Jesscbnyc Recommends: All Things New 31-Day Devotional: DAY 2

DAY 2

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I liked this devotional from Betty Robison because she briefly talks about the loss of her daughter.

Some things, like death, don’t make sense to us. We can often blame God, or worry that we did something or didn’t do something that would have changed the outcome.

I like the reminder that God is always with us. He never leaves us and He never punishes us by taking away a loved one.

Unfortunately this life on Earth has times of sickness and death but it is comforting to know that God is with us always and will make everything beautiful.

Jesscbnyc Recommends: All Things New 31-Day Devotional: DAY 1

DAY 1

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I really enjoyed the personality of Milt in today’s reading. The devotional talks about how James Robison was confronted by the man cleaning his hotel room. He seemed really concerned with James and could see how he was hurting. Instead of walking through his day, he took action, and asked James to sit down in his hotel room chair so he could pray over him.

I love Milt’s heart.

I also love that we don’t need a Milt, we need God. The spirit intercedes when we don’t have the words to pray for what we need (Romans 8:26).

I think it’s important to remember that if we don’t have a Milt, we can be a Milt for someone.

It’s also important to remember that the Holy Spirit prays for us and through us when we cannot do it ourselves.

There is no need to walk around tormented. We are called to take His yoke, which is much easier than all that we attempt to carry ourselves.

Don’t Make Enemies of Friends

The title of my post today is completely credited to the teacher of the Evening College course at Hillsong NYC. Nathan said this one thing and it’s stuck with me. I don’t believe that’s by accident. We all at one point or another look at one body of Christ or Christian and disapprove of their behavior. We might disagree with the way they look or do church, or their gifts, or the fact that they do not do something we do. The possibilities are endless really.

I wasn’t planning on posting today but I awoke from an afternoon nap today and saw that there was somewhat of a social media battle online.

I like social media.

I also don’t like social media.

It’s this weird tension where I love the cool things and the breadth of reach you get from it, but I also don’t like the faceless hate and criticism that people use it for.

The point is, I saw a friend of mine made it into a public volunteer church photo today. And in the midst of the innocent and expected shout outs to her Instagram handle to let her know she was in the photo…there was one, still small voice. And it was judging the posture of what it appeared like she was doing in the photo.

Now in church, I’ve heard the pastors mention sometimes the level of bullying and hate they see on our official pages and personal pages. It really ranges depending on the day. Sometimes it’s an attack on physical appearance and sometimes it’s an accusation about their character and if our church is a cult.

The sad part to me in reading this back and forth conversation today is twofold:

  1. Seeing the girl explain herself in the photo i.e. the timing and angle of the snapshot and the accuser’s total disregard for that explanation.
  2. Seeing members of our church try to explain that we need not worry about what it looks like to the accuser. And see where along the way the tone could be misread and seen as mocking or mob mentality i.e. some ganging up on one.

The sad thing is, both sides are Christians. Now I can’t read hearts like Jesus can, but I am giving the person I do not know from church the benefit of the doubt.

I think at times like this we need to be careful what conclusions or judgements we make towards brothers and sisters in Christ.

These were my initial thoughts and I hope they serve as a reminder for me and for you, my sweet friends:

  1. Assume the best in people, not the worst.
  2. Realize that in judging another Christian in a public way, it makes non-believers feel like they are already out of the game. If you have no grace for your Christian family, why would an outsider think you would have any for them?
  3. As humans we do not know someone’s heart. Yes we can see one sound byte online or a photo that could be misinterpreted, but ultimately if someone explains themselves I believe we owe it to that person to accept it. We are called to love God and love people and the judgement is left for God. He has motive X-ray vision, He has heart night-vision goggles.
  4. Be mindful of how you could be misinterpreted in a quick online post. If you feel that you explained yourself in grace and your conscience is clear, let your reply stand, don’t go back and forth with them in an argument.
  5. Matthew 18 doesn’t always get used in an online forum but it should:

15-17 “If a fellow believer hurts you, go and tell him—work it out between the two of you. If he listens, you’ve made a friend. If he won’t listen, take one or two others along so that the presence of witnesses will keep things honest, and try again. If he still won’t listen, tell the church. If he won’t listen to the church, you’ll have to start over from scratch, confront him with the need for repentance, and offer again God’s forgiving love.

