concept is almost unheard of. Repent of something? Stop doing something considered wrong by biblical standards? Why—that’s so old school! Is it? Or have we started to creep along with the world’s standards of what is ‘okay’? We must be careful. The enemy has a lot of practice at deception and we see it all around us.

I encourage you!
Keep on your guard for areas we have possibly stepped over the line of what we call ‘acceptable’ anymore. It may not be a big deal now but is it a step in the wrong direction? It could be a small thing that by itself isn’t a big deal…but is it a step that leads you away from the Father & His word? Does it support God’s kingdom or slowly, ever so slightly, shift the focus away?

Stay alert! Is this being brave? Of course. But you have the strongest ally with you and we already know who wins.

Keep me far from every wrong; help me, undeserving as I am, to obey your laws, for I have chosen to do right. Psalm 119:30

I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called—his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance. Ephesians 1:17

For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 (NIV)

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