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The Elephant Has Left the Room
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The Elephant Has Left the Room

If you are tired of living in darkness of unresolved tensions there is a way out… the Jesus way. The Elephant has left the room is your personal invitation into the Holy place where you can finally discover authentic intimacy with the real Jesus! Chester Mitchell Pastor, Capital Community Church


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Love His Commanded Way

Written by Mary Hudson

“The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.” The commandments of the Lord are sacred requests that the Lord had written in stone and passed down from generation to generation. Commandments that God did not want us to forget, and just in case we struggle with that idea, He sends us reminders periodically to let us know how much he cares, even if it comes through difficulty or tragedy.

There are experiences and tragedies that shape us for the rest of our life. There was a particular night years ago when I couldn’t sleep. I was desperate for an answer but somehow deep in my heart I already knew the outcome. Sherry wouldn’t live. She was hit by a drunk driver; the crash threw her body into the air and many feet from the initial impact. By the time the ambulance arrived she had a pulse but was basically lifeless. It was long into the night before they pronounced her death.

There is more to this story. Sherry was my twin sisters, Martha best friend. My sister was a very loving Christian and accepted anyone into her world that needed a friend. Sherry desperately needed one. She grew up in a poor home. To be honest Martha’s friendship with Sherry embarrassed me, and I didn’t like the fact that my sister was her best friend. When she would call, I would answer the phone and with disdain announce that Sherry was on the phone again! But this day, the day she was involved in the crash, something inside of me cried out for mercy. I knew how I treated Sherry was wrong and I desperately asked God to forgive me and to give me a different love for people, His love. My perspective was transformed through this tragedy, and it changed me for the rest of my life.

In John 13:34-35 it says, “A new commandment I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

None of us want the wakeup call that I got that tragic day but sometimes God will use whatever means it takes to let us know that if we aren’t loving, we will bear the consequences in a harsh way. What does it mean to love the Jesus way as He commands us?  On a scale of 1-10 how would you rate the love condition of your heart? Many of us may feel we are loving at a 7 or an 8 but if we were to take an honest assessment, many of us would see that we fall short on the rare way Jesus commands us to truly love people. He wants us to love the “Jesus’ way, as He loved us.”

How is it possible to love the Jesus way in our human flesh? Humbling ourselves and being of no reputation. Knowing that the ultimate love is the love He gave us on a tree far away, bruised, battered and nailed down, what greater love could someone demonstrate and how can we do this today?

Recently I had the opportunity to show love that was extremely hard. To spend time with someone rejected by society and basically thrown away, considered a reject, and untouchable. I sat across from them and cried, listened, and eventually left my seal that under no circumstance would I turn them away. They could rely on me, and I committed to fervently pray for them. I wanted in that moment to show them the hands and heart of Jesus. To love when I didn’t want to in my flesh. It was hard. It was crushing and humbling, but we do that when we are committed to love the way that Jesus wants us to. He doesn’t throw anyone away and neither are we commanded to.

Our prayer to love this way may be offered up to God in different ways but let the sound of it come from a desperate heart and eyes that want to be enlightened and transformed. In I John 3:16 it says, “We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.” Ask God to give you a love for the rejected, those thrown out to the wolves, and those forgotten, those that have been abused and cast away as being filthy and unwanted. Then watch as the opportunities come to you in unexpected ways. Will it feel good? No, it won’t. Will it feel right? If you have a heart for God and loving people, His way, it will.

When we learn to crucify our flesh, we can love the way Jesus commands us to and we will be greatly loved by Him. Our reward will be in the way we love His way. It may not always feel convenient, or feel good in our flesh, but doing it His way will reward our hearts and lives beyond what we can possibly comprehend. We will be filled with peace, contentment, and joy. People may never notice, or they may even reject the way you choose to love, but just know, that being full of His Spirit leads you to do things in a way that will please the Lord.

Jesus chose a tax collector to be one of his closest friends. He chose a woman with five husbands to spread the word of who He was. He extended mercy to a harlot when others wanted to stone her death. Did this feel good to Jesus? He didn’t care what others thought about it, He was simply showing us how to do “love His commanded way” and know it changed the world. Are you ready to change your world for Christ? Love His way and it will!

My Mentor, My Friend: Joy Haney

Writing a tribute to one of the godliest women I have ever known is an honor. To have had the privilege of knowing her was a gift I will treasure for the rest of my life. I will never forget the zeal for life that exuded her the first time I met her. She glowed with a beautiful zest for God and for people. I was sitting in class at the college I was attending in Stockton California when she walked into the room and she immediately connected with all of us sitting there, wanting to know where we were from and our purpose for choosing Christian Life College. She wanted to genuinely know us. She spoke life into us that day and let us know that if we gave her class our best, we would all be straight A students. I determined that day I wanted to do that, and I did. I ended up taking all her classes throughout my four years at the college and in the end, I was a straight A student in each of her classes. She honored me with the Radiant Women’s Award my senior year and from that moment forward she made a special attempt to connect with me writing me personal letters, sending notes of encouragement or sending text messages that were always filled with a scripture of courage and strength. At her passing, I learned that she had written over 60 books and all of them edified and lifted God and His word to encourage and strengthen people in getting to know God more and to learn of his divine faithfulness.
One of her attributes that stood out the most however was her powerful prayer life. She lived every day in prayer and in consecration to God even with dealing with some very difficult circumstances in her own life. She stood on the promises of God and shared this great strength with anyone who needed it. I remember as a student sitting in her class, she would come in full of the Spirit just leaving a prayer meeting herself and speaking life into all of us into her class to be sure we were committed to prayer and seeking God with all our heart. She believed in miracles and signs and wonders and spoke often of them, sharing her testimony of what she had witnessed even that day in prayer. This left an indelible mark on my life that still to this day has nurtured my own prayer life and has kept me close to the heart of God.
Joy Haney was the closest example in my life of someone who was completely devoted to God and living His attributes to the fullest. She was sold out to God and living the Jesus way. She was ever learning, ever growing and ever nurturing her walk with the Lord. She learned to deal with conflict with a soft and gentle spirit. I remember seeking her advice on some things Jon and I were dealing with in our ministry, and she text back with “It’s all in God’s hands and He will get the last words! It’s our duty to do our best to please Him and walk in truth.” And then she left me with this scripture “Love your enemies and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest; for He is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil. Luke 6:35”
Thank you, Joy Haney, for leaving me a legacy to follow. One that is full of treasured nuggets of God’s faithfulness and love for His people. You lived out your life to glorify God and in the end, you left thousands in awe and wonder of our great and mighty God. A life sold out and saturated with Jesus!!

* Joy Haney passed on March 16, 2023

Reach for Me…

Walking the cities and villages have become common for me. The dusty roads and long winding paths are what I tread on regularly. Reaching for the desolate, the broken, and the downcast. Lifting the faces of those discouraged and needing hope. I lived daily to give my life for those who wanted to know me, to those who needed healing and hope.

Coming to earth to minister and give my life was an honor but often the weight and burden I carried wasn’t seen or noticed by the crowds that thronged and desired my attention. The days were long, the stress was heavy, and at times it was wearisome. I felt the same feelings you feel. I was human flesh walking amongst humanity. I was lonely. I needed friends, and like many other miracles, those friends were provided. Many days I was hungry, thirsty, and needed to stop and nurture myself and rest. Often, I longed and craved for time away and desperately sought a place of solitude so I could renew my mind and find strength for my weary soul. Retreats were necessary so I could continue with the work I was sent here to do.

I was walking these same familiar towns and villages one day, speaking life to those hungry to know more of me when I was approached by a man named Jairus. He was a ruler of the synagogue; he fell at my feet and begged me to come to his house. He only had one daughter, she was twelve years old and lay at home sick and close to death. My immediate response was to go right away but the crowd around me was intense, and many desired my attention that day. As I was heading in the direction of Jairus’s home I felt a tug on my garment. I know with a crowd this large you might wonder how I could tell that this tug was different. Somehow, I could. It was desperate. It felt hopeless. I had to stop and acknowledge it. As I turned, she stood sobbing and gasping at my feet, fearful that she had done something wrong, but I understood she was desperate. I asked with authority, “Who touched me?” I know someone has for I perceive that virtue is gone out of me. I made eye contact with her; she knew she had been exposed. She was trembling. She stood there and said, “it was me”. Overwhelming compassion welled up within me and immediately I let her know she was healed.

The feeling of joy that flooded through me in that moment is hard to describe. Once again, I was allowed to experience what I was sent here to do. To bind up a broken soul and speak life into a hopeless life. To experience these miraculous happenings throughout my time on earth overwhelmed me at times. In my times of retreat and refreshing, I found myself reflecting on my purpose, and the indescribable joy I felt when I performed life-giving miracles.

Volumes of manuscripts describing the miracles that happened like this could be written. I came to earth to heal the broken hearted, to mend the desperate and torn apart lives of countless thousands that flooded to see me. Yet, the thing that I still long for today is for every person, the billions that live on planet earth, is to know me. Not just to know me, but to communicate with me daily. I want to walk with and talk with you. I want to know the things in your life that concern you and I want to share in your victories and dreams. I want to know you.

I want you to know that I experienced all the feelings you have, every doubt, every fear, your anxiety, and pain. I did the courageous thing and that was to crucify my body on a tree so that you could live an overcoming life and be set free of anything that binds you. I am the resurrection and life, and I am what you need today to live victoriously.

So, like the woman that reached for the hem of my garment, reach for me. Know I will hear your desperate cry and heal you. You are chosen, you are loved, you are forgiven, and though I am no longer walking the earth, I still care. I have not left you, but have gone to prepare a home for you, and for eternity you and I will celebrate in heaven.

The Beautiful Attributes of the Cleaners

Some of the most humble, kind, and meek people I’ve ever met have a heart to serve, but what I’ve been most touched by is the beautiful kindness of the ones who clean the bathrooms, vacuum the floors, straighten the chairs and do the messy work with gladness. Whether it has been Anita, who has faithfully cleaned bathrooms, arranged chairs and vacuumed the church where we pastored for almost 20 years, or the sweet lady who has faithfully changed the trash cans at Legacy Christian School for over 20 years, or Pam, who for over 40 years, has cleaned the bathrooms and offices at Calvary Tabernacle where I attended. All of them exude a sweet, humble, glad to do it spirit that has impacted thousands of people without it ever being recognized. We take them for granted. I’ve known them all personally and here are the beautiful attributes they have that speaks volumes.
They do it with a smile and a hum in their voice. Having a heart that can hum or sing and do the dirty work while they clean is a beautiful thing to take notice of. You know they are digging into some of the most atrocious jobs while cleaning toilets, wiping down smelly changing tables, sweeping crumbs off the floor left behind from toddlers, or mopping up a messy kitchen floor, and yet, they do it all with a hum and song and with gladness, something that I admire and have taken notice of.
From what I’ve observed, they are beautifully meticulous. They don’t do a half-hearted job. They go the extra mile to make sure all the messy work gets done to almost perfection. They do these jobs with precisely the right size garbage bags, air freshener that greets your sense of smell as you walk into the building, and immaculately vacuumed floors that’s taken them hours to sweep. They care about the details; it is important to them, and they want to do their best so that those they serve have a place that is clean and welcoming.
Growing up in a fast-paced world, it is easy to overlook the detailed hard work of these beautiful servants that take precious time to clean with gladness, humbleness of heart and perfection. We tend to overlook them and take them for granted but in essence they are the ones who make our places of worship or workplaces, sanctuaries that are welcoming and beautiful.
The next time you step inside a classroom, a sanctuary, an auditorium, a school, or a bathroom, notice how well it is kept and take time to thank those servants of God that took the time to clean with a hum in their heart, a song on their lips and heart with gladness. These servants of God are worth gold to the Kingdom of God. Thank you to those cleaners who serve with gladness! The Kingdom is blessed to have you!

Positively Disrupt Us

Campuses are becoming altars for the hungry and desperate people of this generation. Prayer meetings have caught the attention of our news reporters. There is no doubt the hunger for revival is spreading around the globe. And it has caught the attention of high school students, college campuses, younger churches, and established congregations worldwide. 

Researching revival has been my heart for as long as I can remember. Just recently, I ran across this definition that woke something in my spirit. It began to ignite a new fire that I haven’t experienced before. It is something new! This revival was defined as a “positive disruption awakening the soul.” It means to interrupt causing a disturbance! Being caught up in revival fire will look different, feel different, and be experienced differently than what we may expect or assume it to look like. There is no way in our human endeavors, we could have articulated or explained God’s spirit moving in our world like He is doing because He is doing something new that is positively disrupting people’s hearts. Our hearts must be open.

