|Posted by Caarne White on July 9, 2011 at 6:26 PM||comments (0)|
"The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want."
Okay, I'd like to start out by saying one thing: I LOVE SALSA! It has been a dream of mine to learn partner dancing, and after becoming a faithful watcher of Dancing With the Stars, I decided to take a leap of faith and sign up salsa lessons. I just couldn't live vicariously through the series any more, I had to get on my feet and channel my inner dancer! Of course, this meant automatic recruitment of my dutiful husband. And so it is, we are in our fourth week of salsa lessons.
The great thing about this style of partner dance is you can actually go out and practice the dance for fun. So, we have to practice- a lot! Don't want to get on the floor and shame our teachers. Now I, being the in-charge lady I am, just knew I would take the ballroom by storm and take right to it. And embarrassingly, I did without realizing one little caveat to this dualistic deal- I am not in charge. Every move I make is dictated by none other than my very capable partner on life's dance floor, John White.
Week after week, instead of salsa being my lesson of choice, I have received a good dose of "follow your leader", for my one job on the dance floor is to follow my mate. There are several lessons as it relates to this humbling experience we can all use to strengthen how we see God and our own desires:
#1 Relinquish Control: There is Only One Head
The sooner we accept this, the better. We cannot lead God, He must lead us. Even the desires we take before God in prayer are a regurgitation of what he has already placed in us. I Timothy 2:5 states "For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus." The majority of our time on the floor has been spent with him taking control and me giving it up. I no longer see it as robbery to let go, but am learning to respect the "let go" process. For the dance to be as fluid and graceful as possible, knowing my role has been key. If John pushes forward, I will go back. If he decides to raise my arm slightly, I turn and fall into step. Now that I'm learning to let go, I move on to my next feat.
#2 Remember the Steps but Wait: We Can Only Move When He Moves Us
As I stated before, in whatever direction he moves us in, that is the direction I must go. However, I have to remember my steps. In trying to recall each position the teacher gives, I had to fight the urge to move when I got ready. Learning is invigorating. A learner is the essence of what God created us to be. Although this is true, we must not use what we know to step before God will. Isaiah 40:31 states "But those who wait on the LORD Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint." As long as I waited on my partner to move me, I never got out of step. My foot memory was solid, but my real confidence came when I waited for my cue. When I was asked to shift, transition, and balance, it was second nature. This brought me to the biggest challenge of all.
#3 Revel in His Guidance: He Always Gets Us Where We Both Want to Go
There is a specific place God would like to take us. In this place He longs to dwell with us, and when we relinquish control and remember our steps, we want to be there too. Psalm 91:1 states "He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty." As I danced with John, submitting to his will for our dance experience, I felt as if my youth was being renewed. I recalled treasured, protected embraces by the elders in my family. I felt covered and graced with each turn. There were moments I remember closing my eyes and thinking, "Yes, this is where I want to be. I am accomplishing my goal". I thought of all the lovely ways God creates hiding places for us in the midst of a crowded life. I began to marvel in the understanding that although there were many couples surrounding us, this security assured me no one would enter our shared space; for we both had decided we were in this together. He as head and I as helper.
No one gave us a mirror ball award for our ballroom accomplishments, but I received a greater compensation. By accepting who my shepherd was, I wanted for nothing. In Christ, we want for nothing. In the end, I could not rely on my skill, but was forced to remember my calling. It was my calling to dance that eventually one me over. It is our calling to Christ that wins, above our will.
Know who is in charge of your life, it will make all the difference!
|Posted by engraftedministries on November 17, 2009 at 10:45 AM||comments (1)|
The Line Leader: Men, Women, Christ!
"But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God." I Corinthians 11:3
It is so unfortunate in these days that we have such a lack of respect for authority. More often than not, it is because we want all the authority. God told us a long time ago what would happen to authority after the fall of man. Then Jesus comes along and brings new meaning through salvation to authority.
"Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee. And unto Adam he said, because thou has hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, though shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life."
It doesn't matter if it is at work, church or home. We buck against authority. God explains in the above verse that as a result of sin entering in the world, there will be consequences. In the book Families Where Grace Is Place by Jeff VanVonderen, he makes mention of these consequences and the reason why God places man as the head. The truth is...someone had to be! Man was made in the image of God and woman was made as a companion, helper, second self to man. God knew that two visions, two plans, two heads would never work. It does not work that way in His kingdom; therefore, it can not work that way with His people.
