Looks Can’t Kill

I recently read “The Struggles of Forgiveness,” a post on a very good blog on the website deepthinkings.wordpress.com. Well, the bump in the road was that I didn’t know exactly what I had done, but I had earlier sensed something amiss because of the way she was responding to me. So at my first opportunity, I asked if I had hurt her (keep in mind I was a visiting priest and this day was my third and last Sunday to be with this congregation). As the saying goes; “If looks could kill,” I wouldn’t be writing this today. At the end of the service I made one more attempt to find out why she was upset. I assured her that I honestly did not know what I had done but she apparently believed differently. Although the encounter was brief, it was painful, kind of like a stick from a needle. To this day I am not certain as to what the issue was (she never shared it with me), or whether she ever forgave me, but in my mind I’m okay with that. Perhaps she will one day forgive me for my “mystery act” until then the good news is that I believe God has forgiven me. On the surface there will be people who may never forgive us regardless of the time and emotion given to the circumstance. However, the heart that pursues God is a heart that in time will forgive others. Far deeper, is the reality of God’s measure of forgiveness that is always given to us.You may want to visit the sight for yourself as it got me thinking about the times when I have earnestly asked for forgiveness from someone and they looked at me like I was crazy. More specifically, I had one woman tell me to take it God and ask him for forgiveness. Since I had already given the matter over to God I smiled and assured her that I had already done that and was now asking for her forgiveness.

Matthew 6:12 Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.

Psalm 86:5 For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving, abounding in steadfast love to all who call on you. 

Mark 11:25 ‘Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone; so that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses.’

Luke 23:34 Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.”

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Do This

Remember my life! Remember my death! When people we dearly love die, these are the two things we remember most about them; their life and their death. We remember how they impacted us in their living and we remember the sorrow of hearing that they had died. We do this even for people we simply admire, like Mother Theresa or Martin Luther King among many others. As we move on, we often take on some part of that person in our own lives so that some part of them moves on with us. Hopefully it is a good part. When Jesus started saying to his followers “I am the bread of life.”, many claimed it was a difficult teaching and some turned away. For us today I believe it remains an invitation to carry Jesus’ life, death and resurrection with us as we move forward in our own life. If we can do this in our remembrance for the people in our lives that we love so dearly or simply admire, how much more should we as Christians desire to do this with Christ? Perhaps it is overwhelming to eat all of this bread in one day, but if we eat what we can to sustain us for each day, will we not be sustained every day for life?

Matthew 6:11 Give us this day our daily bread.

John 6:51-69 …”the one who eats this bread will live forever…The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.

Fear Of God Is Our Confidence

The word is vexation, a state of being frustrated, annoyed or worried. Job went through a period of vexation. He pleaded for understanding of his friends’ reprimand as to what he had done to render such devastation in his life. Of course we know from the scripture that Job was innocent, guilty only of serving God. I believe Job had every right to plead his case. However, fear of God (Job 28:28) does not mean that we should be afraid to question God concerning the trials and tribulations in our lives. Wisdom is it’s own teacher. There will be many times that we are frustrated, annoyed or worried about a negative situation of which we are unaware as to why we are being challenged with this experience. Let us pray that seeking God will be our first and only recourse. Of course seeking wisdom about the situation will require that we believe God is present and at work even when what we see is to the contrary and all we are able to do is praise a truly just and loving God as we wait it out. All the while we know that redemption, reconciliation and healing is God’s blessed assurance.

Job 4:6  Is not your fear of God your confidence and the integrity of your ways your hope? 

Proverbs 14:26 In the fear of the Lord one has strong confidence, and one’s children will have a refuge. 

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

3 Places

I had a very troubling experience yesterday which for a short period left me in a difficult place. I wasn’t there very long because by the grace of God I was able to recognize and accept the reality of the situation. Stepping back from the event and not running from it, I was able to find a place of peace and when I awoke this morning I found myself in a place of strength with the ability to say “no” to a familiar situation, which in the past, would have left me struggling. Today however, there was no struggle. I didn’t have to think about it. I had no feeling of guilt and no worry about the impression I may have left.

We often find ourselves in very uncomfortable places. The good news is that God is in each and every one of them. Where are you today? Seek God while he wills to be found (Isaiah 55:6). He will never leave you or forsake you (Hebrews 13:5). Let all who seek God rejoice and be glad and be confident in your salvation!

Psalm 118: 1, 5-6  O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; His mercy endures forever…In my constraint I called to the Lord; the Lord answered and set me free. The Lord is at my side; I will not fear; what can flesh do to me?

To Love In The Midst

Thomas Merton wrote; “It is in deep solitude and silence that I find the gentleness with which I can truly love my brother and my sister.” Jesus himself often went off to pray, meditate and be in conversation with God. Some of us have learned to create that kind of space in our lives, while others grab it whenever we can. When we do, it is often quite rewarding  as well as rejuvenation for the will of the spirit within us. We come to realizations and affirmations about who we are, as human beings in love with a merciful God ready and willing to bless us with his love, as we commit to sharing that love in our prayers for our bothers and sisters. When we are done we accept that we can’t stay in that quiet place forever. We are called to go back out into the midst of whatever chaos we left in order to attain some quiet peace. As blessed as we are in that solitude, we must learn to love our brothers and sisters in the midst of our interaction with others, to call upon the strength of God in the moments and events of our lives even as they occur. Its not easy to work through the chaos to get at the peace but when we do we will experience the power, strength and authority of the presence of a reconciled spirit within, and laugh without fear of the future.

