So you can come along

A girl with stories

Helmet Child June 4, 2017

Filed under: Discipleship,Nerdy Thoughts — Amanda Lynn @ 7:31 pm
Tags: , ,

Would you consider yourself a protective person? Pretty chill until someone messes with one of your people and then you’re up in arms? About wanting to keep someone from any perceived threat?

Protecting others can be tricky.

I want to tell you a story about a kid who wore a helmet when her parents discovered she was a bit too clumsy, accident, prone curious for the average toddler.

What if they hadn’t put the helmet on her? And instead they had put her in fences of a play pin with only a 4×4 space to explore? Or what if they used a “child safety tether” (read: leash) instead?

There she was, the kid with a helmet whose dad pulled her back from walking in distractedly in front of a few buses. The same kid sneaky watched an episode of E.R. behind the parents (who were totally obsessed) circa 1996. In that episode, they highlighted the genocide in Rwanda and she decided then and there, tears and all, that she was going to have to go to Africa. That same kid’s parents stood at security and hugged her off to India, then to her long-awaited Africa, then to her graduate school where they couldn’t put a helmet on her to keep her from bearing the burdens of others. That same kid was drawn to jobs like emergency rooms, safe houses for abuse victims, crisis hotlines and talk-you-off-the-ledge type jobs.

What if her parents took their job as protector to mean they needed to fence her in, not let her get in over her head, not let her try something she might fail at? How much sheltering is helpful and what role does trust play in all of it?

The bounds of protection in spiritual terms maybe look something like this. Do my spiritual leaders make sure I have a helmet on and then let me free or do they build 4×4 fences and say these are the boundaries in which God is known and experienced.

Is the helmet of salvation enough? What’s the Body’s role in protecting each other? What about under-shepherds?

From the experiences I’ve had and the lives of mentors I bear witness to, I see that sometimes protecting brothers or sisters in Christ means knowing the Lord is just as present in our questions as He is in our answers. The urge to protect another spiritually should always be checked by the Spirit of God and aligned with scripture.

If we aren’t careful, we see members of the Body being crippled and stunted in the name of spiritual protection. The goal cannot be to keep others from any and all suffering. Prayers for safety are much more prolific than are prayers for growth and the glory of God is what I’m sayin’.

The word “suffer” is from the Latin and literally translates ‘to bear under’. Suffering is something that we are promised in scripture if we are His.

 

In this world you will have trouble,

but take heart!

I have overcome the world.

::  John 16:33 ::

 

I don’t know about you, but I have never hand-picked my own genre of suffering. It is out of our control and that alone causes us to suffer for lack of trust. This means we are bearing under that which is out of our control. In this, it’s more than the fact that we can’t take the actual trouble; we can’t seem to handle not having total control of it and/or be self-sufficient. This is the very thing Christ came to redeem. Suffering urges our hearts to surrender so that we can more intimately identify with our Lord gaining wisdom and giving God the glory!

But what if we think protecting other believers means keeping them from all suffering? Too often, we (I) want to rescue others from God-ordained suffering too soon. OR step in an attempt to protect another believer and so direct them away from the opportunity to be stretched in their faith.

Praise God that those who have protected me have not stolen me away from the joy of my suffering and the growing of my faith for fear that I may be hurt in the process. I pray my brothers and sisters in Christ have the same story to tell when it comes to our friendship.

It’s taking part in trusting others to come into my suffering that invites strength in the body. This strength is not like the world’s as it doesn’t toughen up, rather it leaves room for more vulnerability. This is the type of suffering in community that helps me in the fight to keep a soft heart!

 

My clumsiness adventurous spirit hasn’t changed much since I was learning to walk (i.e. I half fell/half walked out of a restaurant earlier this week), but I’m so thankful for physical and spiritual protectors who trust the Spirit’s work in my life. Whose ultimate goal was to see me grow and not to see me safe. I’ll keep that spiritual helmet on and am thankful beyond words for it. Let’s be careful to examine our spiritually protective instincts and remember we have a Father who is sovereign in the details.

 

The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup;
    you hold my lot.
The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
    indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.

I bless the Lord who gives me counsel;
    in the night also my heart instructs me.
I have set the Lord always before me;
    because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.

 Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices;
    my flesh also dwells secure.
For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol,
    or let your holy one see corruption.

 You make known to me the path of life;
    in your presence there is fullness of joy;
    at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

:: Psalm 16:5-11::

Advertisements
 

Waiting November 30, 2013

Filed under: Gender,His truth,Nerdy Thoughts — Amanda Lynn @ 3:50 am

Tomorrow is the beginning of Advent.

Advent is a season observed as a time of expectant waiting and preparation to celebrate the birth of Christ.

