On Kingdom Living and Table Talk

Here we are, weeks into what seems like an endless sea of hard and heavy conversations on racism. Honestly, I feel as though I have had ALL the conversations with ALL the people. I have felt emotionally spent and very hopeful at the same time. I have had dear friends near and far reach out to check on me. They have prayed for me, listened to me, and empathized with me. They have searched their hearts and have asked genuine questions.

I’ve thought a lot about how Jesus lived and how we’re called to live as He did. At every turn, Jesus stood up for the poor, the outcast, the oppressed, and the marginalized. He did it with love, grace, and boldness. He used truth to challenge every status quo and to change the current narrative.

In John 4, Jesus has an encounter with the woman at the well. From start to finish, this encounter flies in the face of every social norm of the time. Samaritans were a mixed ethnic group and very well hated by Jewish culture. It was completely unheard of for a Jewish man, let alone a rabbi, to speak with a Samaritan. Jesus begins His journey by telling the disciples that He needed to go through Samaria. So, there in the middle of the day, He goes out of His way to talk with a Samaritan woman. He turns her world upside down by extending truth, grace, and love towards her. And then He uses that encounter to teach the disciples about whom He came to save and who is welcome in the kingdom of God.

In John 10:25-37, Jesus tells a parable about a man who was robbed and beaten and left for dead on the side of the road. Both a priest and a Levite saw the man yet avoided him by crossing the road. Then, a Samaritan saw the man and had compassion on him. He went over and above in caring for the wounded man. He bandaged him and paid for more care at a nearby inn. Jesus patiently taught the disciples about what it looks like to show mercy, even when it’s to our enemies.

 

 

To read the rest, join me over at (in)courage!

Returning to My First Love

Bored. Unmotivated. Apathetic. Tired. Fearful. Hopeless. Sound familiar?

I don’t where this season came from. But it is here in full effect. I was sending a message on Voxer with a friend recently, and I told her I was feeling blah these days. I am not super depressed. I’d say I have been feeling a low dose of it. I’m a bit anxious. There are no specific reasons or big life happenings going on. I have just been in a general state of anxiety. My mind races about all the things. And I have been taking naps every chance I can get. I wake up tired and go to sleep exhausted.

I’m not sure why. I’m in the process of trying to learn better rhythms in my life. I am not good at resting, really resting. I don’t mean doing nothing. I think I do that fairly well.

As I am growing in this practice, I realized this fall it’ll be twenty years since I met Christ — two whole decades. That blows me away! Where did all of that time go? Where is the girl who had one day realized she was a sinner in need of a Savior one minute and found herself a righteous daughter of God the next? What happened to all of that joy and excitement of meeting Jesus and falling in love with Him?

I think I misplaced her or maybe I lost her. Maybe she was taken. But something happened to her. I am not the same person I was then. None of us are. I have changed for the better, but in some ways I haven’t really changed.

I heard about this lead pastor in California who every year tells the first-year students of his church’s school of ministry that he’s excited they’ve sacrificed to be in school. Then he tells them to take him to coffee in twenty or thirty years and to tell him they are still burning and in love with Jesus.

Every time I hear that story, it hits me — every time.

I feel like I was burning easy for years on years. But over the last few years, that flame has dulled. I think it has been a number of reasons why — a little bit of apathy, along with the cares of this world, mixed with a little bit of life overwhelming me, and at times the enemy attacking me.

But I’m done! I want that white hot fire again. I want Him as my sole desire.

Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first. Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.
Revelation 2:4-5 (NIV)

 

 

To read the rest, join me over at Incourage!

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