Kathy's View

 God Is Speaking

Yesterday we learned that God is always speaking. The main way God speaks to us is through Scripture. He also speaks to us through other people, music, nature, compelling circumstances, dreams, visions, and (while rare) through His direct audible voice. He is always speaking! He loves us and wants us to hear Him and respond to Him, fulfilling His purpose and plan for our lives.

Together we read from the Scriptures examples of visions from God in Genesis 15:1-6; Acts 10:9-21; and Acts 16:9-10 and examples of dreams from God in Genesis 37:5-11; Genesis 4:7-19; Matthew 1:20-25; Matthew 2:12-16; and Matthew 2:19-23. We discussed our experiences with God speaking. We agreed that the Lord loves us, is speaking to us, and desires a deep love relationship with us. We also recognized that we need each other because He speaks to all of us in different ways and together we more fully hear His voice because the body of Christ operates as one.

One thing is for certain: God desires us to draw close to Him so we can hear from Him, know Him, love Him and others more, and receive direction from Him. Tomorrow we’ll share more on God speaking. 

Flying Low

You may have heard the popular adage: "Your attitude determines your altitude." An airplane analogy is sometimes used as an illustration, or the inspiring story of a soaring eagle is shared. We are frequently encouraged to fly high—but not so much to "go low."

Philippians 2:5-8 tells us, "Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:  Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.

And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death–even death on a cross!"

At Christmastime as we celebrate the birth of Jesus, I gratefully acknowledge the fact that our Savior was born to die. Christ came without an ounce of self-exaltation; He came humbly, born in a manger, with one mission: to go to the cross.

Out of obedience and love for the Father, Christ secured our eternal salvation and provided us full life through His death on the cross if we believe. He was born to die, coming in human likeness, humbly taking on the form of a servant, walking this earth in perfect love, sinless, destroying the work of the devil, and for the joy set before Him he endured the cross so that we may live (Hebrews 12:2).

What a priceless gift we have been offered! What unfathomable love. May we follow Your example of humility and love, in Jesus’ Name.


1 John 4:9-10

"This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins."


 Demolition 

In preparation for building construction, especially in the city, obsolete structures in disrepair are often demolished to make way for the new. Former parking lots are broken up, the asphalt hauled away, and the ground prepared before new construction can begin. 

We see this occurring right now across the street from our apartment complex in downtown DC. For a brief time life has been louder than usual and looks messy as the rocks and debris pile up, but the demolition is necessary for progress to be made and for the new to come. The day is coming when the last trash will be hauled away, all plans will be in place, the ground prepared, the foundation poured, and the building begun.

And such it is in our lives. As God’s Spirit works in us, the old patterns of thinking that do not line up with God’s ways must be demolished. Old "structures" are removed—sometimes it feels like a wrecking ball in our lives and sometimes it is done bit by bit—to make way for the new. Our minds are renewed (Romans 12:2), our stony hearts are made tender (Ezekiel 36:26). It is God’s promise as we yield to Him. 

Our living Lord is building His Church on the solid ground of Christ, where no dilapidated buildings or broken up parking lots exist. All mounds of trash and symptoms of neglect are eradicated. All things become new. 

Therefore if anyone is in Christ he is a new creation; the old has gone the new has come!

2 Cor. 5:17


 

No Favorites

In the classic film The Sound of Music, Julie Andrews beautifully sings a song entitled "My Favorite Things." It is a song we can all relate to—from "raindrops on roses" to "whiskers on kittens," "bright copper kettles" to "warm woolen mittens."  We all enjoy favorite things.  They give us pleasure.  They provide us with comfort.

And while the Lord gives us these things to richly enjoy, when it comes to people, in God’s kingdom favoritism has no place.  James 2:2-3 says, "My brothers, as believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, don’t show favoritism.  Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in shabby clothes also comes in.  If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, ‘Here is a good seat for you,’ but say to the poor man, ‘You stand there’ or ‘Sit on the floor by my feet,’ have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?"

Our natural inclination is to compare, to judge, and maybe to shun those who are unlike us.  This may even extend to those who don’t think exactly the way we do, especially in the church.  We naturally tend to gravitate towards those who are like us or can benefit us in some way.  They are our favorites, of course!

One of the greatest challenges is to love people we might not naturally favor.  It can feel uncomfortable.  Someone may not look, think, act or vote like you, but we are commanded to love our neighbor as we would want to be loved.  Take time to listen.  By God’s grace we will.