 

Waiting…there was a time when all of humanity waited on the coming Messiah – the God of Abraham, and of Isaac and of Jacob.

 

 

This Advent season, I wanted to see this waiting for the Savior through the eyes of “the least of these” – the women in Jesus’ lineage.

And you know what?

I saw this same God, the God of Sarah and of Rebekah and of Leah.

 

==========================================================================

 

What better place to start than the beginning?

Eve

She waited first. It had to be the most difficult of all because she knew God before sin. There was a time before she listened to the serpent, before she chose to disobey, in which she knew God in a holistic, perfect way. Then in Genesis 3, all that changed. Still, we see God stepping in to offer grace. He doesn’t just wipe the slate clean and start over, he restores what’s broken. And He gives them a promise. There is One coming who will crush the serpent’s head. She’d just have to wait for it.

 

 

 

Sarai

This lady followed her husband, Abram, anywhere he went and waited on the children whom Abram told her were promised to them by God. So she waited, and waited and still they never came…until….Genesis 17 . God reminded her husband of His covenant to make them a great nation. Then God changed Abram’s name to Abraham and since Sarai was in on the plan, God changed her name too. Sarah had some trouble believing during her waiting, but she came around and gave birth to a son at age 90 and named him Isaac. Sarah waited at the bottom of the mountain for Abraham and Isaac to come down together. And through God’s provisional sacrifice, their only son was spared to bless the nations.

 

 

Rebekah

She was a Canaanite girl who was hotly sought out by Abraham’s people for Isaac to marry.  After passing a kindness test involving thirsty camels, the servants were sure she was sweet enough to marry Isaac. So she became the wife of Isaac and mom to Jacob and Esau. She was also great-niece to Abraham and  sister to Labon who was getting his daughters ready to marry her sons. (Talk about icky!)  She and Isaac had some parenting issues as they each had a favorite son. Rebecca was an anxious mom who worked out a plan to deceive her husband into blessing her favorite boy, the younger brother Jacob. Because of this deception, she carried this sin with her the rest of her life and there are accounts of her burial being secret so that Esau did not come and desecrate her body. Waiting on the Lord was trumped by her desire to see her children prosper at all costs. But God uses even this, the blessing of Jacob, for good as Christ comes from his descendants.

 

 

Leah

Jacob, the deceptive son, grew up and went to his uncle’s house to get ready to marry the daughter who was assigned to him. There were Leah and Rachel. He worked 7 years to marry Rachel and was deceived. He got Leah instead. In scripture, Leah is introduced by describing her with the phrase, “Leah had tender eyes”. People argue whether that means kind eyes or if it means weary from crying. She sure had her mess of family drama. Her dad tricked her cousin into marrying her when everyone knew he really wanted to marry her little sister. I mean, homegirl is forever immortalized as the ugly sister. Nonetheless, she was the wife of Jacob (even if he wasn’t really into her). And you know she waited on God anyway, even with this hard marriage in which her husband put her and her kids out in front of Rachel and hers and in front of himself when he thought he was in for trouble. What a jerk! God kept his promises to Jacob whom He re-named Israel. Because God is faithful even when we’re royal screwups.

The word says God heard her cry, “saw she was unloved” and let her be the mother of Judah, the one who would father the line of Jesus. Leah was also a Canaanite as her father was from Canaan. She was a woman from outside the line of Israel…grafted into this crazy family

 

 

 

Tamar

Her story is also one fit for a T.V. drama. She was also a Gentile and was looked down on by Judah’s family for that reason. She married Leah’s grandson, Judah’s son. Judah’s sons were terrible to her. She was supposed to have sons for them, because that’s what women were for. So, husband #1 didn’t make it too long because God struck him down for how terrible he was. Yikes! Brother #2 was supposed to step in and redeem his sister-in-law by giving her sons. And let’s just keep it PG and say he wasn’t gonna let that happen and was also wicked so God killed him too. Obviously, God cared about Tamar carrying on the name of Judah a whole lot. Judah’s wife had died and now it’s was his turn to redeem his daughter in law. He, of course, didn’t. She Tamar got creative and deceptive and the two did conceive a child. She had to wait for the truth to come out through a very shady set of circumstances. Here is another woman of the unfavorable Gentile decent….grafted in and mentioned in the Gospel of Matthew’s lineage of Jesus.

