Monday, September 29, 2014

Bigness II

For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do. (Hebrews 4:13-14)
 
When i used the exact words that he had used to speak into my situation, i was surprised to find that he could not receive them. For me, those words immediately untied me; completely freed me and caused me to propelled into a new place. Like a light bulb switched on or an aha moment. Like feeling new again in a flash. My thoughts became clear again; i felt free as if a heavy cloud had been lifted off my head. i was happy again; i saw the funny side of things again. So, when he opened up concerning his situation, i saw the same root causes for i knew that sort of reasoning or that sort of thinking all too well. i was familiar with the emotions that attach themselves to those thoughts. i was accustomed to the same tightness upon my mind, the same angst hovering around. i boomeranged back to him the exact word he gave me. Astonishingly, he refused them. 
 
In his eyes, his circumstance has been going on for years, is bigger, is more complicated, is more painful, the characters in his story nastier. In other words, his hardship or the injustice, the bullying done to him more prominent than mine. In his mind, he deserves to rage against the wrong he suffers, he has every right to embrace the pain inflicted upon him. He has been persecuted more than me, bullied and pushed around for a longer time. In one split of a second, i saw. He has elevated himself above me. He has enshrouded himself in pride, wearing all the injustice inflicted upon him as if it is a grand cloak. Having put on false humility, he has put on the breastplate of self-righteousness. He does not understand that the tying up or the imprisonment or the torment, these binding things originate not from the outer. He does not truly understand that we live in a war and that we have an enemy who hates us with a hatred deep and horrible. The enemy uses these occasions to wield his influences; he uses such moments to introduce his thoughts to have us agree with him, to hook us in and capture us. He does not see that our imprisonment or woundedness or entrapment happens on the inside when we unknowingly (or knowingly) or innocently allow the enemy to entice us, and through our own choosing choose what colours us on the inside, or influence or dictate to us our reaction. He does not see that is why people who have been through atrocious injustice have the power to defeat the circumstances (thus disempowering the enemy) and remain untainted or unaffected or unchanged; people who have been through hellish experiences can continue to be beautiful and kind and unmarred by outer circumstances. They have escaped the trap of the enemy, and overwhelmingly overpowered him. These are those we call conquerors or overcomers.
 
He does not truly understand what he had given me. He does not truly know the power that he had spoken to give me. He does not understand that the power available to us can only be activated when we embrace it with humility. He has taken that very unfortunate place of being higher than others, the double-edged sword in his hand though powerful, is meant for others like me, but not for him.
 
How do we love a guy like him? A very wise man - my beloved husband - taught me to embrace people like him. It means i continue to accept him; i keep my love for him evident and available. His reaction to the very word from his own mouth tells me to take a step back, to consider his pain. And wait. Perhaps for this one, the Holy Spirit has a whole different way to bring freedom. Perhaps for this one, He seeks another avenue to do a larger and more lasting work. Perhaps to battle arrogance, we put on humility. So, i approach him with the posture of Lord, what shall i do? i come near with kindness, gentleness. And wisdom. i am convinced what God has done for me, He can do for my brother.        

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Bigness

So then, we may no longer be children, tossed [like ships] to and fro between chance gusts of teaching and wavering with every changing wind of doctrine, of unscrupulous men, [gamblers engaged] in every shifting form of trickery in inventing errors to mislead. Rather, let our lives lovingly express truth [in all things, speaking truly, dealing truly, living truly]. Enfolded in love, let us grow up in every way and in all things into Him Who is the Head, [even] Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One). (Ephesians 4:14-15)
 
i was blind to what i had done until a close friend teased me about it. As a silent watcher, and one who knows me well, she had noticed how i bloomed and blushed to his one comment. She remarked that i was completely oblivious to the possibility that by seemingly untouched or unappreciative of the other comments to only acknowledge and comment on what he wrote, i may have alienated or even offended all those who were kind to congratulate or encourage me on my brand new painting. Caught red faced and red handed, i surrendered and delved into my adoration and admiration of this person. i admitted to her that he has a special place in my heart. He has found great favour with me. She laughed. She knows me well. She is one whom i trust to speak truth.

