How Walking With The One You Love Changes Your Life

Back in the day of post-secondary part one of my life, I had a teacher who was a physiotherapist. We were learning about gait, which is simply: how people walk. She told us of an elderly man she was treating whose walk included a limp to one side. His wife, of physically good health, eventually came to walk with a limp as well. Her limp was in the same direction as his. The reason being, as our teacher explained, was that when you walk beside someone who leans in the same direction each time they step, you learn to lean as well to avoid colliding with each other. The wife, yearning to walk close enough to the man she so dearly loved, learned to compensate her own walk to match his so they could more effortlessly walk beside each other.

I doubt the elderly woman ever gave thought to walking in such a way as she did, her focus wasn’t on which step to take next, or which way to lean. She just loved her husband so much that her focus was to walk beside him and feel his nearness. The image of this elderly couple is a touching image as we think about our walk with Jesus. The closer we walk to The One we love, the more we desire his nearness, the more our walk matches his. Of course, he doesn’t walk with the limp (though we do!). Instead it becomes an opposite image. As we walk closer to him, our limp (our sin, our trial, our mountain too big to climb) becomes less notable. Walking with Jesus pulls us upright.

When we sin…

That sin issue you can’t seem to control (because who doesn’t have one)? Grab your bible, hit your knees and pray and draw closer to God. You won’t overcome anything by willing yourself to stop. Simply placing your thoughts on “not sinning” will only draw you deeper into temptation. We are broken, and walk perpetually with a limp. On our own accord we will never walk upright. But get close to The One you love, and he will hold you up. He will always give you a way out, but stay close and hold his commands deep in the core of your soul to stay arm in arm with your Saviour when the Tempter comes.

And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked. (1 John 2:3-6 ESV)

When we face trials…

Does your mountain feel like a giant, straight-up incline, too steep to scale, and wide to endure? Is that fiery trial stinging you at the core of who you are? There’s rest in Jesus. Just come close enough he can hold you up. Be harnessed with Jesus so closely that when you can’t move one more step he’s there lifting your burden fighting your battle for you.

28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. (Matt 11:28-30 ESV)

What we need to pursue…

Paul assure Timothy that though temptation and trials come we sets our eyes on Jesus. We are only to pursue, think about, lean on, and walk with that which will give life:

11 But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. (1 Tim 6:11 ESV emphasis mine)

There is nothing you can do about the difficulty in front of you but to walk in step as closely and intimately to Jesus as you can be. In him we find righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, and gentleness. He took on your “limp” once already on the cross. Your freedom is found in a Mighty Lord who won EVERY battle. All you need to do is walk close enough that you take on his steps and his gait. Walk close enough the One you love and you too will take on his walk.

draw near

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you. (James 4: 7-10 ESV)

love,

S

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

What you do for the least of these, you do for me.

Today I am reminded that I am a person, just one of God’s creations and there is nothing overly important about me or my story because we each have our own, and it is because of this humanity that we are all equals.

This thought came to mind this evening after taking time to sit in a speaking engagement with one of my sociology classes, where we listened to refugees from the community share about their experiences in Canada. During this talk, we were also immensely blessed to hear from a woman named Tima Kurdi. She is the aunt to the little Syrian boy who drowned in the Mediterranean Sea, and was photographed lying dead on a Turkish Beach.

While listening to her speak about her experience as a foreign immigrant many years ago, to her more recent tragedy of mourning the loss of her sister and two nephews, I was touched. I was moved in my spirit when she spoke, not only because she shared so vulnerably, but because she said three things that struck me. First, she talked about the day she found out that her sister and nephews had drowned and then viewed pictures of her sweet little nephew lying dead on the shores of the sea. She described to the audience how that felt, recounting how she screamed loudly and fell to the floor in grief. Second, she mentioned that she was from Damascus, born and raised. Finally, she spoke to us about her visit to Syrian Refugee camps in Turkey and how she had gone to visit her family members, describing the horrors of the reality of the situation from her perspective. She stated that she came home changed, that she could never return to her life as she knew it because she had seen too much, and heard too many stories, that there was no way for her to ever return to Canada as the same person.

