Hi, December!

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Father God, thank You Lord for this new month. Lord, help us finish 2019 well. Lord, help us look over the past year and even in the midst of our hurt, pain, losses, frustrations, anger, misunderstandings, love, joy, peace, successes may we praise You. Lord, You have not called us to a life of ease, excess and comfort but to a life of faith, hope and love. Lord, help us to love and serve You and Your people well. Lord, prepare this reader for what You have in store for them this month and prepare this month for them! Thank You Lord for this reader!

Lord God, prepare us for Your Advent. Prepare our hearts for Christmas. Help us to do good to those who find the holidays to be a time of pain and loneliness. Lord, give us courage to invite someone who is alone to share Christmas with us. Help us to not buy into the hustle and busyness that this world loves to bombard us with. Thank You Lord for all that You have done, are doing, and will do. Thank You Jesus for understanding our humanity. Thank You Jesus that You came down from Heaven to be born of a Virgin and to dwell among sinful people to reconcile us to God. Triune God, may we spend more time meditating on what it means for You to dwell among us and thinking about You, instead of thinking about ourselves. Lord, prepare our hearts, mind and character for all that You have for us. Help us to have a greater appreciation that at that birth of Christ, this was the first time that people could truly see God and live. Lord, may we worship You with authentic love, joy, reverence and awe. In Jesus’s Name I pray, Amen.

Slacktivism

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For the last four weeks my church has been doing a sermon series called “Slacktivism.” Truth be told, I thought this was a made up term. For those who are like me and never heard this before, the word “slacktivism” is defined as “The act of supporting a cause or desiring to see change but putting forth minimal effort, commitment or risk.” Slacktivism is also known as “armchair activism” and “clicktivism.”

The older I get the more I become a “slacktivist.” I am becoming overwhelmed by all the disorder, chaos and needs in this world. For me, when I hear about injustice, I become angry (not always righteous anger, I confess) and am compelled to do something. However, it does not take my (righteous) anger long to turn into despair because I do not know where to start. I do not know where to begin to “fix” the problem. So instead of doing something, I do nothing. I complain about the injustice, I am emotionally stirred to do something yet, my hand does not respond.

The Apostle Paul tells us to “not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up (Gal 6:9 ESV). We will reap a harvest of blessing if we do not give up doing good. This blessing is that we will grow closer to God. We will grow in character and favor as we live as God intends.

Three times Paul admonishes Titus to remind his congregants to “be ready for every good work”  (3:1,8,14). I do not know what slacktivism looks like in your life. All I know is that we are called to devote ourselves to good works (3:8) and to help those in need and to be productive and fruitful rather than unproductive (3:14).

I am humbled and challenged to be a genuine doer of the Word and not just a hearer or talker. It is easy for us to like, reblog or forward outrage or emotional stories; it is much harder when we actually step up and get involved.

May we fight the devil’s urge to keep us as slacktivists rather than activists!

Lord God, You know the needs around are great and growing everyday. Lord, regardless of what popular teaching states, this world is NOT getting better. You have not designed this world to be complete this side of heaven. Lord, give us strength to do good. Help us Lord to look around and see the need in our local communities. Help us look at where we can do good locally just as much as globally. Lord God, I do not know where this precious reader lives; however, I ask that You unite all Your people with a heart for doing good. Lord God, so often we want to do good, we just do not know how. Lord, strengthen and encourage those who are on the frontlines fighting sex trafficking, advocating for the falsely accused and wrongly imprisoned. Lord God, help all of us to care for widows and orphans in their distress. Lord, may each believer work to the level that You have given them. Lord, may we not use our fears and anxieties to justify our complacency. Thank You Lord for this precious reader! In Jesus’s Name I pray, Amen.

 

 

 

Greetings, November!

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Father God, thank You Lord for another new month. Thank You Lord for all the ways You worked in us and through us in October. Lord God, I ask that You will help us to have an even greater desire to live holy for You this month. Lord, this life is not easy! Culture is continuously bombarding us with distractions to keep us from holy living. Lord,  continue to transform our minds and hearts so that we may seek You first and best.

Lord God, as the days get shorter here in the North may we use this time to reflect and meditate on how Your light penetrates darkness. Lord, make us sensitive this month to our Brothers and Sisters who are being persecuted for their faith. Lord God, may those of us who are in positions to worship freely and who have financial resources, may we steward these gifts well. To whom much is given, much is required.

Lord God, good theology always moves from the head to heart to hand. Lord God, may we be hearers of the Word, who value the Word, and act accordingly to do Your Word. Lord, may we strive to obey You more this month than last.

Lord, for those who live in the United States, November is a time to celebrate Veterans Day and Thanksgiving. Regardless of one’s political party, may we never forget the men, women and their families who have given and sacrificed so much. Lord God, only the Good News of Jesus Christ will rid this world of its hatred. Lord, work on the hearts of both believers and unbelievers. Stir believers to live authentic lives and stir unbelievers for their need for You. Lord God, may we value people because You value You people. Lord, You are still in the people using business and may we be used by You to be a light in darkness, to comfort, heal and to love. Lord, help us when we need to point out sin and error to do so with grace and mercy. Lord God, I ask that You make us sensitive to the people around us who are already fretting the upcoming holidays, may we be warm, caring and inviting to them.

Lord God, prepare us for this month and this month for us. Lord God, I ask that for anyone who is like me who looks back on vain regrets and past mistakes to free themselves and let it go. As Warren Wiersbe says, “let the past be a rudder to spur you forward and not an anchor weighing you down.” Thank You Holy Trinity that You are in this place. Thank You for being with this precious reader; right here, right now. Thank You Lord for this reader and their time. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.

 

Psalm 100

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1 Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth!
2 Serve the LORD with gladness!
Come into his presence with singing!

3 Know that the LORD, he is God!
It is he who made us, and we are his; 
we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
and his courts with praise!
Give thanks to him; bless his name!

5 For the LORD is good;
his steadfast love endures forever,
and his faithfulness to all generations.

(Psalm 100 ESV, emphasis mine)

I just read Psalm 100 in my God time and I am grieved by the lack of number definition in English. Like I said yesterday in “I Hate You”, in every other language, number is clearly defined. I am growing in my sensitivity of the singular and plural imperatives (commands) in the Psalms.

In Psalm 100 all the words that I have bolded are second person plural imperatives. This means: “y’all make a joyful noise…y’all serve…y’all come…y’all know…y’all enter…y’all give thanks…y’all bless His Name!”

This is a communal Psalm. It is not an individual Psalm of praise to our Most High God. It is the cry of my heart that we will all read this Psalm and make a joyful noise to the Lord together! I know that I repeatedly tell my mom and Nathan they cannot sing; however, I KNOW the Lord wants to hear them and I KNOW that the Lord wants to hear y’all as well. So, let us lift our voices, let us serve Him, coming into His presence. I am so thankful that we are NOT alone on this journey! I am so thankful that God has given us Himself and each other! Love and blessings to you dear reader, thank you for your time!

Father, thank You for the gift of Yourself. Thank You that we are able to enter into Your presence individually and corporately. Thank You Jesus that You are our great High Priest and that it is in Your Name that we are able to come before the Father in the power of the Spirit. Triune God, make us sensitive to what is “you” and what is “you all”! Make us sensitive that when we fish for people, we are to cast a LARGE net, not just fish for person. Lord, You have wired us for community and You have wired us to long for You personally. Help us to be a people whose vertical relationship with You overflows in the way we horizontally love and live with others.  Thank You Lord that your steadfast love (hesed) endures forever! In Jesus’s Name I pray, Amen.

 

 

I Hate “You”!

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I seriously HATE the English word “you” and all its ambiguity! It is hard enough figuring out the context of someone saying, “Hey you!” is it to an individual or to the group? For me, this context is even harder to discern in writing. I do not believe we were created to think predominantly in terms of a singular “you.”

Every language that I am aware of (other than English) has a plural you. I am not suggesting we should return to using, “thee,” “thou,” “thine,” etc; however, if this were not an issue we would not have regions of the USA that say, “y’all,” “all y’all,”  “yous guys,” “yuns,” “you all” etc.

Eight years ago when I was serious about learning Spanish, I decided the best way to learn was to read the Bible. I was stunned when I read Jeremiah 29: 11-13 and that “I know the plans I have for you”  was ustedes which is a plural “you.” While God certainly knows the plans He has for us as individuals, this passage’s original audience, intent and meaning was to Israel, the plural remnant. [Pastors who insist on preaching this out of context, could at the very least focus on the plural rather than the individual.] This was a defining moment for me and the Lord started me on a quest to learn about the Bible in its original form.

This is both an OT and NT frustration for me. A few months ago I was reading Philippians 1 and I was amazed by how many times the  “you” and “your” Paul was addressing was plural (vv. 3-10; 19-30). Most who read this blog are not wired like this (myself included). We think of “you” first as being singular/individual rather than plural.

The Psalms are rife with plurals. One of my MOST favorite Psalms and verses that I quote when I am excited is “Oh taste and see that the Lord is good” (Ps 34:8). Both taste and see are plural imperatives meaning that all of David’s audience is commanded to taste and see the Lord’s goodness!  In verses 13-14 it switches, “Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceit. Turn away from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it” are singular (ESV, emphasis mine). David is now addressing the individual.

We truly need the Holy Spirit’s wisdom and discernment when it comes to reading the Bible! Whenever you read the word “you” I would love if you would take a moment to find out if the “you” is plural or singular. Then, I would love for you to dig in further and learn if the “you” is addressing Israel, an individual and/or the church. This small three letter word has serious theological implications and consequences. I have suggested that English Bible translators make a footnote when a “you” is plural. At the least it would inform the reader how the “you” was meant in the original text.

The singular and plural is a tension that God has created us to live with. The sooner we realize this, the better off we will be as Christians both individually and corporately!

I look forward to reading any and all comments and feedback from Y’ALL!

Father God, You care about individuals and You care about Your Bride as a whole. Lord, help those who are in a more individual culture to read the Bible with community in mind. For those in a pluralistic culture, help them read the Bible knowing that You do ascribe worth to individuals and that You have created each person uniquely with their own set of gift(s) to glorify You and build up Your Body. Lord, help us to be a people who is truly known for our love. Lord, help us to discern “you.” Help us to know what is for Israel, for individuals and for the church. Lord, thank You for this individual reader and thank You for this blogging community as a whole. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.

 

Greetings, October!

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Father God, thank You for the dawning of a new month. Lord, may we draw closer to You in this new month. Lord, I pray for this reader to dig deeper into Your Word. Lord, may we be a people who do not collect facts and information about You, but people a people who truly live for You, putting Your Word into practice. Lord God, this life is not easy. Fill this reader with strength, courage and a desire to endure and persevere.

Lord, teach those of us who struggle with time management to seek Your will and way, rather than doing things on our own. Lord, for those of us who need to learn to have healthy boundaries, may we start employing them today. Lord, may we be a people who seek Your peace in all areas of life: spiritual, mental, physical, emotional, financial.

Lord, for those who are like myself and prone to complain, may we look around and see all that we have to be thankful for. Lord, help us to be a people who seek the positive and not the negative. Help us, help me to be less critical of those who are close to me. Lord, help me to extend grace and mercy, as You have extended grace and mercy to me.

Lord, thank You for the gift of this reader. Thank You for the time they spend reading this blog. There are SO many things begging for our attention today, may Your Person, Word, and Character be what we chase and seek most, not just in this new month, but always. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.

Wasted Time

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For the past 10 days I have pondered how I would write this entry; I have decided that I am just going to say it. On Friday September 20, 2019, I am flying back to the Keystone State permanently. While I will be glad to return to my home state of Pennsylvania, I am deeply grieved to leave my mom here in Florida.

For the past three months I have stolen and wasted precious quality time with my mom. Instead of enjoying the time we had together, I have been sad, angry and bitter. I have been mean and inconsolable. I stole and wasted time by giving into negative emotions rather than being thankful. I have hurt my mom beyond measure and that is a pain I pray lessens with time.

If there is one thing in life that I hate it is to hurt and disappoint people, especially my mom. I can be a really angry and nasty person (seriously folks, I can be a raging lunatic at times) and when I come to my senses and see how much I hurt my mom, it breaks my heart. If I were ever asked to cry on command, all I would have to do is think of my mom’s face when I hurt her and that would humble me.

I keep telling myself we never know how much time we will have with our loved ones in this life. I am praying that the Lord will redeem the time that I have left with my mom. I am praying that He will heal our hearts. I am sad that my mom is sad that Nathan and I are leaving. I know that she will be fine. She has an excellent group of friends who love her and she loves them. Praise God, my mom is in good health. I assure y’all if something were to change, I would be on the first plane out of Harrisburg, PA to get to my mom.

I have no idea who or if anyone will read this blog post, but if you are reading, tell the people you care about that you love them. Enjoy the time that you have with your loved ones. Be present and be patient. I fail all of these daily. Thankfully, each day is a new opportunity to do better than the day before.

Mom, if you are reading this, I LOVE YOU! I am beyond sorry for the time I wasted with you. I am sorry for the hurt that I have caused you and the emotions that I stole from you. I am sorry this experience did not go the way we envisioned and planned. I am so sorry for all the times that I made you feel like you were not enough. Mom, we are as close as we are because we are a relationship tried by fire. I look forward to the day when we can look back on this and say together, that God was with us, even here. Again, Mom, I love you and I am sorry.

Father God, thank You for this reader. Lord, may this reader not delay in spending quality time with those they love. May we not lose sight of what matters. Thank You Father for new mercies and new opportunities. Help us to make wise use of the time that You have given to us. In Jesus’s Name I pray, Amen.