Archive | July 2013

Somewhere, Someone & You


There is someone out there somewhere

Who is lonely and confused,

There is someone out there somewhere

Who is battered and abused,

There is someone out there somewhere

For whom life’s unbearable,

There is someone out there somewhere

Whose pain feels intolerable.

Could it be that this someone needs to see

    Jesus’ compassion alive in you?

 

There is someone out there somewhere

Walking around like nothing’s wrong,

There is someone out there somewhere

Covering tears with happy song,

There is someone out there somewhere

Locked in misery and despair,

There is someone out there somewhere

Who thinks their life beyond repair.

Could it be that this someone needs to see

    Jesus’ understanding in you?

 

There is someone out there somewhere

Whose days seem clothed in gray,

There is someone out there somewhere

Happy face a façade over deep decay,

There is someone out there somewhere

Fighting battles of disease,

There is someone out there somewhere

Unhappy in their seeming life of ease.

Could it be that this someone needs to read

    Jesus’ treasure inside of you?

 

There is someone out there somewhere

Begging for a loving hand,

There is someone out there somewhere

Toiling hard upon the land,

There is someone out there somewhere

That feels the world has made them invisible,

There is someone out there somewhere

Sobbing quietly for they are so miserable.

Could it be that this someone will see that

    Jesus’ sees them through you?

 

There is someone out there somewhere

Needing the touch of the Master’s hand,

There is someone out there somewhere

Ready for the chance to understand,

There is someone out there somewhere

Unknowingly ready for the news,

There is someone out there somewhere

Who is prepared to drop the ruse.

Could it be that this someone waits for

    Jesus’ Words through you?

 

Has God prepared a divine appointment?

Do you have a job to do?

Will you see the need in a stranger?

Calling out to the heart of you?

All around us are people hurting

Do you see with Heaven’s eyes?

Will you stop and really see them

The person behind the disguise?

Could it be today someone sees

Jesus in you?

 

Will you be the hands of the Shepherd?

With which the hungry are fed?

Will you be the one in whose life?

The Words of Scripture are clearly read?

Will your hands reach with compassion?

Can one see His nail prints in your hands?

Will you hold the lamp of light at midnight

A light home for His child lost in a foreign land?

Could it be today someone sees the light of

Jesus in you?

 

Are you willing and are you able

To set aside your agenda for this day

Will you pray for divine guidance?

Listen to what Our Father has to say?

There are walking wounded all around you

Will you bind their wounds with prayer?

Are your eyes open to see those around you

Whose hearts are mourning in despair?

Could it be today someone feels the love of

Jesus in you?

-Faye

 

 

 

 


 

Advertisements

Be Prayed Up

Nearby in our small town a middle-aged woman reaches for her cell phone. Outside her husband, Jeff, of nearly 30 years is tinkering around with the motor of their sons Camaro, a father-son rebuilding project that the son has little interest in beyond having a super drive when he finally gets his license. His father is already angry this morning and the shouts had flung themselves around the kitchen table until Jeff had slammed out of the house. Upstairs their nearly sixteen-year-old son is laughing with his friend as the sounds of a movie echo in the background. Her name is Katy* and she’s spent the last 30 years taking care of her men. Her husband, four sons and her, their family.

Katy’s eyes sweep over the portraits hanging on the wall and the framed photographs on the bookshelves and mantel. Visual memories of their lives together. Bryan, Mark and Ted’s high school graduation pictures, Mark and Ted’s college graduation, Bryan and Ted’s weddings, Colton, Little Bryan, and Cari her grandchildren. There are candid shots of Christmas’, birthdays and Easter egg hunts and those once in a lifetime moments you manage to capture on film. Jeff and she have weathered life storms pretty well on their own, Katy tells herself. Then immediately questions her thought, “Haven’t we?”

