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!

I Feel Old for the First Time

age is only a number if your mind agrees…

I seem to be having senior moments lately. The reference is in no way an insult toward those who are in the age bracket of 64 and up. I’m only saying that I am experiencing mental fatigue coupled with body aches, loss of focus, and the inability to remember things. I looked up some of the causes for the term “brain fog,” and know I am dealing with at least three of the symptoms I’ve seen listed.

My pride is taking a beating because I seem to be failing in areas I always felt I was pretty steady. What I realize more than anything is that taking care of my self requires a total body, mind, and soul approach. One area cannot be left unattended without it affecting the other areas. In a nutshell, I feel old and tired; yet, I felt the total opposite coming into 2020.

I won’t blame Covid-19 or stay home orders. Solitary confinement is right up my alley. No, what I failed to do was put alternates in place to meet my basic hierarchy of needs. The need for wide-open freedom wasn’t available to me, yet, it’s a necessity for my mental stability. It’s getting out into the open, letting the wind blow through my hair while zooming down the highway going no place in particular. Or, deciding at the last minute to drop into a movie theater to catch a movie and enjoy a tub of theater buttered popcorn with jalapenos.

I took walks around my neighborhood a few times. I live in a friendly area where people wave at you as they drive by. That happens to be one of the things I love about my neighborhood. Unfortunately, with bad knees, the wrong kind of walking shoes, and heat, walking wasn’t as inviting as it could have been.

I would have loved to write more, but I draw inspiration from a combination of things I see, hear, and experience. Although I must confess, I have written several melancholy-themed short song lyrics based on beats listened to on the Voisey app. I’ve sung so many that my son says I’m addicted and need to shut it down. He cracks me up!

My whole point is we are a trinity in the same way God is (Father, Son, Holy Spirit). We have to nourish, hydrate, and exercise our body, mind, and soul, as well as detox the toxic stuff (people, things, habits) we have taken on. Toxins cause damage to the body and negatively impacts our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being. And who in their right mind doesn’t want to be the best they can be?

In essence, I’m aging, but I want to do so in a much better state than I am at the moment. I want to stay young at heart, young in mind, and as youthful in the body as possible. It requires some adjustments and fine-tuning, but anything is possible when you set our mind to do it. And as an aged woman, there are things I’m supposed to teach that can’t be taught in word alone but must be demonstrated. So, I’ve got work to do to stave off this feeling of aging I feel taking place in my body, mind, and soul!

Titus 2:3-5 (KJV)

3 The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; 4 That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.

Our Temples

Core strengthening exercise for the soul

DISCLAIMER:  IF YOU HAVE NOT BELIEVED IN THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST, ASKED HIM INTO YOUR HEART, AND PUT YOUR TRUST IN HIM … THIS MESSAGE IS NOT FOR YOU!

Our temples are so much more than just flesh. As NT Believers we are now the “Temple of God” in the same way that the Nation of Israel had a “Temple” where they went to be in the presence of God and to worship God.

Accordingly, defiling the temple holds greater meaning when we look at how the Anti-Christ will be in opposition to EVERYTHING GODLY & CHRIST-LIKE by seating himself in the temple in Jerusalem and beckoning people to come worship him.

The Anti-Christ’s actions are in direct relation to Lucifer’s desire and push to be “like the Most High” [Isaiah 14:13-14]. This bold move was then, and remains now, an abomination in God’s eyes and bears bringing to remembrance. Anytime, and in any way, we elevate ourselves or put anyone or anything in a position in our lives as an object of worship or to glorify it, we have set up an abomination in God’s eyes.

For NT Believers, our body indwells the Holy Spirit and we are now the Temple of God. We have to ask ourselves in what ways 1) do we, 2) have we, 3) are we polluting God’s temple (taking into ourselves: body, mind, spirit); and, 4) what or 5) who have we given more superiority in our life over God?

God’s Temple is the place where He gets all the praise and glory due His Name!

1 Corinthians 3:16-17, 6:19-20; 2 Corinthians 6:16; Ephesians 2:19-22

It’s a Lie If It’s Not My Present Truth!

Change is possible in those who have believed He is able…

Change is possible in those who believe…

We were young and foolish once.  We did things we shouldn’t have; involved ourselves with some we shouldn’t have; adopted some ways that we shouldn’t have.  We picked up some bad habits we had to fight to get rid of; we ventured into situations that were harmful or left scars.  At 18 years of age (if not before), we ran into the world with arms wide open, ready to explore and experience life on our terms.  Some of us believed that our parents had been trying to hold us back from enjoying life.

But, after the dust had settled; after the tears and fears had been wiped away (or, in some cases buried), we realized a truth:  our parents knew what we didn’t.  They had experienced first hand or were in close proximity to the dangers of the world designed to destroy our hearts, our minds, and our soul.  Because they were good parents, they wanted to shield us from the harsh realities that awaited us outside of their parental authority.

Truth is:  we messed up; we choose our own way, being unable and sometimes completely unwilling to fully comprehend that every choice comes with a consequential effect:

Proverbs 29:23 (KJV)

A man’s pride shall bring him low: but honour shall uphold the humble in spirit.

HOWEVER, regardless of those past mistakes and errors, those who have been delivered from seeking their own way and have chosen by profession of mouth and belief in heart to give the reigns of our lives to the One able to lead us into all righteousness – It’s a lie if you still see us and blame us for who we used to be.  We are no longer that person of our past!  Whether you can accept it or not, we were changed from the inside out – We Are New Creatures, indeed! 

It’s also true that we still make mistakes, but, if God, the creator of all things in heaven and in the earth, can forgive us, then I beg to differ that you can judge us or hold us to who we might have been in our past.  And, should you choose to do so, I gently and lovingly remind you of this:

2 Corinthians 13:1-6 (KJV)

13 This is the third time I am coming to you. In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established. 2 I told you before, and foretell you, as if I were present, the second time; and being absent now I write to them which heretofore have sinned, and to all other, that, if I come again, I will not spare: 3 Since ye seek a proof of Christ speaking in me, which to you-ward is not weak, but is mighty in you. 4 For though he was crucified through weakness, yet he liveth by the power of God. For we also are weak in him, but we shall live with him by the power of God toward you. 5 Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates? 6 But I trust that ye shall know that we are not reprobates.

 

Copyright © Speak True Life, Wanda J. Murry, February 12, 2019

[Eternal security is found “in Christ” and there is a plan already in place to guide you to that road:  Romans 3:23, 6:23, 5:12, 10:9; 1 John 1:9]