So often, we don't want to talk about it. We are afraid of such truths and the reality of what it means. It did not happen over night (as God warned it would not be easy) but the fact is that although I contribute equally to my marriage, my husband is ultimately confirms the final answer regarding the plan for our life. We would never get any rest if I constantly resisted his headship or if he expected me to assume the role for him. This could be an even bigger issue for us if Christ was not the head of our lives. But, some time ago I took advice concerning my role from little children.
When I worked with preschoolers, I noticed something right away. Everyone wants to be the helper. "Ms. Caarne, can I get the juice, the snack, the toys out ...etc." All day, every activity had to have a special helper. What pride they take in being the helper! It is the first thing the children report to mommy and daddy when picked up. "I helped Ms. Caarne do this or that...”
What happens to us as we grown up? We get one whiff of leadership, next thing you know we want to be wife and husband, father and mother, sister and brother, pastor and pew. Remember, we can only get out the door one at a time. If we all stood beside each other, no one would ever get out. Men be strong today. Protect your families and go out the doors first. Women be strong today. Sustain your families by your example as helper. Everyone, keep their eyes on Christ. He is the head of all. We all play a significant role. Be blessed!
|Posted by engraftedministries on November 16, 2009 at 9:40 AM||comments (0)|
2012-Fulfilling the Law of Christ
Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.
This weekend was my husband's birthday. To celebrate, we went to see the movie 2012. Nothing like an action-packed-end-of-the-world saga to get his blood pumping. The movie was awesome. However, aside from all the action was the ultimate humanitarian thrust that comes through at the end of all thrillers as this one. In the end, God gave us each other, therefore we have been mandated by Christ to love.
36"Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?" 37Jesus replied: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.'[b] 38This is the first and greatest commandment. 39And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'[c] 40All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."
There would have been a zero survival rate in this film had it not been for the outreach to one another. Not just mother, father, sister, brother- but neighbor. But the strangest thing happened in the middle of the movie.
John and I sat next to a group of gentlemen of eastern decent. They seemed to be having a great time, going back and forth between their home language and english. Suddenly, I dropped my glasses under the chair in front of us. Now you know how horrible theater floors can be. Nasty, sticky and God knows what else. John held the light of his phone down and I tried to reach it but could not. The stranger next to me then held the light of his phone down for better clarity, but because of John's position, although his arms are long, he could not reach it. Then the gentlemen gave his phone to John and said "hold my phone". His light was slightly brighter and the glasses slightly closer to him. After much reaching and bending, he grabbed them. Right in the middle of a terribly suspenseful movie, he stopped to do what we could not do. When we all sat up, I told him, "When the end comes, Iwant him on my ship!"
I think that gentleman for bringing sight to my sight, hallelujah, with his light! Bearing our burdens and fulfilling the law of Christ. Burdens are a shared venture on earth. Although we ultimately shift them to Christ, the first shift is off the back of our brother and sister. It takes a selfless act to bear the troubles of others while carrying our own, but if we all had such a spirit, the load woudn't be so heavy! I feel lighter just thinking about it!
|Posted by engraftedministries on November 9, 2009 at 9:52 PM||comments (0)|
“For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive trespasses.”
There is a song both made by Beyoncé Knowles and Jasmine Sullivan called “Resentment”. Beyoncé performs it in these words:
Just can't seem to get over the way you hurt me
Don't know how you gave another who didn't mean a thing, no
The very thing you gave to me
I thought I could forgive you and
I know you've changed
As much as I wanna trust you I know it ain't the same
And it's all because you lied
I only give you a hard time
'Cause I can't go on and pretend like
I haven't tried to forget this
But I'm much too full of resentment
It is a lyrical, terribly poetic song. How does a person get to the place where they not only have a bit of indignation toward another, but they are full of resentment. Not a little, not half, but full. Full love, full hope, full faith, full just about anything comes over time. When an action is done against you and it is manifest in your heart, without immediate forgiveness, there inevitably develops resentment. No one intends to brew a pot of unadulterated, maxed capacity resentment, but it happens. When you think about it, sleep on it, and just go on without forgiving. This is dangerous and must be taken seriously.
Often we feel we can not address a problem because it has become bigger than us. Now we know forgiveness is not so the other person feels better. It is for you, because the personal repercussion for not administering forgiveness immediately is resentment in the heart. Resentment turns into something that is hard, unwilling, unloving, and ultimately puts God’s forgiveness of you in jeopardy.
As Jesus was teaching this principle to the multitudes, I can imagine Him discerning the wickedness in the hearts of the people. There was wickedness in their hearts as a result of grudge holding and unwillingness to let go and move on. Here it is Jesus, teaching the people the essence of why He came and died for our sins. He came to forgive our sin and throw it into a see of forgetfulness. Now if He can do it, certainly we can too.
Share your testimony on getting through a forgiveness process and how you won the war against resentment. Or, if you need help, prayer, or deliverance regarding resentment, share that too. You don’t have to do it alone. God is with you.
|Posted by engraftedministries on November 9, 2009 at 9:50 PM||comments (0)|
A faithful witness does not lie,
But a false witness will utter lies.
What happened to Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. happened to my husband. Several months back, John was doing some work around the house and ended up locking himself out. He then proceeded to use other means to enter. As a result, a neighbor called the police. Once they arrived they handcuffed John and held him face down on our concrete driveway. He was explaining to the officers his dilemma and said he had ID to prove this was his residence. They were reluctant in allowing him do so. When they finally did, they were not pleased with what he presented and asked for more evidence. It was a terrible experience, but was eventually resolved. He was hurt and disgusted. Two things were evident: we lack relationship with our neighbors and regardless of the law you are guilty until proven innocent.
My husband’s incident and the incident with Professor Gates should make us all mindful of both our citizen and Christian witness. Of course we understood the urgency of stopping a person breaking and entering our home. We appreciate our local police department’s ability to act fast, especially since we live in a rural county. It could have been life or death for John if someone was attempting an attack while he was at home. However, there were children watching. The situation attracted a crowd of witnesses. Witnesses are around us everyday. At work, school and yes even watching our front porch. They are there when we think no one is watching, and the same goes for when we are watching and others don’t know.
Often times, Christians view witnessing as sharing the Gospel of Christ only. It is truly so much more. A faithful witness is the truth to an otherwise unknown and misunderstood situation. When our witness is off or wrong, we should immediately correct how we formerly understood. If we don’t we become a victim to pride and lies. False witness is against the commandments of God. We can start by talking less about people and things we don’t know and sharing without wavering in the unadulterated truth we do. The impetuosity of this culture is dangerous, and unfortunately the children of God react just as rash as anyone. We should stand out and be an example. Discipline our mouths to speak truth and our ears to accept it.
I live by this scripture when I even consider anything but the truth as it stands:
“There is a way that seems right to man, but its end is the way of death.” So just because we think its right, that does not mean it is. Jesus is the way, the truth and the life! It is the truth that set’s us free.
So let us take inventory. How do you feel about your citizen and Christian witness? How can we become honest witnesses and humble when our witness is wrong?
Make your comments and check out the previous blogs!
|Posted by engraftedministries on November 9, 2009 at 9:48 PM||comments (0)|
Self Control is Just Hard Work… Sorry... but there is hope!
Galatians 5:22-23 (New International Version)
22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
What kind of seed produces self control? Getting fruit takes a long process. I mean, I’m no farmer. Not one green thumb. But even I know you have to plant a certain kind of seed to get a certain kind of fruit. For instance, my mother-in-law has mastered the art of growing her own tomatoes. She knew that only tomato seeds would grow tomatoes. So when it comes to fruits of the Spirit, it seems the same rule applies. But how do you plant a self control seed? Okay, without belaboring you with analogy, let me get to the point.
If there were little packets of self control on the grocery shelf and it only required dirt and water for growth, our uncontrollable ways would be under submission and we would be conquering more challenging battles. However, it’s not that simple. Many of us have been trying to get our sensually eroded thought life under control since we were 14. Others want to be grateful, but are in torment with our severe discontent with every crevice of life. See self control is more than just an idea. It can really happen. The Bible is true. Fruit is produced by its seed. The seed of self-control takes a concentration of seeds for a great harvest of transformation. It takes more than one finger to steer a vehicle. So we need to get rid of our old efforts to gain control of our lives.
If self control is a fruit of the spirit, then we must sow much discipline in our spirit. Desire may initiate the change, but prayer, meditation, fasting and study will take it around the corner and in a different direction. Prayer, meditation, fasting and study are disciplines that create the housing in which self control can live and thrive. Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth by Richard J. Foster is a book I read at least once a year. This book has helped me time and time again to put in perspective what a real connection to the Spirit of Christ is- it guides me on how to make the disciplines a real, deep, intimate and an engrafted reality in my life.
