- Written by Callie Neff
Luke 12:25-27 (CJB)
25 Can any of you by worrying add an hour to his life? 26 If you can’t do a little thing like that, why worry about the rest? 27 Think about the wild irises, and how they grow. They neither work nor spin thread; yet, I tell you, not even Shlomo in all his glory was clothed as beautifully as one of these.
We have a beautiful little Ruby-throated hummingbird that comes to the feeders in our backyard and has taken to sitting on the Black Eyed Susan's. That little bird on a flower reminds me of how my grandmother would always greet us with "how is every little thing with you". I miss that greeting and the sincere love and care that came with it; I knew that my grandmother loved me and cared about my answer. As I watch "Ruby" I think of what a gift he is to me... and I reflect on my love for flowers, hummingbirds and our backyard and I hear Abba Father ask me "how is every little thing with you". I know that even more than the sincere love and care of my grandmother, that my heavenly Father loves me and cares about me and that He is the only one able to meet my needs and address "every little thing."
When I feel lonely and isolated in our work and family life he reminds me of a kindred friend with whom I can pour out my heart in prayer and tears. When I am angry He reminds me with a gentle nudge from one of our creatures or a kind word from my child that holding that anger will not get me anywhere. When I feel tired He sends my husband to remind me to rest and to turn off all that demands my attention. When I need quiet...when I need answers...When...He hears my heart cry and He cares about "every little thing" and there is "no thing too little for Him."
Psalm 91:14-15 (CJB)
14 “Because he loves me, I will rescue him;
because he knows my name, I will protect him.
15 He will call on me, and I will answer him.
I will be with him when he is in trouble.
I will extricate him and bring him honor.
4 (3) Proclaim with me the greatness of Adonai;
let us exalt his name together.
5 (4) I sought Adonai, and he answered me;
he rescued me from everything I feared.
"How is every little thing with you?"
- Written by Callie Neff
12 “Don’t regard as alliance what this people calls alliance,
and don’t fear what they fear or be awestruck by it;
13 but Adonai-Tzva’ot — consecrate him!
Let him be the object of your fear and awe!
The time is coming when Ya‘akov will take root;
Isra’el will bud and flower,
and fill the whole world with a harvest.
On that day Adonai will be the only one,
and his name will be the only name.
"The problem was systemic but the response was individual, based on a few caring people and their personal outrage at the selling and trafficking of children."
Rachel Lloyd in "Girls Like Us"
- (sɪˈstɛm ɪk)
- 1. of or pertaining to a system.
- 2. pertaining to, affecting, or circulating through the entire body: systemic disease; systemic pesticide.
What started as a "few caring people" has been slowly but surely making a difference and it is time for us to recognize that we are part of something bigger. The problems we are called to intersect are in fact systemic: devaluing of life, devaluing of our sexuality, defrauding of childhood, demoralizing of character and defiling of the true nature of God. This being said, when we are working, NOT to fulfill our individual call and destiny, but rather in obedience to do our part, we can trust that the Lord is working and moving to shift the tide of nations. We have been working with one life at a time to offer hope, the experience of healthy family and loving relationships and to impact generations to come...this is the ground level work of "systemic change."
We dare to espouse that the young woman, her family of origin and a child in her womb have value. Value given by the Creator not by status, experience, or contribution. We dare to uphold biblical values: love, joy, peace, patience kindness, goodness, gentleness and self control [against such things there is NO law. Galatians 5:22-23]. We dare to ecourage abstinence until marriage and hold out hope for the hearts of fathers to turn to their children and the hearts of the children to turn to their fathers. Malachi 4:6] We dare to believe that our hope and salvation come from the Lord and not from our own efforts.
We do all this as part of a larger vision, with a promise that the cry of God's people is heard, the work that we do has value and meaning and that with our eyes fixed on Jesus we are part of systemic change...change we will see, fruit that will last and lives that will be restored.
May you catch a glimpse of the change agent that you are! May you know that the father's love at work in you is making a difference!
May you not stop crying out for change!
- Written by Callie Neff
2 Timothy 4:5 (CJB)
5 But you, remain steady in every situation, endure suffering, do the work that a proclaimer of the Good News should, and do everything your service to God requires.
Remain in place, I have a job for you right where you are at.
Do not be intimidated.
Resist shrinking back, looking back, shutting down.
Return to me, to simple childlike faith, laughter and love.
To first love.
To childlike joy.
