Adventures in D.C.

Yesterday I took a day off from writing and did a lot of observing. It was quite the adventurous day! I started by making the hour walk from where I am staying to the Newseum and by day’s end I had walked 10 miles and burned over 1200 calories, but who is counting?!

Along the way I stopped for a bottle of water because a gal gets thirsty when the temperature is 97 degrees and the humidity is 100% at 10am. That is a bit of an exaggeration, at least it felt 100%. At the counter I handed the cashier my money and looked down for a few moments. Aretha Franklin was playing on the radio…RESPECT, (enjoy singing that all day, you are welcome.), and I was bee bopping. When I looked up to retrieve my change the cashier was sitting there, holding my money with the biggest smile on her face. I returned her smile and simply said, “I love Motown.” I made no excuses. Let me tell you, for the rest of my walk and even on the way home that song stuck with me. At every stoplight I had to wait I was dancing to the music in my head. It’s okay, I’m in D.C., and even if I wasn’t I would still dance to the music in my head!

My next stop was at Bolt Burger. If you are ever in the area I highly recommend stopping for a bite to eat! I had a delicious burger with bacon, tomato and red onion slices, and chunks of blue cheese over a bed of spring mix that was delicately tossed with olive oil and vinegar and blue cheese dressing on the side. D.C. has this protein style down! While at Bolt Burger I sat outside next to three young professionals and listened to their conversation, yes, I was eavesdropping. It saddened me to hear them complaining about their bosses’ who had sent them, instead of asking them, to attend a conference that would help them in their career.

After my bite to eat I continued on to the Newseum and was thankful to arrive and enter into some air conditioning for a little while. I’ll give you some of the highlights I enjoyed as there are six floors to cover. I enjoyed the FBI section with exhibits from fugitives, to foreign and homeland terrorism and artifacts from 9/11. There are sections of the Berlin Wall that were a gift from Germany along with one of the death towers that lined the Wall keeping watch for escapees before the wall fell. On one of the upper floors there is what once was the tallest communications tower that sat on top of one of the World Trade Towers. On this floor there is also an artifact from UAL flight 93, but you will have to wait until my blog on September 11, to hear about the significance of this to me and my family.

Having absorbed all I could from the Newseum, I decided to head back to where I am staying. Along the way I decided to stop at Starbucks and get an iced coffee. As I was waiting for my drink, the gal called my name and a man standing near me said to his companions, “There you go, Terese, that is a good name.” I looked at him and said, “Yes, with and ‘e’ not an ‘a’.” He proceeded to tell me he was an author and that my name would be a good elf name in his next novel. I told him I was an author as well and that I expected to see my name in his next book!

Continuing on, I entered my destination into the maps app on my phone and started walking. Still singing with Aretha in my head, “R-E-S-P-E-C-T” as I approached a group of older men, sitting on a low concrete wall, and talking. I smiled at them and one of the men returned my smile with a huge smile of his own and said to me, “You look like you are having a good day.” I replied, “I have the joy of the Lord in my heart!” He smiled even more, pointed his finger upward and encouraged me to enjoy the rest of my day.

I kept walking when the strangest thing happened. The map app guided me to the left when I really could have continued straight ahead. Following the app, because GPS is never wrong, I turned left and began walking in an area that is currently under construction and some parts could be considered undesirable according to the world’s standard. I kept thinking to myself, “Why did the app send me this way?” Then I saw her. She was standing on the corner, crutches under her arms and a shoe boot on her foot and she looked like she was wearing and carrying everything she owned. I could tell she needed to get across the street but was hesitant about stepping off the curb. As I rounded the corner and was making my way up the street,  I heard an inner voice say, “Go help her across the street.” At first I ignored this thought and continued walking. Again I heard, “Go help her across the street.” So I turned around and asked her if she needed help across the street. She indicated that she did. I put my arm around her waist and told her to put her weight on me as I made sure the approaching cars stopped. She was very appreciative and kept calling me mommy, which may be a term of respect or endearment from another culture. I say this because she had an accent. We said our goodbyes and as I was walking off she called out, “Thank you mommy!”