Lord, help us.  We recognize that apart from You we can do nothing.  Strengthen us to love and bless others because we are loved and cherished by a God who shows no favoritism.  Help us to love others as You do.  Thank You, Lord Jesus, that mercy always triumphs over judgment.  And thank You for saving a good seat for each one of us.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

 Safe

I pray for safety each time Mark and I bike. We are learning the best ways to maneuver through traffic and pedestrians. We have studied the "rules of the road" and we like that DC is a bike-friendly city.

Folks are accustomed to the ebb and flow of various forms of transportation here. As long as we all keep moving, it’s good! I have been thankful for the kindness of many as I bike downtown, provoking only a few horn honks and one prolonged curse. All in all, biking has been an efficient and enjoyable way to travel.

I sensed danger one morning, however. This time we were simply walking into a meeting, but I was compelled to pray for safety. Immediately I felt a calm come over me. I knew without a doubt I was protected. I knew I was safe, regardless of any outcome. 

And while this was in no way a life or death matter, I am continuously assured that Jesus is forever with us to help us. He is an ever present help in our time of need. I think of David facing the giant Goliath. I think of Daniel being thrown into the lion’s den. I think of our Lord agonizing in the Garden of Gethsemane and then paying for our sins by His ultimate sacrifice on the cross. I think what a wonderful Savior and Helper we have and can only gratefully whisper, "Thank You, Lord Jesus."

"...He is able to save to the uttermost those who come to the Father through Him..." (Heb. 7:25).


 It’s A Gift

Yesterday I celebrated my birthday—the gift of a year passed and the gift of right now to cherish and enjoy.

Birthday greetings and well wishes from around the world warmed my heart like never before. Having true friends and loved ones is a gift, for which I am very grateful.

The Bible says, "A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity" (Proverbs 17:17). I am thankful for friends who love me in spite of my "warts" and "wrinkles", who forgive me when I misbehave, who have my back when times get tough! I am thankful for "a Friend who sticks closer than a brother"—the Lord Jesus Christ.

This is abundant life—knowing and being known by Jesus. He offers today the best gift of all, the gift of Him. "The gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our LORD" (Romans 6:23). Receive Him now—the gift of God. You will never, ever walk alone.

 It's an ongoing part of the journey to see things the way Jesus sees them and to feel what He feels. In Lamentations the prophet Jeremiah states very simply, "My eye affects my heart." How we view things will affect our hearts, which then affects our actions.

It can be a challenge--to see life through the eyes of Christ. We are all of us a wonderful work in progress. Yet bit by bit, as we learn to love God and love people more each day, our perspective will change.

I like the saying, "If you don't climb the mountain, you won't see the view." This encourages me to keep going!

And so I pray today, "Lord, give me eyes to see things the way You see them. May my heart beat as yours for the lost, the hurting and the unimportant. Fill me with your love in Jesus' Name, Amen."

 September 8, 2017

We are looking forward to our first meetings at New Life NoMa this Sunday. To be here in D.C. sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ is a dream come true. What a great place to be and what a great time to be here. We are so thankful.

I love the plaque my friend gave as a housewarming gift which reads, "Gather here with grateful hearts." That is our prayer, that we would gather here with grateful hearts.

It's not always easy, especially in circumstances we cannot control. I appreciate "Roots" author Alex Haley's personal motto: "Find the good and praise it." 

By God's grace, we will find the good and praise it. We will gather with grateful hearts, as one. We will pray, we will trust, and we will respond to the One who loves us. His plans for us are good -- plans to prosper us, not to harm us, plans to give us hope and a wonderful future.

 August 31. 2017

Matt. 5:43-48

As I sit on the balcony of our high-rise apartment, I watch a steady, life-giving rain fall upon its rooftop, watering the flowering plants and small green shrubs. I am thinking how good is God. He is good to all -- the good, the bad and the ugly, just like me.

He pours out the rain upon the just and the unjust. Why? Because He is good. While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. And even if we remain in our sinfulness and spurn his love, he remains faithful.

It is freeing to know -- it's not what I do or don't do that causes him to love me any more or any less. It's who he is. He's a good, good Father and he is good to all.

Lord, help me to love you more today than I did yesterday. Help me to love my neighbor more today than I did yesterday. Help me to love my enemies. More today than I did yesterday. Help me to look good, just like you.

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