My Ever-Expanding Family

a bigger picture with a better view

Someone recently said of me, “if Wanda tells you that someone is her brother or sister, that may not necessarily be true. Wanda calls everybody her brother and sister.” I laugh at my friend. Guilty as charged!

I grew up with one sister, Gwen, in Kansas City, Kansas. We are our mother’s only children. At 11 years old, I had the great pleasure of meeting two sisters and a brother: Talone, Pudgy, and Tasha. They are my father’s children. I am hoping above all hope to meet my father’s firstborn, Sheila. Sidenote: Sheila, if you’re out there, I sure would love to meet you!

I am the oldest of all of my siblings except for Sheila. Biologically, I have five blood-related siblings. And if I may give a brief shout-out, they all beautiful and exceptional in their own unique ways. Love you guys!

However, I can’t count the actual number of brothers and sisters I have on this earth. Their numbers exceed my imagination; plus, I don’t know them all and, I’d probably be overwhelmed if I did. Some of them I know personally, and they are located all around the world in places like Atlanta, Canada, Africa, Arizona, Kansas, etc., etc., etc. There are many I will never meet in person in my lifetime on earth. I do know this, though… my brothers and sisters are innumerable.

The truth is that my father has a lot of children, and he expands his family daily. This ever-expanding family is global, stemming from every ethnicity, across the globe. My father is an international lover… of souls. I’m also an international lover, as I attempt to emulate my father as he’s instructed me to:

John 17:22

  • And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:

1 Corinthians 10:17

  • For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread.

1 Corinthians 12:12

  • For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.

Romans 12:5

  • So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.

Galatians 3:26

  • For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.

Galatians 3:28

  • There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.

1 John 5:7

  • For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.

I love my ever-expanding family. If you have placed your trust, hope, and life in Jesus Christ, I hope you do too. It’s both necessary and profitable to the kingdom of God that Christians see themselves as being part of a global, spiritual family. Jesus made it clear the value he has for his spiritual family:

Matthew 12:48-50

  • 48 But he answered and said unto him that told him, Who is my mother? and who are my brethren?
  • 49 And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren!
  • 50 For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.

This doesn’t mean I don’t love and cherish my biological family. I’m to love them no different than I love my spiritual brothers and sisters. God even commanded that we love our enemies. So loving people in general is what a Jesus follower should be known for. 

1 John 4:20-21

  • 20 If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?
  • 21 And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.

Without wrapping our heart and head around this spiritual mandate, we limit ourselves to earth-bound thinking and pursuits that add no heavenly benefit to the kingdom of God. It may seem extreme but at the end of the day we are called to have the same mind as Christ, our Savior:

Philippians 2:5

Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:

Spoiler Alert: dear brother and sister in Christ, this earth is not our home! So love the ever-expanding family of God. And while you are at it, do what you can to add to it!

Daughters and $ense – T.Gilbert

Mr. Gilbert is a Kansas City native

Let me begin

With this Daughter$ relationship

For one, there$ no type of passion to begin with

Not that it matters, but truly at time$

It doesn’t make sense

It’s only a make believe

Is what the experts will tell you

I’ve never had a daughter

But If I did

I would go out of my way

To be there when she swings off the tree

And from there

And perhaps she would start

Her very first sentence

I would be afraid to ask,

“How was your day?”

Knowing she’s been reading my mind

For almost the whole entire day

As she would never let go

Of the handlebars

As she’s watching me

As I’m building

This new looking fence

Next on my list

I’m start thinking about

Putting up drywall

But in the meantime

I’m making the most

With what I have

With Daughter and $ense!

Worth the Wait

like fine wine, the best takes time

My pastor’s sermon on Sunday, December 8, 2019, was powerful. I wasn’t able to hear it in person since it was my Sunday to teach at the jail. The subject was “Loving One Another.” He expounded on Matthew 22:36-40 and John 13:34-35 for starters. In my notes I wrote down a statement that resonated with me:  love embodies all the commands of God because it is the summation of His commandments.

The bottom line is those who believe in Jesus Christ are called to demonstrate a higher standard of love towards one another. I highly recommend you listen to it for yourself and I’ve included the link in the subject title in the previous paragraph. I encourage you to jot down a few notes to gauge your spiritual maturity in this area. I’m convinced you will find the need for adjustments like I did.

man tattooed praying
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After listening to the message, I couldn’t help thinking about how it would benefit anyone struggling in a relationship with others. Many people want a relationship with others. My sons and daughters are in their prime, and many of them are considering marriage. Some are struggling in their current marriage or relationship. Too many of them lean on their perspective of relationships instead of praying from God’s perspective.

Unfortunately, the problem is too many think rushing into someone’s arms or bed is a springboard for the love they seek. Yes, genuine love doesn’t automatically materialize out of brokenness. Fast-tracked relationships don’t create the type of permanence desired. They are rush jobs forged by unplanned events or circumstances such as pregnancy or loneliness. To attempt to form loving relationships out of these couplings seldom work out well, though there are exceptions.

broken heart love sad
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There has to be a way to convey the work required to mend broken vessels. A broken vessel can’t repair a broken vessel. God works hand in hand with his Word to rebuild the brokenness in man. Underneath all of the layers of emotional trauma or baggage, people desire to be known. In spite of their shortcomings and flaws, people want acceptance wrapped in love, respect, protection, and guidance. My sons want wives to reverence them. Likewise, my daughters want husbands who know how to love them as Christ does. It starts with God, the master who makes beauty from ashes, who gives the oil of joy for mourning and a garment of praise in exchange for the spirit of heaviness.