They had managed to raise three grown sons and the last one, Kevin, was fast approaching the day he too would fly from the nest. Katy knew deep down she hadn’t made it easy for either of her older sons to find a life on their own outside these walls. They were her boys and she didn’t want to see them make mistakes nor did Jeff. Despite their need to try and control their son’s lives they all managed to still stay intact as a family. Wearily Katy admitted the battles had taken more of her strength than she would acknowledge, Jeff already thought she was too “teary” as it was, it wouldn’t do for him to suddenly come and find her weeping or not busy. From the earliest days of their marriage Katy remembered the lessons of how Jeff expected marriage to go and she heeded them. Though his rigidness chaffed at her sometimes Katy didn’t often rock the boat, the price was too high and she never really won.

Her hand stills on the cell phone and then passes over it to pick up the hand towel she’d used to dry the kitchen counter, her eyes checking off all the tasks of readying the kitchen for the next meal prep so nothing was left undone before she took the towel to the laundry room and started a load of laundry. Despite her resolve to keep the questions and longings at bay Katy felt the tears pressing against her eyeballs begging for release. Her thoughts seemed to seep from the box she had crammed them. Into the turmoil of her heart a voice called to her. “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28 KJV)

How long had it been since she’d really prayed? Oh, sure when she saw prayer requests for children hospitalized for awful diseases and from accidents she asked God to intervene, to heal them. But she hadn’t prayed, really prayed for such a long time. Jeff said religion was a crutch of the weak and although she’d been raised in a strict Christian home she’d willingly left behind that part of her life to marry Jeff. Jeff had been the one to love her, he’d seen someone beautiful beneath the extra pounds she’d carried then and thanks to him she had not been heavyset the last 30 years. They had observed the holidays with joy and laughter and large family feasts attended by both sides of their families. Unbidden the memories of Jeff and his four brothers red-faced and drunk reeling through the house, shouting, fighting with one another until either the wives managed to calm them or they tore away vowing never to talk to either brother again causing family squabbles until a crisis brought them together again.

Now Katy knew Bryan and Ted were struggling to be different fathers to their own children and she wasn’t entirely sure what that meant. Bryan and Beth were “Jesus freaks” as Jeff often said when they came late to family gatherings after going to church for worship or activities. Ted was beside himself with fear that Cari would date or marry a man like he had been raised to be before he’d understood there was another way. Mark seemed the most likely to follow fully in his father’s footsteps although he didn’t get loud or talkative like his father and uncles did when they were intoxicated, he withdrew into himself. Anger seethed in him and radiated off of him like red waves of heat. She feared the secret she’d harbored for years that her husband often drank too much seemed to crystalize in their son.

Upstairs she heard the sounds of the new video game Jeff had allowed Keith to buy last night. One filled with violence and the sounds of its battles had disturbed her sleep long into the small hours of the morning, her protests weak and unheard.

Though Katy had done her best to steer the ships of her son’s lives she was suddenly shockingly aware of how little control she had ever really had. They were long passed the days when a skinned knee was reason to run and find Mommy to “fix the boo-boo”. In fact, Katy realized, they didn’t need her near as much as she’d like for them too and her conscience spoke to her of how the distance between her daughters-in-law and herself was her own fault. She had been, all too often, the dreaded mother-in-law portrayed in movies. Katy just wasn’t sure how she’d gotten here. Wasn’t sure where the last 30 plus years had gone.

Again came that voice, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Then without allowing herself to think anymore she hurried back to the kitchen and picked up her cell phone. Keeping her eyes focused on Jeff beneath the hood of Keith’s car she listened to the phone ringing at the number she’d called. When the voice came on the line Katy wasted no time in making her request. “Can I come to church with you this morning?”

The first text came from Beth to her mother at 10:02 vibrating her cell phone in her purse. When Beth’s mother read it she immediately added to the prayer requests being shared in their Sunday School class. Several other women joined Beth’s mother in texting or messaging the prayer groups they belonged too, unsure how many would see a prayer request at a time most would be in church but recognizing the need for prayer and feeling an urgency for intervention for this woman none of them but Beth’s mother even knew. By the time Katy and Beth slipped into the pew that morning and her eyes swept the choir loft for Bryan, asking where Little Bryan and Colton were over one hundred people were praying for her.