It was in her story that I am reminded that I am here for a purpose. I did not move to BC for leisure, or to be pulled in by the welcoming culture of the Bible Belt. I am renewed in spirit as I recall all the times where the Lord was my strength, and my shield. He helped me so many times and continues to walk beside me even now. As Tima spoke about the shock and devastation she felt upon finding out her family had drowned, I am reminded of my own grief. It wasn’t so long ago that I too felt that surge of adrenaline, the sensation of my blood pooling in my lower body. The mournful wail that escaped my own throat after hearing the news of my brother’s death haunts me to this day. A woman whom I did not know six hours ago, has reminded me through the motions of grief that I am human too. Even though we share different beliefs, she being from a Muslim nation and an immigrant Canadian, we share a sisterhood in the human experience.

When she mentioned that she was from Damascus, this very thought popped into my head:

“3 As he journeyed he came near Damascus, and suddenly a light shone around him from heaven. 4 Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?”
ACTS 9:3-4

Saul was on the road to Damascus when the Lord saved him. PAUL the Apostle. Damascus. Our Holy Bible came from the Middle East. In fact, Tima and her kin, are more closely descended from the loins of Abraham than I ever will be! And yet, my fellow countrymen (not all of course, but there are some of you!) who shut her out. Who reject her because she is from “that” part of the world. Who are of the opinion that she and her people are not deserving of the Gospel, and North America better blow out the candle in the window and hide behind the couch so it looks like nobody is home because we don’t want to be “terrorized”. Shame on us. Look at who we have become. I’ve never been more disgusted when I consider how many people turn their backs on their immigrant/refugee brother and sisters. “They’re draining our system”, “They don’t learn our language!”, “They don’t respect our culture!” and so the list goes on.

If you are a Christian, and you are reading this, I fully expect you to NOT be one of those people. Why? Because Paul was on the road to Damascus (Yes, that’s in the Middle East!) when He was converted, because both Christians and Muslims alike have Abraham in common, and more importantly, unless you have some Jewish heritage in your line, then WE are the Gentiles, and Jesus came for all of us. So, it is time for us to remember our humanity, to remember that we have all shared in that experience no matter what part of the world we come from and that we are all deserving of God’s love and if we deny others, that which we have taken for ourselves, then we are hypocrites and the Holy Spirit is not in us.
Do we not realize that we live in a land of milk and honey? That we have toilets, and elevators and school! That we have freedom and grocery stores and clean water that pour out of weird little tubes called “taps”? That we have peace. I’ve never seen another country that wasn’t like my country. I’ve always known the comforts of a car, of a fridge to hold my food, of a warm house, nice clothes and options as far as the eye can see. I’ve hardly seen the world and this makes me horribly ignorant to the reality of what many other people experience daily. We’ve got the best of the best, so where does this greediness and selfishness come from? Where does this unfriendliness and shunning attitude coming from? From the enemy, that’s where. He doesn’t need to do much work when we’re so distracted with our own lives and indulgences that we’ve forgotten the world. That makes us a prime candidate to be the sucker who takes the bait, ignoring the Great Commission.
So, what next? If you agree and this is merely a confirmation of your feelings on the matter then read on, or perhaps you are challenged by the stance that I have taken, therefore I encourage you to open your Bible. In it, you will NOT find anything that upholds the view that you should shun the non-believing neighbour. In it, you will find instead a love letter of hope, grace and forgiveness, and you can expect of course to be commanded “Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to all creation”, especially to our newcomers to North America. This requires sitting with the least of these, even if it makes us uncomfortable, thankfully the Gospel is not about us and all about He who made us.
I was blessed tonight and I am reminded, like Tima, that I can never be the same person ever again. I’ve seen too much, I’ve heard too many stories and my life is forever altered. The moment that the Holy Spirit entered my life and into my heart I was changed and I can not look back and be who I was before. This is what I must remember as I step out my door every morning, this is what I must adorn as I engage with my refugee/immigrant neighbours and countrymen, and I encourage you to do the same.

What can you do for your refugee/immigrant neighbour?
1. Love them
2. Be their friend and seek them out
3. Help them with English (so important)
4. Be normal and remember….They’re human too!

