Truth in the Inward Places
Ebony Omar Terry Singer/Songwriter/Teacher/ Model Pg.16
In Pursuit of Peace
Merry Christmas! Happy New Year! From the Staff and Writers Divine Inspirations Magazine 2
Merry Christmas! Joy, Peace, & Goodwill to All Men! Thank you to all who have contributed to Divine Insirations Magazine making this another awesome year Sharing Inspired Words to Uplift and Edify the Spirit. I am looking forward to the awesome Blessings God has in store for us His beloved creation. This is the season of giving and receiving, you can truly bless someone with the gift of Divine Inspirations Magazine. Our subscription is free! Send your name to firstname.lastname@example.org and itâ€™s done. We welcome your feedback and comments! Happy New Year! Expect the Great! Qualita Pendergrass Editor in Chief 4
Dear Lord, As my feet touched the floor I took a deep breath And said thank you Lord for the fresh air As I gazed out of my window early this morning, I could see the blanket of dew that dropped, so tenderly upon the land. And I said thank you Lord for allowing me to open my Eyes and see all the beauty that surrounds me. I began to hear the birds sing sweet melody. It sounded as if it was in three part harmony. I said Lord; I thank you for ears to hear. As I looked towards the sky instead of seeing the Sun peeking through the dawning of a new day. I saw clouds shades of blue and gray rolling in today. And yet, the rain did not fall, not even a drop at all I thought to myself, God you are so awesome! I began to think of your unmerited grace and mercy upon my life. I began to think of your goodness and mercy. I thought of all the things you have done for me. My soul truly cries out HALLELUJAH to your precious name. Now Dear Lord, as I come to a close I would like to tell you how much I really love you. You are my bright and morning star You are my lily of the valley. Lord I love you because of who you are. Love,
Cheryl Thomas P.S. I thank you for watching over me both day and night.
THE CHALLENGE OF A LIFETIME Your future begins today. You are becoming a young lady or a young man. Think about it. I agree with you. The world is moving so fast that it’s very hard to know what you should do on so many things. Decisions you make now will affect the rest of your life. You are too young now to understand how this is possible, but it is true. Everyone wants to be liked or loved. Everyone wants to be needed. Before you take this person into your life, you need to first think about how this person will change your life. Will this change be good for you? Will it be bad? Decisions. What is the challenge facing you? Be true to yourself, always. Learn to love yourself first. You are going to experience many, many circumstances. Some will make you feel good, and some will hurt. This is called, life. Your best help ever is waiting for you. I challenge you to grab onto it! You will never be the same again. His name is Jesus Christ, and He will never let you down. Jesus is the one and only true friend you will ever have. How do you find Him? The easiest way is to talk to Him. No fancy words; just tell Him you need Him in your life. He made you, so He already knows everything about you, including the sins you have done. Sins are bad behavior. Next, let Him know you are truly sorry for sinning against Him, and ask Him for His forgiveness. He will forgive you right away. It’s that simple! As soon as you can, get The Holy Bible. The Bible is God’s Word. Read it everyday. The answer to every problem you will have in life is there. Before I forget, don’t you forget to pray. No fancy words are necessary, but it has to be from your heart. Take things one day at a time. Don’t care what others think or say about your decision to follow Jesus. The most important thing is to make a decision to let Jesus into your life. He won’t force Himself on you; He wants you to want Him. I wish you well on your new journey. CHALLENGE YOURSELF.
Author: Brenda Joyce Brooks, Inspirational Speaker © 2011 6
The Full Beauty of Thee Lately, life has been rough and coarse; how have I strayed off course? Be my light and show the way, for You alone are Love’s real source. O my Lord, please touch me with Your spiritual purity! Open my eyes, that I may see… the full beauty of Thee. Cure me of my blindness, as I wander in this wilderness; meet me where I am, with Your loving kindness. O my Lord, please touch me with Your spiritual purity! Open my eyes, that I may see… the full beauty of Thee. I’m not wanting more excuses, to explain away how my sin oozes; lift me up that I may find the holy joy true faith produces. O my Lord, please touch me with Your spiritual purity! Open my eyes, that I may see… the full beauty of Thee. Joseph Breunig, Author/poet Reaching Towards His Unbounded Glory
Author Notes: Loosely based on: John 9:8-11 Learn more about me and my poetry at: http://www.squidoo.com/book-isbn-1419650513 By Joseph J. Breunig 3rd, © 2011, All rights reserved
The Christmas “Clause” ring to Santa Claus, is that binding agreement some people make with themselves to buy gifts for their loved ones at the costly expense of going into debt. Charge now, pay later, is a tradition that was not a part of the original intent of Christmas. Christmas, which literally means ―Christ,‖ the anointed one, ―mas,‖ festival or feast, is the day we share the importance of the birth of Christ with our loved ones, not reoccurring monthly payments. There is a sense of enjoyment that comes when we give gifts during the holidays. We all can relate to giving that perfect gift to someone and watching their eyes light up
As the holiday season quickly approaches, there are certain traditions that invoke a sense of nostalgia. It may be the smell of apple cider or sweet potato pie. For some it is holiday music or earnestly awaiting the first snow fall. For me it‘s the steady gaze at elaborately adorned houses trimmed in lights and decorations as I drive through different neighborhoods. These types of innocent traditions bring a sense of peace and contentment, but then there‘s one not so innocent tradition called the Christmas ―Clause.‖ The Christmas ―Clause‖, and I am not refer-
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with excitement as they tear away wrapping gifts and not exchange them no matter what paper to receive it. Well there is hope, because the circumstance. This season my decision, there is a way to do both. and I do hope you join me, is to defiantly break the Christmas ―Clause.‖ The first thing to do in being mindful about spending is to formulate a plan. If you intend to use credit cards, develop a strategy to pay them off before the end of the billing cycle to avoid paying interest rates or fees. If you decide to go the route of using cash, then the first call of action is to establish a budget. Once you have the set amount, determine your list of gift recipients and whether some of the gift ideas can be made, i.e. preserves, cookies, photo book, etc. For large families you may want to incorporate the tradition of drawing names to remove any unnecessary pressure one might feel to shop for multiple people. Once you have your list of names the next step is to operate in the power of ―No.‖ Undoubtedly there will be opportunities to break the bank with invitations to Christmas parties and office gift exchanges. Or there might be gift ideas that are hinted, either directly or indirectly, that exceed the budgeted limit. These are pressure moments that ironically appear after we‘ve made a commitment to shift the way we do things. No need to panic, just look at the perJ.C. Stevenson graduated with her B.S in fison questioning you in the eyes, smile granance from Florida State University and has ciously, and reply ―No.‖ spent almost a decade working in the financial This holiday season does not need to be a sea- industry. She advises numerous business ownson full of heavy burdens. As a matter of fact ers on matters concerning increasing cash flow I‘m sure God did not intend for us to celebrate and sound money management. While lihis Son with feelings of stress or anxiety. We censed in the areas of insurance and investments J.C. is passionate about educating becan decide what traditions to keep and which lievers on implementing biblical principals in ones to replace. If at any moment during the season you feel the financial worries of accom- everyday finances. modating for your loved ones, make a decision to give that responsibility to the person it Contact information: rightfully belongs to according to 1 Peter 5:7. Jc.email@example.com www.facebook.com/TheJCStevenson We have been left an abundance of gifts intwitter.com @1Harvestseed cluding love, joy, peace, and patience just to name a few. I have decided to walk in my 9
power here, which does not need the usual ‗binding‘ and ‗loosing‘ that we are accustomed to. This kind attracts peace and disarms the enemy.