 

Judah the father of Perez and Zerah, whose mother was Tamar

:: Matthew 1:3 ::

Rahab

She was a prostitute waiting for hope, living in a town of no Sabbaths, no prophets were in Jericho, no one was speaking of an Advent. She was one women alone with too many faithless men. She and her people had heard of the crazy things that God has done for Israel, and they were terrified. She was given explicit instructions by her king to turn over Joshua’s spies, God’s people. But instead of her giving them up God gives himself! He shows up in the form of a prostitute referring to the God of another people by name. The word says she called Him by the holiest of names…Yahweh, The God of Judah. Her step of faith in their being more out there than the life she knew, helped to expand the nation Israel. She married Salmon, a descendant of Judah, a warrior for Israel. She came from a Godless culture and is still grafted into the line of Promise.  (I see a pattern forming)

She became the mother of Boaz, who is a pretty big deal later. And she is also mentioned in Matthew’s  genealogy, a former prostitute, REDEEMED and right there in Jesus’ family tree.

 

Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab,

:: Matthew 1:5 ::

Ruth

This lady gets her own book in the Old Testament. Her story of redemption is one that God wants us to see in our waiting. Ruth was a widowed Moabite women with a sweet mother-in-law named Naomi. Ruth stuck with Naomi, even though the “wisest” thing to do was to get hopping on getting another husband. Women didn’t fare well in this culture, much less widows without sons. So Ruth and Naomi head to Bethlehem (hmmm….interesting place for her to find a Redeemer). There, Ruth waited. She waited on a Kinsman Redeemer who would come to save her and her mother-in-law. God was gracious and faithful and a wealthy farmer named Boaz, who was not even first in line to marry Ruth, stepped in and the redeemer she’s waited for. This was Rahab’s son. Though she was from a far off place that was not trusted. She was still taken into Judah’s line. Another Gentile addition to the family tree.

Boaz the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth.

::Matthew 1:5 ::

 

 

 

 

Jesse’s wife

Ruth and Boaz had Obed, who had a son named Jesse. Jesse was living in Bethlehem during the reign of Israel’s first king, Saul, when the prophet Samuel came to Bethlehem to anoint a new King (because Saul wasn’t working out too great). Jessie’s wife is unnamed in scripture, but most historians and Bible scholars believe her name was NitzevetShe was a Jewish woman who would be the mother of King David. She is also an ancestor of Joseph, Mary’s husband and foster-father of Jesus. Without Nitzevet, there are not 8 songs of Jesse, one of which is David.  Samuel was impressed by Jesse and Nitzevet’s sons as they were strong in stature, but God told him to look at their hearts and not their outward appearance because that’s what He’s interested in. Jesse’s family must have read through the prophesies in Isaiah. There had to be a lot of families who named their sons “Jesse” during this time. Did Nitzevet know that she had married THE Jesse? And still the family waited for the Messiah king promised in Isaiah.

And there shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots. And the Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD. And his delight shall be in the fear of the LORD. He shall not judge by what his eyes see, or decide by what his ears hear.

:: Isaiah 11:1-3 ::

Bathsheba

A Jewish woman, married to a Hittite soldier who was away at battle when King David decided to take her for himself through the act of adultery and the eventual murder of her husband (I’m telling you the people in this list are scandalous). King David married her and the son they had conceived passed away. The word records that the Lord was very displeased with David for this act, but God is gracious toward David and toward Bathsheba. He gives them a second son and they name him Solomon. He would be King Solomon, the wisest King ever to rule Israel. Through all of this God still referred to her husband David as a “Man after My own heart”. That is grace!

 

David was the father of Solomon, whose mother had been Uriah’s wife.

:: Matthew 1:6 ::

During this period of time, the sons, grandsons, great grandsons and all the descendents of David had forgotten the God of their ancestors and turned from the God of Sarah, and of Rebekah and of Leah. They turned to the gods who felt good in the moment, the popular gods who were more widely accepted by culture.

But through this family tree of feuding brothers, adulterous kings, murderers, skeleton-filled closets, abusive husbands, liars, and forgotten/unmentioned mothers…Still ISAIAH 11:1 was kept by the promise-keeping God. Out of the stump of Jesse came….

 

 

Mary

Mary lived in Nazareth in Galilee, probably with her parents. Following the death of King Solomon, Galilee formed the northern part of the Kingdom of Israel, and from then on it was considered non-Jewish in the sense that it was not part of the southern Kingdom of Judah. This wasn’t a town in which the Jewish people were the majority. It was considered mostly Gentile and Galileans had a hard time shaking their post code since they were easily recognized by their distinct accents. People from Galilee were considered yokels without any education in the way of Mosaic law…interesting since the Law-Maker Himself chose to be born to a Galilean family. 🙂

Mary being a girl, didn’t get to follow a Rabbi like her brothers did. Instead, she probably listened to her father read from the Torah and speak of the coming Messiah. She likely heard stories about how this King would come and reclaim Israel from oppression. This had to be very real for her as her town was occupied by merciless Roman soldiers. The angel Gabriel told her she was to be the mother of the promised Messiah by conceiving him through the Holy Spirit. And she responded with a sweet song of praise and surrender. She and Joseph loved Jesus and raised Him as their own child.