Love,
D

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Saturday Morning Thankfulness

Both my husband and I have been attempting to limit our time in front of any sort of news these last fews months, as we felt it was adding to stress in our family. This morning as I scrolled through this weeks news, getting bits of information here and there, I couldn’t help but to feel excited. What an amazing time in history to be alive! I started thinking about the time in history when Jesus was born. There were corrupt and aggressive leaders ruling both locally in the church, as well as in the Roman empire. Tensions were high, and in the middle of stress and anxiety came the birth of the Prince of Peace right when hope was needed most. Here we sit about two millennials later watching history repeat itself with a world full of corrupt leadership, and people desperate for hope. I can’t help but to be thankful to have been hand selected to be alive at this time in history. God chose me, God chose you! We get to continue the mission of Jesus to spread a message of hope in such a time as time as this! What an honour! Instead of being full of anxiety and fear, take some time this weekend to offer thankfulness and praise to our Sovereign God, and his son, the Prince of Peace. One hundred years ago were not for you to be here, one thousand years ago were not meant for you. Right now is where he chose you to exist. Oh what joy to know he has strategically placed you in this time of history as he moves nations and advances his kingdom.

1 Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth!
    Serve the Lord with gladness!
    Come into his presence with singing!

Know that the Lord, he is God!
    It is he who made us, and we are his;
    we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
    and his courts with praise!
    Give thanks to him; bless his name!

For the Lord is good;
    his steadfast love endures forever,
    and his faithfulness to all generations.

Psalm 100 ESV

Enjoy your weekend!

love,

S

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Why I’m Going to Defend Muslims and Refugees

My Facebook feed, and media in general have flooded us with messages about Muslims, messages about refugees, and messages of Sharia Law. For the most part, I feel they have all been fairly persuasive in creating a spirit of fear generated around the current situation of our changing political landscapes. I’ve been quiet on forming an opinion on everything until I came to a place of peace. After A LOT of prayer and seeking God’s Will I have come to a place of peace in my heart regarding Muslims and refugees. My final opinion, formed with God’s help and biblical truth, is this:

I am going to defend Muslims. I am going to defend refugees. I am going to invite Muslims AND refugees into my life as God brings them to me, and furthermore, I will pray that he does bring them to me! What an honour! I am going to choose to not give in to the posts/ reports that feed the spirit of fear or anger. I am going to trust God has a big fat plan.

I fully understand that this seems countercultural not only in the secular world, but also within Christian circles. Before you egg my home, let me explain…

God’s Ultimate Will vs God’s Provisional Will

In order to see where I’m coming from we first have to take off our narrow-minded human perspectives to see a bigger picture. A lesson I learned awhile back taught me that God has an ultimate will, and a provisional will. The ultimate will never changes, the provisional will can. God’s ultimate will is THAT all nations will hear the Gospel message before he sends Jesus to return to earth. God’s provisional will is the WAY that message goes out to reach those nations. God, since he is not limited by borders, can move and shift our landscape to keep his ultimate will on track. When we fail to obey a calling, he lifts up another person/ nation/ group to see that his ultimate will is completed.

What we see right now is a change in political landscape, but what God is doing is shifting a spiritual landscape that for the most part we have missed by feeding into the deception of the enemy. The enemy will win if all we see is politics. The enemy will lose if we can see him for what he is and call him out! We aren’t waging war on people, or borders and boundaries, we are waging war on the crafty work of the Devil, who will keep God’s message from being spread by whatever means he can!!

landscapechange

What if (and there’s no way I can prove it, but hear me out a minute) there are an abundance of restless hearts from these foreign countries in desperate need to hear God’s message in a timely matter. And what if, to see his Ultimate Will of getting his message into all nations he needed to disperse these people to lands where people can still speak freely about him? What if, the way we behave as believers needs to be witnessed to soften the hard hearts that have grown in these spiritually deprived countries? We have seen in history the way God can change landscapes and move nations to fulfill his ultimate will, and he can use these events around us to change it again.

