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We truly believe women make change happen! When women gather for the common good, amazing things begin to happen and emerge. The process of solutions begins. On a recent trip to Israel/Palestine, I (Lisa) had the privilege to meet some amazing women, standing tall and united for peace in a land riddled with conflict and tension. Most of their stories were heartbreaking but also hope giving. One evening I sat with a woman I'll call, "I" which is her blogging name. She is a part of group of bloggers who represent Israeli and Palestinian women who want to use their voice and stories to perpetuate peace. Below is a recent blog from "I". You can read more about these women and hear more of their stories at: anothervoice.info. There are many opinions floating out there right now about refugees - should we allow them in or should we shut our borders? I have found myself asking the questions many times when in difficult and dark situations, "Where is Jesus' heart in all of this?", or said another way, "Where would Jesus be in this?" Tough questions, but ones we need to be asking. The answers might surprise you. This poem is a great reminder of what love does and where the heart of Jesus would be found. Let yourself wonder . . .
Jesus as a Syrian Refugee I wonder if we have forgotten Jesus the man who knew the fear of flight, plucked by his parents in a sudden need to abandon his homeland for a foreign one. I wonder if we have forgotten Jesus the man who knew loneliness, hunger and helplessness, that heavy weakness that taunted the mind and tempted the spirit. I wonder if we have forgotten Jesus the man who freely offered a message to the unwanted, who healed those others accused of bringing suffering on themselves. I wonder if we have forgotten Jesus the man who would escape to a boat for respite, who passed through the waters with fearful friends in a storm-tossed sea. I wonder if we have forgotten Jesus the man who knew what it meant to be despised and shamed. Many have no interest in this desperate, hungry, thirsty, sick stranger in need of clothing. I wonder if we have forgotten Jesus the man who said whatever you do for the least of these, you do for me, in the guise of the least of our day, a Syrian refugee. I wonder if we have forgotten Jesus. Christmas is a time where we remember the incarnation, when God inserted himself into humanity’s story in an unexpected way. This was just the beginning. We are invited to partner in the message of redemption the incarnation brings by meeting the needs of those Jesus advocated for -- the desperate, hungry, thirsty, sick and stranger that are vulnerable to injustice. The generosity of the holiday season is admirable, but Jesus’ hope was never for the ‘haves’ to have more, but for the ‘have nots’ to be raised from their suffering to the human dignity with which they were created. Consider how you can love incarnationally this year, embodying the cares and concerns of Jesus for someone else.
Pleasure... We hear about it, we think about it, and we look for it. Constantly. But why do so few of us ever seem to really experience it? Is it possible to satisfy our deepest cravings for lasting satisfaction? The answer is yes! But it might surprise you as to why.   It is easy to get stuck in our thinking on certain subjects and topics without ever really questioning the “why”. I (Lisa) have been challenged a lot over the past couple of years regarding my global views and trying to see outside my cultural box. I have had to ask myself a lot of questions and turn over a few rocks of possibilities and “what ifs.”  I have been challenged, inspired, and seen God deeper and broader than ever before. The journey of discovery and rediscovery is worth taking, and one I hope will never end in my quest to draw closer to God and allow Him to transform my heart and mind. So, let’s go back to this topic of pleasure. How do we see it? How much has culture affected our thinking? Do we see what God sees? In his newest book, Redeeming Pleasure, author, Jeremy Jernigan takes readers back to the very beginning and to the root of God's intention for pleasure. Through personal stories, practical insights, and a depth of wisdom culled from thinkers both ancient and modern, Jeremy re-imagines pleasure and unmasks its deceptive allure. Jeremy Jernigan is the Executive Pastor of Creative Arts and Student Ministry at Central Christian Church AZ. He also is the author of the blog, TomorrowsReflection.com and just released his newest book, Redeeming Pleasure – How the pursuit of pleasure mirrors our hunger for God, by Worthy Publishing.  We recently had a great conversation on Girlfriendit Radio with Jeremy on this topic of pleasure.  You can listen now HERE. So, when was the last time you thought about something for the first time? Pursuing God, There is a three-week You Version Reading Plan based on Redeeming Pleasure available now!
Who is your hero?  This question evokes myriad responses. Heroes come in all shapes and sizes for all sorts of reasons. Your hero could be a parent, a sibling, a politician, a peace activist, a teacher, a sports star, an inventor, or a friend. Fairy tales and novels tell tales of heroes and heroines, and comics and cartoons entertain us with “Super Heroes” who leap tall buildings and save our cities from disaster. Television contributes with shows like Heroes, The Greatest American Hero, Batman and Robin, and plenty more. We like them. We want to be them. The news frequently features stories where an ordinary person jumped into raging waters, lifted a heavy object, or stepped onto a subway track to rescue someone in distress. When interviewed and told that they were a hero for performing such a great feat, many will often respond with, “I’m no hero, I just did what had to be done.” The sad reality is not everyone is willing to “do what has to be done.”  It isn’t always that intuitive or instinctive. What constitutes a hero? We live in a culture quick to create heroes and heroines, and there is no short supply of people desiring to claim that title, either.  Maybe there is a better way to qualify a hero:
  • Who inspires and challenges you to be better?
  • Whom do you admire?
  • Who do you know (not necessarily on a personal level) who makes the world a better place?
What is IT about these people?
  • Bravery?
  • Courage?
  • Integrity?
  • Compassion?
  • Humility?
  • Ability to see beyond?
  • Lives for others?
  • Believes in the impossible?
  • All the above and then some?
I do have heroes and heroines in this life, people who inspire, challenge, and show me hope. They make me better. They help me see farther. I can stand taller because of them. I aspire to be like them in their values and actions. Whom are you inspiring? How are you inspiring others to love and good deeds? Are you willing to do what has to be done? The world needs you and a new kind of hero! On Girlfriendit Radio This Week: Melanie Dobson is the award-winning author of 14 historical romance, suspense and contemporary novels. We discussed the background and dynamics of her latest book, Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor (keeping family secrets, and a character with autism). Dr. Natalie Eastman is the author of Women, Leadership, and the Bible: How Do I Know What to Believe? A Practical Guide to Biblical Interpretation. Such a great discussion about fears women face when it comes to exploring the Bible about the topic of women in church leadership roles. Inspired to inspire, Patty and Lisa “In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”  ~ Matthew 5:16, NIV   “Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works.” ~ Hebrews 10:24, NLT

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