 

 and Mary was the mother of Jesus who is the Messiah.

::Matthew 1:6::

JESUS!

The spotless, perfect sacrifice of His first coming made the way for many, many more! He was the forerunnerthe first-born among many brothers (and sisters).

He is faithful! He is the Rescuer and Redeemer of all forgotten, unworthy prodigals. The Giver who knows no bounds. The Conqueror who comes in meekness and delivers with might. Out of all our impossible places, He fills these places of hopelessness with His grace!

In the line of Jesus, when only men were listed in other family trees, Jesus’ line of context mentions His women!
He mentions, not just women, but women with crooked family trees and wayward pasts. He honors them in His coming!

===============================================================

In this truth, we see many women who are in this family tree who are waiting anew.

They wait not for this Messiah to come, but for this same King of Kings Messiah to come again!

They are Ruth Pascal, who beget Mary Margarete, who beget Michael who beget Rebecca & Amanda Lynn,

These are some of His adopted daughters & sons, the grafted-in members of the family tree of Israel.

Some are with Him now and forever, but are waiting for the day when He’ll make all things new.

Some are still living in the not-yet Kingdom and are waiting in joyful anticipation.

So this waiting this Advent…..it’s hereditary.

I believethat I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord
    in the land of the living!
 Wait for the Lord;
    be strong, and let your heart take courage;
    wait for the Lord!

:: Psalm 27:13-14::

 

 

Mr. Rogers’ Wisdom April 7, 2013

Filed under: Anti-trafficking,Nerdy Thoughts — Amanda Lynn @ 6:40 am

“Most people today are only interested in making this world a better place to go to hell from.”

 

The “late, great Doctor Adrian Rogers” (cc: Doctor Gerald Davidson) said that and it resonates in the ears of Southern Baptists the convention over.

Yikes!

 

What did he mean?

I’m not super comfortable speaking for one of the greatest Theologians and Pastors of the Southern Baptist faith, but I’ll say he probably meant that social justice is not a stand alone representation of the Gospel. And that without the Gospel of grace, social justice does little other than better this present, broken world.

Since we live in a culture of extremes, we see only a few sides/ways represented, by and large, for Christians to engage in an unbelieving world.

 

 

The Social Gospel movement is a Protestant, intellectual movement that really got going in the early 1900’s. This movement applies Christian ethics to social problems like the alleviation of poverty, racial tensions, child labor, and the lack of access to education. Theologically, the Social Gospellers seek to operationalize, Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” {Matthew 6:10}

Essentially, the Social Gospel gives the cup of cold water…but leaves out the name of Jesus. {Mark 9:41}

Many people have criticized the so-called ‘social gospel,’ but Jesus taught that we are to take the gospel to the world. Actually there is no such thing as a ‘social gospel.’ It is a misnomer. There is only one gospel … The cup of cold water comes after and sometimes before rather than instead of the gospel. Christians, above all others, should be concerned with social problems and social injustices. Down through the centuries the church has contributed more than any other single agency in lifting social standards to new heights.

:: Billy Graham 1984 ::

John Wesley

 

Here we have the DEED part of serving in His name, but not the WORDS.

 

Which brings us to…

Evangelicalism. This is a world-wide Protestant movement that began in the 1730s with the emergence of Methodists in England. The movement became significant here in the US during the series of the Great Awakenings of the 18th and 19th centuries. Its earliest leaders included big shots like George Whitfeld and Jonathan Edwards. This movement was about proclaiming the word of God in mass quantities through many means including church sanctuaries, tent revivals, radio, telecast, door to door, etc….

blog2

tent revival

 

 

Now we’ve got the two defined. So what’s the big deal, Mr. Rogers?

Why is it so bad to be interested in bettering the world?

For example, fighting to end human trafficking, it’s not really a bad thing to do…is it?

Well, let me ask you this.

If you were to wake up tomorrow not in your bed in your home, but trapped somewhere awful that could hold you forever and ever with no connection to the outside? (heaven forbid)

Would you like me to come to you, knowing the way out, and just carve out a window in your cell with the hopes that you’ll find the way out through the window I carved?

Or would you rather me come and show you the way out of eternal enslavement?

 

The normal answer to that is a big fat, “DUH!”. Of course you’d rather be shown the way out over just being given a window.

That might be a pretty poor illustration, but nonetheless, it’s a picture of what the Church does when we work toward social justice without putting the spotlight on the Jesus.

I agree with the adage “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” Absolutely!

Our kindness, our love for others, our generosity…all these things are a platform giving us credibility for sharing the greatest news of all.

