Loving a Prodigal: Immersed in His Mercy

Our God loves mercy. And He is willing to immerse us in His Read more

Kingdom Women: Michelle Beckman, a Legacy of Love

This is part of an ongoing series on Kingdom Women—women God has used and is using in His great Kingdom endeavor. Michelle Beckman was such a woman. She left an amazing legacy of love. My friend Michelle Beckman was one of the most loving, wisest women I have known.  On August 10, after five years of struggling with cancer, she fled her earthly shell and entered into face-to-face fellowship with her Savior.  Her legacy of love has touched thousands. Last night our little church, of which she was an integral and transforming part, remembered her and honored her and her legacy of love, grace, truth, freedom, authenticity and prayer.  We talked about what she meant to us and what we can learn from her and her walk with God, her life of sacrificial love and her beautiful model of how to die. Rather than trying to describe her life and ministry to you, I’m going to let a few of the many she has ministered to tell how she impacted them. I am taking some liberty to quote from the hundreds of posts on her Caring Bridge site and Facebook page.  Their words will give you a glimpse of the amazing legacy of love left by this true Kingdom Woman.  Dayle: Cancer couldn’t detract from who she really was. A woman after God’s own heart. I got to know her when she began working with my kids when they were in high school. Leading them in Bible studies. Being a listening ear when they couldn’t–wouldn’t–talk to Mom. Encouraging them in truth. Tender in her exhortations. Always pointing them back to the gospel. She had a gentle, compassionate way about her that helped those who knew her to feel loved and valued. She celebrated uniqueness and individuality. She cherished people for who they were. Authenticity meant something to her. She valued it. Lived it. Expected it from others. She cared for, nurtured and loved scores of students as if they were her own children. They knew they’d hear truth from her, but they never questioned whether or not they’d be accepted. Michelle had a way of extending grace to others that made Read more

Learning Intimacy with God by Ala Wyrzykowska

I realize that there are some patterns in the way I live out my relationships with others that I also repeat in my relationship with Read more

When It Isn't Good News for Women by Gina Butz

What if women could freely use their spiritual Read more

What to Wear as a Child of God: Gentleness

   Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience….(Colossians 3:12) I have six amazing grandboys. One is brand new, so I can’t speak for him yet. But the others—they love to wrestle, roughhouse, wield swords. It is normal to see three brothers tangled together, sometimes laughing, but often crying out that an arm is about to break. I know girls who will gladly join in, but usually they are not as fierce or intense. Some would say that girls are just more naturally gentle and that we can’t expect gentleness to characterize boys and men. They need to be tough. Yet Paul reminds us that all followers of Jesus are to put on gentleness. Boys and girls, men and women—all are admonished to be gentle. How do we become gentle? By learning from the tough but gentle Jesus Himself. Children "Then people brought little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked them. Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.’…And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them." (Matthew (:13-14; Mark 10:16) Illness and invalid “Then the woman, seeing that she could not go unnoticed, came trembling and fell at his feet. In the presence of all the people, she told why she had touched him and how she had been instantly healed.  Then he said to her, ‘Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace.’” (Luke 8:47-48) “One who was there had been an invalid for 38 years. When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, ‘Do you want to get well?’ “’Sir,’ the invalid replied, ‘I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.’ “Then Jesus said to him, ‘Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.’ At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked.” (John 5:4-9)  Sinful Woman “The Read more

Loving a Prodigal: Immersed in His Mercy

Once a month I write a letter to the wonderful Prayer for Prodigals community I am part of.  Often those letters, though specific to those who love a prodigal, apply to any or all of us in the challenging circumstances of life.   

Mercy

Dear Lover of Prodigals,

What was the last thing your prodigal did that really exasperated you?

Lied to you? Stole from you? Drove high or intoxicated? Moved in with a girlfriend/boyfriend? Refused to go to school? Did something foolish and dangerous? Yes, and there are many more possibilities.

What was your response?  I will let you name your own.

What was the last thing you did that might have frustrated God—or saddened Him?

Probably not the obviously destructive things your prodigal might have done.  But God is saddened by many of our choices in response to our loved ones or to other events and circumstances in our lives: anger, hurtful words, harsh punishments, fear, deceit, lack of kindness or compassion, unloving, impatient.  It could be a long list.

And what was God’s response? Here are some of Jesus’ responses:

The woman at the well: Jews always avoided going through Samaria, but Jesus “had to go through Samaria.” Why? He had an appointment to keep, with a sinful woman. Five husbands, now living with a man not her husband. Jesus knew all this. Yet He talked to her—a Samaritan, a woman, a sinner. The shame of it. He told her what He knew, but He didn’t condemn. Instead He offered her living water and a changed life. (John 4)

The thief on the cross: An evil man, certainly, to have earned crucifixion as punishment for his crimes. Yet, even as he is dying, he asks for mercy from Jesus. Jesus could have said, “It’s too late. You have lived a terrible life. You are only repenting now because you are afraid.” But no, Jesus said, “Today you will be with me in Paradise.” (Luke 23:38-43)

The woman caught in adultery: They surely had set up the “caught in the act” shaming of this woman.  Dragged from her bed apparently and thrust at the feet of Jesus, she awaited His condemnation—and her own death.  “Let him who is without sin throw the first stone,” He said.  She cringed, anticipating. Nothing but the sound of stones dropping to the ground and feet shuffling away.  “Has no one accused you or thrown a stone?” “No, Rabbi, no one has,” the amazed woman replied.  “Neither do I,” Jesus said gently. “Go and sin no more.”

And you and I? Surely we too often find ourselves crying out to God for mercy as David did after his sin with Bathseba:

“Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions…” (Psalm 51:1)

We are grateful that our God is like the merciful father in Luke 15: As the prodigal wanderer returned, before he could even speak his repentance, the father ran to him, threw his arms around him, kissed him, put a cloak and a ring on him and threw a party.

Our God loves mercy.  And He is willing to immerse us in His mercy:

“But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.” (Ephesians 2:4-5)

Yes, God is opposed to sin. And sin generates consequences—some that are the natural result of choices made, others that we impose.

But our primary response should be one that flows out of the love and grace we have received. Even as we have been immersed in the mercy of our God, so should we give mercy to our prodigals.

We should be less like the Pharisees dragging in the woman caught in adultery and more like the very-wronged father who ran to his prodigal son.

May we live in this truth: “Mercy triumphs over judgment.” (James 2:13)

In His mercy,

Judy

What about you? When have you received mercy, given mercy?

c2016 Judy Douglass

If you would be interested in requesting prayer for a prodigal loved one, or being a part of our wonderful praying community, respond in comments or write to me at PrayerforProdigals at gmaildotcom.

 




Posted on by JudyDouglass in Loving a Prodigal 2 Comments

Kingdom Women: Michelle Beckman, a Legacy of Love

This is part of an ongoing series on Kingdom Women—women God has used and is using in His great Kingdom endeavor. Michelle Beckman was such a woman. She left an amazing legacy of love.

Michelle Beckman by Libby Ann Pholography

Michelle Beckman by Libby Ann Pholography

My friend Michelle Beckman was one of the most loving, wisest women I have known.  On August 10, after five years of struggling with cancer, she fled her earthly shell and entered into face-to-face fellowship with her Savior.  Her legacy of love has touched thousands.

Last night our little church, of which she was an integral and transforming part, remembered her and honored her and her legacy of love, grace, truth, freedom, authenticity and prayer.  We talked about what she meant to us and what we can learn from her and her walk with God, her life of sacrificial love and her beautiful model of how to die.

Rather than trying to describe her life and ministry to you, I’m going to let a few of the many she has ministered to tell how she impacted them. I am taking some liberty to quote from the hundreds of posts on her Caring Bridge site and Facebook page.  Their words will give you a glimpse of the amazing legacy of love left by this true Kingdom Woman.

 Dayle:

Cancer couldn’t detract from who she really was. A woman after God’s own heart. I got to know her when she began working with my kids when they were in high school. Leading them in Bible studies. Being a listening ear when they couldn’t–wouldn’t–talk to Mom. Encouraging them in truth. Tender in her exhortations. Always pointing them back to the gospel.

She had a gentle, compassionate way about her that helped those who knew her to feel loved and valued. She celebrated uniqueness and individuality. She cherished people for who they were. Authenticity meant something to her. She valued it. Lived it. Expected it from others.

She cared for, nurtured and loved scores of students as if they were her own children. They knew they’d hear truth from her, but they never questioned whether or not they’d be accepted. Michelle had a way of extending grace to others that made her a beautiful reflection of Jesus.

from Antioch 21

Kelly:

If Michelle was still here, she would sit with me through this mourning and listen and validate the pain, and she would ask, “Where do you see Jesus with you in all of this?”

I often struggle with thinking that God is up high looking down on me with arms crossed in disappointment or frustration shaking his head. One of the greatest ways Michelle continuously ministered to me was in combating that lie with the truth that Jesus is not removed and angry, but he is near and overflowing in loving compassion. Michelle was just like Jesus in that way, and I got to experience his love and nearness through her

Libby:

Sometimes there are no words that can express the love I have for a person–Michelle Beckman is a person who will always have a special place in my heart. Words can’t describe how much you meant to me–your wisdom, guidance, love, and comfort took me through some of the darkest times of my life. I’m so honored to have known you & been loved by you. And I’m so proud & envious of how you lived your life to the fullest no matter how many times cancer came back–you kept your eyes on the prize of Jesus.

Catherine:

My heart is breaking as I grieve the loss of the most amazing and inspiring woman I know… my mentor, my dear friend, my sister in Christ, Michelle Beckman. For many years, she endured pain and suffering as she battled cancer. Through it all, she remained strong in the Lord, was selfless, continued to minister and encourage others, loved deeply, and always praised God in everything….Thank you, Lord, for sharing Michelle with us and for pouring out your love for me and for so many through Michelle. I love and miss you dearly, Michelle. Until we meet again.

w Jeannine, Sheena and Askley

Sheena:

15 years ago almost to the day, a shy, insecure little 13-year-old girl walked into the big, scary world of high school. After attending my first after school Student Venture meeting, I met this woman named Michelle. When I returned for the next meeting, she greeted me with “Sheena! I’m so glad to see you! I’ve been praying for you!” and I thought “How weird! She doesn’t even know me!” Little did I know that we would spend the next 15 years of our lives getting to know each other, loving each other, and praying for each other. Little did I know that, when she said “I’ve been praying for you!” that meant “Now that I know you, I will never stop praying for you.”

She has walked me through the deepest, darkest moments of my life, mourning and weeping tears when I couldn’t, and celebrating and shouting “God is good! Allelu!” in the highest, most joyful moments. Oh, how I have treasured each and every moment with her as my mentor, mother, sister and friend.

Kate:

Michelle: Our times together were about the unseen. More often than not, that looked like asking the well-loved question “How’s your heart?”, encouragement, tears and prayer.

I knew she was a safe place to be honest and broken, and I knew she loved authenticity and simply knowing me and my heart more deeply. We talked about the hard, the beautiful, the complex and painful things of the heart, of life. And the years that I shared with her had some of the hardest moments and seasons of my life to date. She didn’t try to give me canned answers or fix it. She simply sat with me, listened, acknowledged the pain and always always always pointed me to the surpassing worth of knowing our Jesus and the intimacy with Him that comes with wrestling.

Susan:

In my last face-to-face with Michelle we had a heart-to-heart conversation…reminisced about our roommate days and laughed about some of the pranks we pulled. Over the 25 years we have known each other we could always jump into real conversation, amazing prayer and “this is what I see God doing” in our lives. I will miss you deeply. My tears are in honor for a woman who loved and lived a life of faith.

Desiree:

Present suffering is gone and ‘future’ glory is now the present for you, my dear friend. I will miss you terribly, but am relieved you are now in the arms of your beloved.

I will still cry for days. You have always brought beautiful tears into my life, mostly because you have taught me to love fully, feel deeply and express authentically all that God is doing in me.

Bethany:

Michelle, you more than impacted my life, you turned everything I thought was true about Jesus upside down until I could see the transparent grace He extends to each and every one of us more clearly than ever before. You’ve always demonstrated with your life how to be genuinely broken and joyfully forgiven all at the same time. Your encouragement gave me the courage I needed to face myself at my darkest hour and come up from the depths of the pit clothed in the purity of His mercy and love.

Without your influence and inspiration in my life, I don’t even want to imagine where I would be or who I would be. I’m glad I don’t have to. Thank you, Michelle, for being you – the understanding, transparent, silly, funny, God-fearing, loving and caring you. I love you!

Audrey:

My best friend like a mother has passed into the gates of heaven and she has met her creator. I loved her with all my heart–she’s the one who brought me even closer to Christ and taught me about him. Three weeks ago I went to go see her and we cried together–tears of sadness and joy. I can’t wait till the day I meet her and my creator in heaven. I know she will be waiting for me.

Alisa:

Mixed emotions today as I read the news on my feed that my dear, beloved teacher and friend has passed away. She was the best sort of teacher. One who loved deeply and led by example. I hope to be like her.

Yaneth:

“Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things… Let’s celebrate together!'” Matthew 25:21

My amazing, kind, beautiful mentor, friend and sister is now rejoicing and celebrating in the presence of our Creator!!

She loved others so well, she walked with others and spoke truth. She exuded Jesus and was an incredible leader and example to me and my family. Now she is Home, Healed from cancer and Happy in the arms of The Father. She is dancing and experiencing a joy we all long for. Thank you dear friend for the years of love, spoken truth and investing in my heart. I will miss our texts, calls, laughs and hugs. I love you!!!

Michelle with Birdsall girls

Kaye:

Yesterday I told the girls the news of your passing. Grace and Halle immediately welled up in tears, but then a huge smile broke out across Grace’s face. “She’s with Jesus!!!”
Gloria said, “I don’t have any tears. I’m sad but I’m also really happy for her.”

When I think of you, Beckman, I think of the ripple effect. I think of you as a pebble thrown into the water. Look at all the people you influenced! May we have the same effect on people as Michelle had on us!.. Genuinely and authentically loving those around us.

When I think of you, Beckman, I think of your intimate walk with God. You helped me to see God as a Daddy.. One who genuinely and lovingly cares for His daughter.

When I think of you, Beckman, I recall the time you taught me to stop”shoulding” on myself and on others. At the time I was exhausted from life, ministry, and relationships. But these words, rooted in God’s grace, gave life.

When I think of you, Beckman, I think of my girls. You desired to not grow old and cranky. You embraced the joy, the squeals, the mismatched and nonsensical.. It brought a smile to your face and you joined in the fun. That was God right there. You looking down on my girls with such adoration is the same way our Father looks down on us. What a beautiful picture of His love for us.

Melody:

My heart breaks and yet rejoices at the same time knowing that Michelle is now with Jesus. Michelle has been one of the most influential people in my life. I have known her since high school and she has shown me what it looks like to follow Jesus, to live in grace and how to listen to Gods voice. She never gave up on me and was my constant encourager. She has left a legacy that will live on for generations. Thank you Michelle for loving me, believing in me and living life with me. You will be missed. Love you!

on her last day.

Jill (who cared for Michelle in her last weeks):

I want to give you a small glimpse into Michelle’s last day. Tuesday was a very long day. Michelle was slowing down in her eating and was having a harder time swallowing due to shortness of breath. A hospice nurse gave her a bed bath and she literally never recovered. Her breathing became very labored and her sister and I spent the rest of the day trying to help her stay comfortable.

Her oxygen levels started dropping significantly, her fingernails were purple and her lips were pale. We spent about 2 hours reading Scripture and we listened to a couple of worship songs. At 8:30 pm she reached her arms out to sit up. We pulled her up and she made a heart with her hands and put it on her chest. Then she laid down and that was the last that she really responded. The rest of the night was trying to get her calm from being very agitated. I continued calling hospice to see what to do next, I continued giving her drugs all through the night and at about 4:15 am I fell asleep lying beside her on her bed. At 5:00 the Lord woke me up as Michelle took a very deep breath. I yelled for her sister as I watched three labored breaths. Deniese ran in and saw her last 2 or 3 breaths and we rejoiced that she finally went home. With tears we told Michelle, “You are home!” “You are a beautiful bride. You have met your bridegroom.” “Tell mom and dad hi!” “No more pain! No more cancer.” “Michelle. We love you. You are free!”

Michelle met her best friend, the One she devoted her life to and the lover of her soul. Michelle breathed her last breath at 5:04 this morning. A friend put it so well: “505 was her first full minute of beholding the face of Jesus–the One she absolutely adored. Michelle, you lived well. You loved well and you were loved by more people than anyone I know! We love you!

Michelle, we miss you terribly—everyone who knew you.  We honor you for your well-run race, your faithful service, your extravagant grace, your God-breathed wisdom, your humble spirit, your legacy of love. Thank you. And we rejoice with you that are resting in the arms of the Savior.

C2016 Judy Douglass

For those whose quotes I borrowed for this, I hope you don’t mind.  If you would rather I remove yours, please let me know.

Related posts: Kingdom Women




Posted on by JudyDouglass in Becoming Kindling 4 Comments

Learning Intimacy with God by Ala Wyrzykowska

I have loved working with Ala Wyrzykowska for many years.  And I love her insights here on growing intimacy with God.

Jesus praying

I once heard a Polish Christian song that left me with a question:

“If I were to run into Jesus in the street would I recognize Him?”

The idea was disturbing and I wondered how I would be able to know.

This year I celebrate some significant turning points in my life and they make me ask myself questions about my relationship with God and how it has developed over the years. I ask myself what kind of intimacy with God would satisfy me.  The topic seems to come up over and over in my walk with Him.

When I think about intimacy with God, I realize it is more than coming to Him with my need for His support, power and guidance. I do need His empowerment to make me the kind of person and leader that He would like me to be. Yet intimacy is more than just taking time to pray and read the Word.

holding hands

As I was thinking about this word, I realized that in the Polish language “intimacy” has mostly a sexual connotation and as a result, when I hear the word “intimacy,” I think of not just closeness, but a very special closeness. It affects my understanding and expectation of intimacy with God.

I have also been challenged by the way David talked about his relationship with the Lord in Psalm 63.  His desire for a very special union and experience of it is very clear there.

desert

For example, the language of intimacy that he uses:

“my whole being longs for you”

“I think of you through the watches of the night”

“I sing in the shadow of your wings, I cling to you; your right hand upholds me.”

These descriptions are very powerful and make me consider how I would describe my relationship with the Lord.

As I was looking at different definitions in dictionaries, I came across one that describes intimacy in a simple yet thought-provoking way.

“Intimacy is closeness with another person, like the intimacy that develops between friends as you tell one another your life stories and all your secrets and dreams for the future.”  https://www.vocabulary.com/dictionary/intimacy

Referring to God, I ask myself: Do I treat Him as my friend, my closest friend?  How do I express it?

It is easy for me to come to Him when I have a need.  I try all kinds of arguments to make Him take my requests seriously. Yet it does not come easily for me to just spend time with Him, without an agenda; just to get to know Him and what is on His heart. But I am learning to allow Him into all the secrets and dark places of my soul. If I have any dreams about the future, I do not hide them from Him.

best friend rings

 

But at the same time, do I take time to listen to Him and enjoy Him without any business? What would it take for me to long for God as David did in the Psalm?

Thinking about intimacy with God makes me think about how I build relationships with other people. Most of us in ministry have a lot of people in our lives. Even though I can have a lot of good relationships, a lot of them can be quite superficial and ministry-based.

Once I move or they move, relationships frequently end, and I have developed a certain aloofness in the way I approach people and let them into my life. I may be quite open about a lot of things, but there is little cultivation of the relationship beyond the framework of a ministry assignment. Maybe it is just me, but I realize that there are some patterns in the way I live out my relationships with others that I also repeat in my relationship with God.

Obviously, I also bring my family background and personality into the equation and it all adds up to a challenge of learning how to delight myself in knowing the invisible Lord.

It is a wonderful challenge, though. The God of the whole universe wants to be friends with us here on earth and throughout eternity.

What are your experiences in learning intimacy with the Lord?  I would love to learn from your discoveries.

Ala WyrzykowskaAla Wyrzykowska joined staff in Poland in 1979, and she has served in different roles over the years. She has experienced ministry as a single and as a wife and mother of two (now) adult children.  Seven years ago, she moved to Hungary where her husband became the Area Team Leader for Eastern Europe and Russia. She became the Associate Area Leader. She works directly with Poland, Russia, Ukraine and Bulgaria; and she leads a Team Of Area Associate Leaders (TAAL ).

Ala’s article was first published on AltPerspective – a blog of Area Team Leaders @http://www.alt.eeccc.org/learning-intimacy/.  We encourage you to visit their site often for their unique perspective on life and ministry. 




Posted on by JudyDouglass in True Followers 1 Comment

When It Isn’t Good News for Women by Gina Butz

Gina Butz is a stellar communicator, and gifted leader and a good friend.  I’m grateful to have her telling some of her story today.

sad woman

I was 20 years old the first time someone told me I couldn’t serve in a particular ministry role simply because I was a woman.

I wasn’t asking to be a pastor or an elder or a deacon–I simply wanted to serve as the president of a college student Christian ministry. It didn’t matter that I had vision for the role, or that I felt that God had clearly called me to it, or that I had leadership experience preparing me for the role. I lacked nothing in the way of skills or intelligence to serve as president.

No, the only problem was that God made me a woman.  This was not good news for women–or for me.

In the end, those choosing new leadership relented, and allowed me to serve. I think I served well, as did the woman who served after me. The ministry was not led astray. God continued to work.

Good news for women

Several years later, on a mission trip to Trinidad, I was asked to share my testimony at a local church, along with a few other members of our team. Afterward, the pastor approached me and said, “Hey, you know, you’re a good speaker. How would you like to give the sermon at our church Wednesday night?”

“Can I do that?” I responded.

“Why not? It’s my church!” he told me.

So that Wednesday night I preached the Word of God to a packed room. I’ve never had such an exhilarating experience, as there was barely a moment of silence while I spoke. The crowd gave constant encouragement in the form of “Amen! Preach it, sistah!” It was a rush, I tell ya.

I believe God spoke that night. He gave me a gift of communication, and that night He used it to say something to them. It was incredibly humbling and honoring–an experience I’ll never forget.

But wait. I’m a woman. I’m not supposed to lead.

In the past few years, I’ve had more and more conversations with people about the issue of women in leadership in the church. I understand and share the desire to be completely in line with the Word of God on this topic.

As someone who feels gifted in teaching and leadership, I have a vested interest in understanding how best to use what God has given me. I have held my breath, hoping to arrive at a conclusion that is both scripturally based and empowering to women. In other words, I hope there is good news.

Love, grace and open minds

This is a topic that must be approached with love, grace and open mindedness that does not focus on verses pulled from a few passages, but on a holistic view of scripture and the nature of God. Most of all, I would hope that as we approach this topic, we would be sensitive to the implications of the stand we take as a church.

When people insist that women cannot lead men, or cannot hold certain positions in the church, what we women hear is this:

You must not have heard from God if you thought He was calling you to use those gifts. You might have gifts in these areas,     but you can’t use them to bless the whole church. Only women and children (but at some point you’ll have to stop teaching the boys). 

You are a danger–if you serve in one of these roles, something will be amiss. God will not use you. He will not bless. You are less valuable to the kingdom than your brothers.

You are less valuable to God.

This isn’t good news for women.

 

If women aren’t meant to lead, how do you explain the stories of women like Deborah and Esther from scripture? How do you explain parts of the world where women lead in the church, and the church is thriving?
Is it because God can’t raise up men in these situations? Or it is because He believes women are just as capable? If women are in violation of His plan as leaders, why does He use them?

My point is not to argue each biblical point, but to ask if perhaps we might be holding back what half the church has to offer, based on a narrow interpretation of a few verses? When I look at scripture, I see a God who creates with great delight every person regardless of gender or color, who values His creation enough to die for it, and who gives spiritual gifts to bless the body without discrimination. This is good news for women.

What do we have to lose by allowing women to fully use all that God has given them for the kingdom and for His glory?

What do we have to gain?

Gina ButzGina and her husband, Erik, have served with Cru for more than 15 years, 13 of which were spent overseas. They recently returned to the U.S. with their two kids, and serve now with Global Leadership. Gina enjoys writing, speaking, and coaching other women, particularly in issues surrounding transition and living wholeheartedly.  You will love her blog, The View from Here.  Friend her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter @gina_butz. 

 

Related posts:

Keep the Fires Burning: Global Women’s Leadership Forum

Kingdom Women: Taking the Gospel to China 1

 




Posted on by JudyDouglass in Becoming Kindling 8 Comments

What to Wear as a Child of God: Gentleness

 

gentleness bear
 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience….(Colossians 3:12)

I have six amazing grandboys. One is brand new, so I can’t speak for him yet. But the others—they love to wrestle, roughhouse, wield swords. It is normal to see three brothers tangled together, sometimes laughing, but often crying out that an arm is about to break.

I know girls who will gladly join in, but usually they are not as fierce or intense. Some would say that girls are just more naturally gentle and that we can’t expect gentleness to characterize boys and men. They need to be tough.

Yet Paul reminds us that all followers of Jesus are to put on gentleness. Boys and girls, men and women—all are admonished to be gentle.

How do we become gentle? By learning from the tough but gentle Jesus Himself.

Children

Then people brought little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked them. Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.’…And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them.” (Matthew (:13-14; Mark 10:16)

Illness and invalid

“Then the woman, seeing that she could not go unnoticed, came trembling and fell at his feet. In the presence of all the people, she told why she had touched him and how she had been instantly healed.  Then he said to her, ‘Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace.’” (Luke 8:47-48)

One who was there had been an invalid for 38 years. When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, ‘Do you want to get well?’

“’Sir,’ the invalid replied, ‘I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.’

Then Jesus said to him, ‘Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.’ At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked.” (John 5:4-9)

 Sinful Woman

“The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, ‘Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?’ 

“But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, ‘Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.’ Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.

At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her, ‘Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?’

“’No one, sir,’ she said.

“’Then neither do I condemn you,’ Jesus declared. ‘Go now and leave your life of sin.’” (John 8:3-11)

Blind Man and Leper

“They came to Bethsaida, and some people brought a blind man and begged Jesus to touch him. He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. When he had spit on the man’s eyes and put his hands on him, Jesus asked, ‘Do you see anything?’

He looked up and said, ‘I see people; they look like trees walking around.’

Once more Jesus put his hands on the man’s eyes. Then his eyes were opened, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly.” (Mark 8:22-25)

“And a leper came to Him and bowed down before Him, and said, ‘Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.’ Jesus stretched out His hand and touched him, saying, ‘I am willing; be cleansed.’ And immediately his leprosy was cleansed.” (Matthew 8:2-3)

Gentleness Modeled

Jesus welcomed children, spoke gently to women in pain, touched lepers, healed the blind, fed the hungry. He loved people, felt compassion for them and treated them with great gentleness.

Yet, surely Jesus was tough. He stepped out of Heaven to become human like us. He stood up to the Pharisees, accepted flogging and a crown of thorns, endured the cross. The greatest model of tough.

And the greatest model of gentle.

For which I am very grateful.

In my younger years, rarely would “gentle” be a word used to describe me. As I read many times the verse above, admonishing me to “put on gentleness,” I frequently asked God to change me into a gentle person.

He worked slowly and quietly, and one day years later I realized He had done just that. Not perfect gentleness of course, but increasingly I recognized a gentle demeanor in most of my relationships.

Thank You, Lord.

What about you? Do you wear gentleness consistently?

C2016 Judy Douglass

Related posts:

What to Wear: Compassion

What to Wear: Kindness

What to Wear: Humility

 

 




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