In Pursuit of Peace If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone (Romans 12:18 NIV).
May be you‘re wondering how you can please everybody. You cannot—and God does not expect you to. In fact, we will have enemies; otherwise why did David, a man after God‘s heart cry to God saying . . . ―There are more people who hate me for no reason than the hairs on my head (Psalm 69:4). If you‘re doing the right thing, you will wake up opposition even from the unexpected and that is disappointing. However, in order to stay focused, we must pursue peace in our hearts by letting go of the disappointment. Moreover, when we are not at peace with others, we cannot have peace with God, because it is for reconciliation that Jesus died. And we do not want to lose fellowship with God for whatever reasons. There is peace to know that we are at peace with God and man, if that depends on us.
Don't hit back; discover beauty in everyone. If you've got it in you, get along with everybody. Don't insist on getting even; that's not for you to do. "I'll do the judging," says God. "I'll take care of it" (Romans 12:18 The Message). The first time I read this verse, I thought it was an impossible pursuit. Then recently, I was faced with a disappointing situation, and I remembered it. It is challenging living in our fallen world— especially these days of insecurity of all sorts where people have become more selfish than selfless. Insecurity makes some to act secure but they hurt others in order to feel good about themselves. Yet God is calling us to be selfless and seek peace with others.
Peace is a virtue that determines the quality of our lives and relationships. Jesus said, "I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So do not be troubled or afraid‖ (John 14:27). Godly peace produces joy even in difficult situations, and we cannot experience it if we are at war with others or ourselves. Being at peace with someone does not mean that we agree with his or her behaviour. It means that our peace is extremely significant, and we will go to extra lengths to preserve or pursue it. Pursuing peace is a hard task but its attainment is pleasurable.
Despite the state of our world, the Apostle Paul sees the believers as being capable of pursuing peace with others. What an honour! However, ―humility comes before honour‖ (Proverbs 18:12). Living at peace with others requires humility, and that is a challenge to most people— even believers. Yet it pleases God when we live in humility as far as it depends on us. Does it really depend on us? Firstly, we have the power . . . ―Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you (Luke 10:19). We have been equipped to think, choose, act and therefore determine the outcome of a situation. Often times, we relate to the divine power given us with doing warfare in prayer. However, humility, forgiveness or kindness are lethal weapons of warfare too which are founded on the character of Christ. There is immense
Christmas may mean different things to different people but it‘s a time to remember the gift that God gave us through Christ‘s birth. The Lord wants us to pursue peace and reconciliation with others as we remember his birth. Dear Jesus, You are the Prince of Peace. Help me to pursue peace with others, so that I could keep your gift of peace in my heart and mind. Amen. 10
Please Come Again Judith M. Mosley Over 2000 years ago the maker of heaven and earth performed an incredible act of love. Our state was critical and He knew the price to be paid to make things right was more than we could afford. We were sinners and He had already decreed, "The soul that sins shall die." Because of this, He came to earth as a sacrifice so His creation might not have to face the eternal consequences of their actions. He operated on the principle, "If you want something done right, do it yourself." He took all that He was and stuffed it into a form to which He was not accustomed. He forced Himself to live within limits that ended with His dying on a cross, so that we would have the chance to be with Him forever. All He asks is that we show our gratitude by dedicating our lives to Him. At Christmas, we celebrate His arrival into the world. We don't know the exact date he was born, but when we think about all He has done for us, we believe it is worthwhile saying, "Happy Birthday Jesus. Thanks for coming. Please come again."
POISON OR FRUIT!
TODAY I WOULD LIKE TO SHARE THE POWER OF POSITIVE WORDS IN ONCE LIFE…Jesus cautions in Matthew 12:34, "Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks." When evil resides in the heart, it will be exposed in perverse speech, language contrary to the truth of God and to love. The word of God is life. We have to speak positive things in our mouth to release life. How can one claim that he is a Christian and loves God when all he sees in a person are the negative things. How can we show love to those who are hurting? By releasing to them positive things. Show love instead of being a partaker of their negativity. It is either you are releasing good fruits or poison to them. Proverbs 18:21 “WORDS KILL, WORDS GIVE LIFE! “ Have you ever been the subject of someone’s gossip? Have ever seen people looking at you and throwing dirty words on you? Have you been part of the group who gossips, giggling, whispering and saying nasty things about a person? The
words that you speak has the power to hurt someone, destroy their reputation and make life miserable or they have the power to encourage someone so that they feel better for themselves; to defend people that are being picked on and to speak the truth instead of lies. Which one would you rather be on the receiving end of? I will give you an illustration….Filipinos are the worst businessmen that’s why I am ashamed to be a Filipino (negative) Opinion express is not necessarily follow that you are right! Or is it better you say it this way “ I love Filipinos I will prove to the world that Filipinos are the best businessmen .” Let us stop putting down on people but instead be an encourager. Talking badly about other people is destructive but it is also destructive for you to talk badly about yourself. When we make a mistake how do you react? Do you beat yourself with words like, “You stupid, you idiot?” I myself am guilty of this but remember (Continued on page 13)
““WORDS KILL, WORDS GIVE LIFE! “. When you are critical and negative with your words, it’s as if you are making your soul drink poison, it will slowly eat away your selfesteem and emotions. It will show in your face what you feel inside your heart and one become sick in the body because negative forces eats up your energy. When you are positive and encouraging with your words it’s like giving your soul the tastiest apple to munch on! It builds you up and make you strong and healthy. Remember, God is
never negative and always encourage. Make that your habit today! Remember this scriptures: Jeremiah 1:5 "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations." Psalm 139:13 “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.” Psalm 139:13 “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” We are set apart bought with a price…we are special! Go and encourage others! Shalom!! Dr. Cynthia Cecilia C. Togle, D.D. http://ptracelt.blogspot.com/
for so long that you can‘t… and you listened. That you are not good enough… and you believed them. You cannot live in bondage to fear!
