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    A Prayer for the Egyptian Coptic Church Martyrs

    Monday, February 23, 2015, 2:51 PM [General]

    Lord, the horrible deaths of the Egyptian Coptic martyrs trouble me. But this I believe: In a way unknown to those of us who are left behind, you comforted their minds, bodies, and spirits in those final moments. Your revealed presence wiped fear and terror from their hearts. As their spirits left their broken bodies, You joyfully and proudly welcomed them into your uninterruptible presence. They now live in comfort, joy, and praise. They have no regrets for their sacrifice. Their pains are eternally forgotten. Their testimony and witness will continue through endless ages, world without end. Your precious children are never forgotten or abandoned, never absent from your care, never beyond the reach of your power. Amen.
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    Release with Love

    Friday, January 2, 2015, 1:44 PM [General]

    Did you leave somethiing or someone behind in 2014?

    Did something or someone leave you behind in 2014?

    Release with love.

    When you release with love, you no longer look back with frustration,
    regret, or resentment. You no longer ask these questions: "why did they do that?", "what were they thinking?", or "how can I get even", or "God, how could you allow that?"

    When you release with love, you no longer need explanations.

    When you release with love, you accept others as you accept yourself: imperfect, but striving; flawed, but still seeking; wounded, but still alive and growing.

    Perhaps this is what Jesus meant when He taught His followers to "turn the other cheek": release with love, go in a new direction, and trust Me to make it work out.

    You can easily become the thing you fight. So do not fight unless you seek to become like your opponent. Instead of fighting: pray, plan, speak, and act.

    Release with love.

    (c) 2015  Deborah Evans

    From Paravanes:Meditations

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    Dark Girls: The Documentary and The Truth

    Monday, December 1, 2014, 8:41 PM [General]



    Recently, I viewed (for the second time) the D. Channsin Berry/Bill Duke documentary "Dark Girls." It was a painful view, but I felt compelled to watch and listen carefully because I could identify so deeply with much of what was said.

    This message rang through the film: there is something ugly and unpleasant about being a "dark girl". This does not mean dark girls are ugly or unpleasant. Still, much of what is presented in this film shows how differently dark girls experience life. Generally speaking, these differences are not considered positive ones. I think there was much truth and painful honesty in this film, but a part of the story is missing.

    Since Lupita Nyong'o won an Oscar, made a famous and well-documented speech, and appeared on several fashion magazine covers, I have listened and watched many women describe how triumphant Nyong'o's story is: she is the manifestation of dark beauty, her confidence and poise are enviable, her skill and preparation have won out over the color prejudices that dominate much of Hollywood. Many, many dark girls are cheering for Lupita.

    No one says "I wished I looked like Lupita." I have yet to read or hear that comment.

    It's hard to be different. Dark girls are a minority within a minority. We may have been the "original woman", but now we are often sidelined and rejected by those who gave birth to us, raised us, and shared our childhood homes. Society has labeled us as second class, and often we are not strong enough to resist and overcome that programming until we have lived much or most of our lives.

    When I watched the film for the second time, I was able to see and absorb a lot of the spiritual pain expressed by the women interviewed. Most of these women were pretty, and some were very beautiful. A sadness lingered in the eyes of almost all of them, even those who stated they have grown into an appreciation and  gratitude for their looks. The injury of rejection by family and friends--and society at large--did not fade away with increased awareness and personal growth. This pain seemed to be persistent across generations, classes, geography, and personality types.

    Is there a remedy? I am always looking for a reason to hold hope close to my heart. Will dark girls have to wait for society to change before we can be happy, fulfilled, and joyful?

    As I thought about the answer, I remembered the Bible verse that tells me:  "Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will." (Romans 12:2, NIV)

    My default position is to be conformed to the world, to see myself as others who appear powerful choose to define me, to live within those limitations, and to fear moving beyond them. My default position is to absorb what is sent my way, even if that message is destructive and  limiting to me, even if that message causes me to dislike my appearance or even my very existence

    When I move from conformity to transforming renewal, I am embracing  the God who is powerful enough and loving enough to smile at me and say "you are beautiful because you have been created in my image." New thoughts and images appear in my mind.  When I live in transforming renewal, I am able to "test and approve" God's good, pleasing, and perfect will. In my own experience, God has never failed a test. In transforming renewal, I am expecting and approving of God's ability to bring into my life those who will also smile at me with loving kindness and joy.

    In transforming renewal, I release and forgive those unable to see me as whole and lovely, because their short-sightedness does not limit what God will do in my life.

    In transforming renewal, I remember God's will is good, pleasing, and perfect for me, not just for God alone.

    In transforming renewal, I begin every day smiling at myself in the mirror, happy with what I see, knowing that I am an intentional creation of God and not a result of random chance. I no longer wish God had made me someone else, or something else. I approve of God's choice to form me as I am. I trust and know God has prepared something good for all creatures He has made.

    In transforming renewal, I expect more than what I can see today.

    For dark girls, and for all people, gratitude for self begins by knowing and living the truth that we are intentionally made by God, for his joy---and ours---and we can live in the transforming renewal that changes us from objects of scorn to beautiful channels of grace. That's the truth.

    (c) 2014  Deborah Evans

    From Paravanes:Meditations

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    Jesus You Are All Compassion, Pure and Wondrous Love You Are

    Sunday, October 19, 2014, 1:52 PM [General]

    This is one of my favorite lines from the great hymn,
    Love Divine, All Loves Excelling.
    Why would someone choose to be a Christian?
    You must really make this choice for yourself. It is deliberate
    and no one can do it for you.  No one "inherits" Christianity.
    It cannot be passed down like money, property, or heirlooms.
    You may inherit the practice of certain Christian traditions, but
     you cannot inherit the status of Christian. As someone has said,
    "God has no grandchildren, only children."
    You should be able to look back to a place and time in your own life 
    where you made a conscious choice to turn over
    the reigns of your life to God, a time when you admitted you had
    a sin problem you could not solve, a time when you asked God to
    solve it for you. In most cases and barring certain illnesses,
    we remember major events of our lives: finishing school, 
    getting that first job or joining military service,  marriage,
    buying that first home or renting that first apartment.

    It's perfectly reasonable that we remember turning over control 
    of our lives to God, the most important decision we will ever make.
    Becoming a Christian isn't the same as joining a church or getting baptized.
    Those can be positive experiences, but they do not substitute for salvation
    because salvation is a totally personal "you and God" experience. Perhaps
    you were baptized as an infant, in which case that baptism wasn't your choice.

    Perhaps you joined a church because you were lonely, or liked certain social
    activities the church offered, or because a spouse or parent belonged to that
    church. Those aren't necessarily bad reasons to join a church, but those
    reasons don't address your relationship with God.
    Some have been told to become a Christian because Christianity assures
    prosperity, health, and what the world generally calls "success."
    Trust me, it's not true because Scripture doesn't teach this and
    history disproves it.
    Some have been told to become a Christian to avoid Hell. Maybe you will 
    avoid Hell (which, by the way, I believe is a real place), but fear never
    motivated anyone to consistent goodness or greatness. If Hell, or avoiding it,
    is your focus, you have missed the entire reason why people have sought
    a relationship with Jesus for over 2,000 years.
    Some have been told become a Christian because Christians are "better" than other people and, of course, you want to be among "the best."  Jesus
    constantly taught against pride, judgment of others, and haughtiness.
    He never invited anyone to follow Him based on feeling superior to others.
    In fact, during His time here, He often sought out  and embraced those 
    who were on the outskirts of society: the poor, the rejected, 
    the weak and the lonely.He had wealthy followers as
    well---and still does--but they are  not "better" followers
    because of their material advantages.
    Hopefully, you have chosen or will choose to become a Christian because
    you have received a glimpse of this truth: "Jesus, you are all compassion,
    pure and wondrous love you are."
    Only someone like this is worthy of your unconditional
    allegiance and faith.

    It is only to someone like this should you hand over the reigns of your life.

    Only God is powerful enough to be "all compassion" and only God is
    generous enough to express to us "pure and wondrous love." Whoever you are, and in whatever condition you find yourself, Jesus waits to express these things to you and will wait for you as long as you live and will
    never withdraw His offer of compassion and love.

    That is the reason to become a Christian.

    (c) Deborah Evans 2014

    From: Paravanes:Meditations

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    Why Would You Pray For Someone Who Despitefully Uses You?

    Friday, September 19, 2014, 1:25 PM [General]


    Why would anyone pray for someone who despitefully uses them?

    You would do it because that prayer is your guarantee against the permanent soul damage that may result from the user's actions.

    How does this work?

    1)  When you pray for that person, your mind and spirit free themselves from responsibility for that person's hostile actions and hostile energy. You have turned that person, and their state of mind, over to God. You no longer try to adjust your behavior to "fix" them and to "keep them happy."

    2)  When you pray for that person, you place yourself under God's protection. Your decision to obey this very challenging command is an affirmation of faith in God's judgment of how difficult people are to be handled. Your prayer is an affirmation of your obedience.

    That affirmation of obedience directs your focus away from the "user" and back to God. Your thoughts are no longer tied to "what they did." Your thoughts are focused on "what God will do." Instead of uselessly expecting someone to "make things right", you look to God. This looking to God cancels disappointment. This opens your mind to faith and hope, and to new possibilities.

    How many times have you heard speakers and teachers say "Energy follows focus"?

    Ironically, when you pray for the despiteful user, your focus moves away from them.

    3)    Praying for someone who did not treat you well is your personal expression of freedom. You cannot hold the hurt and pain while you pray for them. At first, this will not "feel right." Stick with it! As you continue, you will notice you don't cry anymore when you think about them. Your fists don't ball up. You don't feel that tension in your shoulders. You remember facts, but you are no longer poisoned by negative energy.

    If someone is abusing you and placing you in danger, you must take carefully planned steps to get away from them. Praying is not a substitute for rational action when your safety is at risk. Please see my post on the topic of "Why Do So Many Churches Tell Women To Stay In Abusive Marriages?"

    Regardless of where you are physically located, you can pray for that person. You can begin the process of healing yourself. As is often the case, prayer is not about making a different outcome. Prayer is about making you a different person who is free and capable of creating God-willed outcomes.

    The command to "pray for those who despitefully use you" is definitely one of Jesus' "hard sayings." This saying seems counter-intuitive. As you practice this prayer, something happens in you, something you could not have anticipated or expected. It is called a miracle.


    (c) 2014  Deborah Evans

    From Paravanes:Meditations

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