What he wrote was not spectacular, not outstanding nor wordy, not flowery or even hinted at any true knowledge of art or how to look at a painting like mine. All he said was that he really liked the painting. And it made my day. Why did his words carry so much weight while others, though appreciated, paled in comparison? i did not understand it then, but i may have figured it out now. His opinion meant a lot to me because he is a man of no compromise. He is always exactly who he is. His words carry so much weight for me because he is a man who cannot be bought; he has not sold himself to anyone, nor cheapen himself for anything. He is a man of integrity. He is a man of his word; what he says is what he means (This does not mean he is unrestrained with his language; he is wise with his words, self-controlled and has made good judgement). What his body language says is what he is feeling or thinking. Even when he is unhappy, unimpressed, or unconvinced. He does not always follow what everyone does; he makes his own judgement, follows his own conviction. Even if it means he may make a mistake, or read amiss. He is not bound to people-pleasing because he is not selling anything. i have found him humble, able to receive both directive and corrective word. He sought counsel; not haughty or arrogant. So far, i have only known him to be one who does not do something to receive something in return; he has no hidden motive, no secret agenda. In the few face to face encounters i have had with him, he has always shown his true colours; he has never fake it with me. In my contact with him, though he is as imperfect as i, and on his individual growth as i am on mine, i have found there to be no false or fake thing in him. He has always been a man who has not cheapen himself to buy my favour. He did not, and does not have to. So when he said he liked my work, i completely trust that he truly liked my work. At that, i was over the moon.

Could it be that when we expect or demand or compel of those around us to compromise themselves, or when we take advantage of their insecurities to sell themselves cheap to fit us or suit us or bend to us, in the name of being supportive or encouraging, in the name of being "positive", we have unknowingly created for them, and ourselves an environment perfect for growing false things; we may have unintentionally made for them and us, a place ideal for superficial fake things to thrive. In the name of not being negative, not being rebellious, we have unconsciously been deceived into the work of a religious spirit; a spirit that stunts and retrains, a spirit that operates by control, a spirit that clones. A spirit that takes away our freedom to be truly ourselves.

But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you in order that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. (Matthew 5:44-45)

The good news is: God is not a religious spirit. Recently, i had a revelation of the bigness of God. God loves atheists! He is so secure in Himself that He has given His greatest love, His most treasured creations, the freedom to choose to deny His own existence. Insane! What Super Genius would do that? What i saw was both astounding, breathtaking, disarming, yet completely freeing. It means: if the Lord does not demand or force or compel or expect or beg or bribe or manipulate or buy our acknowledgement of His existence, or accept Him, or welcome Him into our lives, this God huge and more than deserve our worship, our fall-on-our-faces surrender,  i who bear His likeness has also His full permission and empowerment to do the same. With Him, in Him, i have the same bigness, the same grace to give others the freedom to be themselves. Just as i have received the greatest gift in the whole universe - the gift of free will - i can give others the same privilege to choose not to like me, not to agree with me, not to follow me, not to support me, not to love me. If my Father is able to give others the free will to deny Him, i have the ability to give others the same freedom to deny me. As He is big, i am too.

Perhaps we re-evaluate or look again at the definition of being supportive, of being negative. Perhaps we have misunderstood what true rebellion looks like, as we have misread what true submission is. Perhaps it is time we re-think the way we empower one another. Perhaps we return to the true definition of love again, of wisdom again. Perhaps when we find the true definition of love again, we will see who truly loves us, who truly stands by us, and fights with us. Perhaps when we return to the true definition of wisdom again, we will see who is truly wise, whose words carry weight. Perhaps we restructure our point of view, to look deeper, to see further. Perhaps we are not to navigate around new territories, but to fully occupy them. Perhaps it is time to choose wisely men uncompromised. Perhaps to occupy new territories, we need men like that.  

Friday, September 26, 2014

Salt

You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how will it be made salty again? It is good for nothing anymore, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men. (Matthew 5:13)
 
While i was having lunch, he came into the office. From where i was sitting in the room next to the reception area, i could hear him ask for me. My supervisor replied saying i was having my lunch break. A second later, he popped his head through the doorway and greeted me with a grin. i managed a smile and a wave with my free hand, unable to speak with a mouthful of lunch.
 
