Wednesday, October 27, 2010
As a child I had a dream. I guess one would say I wanted to be a philanthropist. I always thought maybe a sociologist was my calling. I had a keen interest in the well being of people, especially their behavior. My dream was to save the broken and less fortunate people from their demise....It was a desire from my heart and a well thought out desire. It was burned (and still is)deeply in my heart.
Most amazingly though is the journey that I would go on because of this desire. It is a journey leading me to discover what being a philanthropist really means. It is a journey of discovering LOVE from the inside out. It is a journey that has shown me how to die to myself and my selfish ambitions and choose to replace ambition with affection.
As I look at LOVE and the desire to love with abandon I have been allowing the idea of loving my neighbour as myself to resonate deep within my soul. WOW! Loving my neighbor....that means laying aside all prejudice and fervently praying that God would give me a heart for the whole...yes all no matter race, belief, language spoken, social status etc.
As I felt the tugging on my heart to pour out this idea of LOVE, loving with abandon and loving my neighbour as myself it became evident to me that this began to happen for me when I accepted that I could love because HE first loved me. I began to see more clearly that people longed to be loved. People want to have a place and want to belong. They want to feel accepted, wanted and LOVED. That is what I was wanting...I wanted unfailing LOVE.
Proverbs 19:22 says What a man desires is unfailing love, better to be poor than a liar. HMMMM...a liar, Yes I would lie to myself if I believed for a minute that my greatest need is anything but LOVE. You see nothing could fill my empty heart except LOVE.
Where do I see philanthropy in action and LOVE at work...
I see this in my husband and his relationship with his employees. You see my husband does not see himself as the "boss". He sees his employees as his team mates. They are there to work as a team in the best interest of the company. When we attend business dinners it is always awesome to hear what a philanthropist he is. The comments are always along the lines of "He is the best manager I have ever had", "I could not do this job if he was not such a great manager", "He takes care of his people"...and the end result because he does have a real heart and authentic love for his employees...a soaring business and a team of people who feel like they have an important place and are cared for and loved for who they are. They also feel valued for what they have to offer as an individual to the welfare of the whole!
I also have seen that need to be loved through the women in the Bible Study I lead/facilitate. There was a woman who after 34 years her marriage fell apart. Her health both mentally and physically was not well and she was questioning what love really was, she courageously attended the study and opened her heart to us. As another one of the women reached out to her in her broken state, she began to feel a love that was amazing and moving, real and authentic. This relationship has blossomed and it is amazing to see the power of LOVE when people feel accepted and wanted and cared for.
This was seen through my dad. He is not well due to an accident. My very dear friend was praying for him. He of course would not know that except her sister works with him and had mentioned to him that her sister was praying for him. He was moved in a way that was astounding. He said to me "she is praying for me...me. That is unbelievable". Yet because of this connection, a connection built on the love of people, and because she loves her neighbour as herself, my dad feels loved. He feels valued and important. He was moved in a way that only happens when someone has an authentic heart for mankind.
This was seen through a story one of the women in our Bible study shared. Her story was about the season in which she found herself purchasing more wedding gifts than she had ever imagined purchasing in a lifetime let alone a season. She knew these young people but was not sure why they would choose her as a guest. In questioning one of the young people regarding her invitation to his wedding the answer she received was simply that her and her husband over the years had extended a warm welcome in their home to teens. They loved these teens unconditionally just as they were and it was this acceptance that left a lasting impression on the lives that were touched in their home.
This was seen through a homeless youth. Not only was this teen homeless there were other issues such as addiction. He has attended outreach programs but has been non committal and often elusive. However the counselor at Youth for Christ built a friendship with him, making an effort to spend time with him and including this youth in his life. When this youth shares his story he tells that the friendship with this counselor was instrumental and had significant value to him. But more striking is that this youth clearly identifies three people who daily prayed for him. They truly loved him and were his friends and it was their prayers that made a difference.
I hear this need, this desire in the voices of the people in our community. A young, transient community that is growing at an astronomical rate. People feel lonely and disconnected. They long for relationships. They long to feel accepted and loved in their new community.
