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Sunday, January 17, 2010

What Can We DO?

I know so many, like myself are being so deeply affected by the recent events in Haiti. We watch helplessly as so many lives are lost, children losing their parents, parents mourning the loss of children, such fear and uncertainty on the faces of these precious people, Gods children.
Yesterday I felt almost paralyzed, the enormity of the situation felt so overwhelming.
I ,like many others I chatted with on FB wanted to jump on a plane and head over to Haiti and DO something.
This morning I have a different perspective, sometimes it takes a tragedy like this to help me re evaluate those things that are most important. I found myself meditating on Mark 12:29 (The Message)

29-31Jesus said, "The first in importance is, 'Listen, Israel: The Lord your God is one; so love the Lord God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence and energy.' And here is the second: 'Love others as well as you love yourself.' There is no other commandment that ranks with these."
Hmm love our neighbors as ourselves.
What does love look like to you? Who is your neighbor?

In walking with my Father throughout the day, I must keep this dialogue steadily flowing, lest I miss an opportunity.
How do we know if we are operating out of personal conviction, following the Holy Spirit or just trying to fill a need out of religious performance? I mean we certainly cant meet every need out there. But we all have something to offer.

I have also come to a place of realization that everything that comes into our minds is filtered through our own past experiences/situations/hurts from the time we were first knit together in our mothers wombs.
Our understanding of a particular scripture may be very different from others understanding, and we must be so careful not to pass judgment on those whose views are different than ours.
We must extend grace to those who have hurt us by making us feel condemned when we choose not to operate out of religious performance.
I love this passage out of the book "Restoring the Foundations" By Chester and Betsy Kylstra

"Deep hurts cause upheavals and distortions of our God-given identity. We may carry a false guilt about our very existence, a constant need to prove our worth, and a ruptured sense of our belonging. Our real identity becomes unrecognizable because it is camouflaged by various defense mechanisms that we use either to express our hurt or to protect ourselves from further hurt. These behaviors are disguises, like masks, covering the real identity. Do we recognize the hurt underneath these cover-ups, these disguises?"
(Hurt people, hurt people?) My emphasis.

"We work ourselves into exhaustion, ignoring family and compromising other values in order to win respect or love. Why? Because we carry the deep hurt of never feeling accepted, and of having to earn love and respect. We struggle to be perfect and avoid criticism while knowing deep down inside we can never be perfect enough, we are doomed to fail."

So to me personally love looks like pressing in closer to Jesus, so close in fact that we are walking in a place of oneness,breathing in sync with Him, a place of continual dialogue. The more I talk with Him, the more I recognize His voice. I trust Him, and trust that He will lead me daily to where I need to be and who I need to pour myself out to on a deeper level . Knowing I am secure in who I am in Christ, releases me from falling prey to false guilt and condemnation, as well as performance orientation.

If God is clearly telling you to go to Haiti, Go! If He is not, ask Him what your role in all this is.
One thing we all can do is intercede on behalf of His children.

Burying our Idols

Just as I have every year for at least the past 20 years, I made a new years resolution to read through the entire bible in a year. Back in the day we didn't have all the cool plans you can now find online, I simply opened my bible and started reading, until I got somewhere around Leviticus. Usually about this time, maybe mid Feb, I gave up completely on the plan.

I am in the book of Genesis now (again), and as I was reading through Genesis 35 something jumped out at me. Isn't it cool how you can read the same scripture for over 20 years and have new revelation with each passing year?

God had been instructing Jacob to go back to Bethel. Jacob instructed his people to bury their idols under an oak tree, and put clean clothes on.
In preceding chapters we hear of Jacob wrestling with God, remaining under the rule of His Father in Law, seemingly receiving many natural blessings,a very rich in the worlds eyes, yet it was not the plan God had for him, it was a place of deception, broken promises, and lies.

4 -5 They turned over to Jacob all the alien gods they'd been holding on to, along with their lucky-charm earrings. Jacob buried them under the oak tree in Shechem. Then they set out. A paralyzing fear descended on all the surrounding villages so that they were unable to pursue the sons of Jacob.

It wasn't until He came to that place or the surrendering of his will, burying those idols and putting on a fresh new garment that God moved him into that place of fulfilling his destiny, giving him a new name Israel.

I am The Strong God.
Have children! Flourish!
A nation—a whole company of nations!—
will come from you.
Kings will come from your loins;
the land I gave Abraham and Isaac
I now give to you,
and pass it on to your descendants.

Are we willing to lay down our own idols? Bury them? (sometimes hourly) We know what they are. Those things that take up space in our hearts intended for our Father. Are we willing to put on a clean garment? Start fresh and new for Gods perfect plan for our lives?

Or do we choose to hold tight to our idols, continue to wear our dirty garments and walk in a place that satisfies our flesh, a place of familiarity.

16 -17 They left Bethel. They were still quite a ways from Ephrath when Rachel went into labor—hard, hard labor. When her labor pains were at their worst, the midwife said to her, "Don't be afraid—you have another boy."

Wow, have you felt the labor pains lately? I sure have! But out of the pain was birthed a son, Benjamin ,meaning (pain of good fortune) God is faithful! He is birthing something new in this hour, there will be sacrifices we must make along the way (Rachael died while giving birth) But on the other side comes the blessing! So everybody breath....and PUSH (closer to HIM) when those labor pains start back up again.
Blessings <3