THE PAST My wife Sondra and I moved to a new community last year. We moved to a nicer, quieter neighborhood to a house with a garage, a lawn, a backyard and more square footage! We love it! It was major upgrade and a tremendous blessing, praise God! The townhouse apartment we moved out of was nice but the new house is a huge step forward for us. Sometimes it feels like we just got here while at other times it seems that we‘ve been here for years.
Some of us cannot escape the past because of woundedness. Because of being hurt so deeply and so often, many have developed a defense mechanism to keep from ever getting hurt again. So they go into a shell, they build a wall where no one can touch them, where any kind of intimacy or communion is nonexistent. They build a wall because there is no evidence of hope. You look back to see if that bond is still there, if that place of safety still exists. Is there safety in your past or heartache in disguise?
The townhouse is right near my job so on my way to work; I have to drive right past the old place. The trip is, on my way in each morning, I would find myself turning (back) to look up the street that turns into the complex where ours was the corner apartment. I realized that a bond of sorts had developed with the apartment over the more than eight years we had lived there. We had pulled into that street – obviously many, many times. It was normal life.
Sometimes the past is something you just can't let go of even when you try your best to forget. But you don‘t just ―forget‖ the past; you must be healed from it and the wounds it holds. The things you did and the person you were? Surely you can never be forgiven. The explicit reality of your sin stands ever before you as does your accuser, your enemy. But he is a liar! What‘s more, your future is not determined by your past. In fact, if you‘re in Christ, you don‘t even have a past! That‘s GREAT news!!
But we no longer live in that apartment, so there‘s nothing there for us anymore. Those days are in the past. Now, I believe it is God‘s intention for us to prosper. 3 John 1:2 ―Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.‖ (The King James Version) The ―Message‖ puts it like this… ―I pray for good fortune in everything you do, and for your good health—that your everyday affairs prosper, as well as your soul!‖
If you don‘t have a past, then there‘s no reason to look back, right? You have dreams that can only come to pass by looking ahead. Your calling and purpose is now! God‘s plan for your life is not past tense but present and future tense so stop looking back! In Genesis 19, Lot‘s wife turned around to look back and remember what happened to her? I don‘t know what it really was but I think of powder, dust that blows away and is no more. If you turn to look back, that‘s what will happen to your dreams, they will turn to dust and blow away.
So, prosperity comes in more than one form and is not only economical. To prosper actually means to expand, thrive or flourish. So, we flourished in the blessing of a new house, expanding as we changed addresses and now thrive as we witness God‘s hand in our lives. We have come so far by His grace and mercy. But we could not thrive, expand or flourish if we had been living in yesterday, looking back at life as we knew it. Neither can you prosper if you, for any reason, are living in the past.
As I pass my old street on my way to work every day I have to remember which way I‘m going and make a conscious decision. I have to deliberately choose to look straight ahead. So today I encourage you, don‘t look back. You know why? Because you‘re not going that way
Many of us are locked in the past, how we used to do things, how we handled our issues. Sometimes we only know one way and that‘s to run. But running is an evidence of fear. Do you try to escape the issues in your life because of fear? Are you afraid of failing or afraid you just might succeed? People have told you 14
CHRISTMAS BALLAD # 2 As shepherds watched their flocks the joyous angels did sing. King Herod proposed to murder our Savior; the infant king. Three kings came to see the sacred child from very far away. To worship and honor the divine baby one long ago holy day, They brought to the infant; expensive gifts and scents so fine. King Herod’s devious plan; they did not as yet know to mind. The Father came to them in a dream as the three wise men lay. God instructed them not to return to their lands the same way. To take the same path would deliver the baby into Herod’s hands. God’s direction would put a monkey wrench in Herod’s evil plans. The blessed babe was sent here to us for a future important day. God would not allow the adversary to spoil His plans in any way. In dream; God also sent an angel; He told the angel what to say: “King Herod means to harm the babe; take him to Egypt to stay.” God’s angel told Joseph to remain in Egypt until Herod was done. Later the jealous sovereign sent his soldiers to murder God’s son. Herod was very heated; he was angry at the things God had done. His powerful army could not come across that precious little one. Though they caused a lot of pain; and an untold amount of strife, Those powerful armed forces could not take that holy baby’s life. When Herod was alive no more; when the threat had finally gone, God told Joseph that it was a good time for them to head for home. Although forewarned by God; something was not right it seemed. Joseph took things a bit further, for fear of another wicked scheme. He took the Baby Jesus and His mother to live in a place called Galilee. The Son of the one true God could openly live in peace secure and free. The prophets of old had foretold the coming birth of this blessed child. All the Prophesies stated that He would be faultless, humble and mild. God had a holy plan for man’s salvation; He would let nothing impede. Mankind was wicked; He knew that man had a critical spiritual need. The prophecies said He would be our savior; righteous; morally clean. This forthcoming messiah would be called; Jesus, “THE NAZERENE”. BY: Sharon Reid-Robinson Copyright 2007 15
I ―Pinky‖ Swear
Genesis 22:15-18 15 Then the Angel of the LORD called to Abraham a second time out of heaven, 16 and said: “By Myself I have sworn, says the LORD, because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son— 17 blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies. 18 In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.”
keep them. We tell God one thing and mean something totally different in our hearts. Making empty promises to God is a careless mistake that many are guilty of and as a result they are hurting God. A pinky promise isn‘t suppose to be broken if each member has promised/swore to hold up their end of the bargain. The promise was made at one‘s leisure and own free will. It was not forced upon them and they could‘ve easily backed down from the commitment if they had any doubts.
