Northside Back to School Community Day

 

 

 

 

 


What a crazy couple of months…

So, I bit off more than I could chew!  I have every intention of picking back up on the Neighbor series, but it’s just going to take me a little longer.  If you are interested in reading the first 8-9 posts, you can find the series here:  Neighbor.  In our family, we have had 7 surgeries in the last 2 months, including 4 for Louis and 1 for me.  In addition, Louis and I had 3 funerals in about 8 days. Another friend in the hospital, gracefully living the last days of her life (I HATE CANCER!!!) and another friend who continues the diabetes battle.  Sometimes, we just gotta stop everything else…and love on our family and friends…and ourselves.  That’s where we are right now. God’s got it…I know He does.  So, the blog is on the back burner right now, while I focus on what’s really important to me…my family and friends.

Many of my neighborhood kids have moved…so Kid’s Missional Community has been placed on hold until I get back in the community more.  Although our Thursday night Missional Community gathering is still happening…every week at 6pm.  We haven’t stopped that.  No way!  :) I love them…with all my heart!  Can’t imagine life without them!

Will be back soon!  Promise.


Neighbor 8: Someone Who Is Unable to Ask for Help

Chapter 8 answers the question with…‘My Neighbor is Unable to Ask for Help”.

You know, it seems like I have addressed this in previous posts…those unable to ask are hurting, need help, cannot help themselves, appear on my path, have been robbed, half dead and naked.  Any and all of these friends may not be able to ask for the help.  So, I am kinda stuck here on who to cover in this post.  So, it will be short.  Isaiah, the prophet, said these words in Isaiah 55:8-11 (NLT).

8 “My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord.
“And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.
9 For just as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so my ways are higher than your ways
and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.

10 “The rain and snow come down from the heavens
and stay on the ground to water the earth.
They cause the grain to grow,
producing seed for the farmer
and bread for the hungry.
11 It is the same with my word.
I send it out, and it always produces fruit.
It will accomplish all I want it to,
and it will prosper everywhere I send it.

I’m going to let the Word speak for itself with no explanations. My thoughts are not His thoughts.  He wants sooo much more for us than we can possibly imagine.  Gordon offers us scripture that tells what we are to do…so let this Word not return void.  Let this scripture speak to you.  Meditate on it.  Ask the Lord…What do you want to tell me through this scripture?  What, specifically, are You calling me to do? Show me what that looks like.  Then, go and do.  Let’s do the Bible together.

Proverbs 31:8-9 (NLT)

8 Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves;
ensure justice for those being crushed.
9 Yes, speak up for the poor and helpless,
and see that they get justice.

Thanks God for giving us your Word to instruct, rebuke, correct and train us so that we may be fully equipped to do your work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)  I pray that through Proverbs 31:8-9 that you will speak to all who read it.  Allow this scripture to prick our hearts into action.  Teach us oh Lord how we can speak for those who can’t speak for themselves.  Use us to seek justice here on earth….so that your kingdom will come on earth as it is in heaven. In the name of our Savior I pray, Amen.

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This is the 8th post in a series that I wrote about in who’s ur neighbor?.  I am reading who is my neighbor? by Wayne Gordon and exploring just one chapter a day. In addition, I hope to post on each chapter each day…starting August 1st…no promises, though. The first one in the series can be found here:  Neighbor 1: Hurting.  



Neighbor 7: Someone Who Is Naked

Chapter 7 answers the question with…‘My Neighbor is Someone Who Is Naked”.   Curious question…Do you say nay’ked? or neck’ed? Regardless…naked can mean nude, bare, unadorned, unarmed, exposed, unprotected, uncovered, stripped…to name a few.  Of course, the first thing we think of is undressed!  Now, depending on the situation, the naked/undressed person may be in need of a neighbor. Someone who lost their clothing while skinny dipping, perhaps. Or a woman who got caught in a rainstorm and is now in a see-through or clinging t-shirt or dress.  Because of illness, someone who doesn’t even know they don’t have clothes on or are uncovered. We need to be their loving neighbor and find them cover.