One of those people was me, I received my text at 10:41 and after texting and messaging my own prayer group I fought to think through the haze the medication I’d taken to ease the severe pain in my amputation. I knew I had to write this prayer if it was to be coherent. Thankfully my prayer journal was close as I’d prayed just before taking my medication. Around me on the bed were scattered my sketchpad, pencils, Bible and stacks of books, before the medication had claimed me for sleep I had been trying to work on a blog. This prayer request wasn’t a “when you pray” type request it was NOW request. Every second felt like ten minutes, and I unearthed my prayer journal but the pen wasn’t attached! So then I had to find another pen or that one and the delay seemed to take forever, although in reality only seven minutes had passed since I received my text to pray and the time I put pen to paper. But how many of those minutes had been wasted?

I was grateful for not only the opportunity to pray for this woman who was in need on this Sunday morning. I was disappointed it took me so long to respond to the request with actual prayer though. Bottom line is I should have been prepared to pray quicker. My prayer journal and Bible should have been within arm’s reach in their designated place.

Yes, there were lessons for me in Katy’s needs this morning. The lesson on preparation was clear. Clearly I need to focus on praying without writing them more often for sometimes the call to pray will come in places my prayer journal doesn’t accompany me…a trip to Wal-Mart or the doctor’s office for example.

In 2 Timothy 4:2 Paul is telling Timothy to, “Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction.” the advice to be prepared is surely applicable when it comes to prayer. We must”…be prepared in season and out of season…” for prayer.

I’ve often heard it said, “You must stay prayed up!” Meaning we have to maintain an ongoing relationship with God that includes (and I don’t know if you could even have a true relationship with anyone, much less God if you don’t) communication. For Christians this communication is prayer. Active, daily, sometimes minute by minute prayer. Paul wrote in his first letter to the Thessalonians in chapter 5 verses 16-18, “Be joyful always; pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

That requires an attitude of prayer, of being aware of and acknowledging the presence of the Holy Spirit ALL THE TIME. Every minute of every day and night because as Believers we are called to surrender all to Him. We must be prepared.

Yet in the pew of a local church congregation, as Katy stills her heart’s pounding as she sits beside her daughter-in-law and continues to fight the tears begging to be cried she is lifted up in the prayers of over a hundred people, some from those occupying the seats near her although they don’t know it’s her they are praying for. They are praying for her because they are prepared, nothing between themselves and God to prevent their prayers from being heard. And the Son Himself intercedes for Katy at the request of dozens and dozens of Believers.

There is the beginning of the opening of the secret chambers where Katy has kept her hurts, troubles and disappointments. There is the quiet knowledge that God is where her answers lay. But there is much to be overcome, both within her and around her. Katy will cry her tears in private but there among those gathered to worship and pray Katy offers a simple prayer of her own, the first for years that is a genuine cry of her lonely heart, “I am here.”

Praying,

-Faye

*Names changed to protect privacy. I am privileged to know the circumstances and events of this Sunday morning although accurately represented they have been altered to protect the identity of the actual people involved. But join with me in prayer for this woman and her family who have such a need for God in their lives. Join with me also to focus on being prepared to pray at all times and in all circumstances.

Letters to the Apostle Paul from 2013 #6


Faye, a female Christian in the year 2013 greet the Apostle Paul, thanking him for his time and begin to conclude this series of letters.

Honestly Apostle Paul some of our 21st century’s churches could use a letter from you to straighten us out. For the only person who knows where Paul, the man with his bias and religious background that was so grounded in the Law came through in his letters to the churches and Titus and Timothy is you. You and Jesus.

My questions, my search, my dilemma and my thoughts have been real soul searching issues, I have not taken this journey lightly in any way. For as I studied your letters and the books whose authors quoted sources as old or older than parts of the Scriptures themselves, I have a couple images on my mind that serve to steady my legs and sit my feet on firm ground. The Holy Spirit has shown me the error of my plan, the one flaw that has been presence in my whole life of dealing with this issue – I’ve left out Jesus!