Remember being younger and making ―pinky‖ promises to each other? To make a ―pinky‖ promise two people entwined their pinky fingers together to signify that a promise had been made. This promise was considered to be a sign of binding and the closing of a deal. It would be for petty reasons like keeping a secret but making the promise would seal it and the secret couldn‘t be revealed. Making empty promises in the heat of a moment always seems secure until the secret gets out and the ―pinky‖ promise has been broken. How can anyone be so silly to believe that ―pinky‖ promises actually last, those games are for children right? Not really because so many times in life we make ―pinky‖ promises to God and don‘t
Think about how many empty promises you made to God and you knew your whole heart wasn‘t into it, if this were ―pinky‖ swearing rules you would be considered a liar. It‘s like putting one hand behind your back while making the promise with the other. Don‘t be two-faced with God for he knows the motives of your heart and knows when you are lying to him. May your vow to God never be broken and may you keep every promise that you have made to him. (Continued on page 17)
I bet God pictured himself making a ―pinky‖ promise with us and decided instead of forfeiting our inheritance in him or going back on his own Word he swore upon himself. Think about Abraham was with God and was sworn to be the father of many nations (Genesis 12) until he had to wait on God. When the waiting came, Abraham grew weary and impatient. His ―pinky‖ promise went from being a promise to a ―maybe‖ to God because he couldn‘t see what God was doing. May we never doubt what God is doing, but trust in him that the promise he made to us will come to past. Think about it a ―pinky‖ promise is two-sided which means if God made the promise your response to that should be ―Ill obey you Lord while I wait‖. Make a decision to obey God while you wait to see what he has in store for you. Promises are only broken when you don‘t do the little things like obey God, trust him, and heed whatever he may tell you to do. In this case God told Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac, Abraham made preparations to do so when all of a sudden God intervened! God stopped what Abraham wanted to do and he blessed him instead. God promised to make Abraham the ―Father of many Nations‖, why would he then have him kill the promise he worked so hard to get. The purpose of the wait is to teach one to be patient, but to also gain faith in God. God wanted to see if Abraham was willing and because he was God blessed him. When God gave Abraham his promise he swore by himself to bless him (Genesis 22:16). No else but God will work on your behalf to bless you when you keep
your ―pinky‖ promise to him! God gave Abraham a promise, made him wait, and then gave him the blessing. Some things are worth fighting for and Abraham did just that. God blessed his descendants and gave him what he promised him. Make a mental note to keep your ―pinky‖ promises to God and when you do he will bless you tremendously. God is faithful and just to those, whose faith, hope, strength, joy, and peace is him. Learn to wait for your promise in God when you do he will give you what he swore by himself for you to have.
E B O n Y O m A R
P E R R y 18
Growing up around music, made it clear to Ebony Omar Perry what his passion in life would be. Pursuing a life that would change the course of those headed in the wrong direction would be the easiest choice Ebony Omar would make. He grew rapidly as a vocalist being influenced by Marvin Winans, Kim Burrell, Michael Jackson, and Whitney Houston. His earliest success in music began at the age of 8, when he sang a cover of the Sam Cooke classic ―What a wonderful world‖. This performance left a lasting impression on all those who heard it. At the age of 13, he began directing the senior choir at his church. Going on to win several Choral Competitions while in High School, it was obvious to Ebony Omar what he should be doing.
within the schools of Detroit. Forming and directing choirs at Rosa Parks Middle School and Durfee Middle School. This not only served as an outlet for the children; but it attracted teachers, faculty, parents and members of the community to hear the choirs perform. During this time, Ebony Omar shared the stage with musical greats such as Donald Lawrence, Oscar Hayes, L‘Renee, Martha Munizzi, Kurt Carr, Triumph Church Choirs and Pastor Marvin Winans. Ebony Omar auditioned for the reality television show ―Sunday‘s Best‖ and made the final ten for the Detroit region. Although Ebony Omar worked in various fields such as Modeling, he knew that music was his calling. He received words of encouragement from Musical ―Big Brother‖ Richard Smallwood, and guidance from the Holy Spirit. Now, Ebony Omar is going solo and working on his Debut project. He along with his manager have created a team of writers, arrangers and producers who will have great impact on the music industry. The highly anticipated debut album by Ebony Omar is scheduled to be released in late 2011.
Changing lives would be the most important part of Ebony Omar‘s journey so he went on to study Science in order to become a teacher and work in Education. He continued his post secondary education and obtained a Masters in Principalship from Central Michigan University. However while studying to work in Education, Ebony Omar did not stray away from the musical scene. He founded a choir called the Levitical Voices, with close friend Jerome Threlkeld who traveled the state of Michigan performing in front of thousands and becoming known for their distinct sound. Ebony Omar went on to join Perfecting Church where he was placed in the Detroit Recording Choir: Perfected Praise. While a member of the choir, he was called upon to lead various songs. During this time he also served as part of the Praise and Worship team. He has been compared to the likes of Isaac Carree, Brandy Norwood, Kenny Lattimore, Tonex, and Joe. Ebony Omar is easily recognized by his divergent voice.
http://twitter.com/ebonyomar http://youtube.com/omarrperry http://myspace.com/ebonyoperry Booking Agent firstname.lastname@example.org
While working as a teacher for the Detroit Public Schools, Ebony Omar kept music alive 19
community of life-long friendships but they take time to nurture those relationships, to deliberately keep them growing and vibrant with regular, consistent, opportunities to be together. The operative word here being, ―together‖. ―Together‖ is a beautiful word. It is an adverb meaning people are present with each other. And not just physically present but mentally, emotionally, and wholeheartedly engaged in the moment. The world has become a busy place. We raise families, work full-time jobs, chauffer children to after-school activities, volunteer, work-out, participate in our own activities, and more. Balance? What is that? Busy is good. It means we are productive. Unfortunately, in our quest to do better, have more, contribute more, be more than the last generation, we have lost something they value still; the art of real connection. In our busyness, we lose our connection to both others and ourselves. We must be in relationship with someone. We were made for it. Science has proven that elderly people who have good relationships live longer. Notice it was not those who have accomplishments, blog mentions or possessions that live longer but those with good relationships. So how do we cultivate relationships today? Do we slow down? Dial back? Say, ―No!‖ or ―Not, today‖ so we can make more time for family, friends, rest or someone who may need encouragement? No. Instead we reach for a facsimile of connection.
