Creating a safe place to communicate.

For the next several posts, I will write about the things I ponder as I read a book called Culture of Honor by Danny Silk. Though I write about what I have gleaned, it does not necessarily mean I have adapted concepts fully into my life, but it is my goal. 

In the first chapter, I noticed the freedom of judgment with the confrontational senior described, which allowed the individual called to the “principal office” to think about the words he would say. Asking the right questions in the right tone is one of the keys to creating a safe place to talk.

Because of the redeeming blood of Jesus, we are called righteous. That isn’t because we have done things right; it is only because of Jesus.

When we get that into our mindset, we can converse more easily, knowing that we are loved, valued, and accepted no matter who is talking with us.

Honestly, how often do we talk to one another and think about the “right” thing to say to be valued or accepted?

Or, what about those moments of silence that make the conversation uncomfortable? I have often spoken for the person in those silent moments rather than giving them the respect to find the words to respond. When I did this, it interrupted the other person’s thought process. That kind of behavior only builds walls. Trust me, I know.

We need time to have conversations, especially those types of ‘talks’ when we need to clear the air. Sadly, most people are so busy that even texting a few lines is rushed.

We need to learn to speak in the right tone, and what about facial expressions? Oh, my goodness, I am horrible about that. I am going to be 59 years old, and just now thinking about my facial expressions and tone.

But even these things in my mind will make my conversation unnatural.

I asked the Lord what I needed to do to create a safe place for conversations. This is what I had gotten.

  • Stop being afraid to talk. Hebrews 13:6 (ESV) The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?  
  • Ask questions to understand. James 4:1-3 (ESV) What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. 
  • Quit asking with your assumed answer in your head. Proverbs 18:2 (ESV) A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion.  
  • Even if you disagree you can have respect; everyone will be accountable to me (GOD) they are not accountable to you.

This last one reminds me of an attitude I had with another person. I was not showing respect because I was judging their behavior. At that moment, I asked the Lord, how can you keep up with this kind of outburst? The Lord said: Georgia, you are looking at this one moment in this person’s journey, and I can see the full journey and I am in it.

Wow, if God was in the moment, I must be standing outside the scenario with the accuser. After that, I didn’t have much to say except to ask for forgiveness for partnering with the accuser.

I understand that talking in our society is challenging anymore. But then again, isn’t that the plan of the enemy? To kill, steal, and destroy (Jn 10:10) everything, especially relationships.

My objective is to remember the things I read and wrote when in conversations, creating a safe place with the goal of understanding.   

The time between the burial and the empty tomb.

I sit here and imagine what it was like for the disciples when Jesus died. His body lay lifeless as they took his body off the cross. Their leader, the teacher, was dead. I can only assume they experienced significant loss, heartache, uncertainty, fear, and questions about what’s next. 

The disciples didn’t understand Jesus as the Messiah as we know Him. They thought that Jesus was going to be the leader to overthrow the oppression that was on the people. They spent three years following him. That’s over twenty-six thousand hours. And now their leader was gone.

Did they understand what happened the time between the grave and the empty tomb? Do we understand? I am ashamed to say that I briefly thought of it until today. Yes, we know that Jesus died for us, but do we really understand this? HE died. I know Him as part of the Trinity, so to get my head around the fact that he died (he was man) takes some deliberate contemplating.  

Hebrews 2:17,18

For this reason he had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God and that he might make atonement for the sings of the people. Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.

If we never understand that Jesus died, we will never know how we can live. There is so much ‘back story’ to cover. But to stay on the subject of what happened from the burial to the resurrection, we will not be covering it today.

Have you ever thought about Jesus praying in the Garden of Gethsemane? I admit there are times when I read scripture with the mindset that Jesus was God. But if I do this, I am not getting the understanding that I need to fully appreciate what Jesus did for me and you.

HE GAVE HIS LIFE.

Jesus walked as a man, ministering and keeping the Covenant of God. He did what God said to do and honored God every moment of his life.

Jesus had to be a man born who could stand the test; the first man (Adam) failed. Death was never a part of the original plan of God for man. Death only became a part of the human experience after Adam fell into sin. Romans 5:12 When Adam sinned, sin entered the world. Adam’s sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned.

Man was the key to the fall, and Jesus was the key to the redemption. He was not an immortal Man. Jesus was pure, clean, absolute – the heart of God Himself walking inside an eternal body. If Jesus were not immortal, he wouldn’t have died. Immortality means “not subject to death.” Jesus became immortal at the resurrection.

