Tag Archives: christ

Hope for the Helper

The spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me; he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed, to bind up the broken hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and release to the prisoners;” Isaiah 61:1

Reading this verse used to fill me with strength and hope; it fueled my passion to follow the calling God had on my life. However, over time, this verse began to feel more like a curse than a blessing. When things because almost unbearable the following passage of scripture became my reality.

“’If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet as you leave that house or town. Truly I tell you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town. See, I am sending you out like sheep into the midst of wolves; so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.  Beware of them, for they will hand you over to councils and flog you in their synagogues; and you will be dragged before governors and kings because of me, as a testimony to them and the Gentiles. When they hand you over, do not worry about how you are to speak or what you are to say; for what you are to say will be given to you at that time; for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you’.” Matthew 10:14-20

I became aware of the destructive things that your own fellow believers were more than willing to do to you; but I had forgotten two important parts of this passage, “…shake off the dust from your feet as you leave that house or town” and “do not worry about how you are to speak or what you are to say; for what you are to say will be given to you at that time,”.

Instead of heeding the sound advice from Christ that is written right there in scripture I disobeyed both instructions. I stuck around too long and I didn’t wait for the Holy Spirit to guide me in what to say to those who made it their goal to attack and destroy.

When God has given you a calling to work and minister in certain environments it is not often easy. Our society has convinced us that anything that involves God will be smooth and easy, as if it were the only sign that you were in the right place doing the right thing.

“In the Vincentian Family, I had the opportunity to meet many missionaries (religious, ordained and lay) who were slandered in their missions; priests that had to leave their parishes due to the internal ecclesiastic [ordained] incomprehension or to the lack of understanding from their own parishioners whom they served; consecrated [ordained] forced to abandon their projects of service to the poor because ‘they were so effective in their service that they caused envy’; lay Vincentians who were called self-interested or corrupt and who had to leave their vocation. Many times we are misunderstood by the poor that we serve! We build their house and in the following week visit, we do not find them anymore, because they sold the house that took so much effort for us to build! Sometimes we feel that we are fighting with all our strength for the mission of service and total dedication to the Poor and that nobody understands us.”

Source: http://en.ssvpglobal.org/Spirituality/Spiritual-Reading-Week-starting-on-May-15-2017

Christ asks us to join him in carrying his cross. Carrying a big wooden torture device over our shoulders is not easy; it was never intended to be. Sometimes we are called to do something that is fun, exciting, and almost effortless; this might be a calling, but it is not the same as carrying a cross. Carrying a cross will always involve pain, hurt, decrease in strength, battling our weaknesses, and many other challenges to our emotional well being.

Does this mean that we will always be defeated in carrying our cross? Not at all. Why? Because God is the one who gives us strength to be able to be co-carriers of the cross alongside Jesus. Jesus is with us, his experience with the cross reminds us that in the end we will have overcome the cross; but until we depart this earth we will always have some type of cross to carry.

When your calling involves carrying the burden of the cross turn to God. Ask him to reveal to you when to dust off your sandals and carry on verses when to stay as a guest and servant. When the attackers come for you, pray, ask God for wisdom as to what to do next. Do you stay, do you go; and what do you say while you are in the midst of the mess. God always has an answer, it will be up to each of us to listen, trust, and follow.




God Before Family Always


Choose Healthier Snacks for Children

This is a strong blog post title and a strong statement, but it is something I believe in strongly. I don’t apply this to those who are under age. When you are still a child, then you are under your parents control and should do as you are told to do. I have never believed that God holds children accountable for the sins parents place upon them.

I came to accept this belief during a life changing a-ha moment. If I remember correctly, this occurred while I was reading Luke 14: 25-35 when I was a student sometime around my first year in college. For the first time as an adult I sensed the possibility of freedom from destructive generational habits and sins that had strongly affected my ancestors and myself. In reading this passage I had learned the opposite of what I had been taught in church; I was in fact free to not have to give into sinful or unhealthy behaviours influenced by generational familial sin. YES! THANK YOU LORD FOR THIS BLESSING!

The idea of putting God before your family is still a concept and biblical truth that is difficult for some Christians to accept. There are many people who can and will quote scriptures about listening and doing what your parents tell you to do. I always tell people that those scriptures only apply if your parents and family members are guiding you in God’s truth. If your family is helping to lead you away from what God has commanded or steering you away from the individual calling He has placed on your life, there are no excuses: God. Before. Family. Always!