All of these actions, these works (as the book of James calls them) spill from a heart that has been changed by the Gospel. It makes sense then, that all of these actions/works are to point others to the Gospel.

 

So, we don’t want to try to proclaim with our lips what our lives aren’t supporting.

But at the end of the day, my generation is really great at building homes and teaching orphans and funding causes and not really great at proclaiming with our words that Jesus is Lord. It’s acceptable to be philanthropic but not as acceptable to declare an absolute Truth in an extremely relativistic culture.

I love social justice and I believe that the “Kingdom coming on Earth as in Heaven” means obeying the command to “love our neighbors as ourselves”. This will reshape our current outlook on how we steward our resources like money, time and prayer. But I also believe that there is no activity more socially just than sharing the Gospel of Salvation through Jesus Christ alone. After all, what would bring more justice to our society than Jesus redeeming hearts?

 

So friends, I agree with Mr. Rogers.

Let’s not make this earth a better place to go to hell from. Let’s build an atmosphere that points people to Jesus in word and in deed. He is deserving of it all; all the words you can say, all the prayers you can pray, all the orphanages you can build and all the slaves you can rescue.

He is worthy!

 

 

 

Heart Cries & The Lamb March 28, 2013

Filed under: Freedom,His truth,Nerdy Thoughts — Amanda Lynn @ 4:28 am

Did you know that it’s “Holy Week”?

Time flies and it sure doesn’t feel like Spring with this prolonged Winter (Way to tell North America a big fat fib, Punxsutawney Phil).

Nevertheless, Easter is this Sunday.

 

As a born and raised Southern Baptist girl, there was never much of a focus on things that could easily be confused with our Catholic friends’ traditions. This included the practices of Lent and the observances of Holy Week.

For example, tomorrow is Maundy Thursday. So, each time I heard that today at the Catholic hospital where I work, all I really heard was the Godfather’s Apollonia saying, “I know English: Maundy, Tuesday, Wednesday…” Just kidding. Sort of.

But really, Maundy Thursday, also called “Holy Thursday or Covenant Thursday”,  is tomorrow.

Turns out, Maundy is not “Monday” in a sweet Italian accent. It comes from the Latin word Mandatum and literally means, “Washing of the Feet”.

 

The Thursday before resurrection Sunday, the night before the death of Jesus, we see this passage from John 13 taking place as the disciples shared the last passover of the old covenant…the last passover before FULL atonement would be made the very next day.

5 Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet

and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him.

 

 

That Thursday was chock-full of significance, but what my heart centers around tonight is the intimacy of Christ with his beloved on this last evening before “Good Friday”.

God, in human flesh, stooped to wash their feet. He spent the last evening of his incarnation serving in a menial position.

This shouldn’t be so surprising since Jesus is the suffering servant prophesied in Isaiah, but I’m awed by the humility he constantly displayed. Being fully man, we can know that he was tempted to be self-seeking and to give in to pride. But he didn’t.

If it weren’t enough for him, as their Master and Lord, to bend down and wash their feet…we see them all reclining at the table together too. I get that this was the custom, but I’ve heard it said that as chapter 13 goes on to tells us that John himself “leaned forward on Jesus’ chest…‘”.  I believe that John actually leaned in toward Jesus’ chest. And, go ahead and call me a mystic if you want, but I am totally OK with folks saying that John probably heard the heartbeat of Christ at that time. It’s a little bit of a reach, but regardless of whether John heard it or not, it was there. Jesus had a heartbeat just like yours and mine.

 

This past year at the Passion conference, Beth Moore shared some insights about that passover meal with us. She focused on the “layering of the gospels”. We have, in this passage of scripture, a confluence of covenants. Under the old covenant, we know that there was some lamb on their passover plates. That lamb represented the coming Messiah who would redeem Israel. That lamb represented purity, the remission of sin. The blood of that lamb would have been sprinkled over their doorposts signifying their salvation from death in Egypt. Well, at this particular (last) passover there was the lamb on their plates and The Lamb in their presence. The final atonement for sin was not on their plates, but at their table. John may have just finished eating the passover lamb, but when he leaned in toward Jesus…he would have been hearing the heartbeat of the Lamb of God.

 

passover

 

*****************************************************************************

Can we just talk about the heart for a minute?  (If I haven’t nerd-ed y’all out enough yet)

God created the human heart to weigh, on average, about 11 ounces. That muscle, all 11 ounces of it, pumps about 2,000 gallons of blood through 60,000 miles of blood vessels EVER DAY. It’s likely, if you’re about average, that your heart beat a little over 100,000 times yesterday.

The heart is a powerful organ. It’s something that most of us don’t think about. Because ain’t nobody got time for ‘dat…unless something about the beating of our hearts is irregular, too slow, or too fast. Then, we might think about it a lot more. God keeps our hearts going “lub dub” thousands of times every day, and He did that for Jesus too.

