Monday, January 11, 2010

What's the "Difference"?

Have you ever walked down a crowded busy street and wondered about the people that are passing you by? Do you look into their eyes and wonder if they know God... really know Him? Not just "know about Him", but really KNOW Him? How can we tell who really Knows Jesus? How are Christians different than everyone else? or for that matter, do they even seem to be different than everyone else? What is the evidence that we KNOW Jesus?

I hope that when people get to know me that they see something "different" in me. One of my prayers since I was just a young girl was, "God, please let people see Jesus in me. Let them see that I am a Christian."

You know by now that I tell it like it is. So I have to admit there have been long stretches of time that probably no one would have known I was a Christian, unless I would have had a big sign around my neck stating that I was. Not a "Bad" person, just not a very "Loving" one.
Version: NAS

1John 3:14-24

14. We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love abides in death. 15. Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer; and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. 16. We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. 17. But whoever has the world's goods, and beholds his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him? 18. Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth. 19. We shall know by this that we are of the truth, and shall assure our heart before Him, 20. in whatever our heart condemns us; for God is greater than our heart, and knows all things. 21. Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; 22. and whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do the things that are pleasing in His sight. 23. And this is His commandment, that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as He commanded us. 24. And the one who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. And we know by this that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us.

This is the verse that jumped out at me when reading this passage. Here it is in the New International Version:

#18 Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue, but with actions and in truth.
I need to write this in big red letters so I can see it and remember it. It's much easier to say "Oh, I just love you so much", or to say "Jesus loves you" than it is to say it, and then back it up with actions. Then, really putting ourselves out for our "brother". I'm not as good at that. I'm sort of a loner as we have all discussed, and I value my time.

There was a point in time when God started speaking to me about all the things in my life that He wanted me to surrender to Him. It was hard. I wasn't a very loving person. I knew that deep in my heart that I really didn't even love God like I should. He started talking to me about helping others and I knew that it just wasn't in me to do that. I needed Him to put that love for others in my heart, supernaturally, through His Holy Spirit. So I had to be honest and tell Him that I needed it. "Please put that love for you God, and for my brothers and sisters in my heart."

I went through a season about ten years ago (yes, alot happened to me ten years ago) when God was really proving "points" to me. He had me out carting people to and from church, giving money, buying clothes for them, giving things away, cooking dinner for people I didn't know, hospital runs and doctor appointments, mopping church floors, serving food, busing tables, going in the middle of the night to "rescue" someone; you get the picture? REALLY yanking me out of my comfort zone!

I cannot even remember all the people and places He shoved me into to prove to myself, that I can be a "loving" person...yes, even me. That was part of my "transformation" from a selfish, unloving woman into someone, well not so selfish and maybe even "loving". I wasn't an ogre or anything, just an average person, who "didn't have time" for others.

Love is "spoken" and "proven" in the commodity we hold dear. Is it money, time, affection, giving of yourself, material things, etc? Whatever we hold close to us, God will sometimes ask us to release to Him, so that He can give to others: you know, spread it around.

So I hope that now, after all these years that I look and act a little different. That once people get to know me, I look less like "me" and more like "Him".

with great love,


  1. Good Morning Debra. This message is still ringing in my ears. It is so easy for me to feel love for others but taking action and showing it to strangers and even love ones is something else. I've spent alot (well for me, anyway) of time with God in prayer this weekend. If nothing else just talking to him while I went about the day. This message really spoke to me.

    Normally I'm never up this early. Our schedule is very late night for all 3 of us. So this morning I had quite time to find and read your post.

    I can't imagine you ever looking like anything to anyone other than pure love. I see God in you ever day through this blog and just your tenderness to others and you sheer desire to help. God bless you. Thank you for blessing me by sharing another profound message.

    Hugs and love, Tracy :)

  2. Debra-
    A few comments... first of all, I realized that in order to really 'study' this study, I need to do it as early in my day as I can.

    Secondly, I am the person you described- who because of just retiring last year (my justification)- has guarded her time, believing that that was real living.

    I didn't want any strings attached to me or my schedule. After 32 years of living life by school bells, wasn't I entitled?

    Last night as I was picking up around the house, after having stayed in all day (and enjoying it), the thought came to me- 'is this enough for my life?'

    I have been through periods of over-doing it in my life- even at church.

    I actually had to have a color coded calendar- how obnoxious is that?

    I have served in leadership capacities at church, and may I say, at times ,I was disappointed.

    I have let my commitment to church attendance wane because of my selfishness with my time and that lingering disappointment.

    Did I need this time off- especially with my husband's 8 month health problems? Probably-

    Should I stay in a perpetual 'using my time only for myself and my family mode'?

    Probably not-

    Just using it for committee work isn't the answer, either, I don't think.That craziness of signing up for more.

    So,this morning as this lesson really speaks to me, I want to say that I will be looking and listening.

    Do I need the organization of a committee or a charity or a church or the news to guide my actions as a Christian woman?

    No. What if- and you know there is- a need out there that is just calling for me?


