I have been thinking about how often and how easily we use the word but without recognizing that it becomes a disclaimer or disannuls everything that was said prior to its presence in the sentence. The definition of the word as a conjunction means that it is used to introduce something contrasting with what has already been said. In stronger terms, it is used to indicate the impossibility of anything other than what is being said after the word. What if we made a conscious effort to remove the word but in our vocabulary and replace it with the word yet? Yet simply means up until the present or specified or implied time. Yet means an emphasis of increase or repetition.
“I like your new haircut but . . . .”
“I appreciate your thoughts but . . . .”
The word but is almost a knife that chops off the first half of the sentence. The word yet extends the sentence to include increasing options.
I am making a conscious effort to ditch the but and adopt the yet. Care to join me?
I think that many times we overlook characters from the scripture that can serve as important role models. There is nothing wrong with the idea that we respect the washing of Jesus’ feet by Mary Magdelene or consider the woman at the well for worshipping in Spirit and in truth, but what about other background characters? For instance, I have been thinking a lot about the homeowner in the story of the man who was let down through his roof.
17 On one of the days while Jesus was teaching, some proud religious law-keepers and teachers of the Law were sitting by Him. They had come from every town in the countries of Galilee and Judea and from Jerusalem. The power of the Lord was there to heal them. 18 Some men took a man who was not able to move his body to Jesus. He was carried on a bed. They looked for a way to take the man into the house where Jesus was. 19 But they could not find a way to take him in because of so many people. They made a hole in the roof over where Jesus stood. Then they let the bed with the sick man on it down before Jesus.20 When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the man, “Friend, your sins are forgiven (Luke 5:17-20, New Life Version).”
We know about the man. We know about his friends as we use them frequently in teaching about being healed by the effort and faith of others. What about the unnamed homeowner who sacrificed his roof? Sometimes our spiritual journey is like that. We are the one who no one ever knows or considers has made a sacrifice of something important to us so that their life can be better. This man never filed a claim or asked, “Hey, who is going to fix my roof?” We could do some research and determine what season of the year this event occurred in order to be more specific about his sacrifice, but whether it was a rainy season or Middle East heat, it cost that man something to have the covering of his home damaged in order to better someone else’s life.
Are we willing to sacrifice our roof for someone else to be touched by Jesus?
Dr. Kathy Williams
When I was a child, we played outside daily unless the weather was unreasonable. It was a philosophy in our house that, “The fresh air is good for you.” Between bike riding, tree climbing, tetherball, basketball, and so on, the bumps and scrapes were sure to come. It was a badge of honor if the scrape qualified for my mother to apply a bandaid. I remember crying in pain and pointing out a scrape to my mother. When she applied a bandaid it miraculously eased my suffering. There was something about a bandaid that represented covering and comfort and an assurance of healing.
When I think of our society and the overall condition of our world, I think there is a great need for the revival of a bandaid. It seems that we prefer to cover our wounds with duct tape which not only does not allow the wound to breathe the healing of fresh air, but it comes with a removal that is a ripping exposure. We have become heartless. When we see the wounds of those around us, we would rather apply duct tape so that we don’t have to be involved in the process.
When I see the plague of sexual offenses that is afflicting our nation, I wonder if there would have been a better outcome if we had used bandaids instead of duct tape. I am not talking about lessening accountability but altering the intent of the response. Our sexualized morality is destroying our nation. We collectively turned our heads and accepted the “good ole boy” dominance as an acceptable hierarchy. That mindset has permeated both the religious and secular realms. Now that the duct tape is being ripped off, we want to turn our heads from the irritated area.
We have multiple areas of wounding in our nation that are being exposed from tearing of the duct tape. Racial prejudice, discrimination,corruption, violence, addictions, broken families, abandoned generations, and political hypocrisy, are al being exposed on a daily basis. There is a difference between a covering that will result in healing and hiding for purposes of denial. Perhaps our society would do well to leave the duct tape behind and go back to the comfort of bandaids. W
Dr. Kathy Williams, 24K Leadership
About six months ago, I started to get a serious wake-up call about being overweight. I began making some changes in the way that I was eating and made a conscious effort to drink more water. After a few months working on the changes, it was time for my six month check-up with my doctor. When I got on the scales I was completely devastated to see that I had gained weight. I struggle to get through the day at work. On my drive home, I returned a call to a friend that I had not heard from in several months. She said, “How are you.” I responded, “I am fine.” She said, “Why don’t I believe that.” I broke down and cried and told my friend how I felt like my weight issues are a spiritual issue. I said that I struggle with the spiritual implications of being overweight because it feels like that is an area of my life that I have not learned to trust God. I kept crying, “How have I learned to trust God for so much and yet I am such a failure in this part of my life.” My friend listened and then quietly said, “Do you know that God is not mad at you?” Her question melted my heart completely. I cried even harder, but this time my tears were cleansing the pain. Simple truth is that I am not a perfect person, and I am very dependent on grace. As I continue to struggle with my flaws and imperfections, I at least have the peace of mind of knowing that God is not mad at me.
