Expressing Honor Requires Vulnerability

 

Honor::high respect, as for worth, merit or rank. to treat with honor. esteem.

Value::relative worth, merit or importance. to consider with respect to worth, excellence, usefulness or importance. to regard or esteem highly.

 

As I take a look at these definitions, it causes me to look within.  To look at my daily actions and interactions with those placed around me and in my life.  Do I show high respect for others?  Do I treat them with excellence and voice their importance?

Herein lies my latest challenge.  Recently, this popped into my head: “a person can never hear how loved, appreciated and valued they are too much!”  It is that thought that has me digging deep and increasing my awareness.

I see that I am blessed with many wonderful people in my life.  However, I rarely tell them how important they are.  I rarely speak forth what I love about them.  Therefore, I am not empowering them.  I have begun to see that when we honor and speak of the value of one another, we are literally speaking identity to each other and it empowers to walk in more purpose and fullness of identity.  When we don’t speak, we stifle that identity and can even cause others to doubt their identity and purpose.

Furthermore, I have begun to see that speaking forth these things to people will require vulnerability.  This seems an odd thought at first, but come along with me for a moment.  If we live in a society that is dominated by the premise that in order to promote ourselves, we must belittle others…well then, if we do the opposite we are open for wounding or even attack.  If I get the boldness to say that the thing I love so much about “Polly” is her ability to show great patience with her children, and that shows the love and patience of the Father…well, that can make people uncomfortable – especially if “Polly” has been belittled in the past as being a pushover with her children. [remember, it is amazing how we as humans can take the very things that exemplify the Father, Son or Holy Spirit and break them down to seem a weakness]

As I am meditating on this, I am seeing the power behind it.  I am beginning to step out and voice those beautiful qualities around me and proclaim the value within them, I am beginning to bring honor in places that have not previously experienced that.  What an amazing privilege.  Let’s start speaking the positive and empowering truth instead of operating in the false in order to promote ourselves.

“Good works is giving to the poor and the helpless, but divine works is showing them their worth to the One who matters.” ~Criss Jami

 

Be blessed and be a blessing to others.

Crystal

 

Resolute Obedience

[Resolution::a formal expression of opinion or intention made; the act of resolving or determining upon an action, course of action, method or procedure.  synonyms -> resolve, determination, perseverance, tenacity, strength or fortitude.]

Shortly before the beginning of 2015, God simply posed two questions.  It is from these two questions that I will live in the year 2015.

The first question was, “what are you passionate about?”  What do you have a longing for?  What is in your heart to do and experience?  Once I have the answers to this, I know that I am to live out of that.  Intentionally and resolutely obedient to that which He placed in my heart.

When the question was first posed, I immediately thought of the cultures of the world.  Since I was 16, I have had a fiery passion and interest in the nations of the world.  Once this was quickened to me, He unfolded some simple steps to live in that passion.  The first being: read the books that I have collected regarding other cultures!  So simple.  He sees that passion lying dormant in me and knows that taking steps toward it in 2015 will empower and encourage me.

The second question was, “what do you love to do, but don’t do enough?”  Now, this seems another simple question.  And, as sad as this seems, the answer that came to mind was “laugh!”  I see that in the past few years, a seriousness and stress has entered my life where joy and laughter used to reside.  God was simply saying to me::be aware of this so that you can take the steps each day that release joy/laughter instead of stress.  He is so loving that He wants me to resolve to live out of joy!

Now, these are just the questions that were posed to me and two of the answers that came.  There are many more.  I know that He is calling me to examine my heart [along with the Holy Spirit] so that there will be more answers to these questions and a more empowered way of living in 2015.

Be Blessed,

Crystal

Heart of a Pharisee or a sinner?

While reading and re-reading Luke chapter 7 the past weeks, I am overwhelmed by so many facets of Christ that merely 50 verses bring to my mind and heart.  I have been particularly drawn to the experience in the house of one of the Pharisees.