We may have assumed it would look like another Pentecost or Azusa, another Asbury or possibly explained as the Third Awakening. However, this revival may be defined as something that is truly amazingly new. It is being breathed into a young generation starving for something fresh and vibrant. This revival, like all revivals, was ignited at an altar of pure, naïve hunger that wanted nothing more than God’s Spirit doing the impossible, and it is happening and having a positive impact on thousands around the world.

Anxious to be a part of this newfound disruption, we ventured to a small college campus experiencing an outpouring of God’s Spirit. What we witnessed was beautiful. Pure. Eye opening. It shattered every expectation my small mind thought it might look like. It was humble. It was tattooed, it was grungy, it was young people in total surrender, stepping over chairs to pray for a stranger, some crumbled on the floor, but more importantly a move of the Spirit that was igniting a fire that invited the whole world to be a part. It captivated my heart and set a fire burning.

My prayer is that the Spirit will positively disrupt everything that may be stubborn, bitter, calloused, cold, lukewarm, stale, judgmental, fake and carnal and turn hearts toward Him in total surrender, reaching a world hungry and desperate for Jesus. What will ignite this passion to change starving hearts and desperate hearts. Prayer! Prayer will erase doubts and fears and give us the oil to light our lamp so that the Spirit can ignite our hearts for a positive disruption that will transform our world.

Beauty in the Chaos

This week we invited the family over for a last minute game night. Game nights and family are a ritual in the Hudson home. This particular night I had envisioned a fun night with the family; laughter, winning, and dessert, little did I know the chaos that was about to unfold. Soon our home was filled with family and chaos. Some were eating dinner, our new born grandson Carter was waking from a nap and a tad fussy, and my husband decided to leave with my father-in-law to pick up our car that had been repaired. Others would arrive late, filling the room with the details of how their day had unfolded. This was nothing like the evening I pictured in my mind, but somehow it was all okay, there was beauty in this chaos and I couldn’t have been happier.

Sometimes it’s okay to throw out our expectations and take in everything that is happening around us. I watched as each one settled in and game night finally started. Soon the competitive juices were flowing and each team was anticipating the big win and playing like their lives depended on it. The chaos never ended. We added lava cake dessert and pass the baby around to the mix, while still trying to have multiple conversations and remembering who’s turn it was. Chaos was now the atmosphere of the night.

I didn’t realize it in the moment, but as I reflected on the evening I realized we can actually gain a lot of wisdom while watching and listening when chaos becomes the norm. I learned that my daughter had a beautiful way of taking care of our grand baby, her patience and love was admirable. I observed that our son was really being used at his job to be effective in his department. As I passed out the lava cake I could sense that Jon, my husband, had reached his capacity with all the commotion that was going on. Though my father-in-law was smiling, I think he was likely in the same boat. But at the end of the evening I think all would agree that the night was fun and that we were all happy that we had chose to get together and enjoy the chaos!!

I believe Jesus lived in chaos. Who would suggest that as He is feeding the five thousand that the moment was a peaceful dinner with no noise, attitudes or crazy chaos? I think not! Or how about when he walked dusty roads healing the sick and crippled, that these moments were void of challenging chaos? What about when the lame man was being let down through the roof of a home because the house was filled to capacity? A calm moment, anything but. It was mayhem, total chaos with all kinds of opinions and attitudes. How about when Jesus went to the cross? The weeping, lashing out of soldiers, crown of thorns, screams from both those for and against Jesus. Throw in some thunder and lightening and an earthquake as He takes His last breath and what do you have? The perfect recipe for chaos. But may I suggest that somehow there was beauty in every chaotic moment.

We tend to avoid chaos. We say that there is beauty in the quiet sounds of nature or the quiet atmosphere of an empty room. Yes, these times are needed and we should take time for them, but don’t discount the miraculous of the mayhem. The next time you are feeling overwhelmed by all the noise and craziness surrounding you, start taking in the miraculous moment that you may mislabel. The freshness of a new borns cry and needing his mother to comfort him, the realization that the chaotic conversation may feed your soul if you truly listen. In the end, and in the midst of it all, know that dessert will be served, the chaos will end, that you will have a memory that will fill your heart, and that there is a beautiful feeling of contentment even in chaos.

There is so much beauty in the chaos, never discount it’s worth!