  3. This Debra, is one of my goals for this new decade. I want not only my words, but the whole me, to be an open testimony to Him. Saying it and doing it are two different things. I hope that this year, I will be strong enough to actually put wings on my good intentions and follow through...not just for the moment...but all the way through. Not doing so would be withholding all that is His...including the glory. I'm gulty of looking at others who "say" one thing, but "do" another and judging (I'm working on that one) and I don't want to look in a mirror and see that in me.
    P.S. I just wanted to add that commenting for me is a stuggle. I feel like I am a toddler when I read all the other comments. I wish there was a way for me to just be able to sit quietly in a corner and listen to you and some of the others talk. That to me is such a blessing. Thank you for all you do.

  4. Great post today Debra - I would like to comment about "surrender". You mentioned that a few years ago you were prompted to surrender to the Lord some things you were holding on to. Me too - it happened this past October. I was in a snit about some things and realized the basis of all of it was fear. I was afraid of financial problems, decisions my children were making, our future and things that had not turned out as we hoped. After reading a book by Rick Warren I realized that I was trying to manage my life and had not trusted all to the Lord. Surprizingly it took me a few days of mental battling to sit down with the Lord and tell me my fears of letting go. I asked Him to help me do it and admitted He was much more capable of managing my life than I was. Viola' - after praying about each and every thing I needed to surrender - I felt relief. It is not longer my problem. I remind myself everyday that I gave Him the circumstance and I just need to cooperate with what He is trying to accomplish in me and thru me. Now it is easier to be kind, helpful, patient, giving, loving, etc. because the results are for Him to deal with. October 19th was my day of Surrender. I wrote it down, made a list and keep it in my Bible as a reminder when I feel that stirring welling up inside.

    God is so good, He knows our frame, He knows we need Him and need His Spirit to do the transformation in us. I praise Him for loving me enough to let me walk with Him while He does His work in me. And Lord knows He isn't finished!

    Love and Blessings to all of the sweet ladies who are on this same journey - seeking to be more like Him. And to you dear Debra - His Ambassador to us.

    Rebecca S.

  5. Good morning gals. I want to add a little addendum to my post about the season we are in and what God asks of us during that "season". Last week when we talked about our being "stewards" of our gifting Laura made mention of a situation akin to burnout. I have been there too. So please don't feel like I'm on the bandwagon of "doing" till you fall over. Been there done that! This was just a season I went through that God really pushed me out there. He proved His point with me. He doesn't expect us to be everywhere and do everything. And "committee" work can sometimes be the hardest of all. It can all be overwhelming. I was coming at this as being available to do what God asks in a situation without thinking about myself.
    I know we all have different personalities and giftings, so to the person that is at church 24/7 God may be speaking to them about rest, and quiet. Which is what I am in now. Totally different places because of God's season and timing. So please don't think I'm advocating that we all go out there and try to do it all ourselves. That is a fallacy that so many of us women get into. "Supermommy" becomes the "church lady". No condemnation here folks!
    God knows the best use of our time. I need to let Him direct me on how to use it wisely.

  6. Thank you for joining to follow Arise 2 Write.
    I joined to follow you and look forward to getting to know you.
    Blessings, andrea

  7. A Christian's love walk is where the rubber really meets the road. The Lord had me to read 1 Corinth 13 (AMP version) every day for weeks. Love pays no attention to a suffered wrong. OUCH! Love is not touchy or resentful. Who me? What a wake-up call for me that little homework assignment was. If every one of us could just get up every day and walk the love walk. And do it again, and again and again, the world would see Jesus in us. And after all that is the point, isn't it? For the world to see Jesus in us.
    Thank you, Debra

  8. Wow! Does this speak right too me... I think we all need a little yanking out of our comfort zones now and then. I know I do...
    Take care,

  9. Hi Debra
    This post is what it is all about...What are we put on this earth to do as Christians? We could make lists and discuss it for days but there is only one thing...that one thing (as on City Slickers) is to Glorify the Father, that's it. To put that first all things follow. Now to do that over the flesh means to die to ourselves and that my dear friend is what we are all talking about and we all have different things in our lives at different times that the Lord calls us to. I think these days especially TIME is a big issue. Just today I was feeling overwhelmed with everything I should be doing and not getting done... I think I need to stop and just give it away!
    I just want to tell you a short thing the Lord was speaking to me about the other morning driving to work. I had been thinking about death and if I had my last day-how would I spend it. Now I know we all have thought about this and this is not a new thought but it became so real to me. So I decided to try for the day to think in those terms. This would be my last day on earth how would I day was changed - at the shop I was more relaxed and gave things away that I wouldn't have - I am not trying to say how generous I was but I found myself much more tolerent and kinder. It gave me a reference point. Really a much different perspective - on dying to self.

  10. Good Morning Dear Debra!'s really me. Today is my First day back to the land of blog. And even though it's early on Tuesday...This post spoke to me.
    I am still not "up to snuff" but I am trying. Thank you for being there for me. I am finding my way around a bit after a terrible crash and burn. And you were where I wanted to start.
    Have a blessed day...donna


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