Tag Archives: Jesus

Don’t Forget to Do Good

What turbulent times we’re living in!

Wars, natural disasters, terrorists, nuclear threats.

Disturbing. Sad. Even frightening.

The challenge today for followers of Jesus is to keep from getting swept along in the mayhem. But how do we keep from getting distracted?  I’ve heard it said simply:  keep your eyes on Jesus.

As a follower of Jesus, we want to obey Him, obey His word and His teachings. We want to “remain in Him” and to have His words “remain in us.” There are so many instructions in the Bible – for those who read it, I’m sure you’ve noticed this. So how do we pick and choose which ones to follow and which are not necessarily key to right living?

Some say we don’t get to pick and choose.  And for the most part, I’d agree. But those same people are usually the ones who try to prove their righteousness, or religiosity, by obeying the law – God’s law and the laws of society.

But didn’t Jesus really turn all of that on its head?

He said there are really only two commandments:  Love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, AND Love your neighbour as you love yourself. According to Jesus, these two things encompass all of the law and the commandments.

That brings me to something that has really gotten under my skin today.

As the people of God, we are to love, love, love.  Love each other.  Love God.  Love our enemies. (I’m not going to quote the multitudes of scriptures that I’ve referred to and will continue to refer to; that’s not the point today.)

Also, as God’s people (and here I mean those who love God and have given their lives to Him, just to clarify) we are to stand up for those who can’t stand up for themselves.  We are to rescue those who are being swept away by injustice.  We’re to care for the widows and orphans, and I think what’s really meant by that is Handthose who are suffering and in need. We are to “act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God.”

How does any of that lead anyone to think that we are to stand idly by (or even worse, cheering) while human beings, those made in the image of the God we love and serve, are mistreated, humiliated, enslaved, or made to suffer needlessly?  And do that in the name of “obeying the Word of God.”

My dear brothers and sisters (those of you who say you love Jesus),  do not think for a moment that you are living as God intends if you keep silent while whole people-groups are labelled as evil intruders.  When “authorities” who were supposedly put into power by God began oppressing, and then murdering, entire categories of people, the “church” kept silent. But the outraged, and I don’t know how many did or did not believe in or follow God, went to work tirelessly doing everything they could to defeat and foil the plans and actions of the so-called ruling government.

Throughout the ages, there have been people who have stood up against oppressive rulers, many giving their lives in the process, because they recognised evil when they encountered it.

Wake up!

Even now the deck is being stacked and the steps are being taken to silence any opposition.

Pray for our leaders; yes, of course. But at the same time, LOVE your neighbour (the stranger you encounter who is in need).  Show your love for God by standing up and speaking out against evil.  No matter who the perpetrator is.

I’ve been thinking a lot today about anger and forgiveness.

Seeing people hurt each other does that to me.  First, it makes me really angry, to the point that I want the “hurt-er” to suffer in the same way and degree as the “hurt-ee.” I’ve always been quick to become “righteously indignant” at the mistreatment of others.  But then, after reflection (sometimes a lot of reflection), I realise that I am doing the same thing, or at least violating the same principle.

I’m a follower of Jesus.  I love Him, and really want to live my life in a way that pleases Him. In order to do that, I have to keep His commandments, as it says in John 14:15 (“If you love Me, keep my commandments.”)

I say that because my initial intention was to have a good rant.  This is my blog, and blogs are made for rants at times, right?  And there are so many scriptures that talk about love and forgivenessRant. So, so many!  I know because I’ve looked up a bunch of them today while I’ve been thinking along these lines.

But castigating someone with scripture is unloving and vengeful.

I was inspired to go ahead and write today after reading an email from someone I follow who has made it his mission to inspire would-be-bloggers and hopefuls.  He said to overcome your fear and say what’s inside of you.  Well, what’s inside of me today has the makings of a sermon on overlooking wrongs that have been done to you and forgiving, instead of lashing out and trying to get even.

Kind of ironic, since lashing out with words, desiring to shake up, wake up, and correct unloving behaviour, is itself hurtful.

I would love to just go for it, and unleash all the scriptural correctness that’s rolling around in my brain.  Like….