So friends, that’s where I’m at on this eve of Maundy Thursday…looking at the heart of Jesus, the Lamb of God.

 

********************************************************************************

Most of us know this story, Thursday led Jesus to Gethsemane, which led him to Pilot, which eventually led to Friday.

On Good Friday,  Jesus’ heart was still beating through all that he had endured. Hours on the cross to atone for our sin….

Medical scholars who study the word will tell you that, through reading the accounts of Jesus’ death in the 4 gospels, that we have an accurate account of what physically happened that day…

As Christ breathed out, “Into Your hands I commit my spirit”, the word says that he “gave up his spirit” and that the custom was to take the men off their crosses. But first, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side to assure that he was dead. “And immediately there came out blood and water” {all of this from John 19}. We see that there was an escape of water fluid from the sac surrounding the heart (the pericardium), giving  evidence that Christ died not the usual crucifixion death by suffocation, but of heart failure due to shock and constriction of the heart by fluid in the pericardium.

The Lamb of God, whose heart was beating to serve, to love, to redeem, to glorify the Father….literally broke under the strain of the wrath of God; the final atonement for our sin.

 

********************************************************************************

Praise God that we don’t end the story here!!!

In the words of Pastor S. M. Lockridge….”Sunday’s comin’!”

But for today, I’ll sit and observe this heart break of my Savior and rest in the finality of his sacrifice.

And because his heart was broken….we, under the grace of his provision, can live with open, tender hearts {Ephesians 4:32}.

So, you tender-hearted ones with vulnerability in a world that is prone to hurt…beat on.

You, brave-hearted who live with your hearts open, to the good and the bad…beat on and don’t be afraid because the Lamb of God has a heart of faithfulness toward His beloved.

His promises are sure!

The city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb. By its light will the nations walk, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it, and its gates will never be shut by day—and there will be no night.

:: Revelation 22:23-25 ::

 

The F Word February 28, 2013

Filed under: Anti-trafficking,Nerdy Thoughts — Amanda Lynn @ 10:40 pm

I’ve become a part of something that I always thought was a dirty word.
What’s one of worst things a young lady of the Christian Right can be labeled?

A feminist. *Gasp!*

You know the ones…Those women who shirk off all that Proverbs 31 praises, who don’t follow the biblical call to womanhood found in Paul’s epistles, the ones who are “progressive”.

That’s not me. Please, don’t hear what I’m not saying. I’m not saying that I can do anything he can do better. Not at all. I love that God created men and women with different traits, different responsibilities and different longings. Love it!

(End disclaimer here).

Defining feminism is challenging, but a general, broad understanding of it includes speaking, writing, and advocating on behalf of women’s rights and identifying injustice to females in the social status quo. I’ve come to understand that the meaning of feminism is simply the desire for all people to acknowledge that women have the same inherent privileges and the same worth as anyone else based on, if nothing else, the fact that they we are fellow image-bearers.
See friends, that F word…feminism, has taken on so many different definitions over the years (much like Christianity) that it has become a very loaded label (much like Christianity).

So, what to do, what to do?
Go back to roots of it all. Go back to the truest meaning of the word.

The term “feminism” first appeared in France in 1872 (as les féministes), Great Britain in the 1890s, and the United States in 1910. The Oxford English Dictionary lists 1895 as the first appearance of “feminism”. The UK Daily News first introduced “feminist” to the English language, importing it from France and branding it as “dangerous”. Prior to that time, “Woman’s Rights” was probably the term used most commonly, hence Queen Victoria’s description of this “mad, wicked folly of ‘Woman’s Rights'”.

So, if feminism really is “dangerous” and  “mad” and a “wicked folly”, then why become on of them?

yes we can

Why?

Because I hear the silence left by the absence of all our unseen sisters. That silence is loud and large and looming in our own backyards. Women Girls, all bearing the image of the Creator who loves them immensely, who wants them to have life abundantly. So I’m the type of feminist who wants women to know they have equal access to safety and to grace and to the Source of abundant life; that they are not by any means lesser.

Why?
Because I found out that a girl growing up in South Africa is more likely to get raped than she is to learn to read. Because one in four of girls the world over are likely to experience sexual assault. One in four. A quarter of girls, women who are reflections of God, will be told through actions and through aggression that their dignity, their freedom is worth nothing.
That, my friends, is why I am now a feminist.

Why?
Because this year I’ve heard story after story from my sisters in Christ who are here, in our first- world, equality-driven nation, and who are being asked to take their ideas about the Bible to their husbands first so that he can express them for her. Despite all the gifting that God has given them, they are to be kept quiet for no other reason than their gender.
Because when we put limits on who a woman can be, we limit who a man can be too. If there is clear cut list of what SHE does (like cry, be tender, care for children, show compassion), then if HE does any of that does that make HIM any less of a man?

