Archive | January 2013

Who Are You?

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(this has been posted on both of my blog pages, here and http://www.marvimarti.com)

Who are you who claims to be a believer?

Who are you who claims to have the love of the Lord in your heart but turns your back on the unwed daughters in the church who are pregnant? Or the sons who drove drunk and now carry a DUI and are slipping from your grasp?  Those who have practiced unfaithfulness or have  stolen or any other “grievous” sin?

Who are you to think you know what is remorse or not remorse because they didn’t stand in front of the congregation to declare their sins?  Can you SEE that their heart is hard or see that deep inside them it is breaking under the weight of their sin and they NEED you to pull them to you not shove them away until they ‘repent’ as YOU feel they should?  Who are you to claim to know their heart?

Who is embracing those who grew up in the church but have wandered when you, their church “family” does not embrace them and support them? The world you preach so hard against?

Where is the love?

The love of Christ that dined with the sinners.

Are you really any different than the Pharisees who thought they knew it all and looked down or turned their back on God’s prodigal ones?

Did Jesus make the adulteress woman go before anyone except HIM to confess her sins when she was about to be stoned? or did He show her compassion and love, and encourage her to the path that leads to Him?

Who are you to judge the heart? I thought that was God’s to do?

Where oh where is the love????

Could one person who reached out and loved from the heart, showed the love of Christ rather than shunning the lost and fallen, have made the difference?

And the gossip..oh the juicy tales passed from person to person about that fallen one, did that not make you a sinner too? Isn’t the ground level in front of the cross of Christ?  Where was the compassion and love to reach out and catch those who stumbled and help get them on the path?  Instead the gossip, the shunning,  could that be what assisted them in falling off the path and in to the pit of sin rather than just stumbling?  You who have never been down that slope, have no idea how hard it is to reach out and cry for help, trying to claw your way back up, when the doors have been seemingly closed.  The humiliation carried by the sinner and being so lost under that weight that you cannot bring yourself to reach for a brother or sister…and you wonder, as they’ve talked about you  rather than help you, is their heart going to accept you and help you if you could bring yourself to their door in search of love?  And while you ‘shun’ them, the world reaches for them, loving them, soothing their wounds, wrapping around them until they have numbed from the still, small voice, and now feel the love and acceptance of the darkness because it DID reach for them, it DID care for them, it DID embrace them when the “christian family” did not.

Surely they who fell into sin will stand before God and be judged.  But you who turned a cold shoulder, who demanded repentance instead of showing love, who watched them fall into the embrace of the world rather than embrace them in the love of Christ, won’t you too be judged for how you dealt with them?  Do you really think you will hear “Well done, good and faithful servant” any more than the ones stumbling? YOU too sin every single day with your judging of others, with your gossip, with your less than loving hearts, with those little white lies you tell and other sins of omission…one’s sin may be more evident and glaring than another, but is it any less wrong? Any less a sin?

When you discovered a brother or sister was off the path and wadding in sin, did YOU do anything?  Did you run and tell another, dial the phone to share the nugget of naughtiness? Or did you run to the fellow believer and sinner and do all you could to bring them back on the path and be restored to their walk?  Did you really show LOVE, or just legalism?

Did you fawn all over the ones who joined the flock who could say all the right Christian buzz words, talked softly with a seemingly quiet and gentle spirit, served in so many ways….only to fall and then SWIM within that lake of sin.  Yet the ones who might be rough around the edges, struggled in their walk but their desire to please and worship Christ was there but you didn’t invite them to your home, or your circle of friends, you kept them at arms length when what they needed was your love and compassion.  And yet both those you put on the pedestal and those you saw beneath it, fell into sin…because we ALL are sinners, we all need Christ.

Where, brothers and sisters in Christ, is the LOVE?

Surely you’ve heard that phrase, “you may be the only Bible some folks ever read”.  What sets you apart from the world? OTHER than your haughtiness and carrying your Bible and being able to quote a scripture or two with a pat on the back and “I’ll pray for you”.  You jet off to serve in the “mission field” rebuilding churches in a place hit with a natural disaster, all the while people sitting around you every Sunday are starving to death on the pews in need of real LOVE.  I suppose it is easier to go help a stranger, drive some nails, clean up the damage to buildings, than it is to sit down and help someone you know find their way out of the damage in their life caused by sin.  To really connect and FEEL what they are feeling.