One area that I have firmly chosen not to follow in my family footsteps is health and wellness. I am overweight and despite my 30 pound weight loss in 2015, I am still in the obese category. I have an obese mother who at 5’1 was a size 18 and weighed over 200 pounds when I was in junior high and high school. She weighs less than that now due to diabetes, but she is still medically obese. I remember my mother being in denial about her weight.  As a teenager I explained to her that our doctors’ scale was fine, and that our doctor was not lying about what the scale reported.

The Klumps: Family Obesity

Growing up I had a very unhealthy diet and it continued into adulthood before serious health problems and surgery forced me to alter my eating habits and food choices. I fell for the misconception that being fat or obese was genetic. If my mother was obese, well, that is why I was obese. A lack of proper information about weight control allowed me to believe I couldn’t help but be obese.

It’s easy for us to convince ourselves that we can’t become healthier because of our family habits, but as I wrote in the opening paragraph, only children are under their parents control. If you are an adult, you no longer have to follow the family tradition of eating unhealthy foods, living in the bondage of eating disorders and disordered eating, or living an inactive lifestyle.

A New Look At What Family Really Is

If your spouse doesn’t want to exercise, oh well, exercise on your own. You don’t have to have second and third helpings of fatty foods and dessert just because your grandmother put the food in front of you. We are taught that food is love, but another way to show love is to respect the boundaries of others. If your family loves you they will respect your desire to not eat in excess. Some relatives will be upset with you, they might be insulted that you only wanted a tiny amount of the food they cooked, and yes, they might even gossip about you to others regarding your eating style, but these are possibilities you will have to accept with strength if they do occur.

You might be family, but you are the one living in your skin, living in your body. If your family is not going to care about your health, then it is up to you to love yourself enough to care about your own self.

Self care is healthcare.

QUESTIONS: Does your family have unhealthy habits that you’ve noticed? Are there family or generational habits that you need to cease in YOUR OWN life?

ACTION: Pray over your family, for the Holy Spirit to work through everyone and for an end to any unhealthy habits that have developed in your family. If you are in the midst of developing a healthier lifestyle but lack the support of your family, pray that they will become an encouragement to you. If you have any anger, bitterness, or jealousy towards relatives, ask God to soften your heart enough to extend forgiveness, understanding, and grace towards those who don’t support you and those who refuse to change. prayer for conflict resolution

Jesus the Introvert pt.2

Jesus the Introvert pt 2

Matthew 14:13, “Now when Jesus heard this, [the death of his cousin John the Baptist], he withdrew from there in a boat to a deserted place by himself.” Matthew 14: 23, “And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone,…”

In part 1, I wrote about Jesus’ displays of introversion based on his 40 days of retreating to the desert and him being tempted by Satan while there. This time I will be looking at Matthew 14 where we are shown more of Jesus’ introvert style.

After Jesus is informed about the beheading of John the Baptist, he decides to go off by himself, not to just any place, but to a deserted place on his own. It is easy to say he did this because he feared being next on the chopping block, but I don’t believe this theory is the sole reason for Jesus retreating into isolation. By being alone Jesus is able to process the death of John, pray to God, and gather strength and clarity for deciding what his next steps would be. In the bible, Jesus displays a range of human emotions, he shows compassion, fear, anger, frustration, love, and grief complete with tears. His (possibly) introverted nature leads him to a deserted place to be alone with his thoughts and emotions and most importantly he is finally able to be alone with God.

When people are faced with the loss of someone or something important to them, their friends and acquaintances tend to flock towards them with advice, condolences, questions, and their own emotions regarding the loss. I can imagine the men mourning alongside Jesus, while simultaneously asking him a series of questions: “Jesus, what should we do? Do we organize and fight? Do we leave the area? Where do you think John is in the afterlife? Are you alright?” and on and on.

Jesus knows he needs some time to be away and alone, but somehow others don’t understand that. The crowds found out where he was and went to him. In the midst of his grief and mourning, he chose to acknowledge those who found him and healed them of various illnesses and even made time to perform the miracle of turning 5 loaves of bread into enough pieces to feed over 5,000 people. Again, as in the story of Jesus’ 40 days in the desert, he shows us the importance of refueling one’s self and making time to be alone with God. His times of solitude segway into his healing others and performing miracles. If Jesus did not give into these introvert character traits, I’m not sure what his ministry would look like. An emotionally stretched and drained person has less to offer to those he or she serves. Recharging yourself is an important and critical part of being an effective servant of God.

