“Hatred” Is Not the Answer

So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.
Genesis 1:27

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35

ALL PEOPLE will know when we love one another.

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.

Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.

In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him.

In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us. 1 John 4:7-12

His love is perfected in us when we love one another.

There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother. 1 John 4:18-21

If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar. We are to love one another!

Naomi Tutu Nontombi, an Episcopal priest, is able to look into the words and wisdom of Amos to see a way of being, of living out Christianity

“…it is about how they are to live as a people in the world. They are meant to model a new way of being in community and to show that worshipping God is about every aspect of their lives. Worship of God is . . . all about how we treat our neighbor, how we deal with the less fortunate, what we do to or for the widow and orphan, and how we treat the stranger in our midst. Amos tries . . . to make it clear to God’s people that the God who created and loves them, expects that their belief in God will challenge them to live lives that mirror God’s love. . . .”

This includes:

LGBTQIA/gay/queer community – Rather than condemnation, they are to be loved too.

Immigrant communities – Each immigrant is seeking a better way to live. Our families were immigrants once too, seeking a better life, no matter how many generations we must go back to find those family members.

African-American community – Created in God’s image are many skin tones. Most were brought here to the USA as slaves. This fact does not make them any less of a beautiful human being than any one else.

Jewish-American community – Those practicing the Jewish religion have been created in God’s image as well. They are called the Children of God, by God Himself.

Asian community – God created a diverse array of human beings. The Asian community is part of the beautiful creation of God.

Women – Women, created by God, have a brain and an ability to make decisions. May we be allowed!

Diversity is who and what God created. Just look all around you at the glories of the natural world. It is filled with diversity. He made men and women diverse, as well, and beautiful! All people!

Love one another!

The New Colossus, by Emma Lazarus, 1883

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

Welcome all. Love all!

We can do this. God gave us His Word to orchestrate the beautiful dance He desired of us.

God, Lord of all creation, lover of life, please help me to love in my small way what You love infinitely and every where. I thank You that I can offer a prayer and that it will be enough, because every thing and every one is connected; nothing stands alone in Your world, God. To pray for one part is to pray for the whole. And I do.  Help me each day to stand for love, for healing, for the good, for the diverse unity of the Body of Christ and all creation, because I know this is what You desire: as Jesus prayed, that all may be one. I offer my prayer together with Christ, our Lord. Amen.

I am …

LGBTQ Pride Flag @ wallup.net https://wallup.net/gay-pride-flag-rainbows-colorful-sky-clouds-san-francisco-windy-culture-lgbt/

Nontombi, Naomi Tutu, “The Prophetic Future of Christianity,” Oneing 7, no. 2, The Future of Christianity (Fall 2019): 80–81.82. 

Photo of Statue of Liberty Dawn @ MobileHDWalls

The Measure of an Aging Woman – Guest post on Blessed Transgressions

 

themeasure

Just what is the measure of a woman who has grown to an old age? When the joints hurt doing simple household chores? When she feels unable to help herself or those she cares about? What if she lives in a total care facility — even has to wear a diaper? Or when Dementia or Alzheimer’s or a stroke or heart attack has taken the mind or abilities away? From a physical standpoint, old age seems immeasurable.

The world measures by physical beauty — slender figure, wholesome complexion, youthful hair color and agility. When so much of that worldly beauty changes, what is there to measure? Gray hairs, wrinkles, poor eyesight, hearing loss, protruding belly, mental slowness? The world’s yardstick is tough on her.  The moral and spiritual character often is torn asunder. Yet, God measures differently.

Creator God made His children in His Image. Can one allow the world to be the judge? God is Judge — He sets the standard. No other. Beginning to end, He sustains, carries, and promises.

Follow me to Ericka’s site ~ Blessed Transgressions for the rest of this post.

newfpmass2

8213ba8b106f9c53124e7f45360e2f1f

He Has Dealt Bountifully With Me

gbdblog_button_zps2b5eecb6

(I am blessed to be a guest devotional writer today over at Granola Bar Devotional.)

gbdlindagillsing_edited-1-1024x816

I would cry out, “How long, O Lord? How long” as I would leave the nursing home where my mother spent the last five years of her life. Due to a terrible fall and surgery, Mama would never be able to fully walk again. Previously, her mind had slipped into a roller coaster of dementia-ridden fear, repetition, accusation, jealousy, confusion, and hallucinations. Diabetes turned to Type 1 at age 85, making her insulin-dependent until the day she died at age 98. Then in her last year of life, she got an extremely painful, odd cancer.

I loved my Mama dearly and she loved her family. I loved to see her smile, hear her laughter, feel her motherly arms around me.  She lived near me the last fifteen years of her life where I watched and lived her life daily so also watched the hard side to aging.

Mama was one of those 1940s gals who went to work for the war effort. She married a Navy doctor. She owned a dress shop. She raised three daughters alone after Daddy died from Pancreatic cancer. We were only 12, 10, and 7. She had her hands full raising us in the 1960s and 70s, but she did. She loved us through the hard places, never giving up on any of us. She took care of herself. She was just an amazing lady.

As her body and mind deteriorated in her aged years, I saw my proud, strong mother become dependent, confused, in pain. Mama could be so afraid over something imaginary, be so angry or jealous with those who cared for her; her blood sugar would drop so low that she required hand-feeding, or the pain of the cancer would be intense. Anguish built up in me. I would hold on, quietly praying for Him to calm us both. As I left her in the care of others, I would cry out to God, “How long, O LORD?” Not that I wanted her to die for I would (and now do) miss her terribly, but watching her go through so much for so long, I just wondered if God had forgotten her.

He had not. God never left either of us. The number of Mama’s days were in God’s hands. He is the LORD Who sees, Yahweh Roi. God was drawing Mama closer to Himself all along through beautiful avenues. He drew me into His arms of peace, of hope, of gentleness. I can sing with joy for He, indeed, dealt with me bountifully.

Memory Verse:
“But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation. I will sing to the LORD, because he has dealt bountifully with me.”
– Psalm 13:5-6 (ESV)

Prayer Prompt:
“Father God, I rejoice and sing to You. You truly have dealt with me bountifully and lovingly….”

Originally published @ @ Granola Bar Devotional…

This post has been linked up through Granola Bar Devotional FaceBook as well @ https://www.facebook.com/GBDevotional

31 Days of God-Woven Moments – October 25

31 days PNG

And the king stood by the pillar and made a covenant before the LORD, to walk after the LORD and to keep his commandments and his testimonies and his statutes with all his heart and all his soul, to perform the words of this covenant that were written in this book. And all the people joined in the covenant.  And the king commanded Hilkiah the high priest and the priests of the second order and the keepers of the threshold to bring out of the temple of the LORD all the vessels made for Baal, for Asherah, and for all the host of heaven. He burned them outside Jerusalem in the fields of the Kidron and carried their ashes to Bethel.  2 Kings 23:3-4

And he broke down the houses of the male cult prostitutes who were in the house of the LORD, where the women wove hangings for the Asherah.  2 Kings 23:7

King Josiah took down anything and everything related to idol worship upon making the covenant with the LORD.  He desired to walk in the ways of His God which meant a lot of cleaning, both of the people and their ways.  One aspect of this problem was that the women spent time weaving for an idol (which brings the topic to weaving).

The houses King Josiah broke down were “not solid houses, but tents, called elsewhere [2 Kings 17:30] Succoth-benoth, “the booths of the young women,” who were devoted to the service of Asherah, for which they made embroidered hangings, and in which they gave themselves to unbridled revelry and lust. Or the hangings might be for Asherah itself, as it is a popular superstition in the East to hang pieces of cloth on trees.”  Asherah is…

אֲשֵׁרָה

‘asherah

  1. Ashera(h) = “groves (for idol worship)”

    1. a Babylonian (Astarte)-Canaanite goddess (of fortune and happiness), the supposed consort of Baal, her images

      1. the goddess, goddesses

      2. her images

      3. sacred trees or poles set up near an altar

I know that I have been drawn into places that were not of God.  I know I have allowed satan to lead me along paths where I knew I should not have been.  How easily I was drawn into things that are worldly, calling me into disobedience to God.  In reading this (and in other books of the Bible) I take a moment to discern whether I have done this creative hobby in any kind of disobedience to God.  I believe not.  But I want to discern any wayward ways and then to make sure I am staying firm in my walk with the LORD.  Prayer, honor, respect and reverence for the LORD, time with Him, walking in faith are where I find my obedience and love for the LORD.

Father, I pray for the ability to stay on the path that You direct for me.  I ask Your forgiveness for those places along my lifelong journey where I have strayed.  I know I have when it comes to idol worship when I wandered into uncharted religions that I would call “New Age” today.  I did not know then what I know now.  I am sorry.  I ask to have a tight hold upon me that I would walk close and straight with You.  I thank You for Your love and care for me.  You loved me first.  I am blessed.  I pray in the Name of Jesus.  Amen.

 

To catch up on the previous days of this 31 day challenge, you can find them listed here.

31 Days of God-Woven Moments – October 12

31 days PNG

During the week with family in California, I spent a couple of hours with my mother’s dearest, lifelong friend who is now 92 years old.  She was so special to my mother that she, and her first husband who has been deceased for many years, were named my godparents.  I called them Aunt A… and Uncle B….  They were close and cared about us almost as much as biological parents.  After moving Mom to Texas in 1998, Aunt A would call me about every 6 weeks to check on Mom.  When Mom was in a good place and felt like talking on the phone, we would call Aunt A.  The two of them would reminisce, catch up on family, and laugh like girls.  They met in 1942 when they worked for the Naval Supply Depot in San Diego, California during WWII.  Mom was 27 and Aunt A was 18.  Mom was given the task to train this young new employee.  They became best of friends and stayed in touch over the many Navy moves we had and then stayed close through the rest of Mama’s life.  After finding out about Mom, Aunt A would always ask about me, how and what I was doing, and then reassured me that she would be praying for me.  She knew that I was in a hard place being a caregiver as she was one twice, for both husbands.  She understood what I could be facing and was always there for me.  I also knew that I could call her to talk, cry, or laugh.  She cared and understood.  I love this woman so.

We were blessed to see her and two of her three daughters.  We loved, laughed, and I had tears at the end.  As I was leaving, not only did I think to myself that this might be the last time I would see her on this earth, but she said to me, “You look so much like Eleanor (my mother).”  Then I turned back around to her and hugged her.  She then said, “When you walked in today, honey, I thought, ‘Oh my, she looks like Eleanor!'”  Tears welled up and they are now as I type these words.  I was so blessed, knowing that I have been truly loved by both women.  Aunt A is so dear to me as was my mother.

I had a God-woven moment that day and am having one now while I type these words.  I am truly in His Presence.

“Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the LORD your God is giving you.  Exodus 20:12


Thank You, Father, for these precious women in my life.  I thank You for my mother.  She bore me, raised me, and loved me for 65+ years.  She was just the best.  I thank You for Aunt A as she still loves me to this day and cares so much.  I was just nine months older than her son whom she has lost now.  I thank You that You gave her three daughters as well.  Her prayers, her care, her love have meant the world to me, especially these past years as I cared for Mama and after Mama died.  She is just so special.  Thank You for the time my sister and I had with her and her daughters last week.  You wove beautiful moments with love and words that I hold dear.  In the Name of Jesus, I pray.  Amen. 

 

To catch up on the previous days of this 31 day challenge, you can find them listed here.