Proverbs 31:21,25-26 She is not afraid for her household when it snows, for all her household are clothed in crimson…Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come. She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. (NRSV)

Sunshine Blog Award

This will be one of my last blogs for a few days as I take some time for my health and ask for all your prayers over the next few days as I recover and recuperate. Thank you all for following this far. I truly enjoy writing this blog. God is so good. I will return writing in a few days. God Bless. I just have one thing I need to do.

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I want to give a special thanks to Dan at http://hurdlestohappiness.wordpress.com/ for nominating me for the Sunshine Blog Award! It really is very nice to know that others enjoy what you do. The title of Dan’s site immediately caught my attention as a blog to follow and I would definitely recommend stopping by because it really is pleasurable and uplifting! I am certain Dan has a wonderful future ahead.

The rules for this award are as follows:

1. Link the award to the person who gave it to me.

2. Answer the following questions about myself

1.  Favorite Bad Habit: Junk food

2. Twitter Name: don’t have one

3. My Passion: Preaching the Gospel

4. Favorite Time of Year: September – October fall season. I love the change of colors and crisp air.

5. Favorite Vacation: Anywhere near or far, even in my own backyard.

6. Favorite Physical Activity: Walking

7. What puts a Smile on My Face: Seeing children mature into youth and youth into adulthood

3. Nominate 10 bloggers for the award.

4. Link the nominees to the post and comment on their blog, letting them know about the award.

This is always the hardest for me because I enjoy all of the blogs I follow but here are 10 other blogs I’ve followed for some time and would like to nominate. It’s a diverse selection but I think you will enjoy checking them out. they all bring sunshine in different ways.

http://blogwithadiff.wordpress.com/

http://iwanttobelieveingod.com/

http://allaboutlemon.com/

http://dehypnotize.wordpress.com/

http://asyougodiscipleship.wordpress.com/

http://talinorfali.wordpress.com/

http://soulblindministry.com/

http://justbenswords.wordpress.com/

http://mtsweat.com/

http://hodgepodge4thesoul.wordpress.com/

Let The Walls Fall

Video – Let The Walls Fall – Remember those walls I built. Well, baby there tumbling down. They didn’t even put up a fight. The didn’t even make a sound (Halo – Beyonce). Perhaps it sounds crazy, but the first time I listened to this song, I immediately thought of my relationship with God. I realize that this probably was not Beyonce’s intention (or perhaps it was) and yet it took me to a place of thankfulness and praise  for the presence of Christ in my life as the walls were in fact tumbling down without my knowing. It happens one day when you stop to evaluate where you are in life and realize that what you deemed as unsuccessful wasn’t failure at all  but a learning experience for growth. Learning to see the face of God in our relationships often requires some difficult experiences. We each have a “wall” or two in our own lives that are seemingly there to protect us when in fact they were meant to be broken down. It is then that we are able to see the glory that has been waiting for us all along, the halo that is in the one and only perfect loving relationship that God has with us. Let the walls fall, I’m putting Christ first!

Ephesians 2:14-20 For he is our peace; in his flesh he has made both groups into one and has broken down the dividing wall, that is, the hostility between us.

2 Corinthians 10:3-5 Indeed, we live as human beings, but we do not wage war according to human standards; for the weapons of our warfare are not merely human, but they have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every proud obstacle raised up against the knowledge of God, and we take every thought captive to obey Christ.

Encourage Yourself

Paul did it. David did it. Elijah, Job and Abraham did it. They all encouraged themselves. We must learn to speak what we believe. When there is doubt we should speak faith. When there is despair we should speak hope. When there is weakness we should speak strength. When there is hate we should speak love. Trust, believe and stand firm that God’s promises are true and know that his spirit upholds you, goes before you, and will never forsake you.

Deuteronomy 31:8 It is the LORD who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18 So we do not lose heart. Even though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day. For this slight momentary affliction is preparing us for an eternal weight of glory beyond all measure, because we look not at what can be seen but at what cannot be seen; for what can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal.

A Change Of Desire

There are a great many things and people throughout life in which its only potential is to hold you back. It may have the potential to inspire someone else but for you it can only keep you from moving in the direction God wants you to go. It is often difficult to discern the thing or person that hinders physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual growth. Earnestly examine your heart and in time it will be revealed. It is here when the hard decision to let go has to be made. Consider that you have already experienced the consequence (pros and cons) of holding on. Perhaps then you will see that now is the time to allow God’s heart within you to prevail and your decision will have already been made.

Psalm 37:4,23-24 Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of the your heart. The steps of a man are established by the Lord, when he delights in his way; though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong, for the Lord upholds his hand.

 

If

If we could interact specifically and only with God would we be as faithful to his law as we claim our desire to be? If we could walk in his presence physically by his side would we be as focused on his will? If we could clearly hear his voice as in a meeting across a conversation table would we heed his every consultation? If only we could… what would the world really be like, what true wisdom might we gain? As we wait for God, how long must God wait for us?

Matthew 23: 37 “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing.