Friday, April 27, 2007

A Culture of Light

When I was a little girl, I never read many books. I never really enjoyed reading. When I went to college, I had to take a reading lab because I struggled with reading comprehension. Looking back, I recall reading words without strain and even doing extremely well in spelling. However, I had a weakness in understanding the ideas of what I was reading.

It is amazing that now at 42 years old, one of my favorite things to do is read. I enjoy fiction, however, I spend most of my free time reading non-fiction. I look at it as a wise choice I have to make with my limited time. As you probably realize, I enjoy sharing about what I have read especially things that have deeply impacted me.

Now I am such a book nut that I am usually rotating through four to six books at once. Several weeks ago, I started reading Purifying the Prophetic ,by R. Loren Sandford. This is such a rich piece which every American Christian or non-Christian should read. It is not just about prophecy, but it boldly confronts the culture of selfishness that we live in today. It is alive and well in this country and has become a forceful enemy of our time.

The culture of self teaches that the comfortable, wealthy life and that the "must haves" should be our goal and pursuit of our happiness. It implies that we must focus on ourselves and our personal feelings to reach our inward goals. This in itself leads to a culture of complaint, grumbling, pride, and ungratefulness. These are all fruits of our obsession with self.

In Sanford's book, the author states, "We weigh and measure one another and find one another wanting because we are steeped in the demand that others serve our personal need to be pleased and happy. Having thus passed judgement, we then declare ourselves innocent or, at worst, victims.We have been marinated in a cultural soup of complaint and grumbling in which nothing is ever enough for us."

Now Jesus' passion is to create a culture of light amongst us. This is a new culture which cradles sacrifice and giving. In order for this culture to dominate this world of self focus, there would have to be a number of us who would resign this world's culture which screams, "I am owed something!"

Sanford says, "We must become practitioners of the new culture, permeated by the giving spirit of Jesus and soaked in His extreme mercy."

My question within my own heart and to my self has been, "Am I desperate enough? Am I hungry enough?" The places God is attracted to are the places where the pains of hunger growl within the desperate bellies of His people. We cry out for God to show Himself to us. We ask Him to open the eyes of our hearts that we may see Him. Is our cry out of our craving for Him alone or a craving for something supernatural that will only bring temporary sustenance?

In order to cultivate a culture of light, we must first know what it looks like. Where God is glorified is where there is culture of light. We glorify Him by walking in praise toward Him. Speaking constant praise is a sure cure for complaining and criticism. Replacing every negative thought with a positive word is the practice we should also prioritize.

Another action we can take is to study the works of God. Implementing this opens our eyes to the whole of what God is up to and helps to eliminate the mindset and habits of focusing on what we lack. People who are aiming to present a culture of light, edification is always a byproduct. We know how to edify ourselves and to encourage others with nurturing word and actions.

The heart and desire of our Lord is to build a true Christian culture, not a religious one, where servant hood, encouragement, humility,praise, and contemplation of the works of God are manifested. May we all realize the depths of our hunger and run to the throne of the Lord and allow Him to fulfill us that we may in this age be vessels where the culture of light prevails.

posted by Ange

Thursday, April 12, 2007

More on Compassion-Random Acts of Kindness

The subject of compassion cannot be dropped without mentioning some ways to actually put it into practice.. I decided to add part two to this subject of compassion. In the last blog, I shared about what it is and how it is so vital to walk in sincere, genuine compassion. How can we practically apply this in our everyday lives? It is crucial that we know what it is, yet it is just as important that we put it into action.

First of all I believe as we learn to be consistent in our vital connection with our Lord, our spiritual antennas will be up and we will just be more aware of our surroundings. Before we get out of bed in the mornings, we should ask, "How can I serve You this day Lord? Make me a blessing." As we connect with our families, our coworkers, acquaintances, and people we meet on the street, the Holy Spirit will direct us and give us creative ways to demonstrate kindness.

Many times I have selfishly prayed for God to give me favor when going to park in a parking garage or when I am going to stand in a check out line in a store. I did this very regularly in my ninth pregnancy as I felt like a "weeble wooble" anytime I had to walk or stand for too long.

Maybe we need to look for opportunities to be vessels for God's favor to flow out of us onto others. I am going to list some ideas the Golls listed in their book along with some of my ideas for practical ways of showing random acts of kindness. You will even come up with some of your own creative ideas. I would love to hear some of the things you do if you comment back on my blog. Let us get the compassion rivers flowing and change the world! AMEN?

Send one card a week to encourage a friend or even someone you do not see very often or know very well.

Surrender your place in line to someone who seems to be in a hurry, whether in a supermarket, a bank, or elsewhere.

Give an unusually good tip to a server in a restaurant and leave them a note telling them God cares.

Look people in the eye, smile, and say thank you wherever you go. This world can be so hostile.

Take time to be a good listener to someone who needs to share his or her circumstances with you. Look them in the eye as they share. Most hurting people just want to be listened to.

Ask questions when talking to people. It shows you are truly interested in them.

When someone shares something about their life with you, ask them immediately if you can pray with them. Invite the Holy Spirit to come so that God's glory will be revealed.

Look for at least one item in your home each week or each month that you could give away.

Look for a child to encourage. Get down on your knees on their level and tell them something encouraging such as ,"God has such big plans for you! You are special!"

Every time we deposit one little act of kindness it brings light to dark places. It makes a much bigger impact than we can see with our natural eye. So let's get on it and just do it!


I just finished reading a wonderful and inspiring book titled, Compassion, by James and Michal Goll. Compassion is something really lacking in our world today. What is genuine compassion?
Many times we see others doing really nice things for people or we tend to do kind things for someone in need. However, we lack the deep wells of compassion which mark our actions with eternal purity. We leave with a temporary satisfaction that we have done our good work for the day. We think well of ourselves in being the good Christians we should be. We have done our duty.

So, what is compassion? Take a look at Jesus. Jesus was a man who wept. He felt the pain of suffering souls. He probably felt the pain even deeper than they did themselves. Compassion is the deep awareness of the suffering of another coupled with a passionate longing to relieve it. Do we show kindness out of a drab sense of duty, or do we truly yearn to be vessels in which Christ can minister a release of His compassion through us?

This is truly convicting for me. Many times we just pray,"God, give me more compassion for hurting people." Here is His answer. "Spend time time with Me , for I am lowly and meek. For it is in eating My words, digesting my truth, and basking in My presence where true compassion is cultivated." James and Michal Goll said that many times people will ask them to pray for them to have more compassion as if it is something to be imparted. This is far from the truth. Compassion is a well formed within the innermost being only by joining hearts with the Source of compassion (my definition). This only comes through intimacy with Christ.

We need a revival of genuine kindness in this nation. We are often too busy, too stressed and too worried to stop and take note of the sorrowful conditions of others. May we be burdened to go to the heart of God and allow His vessels of eternal compassion be joined to our own heart's vessels that the wells of kindness within us may be deepened.


Teach us about Your presence. Give us the grace to stir ourselves in order to take hold of You.
As we reach for You in our secret place, may we learn of You and what it means to feel true compassion for the many hurting people in this world. Open our eyes to see them as your precious treasures. Tender our hearts as we soak in you company. Open our hearts that we may pour out waters of living compassion to those You place before us each day. Amen.

By Ange