Finally, I was back at the place I am staying, tired, but thankful that gold and silver I have not but I have Jesus and He is a free for all who will receive Him.

Then I took a nap!

Shalom!

 

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Prayer Requests From The Gym

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I can be such a creature of habit. Every morning I arrive at the gym at least a half hour before class starts. My reasoning for this is these morning classes are quite popular and I have my favorite spot and want to set up my weights and mat and anything other equipment we might be using. This leaves me with about 10 to 15 minutes before class starts. I burned 458 calories this morning! But, I digress.

Most mornings I sit in the lobby area and either read “Power Of A Praying Parent” or the huge stack of colored 3×5 cards that have Scripture that I have turned into prayers for my family. Over the past several weeks my gym friends have been asking me what I am studying and I have had the awesome opportunity to share that I am praying for my family. If you know me you know I love the opportunity to share my faith. My intent wasn’t to share my faith in this way but it was for God! I simply wanted to spend my time before class in a constructive way rather than on my phone, which is exactly what I would be doing.

Since this all began I have learned that one of my favorite instructors is also a believer and shares the same passion of studying God’s word that I do. I even shared with her the awesome Bible software that I blogged about not long ago.

I discovered that one of my new gym friends is a believer as well and she asked me to pray for her. Today we exchanged numbers so we can encourage one another and meet every now and then for coffee.

Last week another gym friend asked me what I was studying and after I told her I was praying, she immediately asked me to pray for her best friend who was having a procedure. Today she told me her friend’s procedure went well! Praise God and thank you Jesus!

Just this morning another ‘classmate’ asked me what I was studying. He was so cute, when I told him I was praying for my children, he smiled and said, “Well, I’ll see you in class.”

Faith in motion.

Precious One, NEVER underestimate how God will work through you. Take a leap of faith with open eyes, open ears and an open heart.

Shalom!

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Use Your Words

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Earlier this morning as I was praying I was thinking about an encouragement that I see often across social media in various forms. The thought is if we are meeting with resistance or experiencing push back then surely God is getting ready to bless us. I’m still looking for where that is specifically in Scripture and if you have any verse references please leave them in the comments.

Resistance and push back are simply part of the enemy’s plan to lie, cheat, steal and destroy.  Especially when we begin to choose to go deeper into an intimate relationship with God. Satan doesn’t want us to know one iota more about our identity, authority or inheritance in Christ than we currently do because he knows what that will look like for him and glory to God it isn’t pretty!

As I continued to pray this morning I heard Holy Spirit gently whisper, “You push back, you resist.” In a moment’s notice my prayers did an about face and I began to fight back in prayer like the mighty warrior that I am.

Spiritual warfare is so real that is why it is so important to be in God’s word everyday. Holy Spirit infuses you with Scripture that he imprints on your heart and in your soul and when the moment is called for He brings the right verse to mind. He gives us His words for the battle.

Precious One, as the old saying goes, “Them’s fightin’ words!”

Shalom!

 

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Because Of A Box Of Fishies

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One day, years ago, while there was still a need to make lunches for my kids take to school, I was at the grocery store buying snacks for their lunches and another woman saw me put a big box, the biggest box to be found, of fishies (gold fish crackers) in my basket. She proceeded to tell me, unsolicited, that those crackers were the worse thing I could give to my kids. Oh, the many things I could have said to her! What she didn’t know was that I had a picky eater at home and if fishies were one of the five things I could count on my hand that this child would eat, well then, fishies it would be! (if you have a picky eater, it does get better! This child now cooks some excellent meals on hi…their own and will survive, especially as this child gets ready to move out on their own). I thanked this woman for her concern and went about my business. Whether this woman had passed judgement on me or not, I certainly felt like she had and that I had earned the biggest mommy fail moment of the year in that one short shopping trip.

At first glance 1 Corinthians 5:1-2 would seem that Paul is passing judgement, and he is, but not the critical kind of judgement that is negative and depleting of others. In fact, Paul stated that he didn’t even judge himself, it is the Lord who judges him. (1 Corinthians 4:3-4). Rather, Paul is judging the sin of one of the brethren, which caused this man to lose fellowship with God and the sin seeped into the congregation like a thick, dark goo touching and sticking to the rest of the congregation, even though the rest of the congregation wasn’t directly involved in the sin. Like a paint can that is dropped and splatters onto everything around it, the sin of our faith families affects us spiritually, emotionally and mentally and we may not even realize this.