"Never mind," he said, "you continue with your lunch." And left.
 
The day before, he had come in early in the morning. He was anxious. Edgy. New Tenants to his son's rental property had made an appointment to come into the office to sign the lease. He was here to make sure the documents were ready. i assured him that all was well. He sat down on one of two chairs by the reception desk. As is his nature, started talking. Part of my morning routine when i come into the office is to receipt rent into the computer system we use in this business of managing properties. i like to place my full concentration on this part of my job because i hate to make mistake, especially when it involves money. So, i was half-heartedly listening to the string of seemingly random words that came out of his mouth. i was hoping he would get the message by my indifference to leave me alone for a few minutes so i could finish this task. Without trying, i caught a highlighted word. i stopped everything i was doing to give him my full attention, forcing myself to ignore the thought that i might be caught behind in my work when the supervisor or the Big Boss arrives. i asked about his son.
 
"Don't tell anyone this," he said. And poured out all that had happened in the last year in his son's life. Suddenly, everything became clear. Suddenly, something rare happened. Under all that talk, all that layers of acting, all that striving, all that running and chasing after the wind, i saw a glimpse of the true him. He is a father. He is doing all that he knows to do to be the best father that he wants to be. Living in a broken world as we, but not having a Father like us, not having anything true to latch on to, he slips, slides, strives, he fumbles and stumbles because he is a father who loves his children. i saw very clearly into his son's situation, and i knew what to say. His eyes widen for a split moment; perhaps no one has spoke to him like this before. Perhaps no one has provided him this point of view. Perhaps everyone has only spoken negatively; those around him has only spoken like how they speak in the world. i encouraged him; i spoke to his true identity. Be the father that you are, i extolled him. It was like the permission that he had been craving for; the go-ahead that he had not dared to wish for. It was as if the Father gave him the nod to be completely himself, to dive into the luxury of loving his son as extravagantly as he wish. And to enjoy loving his way.
 
i guess, when he came in the next day, he was looking for the friend that he had made the day before.
 
Out of this, i have myself received a massive shift and transformation in my heart. Relationships, i have discovered, are not only nurtured through taking that extra effort, relationships are grown from heart work. i learned that to be salt, i have to be willing to not be too quick, or too adamant on insisting that others bend to me. In other words, i am to reflex my Lord. He came to serve, not to be served.  

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Likeness II

As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves, and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him, who is the head even Christ, from whom the whole body being fitted and held together by that which every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love. (Ephesians 4:14-16)
 
"That's right," my supervisor said, agreeing with what i had just said. i was amused because i did not know she was listening in to the conversation i was having with the Sales Rep. Recently, from his constant pestering (by his own confession), his son has acquired a rental property which he has listed with the company to manage. Finally, he reasoned, his son is financially secured for the future. From the day of settlement, he has been in the office, hovering over me like a bumblebee heckling to get the property tenanted. Anxious to get tenants in as quickly as possible, he has shown the property to interested parties, called up all rental references, and badgered to have applicants checked out from the National Tenancy Database we have access to as a licensed real estate agency. Now with all information he had collected from the telephone calls, and the printed results of Tenancy Checks, he stood dazed, unsure, wavering, unable to make a decision. i was amused, because from where i was standing, the decision was crystal clear to me.
 
My musing led me to wonder how was it possible for a man of his stature and experience in the property world to not see, and not able to decipher. i am reminded of him when i see caricature of sales men in commercials or comedies. i love the brilliance of such creative people who can capture the essence of a behaviour so ineptly to help us laugh at ourselves, to help us to not take ourselves or one another too seriously. He is a lovely man who, unfortunately has by his profession become a people pleaser. He has learned to change the colour of his skin like a chameleon. He has become very skilled at moulding and shaping his language, his opinions, believes or principles to match or to blend in with those whom he speaks with. He has acquired a silver tongue. It has become his nature to morph easily to fit in; he conforms effortlessly to his surrounding. He has perfected niceness. The seemingly humble appearance that he puts on is a form of false humility. He looks modest, but he is not meek; he is simply fearful of not fitting in, not being accepted. Or afraid no one will buy what he is selling.
 
So, i wondered. Could it be that in all the years where he has compromised himself to suit others, to mould himself as according to the environment around him, that he has prostituted his own unique personality, his individuality. Could it be that he has monetized his soul till he has lost slowly and surely all abilities to make sound judgement, or to make decisions of his own conviction? By compromising who he was created to be, he has lost his identity, his core integrity, and has become a man without principles. Without any firm ground to stand upon. He is like a ship tossed here and there by the waves of the times; he is carried about by sound-good wind of methods or ideology or theory, bending to fickle wisdom of the world, falling into looks-good, get-rich schemes.

This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil, where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us, having become a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek. (Hebrew 6:19-20)

How do we love a guy like him? A very wise man - my beloved husband - has taught me to embrace people, to consider my need for every type of personality. My husband taught me to embrace him, to look at him from a different angle; to love his animated over-the-top performances because his mannerism keeps me from falling into that place of being too serious, too intense; i have learned to not take myself (and others) too seriously. My contact with him - his funny way of fluttering around the office, buzzing around busy over one small thing - has taught me to be light hearted. To be amused. To see things in a different light, in a comedic way. i like him; he makes the office interesting. So, i approach him with what he craves; i lavish upon him acceptance. i do not mean i flatter him, or agree with what he says or do. i simply accept him. When it comes from the heart, believe it or not, people usually are able to tell if we truly love and accept them. How many of us have heard words that felt empty? How many of us have had people do something with an agenda? This day, i gave him what i had. It was a firm and sure principle that i had picked up working here in this office. i directed him to the core or the heart of the business of managing properties. We exist to provide a service to Owners and Tenants. i directed him to what truly matters in the business of managing a property, even one that belongs to his own flesh and blood.

i love the Word of God. i love the Holy Spirit. i love how the Word of God by the Holy Spirit leaps to life in our hands. My wondering, and musing, led my search to Ephesians 4 and Hebrews 6. My spirit dances with joy at what my mind is yet to understand. And i will read these two chapters again and again. Even if i simply love the poetry of the sentences, i will read them simply because my spirit delights in them. This is what Ephesians 4 verse 23 and 24 says: that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which is the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth. There is that word - likeness - again. And my spirit springs to life.


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Likeness

Then God said, "Let us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on earth." And God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. And God blessed them; and God said to them,"Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky, and over every living thing that moves on the earth." (Genesis 1:26-28)
 
Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, "Indeed, has God said, 'You shall not eat from any tree of the garden'?" And the woman said to the serpent, "From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat; but from the fruit of the tree in the middle of the garden, God has said, 'You shall not eat from it or touch it, lest you die.'" And the serpent said to the woman, "You shall surely not die! For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." (Genesis 3:1-5)
 
"What we see, and do physically in this seen realm is the manifestation or reflexion of what is happening or has already happened in the unseen realm," i extolled the team, motioning with my hands an abstract space lowest, and nearest to the ground, "Warfare happens in the spirit realm, also known as the second heaven," i moved my hands to the space in line with my torso, "And, we," i paused, feeling the authority of the Lord upon me, moved my hands above my head and said, "We sit here with Jesus in the heavenly realm, ruling and calling things out as He calls them. This is who we are as intercessors of this house. This is how we partner with others in the work of the Holy Spirit."
 
Some have heard this before. Some needed reminding of this morning. Nevertheless, their eyes glistened with excitement, with great hope. In a room still thick with the presence of God, we believed all that we had prayed for, every word proclaimed and prophesied this morning will come to pass. i believe that by the Holy Spirit, work start and set in motion in the spirit realm whenever we pray. We moved into another level of praying this morning, as if accelerated into a higher understanding of our place as guard, as watchmen, as intercessors of this house. Of this nation. i felt as if i took a huge step forward, as if i had grown much without realizing it.
 
For the last two weeks, the Holy Spirit has uncovered many "treasures" - a highlighted word, or a fascinating concept, or the highlighting of a behaviour or thought pattern. Conversations with various people had led to trails of investigation, and the searching out of the Word of God. As i type this, many of these observations are kept in my pocket, filed away waiting to see how or where they will fit together; much is still waiting for further explanations or understanding. Out of it all, what is truly amazing and wonderful is that with every lie of the enemy exposed, with every ploy uncovered, i testify that there is great power in Truth. That truth does indeed set us free.
 