If you are attacked online by another Christian I think you have two choices: to ignore it, or to respond Biblically to it. I fully believe that you can try to diffuse a situation by explaining yourself truthfully. If that is not received, I don’t think you need to take the rest of the scripture and spin it out of control. What I mean is you don’t go and talk trash to your other friends and have them gang up on that one person. I’m saying you can rely on their counsel and be at peace that they will tell you if you were wrong or to let the drama go. If a friend or pastor feels like at that point its ok to stand up in truth and defend you as well that’s ok too, but I think the mistake is turning one bad comment into a debate. It’s not a good look for anyone.

I’m not perfect. None of us will ever fully understand God or people on this Earth. We are only human and our thoughts are not high like God’s thoughts. There are still times when I wonder if someone is truly a believer because of their behavior. We all can feel justified to “fruit inspect”. I do think there’s a way to be respectful and concerned for someone instead of picking up their fruit and throwing it back at them.

It reminds me of that scene in Wizard of Oz. If you don’t know it here’s an excerpt:

Dorothy
Oh, apples! Oh – look! Oh!
Ouch!
Tree
What do you think you’re doing?
Dorothy
We’ve been walking a long way, and I was hungry and – did you say
– something?
First Tree
She was hungry!
Second Tree
She was hungry!
First Tree
Well, how would you like to have someone come along and pick something off of you?
Dorothy
Oh dear! I keep forgetting I’m not in Kansas.
Scarecrow
Come along, Dorothy – you don’t want any of those apples. Hmm!
First Tree
Are you hinting my apples aren’t what they ought to be?
Scarecrow
Oh, no! It’s just that she doesn’t like little green worms!

I think a lot of times we can be any of these three people.

We can be Dorothy. We saw an apple, a Christian, and were surprised that they scolded us. You thought we were all on the same journey and the same “team”, team Jesus.

We can be the Tree. Offended that we are being questioned. Defensive.

Or we can be the Scarecrow. We can be somewhat of the instigator. You don’t want to associate with THOSE apples. Or you’re one of THOSE Christians. Oh your picture isn’t honoring God. You should know what kind of person THAT is. Etc etc.

All of this to say, let’s just be kind to each other. None of us have this all figured out. We’re at different stages in our walk with God. We’re learning Biblical lessons at different times. We are getting revelations from God at different times. We are changed but we are changing still.

Have grace.

Jesscbnyc Recommends: The Drop Box

View Trailer Here

On October 10th I was delighted to see that this movie which I heard about online was finally available on Netflix. Previously it was a limited theatrical release and I found out about it about a year after that happened. Ha!

The entire movie is subtitled, but it is a great documentary about the work that is being done abroad when mothers abandon their unwanted babies. Because there is a lot of shame , unwed mothers often feel desperate to rid themselves of their infant children, and can do so in unsafe ways. This can be leaving them on a stranger’s porch. Placing them near a dumpster. The list goes on. However, a local church constructed a drop box where women could ring a bell and place their child inside a box built into the side of the church. Inside, volunteers would hear the bell and retrieve the baby from the box.

It’s crazy at times to think this would happen and you can see later on in the film that there are people who are against it, thinking everyone will want to give up their child, and people who are trying to avoid many infant deaths by giving women an opportunity to safely turn over their child anonymously.

I would highly recommend this movie if you have access to Netflix.

I’d love to hear your reviews below once you see it!

Boom!

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I saw this notification and it surprised me. I feel like I want to be posting more than I’ve been able to due to craziness at work and sometimes it can feel like I’m letting you guys down.

This post reminds me that I can be settled. Not strive. This has never been about me. It’s been about honoring God and sharing a little bit of my point of view and authenticity in my life’s journey with Jesus.

It just goes to show that even when I feel like I’m not meeting my own expectations that God can still BOOM this humble little page I call a blog and get the most views I’ve ever gotten in the midst of what I sometimes feel is a dry spell.

It’s not a dry spell.

Much love,

Jess