Tag Archives: love

Join the Walk of Faith

This week, I was on travel to make a presentation at a regional training conference.  The conference was in a bustling metropolitan area on a coastline with a mountain range to the east.  My morning view from the hotel was beautiful as it overlooked the sea.  However, my travel to the government facility that hosted the training was typical of an inner city commute, mired by heavy traffic.  Unfortunately, mass transportation was dangerous and insufficient and HOV lanes do not exist.  Crosswalks were not plentiful, which caused work-bound pedestrians to cross lanes of traffic at unsafe points.  Other onlookers seemed somber and appeared to stand still as if they had no place to go and no specific time to be there.  It turns out, they didn’t – no job, no home, no money, and little hope.

The pollution trapped between the eastward sea breeze and the gorgeous mushroom spectrum mountains created an early haze that took six hours of solar pressure to release.  The slow ride gave me plenty of time to see, even through the thick and opaque air, the appearance and expression of financial and spiritual poverty.  Matthew 26:11 tells us: “You will always have poor people with you, but you won’t always have me.” (GNT)

Upon my arrival at the training facility, there were long lines of people seeking applications, interviews, and appointments to gain relief from their plight.  Some will receive relief and an opportunity for a better life through escape.  Others will not.

I waded my way through the people and entered a space that had a familiar feel; one with fresh, well circulated, floral fragranced air that was absent the gazes and scents of indigence.  The circumstance created a sterile environment with a sense that all was good in the world.  Meanwhile, I was separated from hungry broken souls only by a double reinforced steel door and 100 feet.

Thankfully, God is the bridge of peace between the sturdy and the splintered.  The faux purity as well as the perceived sepsis can only gain true life through His unconditional love.  Uniquely, His love multiplies as it is divided.  To keep it, those who have it, must share it.  He sent His son as proof of His love, an act greater than any earthly father would contribute or any human son would sacrifice.  John 3:16-18 tells us “This is how much God loved the world:  He gave his son, his one and only son.  And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life.  God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was.  He came to help, to put the world right again.  Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under a death sentence without knowing it.  And why?  Because of that person’s failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to him.” (MSG)  In This Man, Jeremy Camp sings: And we just don’t know the blood and water flowed and in it all He shows just how much he cares; and the veil was torn so we could have this open door and all these things have finally been complete.  Would you take the place of this man?  Would you take the nails from his hand?

So what is our part?  I know that handing out greenbacks to every person in tattered clothing may not be the answer.  Taking every beggar into our homes may not be the long-term solution.  Moving to the slums of India may not be what we have in mind.  But there is so much we can do.  We can: smile and acknowledge the presence of as many human beings as possible; engage others in conversation while withholding judgment about how or why they got to where they are; educate ourselves that there is no hierarchy in humanity; pray, pray, and pray specifically; donate to a food pantry, or take a mission trip to volunteer our trade craft.  There are many means we have to let Jesus’ light shine through our eyes, mouths, and hands.  Jeremy Camp in Healing Hand of God tells us: I have seen the healing hand of God, reaching out and mending broken hearts.  Taste and feel the fullness of His peace, and hold on to what’s being held out – The healing hand of God. 

I reversed my ride amidst the neon signs of destitution and despair (homeless families sleeping on the street, badges of prostitution and drug use, hungry youth rumbling through trash, boarded up businesses, and constantino wired homes).  Yet I know there is hope.  I see it in the soup kitchens in churches, in the changed lives of the neighbors who are now sharing among each other the little they have, with the medical personnel who give some of their time to provide free treatment, and among those who take the time to speak to the faces of deprivation around them.  All of these are acts of love and give hope to us all.

The return car ride brought about this cascade of thoughts:

  1. God is love and love brings hope
  2. Hope breeds joy and Joy brings smiles
  3. Smiles show happiness and happiness encourages
  4. Encouragement shines lights and lights illuminate paths
  5. Paths diverge but narrow ones lead to Him
  6. He is God, the great I Am

How can we join the walk of faith of another?  By spreading the love of God.  We can’t do it if we don’t engage.  However, if we listen, ask, encourage and inspire, we can spread spiritual wealth.  When was the last time you held a conversation with the face of spiritual distress or financial hardship?  It has not been recent enough for me.  Please, join me on the walk by starting today.  What you say can make a positive difference.  Hawk Nelson tells us in Words:

Let my words be life.  Let my words be truth.  I don’t wanna say a word unless it points the world back to you.  I wanna speak your love, not just another noise.  Oh, I wanna be your light.  I wanna be your voice.  Let the words I say be the sound of your grace…