One of the many revelations i received in the last week was something that i had learned before in another context, in another facet or dimension. This time, when He showed it to me, it reinforced the lesson, and wedged the truth deeper into me. The ploy is this: The enemy seeks to drive us to work or perform or strive or seek after or labour for who we already are, and what we already own. The enemy tricked Adam and Eve into yearning to be like God when they were already like Him. They were made in  His image, as according to His likeness. Immediately, when i saw, there became instantly no more ground for that lie to land. Something shifted, or moved or dislodged or disabled supernaturally within. i felt i was instantly made wiser. Made stronger. Braver. The term i know who i am; i know Whose child i am made concrete; i felt an actual strength on my chest that has stayed, as if this truth is now permanently ingrained or engrafted into me. Suddenly many other revelations, or snippets of truths start to make more sense, start to come into their places. It is as if i took a step back while looking at a landscape, and my vision of what is truly happening in the realms that matter is now bigger, wider, clearer. My vision has been expanded; i have been given suddenly more to look at, more to search out, more to steward. i have suddenly been introduced to new grounds. My journey has suddenly taken a huge step up, and ahead.  
 
There are always better and more excellent ways to war; there are always multiple ways to combat the enemy or battle in a war. There are many who will call Him Shepherd for what He can do for them, but few will take the position of a lamb. Secrets are reserved for lambs. And God takes great pleasure in defeating roaring lions by the whispers of little lambs.   

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Double Edged III

But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. Whoever hits you on the cheek, offer him the other also; and whoever takes away your coat, do not withhold your shirt from him either. Give to everyone who asks of you and whoever takes what is yours, do not demand it back. And just as you want people to treat you, treat them in the same way. And if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even the sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, in order to receive back the same amount. But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men. (Luke 6:27-35)

Even if the other meant harm towards you, do not empower it all the more with resentment. Because you and I have options: embrace the pain and leave ourselves open to a vindictive heart (thus, not turning the other cheek) OR walking in Freedom to be un-attached to that Power of the Flesh. I think you are already disconnecting yourself from any foothold upon your soul. Good job! May His Grace be easy Yoke upon you.

What he wrote confirmed what the Holy Spirit hinted at; what he penned was like the explanation to the sentence that the Holy Spirit gave this morning. It is one thing to cramp our brains with the word of God, it is quite another to have the word of God come alive, worked out, or exercised in actual experiences, in real decisions and see the Power of His Word transform us. His reply led me to take another look at Luke chapter six. And the whole chapter leapt to life before me. i love the Holy Spirit; i love the Word of God. i love how the word of God in the Holy Spirit cuts, but never wounds. His word never forces, but appeals and draws us in. He word calls us higher, calls us deeper, calls us to come align again with what He is like. His word reminds us again who we are, and Who we follow.

Suddenly, i am more than thankful for a friend like him, a no name, a fellow believer just like me living in the world, manoeuvring through life. We are fellow travellers journeying through life, sharing what walking with Jesus looks like in our individual lives; what faith looks like for an ordinary human person. We sometimes become comrades, we sometimes become each other's support crew, armed with His word, accompanied by His Holy Spirit, to come alongside each other. We are transformed not in a vacuum, but in the messy business of relationships. 

In my journey thus this far, i have learned many times over and over again that when someone meant harm towards us, or someone has hidden agendas when relating to us, or if someone has impure motives, we do more than forgive them. We do more than overlook their weaknesses. We turn the other cheek. Believe me, each time, everything inside me protest; everything within me grit my teeth to hang on to all my rights. It is always the work of the Spirit. And for someone hardened like me, He repeatedly take me to this place of not only have my coat taken, i learn to surrender my shirt as well. It is a deeper work of the Holy Spirit; it has nothing to do with our coats or our shirts, but everything to do with our hearts. i suspect He has a higher purpose, a deeper intention for us; i suspect we are to come to this place where we are no longer attached to things, or reputation, or self.  Until life is no longer about what we do for Him, but who we are in Him. And it is a journey. It is the work of the Holy Spirit one lesson learned, and relearned again and again and again... 

