Being Neighborly

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“He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him.” Luke 10:34 NIV 

In the Bible a donkey could be symbolic of knowledge, humility, poverty, courage and peace. It could also symbolize a sign of richness befitting the House of David. So in that sense, it could also represent commerce and wealth.

As we look at the care the Samaritan provided to the man beaten and left on the side of the road, we see all of the above.  We see the Samaritan use every resource he had at his disposal to provide aide: he used his oil, wine and bandages, he delayed his trip, he paid for ongoing care and lodging plus any additional expenses that were incurred.  All for the care of a stranger. Remember, the Samaritan was traveling so his resources were limited based on the journey he had planned.  In spite of that, he withheld nothing.

The other two men in the parable, the priest and the Levite (who were considered holy men), did not miss a step and walked on by. I’m sure they were busy with their own plans and agendas.  They simply stayed on course as planned.  Maybe they were even on holy business trips!

The parable following the “Good Samaritan” in the same chapter in Luke is about Mary and Martha.  The story tells of how Mary chose to sit at Jesus’ feet while Martha toiled away.

When I looked at these two parables together I saw something I hadn’t seen before.   The priest and the Levite were no different than Martha.  The similarities were all wrapped around being so busy and task oriented that they missed the opportunity right in front of them.

How often have I been so busy doing something that I missed the broken person in my path that I needed to minister to?  Did I stop what I was doing to attend to the opportunity right in front of my face? Or did I find what I was doing more important?

I’m sure the Samaritan had plans at the other end of his journey that had to be changed because of the delay and care he provided to the man on the side of the road.  For him, compassion prevailed. Compassion without any strings attached.  It was not about score-keeping.  It was not for acknowledgement.  It was all about caring for another human being in need. A stranger.

Sometimes it is through these delays and detours in our journey  that God does a work in our own heart.  When we are able to set our interests aside, it opens up room to have the love of God flow through us in a new way.

Lord, give me the wisdom to see opportunities to be Your hands and feet when people are in need.  Place compassion in my heart to stop what I am doing for the sake of others when needed.  Help me to love like You do.

Luke 10:29-37, 38-42; 1 Samuel 10:9-14, Matthew 6:33

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Seasons

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“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:” Ecclesiastes 3:1 NIV

Have you ever sensed a change of seasons? I do not mean like moving from Summer to Fall. I mean a change of season in your life.  When life seasons happen to coincide with nature’s seasons, it seems to have a magnifying effect. It intensifies the savoring of the change.  One Fall I was experiencing a change of life season. The leaves were dropping. The temperatures were dipping. The produce was changing. More pumpkins, squash and gourds. It was becoming darker earlier and later. I even realized that every Fall before this one there had been a sense of grieving for me. I would grieve the loss of Summer. Its long days.  The warmth of the sun on my skin. The ease of throwing on tennis shoes and taking a long walk.  Open windows with night sounds and a gentle breeze.  That was all going away.

I felt the change of season coming for myself.  I was nervous and excited at the same time. I had a weird combination of anticipation, dread, and excitement.  It felt like it was going to be a time of transformation. Growth.  Was there going to be pain with growth? How long would it hurt?  Was I ready?

After pondering all those feelings, I made a choice. A choice to be thankful. A choice to embrace the change even though I had no idea what it was. The growth, the transformation; even if it hurt. I landed in a place of gratitude. I sensed a new alertness was going to be required.  It was going to be a time of listening carefully to God’s voice and following it. A time to keep up and pay attention to His requests. A time to be still when called for. A time to take stock of all He had done, like Moses and Joshua.  A time to give thanks and embrace what is to come without knowing.

As ominous as this all sounds, you’ll laugh.  I couldn’t help but go to a StarTrek reference in my mind! “To boldly go where no man has gone before.” Thankfully, that’s not true!  The Bible is full of stories of many people who boldly went where God wanted them to go.  Some were more graceful than others.  Some arrived quickly, while others ended up taking the long way. But they ended up where God intended: Moses, Abraham, Noah, Jonah, Jacob, Joseph, David, Elijah, Gideon, Esther, Ruth, Rahab, the twelve disciples, Zaccheus, Jesus.   We have a rich history to refer to whenever it gets tough.  And we have each other to encourage and support.  Not to go through change on behalf of each other; that is simply God’s work in each one of us.  We each have our own path.  But we can pray.  We can encourage. We can give and receive grace and mercy to one another. We can love. It makes the season of change and growth much sweeter. More tender. Like Jesus.