Have you ever been in a situation where you were ‘outed’? People found out something about you that you didn’t want them to know.  Or you were transparent one time and shared a private moment with a ‘friend’ who then used it against you, ridiculed you, told others, etc.  That is a very embarrassing and vulnerable, sometimes devastating moment…and you really need a friend and neighbor at that time. We need to cover you at that time. We shouldn’t get caught up in the hatin’, gossip and talk.  Instead, what if WE were the one who befriended you instead?

But, I also think of the defenseless – those who can’t help themselves.  Our God has given our friend, Sara Pomeroy, a heart for people involved in Human Trafficking.  Through Richmond Justice Initiative (RJI), Sara and her team are being great neighbors to victims of human trafficking.  In addition, they are also providing an opportunity for others to be neighborly as well through their training and volunteer programs.

RJI is a grassroots faith based organization of modern day abolitionists committed to ending modern day slavery, commonly referred to as human trafficking.

Our approach in order to eradicate this issue is to combat this crime on all fronts, through pursuing awareness, education, prevention, advocacy, aftercare and prayer.

Gordon summarizes this chapter writing…

There are a lot of naked people in our lives. They may not be without clothes, but they have in some way been stripped of their dignity, stripped of who they are as human beings, and limited in some way from being all they ought to be and can be.  They need someone to come alongside who simply will not allow them to feel embarrassed, but who intead will affirm their dignity and provided the same kind of tender, loving care offered tot he man who, many years ago, went down from Jerusalem to Jericho.

Thank you Lord for providing neighbors and friends who can come alongside us when we are feeling exposed and vulnerable.  Forgive us of times where we may have harmed another intentionally or unintentionally. Give us the strength to stand up for those who physically or emotionally stripped of their dignity and pride. Teach us how to love like the Good Samaritan and raise us up to be the defenders of those who are naked.  In the name of Jesus, we pray.  Amen.

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This is the 7th post in a series that I wrote about in who’s ur neighbor?.  I am reading who is my neighbor? by Wayne Gordon and exploring just one chapter a day. In addition, I hope to post on each chapter each day…starting August 1st…no promises, though. The first one in the series can be found here:  Neighbor 1: Hurting.  


Neighbor: Feedback and Stories Request

Hey, I’ve been writing on the Neighbor Series for almost a week now and would love to get some feedback.  Please send your stories to me about how this series may have touched you or encouraged you to look at the verse… “Love your neighbor as yourself” a little differently than before.

Thanks for sharing.  Now that I am 15% through the posts, I hope to collect some of your testimonies to share with and encourage others without specific names or details.

6 down….34 days/chapters to go!  Thanks for joining me for the journey!  I really appreciate it.

If you aren’t aware of the series, take a look at who’s ur neighbor? Then, pick up with the first post at Neighbor 1: Hurting and simply read 1 a day.  It’s that simple!

May God bless you and stretch you as you read this series.

Peace, Marti


Neighbor 6: Someone Who Is Half Dead

Chapter 6 answers the question with…‘My Neighbor is Someone Who Is Half Dead”.  Wow! I guess not many of us have encountered someone who is half dead.  Louis and I have.  On our 4th date (3 1/2 years ago), Frank got shot 9 times outside our back door. By the time the paramedics arrived, he had no pulse and was only breathing once or twice a minute.  He was left for dead, but God had another plan for him.  Because Louis and I were home to respond with prayer and first aid.  he survived.  So, Frank was our neighbor that night. As time went by, Frank and his family became more than neighbors or friends, but they are family. We love them like they are our own. It’s been a real blessing for us to know Frank, Vicky, the girls and Geraldine.

But, like yesterday’s post, Neighbor 5: Someone Who Has Been Robbed,  people can also be half dead emotionally.  They may not be able to experience the full life that God intended them to have. Life full of joy unspeakable and full of glory.  God can use us to help breathe life into another person with our words of encouragement and love.  Sometimes life is just hard…and it stinks. We need to learn how to just be be there with and for our friends when they are troubled emotionally and spiritually without judgement.  Be there in love…and love alone.