Forgive exhaustively (70 x 7) (Matthew 18:22)

In your anger, do not sin. (Ephesians 4:26)

Be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. (Ephesians 4:32)

Pretty much all of Matthew, chapter 5 – Blessed are those who are merciful, for they will be shown mercy…But I say if you are even angry at someone you are subject to judgment…. ‘Love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!’

Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.  (Colossians 3:13)

I could go on, but you’ve more than gotten the idea.  And I have now given a mini-sermon to myself.




And pray.  Always pray.

The act of writing has been cathartic.  I feel better!  I hope at least one person out there does too.  And if not, write it out, and pray it out; then I’m sure you will.



Who Are You Really?

I’ve recently been forced to come to the realization that I’ve been finding my iMaskdentity in my accomplishments and the qualities that I think I possess.

I allowed myself to “become” my various titles:  I’m a mother, therefore, I am nurturing, encouraging, and loving.  I’m a missionary, so I am passionate for God and people.  I’m a manager, so I am a servant-leader, mentor, organizer, and driving force.  Hah!

Wrong!  I am not those things.  I never have been.  I can put on each persona, like a hat, but that doesn’t make me any different.

Those are roles I fulfill, but they are not me, and who I am.  And I was wrong to derive my sense of self from the various roles I perform.  I can be all of those things without confusing myself with my title, but I didn’t.  The sad part is that at one time, I knew better.

I thought I had learned to be only who God says I am.  I would speak, out loud, over myself the Bible verses that talk about my identity as God’s child and follower of Jesus.

But somewhere along the way, I allowed myself to believe the myth that “we are what we do,” and “we’re only as good as our latest achievement.”  As if my performance somehow added value to me as a person.

With the discovery that I’m not who I thought, the image I had of myself crumbled around me.  What I thought were my abilities, and, therefore, my sense who I am and what I’m capable of, dissolved,  like a ripple-effect fade-out in a cheesy movie.  But instead of switching to a different scene, what was left was a confused, blurry image of a person who was no longer sure of herself, what she’s meant to do, or what she’s able to do.

Over the past weeks, I’ve felt worthless and very confused.  I am so thankful for my dear family! They have been so loving and supportive.  I have been more than reassured that they love me unconditionally, and that they are not swayed by any outer facade.  They have helped to remind me of my innate worth as a person made in the image of God.

As unpleasant as this time has been, it has led me to not only re-examine where I derive my self-image from, but to also sift through the rubble and find the foundation.  I thought my foundation was built on God’s unchanging love, but somewhere along the way, I began to build on the shifting sands of society’s standards, which by their very nature change over time.

Am I worth less because I don’t succeed, accomplish, or perform to an arbitrary standard? Not according to God, who has said I’m worth more to Him than the birds of the air or the flowers of the field.  He has numbered the hairs of my head and caught all of my tears. A re-reading of Psalm 139 is a good reminder of the intimacy with which God knows and loves us.

It’s been good for me to have this ‘false self’ stripped away.  Brennan Manning called it the Impostor.  It’s the mask we create for ourselves to hide behind, and supposedly fool others into believing that’s what we’re really like.  Only we also think we’re hiding from God, either never knowing or forgetting that God sees the ‘real’ person all along, and still loves us unrepentantly.

“God is relentlessly tender and compassionate toward us just as we are – not in spite of our sins and faults (that would not be total acceptance), but with them.” [Abba’s Child by Manning]

Thank the Lord for His reminder that I am His beloved child.

It’s not about what I do, or what I accomplish.   That’s not who I am.

I am a sinner saved by the outrageous grace of an infinitely loving God.  I am someone who makes mistakes.  But because of God’s mercy, they aren’t fatal.

“But God loves who we really are – whether we like it or not.” [ibid.]

If you’d like to read Psalm 139, I’m including it here:

Psalm 139

You have searched me, Lord,
and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
you, Lord, know it completely.
You hem me in behind and before,
and you lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.

Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”
12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.

13 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts,[a] God!
How vast is the sum of them!
18 Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand—
when I awake, I am still with you.

19 If only you, God, would slay the wicked!
Away from me, you who are bloodthirsty!
20 They speak of you with evil intent;
your adversaries misuse your name.
21 Do I not hate those who hate you, Lord,
and abhor those who are in rebellion against you?
22 I have nothing but hatred for them;
I count them my enemies.
23 Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.


  1. Psalm 139:17 Or How amazing are your thoughts concerning me