Ambition in the Great Commission

by Mary Beth on April 16, 2018

“I’m not interested in being perfect when I’m older. I’m interested in having a narrative that’s really the most beautiful thing about women.” Jodie Foster

It is beautiful and inspiring to read many online narratives and trends attributing to professional women empowering women. We hold a great measure of ambition towards vision, motivation, and creativity in various seasons of life. We see an abundance of healthy female leaders who thrive at home and in the marketplace with business, education, nonprofits, creative arts, and the rising professions in technology.

Stephanie, our niece, is a catalyst of significant and gentle support with women involved in modern-day slavery, an evil bondage of commercial sexual exploitation in sex trafficking. Stephanie’s conviction and influence with women in challenging and complex situations, provides an opportunity for her spiritual gifts of mercy and wise counsel to offer strength, direction, and hope for a better life. As a young mom, she encouraged colleagues and friends to open their homes to sell jewelry created by rescued women as they pursue a sustaining career and healthy lifestyle. Stephanie beautifully illustrates Mary D. Poole’s quote, “Leadership should be more participative than directive, more enabling than performing.”

 

Lets consider the implications of ambition. For ambition is described as an eager or strong desire to achieve or succeed. Yet, as a biblical believer following Christ, we are called to look out not only for our own interests, but also for the interests of others. We all wrestle with the temptation to an allegiance of self-seeking ends. Selfishness in principle holds a desire for self in reputation, prestige or wealth by usury. In our fallen humanity, the natural bent is to go our own way outside the counsel of God, giving weight to a rugged individualism, narcissistic entitlement, and a “just do it” mentality for a successful life. This is a strong but old spell of worldliness from the Garden of Eden.

 

Ambition can be positive as we work out our faith. Although we rely on God’s strength and direction, faith without works is dead. It does take a certain level of ambition to proactively do what God calls us to do. It’s simply good to acknowledge where we wrestle with desire, especially if it aligns within a distorted principle of ambition to gain the world and lose our soul. A valuable question to ponder, are we seeking love, value, acceptance, and approval from the results of our ambition? By grace, we aim as diverse and godly women to walk worthy of the kingdom of God in our callings, practice of spiritual gifts, and life careers in community.

For our ordinary lives, ministry and careers must pour out of our identity in Christ.

Women are ambitious communicators entrusted with God-given spiritual gifts and competent skills in the workforce at home, local communities, and ministry endeavors each according to the measure of faith that God assigns. With distinctive stories and callings, women influence as writers, mommy bloggers, in financial giving, mercy, hospitality and teaching gifts, all gifted to lead and fulfill the Great Commission. The depth of beauty and fulfillment in our ambitious callings are endless in skills, talents, and education, however, to pursue fruitfulness at the cost of faithfulness is neither wise nor biblical.

Within biblical community, we learn to care, to listen, and to serve one another according to the Word of God. We know the Word of God is vital and active, trustworthy, sufficient, and able to anchor a soul in the promises of God. We glorify God in the limitless study His Word and accept it’s powerful affect in and through us, to empower steps of faith, to mature in our spiritual gifts, and discern open doors of substantial needs, which reside in life. Faithfulness leads into a sense of fulfillment and fruitfulness as we grow up into Christ.

As women, we know first hand how the gift of encouragement or mercy can influence our soul with a genuine smile, hug, or word of praise. So valued when we encounter circumstances that hold a season of trials or suffering in our own families, or with friends and neighbors. The needs are weighty, may God give us the grace to be bold in our prayers and humble to fan into flame the gift of God entrusted to us. Offer your gift on the waters, knowing He will multiply beyond all that we ask or imagine. When we love God with our heart, soul, mind, and strength, we cannot help but to impact others for the gospel of Christ.

Phoebe is not only cited but also commended by Paul in the book of Romans. Paul considers Phoebe as a sister in Christ and as an honorable female serving the church, in addition to her astute business and estate. She was faithful and fruitful in hospitality, charity, and a willing servant in welcoming strangers into biblical community. Her life speaks a generosity and balance of work and ministry, worthy of respect. Phoebe looked not only to her own interests, but also to the interests of others. Paul engaged many to assist Phoebe in her humble and influential work of ministry. Her humility and encouragement in Christ, the comfort from His love, and her participation in the Spirit, offers the affection and sympathy Paul urges from Philippians 2. This encourages us all to complete joy being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.

Throughout the years, I’m thankful for the many rich memories serving side by side with other women in community to influence, comfort, and to be ambassadors with the love of God made more visible. May God in His mercy help us for such a time as this, to be women of pure heart, sincere faith, and a clear conscience as we hope for impact within our local communities, and globally for His glory.

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Cobblestone Streets

by Mary Beth on April 6, 2018

Cobblestone streets wooing us

Admiring Monet’s finest,

To quaint  cafes’

Sipping café  au lait.

Intimate laughter

And spontaneous love,

In unity our hearts

Danced streets of historical arts.

Before our eyes dusk shines

Of elegant passion.

Arc de Triumph;

Paris’ place

Reveals her other face.

Capturing a breath of her beauty

We share with invitation,

Her loveliness or our love that sings?

No tender hesitation.

The various sights

Only fed the flame of our love.

For without you my darling,

   Paris would not be herself.   ~mba

                                                                                       

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Beggar of Hope

by Mary Beth on March 29, 2018

Artwork by Helen Chouinard

Beggar am I

Beggar of hope am I,

Dear Prince of glory, press.

Thy face, Thy presence, I cry;

More, far more of Thy beauty and eternal presence.

Stir my devotion, reliance and trust;

Discern, divide, live within my conscience.

Shepherd my soul and entrust,

 Your gentle voice to a whisper.

I’ll wait as long as it takes;

       Pour out Your healing balm,

Peace and rest to humbly wait.

God of all mercies, gracious and true,

Beyond my prayers, keep my soul.

Your provisional love and justice;

redeems and restores whole.

Renew my mind according to Your Word,

For in Your holy presence, break not the bruised reed.

Eternal wind, cleanse and heal with the double-edged sword.

A chronic beggar of hope am I,

 for Your perfect labor of steadfast love, indeed.

                                                                                   ~mba

*

“Oh happy fault, O necessary sin of Adam,
which gained for us so great a Redeemer!
Night truly blessed when Heaven is wedded to earth
and man is reconciled with God!”
~The Roman Missal
*

Crucified love, risen to proclaim a holy, steadfast love for all.

Fully trustworthy and sufficient; enough, suffice, whole.

He will not grow faint nor be crushed,

until He has established justice on the earth.

Our God is the holy One of Israel;

our God of love and justice.

May the comfort and counsel of your Spirit,

Almighty God,

help us to take in and rely upon Christ for our all-

in joyful hope, abiding rest, and strength in weaknesses.

Be our Refuge and eternal Prince of peace.

*

For this reason the Father loves me,
because I lay down my life that I may take it up again.
No one takes it from me,
but I lay it down of my own accord.
I have authority to take it up again.
This charge I have received from my Father.
                                                         ~Jn. 10:17 & 18

    *

For I know that my Redeemer lives,
and at the last he will stand upon the earth.  Job 19:25
“To know that Love alone was the beginning
of nature and creature,
that nothing but Love encompasses
the whole universe of things,
that the governing Hand that overrules all,
the watchful Eye that sees through all,
is nothing but omnipotent and omniscient Love,
using an infinity of wisdom,
to save every misguided creature
from the miserable works of its own hands,
and make happiness and glory
the perpetual inheritance of all the creation,
is a reflection that must be quite ravishing
to every intelligent creature that is sensible of it.”
                                                               ~WM. LAW

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