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Posts from the ‘OneWord365’ Category

Southerners in Scripture

Chances are, you have offended a Southerner by saying something to the tune of

You can’t treat people that way…

You shouldn’t talk to your husband/wife like that…

You can’t run in here…

And, the defensive response you received may have sounded something like

I wasn’t…

I didn’t…

It wasn’t me

As Southerners, we often forget that “you” is both singular and plural because in our dialect, we have traded plural “you” for

Ya’ll and Y’all.  We can’t even agree on its contracted form!

My 10-year-old is sensitive to this cultural norm.  She recently expressed she uses “y’all” so as not to offend and make her friends think she is pinpointing one of them in conversation.  Such a polite, Southern girl!

Unfortunately, we often operate by the same standards in The Church.  Our teaching pastor, Greg Gibson, recently pointed out the plurality of you in John 15:5 “I am the vine; you [y’all] are the branches.”  It’s not that Christ is the vine, and I am the branch.  We are the branches.  This is a life to be lived in community.

In recent weeks, I have been able to apply this same principle to another verse I often consume for myself —  2 Timothy 1:7 “for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.”  Spirit is my OneWord focus for the year, but the “us” in this scripture came to life in my surrounding community last week.

Four weeks ago, I had a baseline mammogram, and two weeks ago, I received a call letting me know they found a dense spot that was benign-appearing.  Last week, I had a follow-up ultrasound to confirm the mass was benign, and it was.

The process was relatively quick, and I could have kept it close to the chest.  Haha!  But, much would have been lost if the unfolding events terminated on my family and me.  Because we shared our lives with those in our lives, we were able to hear

words that in other respects would not have been heard

wisdom that would have otherwise been missed

truth that would have been left unspoken

prayers that would have been left unsaid

scripture that would have been left unsent

compassion that would have been left unshown

This walk is not just about us.  When we recoil in isolation, we not only miss the opportunities of being served, but we also take away the opportunities of allowing our brothers and sisters in Christ to serve.  We remove the possibility for their faith to increase through our situation and experience true community themselves.

I was allowed to see that my OneWord does not fall solely on me:  For the Lord has not given Us a Spirit of Fear — He has given Y’all a Spirit of Power and of Love and of Self-Control.

“Good relationships are gonna cost you and hurt you; but not as much as alienation and isolation.”  Scotty Smith

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Spirit

“Live in the present to the maximum and do not let your future mortgage your present any more than you should let the past mortgage your present.”  Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

The trap for me is not so much dwelling on sins of the past.  The trap for me is dwelling on fears concerning the future.

This revelation has helped me arrive at my word of focus for this year:  SPIRIT

In Spiritual Depression:  Its Causes and Cure a collection of sermons by Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, a chapter is given to Fear of the Future.  Dr. Lloyd-Jones expounds on the text 2 Timothy 1:7 “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”

SPIRIT OF POWER

“And as I understand it, the big thing that Paul is saying in effect to Timothy is:  ‘Timothy, you seem to be thinking about yourself and about life and all you have to do as if you were still an ordinary person.  But, Timothy, you are not an ordinary person!  You are a Christian, you are born again, the Spirit of God is in you… God has not given us the spirit of fear.  He hath given us the Spirit of power.’  So do not think of your own weakness; think of the power of the Spirit of God.”  Lloyd-Jones

SPIRIT OF LOVE

Next, Lloyd-Jones asks, Why love?  “For what after all, is the main cause of this spirit of fear?  The answer is ‘self’ –self-love, self-concern, self-protection… There is only one way to get rid of self, and that is that you should become so absorbed in someone or something else that you have no time to think about yourself. Thank God, the Spirit of God makes that possible.  He is not only ‘the spirit of power’, but He is also ‘the spirit of love’.  What does it mean?  It means love to God, love to the great God who made us.”  Then, love of others.

SPIRIT OF SOUND MIND

Lastly, he’s given us the spirit of wisdom and a sound mind.  “He will tell you what to do, He will tell you what to say, He will if necessary, restrain you.  We are not living on ourselves.  We must not think of ourselves as ordinary people.  We are not natural men; we are born again.  God has given His Holy Spirit, and He is the spirit ‘of power and of love and of a sound mind’.” Lloyd-Jones

The Spirit of God is in me.  A Spirit of love and of power and of sound mind.  I do not have to fear the future.  I just have to remember.  That will be my focus as I join the community of OneWord365 this year.

Do you have a focus God is impressing on your heart this year?