The truth is Christ-founded relationships require 100% commitment to work from both parties on both sides. Love isn’t for the lazy of heart and spirit. Without heartfelt dedication to the relationship, it becomes a sinking ship that will go under at some point. The person in the relationship who understands this best is normally the one who ends up doing most of the work. My prayer is that the one whose stronger in faith learn to pray for their mate until they grow in their relationship with God.

For my single children, my prayer is they learn to be content in their singleness for a time. The practice of enjoying being single and alone constitutes perfect timing to allow God to work through the damage without distractions. When Christ is the primary focus in our lives, trust in God grows as the creator of marriage weaves an integral part of the creation story found in the book of Genesis within us. We then come to have faith in his capability to bring the right type of love into our lives. Because God’s timing is the right timing, no one misses out on anything in the quiet time of being loved fully by him.

It’s worth the wait!

But Your Heart

You are a wonder to watch day after day and night after night. How I long to hold you in my arms. You are so beautiful. You are so handsome. Your daily routine, impressive. Your goals are attainable. You demonstrate consistent willpower and keep your focus on the rainbows in your view. I marvel at your strength and tenacity in these times of ever-changing roles and lifestyles.

You are a feast for the eyes. You are always well-dressed. You model thrift store purchases as one endowed with riches. Your poise is full of humble confidence. Stylish by all standards. No one would deny you have earned it. Your climb up the corporate ladder is inspiring. Turning your business into a household name noteworthy. Every promotion deserved.

We find you remarkable. We know what you sacrifice to do what you do to give what you give. No one can attest to the time you obligate to others. Many miss how you extend your hand to serve others. Watching you willingly add to your already full plate exhausts me. You lend all of your talents to those around you. Your service in ministry is well-pleasing. You are faithful and so blessed.

I have spent lots of time and words expressing the debt of my love and appreciation for you. I know at the end of the day you returned my love the best way you knew how. It makes me love you even more. I know you have given me everything you feel you possess.

Everything … but your heart!

I Want You, Jesus!

A father of the fatherless … is God in his holy habitation. (Psalm 68:5)

There are times when I want to revert back to childhood and run to the arms of my mother. That place of security, comfort, and reassurance that all will be right with the world again.

Today, I feel that way in my spirit. I just want to run into the arms of my Father. I woke up with the words from Cody Carnes – Nothing Else playing in my head.

My God, who is ever faithful, immediately began to minister to me in multiple ways.  That’s just who He is. The relationship I have with Christ eliminates my need for anything or anyone else in my greatest times of need.

I just want JESUS!

The above post is the Copyright © Speak True Life, Wanda J. Murry, May 24, 2019

Enjoy This Video.  Cody Carnes – Nothing Else (Official Lyric Video) “Nothing Else” – Available Now: https://codycarnes.lnk.to/NothingElseYD

 

 

Take My Hand

from new book “My Soul Cries… Glory, Glory, Glory” (2019). Copyright © Wanda J. Murry.  All rights reserved.

Matthew 18:19-20
19 Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. 20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.

Although it is a story of rebellion, the Tower of Babel (Genesis 11) gives an example of what can be accomplished when people stand together to work toward a common goal. Likewise, in the book of Nehemiah we find the story of the citizens of Jerusalem banding together to rebuild the wall around the city (Nehemiah 4) while warding off the naysayers and enemies that taunted them.

These stories give credence to Jesus’ statement wherein he says, “He that is not with me is against me…” (Matthew 12:30; Luke 11:23). This truth flows into every part of life, and is most likely at the heart of everything that is broken. When people are not joined together, touching and agreeing, there is division.  A small breach left unattended in a structure, with enough pressure, becomes a gaping hole in that structure that eventually crumbles into a heap of nothingness.

We see this in companies. Staffs flourish in a company where management exhibits and demonstrates care for their well-being, praises them, and shows appreciation for their contributions.  You find the opposite in a company where management has tyrants who micromanage, criticize, and show little respect for the employee or their work. These companies will usually have a high turnover rate.

affection board broken broken hearted
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We see this in marriages. When a husband thrives at demonstrating and living the biblical command to love his wife as Christ loved the church, he lives with her according to knowledge.  A wife under such authority willfully submits to his leadership authority, and you often find a couple who genuinely adore and respect each other … they have become “one.”  But let the husband be an insensitive bully or the wife an odious (hateful) woman, and you may find a drifting apart that creates a gulf impassable, fostering outside alternatives that choke out the hope of reconciliation.

white concrete structure
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We see this in churches. Where there is a stronger presence of believers who are solely focused on giving their all to the vision and work of the ministries of their church body, there will be little posturing for position or title.  This church body is grounded and fortified for the service of God with servants able to withstand the attacks of the enemies. The flip side of this is a cluttered mess of individualized, spiritual separatists vying for dominance and recognition while the work of the ministry falls into stagnation and apostasy.

What is your point,” you may ask?  It’s simple … don’t aspire to join the Tower of Babel!  Look to your left, look to your right, look in front of you and look behind you, then look within/without the body of Christ…

Take A Hand–Walk beside each other so we can hold each other up in the times when the battle and weight of our trials are too much to bear…even for the strong.
Take A Hand–She’s young and without knowledge of her virtuous treasures which have been soiled by the world; help her exchange the ashes of her life for beauty…and love.
Take A Hand–He wants to be a man but all he knows about manhood has been derived from his dysfunctional environment absent of leadership; he’s silently afraid of the dying around him, but you can introduce him to a New Life.
Take A Hand–Whether old or young, they have been striped of human dignity at a  price of civil rights, abusive nights, or rejected by sight; rebuke them not, but in gentleness and respect teach them the ways of God’s holiness and sanctification.

Let us now agree as touching on that which is most needful for the expansion of the Kingdom of God — the gathering together in His name, the sharing of the gospel message, and the edifying of each soul through the power of the Word of God.

Take My Hand.