Transforming Together: Authentic Spiritual Mentoring

Monday, August 29, 2011

Distracted or Drawn?

He was at the door.  She opened it, welcoming Him in.  Her thoughts went to dinner. After all, she was the hostess. Isn't that what is offered when another enters one's home? Her sister, Mary, sat at His feet, listening to what He taught.  But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing. Frustration set in.  Comparison, (or was it jealousy?) began to slither in her soul, accompanied by it's old companion, Pride, with Maryter close at hand. He just sat there, doing nothing but speaking into another's heart. Martha went to Jesus and said, "Lord, doesn't it seem unfair to You that my sister just sits there while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me!"

But Jesus had another confrontation in mind; one with Martha, not her sister.  "My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her."

No 'put-down' for the intent.  Concern for one caught up in worry, upset over details, telling the God of the Universe what to do rather than drawing near to hear what might be said to her from the Divine!

Let's look at this very familiar account from Luke 10:38-42 together, shall we?

A couple of things, and then please, hop on and interact!!

1. Jesus went to Martha's home, not Mary's.
2. Martha welcome Him in!
3. Question: How come Jesus went there? To eat?....or perhaps there was another reason....
4. Mary chose to sit and listen to Jesus; Martha chose to serve a big dinner.
5. Question: Is one choice better than the other?  Hummmm......
6.  The Living Word says that "Martha was distracted by the 'big dinner prep.'

                The dinner became more important than the Guest.    Bingo!

Thought: Does how what we do distract or draw us closer to Jesus?  Is it about HIM  or about the "prep?"

How do we know?  The Indicators!

"Prep" indicators:  Worry. Upset. Distraction. Pouring over details. Talking to Jesus about other humans rather than listening to Him!

"About Him" indicators: Focus on Him!  Listening TO HIM!

So, is this account about ACTIVITY verses QUIETNESS?  Perhaps not.

It's about checking ourselves to make sure that 'the ministry', 'the activity', 'the function', 'the meeting', 'the gathering' is secondary to the Guest!!!! 

 Are we DRAWN to Jesus or DISTRACTED by the all the 'preparations'?


Friday, August 12, 2011

Being Held Hostage

She felt like throwing her IPhone across the room after the interchange but thought better of it.  "I am sooo p.o.ed at her! Who does she think she is?!"  The words barely crossed the threshold between thought and utterance when an all-to-familiar emotion began to ooze its way into her soul. "But you did hurt her didn't you? You know how she she needs those affirmations from you....."   She tossed the IPhone into her purse. It soft-landed next to the credit card holder.  She felt worse than before...Self-doubt was heightened by the unwelcomed addition of Guilt.

Guilt. A cruel hostage-holder.  No care. No interest.  Only demands...accusations....reminders....

The thing about guilt is that it carries an element of truth within that twists, turns, cuts and barbs.  And it can gnaw on the soul of a person who is responsible, caring, desiring to do what is right, to 'be' for another, until that one is quietly hemorrhaging from within.  Guilt.

Jesus has been 'growing me' in this area of guilt.  Here are some of His thoughts.  They have strengthened me. Perhaps they might be of help to you as well.

1. Listen carefully to what the other is saying.
2. Refrain from defending oneself.  Focus on listening.
3. Remain calm, asking for clarification if necessary.
4. Talk to Him! Ask Jesus for help, to see the other, the situation through His eyes.
5. Apologize when necessary; restate when appropriate.
6. Commit yourself to the other, but not necessarily to 'solving' their perceived problem.
7. Keep in the Living Word daily for perspective and inner strength.
8. Pray for them, thank Jesus for them.  Keep cleansing your mind with Truth.

Okay. Feedback.  What do YOU think?  How do YOU handle being held hostage by another dumping guilt on you?

Breaking out, Ele

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

"Not of our group"

     It happened again last evening.  We were seated in our living room. A book title was mentioned...a rather controversial book title, at least among some Christ-Followers. My heart sank a bit as one among us said, "The leadership of our church has recommended that this book not be read."  "How come?" was my husband's reply. "They feel that the content of the book isn't in line with the teaching of our elders." "Hummmm,"  I thought. "Interesting standard...."  My husband continued.  "How did the author respond to their inquiries?"  "Oh, no one spoke to him."  "I see."  Pause.  Don inhaled and pressed, "What were their thoughts after reading the book themselves?"  "I'm not sure any of them have read the book" our company responded.  "It's just that, well, others have said that the book was 'off' a bit, so, I'm not going to read it either!" The last comment was accentuated with a bit of conviction...or  was it arrogance?

     In the Living Word today I read these words. "Master, we saw someone using Your name to cast out demons, but we told him to stop because he isn't in our group!"  Luke 9:49

     Amazing! They spoke Truth yet missed it entirely.  Someone was casting out demons IN THE NAME OF JESUS!!! Yet, their focus wasn't that humans were being delivered from the slimy grasp of the enemy.  Their focus was "he isn't in our group!" He wasn't one of them.

     Jesus replied to those disciples of old: "DON'T STOP HIM! ANYONE WHO IS NOT AGAINST YOU IS FOR YOU!" Luke 9:50

      So, the question is: Do we get it? Us? THIS generation of Christ-followers? We have an enemy. His name is Satan; Lucifer, the Devil. He has helpers. They are called demons; evil spirits.  "We wrestle NOT against flesh and blood...."   Are we more loyal to powerful pastors, to captivating orators, to famous authors never personally met, to t.v. personalities, to denominations, to holy habits, to a group of men or women called 'elders' than we are to Jesus? Where is our focus: on Truth or on being in the 'right' group? Think about it! In whose 'group' are you? Jesus' or other humans?  

      Grouping with Jesus,  Ele