Tuesday, January 8, 2019

The Musings of This Photo

My friend, Don, shared a few of his latest photos with me this morning.  My reply was, "I hoped I'd be inspired to write through one of them."  As soon as I clicked those words on my keyboard, this came to me from this photo:

Photo Courtesy of Donald Case
"Nothing new, nothing vibrant.  Same ole, same ole."

And so I sit and write my musings from his photo.

Most of what I see and hear in "Christianity" today is cookie cutter.  Same ole, same ole...people not getting Word revelation or sharing experiences from being in The Presence of The LORD.  Cookie-cutter Christianity.  All the same color. Nothing new, nothing vibrant. Same ole challenges, same ole quoting The Word about those challenges but without the substantial, "This is my belief, and on this I stand come hell or high water!"

Colorless and wavering.

The Book of Acts is anything but colorless and definitely not cookie-cutter.  The Disciples definitely were undignified if their faith, worship, Word-talk, and revelation of The Word, Himself.

As I type I'm listening to Undignified by Matt Redman, which just so happens is what my pastor preached on this past Sunday.  He has challenged us to become undignified in our praise and worship.  I know in weeks to come, he will challenge us to be undignified in our faith and in our walks.  If anyone from Judah Church is reading, may we make this song our anthem during this month of Sacred Assembly?

This is my dance around the house music.  How about you?

And Don, once again, I thank you for the inspiration!  We are a collaboration waiting to happen...I'm waiting on you, my friend.  Let this be the year we finally do it!

Because of Him and Unto Him,  

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Psalm of Diane

oh, how I bless Your Name, oh God
You enlarge my heart
to hold such deep reverence

enlarge some more
for this container is full
it overflows back unto You

my reverence overflows in the form of tears
in the form of speechlessness and joy unspeakableness
the Glory of my King invades my being

oh, my soul does magnify You, my God
i bless Your Holy, Creative Name!

Because of You and Unto You,

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Unzip the Lips Please - My 2019 OneWord 365




My OneWord365 for 2019 is "articulate".  I have spoken, "I write so much better than I speak" so often in my life that it has come to pass.  Well, I've decided I need to do something about it.

A parental saying to me, "Zip your lip!" 
I'm now finding my voice as a single woman.  But, I need to broaden that and find my voice PERIOD.  Due to lifelong people and circumstances, I always felt as if my mouth was zippered shut when I needed to speak up, or defend myself, etc.  When I would finally muster the courage to speak up, my words fell on deaf ears, which stifled me all the more.

At a young age, I began journaling.  My fingers penned my voice.  Blogging...Diane has something to say!

Did you ever speak your text message to someone and it types out crazy wording?  Confusing.  Not clearly expressed.  That's how I sometimes feel my spoken words sound like to others.

So, I rocked back and forth between my OneWord for 2019 being "voice" or "articulate".  I want to not just find my voice but release it in a clear and understandable fashion.  I desire it to be seasoned with salted grace.  I want my spoken words to have the same impact as my writing does.  So, I chose ARTICULATE.
Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt that you may know how you outght to answer each one.  ~ Col. 4:6
A lot of hard work lies ahead of me this year to gain mastery over this.  And a lot of growth if I can stay my course to bring forth my articulate voice.   Me, like you with your 2019 OneWord, are on a journey.  Together we walk, yet separate.  Know I'll be rooting for you though. 

You can have your OneWord bring the changes you desire.  Keep your word on your computer desktop.  In your Bible.  On your iPad.  Sticky note it to the bathroom mirror.  Meditate on it.  Pray about it.  Make affirmations about your word and declare it over yourself.  What a testimony you will have come 2020!  And I will celebrate with you and you with me. 

Because of Him and Unto Him,

Friday, December 28, 2018

Short. Simple. One Word Resolutions.

What can one word do for your life?

Change it.

For. the. better!

I started making my "New Year's resolutions" just one word long back in 2012.  I had never mastered my resolutions-list each year that I would make them.  And make them I did.  I would only end that year in discouragement for all the unmet goals still on my list.  After many years, I stopped making any "resolutions".  What was the point?  I never met my goals.

Until my daughter, Alece, came up with OneWord365.  A one-word New Year's resolution I could commit to.  It was simple, easy to remember and to pray about and meditate on.
Go where it takes you. Be who it makes you.                                                         ~Tagline of OneWord365
I prayerfully keep my word before me and before God and it really does help make me and it "take me" to places within myself that I couldn't have otherwise imagined.

I look back over my list of words since 2012 and I see the first two words helped prepare me for the avalanche of hell that was coming at the end of 2013. The words from 2014 and on, helped bring healing to my very broken soul and helped Diane immerge as she crawled out from the debris that covered my life.

