Tag Archives: identity

I Chose Love

There seems to be so much in the world that divides us these days. I guess it’s always been that way. Even within groups there are divisions. But I’ve always been one to seek common ground and find ways we can all get along.

The common ground I find is Jesus’ command to love. In 1 Corinthians 12 Jesus is speaking about our gifts and the many members of the body of Christ. He speaks about the greatest of the gifts – love.

Starting at verse 31 He tells us that He is going to show us the most excellent way:

And now I will show you the most excellent way. If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self- seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

There are many mysteries in life. Jesus tells me  when I see Him face to face I will fully understand. Clearly I don’t understand it all right now. And I am OK with that and I accept that. Within the church there are differences of opinions about how to respond to what is happening in the world.  I have faith and hope that I will understand when I see Him face to face. But the greatest thing I can show now is love.

When You Ask God For Direction . . . You Have to Listen For His Answer

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When I look back over my life and think about the number of time I asked God about his direction for me, I find that He’s been talking to me all along. I just haven’t been listening.

I can remember the first time I knew that God – without a doubt – was speaking to me. It was a long time ago and I had been dating a guy for nearly three years. I was ready to settle down. When we first started dating, we were not in the same city. But the opportunity arose where we could be closer, and the guy did not encourage me to move to be near him and he wasn’t making any moves to be nearer to me. I wasn’t playing coy. I clearly let my feelings be known. I didn’t believe in playing games. He asked me about two years into the relationship where I thought it was going. And I told him. I wanted to be married and start a family. You could hear the crickets. Exactly, he didn’t have much to say to that. But we continued to date. That was my own selfishness. I was thinking he would come around to seeing things my way.

So later in the relationship another opportunity arose. But this one would have taken me farther away from him. Again, he didn’t ask me to stay. He was pretty indifferent to where I moved. Finally, the Lord placed it so clearly on my heart that this young man was never going to commit to me. It took me another six months to finally listen and end the relationship.

Did I mention that I’m a little hard-headed?

Jump forward 24 years and I was still struggling to hear from God. I had the one experience under my belt of hearing from Him so I knew He would speak to me – but why wasn’t I hearing anything.

Again, I had some big questions about my career and moving. I started praying and asking God’s direction. And at first I didn’t think He was speaking to me. Confusion arose and frustration set in. But what I discovered is that I wasn’t listening. I was blaming God and I was convinced that He wasn’t speaking clearly to me. I even told Him that He needed to speak loud and clear because I was a little hard of hearing. But what I finally realized I wasn’t hearing him because it wasn’t what I wanted to hear. Again, I was feeding my own selfishness.

Jumping to the present time, I find myself asking God for direction on many given topics and choices. But I finally learned that I need to sit and listen. Sometimes it still isn’t the answer I want, but I have to remember it’s not my will but His will.

Just this week, I prayed about joining a new study at my church. It was one of the new community groups. And the books were going to be $50. I asked the Lord to show me where I was going to get $50 on my tight, tight budget. I listened and He showed me where I would find that $50.

I want to be obedient to Him. My biggest challenge these days is remove my own opinion about something and leave my mind open to hearing from the Lord. I remind myself to remove my desire and to accept His will.

There are many examples in the Bible about people not listening to God. Each one had many challenges until they submitted to God’s will.

I encourage you to listen for Him. He can speak in many different ways. It can come through scripture or it can be a small quiet knowing in your being.

Yes, ask Him but you have to be willing listen to Him.

Who are you?

I love the TV show, “Who do you think you are?” They usually have celebrity guests as the focus. They trace that person’s history. In some cases they have been able to trace it back to a native country – Ireland, England, or Germany. They have even been able to trace ancestry back to specific countries in Africa, which is amazing given the slave trade and the fact that very few records were kept.

But I am talking about how you identify yourself.

At family reunions we often say that we are ‘so-and-so child’ as a way to help identify yourself. Or if there is strong family resemblance, you could easily identify people.

It is interesting, in business people are driven to identify individuals also. I worked in marketing and that is driven by demographics and targeting the right audience. We often needed to segment our marketing by income levels, by gender, or by race. We occasionally needed to segment geographically.

But who do you say you are?

Thankfully I can say that I am a child of God. He doesn’t segment me. But exactly what does that mean?

I am not defined in God’s eye by my occupation. I am not defined in God’s eye by my marital status. I am not defined in God’s eye by my income. I am not defined as an African American or as a female. But because I believe in a heavenly, holy father, his son Jesus Christ who died on the cross and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, I simply define myself as a child of God.

Romans 10:11-13 As the Scripture says, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame.” For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile –the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”