Are you a philanthropist, authentic in your love for people. Are you free of prejudice? Are you free to love your neighbour as yourself? Are you willing to extend your hand to people for the sake of LOVE.
People, when loved authentically are free to open their hearts to the ONE thing we all desire- a relationship based on LOVE.
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Is tells us in the Word that the enemy comes to steal kill and destroy. Not shortly after I had this amazing release and was experiencing absolute freedom of the bondage I was in the enemy got me.
Later on the evening of Wednesday I behaved in a way that was sinful. Yes...His Word says we are all sinners and fall short of the Glory of God. And sin I did. Not only did I sin I revelled in it momentarily. Remember also that the enemy masks sin making it look right. At the time I was in the midst of this sin it seemed right.
Later that evening as I confided in my supportive friend (I was actually revelling) I found myself trying to justify myself....YIKES! After hanging up the phone I realized I had sinned enormously. Can you believe it! I just had the most amazing day wallowing in His glory, living in freedom due to my obedience and now I found myself begging for forgiveness from my Maker....
Again His Word reminds us that when we confess our sins to Him he forgives us. I am telling you, I need His mercy daily, His forgiveness daily. Most amazingly is that He went to the cross for our sins and we can lay them at His feet and He still loves us and will work in and through us!
The next day I had to confess my sinful behavior to my dear friend. The email went something like this....
"I am so stupid...Yep the big S word. As always when I am thinking I am being so cool and proving a point I get Thwarted as so I have been.
I was sure it was my job to pour coals and send down fire on that person. James and John wanted to send down fire from heaven to consume the Samaritans who would not receive Jesus. HMMM....well after talking to you last night it came to me. It is not my job to "show" anybody anything or bring down fire. That is Gods job and I am not God."
And His disciples James and John saw this, they said "Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, just as Elijah did?" But He turned to them and rebuked them, and said, "You do not know what manner of spirit you are of. For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men's lives but to save them." Luke 9:54-55.
God is God and He will thwart our inequities. (look what he is doing to me all in one day) I sometimes have selfish ambitions Grrr UgHhhhhh and sometimes I frustrate myself because I am a slow learner. But I got this one now......"
Thank You Lord that you are a forgiving God. A God of mercy and grace poured out daily on me and all your children.
It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness Lam 3:22-23
Gods Word says something regarding the matter of me thinking I could pour coals on someones head and it would be good. You will find it all throughout Scripture. It can be found under loving your neighbour, judging others, forgiveness, Christ like behavior....the Bible is full of Truth and I was not behaving in Truth.
Although it is normal for us to feel anger toward sin and injustice it is not our job to judge the other person in their sin. Whatever happens now is Gods miracle work. (words of another person that I liked)
YEAH! My Redeemer Lives!
But today...I feel angry toward sin and injustice and am finding it very difficult not to judge and bring down fire. Because "I've got it now...." (at least for a short time until I need a reminder from my Maker) I will handle this anger differently. I will stick to what I know (THE TRUTH) not what I feel (emotions).
You see my anger comes from a story my son shared with me yesterday. In Topeka Kansas there is a church that is judging and preaching against gay teenagers (actually all gay people). It is them who are bringing down fire. In John, Jesus tells the disciples that it is not for them to bring down fire, it is His job. This is where my anger comes in. I wonder if this church is acting in TRUTH?
The God I know does not belittle, condemn or judge.
For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world but that the world through Him might be saved John 3:17
He chastises to mold in His image. He invites us to choose His love but He does not push us away. It is us who pushes Him away. This "church" is not inviting these gay teens to experience a loving relationship with Jesus Christ. They are portraying our God as a harsh unloving punishing God. If you live in TRUTH you know this is not The Truth the Way and the Light. He is a God of Love. A God of correction for freedom and abundance not fear and shame. He was sent for the lost sheep of the house of Israel Matt15:24
The result of this persecution by these people who call themselves followers of Christ (These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honour Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men. Matthew 15:8-9)......18 gay teenagers committed suicide.....and this "church" celebrated.