My OneWords have built me up spiritually and have created an internal atmosphere within me giving me courage and strength to step out of my comfort zones and become who God ORIGINALLY created Diane to be.  Not who family, society, and circumstances cocooned me into.  The butterfly is emerging.

Check out OneWord365 Community on FB
I thank God for my OneWord New Year's Resolutions!  And I thank God for my daughter's ingenuity and courage.  For I have grown as a woman, as a mother, as Minister of the Gospel, and as Abba's daughter.

You, too, can be "who it makes you" and go - beyond your wildest imaginations - where it "will take you".  Pick your OneWord prayerfully.  For 2019's journey is just beginning.

Because of Him and Unto Him,

Thursday, December 27, 2018

"Them Be Fightin' Words!"

But, she said to them, "Do not call me Naomi; call me Mara (bitterness), for The Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me.  I went out full, and The LORD has brought me home again empty.  Why do you call me Naomi since The LORD has testified against me, and The Almighty has afflicted me?"  ~ Ruth 1:20
The story of Naomi and her daughter-in-law, Ruth, is taught often in Bible studies or in church sermons.  Bear with me as I address this one verse.  Maybe you will see something new.

Naomi's husband and sons died.  Can you imagine?  As one who understands the depth of grief over a loss, I cannot imagine losing your sons as well as your husband.

Scripture does not sugar-coat emotions.  Naomi was angry with God, but she was not rebuked or chastised for what she was feeling.  It is part of her recorded testimony.

Noami was real.  She WAS angry with God.  She complained and her bitterness shined through brightly. Over my many years of ministry, I've discerned countless people who are bitter against God, yet they wouldn't dare verbalize that to another Christian.  That would be blasphemous, wouldn't it?  What would people think of me?!  They even go as far as denying it when asked.

Denial perpetuates more internal anger.

Abba, Father, desires real.  After all, He already knows what's in our hearts. So we sure aren't fooling Him.  We complain about people or our situations or our infirmities, yet down deep - DEEP inside - our complaint is against God.  How could He allow this?!  If He is so loving, why...?   Why hasn't He healed me?  Where was He when I went through...?  Life has not gone as you planned.  Allow your disappointment to be real with The LORD. 

Did you ever hear the saying, "confession is good for the soul"?  It most certainly is.  God would rather our anger against Him be brought into the Light than to walk around in denial about it.

God did NOT withhold blessings from Naomi because she went through a period of anger against Him.  He did NOT withhold provision for her life as a widowed woman.  God is not a delicate flower like we are.  He won't wither away from our heartfelt emotions.  He can withstand some honest anger, some honest questioning of His Character or purposes or abilities.  He understands the human heart full of varying emotions - He created us as such.  And in His image and likeness.  He understands.

The longer you go without verbalizing it to God, the deeper it takes root inside.  Tell GOD off, if you must.  Shake your fist, scream or cry.  Then allow Him to wrap you in His Arms of Love and sooth your disappointed soul.  He will.  He will NEVER turn you away.

Be REAL with God and with each other for your testimony is waiting on the other side of your disappointment.

Because of Him and Unto Him,

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Without Saying So - Conclusion

In the last five posts, I shared how Jesus loved on people and He has commanded us to do likewise with each other.

Jesus never once said the Words, "I love you." yet people, whose lives intersected with His, knew they were loved by Him.

It is my hope that you gleaned something from this study and will take it out into the world with you.  Out into your everyday lives: that Love will be seen in and through you; that Love will touch the human souls around you; that YOU Love as Jesus did, thus fulfilling His prayer to His Father on our behalfs; that you allow His Love to have its perfect work in your own soul.

And may we all go into the New Year of 2019 as a sweet fragrance of The Christ to the world around us.

Have a wonderful celebration of our Lord's birth and may 2019 be a year of personal growth to us all.

Because of Him and Unto Him,

Friday, December 21, 2018

Without Saying So - Part 5

Human touch was the very first sensation you experienced coming into this world and touching is vital to a healthy life so the psychologists say.

Jesus showed love by touching.  Mark10:15-16 gives us a beautiful picture of Jesus. So beautiful that famous artists down over the centuries have tried to depict the scene.  As beautiful as some may be, somehow, I don't think their paintings do Jesus justice.  When the children came to Jesus, we see that "He took them up in His Arms, laid His Hands on them, and blessed them." His "laying on of Hands" must have been so lovingly special.
Jesus calmed men's fearful hearts by reaching out and touching them.  The three Disciples closest to Jesus were witness to His transfiguration. When, God, His Father, spoke they were so terrified that they fell to the ground.  "But, Jesus came and touched them and said, 'Arise and do not be afraid.'"  Human touch can soothe a variety of different emotions.  Touching means someone is there, someone cares.
In Matthew 8, we read of various healings.  Verse 14 is saddled in between verses describing healings via Jesus' spoken Words.  Verse 14, describes the human interaction Jesus had with Peter's mother-in-law who was ill.  "So, He touched her hand and the fever left her.  She arose and served them."