Get Connected By C.C. Shumake
My husband and I were having dinner with another couple at a local Brazilian steakhouse. The food was good. The conversation was stimulating. The company was exceptional. Our discussions take off in varied directions. We cover topics from politics to travel to the best cuts of meat and answer questions like: ―What was one of the greatest lessons God taught you this year?‖ Gratitude for the fellowship was in every gesture as we struggled to find a reason to leave the restaurant. One of the questions we found ourselves delving into was, ―What wisdom is God speaking to your life now?‖ One person in our dinner party talked about connection. They mentioned they were recently in the company of their parents, who have been married for a little over 50 years, and a few of their parents‘ long-time friends. They watched as their parents and their friends sat and talked and enjoyed each other‘s company for hours on end. In and of itself, this is not unusual. What is unusual is that this is their practice. They regularly get together with friends, at least once a month, take vacations together, hunt and fish together and just generally do life... together. They not only have a
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Facebook™, Twitter™, LinkedIn™, and the like, have created an illusion of intimacy. It is understandable. We call the people we are connected to through Social Media, ―friends‖. The virtual associations are called ―relationships‖. Most we have never met, much less spent time with. And it is hurting us. We have a shortened attention span, people become opportunities, projects, versus someone whom we might enjoy. The ability to be with someone without checking the phone at least once an hour makes a lot of people nervous, as if they are missing something more important than the person sitting in front of them. I know someone who attended a seminar and the presenter was tweeting while speaking to the attendees. This person went on to say, ―I felt as if building her platform was more important to her than making sure I had a good understanding the information we paid good money to hear her present.‖ Now please do not get me wrong. Social media has its‘ place. It is great for bringing together like-minded individuals who can exchange ideas. It is necessary for those who wish to build a platform to support their ministry or career. It is wonderful for reconnecting old friends. It can be used for good like getting the word out about a worthy cause or sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ. But a place is all it should have. It is Pinocchio, before he became a ―real little boy‖; a mere imitation of the real. Use it to provoke conversation, promote an idea but never to replace the joy of being with people you love
or welcoming a new person to your life. We are a body, the Body of Christ, and should know those that labor among us. This implies more than just disembodied interfaces via our computer screens. This is a call to become familiar with each other. It means when I see J in your status I actually am well acquainted with the fact that your nose scrunches up when you smile. It means when I read ―smh‖ in your latest tweet I know that the eyes which were rolling as your head was shaking are a deep chocolate brown. It means when you call me ―friend‖ we have at least met. Of course this will not be the case for all 1,000 of your Facebook friends nor with all 500 of your LinkedIn connections, but you get my point. Slow down, look around, and invest in the people God has placed in your life. I want to issue a challenge. As we enter the time of year traditionally marked by togetherness, pronounce a moratorium on illusory connections. I dare you to put down the mouse, step away from the keyboard and declare the last week of this year, December 24th through December 31st, Social Media Blackout Week. Now while that is a great place to start it is just the beginning. Sometimes it is not enough to NOT do something. Replace a ―not to do‖ with a ―to do‖. During that week pick up the phone, call your aunt and invite her out for lunch. Take some cookies to your neighbor. Spend an afternoon sledding with your godson. Do something … anything … only do it together. Merry Christmas and Blessed New Year! 21
Luke 2:20 “And the shepherds returned glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen…”
As we prepare to bring yet another year to a close; reflecting upon all that has transpired (the closing of banks, job loss, rising gas prices and increased foreclosures), just as the shepherds we should give praise and thanks to God for blessing us and bringing us through. The season of Christmas is a celebration of life and love. It is a time of gifting- the sharing of one‘s blessings with another. So as we come together with family and friends to celebrate life and love, let us not forget those less fortunate than ourselves. For if fate had been different, it could have been us. And in some cases it should have been us. But because of God‘s gift of favor it wasn‘t us. So for all that we have heard, seen and been through, we should be glad. As for everyday that God blesses us to awaken another day He is giving us another chance not just to make a difference in our own lives but in the lives of others as well. So this Holiday season I share with you the gift of love and remember… Although this life is not meant to be forever, Your gift of love can help to make it better By sharing those things that really matter A smile, a touch, the joy of laughter Being someone‘s sunshine on an otherwise cloudy day Because you called to make sure that they were okay Extending the touch of your caring hand To let them know you understand That whatever it is that they might be going through That God will be there to help them And so will you So while this life may not be forever Know your gift of love can help to make it better. Yvette Johnson aka Nspire The Inspirational Poet I laugh because I live I live because I love I love because God loved me first. Yj All that I have accomplished and experienced in this life I owe to God He owes me nothing and yet He provides for my every need.
Blessings of Inspiration, Joy and Peace this Holiday Season
To whom much is given, much is required … By LEE WILLIAMS
There comes a time in our lives when life gets good for us. The bills are paid on time. The children are OK. The car is running. Everything is fine.
in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you,‖ (Matt. 6:1-4 NIV).
But, when we are called on to help someone in need like offering up a warm bed, a pair of shoes, help with a resume or help at the homeless shelter, we fall silent.
When we focus on serving others instead of ourselves, then we are doing the true will of God. We have to be a blessing for others in the same way God has been a blessing to us.
We are quick to ask for help, but slow to give it. The importance of giving is a principle that many of us fail to grasp, but Christians must give to others. ―Give and it will be given to you,‖ (Luke 6:38 NIV).
So, the next time someone asks you for a helping hand, before you say no, just stop for a minute and ask yourself, ―Am I doing what is pleasing to me or what is pleasing to God?‖ and act accordingly.
As Christians, we should seek ways to help others because the truth is many of us would not be where we are today if someone did not lend us a hand, leave us an inheritance, or pray for us. To whom much is given, much is required (Luke 12:48).
Ms. Lee Williams is an award-winning journalist and she resides in Atlanta, GA. She teaches math and English to adults and children. She can be reached via e-mail at
How can we say we are demonstrating we are true followers of Christ when we refuse to help others no matter how big or small the request? If we do not have compassion for others, can we really claim to love God?