Social Lineage

Matthew 1:1-17 begins with the Genealogy of Jesus.  It includes Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; moves on to Rahab, Boaz, and Ruth; David, Solomon, and Hezekiah; and then to Mary, Joseph and Jesus.  The first gospel in the New Testament spends the first 17 verses discussing lineage.  Seemingly then, it must be important to know how we are connected by blood to those who came before us.  Likewise, since we are all adopted into Christ’s family, we have many brothers and sisters to whom we have no blood affiliation, but to whom we are strongly related and connected in the faith.  John 1:11-13 tells us:

11 He came to the world that was his own. And his own people did not accept him. 12 But some people did accept him. They believed in him, and he gave them the right to become children of God. 13 They became God’s children, but not in the way babies are usually born. It was not because of any human desire or plan. They were born from God himself”.  (ERV)

As United reminds us in their song Oceans:


You call me out upon the waters; the great unknown where feet may fail

And there I find You in the mystery; In oceans deep, my faith will stand

Your grace abounds in deepest waters.  Your sovereign hand will be my guide.

Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me, You’ve never failed and You won’t start now

So frequently, as we engage in the struggles of living out our purpose, we question if what we are doing has value or is beneficial to anyone.  So often, when we are being obedient and are doing what God has asked us, we are simply executing tasks and cannot see the groundwork we are laying in His great plan.  We are each an important yet micro piece in an over-arching mosaic, developed and put together in His time.  Jeremiah 29:11-13 also tells us:

“I alone know the plans I have for you, plans to bring you prosperity and not disaster, plans to bring about the future you hope for. Then you will call to me. You will come and pray to me, and I will answer you. You will seek me, and you will find me because you will seek me with all your heart.”  (GNT)

In this scripture, God is telling us a few things.  Particularly, there is a plan, that He designed, specifically for each of us, that is for our individual and collective good, greater than what we dream of.  He is always there and available to us.  Our job is to come to the foot of the cross with everything.

One of my role models, Dovey Roundtree, is an African-American civil rights activist, lawyer, ordained minister, teacher and author.  A graduate of Spelman undergrad and Howard law, Ms. Roundtree attained a critical victory before the Interstate Commerce Commission in the first bus desegregation case to be brought before the Commission, and laid the groundwork for successes in several civil rights cases including Brown vs. Board of Education.  A protégé of black activist and educator Mary McLeod Bethune, Ms. Roundtree was selected by Mrs. Bethune for the first class of African-American women to be trained as officers in the newly created Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps during World War II.  She later became one of the first women to receive full ministerial status in the African Methodist Episcopal Church.  She went on to break the color bar for minority women in the Washington legal community with her controversial admission to the all-white Women’s Bar of the District of Columbia.  She continued as a trailblazer in dozens of other endeavors, all the while embodying humility, a spiritual walk and a sense of community.  Her public service includes arguing landmark cases before the Supreme Court and tutoring after teaching Sunday school.  She remained connected to common people, grounded by her faith and determined to live out her purpose He outlined for her.  Her walk was not easy, just made possible by her faithful God.

Oceans lyrics continue with:

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger in the presence of my Savior

Fast forward fifty years, and battles of firsts are still being fought on the front lines.  The struggles remain and are real.  However, faith and obedience to Him are the critical elements that paved the roads behind us and light the paths before us.  For example, but for Ms. Roundtree’s service in the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corp, did the military fully integrate and did law enforcement follow suit – my career path.  But for her legal work, did I receive compulsory, secondary and college education in integrated state of the art facilities.  Her work in the community and the pulpit influenced legislation, regulations, and policies that allow me to receive equal pay for my work, buy property where I want to live, and freely worship at my church without fear of racial or sex discrimination.  Whatever I am called to do on any given day, I too have an obligation to follow through faithfully and with excellence.

As I reflect upon my interconnectedness to those around me, my thoughts are this:

  1. All of us believers share the same social and spiritual lineage
  2. Each day, He calls us into service of some sort
  3. Service is a privilege
  4. Each thing we do in His name contributes to a paving stone laid for those who follow us
  5. Every prayer we pray and selfless move we make shines a light for others
  6. Rejoice and be glad, even for the hurts and difficulties from past experiences.  They, like the triumphs, served a purpose in His plan.

Romans 8:14-17 gives us a great reminder of our social lineage and how connected we are with:

14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.  15 So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves.  Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children.  Now we call him, “Abba, Father.” 16 For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children. 17 And since we are his children, we are his heirs.  In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering.”  (NLT)