Here’s the point:

Right now whether or not you like it, our borders are being opened to new neighbours. They have come from war-torn, uninhabitable countries. There are children, mothers, fathers- who desire like any father to protect their family, young men and women, and elderly whose days on earth are limited. Will the enemy sneak in with them? Undoubtably so, but to be fair, he was already here. The people group his army enters in with makes no difference, because he was already weaving an unseen web in our country. A web that has been buried below politics, popular opinion, and whatever other way he can cover up his plan to destroy and deceive.

In Matthew 10 Jesus warns his disciples that they will be persecuted if they follow Jesus. He doesn’t leave it in the fine print, he puts it right out there!

16 “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. 17 Beware of men, for they will deliver you over to courts and flog you in their synagogues, 18 and you will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them and the Gentiles. 19 When they deliver you over, do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say, for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour. 20 For it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.

In his finals words to the disciples before he ascends to His Father’s right hand, and in spite of the clear warning of persecution in a few chapters earlier, he says this as his parting words:

18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matt 28- emphasis mine)

matthew-28

I emphasized the word observe for a reason. Observe means they aren’t just hearing all God has commanded, but they are witnessing it. This means the disciples weren’t just to tell people how to obey God, but to show people how to observe God. This means, they opened doors to their very personal life to allow non-believers the chance to witness how a loving God looks publicly AND privately. And for the record, you can Google the Jewish War of AD 66, or equally the Jewish revolt of AD 132 to see the political landscape of their day wasn’t easy. To preach Jesus’ name meant risking your life, and yet it didn’t stop Jesus from giving his Great Commission. He saved us from death so we wouldn’t fear walking in accordance to his commands (but that’s a post for another day…).

It is our responsibility to not overlook the opportunity we have in our own backyard to preach to all nations, and allow them to observe through us all that God has commanded. This means we let them in close enough to our lives to walk beside them. If we choose to dig in our heels and look away, rest assured the world will come to their rescue (as they already have), and show compassion. If we declare our God is the Greatest Lover of the all, and yet turn our backs in fear, our actions have not matched our message. We will forfeit our opportunity to be able to be God’s provisional will as witnesses in the lives of these creations of God to teach them how to walk in God’s commands.

Finally, since we answer to God’s Law before political laws, and any other laws that may or may not be creeping their way into our country, then we must follow what those laws are first:

25 And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” 26 He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?” 27 And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” (Luke 10:25-28)

Jesus goes on to explain who our neighbours are, and that the Samaritan (whom the Jews loathed with every ounce of their being) became the good neighbour because he had compassion. Compassion wins every time!

I am going to choose to defend Muslims, and refugees. I am going to take darts and arrows for them as they are coming from a physically hostile environment to an emotionally hostile environment full of fearful North Americans who want them out for so many reasons. I will stand against those who stand against them in hopes that they see a new kind of love that defends the innocent. I am going to have compassion on my neighbour and yes, I will open my very own personal door to my home (not just the perverbial door) for them as God brings them to me. I am going to do this because they need time. Time for their hearts to soften to see God’s message. Time for them to make decisions about their eternity that they perhaps haven’t the chance to do. If you want to read my article on God’s “stolen” kids you can do so here, but these are his stolen kids, and I intend to do whatever I can to reveal the deception they’ve been fed in their lives and see their deceiver for who he is. And do it from a place of compassion that is a kind of compassion set apart from the world’s version of compassion.

And in response to allowing potential radicals in with them? I am going to pray, pray, pray, pray, and pray some more that God’s ultimate will be done in spite of the Devil’s crafty plan. I am going to pray that he doesn’t gain ground, but the voice of God’s body, and the ACTIONS of God’s body win more ground than he does! I also acknowledge again and again that the enemy we are trying to keep out, was already at work here.

This is why I am going to defend Muslims and refugees. I do see that God is shifting a spiritual world around us right now. I, for one, am excited about what he has in store!

Father, give us eyes, ears, hands, and feet to defend truth. Keep our eyes on you that we may not become deceived by the ways of the world, and our culture. Keep our hearts soft for your lost children. Bring your lost kids to our very doorsteps and give us the means by which to reach out and show them your love in a compassionate way that speaks in the way they need to hear it. In Jesus name, Amen.

love,

S

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment