Kumbaya, Fertile Ground & The Forgiveness Echoing From Charleston

He was walking casually through the house singing the words so naturally, playing with a few random toys. I caught the words and I asked him, “Josh, where did you learn that song?”

“From the chipmunk movie,” he responded.

“Something good from a movie,” I thought.

My husband got home and I told him. He pulled the boy close to him and said, “Do you know what Kumbaya means, Josh?”

“No, daddy.”

“It means come by here, Lord. Come by here.”

I read recently that Kumbaya was written by Robert Winslow Gordon in 1927. When he later had it recorded it was sung in Gullah (a creole language) on the islands of South Carolina, reportedly between Charleston and Beaufort.

Charleston. “Come by here, Lord. Come by here.”

How many angels have come near just recently, only Heaven knows.

——–

We sat in the small prayer room, the five of us, today. We reported on illnesses, needs, praises. And we turned to Charleston – this church, these people of God thrown into the spotlight. The whole world watching.

Then a friend in the room mentioned a miracle. A man she knows who has struggled with racism, maybe all his life. He lives in Charleston. He drove by multiple churches on a day following the shooting and the parking lots were overflowing. And then the Spirit did what the Spirit does best – He touched that man. The man said he broke down. He wept. He apologized. He asked forgiveness. In an unexpected moment, no words from another, no preaching, no condemning – he was touched by the love of God. He has reached out to ask forgiveness for those he has offended in the past.

One story in a cloud of stories moving across the land.

All that we hope for, strive for and pray deeply for, the Spirit can do in one short moment with one simple touch.

The Bride of Christ has been tested, and the family of God in Charleston has responded with grace. When forgiveness is the most common word being used, Christ is being glorified. And all over the world, in hearts and cities and small towns, there is fertile ground. Because when trials produce authentic worship, souls are intrigued. Hearts are made pliable again.

In prayer, the Spirit spoke to me about fertile ground today.

“Sow for yourselves righteousness, reap the fruit of unfailing love, and break up your unplowed ground; for it is time to seek the Lord, until he comes and showers righteousness on you.” Hosea 10:12

There are souls, people we have waited upon, perhaps prayed long years for. Many seeds have been planted over time and, like Apollos, we are being called upon to water the seed of faith. It is time.

There are many hurting hearts around us. In Charleston and perhaps across the street from our home. Is there unplowed ground in which we need to offer the work of love and forgiveness.  Ground that has been dry for a long time. Is there a seed we need to plant or water?

Multitudes, multitudes are in the valley of decision! Even now! Who needs our encouragement to persevere? Who needs our courage to share Christ? Who needs our forgiveness?

Forgiveness – as we’ve seen in Charleston – has a ripple effect. Oh, grace, grace be upon the hurting, the grieving souls. And love lead us as we take our place in the ripple and walk in the Spirit of Christ. May we be sensitive and obedient to nurture the seeds of faith in the souls we know and encounter.

Kumbaya, My Lord. Kumbaya.

One of the Hardest and Best Things a Christian Can Do

The hardest things are the best things. What great thing really does come easy?

A basketball coach used to tell me, “if it was easy, everybody would be doing it.” Didn’t really inspire me as I sweat through the next set of suicide runs. But it did push me. I kept running. I kept practicing free throws after everyone else left.

Being the last one in the pool really does pay off. But it’s hard.

We’ve got a really hard thing with being human. Somehow we are either really hard on ourselves or just that way with most everyone else.

And it’s funny really how we still get surprised when someone offends us. Like sometimes it just plain knocks our socks off.

We have better days than others. For good/different reasons. But does it amaze anyone else how quick we are to forget how moody we were yesterday when that guy is rude to us today?

Grace is hard for us to just plain live out. Especially when it comes to being offended.

Let’s be real- offenses happen everywhere. And if you are in ANY kind of leadership role, it’s like your weekly Mode of Operation. Add social media or public speaking, and just monitoring people’s feelings might be your full time job.

At times, it’s been mine. Mostly by my own choosing. Paranoia befriends the leader quite nicely. But it does help when people share their “thoughts” about your “style.”

I once spoke to a group of women about ministry and mentioned that at some point I might offend them. (The context was in regard to the years we would know each other and work together) I was sharing my heart regarding how we could be easier on one another. A woman came up to me after the talk and said, “Ginger, I want you to know nothing in that talk offended me.” (Score one for the speaker.)

I laughed recently about something that could have offended, because- really- it doesn’t matter in the big scheme of things. And not one iota of angst we carry about another soul is going to make our day/month/ year better.

I’ve seen people forgive drunk drivers for taking the life of their child, when I’ve also known women to carry bitterness for YEARS about that one small disagreement/conversation they had in church.

Bitterness really is the heaviest purse to carry.

Women are extremely prone to rehash the entire conversation one million and five times because if ONLY the other person really got it. And then we get all “she just doesn’t understand my personality!”

Thus we run to (read text or call) the one buddy we know will have our back and gripe just as loud about what that other person said because – hello, of course we were right.

On our extra Spirit-led days (thank you Jesus) we are less defensive – until it returns to our mind later because it’s then fully legal to rehash in eyebrow-raising attitude diva form- since we are just talking to ourself. Ahem.

Christianity isn’t easy. How many of us know someone who was offended recently and actually followed the biblical example for handling an offense? (i.e. they went directly to the person to address it IN LOVE instead of talking to others about it) **Matthew 18:15..

Jesus said this kind of thing will win someone over. Why? Because it’s in stark contrast to the world and every FEELING we have.

You wanna talk brave: show me that. Because you can’t go half-way. Doing the right thing first and THEN talking to others about it. That makes you look and sound good, but your spirit sinks about 12 levels later. You always know your own motives. And they follow you.

To take your vulnerability into the ring of honest discussion with someone you’ve chosen not to like will test every bit of your pride.

Who decided we “may have to love everyone but that doesn’t mean we have to like them?”

Doesn’t that reek of someone who chose not to like someone and then justify it?

I get it. We’re all different. We aren’t going to be besties with all the peeps. Lord knows I lean towards certain personality types. Of course we do. I’m not pretending I like the whole world. It just seems like an easy out.

But I think this little saying has gone far enough in defining our boundaries. Because let’s be real: when you choose not to like someone —– you aren’t going to go out of your way to love them.

I don’t remember a parable about Jesus and the “unlikeable dude” that He had to make himself love.

Glennon Doyle Melton wrote a piece recently for Storyline where she said, “maybe the surest way to be liked by people is simply to like people.”

The thing is people really do WANT to be liked. So we’ve been steered in the opposite direction of what people want. Sure – people NEED to be loved. But they want to be liked. Read any evangelism book and you’ll hear about meeting “felt needs” before sharing the gospel. Yeah, empty stomachs have no ears. Maybe the love comes easier after we choose to be interested and meet a need.

Not everyone is going to like me. And I’m going to offend. My job there is to apologize as quickly as I can and move on. We cannot (IN NO SHAPE OR FORM) control how the other person responds. What we can do – is overlook offenses against us. Because when they carry over to bitterness, we decide that person is unlikable and we get that “feeling” every time we see them. How – I say HOW does this help us? Notta. As a  matter of sad fact – it’s uprooting our harvest. The Spirit does not thrive when unforgiveness takes root.

What kind of crazy good things could happen in the Spirit if the churches shook off all the STUFF. If we said today – TODAY – all the things people have said or done to me – IT”S DONE. OVER. As of today, no one, and I mean NO ONE owes me anything.

I will let no debt remain outstanding except the debt to love one another. (Romans 13:8) Yeah – THAT.

I once heard this statement: When you are offended, don’t nurse it or rehearse it; curse it…and God will reverse it!

To overlook an offense might be the bravest of all.

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Linking up today with the beautiful Meredith, kind Holly and word wonder, Jennifer.

Living the Lord’s Prayer: An Invitation to Community

I grew up never knowing who I might sit by for Thanksgiving lunch. The table was open for anyone we knew of who had no other table to sit at. Often this meant friends of my dad or brother who needed a place to land.

pilgrims

gather together

We all need landing places in the hearts of others…in our own time.

When I married a pastor in love with the Lord’s Supper, I began to take it more frequently on holidays, in a warm home, passing the cup round the family table, the heavenly bread going deep down.

There is just something about a table and some bread that can bring us all together. The daily sustenance becoming our common ground. Yeah, Christ knew what He was doing, sitting at that table, lifting the bread, uniting the brothers in the most basic of foods turned miraculous.

“My body, broken for you.”

You – a plural pronoun here. The restoration of us – to God and one another. The table invites the most broken because He was broken for all. We check our hearts, not the heart of the other.

My husband, he says to cup your hands as if to receive. Because you can’t earn this kind of love gift. You come open, empty-handed. We are all empty-handed at the cross. No economics here.

Sara Miles, she claimed “the bread, at the core of Christianity could speak to people whose doctrines ostensibly divided them.” She would know. The crumbly bread touched her atheist lips for the first time and Jesus happened.

I still can’t explain my first communion. It made no sense. I was in tears and physically unbalanced: I felt as if I had just stepped off a curb or been knocked over, painlessly, from behind. The disconnect between what I thought was happening – the piece of bread was the ‘body of Christ,’ a patently untrue or at best metaphorical statement; and what I knew was happening – God, named ‘Christ’ or ‘Jesus” was real, and in my mouth-  utterly short-circuited my ability to do anything but cry.”

This realness we feast on can destroy boundaries we don’t even see. And those we do. Even the boundary of the deepest doubt.

Much like the prayer we’ve voiced for centuries. Monks in soft whispers walk to their rooms at evening time, carrying the words tenderly. Families of cancer patients bond over the pain and these few words, waiting, waiting for some kind of news.

Just about the whole world round knows the words of the only real teaching model Christ every provided. He didn’t teach how to preach or disciple or build mega-churches.

Only this…………….”After this manner therefore, pray ye…”

“Our Father…”

By coming into the family of God, we enter fellowship one with another. We get the whole package. The in-laws and outlaws and every cousin in between. Yeah, every family is a little quirky.

Family. What if we really felt that way…that way about every child of God? That feeling you get when you walk in your own front door and know you are home. Disagreement doesn’t change the family name. You keep coming home to each other.

Mother Teresa said, “If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.”

Then Ann, she comes alongside that statement and says, “the world needs us to belong to each other.”

Yeah, a lot – SO MANY people today feel like they don’t belong. Or that we think they don’t. People in Ferguson and across the street where you and I live. People in my own circles. And sometimes, we have decided who belongs and who really doesn’t.

A girl asked me recently how to know if someone will ever really love her.

We want to be loved. To be liked. We need to belong.

We were made for community.

hands

When Shane Claiborne addresses the question, “Is it Okay for Christians to be Rich?“, he notes the importance of the wording “our daily bread.” He references the early Christian church when he writes,

“Until everyone could eat, no one would eat. In fact, it was the ethic of the early Christians that no one has a right to more than they need while others have less. Vincent de Paul demonstrates this ethic well when he suggests that when we give food to the hungry, our posture should be to get on our knees and ask forgiveness, for we are only returning what is rightfully theirs. ”

The idea of unity did not originate with man. The most beautiful manifestation of community is found in the Trinity, and it is through the Trinity that the church is being unified. We forget that. We forget that the best ideas really are not ours. We forget the strength is not really in our committee meetings or the wit and wisdom of our words.

The Spirit is doing what He has done since the days of that early church: empowering and teaching and guiding us into a unity in Christ that seems (in my spirit) to look much different than man can construct.

On the other side of Unity is a joy we have yet to know and feel and live inside.

I had a dream recently. From Him. In it, the peace and joy I felt as I walked towards Him created this space in which I knew with complete assurance that all things were being made right. It’s what changes cities and restores families and gives us the courage to forgive – the peace and love of God, revealed through His Spirit….touching our deepest places.

I have another dream in my own spirit as I’ve listened and read His Word. Dreams form hopes and when voiced, hope ———> it just might spread.

I dream of a day when…

All evangelism meetings involve every church in the community – because the gospel is central and kingdom soul winning trumps church roll membership.

When vision is city-wide instead of church-wide.

When denominations hold hands across the states in prayer walks through the city.

When churches share the cost of a tent for medical care in town and offer free hair cuts just to love people – no agenda, no flyer to visit “my” church.

When every city offers communion in the public square for all people of every race and creed and class in the hopes of just one soul believing afresh at the moment the bread touches the lips.

When churches are actually less frequented because the members are crowding the parks and laundry mats and yes, bars to seek and save the lost. Yeah, I know a guy who led so many men in a bar to Christ that he caused the bar to shut down.

When gathering as a whole town or city to worship on Christmas Eve by candlelight isn’t just a Hallmark movie. When we find the time to be together, invest together and serve together in the midst of our mess.

When church services never get to the program, because there are too many healings taking place.

When time stops (or we choose to let it) and Fire from heaven determines our Sunday and Monday and Wednesday schedule.

When children are seen and heard and given voice to lead us in worship.

When every building of faith holds a picture of heaven – every nation, every race, every language – and we finally know what beauty is.

Psalm 133

“How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity. It is like precious oil poured on the head, running down on the beard, running down on Aaron’s beard, down upon the collar of his robes. It is as if the dew of Hermon were falling on Mount Zion. For there the Lord bestows his blessing, even life forevermore.

Oh Spirit, we surrender to your love. May we walk or faint, march or kneel to your orders. May your dew fall upon Mount Zion and run all over your people. Your oil, oh Spirit, brings life. We look expectantly for the unity of the body to the glory of Jesus, who is the Christ. May we be one as YOU are one.  In agreement with the prayer of our Lord, Amen.

—–

Linking up today with Meredith & Jennifer & Holley. Blessings!

The Wall of Hostility Has Come Down: Peace, Berlin and Loving Our Brother

He drove by in the limo once…. slowly enough, just so my Mom could brag about seeing her favorite president roll by with a wave. No matter your party, you respected the man. And no speech of his is more memorable than one given outside of his home country.

Standing in front of the Brandenburg Gate on June 12, 1987, President Reagan proclaimed that “the German question is open as long as the Brandenburg gate is closed.” Building up to it, with hope and promise and all the words we need today…he challenged the world and he challenged one man, and we all remember it.

“Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.”

berlin wall

It will fall, he said, because it cannot withstand faith…and truth. And who knew what truth really seeped through in those words. What walls of injustice we all would fight and climb and beat against.

Years later we watched men and women and children dance on that wall, and jump over to a life of complicated freedom. Freedom isn’t easy.

One of those women, Angela Merkel, jumped over the high stone wall into a future of leadership. She will celebrate the 25th anniversary of that date this Sunday as the Chancellor of Germany.

We never know who we are saving. What leaders we are raising. What presidents we are tending….when we reach across the walls of indifference and demand justice. When we act.

Dr. Ellen Charry knows about these walls of separation. The tension between Jews and Christians and the walls we construct when we don’t understand. We are always most afraid of what we don’t know. Fear breeds hate.

She challenged us, infusing her native Hebrew language with our own….our small group in our small town, to look across the walls and see what Christ has done. That if, in fact, we are in Him, we are ONE. As a Jew, she found Christ, the warrior and the lamb, the ONE who forges through walls and ushers in peace. Mighty, strong and gentle.

It’s this call we struggle with today: being gentle and fierce in conviction. Offering love and living in truth.

He’s the only ONE who can handle a government sitting on His shoulders.

“Remember….you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ.” (Ephesians 2:11 –>)

We’ve all been far away. He brought us near – to God – to one another. It’s that one another we seem to fight most. Seems we think we can marry into the family of God and choose our relatives.

“For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier ——————–> the dividing wall of hostility, ….”

What if half the walls we erect are built because we wrongly identify the enemy? Because different looks wrong and unsafe. Because blame sticks better on the other side.

We only have one real enemy. And he’s not human.

Sure can look human, though, huh? A lot like me. (I’m thinking back to that freedom isn’t easy word) What we do with our freedom, our responsibility, to love our brother – even when our brother loves not —– will define our lives.

Will we build the wall again when it gets hard to live together?

See Christ, He put to death hostility, in order that we might be reconciled. In order that – we might be. We still get to choose.

Reconciliation to God calls for us to live side by side with our brother. 

I watched a short film once that made my stomach twist and my dreams heavy. A boy, young and idealistic, full of love, chose to crawl under the fence of a concentration camp to be with another boy he befriended. He intended to help that boy find his dad. It took great planning. He did so courageously. It just happened to be the day the Germans decided to gas the entire camp. We watched the Jews walk in a naked line to a small chamber and die. That boy died befriending the “enemy.”

Loving will cost us. Freedom will be hard. It is. —– But living within invisible or actual walls of hate and separation is just as costly.

I don’t fully understand it. I watch from the outside. Or maybe the inside. I see the hurt from a distance. I’m the one who must decide whether or not I will crawl under the fence, cross the tracks and do something costly myself for the gospel.

But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. (‭Isaiah‬ ‭53‬:‭5‬ NIV)

Our transgressions. Our iniquities. How often the gospel we try to make so personal is actually quite communal.

Can we apply the peace He offers us to the wounded beside us? What if the wounded is far away? Will we reach them?

Dr. Charry challenged us with this: “The rubble is at our feet. The wall has come down. What will you do about it?”

Hope for Every Marriage

I remember when the movie Fireproof first came out. My friend Lori told me about the hushed quiet that settled over the theater as the credits rolled. Then my husband and I watched it, and we felt it too. Like a blanket of Spirit dew.

Sometimes you just know when God is all over something.

If there is anything today the enemy is trying to wreck, to undo, to confuse and twist and just plain destroy – it’s marriage. It’s God’s very first answer to the very first problem: when man was alone.

About a month ago, I was talking to the Lord about grace, and I saw a picture of a tree. The trunk stood out as the center of all that branched out. The branch was the home and everything that happened there. I thought He was teaching me about grace in the home, but as usual – God’s vision was bigger.

As I began to pray and think on this picture gift, I was chosen to join the launch team for a new curriculum entitled Story of Marriage by John and Lisa Bevere.

As I began to read their new book, my spirit perked up at the mention of a tree. They were given a picture as well, and in this case the rings of the branch represented the years of marriage.

And for those who are listening with Spirit ears, you are already thinking ahead…tree of life, the fruit we bear, yeah – He is speaking here.

It really does all start in the heart of the home. The difference we make. The sermon we live.

And at the core of the home is the original plan of God: the union of one man and one woman to advance His kingdom forward.

I began to realize that often believers spend most of our lives – in action and thought – focusing on the roots and the branches. We know to be rooted in Christ, and then fumble along in grace as we live that out. It seems then, that we move on to the branches. Our dreams, our spheres of influence, our jobs, ….ALL THE THINGS. Mostly, we focus on our personal lives with Christ (on the good days) and then – honestly, our personal desires.

And because life happens and we stay busy, we fight for a date night every now and then. Oh, we know our marriage is central. We’ve heard the sermon. We say God, first, mate second. But the trunk gets very little attention.

We spend hours studying or reading for pleasure, school, sermon prep…even how to raise kids. When was the last time we invested in learning about marriage?

What if every branch – the length and breadth and health and reach – was determined by the strength of the trunk. And what if, when we were made one with our spouse, even the roots of our individual lives intertwined in such a way that our personal faith and everything we harvest for the kingdom is affected by the unity of the trunk’s core.

“Every marriage holds the promise of a harvest yet unrealized.”

So often we keep running hard after “our” calling. Meaning to spur on our spouse, while they do “their” thing. What would it look like if we really became ONE? In heart and vision and passion. What would come of the Matthew 18:19 principle if spouses joined forces in prayer for the same things at the same time every day? What if we laid down our personal dreams for a bigger one?

What if unity in the church – that seemingly unreachable hope we all keep grasping for – really started with unity in our homes?

What if renewed marriages could renew churches, and then cities and then nations with the GLORY OF GOD?

power of reconciliation  green

Yeah – UNITY – it brings blessing. The running over kind. (Psalm 133)

It’s not an easy call: unity. It’s not an easy task: self-less living. It’s why so many marriages are closing the book on hope today. Here is the good news –

He can always write a new story.

John and Lisa are candid about theirs….and the words of hope that can change a marriage.

Vision: The book will invite you to close your natural eyes and look into the supernatural, where the dreams of God for you are bigger than you’ve ever hoped to believe. Favorite quote here:

“Your natural circumstances will ultimately be determined by your spiritual vision, and marriage is no exception.”

Honor: If your life lacks blessing and multiplication, John and Lisa will challenge you to see what happens when you focus on honoring your spouse.

Redemption: In no other book or marriage material have I seen practical prayers like this. Forgiveness, wholeness, healing from past sins – ALL waiting for your lips to believe in prayer. I’d seen prayers to rebuke generational curses, but never a prayer to separate from soul ties that either marriage partner made with another person prior to the marriage through emotional or physical connection.

Service: The truth ringing throughout the book….it’s a Christ-given principle. All authority is given that we might serve others…and the lower we bend, the higher He takes us. When service infiltrates your marriage, there is nowhere to go but up.

Purpose: Just like Moses and the exodus, it’s not all about our call and our lives. “God’s will always includes the generations to come.” Our covenant is about more than faithfulness or even our own godly offspring. Your  marriage is bigger than you think. Can you believe for more?

Many have broken marriages today. Many let the failed relationships of the past define their future. This is not the heart of God. He is about making all things NEW.

There are words of hope here – in this message, for those in broken places. John and Lisa speak gentle truth and loving promises from God. God can redeem your story. He can rewrite the chapters of your life.

I’ll be coming back to this book, again and again, for a breath of fresh air and renewed purpose. Join me in seeking the heart of God for the most important earthly relationship you will ever have.

————————————–

For those who are single, God’s plan is just as BIG for you! When he joins two people in marriage, they become one…but we all share His call to advance His kingdom for the next generations. Be encouraged in His love and His unique call for each season. He is faithful.

I’m linking up today with Holly and Beth and Meredith to encourage lives in Christ. Blessings!

We Can. We Must. We Will.

Two years ago I drove through the neighborhood of my small town…and it came out like a whisper.

This is when you can know the Holy Spirit is doing the praying…..it wasn’t even on your radar before it hit your lips.

“Lord, give me a heart for the poor.”

And, now, two years of restless sleep and ideas and busy mornings raising itty bitties….He is nudging me to begin. To live out that which He started in me on that bumpy road on a hot summer day.

God can change your everything with one simple prayer.

So I’ve been writing down big words and gathering my troops. Because here’s what I said to Him…

You know I can’t do all of this by myself. These new projects – this brave thing.

And my chest felt a burning and my thoughts came back:

“I know. You better get your team.”

And just like God to confirm a thought Spirit-given in His word on the very same day. A yummy feasting in Isaiah I just couldn’t put down.

“Look to Abraham, your father…when I called him, he was but one, and I blessed him and made him many.” Isa. 51:2

The idea of collaboration – it came from Him. Community – birthed in Him. Ministry as a team – lived out by Him.

A team with the same nudging. The same hunger for the hungry. To feed them with more than the sacks of groceries and the Christmas toys. To enter into a new season of brave relationships. To try new things and fail. To get uncomfortable. So that when we continue to offer that cold cup of water as the physical answer to the call of Christ, it’s only to wet the tongue of an indwelling spirit alive in Christ.

Then, just to add flame to the burning fire, that chapter of Isaiah talks about justice. How His justice will become a light to the nations.

Yes, yes it will.

God is always doing a new thing. And inviting us to join Him. So all people will feast on the bread broken and sip from the cup he carried and join the procession on that great big day.

And the day I make my plan, I walk into the room where my daughter is watching My Little Pony. Justice is my word of that day. And even a cartoon can nudge you.

The group of ponies is scared. There is an obstacle ahead and they shrink back. Then the leader steps forward and says,

We can do it.

We must do it.

We will do it.

And I smile and whisper, “Yes, Lord. We can. We must. We will. For you.”

The word today is begin. Let’s do it together. Going out in teams for Christ to love the world.

Linking up today with #FiveMinuteFriday where we write for five minutes from the heart. Join us!

 

We are Better Together

“Some faced jeers and flogging, while still others were chained and put in prison. They were stoned; they were sawed in two; they were put to death by the sword.,,,,,

the world was not worthy of them……

…these were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. God had planned something better for us so that ONLY TOGETHER with us would they be made perfect.” Heb. 11:36-40

Something better. Only TOGETHER.

What is this unity abounding, weaving its way through Scripture? Even in the final days – the glory days He has yet to fulfill. Not just for today. In the church. Within this generation.

He is saving the great reward for ONE BIG DAY.

When we can all be together in His House for the Big Reveal.

God likes togetherness.

group of women

We’ve heard this before. How two are better than one. And Satan will keep pushing back, isolating souls into the weary corner.

Whispering loud of the hurts we have lived, the lack of trust, the ease of sinking back down into the closed doors.

The Lord knows community is not easy. Relationships are tattered. People are faulty. He walked among us. They deserted Him too.

Yet Christ, like Paul, put no confidence in the flesh. Only perfect confidence in His ability to redeem the soul. Of every man.

And even redeemed souls stumble in community. But we also stumble alone – even more so. And the hand that is helped up more quickly – is the one already outstretched.

 We are better together – not only in our falling. But in our rising. Lifting the weight of the cross, each of us a corner piece, raising high the truth of Christ.

When praise of man tempts us with pride, together we are accountable.

When the call of God seems unsure, together we find courage.

When the world screams loud the voice of hate, together we kneel in humble love.

So then….

“If you have ANY encouragement from being united in Christ, if ANY comfort from his love, if ANY fellowship with the Spirit, if ANY tenderness and compassion…”

——Have any of those precious things?—–

“then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.” Phil. 2:1-4

Consider others better than yourselves.

Then come to the table of fellowship. Share your “ANY”s with us. My hand is outstretched.

Let’s do life together.

Linking up with Meredith and Holly and Beth and Rebekah today. Join us! Blessings!