Listen, Jesus was separated from God when he hung on the cross with our sins upon Him. Matthew 27:46 My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? He experienced this separation so that we do not have to.

Jesus, once he died, deliberately went to the heart of the earth, Sheol, to legally get back what Adam forfeited.

Matthew 12:39,40

no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah, because just as Jonah was in the stomach of the sea creature for three days and three nights, so the Son of Man will be in the heart of the earth for three days and three nights.

His spirit descended into Sheol, the place of departed spirits. On the day of His death upon the cross, He went first to the place of the spirits of the righteous, called “Paradise” or “Abraham’s bosom.” Since the scripture indicates this at the death of Christ on the cross when he spoke to one of two thieves, it seems natural to suppose that Christ was in Paradise to welcome the departed spirit of the repenting thief who followed Him there.

From Paradise, Christ then went further down into that area of Sheol reserved for the spirits of the wicked. It would appear that His descent into this place of torment was necessary for Him to complete the work of atonement for man’s sin, since He had to endure in full not merely the physical but also the spiritual consequences of sin.

Then, at God’s chosen moment, when the complete penance had been accomplished, the spirit of Christ ascended again from the realm of Sheol to this present earthly world. At the same time, His body, lying lifeless in the tomb, was raised from death, and spirit and body were reunited and seen (Luke 24).

When we place our faith in Jesus, He takes our “law-breaking record” on Himself and places His perfect, sinless record on our account, making us righteous before God.

This Resurrection Sunday, I have a deeper appreciation of the ‘death’ and resurrection of Jesus. Let us worship our Redeemer! The Resurrected King of Kings and Lord of All.

Disciple the nations.

It is peculiar that I sometimes start sneezing when my thoughts engage with Holy Spirit. Truthfully, it hasn’t happened for a while now. I am not quite sure when this pattern started, but I know that when it does happen, I am to slow down and hear what is stirring inside my heart.

And today, my sneezing happened.

Like most readers, I am on this quest to read the entire Bible in one year. I haven’t read all the scriptures, which may surprise some of you. I have read parts here and parts there, but not the entire Bible.

And as my readers may know, my eyes become tired quickly, and reading becomes difficult. So, I listen to the scripture as I read along. Before reading/listening, I asked for Holy Spirit’s wisdom to highlight some things.

According to the Bible plan I have committed to, today’s reading takes me to Genesis eleven, and verse six was highlighted: “… The people are united, and they all speak the same language. After this, nothing they set out to do will be impossible for them.

“Same Language.” They were using the same dictionary. Read the post on January 6th.

Everyone was on the same page, understanding words and having unity, and much could be accomplished, so God confused the language.

I can understand why God did that back then. But we need unity today. As a whole, we need to understand what each is trying to communicate if we are ever going to accomplish great things for the Lord.

My heart starts to cry as I ponder how an infant communicates with others. A parent’s desire to understand their child’s gibberish and cries can lead to trying everything to their knowledge to interact appropriately.

So why would I cry over something familiar in the parenting world? Because I see each of us as infants, desperately trying to communicate with one another.

Today, we live in the times of the New Testament. What makes NT people different from the Old Testament people?

The main thing that makes us different is that the Messiah has redeemed us and that we’re under the new covenant. We also have Holy Spirit living in us.   

The NT says we will be baptized and empowered in the Holy Spirit. The role of Holy Spirit is to uncover (pull scales off our eyes) to reveal the Messiah, to arouse a hunger, and to draw us to the WORD. Also, Holy Spirit gives us understanding and infuses boldness in each of us to move past the restraints of the enemy.  

Also, in the NT, we read that we are to be unified in Christ.  

We are told to disciple the nations of the gospel of Jesus Christ and the kingdom of God. If we define ‘nations’ as families, i.e., the twelve tribes became the twelve nations. We are to disciple our families.

So here is where I am going.

I looked at all the branches of my nation (family): children and grandchildren, brothers/sisters, brothers-in-law/sisters-in-law, nieces, nephews, and great-nieces and nephews. You get the picture. By teaching and learning the Word of God together, we become unified in Christ.

And as each person in my nation goes out into the “workplace” working long side of other nations (other families) but having a common language (the WORD of GOD) yet different dialects (pronunciation), what can we not accomplish?

Once we see each tribe (family, church) as one in Christ, communicating with each other using the same dictionary (the WORD of GOD), nothing we set out to do will be impossible. So, let’s get with our nation (family) and be unified in Christ.  

