Category Archives: Quotes to Meditate On

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

 

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

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

Greatness through Serving

Matthew 20:25-28 reads “But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them. But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.”

I love this portion of scripture, as Jesus brings an earth-shattering truth to the forefront. Many desire to be great in the eyes of humanity and God. However, Jesus spoke forth a beautiful truth::whoever will be great, must be a servant.

If you look at the definition of the word “minister,” it means to run on errands, an attendant, a waiter [at a table or in other menial duties]. The word “servant” means subservient. And when Jesus states that the Son of man even came to minister, that means an attendant, to wait upon [menially or as a host, friend or teacher].

In our current structure [be it the church, workplace, family life, what have you], many believe that in order to gain you must be in front of the crowd, all eyes on you and carrying the loudest message. I beg to differ. Jesus simply stated that in order to be great [strong, mighty, exceedingly great], you must humble yourself and attend to others. If our Lord and Savior was an attendant, host and friend then why shouldn’t we be?

The most phenomenal closing to His statement is that because He was walking in a lifestyle of a minister [attendant, host, friend], He gave His life a ransom for many. I love the depth of the word ransom here::something to loosen with, a redemption price; to break, destroy, dissolve, melt, wreck, crack, a shattering to minute fragments, and to give vent to joyful emotions.

If, as a servant, Jesus brought the fullness of redemption and destruction of the hold of sin on the lives of men, then what can we accomplish in that same lifestyle of servant-hood?

Let us embrace a heartfelt attitude of serving others, not for the outcome of greatness, but knowing that our Lord Jesus walked in a life of serving.

“A great man is always willing to be little.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Blessings,
Crystal

Fault between thee

I would venture to say that our culture is largely based on competition and gossip, i.e. the idle talk or rumor of the personal affairs of another. Therefore, we have bred a society in which we turn to anyone [and everyone] to vent about an issue as opposed to going to the source. This is something that I see as a downfall of mine at times. It seems more simple to vent about “Susie” to my husband instead of going to her and admitting that what she said or did hurt me.
The gospel of Matthew says “Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.”
The word trespass in this portion of scripture simply means to miss the mark, to err, to offend or cause division. This has happened to all of us at one point or another. Our friend, family member, co-worker or a passerby has said or done something that missed the mark of what we expected of them. We seem to instantly take this to heart and begin to mull over the offense, which widens the division initially caused. Despite the fact that Christ is very clear about the proper order of things, we tend to do what comes most comfortably.

To avoid any confusion, I am speaking this to myself first. Saying, “hey Crystal, remember that Christ said to go to that person FIRST so that they could hear and understand your heart in the matter and you would gain them back into your life?” Out of division and into unity and harmony again. I love that, in Him, there is a perfect order for everything. [note that He even states what other actions to take if going directly to the source doesn’t work]

I see that Matthew Henry says, “If a professed Christian is wronged by another, he ought not to complain of it to others, as is often done merely upon report, but to go to the offender privately, state the matter kindly, and show him his conduct. This would generally have all the desired effect with a true Christian, and the parties would be reconciled. The principles of these rules may be practised every where, and under all circumstances, though they are too much neglected by all. But how few try the method which Christ has expressly enjoined to all his disciples! In all our proceedings we should seek direction in prayer; we cannot too highly prize the promises of God.”
And goes further to state, “We do not forgive our offending brother aright, if we do not forgive from the heart. Yet this is not enough; we must seek the welfare even of those who offend us. How justly will those be condemned, who, though they bear the Christian name, persist in unmerciful treatment of their brethren! The humbled sinner relies only on free, abounding mercy, through the ransom of the death of Christ. Let us seek more and more for the renewing grace of God, to teach us to forgive others as we hope for forgiveness from him.”

All in all, my time in the Word today was largely focused on this principle. It is one that many, both in the Church and out, struggle with. We must first see that Christ spoke this order, therefore we should adhere. We must then know the freedom from fear of speaking our heart to a brother, sister, mother, acquaintance. Once this occurs, unity among brethren will prevail.

Blessings,
Crystal

Know the sending

During my time in the Word today, I was focusing on Matthew 15.  Of course, many of us recall the dialog that Jesus had with the Canaanite woman needing deliverance for her daughter that was “grievously vexed with a devil”.  I have always loved how she spoke to Christ and reminded Him that even the dogs get to eat the crumbs from the master’s table.

But today, something else caught my attention.  In verse 24, it says But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”  Did you catch that?  He said I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.  He knew EXACTLY who He was sent to.  Let’s look at that word “sent”.  In the Greek it is “apostellos” meaning to send, to separate out, to send on a mission.  But another definition is to be found.  It is “to be set at liberty.”

Wow!  So, this one little verse is opening up to me on two amazing levels.

  1. We need to seek Him and ask Him, WHO am I SENT to?  We need to know exactly what people group or region or state or even co-worker or family member that we are sent to minister to.
  2. When we are sent we are set at liberty and being sent on a mission to set others at liberty!  As we know who He is sending us to, it takes out all the guess-work and, to be frank, it takes the “me” out of the equation!  How liberating!!

I encourage you to spend some time before His feet and simply ask who it is that you are being sent to find and minister to.  He will show you and begin to burden your heart for them.  This can only lead to liberty –> for yourself AND for them!!

Seek Him, that you would know with a certainty who He has sent you to bless, minister to and set at liberty.

//Crystal//

don’t be frightened by the silence

We live in a society where we must always be heard.  We must always voice our opinion.  We must.  We must.  It has become more and more apparent to me that there is more beauty in silence than in boasting.  There is a finesse about holding back what you simply “must” share and, instead, just listening.

I submit to you the parallel of a band.  When there is a song to play, there are moments for a guitar solo or a specific piano melody.  If everyone plays simultaneously, then that melody will never be heard and the audience will leave knowing that they missed something.  Even if it was never known that there was to be that melody, its as though there is something within us that just knows.

“Silence is only frightening to people who are compulsively verbalizing.”~William S. Burroughs

There is most certainly a time to speak.  But I believe there are more times in which to be silent and exercise restraint of our words instead of “compulsively verbalizing”.  The ability to withhold words shows great maturity.  In youth, we believe that we know much and that everyone must hear our knowledge.  As we age and that is tempered, we see that there are many others that are more educated on the matter and why add to the noise?

Embrace the silence in your life.  Those are moments of great importance.  We will learn much from that silence.  Embrace the silence, for it too has a sound.

“I’ve begun to realize that you can listen to silence and learn from it. It has a quality and a dimension all its own.~Chaim Potok

 

Crystal