A Little Bit of Heaven on Earth

D.L. Moody quoted, “So, if we only lead one soul to Christ, we may set a stream in motion that will flow on when we are dead and gone.”

Our purpose on earth is to love people to Jesus. One of my greatest pet-peeves is to see Christians fighting and not getting along. I know our only hope for everyone to genuinely get a long is heaven. But let’s dive into the thought of what a peacemaker is. I believe that peacemakers are a little bit of heaven on earth.

In studying the beatitudes, in almost all cases, we can relate them to something in the Old Testament but in the sermon on the mount Jesus elevates them to new levels and teachings, Together, the Beatitudes present a new set of ideals that focus on love and humility rather than force and exaction. They echo the highest ideals of Jesus’ teachings on spirituality and compassion.

When Jesus quoted “blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God”, He was saying that when you pursue peace in your life and want that for others, you are called his children. We become part of the family of God. A peacemaker is beautiful. They can be bring calm to any situation or storm. A peacemaker has been traditionally interpreted to mean not only those who live in peace with others but also those who do their best to promote friendship among mankind and between God and man. Gregory of Nyssa interpreted it as “Godly work” which was an imitation of God’s love of man. John Wesley said, “the peacemakers endeavor to calm the stormy spirits of men, to quiet their turbulent passions, to soften the minds of the contending parties, and if possible reconcile them to each other. They use all innocent arts, and employ all their strength, all the talents which God has given, as well to preserve peace where it is and to restore it where it is not.”

In studying peacemakers, and the thought that peacemakers are the children of God, we should allow our differences to draw people to us, so that we can have healthy conversations about why our distinctions shape and make us the people we are. In the family of God, discussions about our differences should be welcomed. We should allow discussions from other people of faith, keeping in mind that our measuring stick is always the word of God and time spent in His presence.

In having difficult conversations I read this advice recently that will bring about peace conflict:

Dignity: I will treat you with dignity and respect

Humility: I can learn from you because my perspective and understanding are limited

Listening: I will listen with an open mind and do my best to suspend judgement.

Curiosity: I will be curious and ask you to tell me more so I can understand your perspective

Common ground: I will look for common ground as I get to know you

Creating peace in our relationships is very attainable. When we keep an open heart, centered on pleasing God above anything else in our life, we will attract peaceful relationships and open conversations. Pursue God with your whole heart and watch the world you live in change for the better and become a little heaven here on earth.

Beauty in it all

Sitting at my desk watching nature through our window…a Hawk chasing a squirrel trying to escape for dear life. A yellow finch knocking continually, without abandonment, on our window (this has been happening for days). Watching a red bird feed her babies in a pine close by…only to find out those sweet birds either flew away or were miraculously raptured. A chipmunk nibbling nervously on something he found to eat and enjoy. And the sounds. Leaves whispering their own sound as the breeze reaches their branch, birds humming a beautiful song, squirrels making sounds I’ve never heard before because I took time to listen. Our orange hammock hanging on a tree nearby blowing in the wind, a place to enjoy a good book and nap. I love this more than ever, a new incredible lease on life, seeing the beauty all around me. I was in a very dark place two years ago, and this kind of of beauty couldn’t be captured if I tried. I was paralyzed with fear and anxiety, trying desperately to pray through it and survive it. And now, here I am two years later, the miraculous hand of God again working in mysterious ways in my life. I’m forever grateful, there are no words to explain it. We serve an incredible God.

I mean it, I truly mean it when I say that I understand devastating anxiety that paralyzes your soul. It is real. I was there and know what it feels like to think as if this will never end, I was stuck in a deep dark pit. I felt like I was in Hell. I know this is something we don’t like to talk about, something we want to sweep under the rug and never bring up but we can’t do that if we want to survive. God sees where you are at even when you can’t feel him. If you are going through this type of feeling, please realize that you will survive it. Never ever give up, keep getting back up. Your break through is coming!

I came out strong. I wrote a book during this survival season, I’ve spoken to crowds, led bible studies stronger and better, I help lead Life Connections church and am breathing fresh air again. I work a stable and fun job and love life again. However, I don’t expect you to understand this next statement. There are times you can pray your heart out and not feel God in the moment, at all. I was there in a dark, scary place and someone even had the gull to ask, “where is your faith now?” they had no clue what this pit felt like. Don’t question people who are in this place, it only hurts the situation and digs the devastation further into their soul. BUT!! You will come out and LIVE again in beauty and wonder and you will thank God for the pit you were in. Remember Joseph was thrown into the pit and came out stronger and better, leading a Nation and forgiving his brothers. You too will come out and live to the fullest again.