Jesus didn't have to touch in order for His healing virtue to be activated as the centurion pointed out in Luke 7.  Jesus was perfectly capable of healing just by speaking.  Even from a remote location.  But, He usually didn't choose to do it that way.  He made it a point to physically touch.  Why?

I do believe because when we suffer physically - especially for a long period of time - we are truly in need emotionally for someone to understand, someone to care about what we are going through.

I do not believe Jesus' ministry of touch is what we see in churches today.  A minister calls for people who need healing to come forward and be lined up. The minister then proceeds down the line and lays hands and moves onto the next.  That's NOT the picture of love.  I do believe when Jesus "laid hands on the sick", He did so in a very loving manner.  A manner which not only healed their bodies but their souls as well.

I personally witnessed one of the greatest acts of Love from a visiting Minister of The Gospel to our church. It was so dramatic, so Christ-like, that it is forever etched on the tablet of my heart.  As the youth responded to his altar call, he walked around the room discerningly.  He would come up to a teen and embrace them with a great big bear hug.  And teens responded to this physical act of love and compassion.  Literally, they melted in his arms - both male and female - as God ministered healing and wholeness to each one.  Sometimes, he didn't even speak words over them, he just hugged.  Sometimes, he wept over them.

This, I believe, is how Jesus Christ would have ministered.  This is the power of touch coupled together with Agape Love.  This is how Jesus commands us to Love one another.
According to Mosaic Law, leprosy renders a person unclean and therefore must live a life of isolation from family and friends and community.  Touching a leper was strictly forbidden.  And yet, Jesus touched them.

"When He had come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed Him.  And behold, a leper came and worshiped Him, saying, 'Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.'  Then, Jesus put out His Hand and touched him, saying, 'I AM willing; be cleansed.'  Immediately, his leprosy was cleansed."  (Matthew 8:1-3)  He could have just spoken.  But, He didn't.  He violated the law to do what He saw His Father do - lovingly touch.

Do you know what human touch from a non-leper must have done for that man's soul?  I cannot even begin to imagine the healing Jesus' love-touch did to his emotional well-being.

Did you ever go to church and step forward to greet someone with a hug but they say, "Oh, don't touch me, I don't want to give you my cold"?  When we don't feel well, a loving embrace can do more for us than not.  We all need to know that someone cares.  I hug anyway.

Only those who know what starving for the simple act of being touched for no particular reason is like can identify with my words here.  Part of my testimony is the lack of physical touch throughout my life - from beginning to the end of my marriage.  Now that I am in NC, my friend, Rene, gives me a great big bear hug every time he sees me.  Sometimes, I walk in their house and fall into his arms.  "Rene, I need a hug."  And hug me he does,  somehow making me feel better.  In the last three weeks, I've had three Divine Appointments.  Each one ended with a stranger - a male - hugging me.  As one who lives life solo these days, being touched is rare but Abba provides for my needs.

You will probably never know how much someone needs a hug.  Rarely, do we walk around saying so.  Love one another, as Jesus would.  Hug.  Touch an arm.  Hold a hand.  And the next time you pray over someone, try embracing them as you do.  It may do more for you than for the recipient.

Because of Him and Unto Him,

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Without Saying So - Part 4

According to The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman, the fourth language is Quality Time.  So, did Jesus show His Love by spending quality time with His friends?

Quality time can be summed up by some of these characteristics:  undivided attention, togetherness, an uninterrupted conversation where both people are fully engaged and intently listening.

This is one of my love languages. If you want me to feel loved by you, give me quality time.  Give me your undivided attention. 

God always, ALWAYS gives us His Quality Time.  I have His undivided attention when I speak with Him. I know He is fully engaged with me; that He intently hangs on my every word as He does you. He converses with me accordingly.  Sometimes, He asks me questions.  Sometimes, He is silent.  But, I know He's listening and hearing me. That's how I know He loves me.

So, we ought to do likewise to show others we love them.  By treating others as Jesus would, a message of love and care will be received by those whose love language is quality time. 

This is NOT quality time.
How many times has someone said to you, "I'm listening."  And your reply is, "But, you are not hearing me."

