Monday, March 26, 2012

The Invitation

I fumbled through my fingers the dinner invitation I received from Jesus as I entered the banquet hall. I stood back not knowing where to sit. I had never sat at a Heavenly Host's table before. I did not know what to do. My heart raced as if I had just received the best Christmas gift ever. Me… an invited guest in Jesus’ home! He noticed my awkwardness and gracefully crossed the room to where I stood and said, "Tara, come sit right here by me." My cheeks flushed with a blush of surprise. My heart cried out, “Oh, Thank you Jesus.” He was so close to me I felt His body heat. What would He do if I reached over and touched His hand? I noticed the hair curling above His knuckles and the creases of His flesh. His veins were blue just like mine. I lifted my hand and touched my veins imagining the blood flow in my body and His. Remembering that His blood is why I am here. The table was set with simple elegance. The white linen tablecloth displayed bone white china bearing no distinguishing marks and crystal flutes holding our beverages. How can I eat with His Splendor before me? The Bread of Life is sitting beside me! Satisfaction filled my soul. I inhaled contentment, as holy bumps coursed up and down my spine. I glanced over my shoulder at Jesus picked up a crystal fork illuminating iridescent rainbows as He moved it around. He began to eat something off His plate that looked familiar to me, but I did not know what to call it. I did not want to offend Jesus by not eating His food, so I picked up my crystal fork and gingerly tasted a morsel. Mmmmmh… The tantalizing aroma splashed sweet and yes, a bit of spicy across my taste buds. My tongue savored the sweet and spicy as it penetrated my palate as never before. Do I dare? What will Jesus do if I reached over and took a bite off His plate? I raised my fork and swiftly snatched a bite of His food. Exquisite! Every taste bud in my mouth craved more. I could get enough of it, fast enough. I dived into my food tasting this and that and my plate never seemed to empty. I kept eating and eating just to taste the flavor of God's choice food. His manna from heaven that satisfies likes no other. I realized how I must look. I glanced at Jesus with a look of embarrassment. His eyes lit up as His face crinkled into a smile that took my breath away. He said, "Go on Tara, and eat more. My table is always set for you. You may come and dine with me anytime. Eat and find contentment. Eat and be satisfied. Drink and thirst no more. Enjoy my child. It is all yours." My eyes traveled the expanse of the table filled abundantly with a feast. My heart sunk and my shoulders slumped as sobs caught in my throat. I sit here eating satisfaction and did not notice, His table set with many places displayed name cards waiting for recognition for someone to come, sit and dine. My hands flew to my face as I wept. How many people know Him, yet they will not come and dine with Him to take hold of what He had laid out for them? How many people are too busy searching for satisfaction and fulfillment when the table has already been set with the fragrant aroma of Heaven's satisfying manna? Slowly, I lowered my hands from my face, as I turned and looked at the Lord and asked Him, "Jesus, who do you want me to bring with me the next time I come?" Jesus said, "Listen closely and I'll tell you with each person you meet." I can’t wait because it is you! When your words came, I ate them; they were my joy and my heart's delight, for I bear your name, O LORD God Almighty. Jeremiah 15:16 Simply, Tara

Friday, March 23, 2012

What is a Good Samaritan?