Lastly, we need to be there with people who are half dead spiritually because they continue to wallow in their sin.  Gordon writes…

Ephesians 2:5 tells us that God “made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions –it is by grace you have been saved.”  We need to resuscitate people in the our communities who are half dead and who don’t know Jesus Christ.  For truly they are our neighbors.

Lord, thanks for using us as your hands and feet on Earth. You don’t need us, but you choose to use us to shine your glory. Forgive us for the times we are not paying attention, too busy or too selfish to notice who’s barely breathing around us. Open our eyes to see people around us who are walking around half dead emotionally, spiritually, and physically. Teach us how to love them like you love us…with patience, kindness, full of hope, and unconditionally.  In your name we pray.  Amen.

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This is the 6th post in a series that I wrote about in who’s ur neighbor?.  I am reading who is my neighbor? by Wayne Gordon and exploring just one chapter a day. In addition, I hope to post on each chapter each day…starting August 1st…no promises, though. The first one in the series can be found here:  Neighbor 1: Hurting.  


Neighbor 5: Someone Who Has Been Robbed

Chapter 5 answers the question with…‘My Neighbor is Someone Who Has Been Robbed”. It is easy to think of the people who have literally been robbed or burglarized, whose car was stolen, whose home was broken into, or whose wallet was taken out of their pocket or handbag.  Yes…those are people who need a neighbor.  I remember having my bag taken off my shoulder in the middle of the street one evening…robbed of a few dollars and a couple of Clinique Lipsticks.  Thankfully, it was a small bag with little money. But, I was shaken none-the-less.

In addition, Gordon got me thinking about folks who have been robbed of their dignity, or robbed of their innocence or virginity or robbed of a healthy home life. My heart breaks for them…and they need a neighbor.

This post focuses on one who has been robbed of the truth.  We have all been sucked into the ‘Material World’ – that money is the answer to everything. I see it on FB and Twitter a lot….all about makin’ ‘bank’, ‘dough’, ‘benjamins’, etc. We often care more about what car we drive, what shoes we wear or bag we carry, or how many games we have. We are also robbed of “community”, and we think that it’s based off how many people are our ‘friends’, ‘followers’, ‘text’ etc. Many are robbed of deep and intimate friendships and hide behind their smartphone or laptop (or MacBook in my case!).

We have been robbed into believing the lies that Satan whispers in our ears. That we aren’t smart enough, cool enough, or good enough to succeed. We believe that the things we have done…aren’t really all that bad and we water down the Truth, but in fact…they are still sins. Then there are others …at the opposite extreme.  We think that what we have done is too bad to be forgiven.  Well, the Bible tells me….all have sinned and fallen short (Rom 3:23). We need to be there for folks who have been robbed of Truth.  Truth shall set you free. (John 8:32)

Gordon ends the chapter with…

Who do you know who has been robbed? That person is your neighbor. Reach out and offer your love. And remember that your action may benefit more than just that person, because you never know who might be watching and might be drawn closer to Christ because of your example.

Lord, your Word tells us that if we seek truth, we will find it and we will be set free. May your Holy Spirit pour out a desire to seek and discern truth. Provide us the wisdom to share truth. Make us hungry for your Word, for it is a lamp unto my feet and a light onto my path.  Give us the desire to pray for those who have been tricked into believing the lies of Satan. May we come to know and share the TRUTH that shall set us and others free. Pour it out, oh Lord. In Jesus’ name we pray.  Amen.

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This is the 5th post in a series that I wrote about in who’s ur neighbor?.  I am reading who is my neighbor? by Wayne Gordon and exploring just one chapter a day. In addition, I hope to post on each chapter each day…starting August 1st…no promises, though. The first one in the series can be found here:  Neighbor 1: Hurting.  


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