There have been countless times I’ve pondered the question of women in ministry, the roles they could and should take on and the roles they shouldn’t I’ve witnessed the steadfastness of women whose service to their churches kept their church’s doors open because there were no men to step forward. I’ve witnessed congregations where the women and men are still worshipping together but divided by gender. Sunday morning, at least for the mainstream congregations, I’ve long believed should be a time the spiritual health of families is improved by the family attending church together, sitting together, learning together, and serving together.

The cultural conditions of the time you wrote your correspondence to churches have to be considered also. But, the main consideration, the One upon whom all our lives are threaded into the tapestry of mankind’s history with God is Jesus. And in light of that revelation I see…

…the woman caught in adultery that John tells us about in John 8:2-11 who is drug from her bed to have her sin publically exposed. I can see her hanging her head in shame, fearful of the judgment she knows is coming, feeling the anger of the men who have accused her of adultery, who have witnessed her sin and who have chosen to make her an example and not the man who was sinning with her. A man who probably cooperated with those who set up the plan to force Jesus to condemn her. This woman is guilty and she knows it. Despite being set up, for what are the chances that two or more witnesses would happen upon a man and woman committing adultery, she is guilty of what she has been accused of. Of course, so is the man who she was with and the same Law that condemns her condemns him but he is not being used as a pawn to trap Jesus.

And she waits, this guilty woman before the Savior of the world, the promised Messiah, the Son of God to be condemned to die by stoning. When Jesus is silent and the crowd hushing in His silence, she must have dared a look at Him through her tangled hair and her tear filled eyes and see Jesus bend down and write upon the earth. Her astonished ears hear Him tell the angry mob of people around her, rocks in hand to stone her, that the one there without sin in their lives can cast the first stone. And the longest moments of her life pass as she waits for the first blow, the first stone to hit its mark and instead her ears are greeted by the thuds of the stones falling to the ground and her accusers turning and walking away. Finally, again she looks up and this time meets Jesus’ eyes and answers His question, “Woman where are your accusers?” And with shaking voice she answers that they have gone. Then her astonishment overflows as Jesus tells her that He will not condemn her either and to go and leave her life of sin. She stood before Jesus, the Messiah, the One who will one day announce judgment on us all and was shown mercy, incredible mercy and fairness. In a time in society where women were not often shown kindness or consideration by men, Jesus had compassion, He saw the value of this woman to the kingdom of God. He frees her by reminding men that they do have sins in their lives, only no one challenges them, but their secrets are not secret to God and they lack the right to condemn this woman. A message that we all should do far more examinations of our own hearts, souls and motives than be concerned about someone else’s sin.

I see the Samaritan woman at the well, again an adulteress, who is the first person Jesus reveals Himself to as the promised Messiah and with whom Jesus interacts as no Jewish man would dare interact with a Samaritan woman or man! Jesus is at that well for a divine appointment to meet this one woman. And out of this meeting, out of His love, understanding and great mercy a woman is saved from the fires of hell and goes and tells the others who have long shunned her for her lifestyle who and what Jesus is and by her testimony others come and many are given the same Living Water the Samaritan woman is. Jesus shared the truth of Himself in a straight forward and complete way to another woman that the Law would condemn and John tells us in John 4:4-42.

I see Mary, as Luke describes in Luke 10:38-42, looking up at her sister Martha from her seat at Jesus’ feet when Martha points out that her sister is leaving her to do all the work. My eyes see the blush of embarrassment on Mary’s face as her sister points out her lack of womanly attention to the tasks of being a hostess to not only Jesus but the room filled with other men, the other disciples and her own brother Lazarus and probably others. I imagine she is thinking that Martha is spoiling this for her for now surely Jesus will side with Martha and send her to do the tasks of a hostess, to help Martha. Mary isn’t trying to shirk her responsibilities but how often will she have opportunity to sit and learn from the Messiah Himself? She only wants to be there listening and learning. Why any of them should be concerned about their hunger for physical food when their souls can feast on the spiritual banquet before them? They will eat! Will it matter, really, if all the manners and customs of the day are kept? Then I see the look of relief on her face as Jesus answers Martha by saying, “Martha, Martha, the Lord answered, you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”(v41-42)