Discipline is the difference between a loss and a win. Discipline is the difference between a hobby and a profession. Discipline allows God’s gifts an opportunity to be the best in us and faith allows for what God supernaturally wants us to have come forth. Faith plus discipline is the ultimate way to make an earnest desire a reality. Faith is usually not the issue. Discipline is. We believe a change can come, but we lack the real sweat equity to make it happen. My mother-in-law’s tomato plant grows not because of the water and protection around it alone. She checks on it religiously. Every time she thinks of it. Before work, after work, on the weekends and at night before bed. She wants so much for the tomatoes to grow. Not just so we can enjoy the fruit of her labor some day, but because she wants to be assured that she can complete and care for the process.
I could have chosen any fruit of the spirit, but I chose self control, for it takes real transformation to embody. Sermons, devotionals and blogs are great. But nothing will replace the spiritual disciplines that really bring about change. Just try it. Take one area of your life and exercise each discipline on that area. Bum-rush that thing with biblical prayer, meditation, fasting and study!
My Prayer: May you experience a ripe change and vine of long term success!
Proverbs 25:28 (New International Version)
28 Like a city whose walls are broken down is a man who lacks self-control.
|Posted by engraftedministries on November 9, 2009 at 9:46 PM||comments (0)|
"Every wise woman buildeth her house; but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands."Often times we feel that the outside forces are tearing down our households. The teachers are not teaching our children well enough. The ministry is not serving the family well enough. That woman is determined to ruin your relationship. Everyone is out to get your house and bring it down. The television, music, society, the government. Yes, all may play a part in attempting to dismantle your life, but what are you doing that also contributes to this process? Maybe it is not what you are doing; it is what you aren't doing. "Every wise woman buildeth her house; but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands." Building your children's self esteem will contribute to their grades and attitude toward others. Serving in your ministry will ensure those things God placed in your heart will come forth in your church fellowship. Being real with your self and God will show you what you must do regarding your marriage. Remember Ladies! Begin to build. Doing nothing is also the same as plucking at your household with your hands. Doing something, daily, builds it. Be wise and build!
|Posted by engraftedministries on November 9, 2009 at 9:43 PM||comments (0)|
Sovereign, SovereignThe Lord my God is Sovereign He can do whatever He wants to do He can do whatever He wants to doWhen He wants toGod can do whatever He wants to do, How He wants toBecause He's sovereign, God is God
Who am I, to question His wisdom ( I am nothing)Who am I, to question God's judgement ( I am nothing)Who am I, to be offended by His ways By what He allows to be. I must realize that my God is (sovereign)The Lord is (sovereign)Sovereign (The Lord my God is sovereign)He is sovereign
2 Samuel 7:18[ David's Prayer ] Then King David went in and sat before the LORD, and he said: "Who am I, O Sovereign LORD, and what is my family, that you have brought me this far? NKJV
Who am I? That is the question we should all be asking ourselves today. Who are we that the LORD has brought us this far? We are nothing. Nothing without God, for it is He that gives us purpose in this life. If our purpose was complete, we would have gone on. We must realize and recognize that the good work in us will continue until the day of Christ. Daryl Coley did an awesome job in this song. He expresses with great lyricism that God's wisdom, judgement, way and what he allows to be is all based on His sovereignty. Meaning God has supreme, preeminent, indisputable power. In Him we live, in Him we move, and in Him we have our being. Next time you get ready to ask yourself the question "who am I" ask one better. Ask "whose am I". You may get a little more perspective for the former question if you ask the latter first.
|Posted by engraftedministries on November 9, 2009 at 9:38 PM||comments (0)|
James 1:1-8 NKJV
1 James, a bondservant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad: Greetings. 2 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. 6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
Today, we use our phones, e-mail accounts and i-pods to stay organized. Time management and dependability, or lack thereof, we often blame on the functionality of such mechanisms. The value we place on each is remarkable to me. I will be the first to confess, I have missed a number of meetings in the name of dysfunctional technology. However, at the end of the day, the truth is we really cannot blame our unstable schedules on technology. Instability is a faith issue. The bible says that faith keeps you from being tossed and driven by the wind like a wave of the sea, not your organizer. We often think we can organize our way into a righteous life. It doesn’t matter how skilled you are in multi-tasking. If the agenda does not reflect the fruit of the Spirit: Patience, you will still feel like a rocking boat on a turbulent sea of life. If you still feel out of sorts, even with the company of your personal assistant at your finger tips, this is a word for you. Evaluate what you are doing and why you are doing it in the stead of how much of it you can do in a day. You might see after your evaluation, you are wrecking your own nerves and inadvertently trying your own patience.
Question: How do you think our use of technology and the internet influences our understanding of the simplicity of Christ? (II Corinthians 11:2-4)