Life has taught many new lessons to me in the past month or so. A little over four weeks ago I was in excruciating pain and unable to take a single step. It is as if that pain embedded itself in my mind. When it is time for me to stand up from being seated on the side of my bed or from a chair, I find that I am hesitant and internally bracing myself for the pain. The difference is that I am no longer actually experiencing pain and have not had pain for about a week.
I think that many of us live in the memory of emotional or spiritual pain. We haven’t actually been in pain for a long period of time, but we have a embedded trigger that says “just in case.” Perhaps today would be a good day for letting go of triggers that are actually empty and have no influence on our present life.
Dr. Kathy Williams
For as long as I can remember, I have been a night person. When I was raising my children, I disciplined myself to be a day person. When my grandchildren were younger, I made myself be a day person so that I could support them in their sporting events and other school activities. For the last few years, I have returned to my routine of being up in the night, particularly during the fourth watch. The scripture supports that when we hear and see God during the night then we become rulers of the day. I have tried to describe to people what it is like to be a fourth watch person. For me, there is a peace that comes when daylight breaks. There is a sense that everything is all right, and we can go forward with the day. We have a right to ask God to let our health spring forth at the breaking of day. Isaiah 58:8 says, “Then your light shall break forth like the morning, your healing shall spring forth speedily, and your righteousness shall go before you; the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.” The fourth watch is particularly notable as a time for the Lord revealing his glory. The fourth watch is the darkest part of the night, but it also precedes the brightness of day.
In leadership, we have to know our identity and our assignment. Do not allow your identity to become subject to the rituals and traditions around you, either by denomination or organization. I am not suggesting that you should not be faithful to your responsibilities with your local body, but I am encouraging you to understand who you are by kingdom identity. If you are a night person, ask God what his purpose is in you. Take time to study the watches and ask for guidance with your specific assignment. Understanding the watches places us strategically within God’s timeframe. When we become strategic, we are not just a presence but a force to be reckoned with. Blessings, Dr. Kathy Williams
On 9/11, I was a manager for public housing complex in Muncie Indiana. As I walked into the office building, I noticed several of the staff in the conference room with the large screen TV playing a news alert. I heard the broadcaster say that the twin towers had been hit. As a midwesterner, I thought they meant the two large poles on the top of the Sears Tower in Chicago. My first thought was, “How in the world did a plane manage to hit those two poles?” Within seconds I realized the reality of what the broadcaster was saying. Like everyone else I took a seat and watched the horrifying events unfold. The buffer zone of being hundreds of miles away from the actual event deprived me of the opportunity to put my day on hold. Applicants for the public housing apartments were arriving for their appointments and I was expected to go through my day. I went to my office and used the Internet to pull up a news channel. By then the second tower had been hit and the Pentagon had been hit. I called my goddaughter who lived in East St. Louis and worked in St. Louis and told her to turn on the news and begged her to stay off of the bridge that crosses the Mississippi River. I told her that our nation was under attack and because St. Louis is a major city, there was no guarantee that it was not also on the terrorist list. I wondered if there was anything about Indianapolis that would make it be one of the targets? It wasn’t long before news of the plane going down in the fields of Pennsylvania added another layer to the tragedy. I have often felt guilty for not being more personally affected. I have no relatives or friends or even distant acquaintances that were among the victims. I never had to witness bodies falling or smell the death or see the destruction. I never had to attend a funeral or send flowers or comfort anyone. In the years since, I have watched many documentaries and movies and news reports in an attempt to grasp that day. For years I have said that I am going to drive to Shanksville, Pennsylvania to the memorial and then to New York City to Ground Zero and then to the Pentagon. Somehow I always thought that would make my apology for being so distant a little more real and to honor those who paid the ultimate price for the freedoms I have on a day-to-day basis. When I write for 24K leadership there is usually supposed to be some sort of lesson to be learned or some nugget of wisdom to be offered, but I don’t think I know what that is just yet.