Scripture says that “one of the Pharisees desired Him that He would eat with Him.” Christ went to the house of the Pharisee and shortly after, a woman in the city – which was a sinner – brought an alabaster box and stood at His feet.  This may be a very familiar exchange, but it never ceases to flood my heart upon reading it.  I close my eyes and I envision this woman, a known sinner, who comes before the King of kings with her meager offering.  She breaks the alabaster box, perhaps reflecting that her heart was broken, and poured it out upon Him.  She wept and washed His feet with those tears, more of her brokenness overflowing upon Him.  He received her brokenness.

Let that sink in. He received her brokenness.  He didn’t send her away.  He didn’t say she wasn’t refined or perfect enough yet.  He received her. Now, let that sink in and wash over you.  He receives you.  He receives you.

However, the Pharisee spoke within himself, “this man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that touches him: for she is a sinner.” This Pharisee could not imagine a man of God that would receive such a broken vessel.

Matthew Henry’s commentary on this happening is as follows:

None can truly perceive how precious Christ is, and the glory of the gospel, except the broken-hearted. But while they feel they cannot enough express self-abhorrence on account of sin, and admiration of his mercy, the self-sufficient will be disgusted, because the gospel encourages such repenting sinners. The Pharisee, instead of rejoicing in the tokens of the woman’s repentance, confined his thoughts to her former bad character. But without free forgiveness none of us can escape the wrath to come; this our gracious Saviour has purchased with his blood, that he may freely bestow it on every one that believes in him…Let us keep far from the proud spirit of the Pharisee, simply depending upon and rejoicing in Christ alone, and so be prepared to obey him more zealously, and more strongly to recommend him unto all around us. The more we express our sorrow for sin, and our love to Christ, the clearer evidence we have of the forgiveness of our sins. What a wonderful change does grace make upon a sinner’s heart and life, as well as upon his state before God, by the full remission of all his sins through faith in the Lord Jesus!”

A deep question has permeated me::do you have a heart like this Pharisee or a heart like this “sinful woman”?  Do you have a heart that is too proud to acknowledge your origin and your need for Christ?  Or, do you have a heart that will pour out all to Him, beckoning the only One that can receive your brokenness and your whole?

Let Him say of me, “her sins, which were many, are forgiven; for she loved much.”

Be blessed,

Crystal

“Season’s” Greetings

Season’s Greetings.  Such a common phrase this time of year.  But it is the first word that has me thinking.  A bit of a tricky word…Season.  I have found that this year I have been painfully aware of the Seasons of life.

{Season = an appointed occasion}

It is easy to just go with the flow.  To go with the current of what all those around you are doing.  If all the fish are swimming downstream, best not to swim against the current.  Right?

To that, in the year 2014, I would say Wrong!  In years past, I would have been on board with that line of thinking.  Because, if everyone else says it is time for ________ then it surely must be.  I have found this year that God is shouting at me…shouting that I must be in the right Season.

I would further state that there is a specific Season for us individually, but also a Season for the corporate Body.  The trickiest part is to see how they align.  Or, even better, being in a corporate Season that doesn’t appear to align but “sticking it out” because it is where God has placed you.

My encouragement to you is this::actively and intently listen.  Listen for His still small voice, or His loud booming voice.  Just listen.  He will show and tell you what Season of life it is for you [and your family].  He will also show and tell you how to function and live in that Season.

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:” ~Ecclesiastes 3

Be Blessed,

Crystal

appreciate, relish, savor

Appreciate::to be grateful or thankful for; to value or regard highly; to be fully aware of
Relish::pleasurable appreciation of anything
Savor::to give oneself to the enjoyment of

When you look at these three words along with their definitions, you may wonder what connects them. I see the connection as addressing a deep need. I see that there is an immense need in our culture to appreciate, relish and savor what we are doing, becoming and experiencing.