Why?
Because “industries” selling sex selling women are making more than EVERY other industry in this world, but drugs. Because in MY city…girls are invisibley being used and torn and left without hope. Because in MY city women are not being told the truth…that they are treasures who had eternity knit into their hearts at conception for a reason. I’m a feminist because women need to be told that they are worthy of respect and of a love that puts them first and that their voices are worth listening to.

Because the answer to this gendercide (http://www.allgirlsallowed.org/category/topics/gendercide) is a revolutionary anger in which people feel wild for change. Please hear me: Revolutionary change is what happens when people experience such a genuine gratitude for what they have that they share it. And oh do we have it! You and I, we have freedom. We have privilege. We have respect. We have sacrificial love. We have voices that are being heard.
That’s what I feel burning me up: This radical gratitude for what I have been so freely given.

The radically grateful can’t stand injustice.

Why?

Because they are moved by radical grace. You can’t know grace and not be moved.

Grace starts movements. It is a catalyst.
That’s when gratitude for the grace I’ve been given urged me toward feminism.

So it was never a woman preaching feminism that changed my perspective. The women who have given me a glimpse of the freedom in my calling are the ones surrendered and focused on one thing–not their rights, but on the righteousness of God.

I’m not a feminist who believes in exalting women or our rights because if the gospel were our goal as women in the church, then how low would we be willing to go? To mutest depths of solitude to bring God glory? Even to the least of these? How small of a position would be too small? How big of an audience would be too big to hear the Good News of the God who redeems a people by the shedding of His own blood?

I am a feminist because I was am all too familiar with shame. It’s long whispered to me…all the way back to Eve. My voice is weak. Shame tells me God’s righteousness isn’t enough. But it is. Isn’t He all we have to proclaim? Whether feminist or not…Love and the proclamation of love is all we have to proclaim.

I believe that women will be free in the church to use their gifts as they’ve been granted only when we begin to aim for the gospel. When Kingdom comes, there will be no shame.

So, the F word…I’ve heard much worse.

 

Courage-Giver November 24, 2012

Filed under: Grad School,His truth,Nerdy Thoughts — Amanda Lynn @ 5:10 pm

 

Words which do not give the light of Christ only increase the darkness.

:: Mother Teresa ::

 

Words.

I’m not sure how many countless words the average American speaks on any given day, but I’d bet it’s a bunch.

 

 

If we’re honest, we don’t always think about what we say. But, there’s so much truth in the saying, “words matter”.

They carry weight and we know that the phrase, “sticks and stones…” is not true. Words can hurt., but they can also bring healing.

 

 

Being in a grad program for counseling means that I use fewer words than ever. “Disclosure” and “direction”, on my part, are limited so that the client can have the floor.

 

That said, I’m committed to making my words count for something; committed to the practice of speaking life.

 

 

 

I know lots of my brothers and sister in Christ who are committed to this as well. Their lives speak this truth.

 

The words that we speak about ourselves, about our families, about our lives all matter.

Scripture talks about this a lot: life and death in the power of the tongue, idle speech, gossip, the faith to speak those things that are not as though they are, the entire book of Proverbs etc.

 

 

 

 

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.

:: Psalm 19: 14 ::

 

 

Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.

:: Proverbs 18:21 ::

 

 

If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless.

:: James 1:26 ::

 

He who loves purity of heart, and whose speech is gracious, will have the king as his friend.

:: Proverbs 22:11 ::

 

 

Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.

:: Colossians 4:6 ::

 

 

A gentle tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit.

:: Proverbs 15:4 ::

 

 

I see my life and the lives of those around me as agents of change.  And the words I sometimes throw around so carelessly can take root in their hearts and minds, giving a narrative deep in their person about themselves, the God we love and about each other. I know this because the words of others have taken root in my own life. Some edifying and good and some that are right in line with the enemy’s lies.

 

So those things that are lovely, beautiful, praise-worthy or well-done need noticing. I need to be just as quick to notice when others do something good as when they do something wrong. I need to encourage with my words, ministering life by letting them know I see the real self there and I think they are beautiful, smart, wise and good hearted. This doesn’t mean doling out empty, effusive praise but good, true words of life given with intention. 

That’s why it’s so nice hearing that you’re an encouragement to someone. This isn’t a gift to be taken lightly. That person just called you a “Courage-giver”! You imparted some strength that they didn’t have before speaking to you. The benefits of this are innumurable. It doesn’t end with them feeling warm fuzzy or me feeling good about their warm fuzzy or even with bettering their “self-image’. Life giving words are challenging; a call to higher things. Not to mention that we are containers of glory and grace. This should be so full in us that it overflows.