Listening to really hear is an art.  We must train ourselves to truly hear what is being spoken as well as what is not being said.  We must train ourselves to put the other persons' words ahead of our own.  

In society today, quality time human interactions are less and less. How many times have you been in the middle of a phone conversation and the other person puts you on hold to answer another call?  That is so disrespectful and downright hurtful if you're in the middle of sharing something important. That does not show love and concern.  It does show how little they care about what you are speaking to them.

Or you are in a face-to-face conversation or out to dinner when the other persons' phone rings?  And you sit there listening to their conversation.  Ugh.

How many times are we in prayer or studying God's Word or just sitting in The LORD's Presence when the phone rings or the kids start fighting?  We drop our conversation with GOD Almighty, Himself, to speak to a mere mortal.   Disrespectful?  YES!  Hurtful?  YES, as it grieves The Holy Spirit, Who resides within.  And, ultimately, who does it hurt the most?  Us.  We lose out because the intimate moment we were having can never be gotten back.

How many times do you see a couple out to dinner and one or both are on their cell phones?  That is NOT quality time.

Jesus spent untold hours in one-on-one conversations with His Disciples and Followers. He shared life lessons with them.  Knowing their hearts, their concerns, their dispositions, weaknesses, and strengths, He taught them how to live well-rounded successful lives.  He listened intently to what they said as well as what they didn't say.  He was a master at reading body language.  Jesus' gaze into the Disciples eyes was deep and concentrated.  And by His example, they learned.

In Luke chapter 5 we have the account of Jesus and the Disciples eating dinner at the tax collector, Levi's, house.  This dreaded man invited a house-load of other tax collectors and "others" to that dinner. Amongst them were their scribes (who were taking notes) and Pharisees who were there to trip Jesus up.  And there was Jesus with His captive audience. NOW He had their undivided attention.  And they sure had His.  It was a Q&A session not only with Jesus but with the Disciples as well.  And He ends up teaching them a valuable life lesson through a parable.  THAT was quality time.  What if they all had cell phones R-I-N-G, R-I-N-G-I-N-G?  I think Jesus would have had something to teach them about that!

One of the things I miss most about no longer living on Long Island is my Monday nights.  Every Monday night an audience would hang on my every word as we sat around a table at the Victorious Overcomer's Program.  And I would hang on their every word.  I think one of the reasons Victorious Overcomers is such a successful drug and alcohol program is the one-on-one undivided attention given and received.  Every word an Overcomer shares is deemed important.  By. Everyone.  And in turn, they listen.  Intently.  How many people in this society do not feel heard?  Some of them might have turned to drugs or alcohol due to the lack of family members not "hearing" them.

Give quality time and you will receive quality time.  You reap what you sow.  Don't just say to the kids, "Put your cell phone away" or "No phones at the table".  Explain why uninterrupted time together is so vital.  And make sure you are leading by example.

Do you silence your phone before walking into the doctor's office?  How about when you shop for something important?  What about before your small group gathering or at Bible study?  How about just meeting a friend for coffee to catch up on life's happenings?  Don't let your phone interrupt you giving someone quality time.

Do as Jesus would do today. He would put His phone on silent. Let us Love as Jesus did.

Because of Him and Unto Him,

Friday, December 7, 2018

Without Saying So - Part 3

We continue to look at how we - The Body of Christ - should be loving one another as Jesus commanded us to do.  And all without speaking the words "I love you".
A new Commandment I give to you that you Love one another as I have loved you.          ~ Jesus Christ, as recorded in John 13:34
This is Part 3: Acts of Service
Just as The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve...                                      ~ Matt. 10:28 
John 15:1-17 is the record of Jesus washing His Disciples feet at His last meal with them.  Peter did not understand.  Jesus explains.  Verse 15 says, " For I have given you an example that you should do as I have done to you."  Meaning: serve one another. Jesus Christ is our example of what it means to serve one another and in so doing, we exemplify Love. One to another.

We are told in Galatians 5:13 to serve one another through Love.  Acts of service are the result of Love in and through us.  If you really meditate on God, you will see that He truly does serve us.  We, His servants, are served.  By Him. Consistently.  God moves mountains on our behalf.  He loves on us in the manner that we can perceive His actions as Love.  Possibly if you don't "feel" that God loves you, it's because you do not realize what your own Love language is.  What is it that makes you feel loved?  Then look at God in that light.  See how He has met your particular bent toward Love.

Let's look at Mary and Martha again.  Mary's way of perceiving Love was through words of affirmation.  Her sister, however, was through acts of service.  Martha willingly served the Guest in her home and could not understand why  Mary was not doing the same.  Hence, Martha's complaining to Jesus about her sister.