I serve as a women's ministry leader through speaking and teaching on the radio and at various women's ministry events. This opens the door for me to meet women in many places with a variety of needs. I have prayed that the LORD will give me compassion in action for years and I have known Him to answer this prayer as I look at a group of faces and I feel the expression of His love warm my heart. Yet, as I study the Good Samaritan, I feel overwhelmed by the must of compassion in action. In a given week, I receive numerous contacts via email, facebook, and phone calls for me to meet a need. I cannot meet them all. I often feel guilty that I am not living compassion in action because I can't stop for each one. I feared that I am becoming like the priest or Levite in the parable of the Good Samaritan that walked away. Does the parable of the Good Samaritan imply that compassion in action is a call to meet all needs expressed to us? Or is there more to this passage? How many times has someone with a perceived need pressed upon me the want of me to meet the need when honestly as a wife, mother and lay Christian leader I could not? I read every commentary I could find on this passage and all say clearly it is a "must" of the believer to show love to the neighbor in need. Let's just say, my anxiety increased! This is when the LORD caused me to realize that in this parable the emphasis was upon a physical need of someone that could not help himself, not a mental or emotional need expressed by another for me to meet. This person could not meet his need because he was so injured he was out of it. A good neighbor is willing to stop and minister to the physical needs of another. It does not matter if the person is of the same socio-economic status or cultural background. The person needs safe passage physically to wellness and a place to stay. So, I ask myself, would I stop to meet the need of an injured person? Yes, without a doubt. Am I willing to open my home for the one passing through? Yes! Indeed! My heart is not hard to even emotional, social, and mental needs. I am willing to help, but the help is different. These often require spiritual insight. The Good Samaritan expressed compassion in action through seeing the person, dressing the wounds, finding a safe place for recovery and even providing financial help to see the person through to healing. My struggle occurs when the need is expressed by the other that I am the one to meet the need; this is not a person that cannot help herself. She just does not know yet how. The struggle happens when it is an emotional or mental need brought to me by the other. It is in these moments that I am learning to redirect the individual in need to the Word of God to meet Jesus and find the answer to her need. It is no longer my responsibility to meet the need. At this point, the most compassionate thing I can do is help the person find the right passage that applies to her need. The need might be the confession of sin and returning to God or it might be the owning of a spiritual truth in order to find release and relief. I then help the person process how to apply this to her life. Some are willing. Some are not. This process is never easy. There comes a point in helping that the most God honoring thing to do is to let the person walk away. A person has to be willing to do what is necessary for health and healing. In the case of physical injury and immediate crisis, we meet the need. In the reality of habitual sin or deliberate disobedience, we must release the person and pray. We are to meet the need of the one, but not every need expressed to us to meet is our job to meet. As a women's ministry leader, I must pray and ask GOD for discernment in order to know to whom I am called to serve. Jesus showed love and compassion upon all people. He looked upon the crowds and had compassion upon them. But, Jesus did not heal everyone. He focused on the one that demonstrated faith. Jesus affirmed over and over the one that had faith. Jesus said, "Your faith has healed you." I have found peace in providing the scriptures that deal with the issue when it comes to a mental, social, or spiritual issue. Compassion in action related to these situations provides the WORD because Jesus is the WORD and HIS compassion will overflow through it. When I give the WORD I know that I have given what is most important. The Good Samaritan does meet the physical immediate needs, but more often then not the Good Samaritan will meet more people with mental, social and spiritual needs than physical and in these situations compassion gives what matters most the Word of God to guide the person toward inner healing. Simply, Tara Rye

Tuesday, March 06, 2012


Over several days, I had several difficult things shared with me. "I have an inoperable brain tumor." "My husband is seeing another woman." "My grandson is going to India to join a cult." As I listened to these requests, I felt so inadequate to answer, much less know how to pray for fear that I might ask amiss. I know that I am not sufficient and my words will definitely fall short. This is when I practice what I know. I know that God is sufficient in all things and I remind myself that the enemy of God is out to destroy the Character and Word of God. How can I bring the Character of God and the Word of God into these circumstances when I pray? When I focus on the Character of God and the Word of God, I find that, it reminds us of God's sufficiency. Suddenly, what seems impossible becomes a moment for faith building in both of us. For my friend with the inoperable brain tumor, I called upon God our healer, sustainer, strength, and help in time of need. For the wayward husband, I called upon God our reconciler, redeemer, Groom, and lover of my soul. For the grandson following a cult, I called upon God as Truth, righteousness, deliverer and router of enemies. Suddenly, both of us find that our heads are lifted in the circumstances as the shield of God's Character and Word surrounds us. This is not a magical formula or performance standard. It is about drawing near to God. The Father promises that if we draw near to Him; He will draw near to us (James 4:8). What better way to draw near to God than to use His Character and His Word as a reminder as I pray! What circumstances need the Character of God or the Word of God prayed into them today in your life? What name of God might you pray? What scripture can you hold onto? Father, YOU are sufficient. Help us to hold to Your sufficiency through Your Character and Your Word. In Jesus' Name, AMEN! Psalm 3:3-4 (HCSB) 3 But You, LORD, are a shield around me, my glory, and the One who lifts up my head. 4 I cry aloud to the LORD, and He answers me from His holy mountain.Selah Simply, Tara