Jesus teaches us that if someone asks you for something we should give it cheerfully and in confidence. ―When you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do 23
My daughter accepted Jesus as her savior and was baptized at the age of 5. Some might say this is too young, that she did not understand what she was doing, or even that I had brainwashed her. Yes, I heard them all. God kept reminding me that He calls us to have a childlike faith, and that Jesus reminds us to let the children come to him. I knew she understood exactly what she was doing, and since then she has taught me about childlike faith and what it looks like to fall in love with Jesus. It is amazing. She hasn't read the bible, and what she does know about Jesus and the scriptures have been taught to her Sunday school teacher, her teachers at school, and also myself. Yet, she loves Jesus so deeply that it brings her to tears, literally. One day we were in the car, and I heard her crying. This seemed odd because nothing had happened to make her cry, she was just crying. When I asked her why she was crying, she innocently told me that she wanted to be in Heaven right now because she wanted to see Jesus. She went on to tell me how much she loved him and missed him. I was astonished to say the least. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that she is in love with Jesus. Think about when you first fell in love with someone. When you fall in love nothing else matters, and all you can think about is the person you
love. You wake up thinking about them, and you go to sleep thinking about them. Also, when you are not with them it hurts, and you have this overwhelming desire to be with that person again. To top it all off you will do ANYTHING to be with that person. Guess what...THIS IS HOW WE SHOULD FEEL ABOUT JESUS! I'm not saying everyone should break down and cry at the drop of a hat because they can't physically be with Jesus right now, but what I am saying is that when you love Jesus you put him first and love him with all your heart. "Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength." (Deuteronomy 6:5). This is the first commandment. We should love God first above everything else, including others. Jesus loves you more than you could ever imagine. He loves you so deeply that he sits and waits on the other end of the phone line for you call. Patiently he waits to hear from you. Your phone line to God is prayer. You don't have to pay a monthly bill, long distance fees, or overage charges. It is completely FREE, and you can contact him anywhere and at anytime. When you start spending time with God, intimate prayer time, your heart will start to fall for him. It is inevitable. You will FALL IN LOVE WITH JESUS. He is amazing! 24
You will make it There was an elderly man, who was sitting on his front porch, one sunny Saturday afternoon while addressing his grand-children he had this to say; You will make it when you get up off your seat You will make it when you don’t accept defeat You will make it when you realise the life you live is not beat You will make it when you learn with Christ there’s victory You will make it when you realise faith without works is dead You will make it when you know to walk with Christ you will be led You will make it when you realise with Christ you will be fed You will make it when you come to know God’s truth You will make it when you learn to pray and abide by the rules You will make it even if you didn’t go to school You will make it when you learn selfish ways don’t make you cool You will make it when you realise you need Christ to walk this road You will make it when you get a qualification You will make it when you by-pass discrimination You will make it when you realise Christ already paid the price You will make it when you are not bitter with this life You will make it when you play fair and treat people well You will make it when you learn to forgive others and yourself You will make it when you realise the power of love You will make it with blessings from above You will make it when your determination is stronger than steal You will make it when negative words bounce off your back for real You will make it when you look at your mistakes and say at least I tired You will make it even they say access denied You will make it when you look adversity in the eye You will make it when you look at the past and say good bye You will make it when you realise you are not alone You will make it when you learn to trust Christ to the bone You will make it even when you are shaken You will make it when you know you were never forsaken You will make it when you realise He never left you You will make it when your focus on the One who sent you You will make it when you ask God which way to go You will make it when you see open doors You will make it as long as you never give up You will make it when you walk according to the will of God. Juliet Ray © - Gospel Messenger Julietray.com
LIFE DOESN’T GO ACCORDING TO PLAN
You can learn and contribute; you can reap and sow, you can plan and dream and aim for the sky, you can save and thrive or live each moment as it is your last, you can offer a helping hand and share a smile or two, but when your world comes crashing down, you have a given choice on what to do. The given choice is rise above and reach for the love, make it better and lean on strength through faith, reach out and up and from within for this will sustain you to gain and again begin. Security will change but you will grow from the love that you can’t help but know. Make this the wisest choice as life is a serious affair, each decision made accelerates the soul to another level, yet keep it real and pure, have a laugh or two, as spreading the joy and love will benefit more than you. Accelerate your spiritual learning’s and lean on the One who is there to hold your hand and keep you warmly in the sun. Don’t close a door but build a bridge, share with others the light that you will omit, express and release from with in as it is always better to give then sin. No one walks alone, life does not go according to plan, a back up is wise but rarely devised for one to let go and go on. Look up, pull from within and grasp the hand of the One who will engage you in His steady, gracious, ever so rewarding long-term plan. Heidi-Maria Schilling
Married without, well, you know – Intimacy
There are untold Christians, both saints and leaders alike living in a marriage without intimacy, or sex as the true term is coined. This terminology for this type of marriage, whether Christian or not is deemed a “sexless marriage.” More than you know! According to experts, a sexless relationship is one in which the frequency of sex has dwindled to 10 times or less in a year. Statistics suggest that more than 15-20% of couples in America come under this category. That’s a one fourth of American couples and includes religious couples! The intimate connection that results from sex is often the glue that holds a marriage together. As human beings, we are hard-wired to crave a special sense of intimacy with an28
other human being. That is why people who are in a sexless relationship feel lonely, heard, depressed and emotionally unfulfilled. The problem is that often only one spouse no longer wants to have sex while the other one still craves it. And rather than deal with these vital issues, oftentimes the one spouse that is without such intimacy attempts to fill the void by being extra active in other areas of their life, such as church ministry, sports, hobbies, etc. And while these areas of activity “sound” good, it is not only wrong, but it is an almost impossible unsustainable task to “go without” intimacy simply by sheer fact that God made us this way. Intimacy comes (Continued on page 29)
from God. The devil perverts it outside of marriage, but intimacy and sex still comes from God’s design for our marriages. Lead me not into temptation In particular, for us as Christians, this poses an added danger – infidelity. When the spouse is forced to “fend for themselves” it poses the potential temptation in their path, and many times the spouse that is withholding has no idea that their actions of not being intimate is in fact a key factor in pushing their spouse into fidelity. It’s noted in many counseling sessions by many Christian counselors that when probing into situations of infidelity, many surprising twists and turns pop up that reveal that it’s not only the responsibility of the one that fell into adultery, but a surprising number finds that it is often the spouse that remained visibly faithful that oftentimes is the culprit of “pushing” their spouse into the cold, open field for the enemy to hunt down. Even many times not even realizing it! Excuses! Excuses! According to columnist Sheeri Mitchell, she writes to Christian women about Christian couples in a sexless marriage... "I have heard every excuse imaginable – whether it’s not having enough time, being worn down by housework (not to mention that he (meaning the husband) doesn’t help with the 29
housework or the children), needing to unwind from a long workday herself, being unhappy with her body, being repulsed by his body, working through resentment against him for something he did this morning, last week, ten years ago…I have truly heard some doosies...But an excuse is an excuse is an excuse no matter how cleverly or eloquently phrased it is. And apart from 6weeks postpartum recovery, other physical conditions that prevent a couple from being able to have sex, and/or damage resulting from abuse, truthfully, there just isn’t any excuse that holds up for a wife not “giving it up” regularly... Here’s the deal: Sexually active men need sex often…not once a month, not once a year, not only on holidays – but often. Websites, books, television shows overflow with information about the difference between the sexual needs of men and women. Some wives (and even a few husbands) are like sexual camels, able to go years without sexual intercourse. But most healthy husbands need sex just to function. I can’t imagine that there is an adult woman breathing who is not aware of this fact. But just in case there is, let me make it plain."