The picture Luke gives us isn’t of Mary being indulged or pampered as a child or encouraging her as a woman being obsessed with Jesus romantically. In my mind I don’t see Jesus ignoring Mary as she sits there or merely tolerating her presence. Instead I note that He does not send her into the kitchen. I don’t see Him ignoring her questions nor do I see Him addressing her heart issues, though being who He was He surely knew what was in her heart as if by chance but I hear Him allowed her to ask her questions or even address her with a question of His own to help her reveal her own searching. Yet she sat in submission at His feet because of who He was, the Messiah! He is God! Everyone should have sat at His feet.

Finally I see Mary Magdalene and the other women coming to the tomb where Jesus body was supposed to be laying and discovering an empty tomb. I see Mary finding Jesus before her and Him telling her to go and tell His brothers He is alive. A woman is the first to learn of the greatest truth in mankind’s history! (John 20:1-18)

For today this is where I leave you Apostle Paul, you and I both, as well as my readers who are on this journey with me with the images of these women and their unique relationship with Jesus Christ.

 

Until the conclusion,

-Faye

Just Why

image
Artwork original to artist, DAVe, all rights reserved.

Do you ever fight the question,
Find you want to but don’t say
Public or private situation
Extraordinary events or every day
The question tips upon your tongue
Your teeth clamped prevent release
As if thinking leaves you so stung
Your heart can know no peace?
Do you hold to faith with trembling hands
To think it, ask it seem a doubt?
Or does asking seem a demand
An admission what you’re scared about?

I do.
I am.
I struggle
I bite.

Denying the desire helps who how?
Do I think Jesus does not know?
The question burns, it leaps, it bows
The aching only grows and grows?
Why do we think to ask this
Is disrespectful, wrong, a sin?
Does silence buy a pass, dismiss
To the truth stuffed deep within?
O Jesus if I am stumbling as if blind
It is true for in faith perhaps I am!
To deny reality is so, so unkind
Denying a blow felt like a slam.

So I ask.
I dare.
I want
To understand.

Why?

Not why me Lord not him, them or her?
Or why Father get me out of this!
Nor do You want me so disturbed
You strike me into nothingness?
But do I suffer for only pains sake?
Why, what glory will You receive
If every good Satan from me takes?
Do I require this to believe?
Why does the pain go so deep?
Why does it never seem to end?
Why does agony haunt even my sleep?
Why do these wounds never mend?

I ask.
In reverence.
Why?
Just why?

-Faye

Letters to the Apostle Paul from 2013 #5

image
Artwork remains property of artist, all rights reserved. Art by DAVe.

Faye, a Christian in the year 2013, send greetings to the Apostle Paul current resident with all those gone before in service to the Lord Jesus Christ and live with Him already in Heaven. So much I have to write to you!

“A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner. But women will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety.” I Timothy 2:11-15 (Emphasis mine.)

Eve was deceived by Satan. I wonder, as I have for many years, why man seems to skip over a few words in Genesis 3:6-7 that cannot be left out as insignificant. This scripture is as follows (emphasis mine): “When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were both naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.”

Adam was with Eve, either when she was deceived or shortly thereafter. The Scriptures don’t say she went looking for him, the Scripture says he “…was with her…” and she gave some to Adam and he ate it. The scripture then says “Then the eyes of both of them were opened,”

They sinned together. How can you then say Eve alone was the sinner? So was Adam. He knew what God had said as well as Eve. God punished them both. Eve by greatly increasing her pain during childbirth and by making Adam her ruler. Adam by cursing the ground so that producing crops to feed himself, Eve and their children would be back-breaking labor.