What amazes me the most is this man may think his cause is going to change gay people but the Truth reveals that only the Holy Spirit can wash us clean when we, yes we, CHOOSE to turn from our wicked ways and repent of our sins.
No one makes us choose Truth. We must choose it for ourselves. This man is not changing the gay people. Only Christ can change them from the inside out!
And Jesus looked at them and said, "With men it is impossible, but not with God; for with God all things are possible.
So today because one week ago my Maker reminded me that it is not my job to heap coals or bring down fire I will be on my knees pouring out my unsettled heart begging that He reveal Himself, the TRUTH to the families of these teens and to the hearts of the teens in that place and that Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka Kansas will be dealt with by the almighty and powerful God. That the authority of Christ will be released in that place and the strongholds will loose their strength.
Are you walking in TRUTH? Or do you also find yourself judging and persecuting those who sin? Do you feel justified in heaping coals on the sinners head and bringing down fire on those who wrong you.
The TRUTH sets you free!! And it is yours if you choose it!!!
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
Copyright Amy Baxter 2009
Some of you know me and know I love to talk and share stories. Some of you also know there is always a story. Sometimes a story of celebration and sometimes a story of sorrow. There is ONE however that knows me to the depths of my being. You see HE created me for His good works. And this is where this blog adventure story begins...
It was a fine Tuesday morning at 5 am. I was off to the gym to run in circles with my two friends. The run was great and is always more fruitful when two or more meet. A few uggghhhsss and oooohhhhs but 40 minutes of sheer movement and the pain was over. A short amount of time to be in pain considering.
I arrived home and the phone calls began....the school district was calling for me to go to work. One call after another answering to hear the computer. OOOPPSSS...it is a voice not a computer. The head HR guy was calling me go to work. I (stronghold) considered saying yes but then that voice in my head (AKA God) said do not let the enemy convince you that you need to work (work=worth=stronghold). I will supply all your needs and give you strength to break a stronghold. I said no. FREEDOM!
The phone calls did not stop...I just did not answer. I was meeting with my Maker today. Obediently following Him. I went to book study. We are studying Fearless by Max Lucado. FREEDOM! (more on this later) After the time with the women(which is always refreshing especially when my Maker calls me out!!!) I went upstairs the church to do some business and had the great pleasure to meet one of the staff that I knew her name and knew she did amazing work for the church but did not know what she looked like...Margaret you are beautiful. I can't wait to spend time with you!!!
A phone call from Amy E in South Dakota. You see I am going to see one of my teachers, mentors and friend in Christ live in November. Not only do I get to see her I get to be on her prayer team and bring my mom with me. http://blog.lproof.org/
Beth Moore has an amazing hunger for the Lord and is contagious. I am blessed to be under her teachings. Again He supplies my needs for His purpose.
I then ran errands...went to the library and viola...a man that attends our church works there. He knew me by name...Wow! Just when you think no one is noticing you and you really don't matter...my Maker was at work still to remind me...I do matter to my Maker but to people in our church and in the community. It is the lay people (not only the leaders) that need to reach out and touch someone because it feels great to touch and be touched.
Then off to coffee with two of my very dear friends....I love seeing their smiling faces and the children's innocent love for life. Great conversation...again a blessing from my Maker.
Then home to meet my children. Drop of one at a friends and the other to piano. I sat in the car because I was needing Jesus. Yep a BIG BIG does of my Savior. So I reluctantly (out of fear) turned the key and listened to Shine FM.....ahhhhhhh I needed Him....
Then home dinner homework....A chat with my mom that was a bit awkward because there had been a disagreement last week. Again my Maker is at work. This time He was reconciling. His work is amazing.
A few emails and blog reading after the children went to bed. I have my fav blogs on the right of this blog and tonight I read Rachel Anne's Home Sanctuary. Her small thing for the day was to meet with Jesus (for 50 points...collected over the month for a prize...you should check it out, it is good stuff)
I received my 50 points today...I said YES to God...remember I said No to work which allowed me to say YES to God...