Sure, you can give a defense if your faith is questioned.  You can explain in great detail what scripture says about sin and the need of a Savior, and tell the date you came to Christ.  But can you defend YOUR faith, your heart?  Can you honestly say you have shown true love for the brethren, got down on your knees and held a shattered brother or sister to rise above their sin?  Did you talk TO them, or just talk ABOUT them?

These are the things I am struggling with this morning when I should be at services with people that I love, worshiping my Savior.  Not only do I know those who were shunned and talked about…but I was one who did the shunning, AND… I AM THAT SINNER THAT NEEDED YOU!  I fell off the path, slipping further and further away until I was out of reach and eating with the pigs in the pigsty rather than wrapped in LOVE from my brothers and sisters.  YES some was my own heart attitude, but short of listening then quoting scripture, who reached out? Who left their comfort zone to find out what was driving that attitude, and what was pulling from the other side of the path down the slippery slope?  I pray in the future I am willing to crawl down and grasp the hand of a fellow believer who has fallen into sin, to really SHOW the love I talk about having.

You warm a pew…but are you truly the remnant spoken of in the Bible?  Having been on both sides, I fear the remnant is far smaller than I once believed.

You say you love…but where is the love?

Who are you?

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My One Word – Narrowing It Down

myonewordI have participated in a growing movement to forget about New Year’s resolutions, and instead pick one word that will be the focus of my year.  The idea being that focusing on that area will bring about good things in all areas as it spreads.  I picked SEEK the year before last, then JOY this past year.  SEEK God was the focus, then finding the JOY in all things.

I was going about it just fine but this year decided to not only check out the website but to also read the book.  It has been a life changer already and it is only the 3rd of January.

My word was harder to pick, as there are so many areas of my life that need change, improvement or just to find a way out of the door of my life altogether.  The book has been very helpful in narrowing things down.  I was down to just 4 words, all of these words would have an impact on my life if they were chosen as my ONE WORD for 2013:

KNOW – as in really get to know my Savior through God’s Word in extensive study.

REFLECT – as in reflecting Christ in my life every day as if I am the mirror that reflects Him to the world around me.

APPLY – apply the Word of God in all areas of my life.

SURRENDER – as in yielding, surrendering all areas of my life to Christ.  While I do not care for the whole “WWJD”, maybe more in line of what would Christ have me to do.  Based on scripture and not my ‘gut’ feel.  And praying through things before making choices and decisions.  Surrender my thoughts, actions, Sunday mornings…everything to the Lord.  This word will encompass the others as time goes on, so it was the clear choice.

sur·ren·der

[suh-ren-der]

verb (used with object)

1. to yield (something) to the possession or power of another; deliver up possession of on demand or under duress: to surrender the fort to the enemy; to surrender the stolen goods to the police.

2. to give (oneself) up, as to the police.

3. to give (oneself) up to some influence, course, emotion, etc.: He surrendered himself to a life of hardship.

4. to give up, abandon, or relinquish (comfort, hope, etc.).

5. to yield or resign (an office, privilege, etc.) in favor of another.

verb (used without object)

6. to give oneself up, as into the power of another; submit or yield.

The word will be in front of me all year…taped to my dashboard, as my bookmark in my bible (maybe several as I’m all over in there), anywhere I might come across it or the need for it, I will have it in front of me to remind me to focus on that word and what it entails.  It will set the tone for my year, be at the heart of much of my writing for this blog this year, but more importantly it will help me to grow in my walk and faith with my Savior, Jesus Christ.

In addition, I’ve taken the “30 day challenge” I’ve heard on K-LOVE, and I am listening to only Christian music for this month.  Again, it is already impacting my thoughts and mood.  Guess that whole “garbage in (to the brain) = garbage out” could be true.  I catch myself  little more when using less than appropriate language, when a negative or unkind thought goes through my brain, etc.  The music and songs may lack sound theology, but they are positive and encouraging, as K-LOVE often uses as their slogan.