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September 11, 2015, 7:52 PM

God's Heart

As I sit here today, looking out at the beautiful mountains and Cherokee lake, I find such peace and comfort here.  I can sit and abide with Jesus, pray, praise, read His word....this brings me such needed healing.

I often ask and pray for God to reveal His heart to me and to allow me to love others the way that He loves them.  I believe this is the BIGGEST challenge we can face as humans.  To love GOD first, but then to love others as ourself....do we grasp the severity of this commandment?

I know that when we are in realtionship with others, that we can place our own demands on our realtionships.  But what does the Father place on these relationships?  There is so much in the word...to forgive 70 x 7, to walk in love, that love endues ALL things, to submit to each other... we can go on and on.  We are called to a higher calling relationally.

Our challenge is to love with care, and TRUTH, and to allow others enough trust that they can be their authentic self. Unfortunately, even I fall short of this "loving unconditionally" challenge.

If we submit to the "Christ" in others, I believe this pleases the Lord.  However, on the flip side, if we are mean or ugly to others, who are we really mean or ugly to?  That may give us "pause" and realize that the way we relate to others touches the "HEART" of God....one way ....or another.  

Let us make sure that we start to LOOK FOR the Christ in others....I believe this will make our heavenly Father smile.

My prayer is that we learn to love people AUTHENTICALLY.




September 6, 2015, 12:00 AM

Suggested reading for Pastors and Leaders...

“Caring Enough to Confront” By: David Augsburger is a book that I think every Pastor and Leader in ministry should read.  Having a calling to help people become set free from life-controlling issues, sometimes requires us to confront these issues in peoples lives with care, so that they do not remain in their issues.  Care-fronting is the secret for reforming conflicts.  To care and be clear... is mature relating; to be for the other person and to stand for what you value without comprimising either, is part of mature, adult communication.  Care-fronting sees conflict as natural, normal, neutral and can bring positive results if done correctly. 

There are four common views (1.My way, 2.No way, 3. Thy way, 4.Our way) about conflict that are dangerous, and then there is a fifth view (5.Third way)  that can see differences in each persepctive and can be worked through in collaboration created by caring enough to confront with truthfulneess and neighbor love. 

A relationship is only as strong as it’s clear communication.  To love is to be fully heard.  I want to hear accurately enough to feel what you feel.  When I speak I want to speak honestly, trusting others with my actual feelings and viewpoints and truths.  I want conflict to call out the best in myself and others, and be able to negoitate differences with respect that will bring about heaing and allow each of us to be truly authentic.

I want to be able to own my anger, which is the emotion that accompany’s my demands on people.  Once anger is owned I can 1.Negotiate the demands that matter or 2. Cancel the demands that do not.  Integrity grows as one is open to facing the demands on others.  Wisdom grows as one is willing to cancel unfair and unrealistic demands.  Maturity comes by freeing others to live without my controlling demands.

We can care enough about others to confront and challenge them to grow.  Unchallenged people become stuck in their self-centered, self-abosorbed life.  When either giving or receiving confrontation, CARING comes FIRST!  Caring creates a safe-pleace for the confrontation to be received.  Support, empathy, trust, affirmation, understanding and love build a solid foundation for the leveling or confrontation to happen. 

Basic trust is the foundation for all subsequent learning, and is crucial to all human relationships.  Trust is the basis for all other emotions and affections. 

We must never use blame in a conflict, as it is powerless to effect change and growth.  Shame is powerless to bring a new inner direction or correction.  Effective confrontation is based on responsibility, expressed responsibly and addressed to responsibility.  Responsibility is a concern in working through conflict.  You are always accountable for whatever you choose or do not choose.  We all have a memory museum with which we use to filter or judge issues and behavior.  We need to stop blaming and start owning our own responsibility for our relationships and interactions with others.

In order to be able to experience the freedom and change we all need, we have to be willing to start over which begins by owning responsibility for what has been.  We have to be able to be vulnerable in letting the need for change get through our defenses.  Responsibility is letting hope awaken and turn our actions in a new direction toward more constructive actions.  Life is always changing, so we have to become willing to not stay STUCK and change with it, to risk letting go of the pain of the past that we’ve held on to.  The beliefs, attitudes, and sterotypes we carry with us into our next moment in life are OUR choice.  We have to let go!

We have to learn to be a peacemaker and operate with a commitment to conscientious behavior.  Conscientious wisdom is a conscience open to and committed to truth—a conscience informed by obeidence to this knowledge.  It is the courage to be a responsible person, to believe in values to see meaning in life, and the courage to act with purpose and conform to a true set of priorities that are honorable.  Peacemakers risk stepping into conflict to work peace, to heal torn relationships and heal hearts.  Peacemakers seek to bring out the strength in others and encouorage them and release them to become all they are in Christ.

Loving with honesty, caring with confronting, truthing in love – these are the keys.  Concern for mutual fulfillment, joint opportunities for services and shared meaningful work (for Jesus) is the real goal! 

There are three streams of spirituality: 1. Mono-polar (self-fulfillment) 2. Bi-Polar (knowing God) and 3. Tri-polar (Love for God and neighbor).  Love of neighbor and Love of God spirituality works for RECONCILIATION.  It sees forgiving as the last step of healing and recoginizing that change, repentance and reaching out again is genuine and a restoration of relationships has been achieved.  A spirituality that seeks a balanced practice of love of self, love of God and love of neighbor is incredibly rewarding,…it  will be demanding and take courage.  However, Jesus commanded that we walk in this type of love in Mark 12:28-31.  And if my Lord commands it, I do believe it is what I need to obey.




September 1, 2015, 2:06 PM

From the Desk of Linda - Tuesday, 9/1/15

Today, I am re-launchinig the Women of the Vine Website.  It's been an interesting journey since 2007.  God has done and shown me some really amazing and supernatural things in His Kingdom!

But I believe the one thing today that sticks in my mind, is, he has shown me that women have so much that God wants to do in and through them.  Unfortunately, the enemy wants to destroy our identity.  We, as women, face so much adversity in the professional world and in ministry.  I believe that God is raising up an army of WARRIOR WOMEN for His last end-time battle to advance the Kingdom of Light into a world filled with darkness and rage.  

We women are a special breed.  We feel deeply, and love even deeper.  Thus we set ourselves up to be vulnerable to wounds inflicted in this battle.  Sometimes, these wounds are in the house of our friends, which cut the deepest.

I hope that I can help to make an impact in helping wounded warriors get healed, empowered and equipped to be strong engough to go out again on the battlefield and fight this fight for the Lord.  I hope in some small way, to bring HELP.... in a time of trouble to hurting women in ministry.  

I pray that God will lead and guide me to walk in love, confront with care, speak encouragement and life, and to embrace my sisters in Christ with such compassion, that they will become the POWERFUL WARRIORS they were meant to be!

BLESSINGS...

Linda


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