And they were proud! Rather than being deeply saddened by the spiritual state of this man and the influence, subtle as it may have been, on the congregation they boasted about the sin.

It is important to point out that the sin of the man in the verse above was clear and habitual, it was not a judgement based on motives or opinions, the man was not repentant and Paul came from a place of wanting this man to be restored in his relationship with God and with others. It is very important to state that Paul had a relationship with the Corinthians.

So, what does it look like practically for me, for you, for our faith families when a brother or sister has fallen into sin? I believe relationship is key and that is part of the beauty of fellowship with one another, we commit to each other in deep and intimate relationships through Christ and we hold one another accountable; unlike the lady in the grocery store, whom I am certain thought she was doing good by informing me of the disasters of feeding me kids fishies. I also believe it is vital for us to remain, abide, be at home with Jesus on a consistent basis and prayer is the foundation on which we ought to make all decisions. Everything we say and do ought to bathed in prayer before we ever open our mouths and take action. Ask God what your role is. Is He asking you to pray, be His voice piece or a mediator. If you are still unclear seek wise and godly counsel without giving particulars.  Ouch! I can recall a few instances lately where I have failed to follow my own encouragement!

As Believers nothing can ever separate us from the love of God but sin does break our fellowship with God (1John 1:6-7) and broken fellowship with God hurts us all.

Precious One, let your walk match your talk.

Shalom!

 

Red Letter Words

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As a believer in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, your identity in Him is a child of God, with all the benefits children receive from their parents, including the guidance and discipline of parents when needed. Not only that, those who believe are royalty.

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 1 Peter 2:9.

Our greatest example of what royalty looks like is Jesus.

Therefore Jesus answered and was saying to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner. For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does. Yes, and he will show him even greater works than these, so that you will be amazed. John 5:19-20.

“I can do nothing on My own initiative. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is just, because I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.” John 5:30.

“Jesus, by these words states categorically that He, who was the freest of men was not functioning as a free agent. He was not doing His own thing. He was not bound by the 21st century definition of freedom. When He said, “The Son can do nothing of Himself”, He was saying that, having shared in the glory of the Eternal Father, and being omnipotent Himself, He has used His omnipotence to lay aside omnipotence and be fashioned as a man. He was sill the Son. He was still the second person of the Trinity, but without form or comeliness, without majesty or splendor, in weakness rather than strength: God, reduced to a root out of dry ground, reduced to obedience, reduced to complete dependence. Although He could have called 10,000 angels because of Who He was in Himself and the authority yet resident within Him, He cried out in despair because of who He was in His submission to His God- appointed station in life.

Deity is not easy.” Lee Wilkerson The Letters in RED.

 

If we are to follow the example of Jesus, and we are, it can be said, royalty is not easy.

Precious One, you are called to a royal station in life. Let everything you do reflect this gift; your words, your thoughts, your actions. Ask Holy Spirit to help you, He will, He is really good at his job.

Shalom!

What The World Needs Now

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Loving others can sometimes be a hard thing to do. Especially when someone’s response to our love doesn’t meet our expectations. Or, when others have done something that causes us pain and grief. Perhaps we ought not have expectations to begin with.

The truth of John 13:34 is such a simple command but many times we allow our emotions, which are not a bad thing, to dictate our feelings. What if we sat everyday and allowed ourselves to experience God’s lavish love for us, filling us to overflowing? Might it be easier to love one another as Jesus continues to love us?

What the world needs now is love sweet love,
Its the only thing that there’s just to little of,
What the world needs now is love sweet love,
No, not just for some but for everyone. Dionne Warwick

We don’t get to pick and choose who we love. Jesus tells us we must love one another. What would it look like if we loved those who we feel don’t deserve love? Those who commit crimes, those who are in gangs, those who believe differently than us, those who cause terror throughout the world, those caught up in the bondage of all sorts of sin?

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. 1 Peter 4:8.

Precious One, and now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:13.

Shalom!