John 6:15 tells us that after feeding thousands of people, the crowd wanted to make Jesus a king against his will. Thankfully Jesus did not get drawn in by such an honour. Jesus knew what his calling and his role was, and it certainly wasn’t to be an earthly king. The end result is that Jesus dismisses the crowds, sends the disciples ahead of him in a boat on their own; and for himself, he chooses to head to the mountains to be alone.

Jesus’ alone time prepares him to say no to the temptations of the world and instead focus on the will of our father God. For introverts, being around too many people for too long not only drains their energy, it also affects their moods, and decision making abilities. Jesus knew how he was wired and he knew what he had to do in order to stay focused on the will of God and not the earthly temptations of people and power.

Read all of Matthew 14, make note of events that happen after Jesus has spent time in solitude.  I don’t think it is a coincidence that the writers mention that Jesus had engaged in intentional times of withdrawing from others.


QUESTION: When you have to make important decisions, is your natural tendency to discuss your options and dilemmas with others or be on your own to ponder the situation? Think of some recent examples from this past year.

Why might it be important for extroverts to also spend time alone with God when faced with upsetting news and major decisions?

ACTION: If you are an extrovert, think of some ways that you can spend quality time recharging so you will be well fueled for your calling, your ministry, and your duties.

If you are an introvert, take time to schedule meaningful quiet, alone time so you can be recharged as well. Book the date and time in your planner or electronic calendar. Be intentional.


Mary and Martha: Hospitality Wins Every Time!

Source: Diego Velázquez (Artist)
Source: Diego Velázquez (Artist)


I’ve always been bothered by the story of sisters Mary and Martha (Luke 10:38-42). In this well known story, we are told that Martha was distracted and frazzled by the tasks of hospitality while Mary made the right choice by sitting with Jesus listening to him speak. Jesus explains to Martha that her sister is correct in spending her time with him because her decision has eternal rewards

What bothers me about this story is that we have often been taught to condemn Martha’s actions. I can’t find fault with Martha, not only because I identify with her type A , can’t sit still, get things done, character traits; but also because I know what it’s like to want to do the right thing for someone only to be rebuffed.

Each time I hear this verse preached in a sermon or used as a negative illustration in a bible study, I so desperately want to rescue Martha from her undeserved bad reputation. I want to reach beyond the pages of my workbooks and devotionals and scream at others, “But Martha was only doing what was expected of her by cultural and social norms! She was being hospitable, not sinful! She wanted to offer Jesus something she was gifted and talented at: hospitality and serving others! She just wanted to feed you Jesus!”

I wonder what happened after Jesus left. If Martha was anything like me, she was probably upset with her sister for yet again not pulling her weight, for upstaging her, for making her look bad in front of a guest. It would be a long time before I would have served Mary any Ahweh and Baklava during our sisterly visits.

Of course God doesn’t condone bitterness and anger; but what He does approve of and encourage is grace, understanding, and forgiveness. Can we see how both sisters were equally hospitable? One wanted to serve with food and other preparations, while the other wanted to serve by being present. Both sisters paid equal attention to Christ in their own way. Let’s not polarize these sisters into good and bad.

Jesus didn’t choose Mary over Martha, he was simply letting her know that it wasn’t necessary to get so upset about her sister not helping. Jesus was correct, it was more important to spend time with him because he would not be on earth for long, however, we have to remember that she and Mary wouldn’t have known this at the time.

I can’t help but wish they would have given more details. Did Mary eventually help her sister, did Martha eventually sit down and relax? We’ll never know, because the point of the story was succinct.

entertaining or hospitality

A lesson for us to learn is that hospitality comes in various forms. Let’s be grateful whenever others are there for us. The Mary’s in my life spend time with me; their homes will rarely be clean, they don’t have readily available beverages or food to offer; but what they do give me is their undivided attention in conversation. The Martha’s in my life have clean homes, or at least they do a quick clean up before I get there (not that I personally care about the cleanliness of their home), they offer beverages and some type of food; they also like to do things like pop in a movie, play games, or other activities in the home. Then there are the M&M’s, they have the ability to do what both Mary and Martha did.

However you choose to be there for others, remember to do it with love.



What style of serving is more similar to your own, Mary or Martha?

Do you see Martha as being wrong and Mary as being right? What do you see right or wrong in each woman?

How would you have reacted towards your sister if you were Martha? How would you have reacted to Jesus if you were Martha?


Think of different ways that people show acts of hospitality towards others. Can you think of different ways that people have been of service to you and/or shown great hospitality over the past two months. Let us stop and give thanks for those moments. Peace.