I want to reiterate that I am not getting lost in researching the web (blue letter bible and other tools) to accredit my thought process. Right or wrong, I am just sharing, not “shelving,” the conversations that stir my heart.  

Restored to go forward.

As I was in my quiet time before the Lord, prayer time, and communion this morning, I was reminded of one of those Holy Spirit-inspired conversations I had shelved, as mentioned in yesterday’s post.

I was grateful to Jesus and said thank you for restoring me to move forward. I thought about the original mandate in Genesis chapter one: take dominion and cultivate.  

What was one of the first things that Adam did after he was created in the image of God?

Side note: we don’t know what God looks like, but we do know that he created with spoken word: Let there be light, and there was light. So, we, too, have power in our words.

If we read in Genesis chapter two, verses 19 through 20, Adam named every animal, “whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name.”

Most of us know by now that our words are powerful. It is biblical. However, many beliefs and religions agree with this and found ‘power’ declaring into the universe and the return it has. But it is only because of this truth we are created in God’s image.

And if scripture is the absolute truth, then the words we speak have power. It either works as a blessing or as a curse. All words carry power. You can find scripture to back this up, but like I said yesterday, we all define things differently.

Without keeping the Word of God as our guide, we begin veering off in all directions.

Let me give you a senior to explain. I started making a quilt to give as a Christmas gift. I was excited to finish it, but as my vision became more challenging, I didn’t realize that I was using the wrong line to guide me, and I ended up sewing the back pieces together off by 1/8 of an inch from the pieces on the front side. You wouldn’t think that would make much of a difference with a simple throw blanket, but to my great discouragement, it did.

The front (original pattern) was four inches larger in width and length than the backside. This is like each of us; we all have our guidelines, but if not aligned with the original, we will never align together.

Secondly, I would like to point out that if Adam named all living creatures, that was its name. Then what are we naming our family members, neighbors, city, state, and federal officials?

Honestly, I have named people who hold these positions names that I know don’t align with TRUTH. I have named people by their behavior, behavior by my standards, which can be off just by 1/8 of an inch, instead of asking, “God, who did you design this person to be?” And declare from there.

Could our neighborhoods and cities be messed up because we only’ name’ the people who live or govern over them by what we see? Seeing them through the dark lens of the enemy. Instead of positioning ourselves in our redeemed positions and seeing God’s perspective?

This thought process led to asking the Lord to forgive my words and nullify each that does not align with TRUTH.

I don’t want to align my words with the accuser, making this world even more evil. No. I am restored to move forward. The original mandate is to take dominion and cultivate the Kingdom of God here on earth. I do this by using the original guide, The Holy Word of God, and calling things as they should be, not as they are.

Be alert and be present!

Just like the many ways we celebrate holidays and birthdays, we also start the new year differently. But the mindset of almost everyone is we start over. 

But instead of ‘starting over,’ which would mean throwing out the attempts made in the past year, let’s start where we left off.

Either it is improving our diets, sticking with new habits, being more positive with our words and thoughts, goals to read more books (instead of social media), or even exercising more.

I cannot speak for everyone, but I can speak for myself. I have attempted to improve in each of these areas but without consistency. 

You know the saying: two steps forward and one step back; one step isn’t quickly achieving the goal. But! We are moving forward.

Instead of looking at the past year as a failure, let’s see it as progress. Building on what small changes we have made will only encourage us to make more. Well, it does for me anyhow.

However, there are some things that we do need to forget about, like “family drama.” We all have dysfunction in our lives and have experienced some struggles in our relationships.    

In the Message Translation, Isaiah 43:19 states, ” Forget about what’s happened; don’t keep going over old history. Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand-new. It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it?

Going over old history, I believe, is the main reason family feuds don’t get resolved. We all can learn how to do better in loving one another.

I am not saying we all lay down and be door mats, allowing family to wipe their feet on us. Insight can be found if I honestly look at the situations that have caused ‘drama’ in my family circles. And for me, it generally means I had an opinion that doesn’t line up with my beliefs. Taking responsibility for my attitude releases my mental ‘rehearsing’ the drama, thus allowing honest conversation to grow naturally and bring resolve.  

So, as we step through the door of 2024, let’s take a moment to evaluate what things we need to build off of and what we need to let go of altogether.

Another small text from The Message translation: Colossians 3:2

Don’t shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things right in front of you. Look up, and be alert to what is going on around Christ—that’s where the action is. See things from his perspective.

We want to wish all our family and friends a Happy, Healthy New Year!

Let us all BE Present and Alert!! Great things are ahead.