I find it interesting that you also say in 1 Timothy 2:15, “But women will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety.” My question to you is then, how long before woman is no longer cursed? And what is it that woman is saved from by childbearing? Christ Jesus is the Savior of all, all being all, man, woman, child of any color, race, religious background or physical appearance. All. Everyone.

The sweetest reality of grace given to us by our Abba Father and taught in the New Testament is that it is mercy undeserved. The most amazing thing about the forgiveness of God for our sins is that they STAY FORGIVEN. We don’t have to be forgiven for the same sin over and over (although we may have to be forgiven for other acts of the same sin over and over). Once God gives His forgiveness it is forgiven. We may bear the consequences of it, but we’re forgiven nonetheless.

Adam and Eve’s sins forever changed the relationship of humanity to God. We’ve bore the consequences of that sin for so many years it can’t be pinpointed exactly. And if you ask me, though no one does, women have paid not only in the means intended by God but our societies and cultures have used that punishment to continue to punish women for simply being female. God punished Eve and her punishment continues for every woman in history and beyond yet some seem to have determined in his authority of woman to continue to renew that punishment.


You yourself say in Galatians 3:26-29, “You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”

Interesting is it not, that it takes both a man and a woman for Abraham to have heirs and yet that is then used as an iron shackle to prevent women from speaking in church, and from doing other things? To one church you expound that in Christ Jesus we all find salvation and He sees us not as “…Jew or Greek, slave nor free, male nor female…” and to others you are saying women must learn in silence and ask questions only at home. You instruct that the order of authority in the home is God rules the man, man rules the woman and children.

And when the husband is wrong? When he hears with tainted ears what you don’t intend to be heard? What if because of the repetition of this theme of women being silent and learning in submission or not “qualifying” to be a pastor or a deacon because they cannot be the husband of one wife or rule their household that man believes you are telling them women are inferior? That women don’t need “education”? That women are good for childbearing and that is it? That submission is the duty of a woman and she is not to question her husband’s ruling?

Yes you also say that man’s ruler is Christ and that man should love his wife as Christ loves the church but that does not alter one bit your stance on women in leadership in church. And it has been misconstrued through the centuries. Women were denied the right too many things, much like the Law of the Israelites denied them. Women could not own property. Women were so ruled by their fathers, brothers and then their husbands that for one to strike her for not performing her duties was considered okay. Women were deemed inferior in all ways and were treated that way for centuries. Women won their freedom from inferiority eventually in most cultures today but there are still some that treat their women as possessions, not as human beings. Women have paid and continue to pay for the consequences of their own sins and the sins of the men in their lives and your words are used to justify that.

I also have to admit that women today, in America and other countries where the evolution of time has passed, women are treated with much more respect and equality than the ones who came before us.

At least it is illegal in this country for a man to abuse his wife and children. Women can be employed outside the home and be successful in many of the same jobs as men. We can vote. Some denominations of Christianity allow women to be led by God and fulfill the roles in churches God has set aside for them. Simply that I will be able in an hour to tap a few buttons and publish this into a virtual world for whoever to read as they will proves that women today are no longer the complete unequal’s of men in the majority of areas of life in America.

And yet, sadly, this has also brought upon us its own issues and difficulties. For women too are human and our pride and vanity can be appealed to and we are not incapable of making wrong decisions ourselves. Not incapable of sinning and that sins consequences, like Eve’s for us, to seep into generations to come.

Yet, I don’t think that’s what you meant to have happen nor is any of this your fault, only your bias and the culture in which you were alive offered a perspective that has been used to the advantage of those in power. How?

 

In 1 Corinthians 14:34 you wrote women should learn in submission as the Law says; yet in Galatians 3:23 you tell the Galatians, and now us, that we are no longer prisoners of the Law. You also say clearly that, “…I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent.” (I Timothy 2:11) Not God does not permit but you do not permit. Clearly you knew the Law jot and tittle. Fact is that you had been married and apparently were no more either by being widowed or divorce and you had a clear dislike for the female gender as a whole. Whether because you were emotionally wounded by the desertion of women in your life or by their deaths, you were unable to look at the female gender as you did the individuals females in your life. The question then becomes how we should take your instructions to apply in the 21st century?