How many times do we complain about someone because they are not "loving" us in the way we desire to be loved on?  "If he loved me, he would help more around the house."  That statement shows that acts of service are the key to making that person feel loved.  It's not that he doesn't love you, it's that he's not learned to show love to you in the manner that can be received as such.  The same is true here with Martha needing Mary to serve because acts of service were Martha's Love language.
Sitting on the beach, The Risen Lord waited while Peter and the others fished.  Catching nothing, God Almighty served them, by giving them the catch of their lives.  More fish than they could handle.  After their beach BBQ, Jesus had His inner-healing conversation with Peter.  He asks Peter three times if he loves Him.  Jesus challenges Peter to prove it.  "Feed My sheep" is Jesus' replies to Peter's I love you's. He basically is saying, IF you Love me like you say you do, then serve one another.  Possibly that was a character flaw in Peter. Peter was a strong-willed, macho fisherman/businessman.  A leader to the leaders.  Up to that point in his life, Peter may not have known anything of acts of service to others.  In that inner-healing tipping point in Peter's life, he chose servanthood.

And how many lives did Peter touch with The Gospel of Jesus Christ through his "random acts of kindness" which really are random acts of serving?

Let us Love in the language of Jesus Christ.

Because of Him and Unto Him,

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Without Saying So - Part 2

According to Gary Chapman, author of The 5 Love Languages, humans perceive love in 5 various forms.  These are: Words of affirmation, gifts, acts of service, quality time, and physical touch.  Out of these five, we each have a primary love language that speaks more deeply to our souls than others.

So, I'm doing a study on Jesus Christ exhibiting these 5 love languages to those He ministered to.  This is Part 2: Gifts.

Did Jesus Christ give gifts?

Eternal salvation is the grandest gifts He could possibly give forth.  When a human soul has a revelation of what it cost God to give us this Eternal gift, they are never, ever the same again. "For by Grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God.."  (Eph. 2:8)
"For this purpose The Son of God was manifested: that He might destroy the works of the devil."  (1 John 3:8)

Before Jesus sent out His twelve Disciples, He gave them the gift of power and authority over all the works of the devil.  (Luke 10:19)  He bestowed the gift of HIS power and authority over the devil to Believers.  I don't know about you, but I think that is one incredible gift.
During His last hours on earth, while nailed to a tree enduring unimaginable torture and torment, Jesus gives a gift to His mother.  Knowing how society looked upon widows who had no one to take care of them, He gives John charge over His mother (John 19:25-27). Jesus gifted her with provision for the rest of her life via His best friend, who was probably like another son to Mary. Even though she had other natrual-born sons, at this point Jesus' brothers did not believe He was the Messiah.  More than likely, they resented their mother's preferential treatment of this "special" brother.  Had jealousy turned to bitterness possibly?  Jesus obviously knew their hearts.

He didn't say, "Momma, I love you."  He showed her by seeing to it she was provided for.  Maybe this was Mary's preferred love language and He was "speaking her language" so to speak.
Jesus had dinner at a dreadful tax collector's home as well as His beloved friend's home (Mary, Martha, and Lazarus).  How did it make Zaccheus feel that this Holy Man of God came to his home and ate dinner with him?  Loved. And that changed the trajectory of the rest of his life.  Jesus knew what Zaccheus needed to feel truly loved and accepted - the gift of dining at his home.

I was "in hiding" in Southold, NY.  During the 16 months I lived out there on the East End of Long Island all alone, I had only one visitor.  She came and had dinner with me twice.  It meant the world to me, bringing me to tears actually, that she would travel the long distance on the one-lane road to visit me.  It surely spoke of her love for me.
Jesus turned water into wine at a wedding; gave Bartimaeus the gift of sight; He restored health; made a fish cough up the tax money; restored sanity, etc., etc.  Jesus Christ IS the gift that keeps on giving.

Do we perceive Jesus' gifts to mankind as Love?  We sure should. Have you ever said to a loved one when they are going through a difficult time, "I wish I could change this for you." It is out of empathy and compassion that we want to step in and help or change their situation.  It is out of empathy and compassion that Jesus Christ has stepped into our lives and has actually done things in our situations to work for good in our lives.  He doesn't just pat us on the back and say, "Things will get better.  I'll pray for you."  No. He steps in and does for us.  He bestows gifts to us and most of the time, undeservingly, since most of the time, our "situations" are of our own making.

Yes, Jesus is the Gift that keeps on giving.  He IS Love - Love. Made. Manifest. And Embodied.  The perpetual gift of Love.

Because of Him and Unto Him,