So I sit here today looking out my window with a whole new lease and perspective on life. The same scenery that couldn’t break the darkness for me, is now shining and breathing new light into my soul. I’m living. Way beyond what I thought possible. It is beautiful. It is refreshing. It is the life God had for me all along. You will survive this and live again…but better and more beautiful. Believe for it!!


Introducing my new grandson Carter Jacob Fontaine

I am smitten. This little guy showed up in our world May 15th at 11:00 pm weighing 9 pounds 11 ounces. He’s as cute as a button plus more. There is nothing like this feeling. It is hard to describe. My first grand baby. Pure Joy, overload on the heart, and just so peaceful! Our hearts are so grateful he’s healthy, eating well and taking on his own personality already. The plans God has for him are already written, plans to prosper him and bring him hope and a great future. A new beginning with no flaws, priceless.

When looking at our lives, living in a broken world where sin and darkness could literally choke the life out of us, I’m so grateful God gives us these moments of complete pureness; a time to catch our breath and live in the moment of newness and wonder. A newborn baby represents a new start. A complete individual with their own personality and style. No one will be just like them. They are unique. One of a kind. Fresh. New. And nothing in all the world can stop them from being someone different. Set aside. An individual who will grow and become like no other in the world. God designs us perfectly like that. Made in His image, if we allow Him, we are shaped and molded to be individuals who are destined to do great things with our lives.

Because Jesus went to a cross and died for our sins, God gives each of us this fresh new start every time we ask for forgiveness. Does it give us permission to keep sinning? Absolutely not. For once you have experienced true forgiveness and you are given a fresh new start, you will want to protect yourself from sin. What is even more awesome, is that God gives each of us the opportunity to be filled with His Spirit and it is the Spirit that protects our soul and gives us the chance to start fresh and new. Do you want a fresh start? A new beginning? A new slate that is completely white and pure? God wants to give us this fresh start. Just like a newborn baby has the chance to live in the beauty of pureness and newness, we have that same chance every time we come before him and ask for his forgiveness. This is a daily routine for me and when I’m done asking for forgiveness there is nothing like that warm inspiration from the Spirit cleansing and making me whole again.

Just like my grandson Carter Jacob living out his first few weeks of life, fresh and new, God wants the same for you. He loves fresh new beginnings because it is then that our hearts our open and He can transplant us to new places of growth and maturity, giving us the chance to start fresh and new and do something great with our lives.. He wants that for you and it is the most refreshing fulfilling experience you can have. Filled fresh with His spirit, forgiven and cleansed from all unrighteousness. Let God do that for you and watch as His perfect plan explodes in your life, giving you a fresh new start!

The Elephant is on the Table

Sitting down for dinner as a family is one of my life favorite things to do. Especially when we start on a topic of discussion we are all participating in even if I may be the target. That’s how we grow and learn more about ourself. It happened one night. It was one of those wonderful moments when all five us were present. We were enjoying light joyful conversation when suddenly the atmosphere began to change and a bit of tension starting beaming through our time together. Voices started raising a little. We were disagreeing about how I was spending time at the gym. My husband was adding his two cents about how he felt I should be using a particular machine, feeling it would help me lose more weight. It’s a given, you never bring up this topic, especially in mixed company…but he did. Everyone starting chiming in except for my son-in-law who has wisdom beyond his years. Finally, I spoke up and said to the silent, more non-confrontational one in the group, who when he speaks, we all listen. I looked at him and said, “I think the Elephant is in the Room”, we chuckled and then he said, “I think the Elephant is on the Table.” It was. We all laughed and I knew my next book title was born.

In scripture we all love to read about the Fruit of the Spirit. It gives us that warm fuzzy feeling that if we would all embrace them, our lives would be lived peaceful and beautiful. After all, love, joy, peace, long suffering, gentleness and goodness are all areas every Christian should be striving for, to live this way. But when we look at them through the lens of Christ, it may be how we all desire to live but what do they really look like? It certainly is absent of selfish motives and desires that the flesh would like to say is the way. Loving these attributes should be the desire of all of us if we want to live effective lives, touching souls for eternity, and living above and beyond what our flesh could ever do.

