Monday, April 24, 2006


Never Been Unloved Michael W. Smith

I have been unfaithful
I have been unworthy
I have been unrighteous
And I have been unmerciful

I have been unreachable
I have been unteachable
I have been unwilling
And I have been undesirable

And sometimes I have unwise
I've been undone by what I'm unsure of
But because of You
And all that You went through
I know that I have never been unloved

I have been unbroken
I have been unmended
I have been uneasy
And I've been unapproachable

I've been unemotional
I've been unexceptional
I've been undecided
And I have been unqualified

I have been unfair
I've been unfit for blessings from above
But even I can see
The sacrifice You made for me
To show that I have never been unloved

It's because of You
And all that You went through
I know that I have never been unloved

Daughter of the King

Daughter of Evil

I know the title of this post seems to clash with that link, but it doesn't. I don't really know what to say, but that woman's story speaks for itself. So, read it.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Diverse City

Lately, I've really been pondering the world and how to serve in it. I started to think of that song by Toby Mac, "Diverse City":

They call us Diverse City, we're colorful good
It's like a freak show in your neighborhood
So, if you wanna praise you can come on down
Cause this freak show's leaving the ground

Up, up and away, baby we don't play, maybe you thought you was done for the day
He said, she said, I said this, that you can't get away from your moment of bliss
Stirring, we'll lure you in and we'll make room for the shade of skin
Short ones, tall ones, skinny ones, bigger, love is the gun and we pullin' that trigger
So you send me and I'll send you hope in the form of a new tattoo
Mine is the shiny city on a hill and yours, of course, is the colors that fill it
We'll take you high, we'll take you higher

Now come to the city where you can praise
If you're black, if you're white, if you're yellow or grey
In the morning, in the night, anytime of day
What's that place - Diverse City
With curls in your hair and braids on the side
Straight shake'em loose, just come on and ride
We're a body with parts, like you and me
Together we make diversity

Welcome to Diverse City, we're colorful good
It's like a freak show in your neighborhood
So, if you wanna praise you can come on down
Cause this freak show's leaving the ground

Said we're Diverse City, we're colorful goods
It's just a state of mind, we gonna shine the way that we should, baby
So, if you wanna praise you can come on down
Cause this freak show's leaving the ground

You bring the heart, I'll bring the soul
I'll bring the flag, you bring the pole
We'll fly it high so the whole world knows
The dream of a king 'bout to unfold

We 'bout to do this thing for real
Diverse City got mass appeal
So put your hand in the hand of mine
And we'll spread this love like dandelions

I like it because it paints a beautiful picture of what the Body of Christ, the Bride of Christ, the Church, truly looks like. We are all different, different colors and sizes, races and ethnicities. We even worship differently and live differently, but we're all one family. We will all worship together in Heaven. It's incredible. It makes me mindful of my brothers and sisters and my mindset towards them. Christ died for all of us, after all. I want to be able to help my brothers and sisters, to encourage them and support them as they seek to serve the Lord, just as I am doing.

That's why I was so struck by an e-mail I received recently:

Hi Takara,

I want to share an amazing story about a woman
surviving against the odds, and if you like it, you
can see it on PBS afterwards.

In a male-dominated village in Bangladesh, a woman
named only "Rohima" was married off before she reached
puberty. When her husband was later killed, her in-laws
threw her out, pregnant.

She and her infant son survived by growing vegetables
on a small plot and begging for food from neighbors. "I
was just a poor woman, with no husband. I was lower
than a dog," she said.

Though Rohima never finished primary school, she can
now diagnose and treat simple illnesses. By offering
her community valuable medical skills, she now holds a
respected place where few existed for women, let alone
single mothers.
Watch a video clip of Rohima's work here.

Today, Rohima monitors the health of 300
households, visiting 15 homes a day and dispensing
advice about nutrition, sanitation, and family
planning. She teaches mothers to treat their
children's diarrheal dehydration by giving them
homemade oral-rehydration therapy: half a liter of
water, a pinch of salt, and a fistful of sugar. She
can also make preliminary diagnoses of illnesses like
tuberculosis, referring her patients to clinics for
tests and treatment. As a volunteer, she receives no
salary, but earns a living off commissions she makes
on health products. She and her son run a tiny
pharmacy, which she started with a small loan from

Rohima's story is only one exciting example of
groundbreaking progress on the frontlines of
global health explored in the PBS documentary
Rx for Survival—The Heroes. This two-hour
special features stories of real-life heroes whose
tireless perseverance saves millions of lives across
the globe.

Drawn from the acclaimed Rx for Survival—
A Global Health Challenge™ series, this unique
special is the true story of individuals whose
creativity, leadership and determination are finally
giving hope to people who have known only
poverty and disease, but who can now dream of
a safer and healthier future. Rx for Survival—
The Heroes is narrated by Brad Pitt and premieres
April 12 at 9p.m. on PBS.
Check your local listing for showtimes here:

Thanks for caring,
Hilary S.

P.S. It's not just community health that benefits from
training women to be health workers. By targeting some
of the world's most feared and lethal diseases, the
status of women fighting disease has also improved.
Read a dispatch in the field from one of the workers
participating in the program:

I guess, what I'm hoping will come of this post is prayer. I just ask that you all would continue to hold the whole Church in prayer. Pray for our brothers and sisters who are out sharing the Gospel, pray for our brothers and sisters who serve from home, pray for those who have yet to hear the Gospel and join the family, pray for all those who became our brothers and sisters this day (Heaven rejoices for them; I figure we ought to as well.) Pray for those in a season of discernment that they might hear God's call and have the courage and strength to do His will.

-and all God's people said, "AMEN!"

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Thoughts about Gifts

Simple Gifts by Aaron Copland

'Tis the gift to be simple,
'tis the gift to be free,
'tis the gift to come down
where we ought to be,
and when we find ourselves in the place just right,
'twill be in the valley of love and delight.
When true simplicity is gained
to bow and to bend we shan't be ashamed,
to turn, turn, will be our delight
till by turning, turning we come round right.

Zen Parable: The Giver Should Be Thankful

While Seisetsu was teh master of Engaku in Kamakura he required larger quarters, since those in which he was teaching were overcrowded. Umezu Seibei, a merchant of Edo, decided to donate five hundred pieces of gold called ryo toward the construction of a more commodious school. This money he brought to the teacher.

Seisetsu said: "All right. I will take it."

Umezu gave Seisetsu the sack of gold, but he was dissatisfied with the attitude of teh teacher. One might live a whole year on three ryo, and the merchant had not even been thanked for five hundred.

"In that sack are five hundred ryo," hinted Umezu.

"You told me that before," replied Seisetsu.

"Even if I am a wealthy merchant, five hundred ryo is a lot of money," said Umezu.

"Do you want me to thank you for it?" asked Seisetsu.

"You ought to," replied Umezu.

"Why should I?" inquired Seisetsu. "The giver should be thankful."

Ecclesiastes 3:13
And also that every man should eat and drink, and enjoy the good of all his labour, it is the gift of God.

Matthew 5:22-24 (King James Version)
22But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.
23Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee;
24Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.

Matthew 7:11
If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?

Acts 8:20
But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money.

Romans 5:15-18 (King James Version)
15But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.
16And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification.
17For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.)
18Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.

Romans 6:23
For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

1 Corinthians 7:7
For I would that all men were even as I myself. But every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that.

2 Corinthians 9:15
Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.

Ephesians 2:8
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

James 1:17
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.