Father God, as I go through change I pray I do not lose sight of being tender and gentle with others.  While I may need it, others do too. I pray that You will help me give grace and mercy to others even when I feel like I need it myself.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-15

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Times Of War


“ Your wives, your children and your livestock may stay in the land that Moses gave you east of the Jordan, but all your fighting men, ready for battle, must cross over ahead of your fellow Israelites. You are to help them” Joshua 1:14 NIV 

There are times when we are called to care for others. It means we have to delay our own gratification or rest.  We have to rise up and support others who are in the midst of a fight.  Maybe it is a fight similar to one we have already been through.  Maybe it is something unfamiliar.  Maybe it is a medical crisis. Maybe it is a crisis of faith.  They are all battles we face in this world.

I believe that intercessors are mighty warriors.  Prayer warriors that are critical to defeat any obstacle and win any battle.  Prayer is not some wishy washy thing.  It’s powerful.  It calls in the big guns for the fight. Jehovah Sabaoth, The Lord of Hosts and Lord of Armies, responds to our cry for help.  He hears every prayer we lift up to Him and He is faithful.

Father God, Jehovah El, Our Strong and Mighty God! Let us call on you readily when the fight begins.  Let us not go into battle without You!

Joshua 1:16, 22:1-2, 5; Psalm 33:4, 57:10

Show Them

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“Don’t let anyone belittle you because you are young. Instead, show the faithful, young and old, an example of how to live: set the standard for how to talk, act, love, and be faithful and pure.“ 1 Timothy 4:12 The Voice

Sometimes I am reminded that others are watching me. As God is stretching me and I am being nudged into action by the Holy Spirit, it is happening in the midst of a community that is watching. Sometimes the audience is outside that intimate community. Sometimes I don’t get things right. Maybe my heart is not sensitive enough to hear God. Sometimes pride gets in the way. Sometimes I don’t know what I don’t know. Sometimes all I know is that I can’t do it on my own. I need God.

I’m thankful I don’t have to be perfect. I do try to be mindful and thoughtful. When I look at all the examples of men and women of God in the Bible, they weren’t perfect either. Each has their own story. I try to be authentic and transparent with my own. That is my testimony. It is my story to share!

Father, thank you for the kind people you put in my path just when I need it. Thank you for those who remind me that others are watching. Thank you Holy Spirit for nudging and urging me to be sensitive to others and their needs. Father, thank you for stretching me. I know that all things are possible in You.

2 Corinthians 3:16-17, Philippians 4:13

Being Neighborly

Embed from Getty Images“He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him.” Luke 10:34 NIV 

In the Bible a donkey could be symbolic of knowledge, humility, poverty, courage and peace. It could also symbolize a sign of richness befitting the House of David. So in that sense, they could also represent commerce and wealth.

As we look at the care the Samaritan provided to the man beaten and left on the side of the road, we see all of the above.  We see the Samaritan use every resource he had at his disposal to provide aide: he used his oil, wine and bandages; he used his only method of transportation for the injured man (his donkey), he delayed his trip, he paid for ongoing care and lodging plus any additional expenses that were incurred.  All for the care of a stranger. Remember, the Samaritan was traveling so his resources were limited based on the journey he had planned.  In spite of that, he withheld nothing.

The other two men in the parable, the priest and the Levite (who were considered holy men), did not miss a step and walked on by. I’m sure they were busy with their own plans and agendas.  They simply stayed on course as planned.  Maybe they were even on holy business trips!

The parable following the “Good Samaritan” in Luke is about Mary and Martha.  The story tells of how Mary chose to sit at Jesus’ feet while Martha toiled away.

When I looked at these two parables together I saw something I hadn’t seen before.   The priest and the Levite were no different than Martha.  The similarities were all wrapped around being so busy and task oriented that they missed the opportunity right in front of them.

How often have I been busy doing something that I missed the broken person in my path that I needed to minister to?  Did I stop what I was doing to attend to the opportunity right in front of my face? Or did I find what I was doing more important?

