choices


I had dinner with some women friends last night and the question “Is the United States ready for a woman president?” was raised. That question fills me with sadness and reminds me how far we still need to go in the struggle for gender equality.

Excerpt from When Going with the Flow Isn’t Enough:

“Though tremendous legislative strides have been made regarding both racial and gender equality, it is sad but true to acknowledge that racism and sexism still exist. They exist because “isms” are not legal conditions, they are heart conditions and legislation does not change hearts. Civil rights legislation taught us that. I believe that if sexism and racism are to truly come to an end, hearts need to change in a way that leaves people color blind and gender blind, seeing each other as equal, different yet equal.”

Link: https://www.amazon.com/When-Going-Flow-Enough-Upstream/dp/1625860714/

 

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We sang this song in church this morning (How He Loves Us https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JoC1ec-lYps) and I felt moved to remind you if you’ve forgotten, or inform you if you didn’t know, that He loves us.

Jesus did not have to stay hanging on the cross. He chose to stay hanging there. Nails did not hold him to the cross, love held him there, love for each and every one of us, past, present and future. What Jesus did that day at Calvary was the epitome of selfless love, i.e. choosing to do something for someone else regardless of the cost to self. Jesus did something for us that we could not do for ourselves – he created the way for us to get to heaven. He explained this to his disciple Nathaneal in the first chapter of the gospel of John, verse 51: “Then he said, ‘I tell you the truth, you will all see heaven open and the angels of God going up and down on the Son of Man, the one who is the stairway between heaven and earth.’”

Jesus’s action of staying nailed to that cross until he died was a gift of love for all people throughout time, including the people who crucified him and those who mocked and abused him as he hung on the cross. “The leading priests, the teachers of religious law, and the elders mocked Jesus. ‘He saved others,’ they scoffed, ‘but he can’t save himself! So he is the King of Israel, is he? Let him come down from that cross right now, and we will believe in him! He trusted God, so let God rescue him now if he wants him! For he said, I am the Son of God’ (Matthew 27:41-43).

What the leading priests, teachers of religious law, and elders didn’t understand was that Jesus stayed on that cross for them. If Jesus had come down from that cross, which he was more than capable of doing, he would have saved himself. He would not, however, have saved them and he would not have saved us.

Earlier today I spoke with a woman who told me that a number of years ago she had definitive evidence that her husband was having an affair. She went to her pastor for help, asking him to speak with her husband. Her pastor told her “If he was getting some at home he wouldn’t need to go elsewhere.” I am so outraged that the pastor actually said this I can hardly stand it. The reality of a male pastor blaming a woman for her husband’s immoral behavior rather than holding the man (who, by the way,was an elder in the church) accountable is more than discouraging. It is downright outrageous. I can only hope that the recent “me too” movement and the resultant actions by legal authorities to hold men accountable for their behavior will teach this and other male pastors to hold individuals accountable for their own behavior, rather than blaming others.

I have written extensively about emotional and spiritual healing. This past week, however, I have been immersed in a physical healing process.

I had an oral surgery procedure last week which left me with a swollen, discolored cheek and painful mouth. As it has been healing, I have been reminded that God created a natural healing process for physical injuries and illnesses. I have also been reminded that healing is a choice. It’s God’s choice. It’s always God’s choice. Though we may go to doctors when we’re physically sick or injured and the doctors then give us medicine or perform procedures to heal us, the healing is not in the hands of the doctor. It’s in God’s hands. He is the one who has the power to heal us, not human beings.

Now I realize that physical healing doesn’t always happen. Sometimes God chooses not to heal the physical injury or illness, and these individuals die or live broken lives. Or, rather than healing the physical injuries or illnesses, God may give individuals the emotional and spiritual strength to cope with them. I don’t understand how and why God makes these choices. I do know though, that healing is a choice, it’s God’s choice, it’s always God’s choice.

Joy Gardner – Healer In The House (Live)

Excerpt from When Therapy Isn’t Enough:

Due to the dysfunction in the family I grew up in, I entered adulthood with many emotional and spiritual wounds, destructive habits and crippling hang-ups, most of which were outside my awareness. I began a healing process in my early adulthood even though I did not have a clear idea of what needed to be healed.

… the first step in my healing process was engaging in psychotherapy…Psychotherapy helped me to change on the outside; my inside, however, remained untouched for a very long time. Without consciously realizing it, I accepted this as normal, assuming I had reached the end of the healing process.

While still in therapy I added secular recovery (ACOA ALANON) to my healing process. Secular recovery taught me that I was not alone. I learned firsthand that other people had life experiences similar to mine and had similar feelings to mine.

In 2003 I stumbled upon Celebrate Recovery, a Christ-centered 12-Step recovery program, and that has made all the difference for me. Through working a program that continually pointed me toward Jesus, I learned how to access his healing power. My childhood wounds were finally healed—not coped with but healed. My habits are being broken one by one, and my crippling hang-ups have evaporated. They have been replaced with faith and trust in my Higher Power, Jesus Christ.

Link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1625861117/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1531867727&sr=1-2&keywords=When+Therapy+Isn%27t+Enough

It may surprise some people to know that not all Christ-followers are conservative and vote Republican. I believe that Jesus calls His followers to love liberally.

Love Thy Neighbor …
Thy Homeless Neighbor
Thy Muslim Neighbor
Thy Black Neighbor
Thy Gay Neighbor
Thy Immigrant Neighbor
Thy Jewish Neighbor
Thy Christian Neighbor
Thy Atheist Neighbor
Thy Disabled Neighbor
Thy Addicted Neighbor

It is important to remember that we can love and accept people for WHO they are, without accepting WHAT they do.

Excerpt, When Going with the Flow Isn’t Enough:

Question: Where do women belong in the twenty-first-century church?
Answer: Wherever God places them.

God has carved out places for every one of his daughters in his church, and he wants us to occupy the places he chose for us. Whatever spiritual gift or gifts you were given, you were given for a reason and a purpose, and he wants you to use it for the purpose he chose for you. He does not want you to hide it. If you choose to hide your gift(s), God is displeased. In his book The Purpose Driven Life Rick Warren states “You don’t bring glory or pleasure to God by hiding your abilities or by trying to be someone else. You only bring him enjoyment by being you. Anytime you reject any part of yourself, you are rejecting God’s wisdom and sovereignty in creating you.”

Link: https://www.amazon.com/When-Going-Flow-Enough-Upstream/dp/1625860714/

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