The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.

:: Luke 6:45 ::

 

 

 

When we watch what we’re saying to others, we notice what our complaints are and how often we vocalize them. I’m guilty of caching myself complaining and wondering what the object of the complain would say if they were present…. But they’re not.  And then, there’s the “do unto others” rule. What would I feel like if I knew I was an inconvenience to someone, if I were exhausting them? Or if I were called a name that didn’t belong to me? Yikes!

So, in the middle of a “girl talk” where friends and I start “venting” or getitng into “real talk”, it’s more poingnent that I’m up to something futile destructive and courage taking.  These talks aren’t about change or constructing a more gracious atmosphere. They’re just about complaining for the sake of complaining. I know, I’ve been there. Knowing the warning signs means that we can steer clear of those traps, or better yet, re-direct them in efforts to bring about truth and forgiveness.

Today, let’s say something true and kind to ourselves, to someone we love and to someone we have a hard time loving.  We’ll see what happens (but I bet it’s something full of more courage and strength than we started with).

 

“You’re learning how to listen?” July 21, 2012

Filed under: Grad School,His truth,Nerdy Thoughts — Amanda Lynn @ 4:42 am

 The question I often put to myself is not, “How many people have you spoken to about Christ this week?” but “How many people have you listened to in Christ this week?”

:: E. Peterson ::

 

 

In recent weeks, some of my parents’ friends have asked if I’m out of school yet. I’m pretty certain that this question means they think I’ve had quite enough school by now. (I agree!) I answer saying, “No, not just yet. I’m in a grad program for Clinical Mental Health.” “Like psychology?” “Yes, well, counseling.” “So, you’re in school to learn how to listen to folks?” *forced laughter* “Yes Sir/Ma’am.”

Their neutral responses in these little small-talk conversations have given me cause to evaluate what I’m doing. (Because, you know, I over think everything.) On the most basic level, am I really spending all this time to “learn how to listen”? Am I really earning a degree to work in a field that can be reduced to this?

 

 

As I traversed over these questions, that you’d think I’d already have answered, the Lord patiently walked me through and, in His grace, gave me a little insight.

 

 

Did you know that on any given day the average American spends their day in roughly this way…

Writing: 9%

Reading: 16%

Talking: 35%

Listening: 40%

That’s a lot of listening time!

So, what do we do with that?

 

 

 

In authentic listening we find the tools to cultivate relationships that reveal the nature of God’s patient love for us. We’re talking unhurried leisure, even for just a few moments. We might feel like leisure is impossible given our schedule, but it’s not really about a to-do list. Leisure is a state of being. In these unhurried I-value-what-you’re-saying moments the people around us understand the importance of their words to us.  In a postmodern, hurried culture we can set ourselves apart by demonstrating a lifestyle that truly believes that Jesus meant what he said in Matt 11:28, “Come to me, all you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.”

 

 

I had an amazing youth pastor growing up and, while I’m pretty sure this didn’t originate with him, he told us that, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” We love because He first loved and we listen because the God who built the universe listens to us.

 

 

 

I love the LORD, because he has heard my voice and my pleas for mercy. :: Ps 116:11

In my distress I called upon the LORD; to my God I cried for help. From his temple he heard my voice, and my cry to him reached his ears. :: Ps 18:6

In my alarm I said, “I am cut off from your sight!” Yet you heard my cry for mercy when I called to you for help.  :: Ps 31:22

Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. :: Jeremiah 29:12

Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger. :: James 1:19

Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare. Give ear and come to me; hear me, that your soul may live. :: Isaiah 55: 2-3

 

 

 

As a graduate student, let’s be honest, I’m broke. But I can give my time and, we all know that we can give of ourselves.

When we see these hurts, these longings to be known, we become responsible. More than responsible – we’re response-bound— we will make a response. As long as our hearts are beating, we can’t be unresponsive. We all look need full in the face and it’s either “Yes, I will help”. Or “No, I won’t”. A response. When we hear someone, truly hear them, knowing them and recognizing their worth as an image bearer of our God, we are compelled to act. We are called to carry the Good News to them in word and deed. That could play out in faithfully praying with them/for them, speaking with them, being an advocate, giving, or many other responses. The important thing is that we act in accordance with the Word.

 

 

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. :: Colossians 3:12

 

 

Compassion in the Greek…Oiktirmós: a movement toward mercy in one’s innermost places

 

 

We are heard by our Father—>We are moved to extend this grace to others—> We hear them —>We are moved to act.

 

 

So, from now on, every time a real grownup  friend of my parents asks why I’m going to school to learn how to listen I’ll send them a link to this post….Or maybe not.