I’m sure the Samaritan had plans at the other end of his journey that had to be changed because of the delay and care he provided to the man on the side of the road.  But for him compassion prevailed. Compassion without any strings attached.  It was not about score-keeping.  It was not for acknowledgement.  It was all about caring for another human being in need. A stranger.

Sometimes it is through these delays and detours in our journey that God does a work in our own heart.  When we are able to set our interests aside, it opens up room to have the love of God flow through us in a new way.

Lord, give me the wisdom to see opportunities to be Your hands and feet when people are in need.  Place compassion in my heart to stop what I am doing for the sake of others.  Help me to love like You do.

Luke 10:29-37, 38-42; 1 Samuel 10:9-14, Matthew 6:33

Seasons

Embed from Getty Images“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:” Ecclesiastes 3:1 NIV

Have you ever sensed a change of seasons? I do not mean like moving from Summer to Fall. I mean a change of season in your life.  When life seasons happen to coincide with nature’s seasons, it seems to have a magnifying effect. It intensifies the savoring of the change.  One Fall I was experiencing a change of life season. The leaves were dropping. The temperatures were dipping. The produce was changing. More pumpkins, squash and gourds. It was becoming darker earlier and later. I even realized that every Fall before this one there had been a sense of grieving for me. I would grieve the loss of Summer. Its long days.  The warmth of the sun on my skin. The ease of throwing on tennis shoes and taking a long walk.  Open windows with night sounds and a gentle breeze.  That was all going away.

I felt the change of season coming for myself.  I was nervous and excited at the same time. I had a weird combination of anticipation, dread, and excitement.  It felt like it was going to be a time of transformation. Growth.  Was there going to be pain with growth? How long would it hurt?  Was I ready?

After pondering all those feelings, I made a choice. A choice to be thankful. A choice to embrace the change even though I had no idea what it was. The growth, the transformation; even if it hurt. I landed in a place of gratitude. I sensed a new alertness was going to be required.  It was going to be a time of listening carefully to God’s voice and following it. A time to keep up and pay attention to His requests. A time to be still when called for. A time to take stock of all He had done, like Moses and Joshua.  A time to give thanks and embrace what is to come without knowing.

As ominous as this all sounds, you’ll laugh.  I couldn’t help but go to a StarTrek reference in my mind! “To boldly go where no man has gone before.” Thankfully, that’s not true!  The Bible is full of stories of many people who boldly went where God wanted them to go.  Some were more graceful than others.  Some arrived quickly, while others ended up taking the long way. But they ended up where God intended: Moses, Abraham, Noah, Jonah, Jacob, Joseph, David, Elijah, Gideon, Esther, Ruth, Rahab, the twelve disciples, Zaccheus, Jesus.   We have a rich history to refer to whenever it gets tough.  And we have each other to encourage and support.  Not to go through change on behalf of each other; that is simply God’s work in each one of us.  We each have our own path.  But we can pray.  We can encourage. We can give and receive grace and mercy to one another. We can love. It makes the season of change and growth much sweeter. More tender. Like Jesus.

Father God, as I go through change I pray I do not lose sight of being tender and gentle with others.  While I may need it, others do too. I pray that You will help me give grace and mercy to others even when I feel like I need it myself.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-15, Psalm 62:6-7, 84:10-12

Times of War

“ Your wives, your children and your livestock may stay in the land that Moses gave you east of the Jordan, but all your fighting men, ready for battle, must cross over ahead of your fellow Israelites. You are to help them” Joshua 1:14 NIV 

There are times when we are called to care for others. It means we have to delay our own gratification or rest.  We have to rise up and support others who are in the midst of a fight.  Maybe it is a fight similar to one we have already been through.  Maybe it is something unfamiliar.  Maybe it is a medical crisis. Maybe it is a crisis of faith.  They are all battles we face in this world.

I believe that intercessors are mighty warriors.  Prayer warriors that are critical to defeat any obstacle and win any battle.  Prayer is not some wishy washy thing.  It’s powerful.  It calls in the big guns for the fight. Jehovah Sabaoth, The Lord of Hosts and Lord of Armies, responds to our cry for help.  He hears every prayer we lift up to Him and He is faithful.

Father God, Jehovah El, Our Strong and Mighty God! Let us call on you readily when the fight begins.  Let us not go into battle without You!

Joshua 1:16, 22:1-2, 5; Psalm 33:4, 57:10