You may see each day as a project. A tool by which you will accomplish the items on your “to-do” list. If seen this way entirely, you will tend to complete one item only to follow up immediately with the unfolding of the next.

Have you ever completed a task, completed a process [emotional or mental even] or seen a change in yourself and stopped to take it in? To appreciate, relish and savor it? Imagine the impact in the expectant hush.
Imagine that God has begun a work in you [which He surely has]. You begin the process of unfolding, of allowing Him to change you. Once you see the fullness of the change, you may want to say “okay God, what’s next?” Instead, take a moment of pause to allow your heart, soul and mind to fully be grateful…to fully value and acknowledge the process…to allow yourself to find pleasure and enjoyment in the completion of the journey.

As this lifestyle is beginning to unfold in me, I feel a deep stirring of excitement and delight. Knowing that He is bringing me closer to experiencing life to the fullest and embracing the beautiful balance and harmony of His ways. That stirring will only grow with each pause to appreciate, with each interlude of awareness, with each stay in enjoyment.

Be blessed
Crystal

Delight

“When the True Self breaks through, a new and impassioned approach to life often makes itself known. We tap into an inner radiance that I call delight. I’m speaking of a unique kind of response to life that can coexist with our most painful realities. I’m speaking of the joy of saying yes to life in the core of our being. I believe that the capacity to delight in life is deeply carved by our waiting. ‘When I planted my pain in the field of patience,’ wrote Kahlil Gibran, ‘it bore fruit of happiness.’ Delight can become a way of life, a way of journeying.”
– Sue Monk Kidd, from the book When the Heart Waits

When we allow ourselves to go through the process and journey that the Lord has invited us on, we will come to a place of seeing and embracing who He truly made us to be. Each one of us has a distinct process, a distinct journey. This is not usually the “easy way” in life, but rather a narrow path that we must choose to walk with Him by our side. He will whisper, ever so gently, the areas that we must discard, that we must embrace, that we must overcome. In this journey, we will come out in fullness. We will come out into a place of delight. Able to dance in the joy of life [despite what our circumstances may be] because He is dancing and delighting with us.

If you feel God calling to you, beckoning your soul to come away with Him, heed that calling. You will see great fruit from your surrender.

Walk in Gratitude

I find myself lately being overwhelmed at times by a great and deep sense of gratitude. I will be lying in bed at night or making coffee in the morning or driving to the grocery store. The surroundings may differ, but the feeling is the same. I would not say that I am one that has a bounty of material things, this is not where true gratitude in your soul will arise. I do, however, have a wealth of blessings that money cannot buy.

Each time that this feeling has rushed over me, it has had one origination point. I have been thinking of, speaking to or about my daughter. She is now 5 years old. I see how she is loved and therefore loves, how she is creative, joyful, humorous, empathetic and full of energy. I see also where I was at 5 years old. My parents had just divorced, my mom was raising 3 children with very little help and she worked very late hours. I found myself being very motherly [which I still tend to do with my siblings]. I remember the 5, 6, 7 year old me and I can’t help but rejoice at the blessing that is my 5 year old daughter.

I have heard many times that we, as parents, are to have the goal of raising our children to far exceed what we ever did [or dream of doing]. I see much potential in my daughter and I want nothing more than to nurture this and see her grow into the astounding and beautiful creation that God spoke into existence before the world was even formed.

How can we not be grateful? When you look into the eyes of your child, your niece or nephew. How can you not be captivated by the eagerness, zeal, astonishment, curiosity and potential lying within?

Look around you. Look behind you. See that from which you have risen and rejoice! See the blessings that the Lord has bestowed on you and your family and rejoice! Allow yourself to be overwhelmed with gratitude and walk that out. You can only be better for it.

“Do not indulge in dreams of having what you have not, but reckon up the chief of the blessings you do possess, and then thankfully remember how you would crave for them if they were not yours.” ~Marcus Aurelius