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Double Edged II

And a voice came to him, "Arise, Peter, kill and eat!" But Peter said, "By no means, Lord, for I have never eaten anything unholy and unclean." And again a voice came to him a second time, "What God has cleansed, no longer consider unholy." And this happened three times; and immediately the object was taken up into the sky. Now when Peter was greatly perplexed in mind as to what the vision which he had seen might be, behold, the men who had been sent by Cornelius, having asked directions for Simon's house, appeared at the gate.
(Acts 10:13-17)

But Peter raised him up, saying, "Stand up; I too am just a man." And as he talked with him, he entered, and found many people assembled. And he said to them, "You yourselves know how unlawful it is for a Jew to associate with a foreigner or to visit him; and yet God has shown me that I should not call any man unholy or unclean. That is why I came without even raising any objection when I was sent for. And so I ask for what reason you have sent for me."
(Act 10:26-29)
 
I
As i drove into the street where i work, i could see the office door ajar. Immediately, i recalled this was that much anticipated day. Both bosses together with the Owner had been called to court to face charges Tenant has charged against us as Managing Agent and Owner of the property he rented for a year. i readied myself to face a solemn day at work. i met the Big Boss at the door. In his right hand was the bag of documents we prepared for him as evidence. i greeted him. Awoken from deep thoughts, he managed a smile and returned a Good Morning. As he stood next to his car waiting for his business partner, he looked aged. He looked tired, heavy-burdened. i have never seen him like this; my heart moved with compassion. As i went about my usual morning ritual of setting the place up, i heard the other boss shuffled around his office to prepare himself for the confrontation. i found myself a little corner at the back of the office hidden from them and prayed. Something had happened to my heart. i had a lens change that has transformed my heart. Suddenly, i understand a little more why i have been granted to work in this place. i saw there are multiple facets to this job, to this office, to this business.

While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who were listening to the message. And all the circumcised believers who had come with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out upon the Gentiles also. For they were hearing them speaking with tongues and exalting God. Then Peter answered, "Surely no one can refuse the water for these to be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we did, can he?" And he ordered them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to stay a few days. (Acts 10:44-48)

II
i was surprised by the change in his tone. All i did was highlight what i could see might be his original personality. In the natural, from what he writes, what i encouraged him sounded far from true. He does not sound like a gentle person, not a gentleman; he refers to himself as a smartass. He can get contentious. He prides himself on being good at debating a matter, seeing this as exercising his God-given gifts, as doing God a huge favour. He was fuming on a debate he was having online with a professor of theology on the subject of homosexuals in church. Or something like that. He was stressed because he did not want the professor to have the last say. In other words, he did not want the professor to win since he disagrees strongly on the professor's stance. He felt compelled to right what he thinks is wrong.

From a sentence he wrote, i picked up a highlighted word, and based my encouragement on that word. i called him big hearted. i described what that might mean; being big hearted is being generous, compassionate. i called that as his true identity, and encouraged him to not fall into the temptation of being small, being argumentative, being contentious. Because, i reasoned, these characteristics are not his true self. Astonishingly, he turned. i guess, all i did was to present him with another way of looking at the fight, or giving him another method to battle. In shifting or diverting his attention from the content of his fight to his true identity in Christ, he rose to that true personality. He turned. He saw there is always a higher, more excellent way to speak for Jesus. He saw who he is in His eyes. He turned and changed his language; he has been redirected now to look at grace, to look at mercy, to look at love. To be big hearted.

i have been reading Acts chapter ten and eleven for the last two days. i had not seen it before, but i suddenly saw how Peter had a lens change, or a perspective change; by the Holy Spirit, he turned aside from an old rule from past seasons and ushered in a new and epic move of God. i think i understand a little how that heart change feels like. And this change, this transformation happens ever so subtly, so innocently, not of my own doing or striving; it happens when i take that first move of following, even when i am perplexed and blind, to obey the smallest urging of the Lord. Knowing full well that i am chasing after not to be the superhero that flies in to save others, to lead or compel others to change, but taking the better and more excellent posture of wanting change, seeking transformation in myself first. i cringe to think what disciples Peter would have fathered if he had not obeyed and was adamant that Jesus came solely for the Jews, and the gift of the Holy Spirit was only meant for a few and not all.