And because I said YES to God.....
THIS IS WHERE THE STORY BEGINS....
Can you believe it. Are you tired yet..that was Tuesday (in the short version) and now it is Wednesday.
I knew today was going to be a special day. Remember I said YES to God yesterday and He had something in store for me today!!!!
The day began with no phone calls to go to work. PHEWWWWW!!! I can clean my house. When you say YES to one thing you say NO to something else and I have said NO to housework far to long. Again for those of you that know me...this is a release of a stronghold as well...The gift of Imperfection has blessed me..(Joan C Webb's amazing book). Thanks Joan for getting me through my stronghold of perfection. You should see me now. If there is such a thing as a stronghold of mess....that is the one I am currently in.
I however could not say No to the gym and so I timed myself in order to accomplish something...before I left. This is when I met with my Jesus. Studying His Word. I finsihed after a long prayer time as the needs are much and the insatiable hunger for more of Him is strong.
Low and behold...ring a ling..nope not the school district...gym partner #1..."I am saying No to the gym so I can say Yes to other commitments" I was disappointed but figured I would be OK...(the enemy is trying to sneak in right here. He is being subtle and placing thoughts of rejection((one of my strongholds)) in my head). I carry on getting ready because gym partner #2 will be there so ....buzzz buzzzz..a text from gym partner #2...Can't make it to the gym today. Satan begins to attack hard. I begin to wonder what is wrong with me and what I have done to my gym partners. They may tell you I push them to hard but I knew that wasn't it. It must be something more. I must have hurt them. They must be offended by me. PS by the way...this is the enemy talking not my gym partners or me. EEERRRRRCCCHHHHH!!!!! Satan has no dominion over me. Get out of my head!!!!
RING RING...Ugghhhh!!! It must be the school district...Hello...And some woman begins chatting with me. I thought I knew who it was but I sure did not know what she was talking about so I courageously said..."I think you are talking to the wrong person" and she said I am...This is a person whom there has been a broken relationship. My Maker brought her to me today. He wanted to begin the reconciliation process.....it began today!! You see...at this time I would normally be at the gym but my Maker had a bigger plan than big muscles.
Oh Wait....He is not done yet and it is only 9:15 am. I decided I must go for a run. The enemy is not keeping me down. I needed some more of my Jesus. I needed to be in His beauty in the silence. He wanted to talk to me. I loaded the washer, dishwasher and dryer, pushed start, laced up and went for a run. I love it when I run in His beauty and He talks to me.
His conversation was one of chastisement. He called me out on my disobedience. For about a month now He has been asking me to take care of some business and in fear (Max Lucado...Fearless...)I have not headed His calling. Today on my run He answered my "how do I do this" prayer. He said to me....Speak the TRUTH in love not for your ambitions but for my glory. I will give you strength. Speak of a like spirit and mind. I am not a God of fear. Take up your cross in Me and I will see you through this. And I found myself running with my hand in the air proclaiming His power shouting out "the enemy has no dominion over me, the enemy has no dominion over me".
My friends what He has called me to do today is risky and scary and the enemy wants me to believe that it will destroy me (remember the enemy comes to steal kill and destroy). That is why I have not been obedient. But if I truly truly truly believe in HIM (and I do) whom then shall I fear???? I have laid this at my Makers feet. I have been face down regarding this matter and now I must move forward in faith obedient to His call. I must expect His mighty power to reign down to bring glory to His church, His kingdom.
His hand is evident each day in my life. This is a very very short version of a daily adventure for me. One would think my Maker is tired but He is not. He is alive and moving mightily and I invite Him to keep on moving me toward Him!!!
How do you experience Him each day. Do you truly truly believe that He is the almighty? The same yesterday today and tomorrow? Do you believe He is not a God of fear but a God that has come to set us free so we can have abundant life. Are you doing your part to experience His mighty power. You must be an active participant in this journey. You must listen and obey.