Remaining steadfast in the storm,

-Faye


 

Letters to the Apostle Paul from 2013 #4

image

 

Faye, a Christian in the year 2013, send greetings to the Apostle Paul current resident with all those gone before in service to the Lord Jesus Christ and live with Him already in Heaven. So much I have to write to you!

Fearing I fail to explain as clearly as possible how diverse the church of the 21st century is, especially in the United States, let me try again. In your day there were religions devoted to every god imaginable, as you well know from your time in mission work among the City of Athens for example. We are even more diverse in our religious beliefs and ties now.


Before you would find temples and shrines built to gods of fertility, war, and other things besides the Jewish synagogues and the establishing groups of believers forming churches to worship the I Am. Churches such as you and your partners established in Philippi. Now our temples and churches are devoted to gods we name such as Allah and Buddha but also, our temples are arenas built to worship games, mankind’s strengths and skills. If a winner and losers can be determined then we’ve managed to turn it into a sporting event and those events, those sports and those who are skilled in competition in them are gods to us whether the majority agrees with me or not.

While many would argue with me that last statement saying that the sports and games are not “gods”, but in reality man’s devotion to them speaks for itself. For these events often take the place of the worship of God for people are sitting cheering in the stands instead of lifting their hands and voices in praise to God. And some develop for particular teams or sports an obsession. Lives are arranged around game dates and some rivalries are so intense that it is not unusual for someone to get hurt or worse over opinions and outcomes. Not everyone who enjoys these sporting events have their priorities misaligned, but let me just say that if the number of people who fill these stadiums filled our churches to learn how to follow God our world would be a much better place.

Aside from the on-going issue of false gods and humanity’s blindness to Satan’s tactics to keep them from the Truth, there is the issue of how the diverseness of our churches and the doctrines and theologies these church are formed upon are massive. They are not just differences they are complex and difficult to describe. To give you an overview of just what are considered the major religions of the 21st century would take weeks. Let me just say Athens had nothing on us if compared.

Some of this diverseness is due to how man has come to understand your letters to the churches and to your partners and young men you mentored in Christ. It seems sometimes you contradict yourself. Men who take your letters literally apply them to all churches and believers. Other men come to understand your letters to be written to specific churches and must be applied to current congregations with that in mind.

This now brings us to the major bone of contention I have to write to you about Apostle Paul. Women in ministry. As time and space allowance presses I will take up from this point in my next letter. Until then I remain a servant of the Lord Jesus Christ,

-Faye

R-E-G-A-R-D-L-E-S-S

image

Regardless will we cling to Our Lord
Even when the price is high?
Gone the freedoms we’ve always known
Arrested and convicted will we stand in one accord?
Realities of the life we’ve known
Destroyed comforts and illusions
Left to the filth we’ve ignored so long
Encased in the lies we’ve never outgrown.
Silenced or we face our death or be
Stopped by the fear of losing family.

Regardless of the cost to us
Regardless will we stand for what America left?

Will we serve Him no matter cost
Regardless of the pain?
Will we rise our hands to say ‘Here send me’
When the front lines say ‘All seems lost’?
Heed this voice of warning now
Share the message far and wide
Regardless now we must pay the price
To serve God not man, wealth or brow.
Jesus bore the bloody path for us
Paul knew the whips, stones and chains
Bonhoeffer died to stand for Christ
Will I be true to God, will I honor His trust?

Regardless.

Regardless!

-Faye

Funny?

image

It was shiny steel gray with tall wheels on which rested the extended club cab and full truck bed. Beneath the driver’s side mirror a “killed ” tally was placed. If you look one of the  symbols is of a person in a wheelchair, the symbol used for handicap accessibility.

My first thought was, “Not funny”! 

Then, “Which ‘good ‘ole boy thinks this is amusing”?

