Our children go door to door in costume. With bags in hand they willingly receive whatever is being offered by the strangers answering their knocks. It’s a powerful statement about our values as a society. A once popular song had a great line, “things that make you go hmm???”
“It’s all good” I’m thinking as I head back toward the picnic tables. They’re quickly filling with friends I know, and new faces yet to become friends. Young and old have come together. No invitations were ever sent out. Friends just brought food, soda and water to share with anyone who would come by. Someone asks for a sleeping bag because they only have a blanket with a hole, and the weather has turned cold. Within a short time this need is met.
I get to wander around chatting, but mentally I’m taken by a beautiful sound, and I wonder if anyone else is noticing? It’s the ease of conversation and laughter. This is what it should be. This is what love looks like. Sharing what we have with each other. Nothing forced or manipulated, just a flow of grace.
Act 2:44-46 Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need. So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart
The booklets lay open upon our desks. Faceless names with agendas to guide our nation, state and local governments into the next couple of years. We don’t understand every issue in depth. We remember that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone- for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.
One by one we fill in the oval circles with pencil lead. The privilege to vote in our society is oft times scoffed at by those who have little understanding of what a society looks like without such freedoms. With every choice we know our fate does not lie with these men and women, but with God alone.
Sunrise came over my city as I stood on the hill overlooking businesses and neighborhoods. The sky was a beautiful palette of majestic colors. Looking at the sky and then down again at the city I love so much, my heart began to ache. So many people were going about their business or still lay sleeping or even watching television.
Tears came as I prayed for these lost ones to know their hope was at hand.
“Not going back I’m moving ahead
I’m here to declare to you my past is over in You
All things are made new surrendered my life to Christ
I’m moving, moving forward
What a moment You have brought me to
Such a freedom I have found in You
You’re the Healer who makes all things new” *
It takes courage to move forward. To learn how to do things in a new way isn’t always comfortable. So many of us try to keep our footing in two worlds. We walk in the natural although we are spiritual beings. Where we often falter is living like “those of the world” while also desiring to seek the higher calling. We compromise a little here, a little there just so we won’t be “extremely different”.
What does it cost to be different? Why are we so afraid of different? Is the fear to not have others approve of us so extreme we’d compromise our eternal future? I absolutely want to help others in this world, but to be of any use to them, I first have to take my foot out of it. My compromising won’t help them, only hinder. It’s time to move forward.
* Lyrics Moving Forward by Israel Houghton
I was thinking about that childhood saying, “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me”. I am very sure this is a lie. I have had many words hurt me and cut me to the depths of my heart. Hearing them today, I can only thank my heavenly Father for changing my heart not to want to lash out in kind.
1Pe 3:9 Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.
“You look like… a perfect fit,
For a girl in need… of a tourniquet.
But can you save me?
Come on and save me…
If you could save me,
From the ranks of the freaks,
Who suspect they could never love anyone” *
“Medic, medic, we need a medic!” Another person lays bleeding out on the gurney where life is lived. Hope drains, trust erodes, faith wanes. “Where is that medic?”
We hear a still small voice within us to say, “Ask for help”
Inside ourselves we respond to say, “Hasn’t my life shown I need help? Don’t you get it? Do I really need to spell it out for anyone?”
Our prideful response blocks help and we continue to bleed out. “So this is how it happens huh? I lay here to fade away into nothingness. Dear God, I really am not ready, I don’t want to die! Help me”
The still small voice responds, “I only needed Your permission. Now let’s get started!”
* Lyrics Aimee Mann, Save Me
Sitting in the backseat I listened to my friends sharing their hearts. The good, the bad and even the ugly. Nothing inside of me was disturbed by the details. Life can be less than glamorous, even quite messy.
Closing my eyes, I think upon the truth in the moment I had shared. I had been invited closer; closer to these friends through their lives and experiences. Later as I followed them to a freeway exit I realized what a work was being done within me. I had no clue where I was as I watched their tail lights but I was in perfect peace. I trusted them, I trusted their hearts.
More is to come for the hour we share. Our Father draws us together for His purposes. He is pulling our hearts to beat together in unity. He will not be denied. I refuse to resist. I must go where He leads even in the darkest of nights.
A placebo is often used in medical testing groups. It’s the “phony” medication given to those who think they are getting the real deal. Made me think about our spiritual healing. Religion is a placebo, but relationship is the real deal.
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Mat 23:27-28 “What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs—beautiful on the outside but filled on the inside with dead people’s bones and all sorts of impurity. Outwardly you look like righteous people, but inwardly your hearts are filled with hypocrisy and lawlessness.”
Father, will You tuck me in
Father, will You sing me a song
Father, will You make it all right
Father, will You please hold me tight
And when it grows dark
Will You turn on the light
Will You make it alright
Father, the world says I’m through
Father, I’m counting on You
To be the one who loves me through all