I’ll never forget the first time I felt true love. You see, loving the Jesus way can look like enduring a lot of hurtful emotions and pain. I remember so vividly my dad sitting on the side of the bed, explaining to me why I was getting ready to be whipped and he said the words, “I don’t want to do this, it hurts me worse than it will hurt you, but my reason is to show you that when you don’t respect your mother, brother’s or sisters, there will be a punishment for it.” I eventually learned the lesson, that discipline will come until I got it right. That’s true love. Being willing to have the hard conversations and then being able to endure the proper discipline is essential if we are going to grow into the developed Christ like Christians God desires for us to be. Our walk will not be free from trouble but will be filled with it until we eventually get it right. We all know that is a lifelong process but we do grow and eventually become the vessels God is using time and time again to lead others closer to the heart of God.

The Elephant on the Table, when embraced through the lens of the fruit of the Spirit, will find us producing fruit and leading many to Christ. Let’s embrace those moments of hard conversation and disciplines we receive from God to enhance our lives, so that we can be the effective Christians we should all be wanting to be. Have those hard conversations. Keep your heart open, put aside defensiveness and come to the realization we will never grow until the Elephant on the table is dealt with through the eyes of Christ.

Spring into a New Season

Spring amazes me with its stunning spender of yellow, pink, purple and white colors. It’s the moment God brightens the earth with yet another masterpiece of His glorious beauty. Spring air, accompanied by rain, produces bright green hues everywhere which provides the perfect backdrop for His kaleidoscope of color. With sunlight making its way through the cloud covering, I stand in awe of the miraculous creation of color God makes for us. He thinks out every process of this majestic canvas and He does this simply for us to enjoy. Winter can be cold and barren, bitter and stagnant. And then, Spring, with its glorious colors, reminds us of His desire to make things new and fresh. Often Spring is a time when God starts something fresh and new in us. It’s a time of new beginnings. As you venture through this Spring, allow God to form something miraculous in your life. Take the time to take in the beauty around you. Let Spring remind us that we too are a canvas of God, and we have the potential to produce beauty and growth. Growth that can change the world for someone else needing hope. Before you know it, these incredible colors will be gone. The blooms will blow away and new growth will turn to leaves. So, enjoy Spring, the time for growth and new beginnings, and ask God to begin something new and beautiful in you!

The Dreaded Belt

In Matthew 5:7 it is quoted, “Blessed are the merciful for they shall obtain mercy.” It is compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one’s power to punish or harm. Mercy. We’ve all needed it. I remember as a young girl I was about to be disciplined by my father for acting out. Just as the discipline was coming down in the form of a belt, my brother stepped in and took the discipline for me. I’ll never forget the act of mercy Paul showed me that day and the relief of escaping the dreaded belt. Mercy isn’t always easy to come by, but we have been taught through the word of God that if we show mercy, we will obtain mercy. How many of you have escaped punishment for your wrong because someone was gracious enough to extend mercy to you?

To be truly merciful we must first see the misery through the eyes of Jesus Christ. We must see the drunk or the mental abuser from the lens of a past filled with hurt that may have provoked this lifestyle. Without this view of mercy of HIs mercy towards us, how can we extend mercy to others? Without first seeing the misery of someone and having compassion for them we cannot be the hands and feet of Jesus. We must be willing to look at others from God’s perspective. God provided the ultimate amount of mercy on the cross being sacrificed for the sins of the world. When we look through the lens of God’s loving compassion, we can see the hurting who need mercy in a whole different light.

There is a saying that says something like this, “never judge a person’s actions, or mood, we have no idea what they may be going through in their own life.” So many difficulties can be made more bearable when we don’t take offense to actions that are hurtful towards. Mercy offers forgiveness; it offers forgiveness by replacing hurt and resentment with compassion.

In dealing with the elephant in the room mercy will go a long way. So many are afraid to confront huge issues because of pride and how they may respond or what the response will be. Let mercy pour our of your heart and see the miraculous things that will happen because of it.

A lack of mercy and forgiveness keeps you from living out God’s divine and perfect plan for your life. Live in moments of extreme joy and peace when you learn to release bitterness, pride and anger. You can exchange it for a life of receiving and giving mercy.