This is the encouragement I heard dropped in my spirit over the weekend. When I look at the voices around me and as I go deeper into the reality of sex trafficking after years of maternity housing [walking and living with Hagar] I find it hard not to be upended by the constant waves of sorrow, anger, and frustration. It is as if I started in a battle filled with courage, hope and strength alongside of a growing army and after years of battle, I have lost sight of those fighting alongside of me and have seen many casualties on the battlefied. It seems the wounded, the injured, and those defecting outnumber the hands to care, to pray and to love. It seems those wanting rescue and who I am fighting for are no where to be found.
Is there anyone who loves the Lord with all their heart, their mind and soul and is willing to stay in the fight?
Is there anyone who values life from conception to death and is willing to live this out in their personal experience?
Is it a battle where I belong?
And so, as a reminder the Lord so graciously says to me that yes, yes there are others that He has set aside just as he had the prophets throughout the land in the time of Elijah. Yes, there are others living out lives of love, honoring marriage and the sacredness of sexuality and giving others alternatives for themselves and their children. Yes the fight, even if for one, is worth fighting and this is where I will remain.
Colossians 2:6-7 (CJB)
6 Therefore, just as you received the Messiah Yeshua as Lord, keep living your life united with him. 7 Remain deeply rooted in him; continue being built up in him and confirmed in your trust, the way you were taught, so that you overflow in thanksgiving.
May you remain in the place the Lord has you! May you resist the enemy so he will flee! May you return and settle in trusting Jesus!
You are loved. You are wanted. You are valued.
- Written by Callie Neff
1 Corinthians 15:22 (CJB)
22 For just as in connection with Adam all die, so in connection with the Messiah all will be made alive.
Connection drives relationship and restoration. There is no real path to healing without relationship. Continuing to try and find "new life" in connections that lead to death are not based on trust and will not lead to life. When someone encounters Jesus in relationship with you the connection to life has been offered.
Sometimes it seems we put our hope in our program, platform or performance to be able to provide what is needed to help another walk through the process of healing. We have the education, the resources, the funds but NOTHING will lead someone to LIFE apart from connection to the Messiah. The Messiah is the "fragrance" that draws all men to himself [2 Corinthians 2:14]
True healing and change come only through relationship and then through the trials and refining that are experienced over time. Connection is not made, forced, or mass produced...each person will only find healing through individual relationship and that takes the work of building trust and connection. This takes the experience of being loved unconditionially after a failure, of being welcomed back after a rejection, learning new ways to understand and communicate, seeing words backed with action; it takes vulnerability, empathy and compassion.
We are the "connector" to the Messiah that brings the dead to life...We unlock the "power of connection" through the key of building relationships based on trust...We are offered this example through the life of Jesus and are called to walk it out.
15 For I have set you an example, so that you may do as I have done to you.
May you know the power of connection to the Messiah! May you be willing to patiently build relationships that lead to life!
May you live out this example in every area of your life and ministry!
- Written by Callie Neff
12 You will rebuild the ancient ruins,
raise foundations from ages past,
and be called “Repairer of broken walls,
Restorer of streets to live in.”
The promise of Isaiah 58 is foundational in my journey and the "Why I do what I do". It is on this premise that I have joined my heart with yours to bring encouragement and a reminder of the hope that we have even as we are spread out and spearated as it says in Nehemiah 4.
13(19)“This is a great work, and it is spread out; we are separated on the wall, one far from another. 14 (20) But wherever you are, when you hear the sound of the shofar, come to that place, to us. Our God will fight for us!”
The picture of what those returning to Jerusalem faced as they set their will to rebuild the wall is not unlike our call and work as we each, at our post along the wall, are in this to rebuild. We are builders, repariers, warriors spurred on by the love of Christ fighting for our families, communities and those bound in the darkness. Can you imagine with me what will be accomplished as we continue the efforts to "work with a will" together?
38 (4:6) So we kept building the wall, which was soon joined together and completed to half its height all the way around; because the people worked with a will.
...“Don’t be afraid of them! Remember Adonai, who is great and fearful; and fight for your brothers, sons, daughters, wives and homes.”
This is why I write. This is why I seek to build relationship and be part of the great collaborative efforts the Lord has been building. We are together in the work of dispelling darkness and setting prisoners free. I am honored to work alongside of you and pray that you will be encouraged in your place, have courage to hold your position, and hope that you are not working in vain.
May you work with a will! May you remember Adonai is great and fearful and fighting for us!
May your eyes be open to see [that even though we are separated on the wall] the wall is being joined together and it will be completed!