Knowledge is power â€“ understanding brings victory! Understand, that especially for a husband, this is a part of who he is and if this is withheld, you have withheld not only a physical command by God, but also the love and commitment you promised by marriage. In essence, when you withhold physical intimacy from your spouse, whether husband or wife, you are breaking your marriage vows and putting your spouse in a position of vulnerability and temptation. Physical intimacy is healing and brings a closeness that absolutely nothing else, from talking to playing, to worshiping, etc. can do. This is how God made a marriage to be. For the partner who is left to an empty sex life by the other, the emotions and feelings bring rejection, low self-esteem, frustration, confusion, loneliness and a myriad of deep, hurtful feelings, regardless of wife or husband. Many don't realize, that if a spouse puts their partner in this type of situation, and their partner falls into infidelity, they are just as responsible as their partner. Matt. 18:6, if you cause one of God's children to sin, it would have been better to tie a huge stone around your neck and sink in the depth of the sea. 2nd Corinthians 7:2-5, "But since there is so much immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman her own husband. 3The 30
husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. 4The wife's body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband's body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife. 5Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer." Warning Signs! There are some obvious signs that alert you to the possibility of your marriage going the sexless way. The first of these is when the frequency of regular intimate contact begins to decrease dramatically. Of course, in most marriages, the initial fervor dies down after some time. Still, many couples work out a pattern that keeps them both satisfied. But if you find that even the smallest and simplest of gestures is unwelcome, then you may be in for trouble. Cycles of sexless marriages: Partner A refuses intimacy with partner B for whatever reason. Partner B becomes deeply hurt, confused and eventually resentful at Partner A. Partner B hurts back at Partner A in various ways that add insult to injury, furthering the dissolving of this marriage. Partner A becomes resentful and angry at the hurtful actions of Partner B.
A spiral of hurt, distance and a total breakdown of communication occurs until the marriage completely shatters. Usually both partners blame the other partner and sometimes even justify the breakup by a noble cause of some sort. Can my sexless marriage be fixed? Absolutely! We were speaking with a University student the other day who asked a similar question of whether or not a marriage that is far gone and broken can be fixed. Without hesitation the answer is almost always, â€œYes!â€? It just takes willingness and determination and any marriage is fixable! So, here are some ways to help the situation and of course the main thing is to make intimacy a priority: Make it a point to think thoughts that are related to sex with your spouse throughout the day. When you were dating, you daydreamed about your future husband. The image of him, his voice, waiting for letters in the mail, phone calls, his kisses, his cologne, etc. it's been said that men (Christian or not) have a sexual thought every 20-40 seconds. it is vital for the relationship to be healthy that the wife must 31
develop the habit of thinking about sex for her husband. As stated by Sheeri Mitchell, "Instead of letting your mind wander to the bills, the kids, the bills, your aging parents, the bills, learn how to fantasize about your husband." This falls under the scripture, "Taking every thought captive". Put it in your schedule or on the calendar. Make it part of your routine. This part is for your husband. Your part is when there is what's called "gourmet" sex, when there is extra long, special romance and time taken. Pursue him more often. Make it a point to instigate sex and chase him down for sex. Be the first and you will have his heart in your hands to trust. Read positive books and resources that give you better understanding. Do not talk with your friends or church friends about your bedroom life. You are destroying your trust and relationship with your spouse. If your schedule and business is making you too tired for your husband, then you are
too busy period. Get rid of something to accommodate. You are telling your husband that he is not as important as your list of items on your to do list. This will destroy your relationship. Many do not realize just how bad they need the intimacy until after having intimacy. We get used to routine as creatures of habit. Even negative routines. When we continue the negative cycle, we think this is "normal" simply because we have been doing it continually for so long. That's the farthest thing from the truth. We can deceive ourselves out of a life of richness and love that comes with being close and intimate often. Intimacy is healing and will continue the bond between husband and wife that absolutely nothing else will. Deal with the problems preventing WANTING sex, but be effective. Saying goes, "ready, aim, fire!". You may be ready to heat things up a bit, but before you start doing things to reignite the passion, "aim first." First find out exactly what is causing the lack of desire. THEN deal with those things. 32
Many times a partner will try all kinds of things they think would kindle the fire, only to be burned themselves by frustration that it seemed like it didn't do anything. Aim at your target. Don't just shoot, aim. Find out specifics by discussing this in depth with your partner. Then shoot at the target. Bullseye! Conclusion So, as with any important task in marriage, after ascertaining that there is indeed a problem that needs addressing, working on these tips will greatly improve your momentum in becoming an intimate couple again. Remember, intimacy comes from God, and is also required by God. Whether it be our walk with Him, or as husband and wife, it is Godâ€™s absolute plan for our marriage. Make intimacy a priority and you will be amazed at how blue the sky can be, and how sweet the birds can chirp once again!
Pastors Mike & Trisha Fox
Truth In The Inward Places
better why the Bible speaks so much about knowing God in the ―inward places,‖ in the ―inner parts,‖ or, in some archaic translations, the ―bowels.‖ At that moment in time, the writer is speaking about knowing God in every aspect of their being. They believed in God, in His truth, in the inward places. It wasn‘t just something they wore on their sleeve, but something they had and carried within them, at all times, until it was an integral part of their being. They had truth in the inward places. It was about more than saying the right thing: it was having the right thing speaking to them, no matter what was going on in their lives. ―Faith‖ is a word we throw around a lot today to mean anything and everything we desire at that moment. Sometimes we use it as a key to get material things, at other times it‘s a defense mechanism, and still yet, it can even be used as a weapon. Above all, faith is a true assurance that we know the things of God are true - even when we don‘t see them, can‘t feel them, and wonder where God is at that time and place. Faith isn‘t necessarily what we post on Facebook, shout in church pulpits, or the signs we hold on the street corner, but is, instead, what we really believe and what we truly seek and follow after in the inward places, when no one is looking, and when nobody even would think to care. It is, in the end, how we define our relationship with God and the authority we stand upon or choose not to stand upon - at the end of every single day and situation in our lives.