Soon we found out.  Up to the truck tottered two ELDERLY women (the last group symbolized on the tallies).  The driver needed the help of the other to get inside. I realized, as the truck pulled away, the head of the driver barely visible, that the tally marks might be real! The truck certainly gave the impression of being more powerful than either of the women should be driving!

Suddenly I am struck by the image of squirrels, bunnies, deer and other animals scurrying for cover as Hot Trucking Granny barrels down the twisty back country roads in our county. That seems funny, a little.

I imagine, then, myself seeing the front of that steel gray machine streaming towards me as I try frantically to get the motorized shopping cart I borrow when available at WalMart to shop, to go faster. It wasn’t quite as humorous anymore.

The image of bicyclists and the elderly being mangled by the oversize tires isn’t funny either. I try to find the humor. I just miss the mark.

Despite a friend, whom I love dearly, remarking the tally was tasteless, but funny; I realize I was right initially, it just isn’t funny. It is also tasteless.

Admittedly I am not one who believes hunting for food is wrong, or to protect penned animals a horrible thing. I believe God gave us some animals as a food source. But I also believe killing to kill is wrong.

Roadkill is a sad side-effect of mankind driving wildlife out of their natural habitats into ours. Bicyclists who endanger themselves and motorists are unwise, but they don’t deserve to die! To make light of the value of life is to me sinful.

The thoughts in our hearts as Believers are revealed by our reactions to ordinary daily events. Chuckling over tasteless kill tallies reveals what?

Not laughing,
-Faye

Message to Me

image

This is my public forum.  Here I express, confess, ignore, share, hide behind, hide in and expound upon a number of topics.  My goal is to write about what living the life of a Believer is like and about how I live that life even if my only contribution to my local church congregation is as a “pew warmer” these days.

Sometimes I write poetry, share artwork, tell stories, give voice to other people whose testimonies expire me or simply tell it like I see it.  Since it’s my blog, it’s my message, my testimony and my biggest obstacle is ME!

Yes, me!  I can “own” that truth. 

I don’t want to be labeled as a higher than thou Christian.  So I hesitate to say anything that I fear might come across as judgemental. 

I don’t want to be labeled an opponent to any political party, person or platform, so I don’t write about my political views. 

I don’t want to be labeled as pious.

I don’t want to be labeled as a heretic.

I don’t want to be labeled as a reformer.

I don’t want to be LABELED.

Yet, I label myself.  I box myself in.  I limit myself.  I second guess myself, my abilities, my motives, my knowledge, my thoughts; even my own voice.

Why?

Because I am me.

I am the first grader whose mother moved her to the last seat in the last row on her first day of school so the doctors daughter could sit where she wanted.  I am the fat kid so teased and taunted in school she hid in the bathroom to cry.  I am the child whose father ruled with anger and violence.  I am the girl so terribly shy and found friends so hard to make that her families 13 moves in 12 years devastated her every single time.  I am the girl no one wanted.  I am the girl whose innocence was stolen and who never told until the thief died and his threats could not be carried out.  I am the one who has waited in the wings of her own stage, left unpenned her own truth, and unsung her own life.

By these acts I have labeled myself.

For can a 49-year-old woman seriously look herself in the mirror and point at anyone other than herself for what her life is or isn’t?  No, no I don’t think so.

See, my mother placed me in that last row, last seat BUT I have remained there.  Jesus loved me enough to die for me AND I have chosen to think of myself as a person of little worth.

My father beat me, his beatings eventually led me to losing a leg and those events to losing my identity because I CHOSE to make what I did for a living who I was.  The Living Word of God tells me I am the Daughter of God, not a job.

For every act, thought, or deed that a person outside of me did to wipe out me God has done a hundred times more to keep here. I have just been to busy labeling my boxes to understand.

Yes, this is where I am. This is who I am, warts, scars, flaws and all. I do not write like those whose opinions matter too much to me. I do write like me though.

If God’s okay with that, then I am too.

Let it be!
-Faye