By: Apostle Dr. Lee Ann B. Marino, Ph.D., D.D.
Healing. Spiritual gifts. God. The Word of God. Revelation. Truth. These terms illicit many automatic responses in people who claim to be believers. Most of us are quick to say we believe in these things. Sometimes we are quick to align with popular notions about them, and at other times, we are clear to contradict common belief about these matters with teaching we know about them. We voice opinions about these matters essential to our life of faith. Every one of us has a public record of our visible belief, things that we say about these matters for others to witness. We can all look right, say all the right things, and appear to be perfect examples of faith and practice on the surface. We can go through things and have everyone thinking we are the perfect model of belief in the midst of them. On the surface, things may seem model...but what do we do in the nights when we are alone with God and our problems? Do we believe as we claim? Do we really believe in healing, spiritual gifts, God, the Word of God, revelation, and truth? Do we believe these things apply to ourselves, or do we just believe in them hypothetically? Are they a musing, or a reality? I‘ve titled this article ―Truth In The Inward Places‖ because I am understanding 33
THE BIRTH OF GOD ’S SON “This is my son in whom I am well pleased.” Mary was chosen she was chaste and pure. The Holy Ghost hovered over and covered her… And through Immaculate Conception she conceived. She was God’s acceptance. It was not done by IVF injection, or, natural conception. Some people believed. Some don’t, and some won’t… But the fact remains Mary had a baby boy. He was born in a manger, in Bethlehem A great historical day of remembrance The birth of God’s son His name is JESUS CHRIST He was the ONLY ONE Sent from Heaven above And was confirmed with a dove God did not make a mistake. This is not the time just to have a break The FESTIVE TIME is to CELEBRATE and APPRECIATE That JESUS is the REASON for the SEASON. It reminds us what God has done through His ONE and ONLY SON. He died for you and I and sits In HEAVEN and does cry. JESUS died on the CROSS To save the world from their sins What does the crucifixion mean to you? God’s people have forgotten their FIRST LOVE from ABOVE. He died SIMPLY because of LOVE. The BIRTH of JESUS is not just “A long time ago... No.” It’s REALITY and not just NATIVITY. It’s definitely not jackanory a fictional story (Continued on page 35)
We have become so commercialized and materialized Spend, spend, spend and we tend to forget Who God did send. The birth of God’s son His name is JESUS CHRIST He was the ONLY ONE Sent from Heaven above And was confirmed with a dove We’ve heard it from of old it has been foretold. That the world is coming to an end. JESUS will be coming back bursting through the clouds. Every eye shall see him in the sky. And every knee shall bow and confess that HE IS LORD. Are you ready for the return of the Lord? JESUS CHRIST the KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS is coming back. REMEMBER THE BIRTH OF GOD’S SON HIS NAME IS JESUS CHRIST HE WAS THE ONLY ONE… Happy Thanksgiving Happy Holidays Happy Christmas Happy New Year www.poetessmaureenmorgan.com
Matthew 2:1 Luke 2:1-15 Luke 3:22 Philippians 2:10-11 Revelations 19:16 1 Thessalonians 4:14-18
“The Kingdom of Love” Have you ever been to a different country, where the customs and ways of life are nearly opposite to your own? Or have you ever experienced being in another part of the globe that speaks your same language, but has different meanings for some of the very words that you use on a daily basis in your own country?
English-speaking friend of mine was very adamant that she was not going to call what we North Americans consider a “cookie” by its Aussie name. She had such great disdain for the way that the Aussies spoke, spelled and how they lived in general; I was at times embarrassed by her behavior. As gracious as our Australian friends were, I am certain that they were not thrilled with having to be around a critic from another country who made it known that she thought her own land was superior.
The American “cookie” versus the Australian “biscuit” is a great example. In America, a small, round, chocolate, chewy or crunchy object that you dunk in milk is called a cookie, while people down under refer to the same object as a biscuit. A “biscuit” in America, however, is what Aussies call a “scone.”
I had another friend who was from the USA and who was the opposite of the previously mentioned friend. At times she felt that she almost spoke a different language to the Aussies (although both countries have English as the primary language), yet she consistently showed interest in the Australian accent, spelling, and culture.
As an American living in Australia, I caught on quickly to the fact that although we spoke the same language, Australians and myself had different names for many different objects. I remember when an
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Both friends walked with Jesus on a daily basis, but there was a magnetic attraction to my American friend over the other because of the rapport and respect that my American friend gained by taking a genuine interest in the people of a culture that was different to hers. And unlike the other friend, she did not try to change our Aussie friends in order to be content with their friendship.
draws people to Him. The moment we try to show how “separate” or “religious” we can be, those who do not know Him will lose interest in Him. Those who do not know Him do not need those who do know Him to make them feel more condemnation then they already feel.
As believers, this world is not our home and we are under no obligation to the spirit of “This is how everyone will recognize that you this world (1 Corinthians 2:12). We are, are my disciples—when they see the love you however, His holy people, given the awehave for each other" (John 13:35, Message). some privilege of declaring the praises of Him who called us out of darkness (1 Peter I am not picking on my friends here, but I 2:9). Our holiness (and the holiness of othdo want to focus on what Jesus said to his ers) is not dependent upon a change of vodisciples and make a parallel. Jesus excabulary or custom; holiness happens when plained that it is our love that makes us we separate ourselves unto Jesus, and allow stand out in the crowd, not what we have His love to wash over us. separated ourselves from. We do not stand out to others simply because we have a bet- As you walk in a world that is not your own, ter way of doing life or a great purpose. We be sure to make LOVE the goal. It is His make real and lasting marks on those great love that calls people out of the dark around us when we love them enough to and into the wonderful light of His kinggenuinely find out about their lives and not dom. treat them as another notch in the witnessing belt, or another person who “needs Jesus.” We ALL need Jesus, on a daily basis. Just because my speech may be cleaner than someone else’s does not mean that I do not need Him in my life as much as they do. Regardless of who we find ourselves surrounded by (the un-churched, the unsaved, the highly religious, the homeless, the needy, the poor or the wealthy), we must remember that it is the love of Jesus in us that 37
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