Refresh

Too much tiredness can lead us to feel frustration and anger. In my own case when I encounter some difficult situation in the morning, my mind is calm, and it is much easier. When the same situation happens in the late evening, and I am a little bit tired, then I feel annoyed. So your basic physical condition makes a difference, whether your body is fresh, whether your mind is fresh. So this also shows how much depends on your own perception and your limited subjective view.  DALAI LAMA – The Book of Joy

When exhaustion takes over, we don’t do ourselves any favors by pushing through. Take a break. Take time for yourself. Take time to let God minister to you and refresh.

Greater Love

When we want something we did not get or we get something we did not want, we become frustrated. Frustration leads to anger. Anger leads to action and it’s not always good. To our defense Jesus got frustrated (Matt. 17:14-18). He got angry as well (Matt. 21:12-13). Somehow I think he knew that verbal backlash and flipping tables wasn’t going to solve the issues at hand. At the heart of it all is the fear that we won’t get what we need. It’s the fear that in God’s Kingdom there simply isn’t enough. For people of faith this kind of thinking is not an option. We must not use it as a defense mechanism to justify why we can’t have what we need. A woman, a card carrying member of the oldest marginalized group in the existence of the world, fights her way through a crowd to touch the hem of a cloak worn by the only person with the true power to save, is healed. She suffered twelve years and it seems unfair that she would have to fight so hard. Yet with one purpose alone she makes her way through the crowd unnoticed until she makes contact. Would that our own persistence be as strong, much stronger than the fear of not getting what we need, because we are a people of faith and God’s perfect love and desires for us is far greater than our fears.

Love and Connectedness

When we see others as part of us, as connected, as interdependent, then there is no challenge we cannot face together (Archbishop Desmond Tutu – The Book of Joy. p. 100)  The most simplest of needs is Love and in the palm of it’s hand is connectedness. From birth, it’s all the infant child really needs to know. So it’s safe to say that how we experience and respond to the world is related to how we receive love and how we are connected. Both words require “the other”, someone else, a relationship. To be loved and connected is not the same as being dependent. It is love that encourages us that we can be all that God has called us to be and connectedness that strengthens us because we know that we are not alone. Dependency doesn’t give us that much freedom. It becomes a fallback, not altogether bad, that is until we realize that we’ve remained back. Yet if we fall back to Love, it won’t allow us to remain back. Love will thrust us forward to try again without letting us go. Lord, let your love sown in me be the love I sow in others and may we always be forever connected by your Love.

A Masterpiece in the Making

You are made for perfection, but you are not yet perfect. You are a masterpiece in the making (Archbishop Desmond Tutu – The Book of Joy p.92). This seemed contrary to the Genesis story of humankind being created in the image of God (Gen 1:27). I believe God to be perfect, so I must be perfect – right?.  Yes and No. We had power and authority over all the earth. What we didn’t have was all knowledge, the knowledge that could only be had by eating what was forbidden. I can only assume that when humankind was created we were not meant to know everything, at least without first having experiencing something. We are spiritual beings in physical form, each of us given the face of God. Therefore our physical body is perfect but mastery involves action that leads to skill, proficiency and knowledge. Skill and proficiency comes with time. Skill and proficiency is different from perfection. Perfection is absolute. Nothing else needs to be done. Mastery can always be improved upon, actions (hopefully good ones), which we strive to maintain. Thank you God for another day. Let me not be drawn to instant gratification, but rather help me to remember throughout my days, the true value of your masterpiece in faith and action and the promise of your spiritual reward.

3D Resolutions

At the beginning of every year we resolve to do all kinds of things. Making a resolution means that we’ve at least examined ourselves to some extent and have made a decision towards change. If we are dedicated, disciplined and determined our resolutions will come to fruition. It’s not likely to be a smooth transition. We fall short as everything and everybody will find some way to distract us away from the goal. Even if we do fall our 3D approach will bring us back. Faith is like that. We say that we believe in something higher than ourselves and we know there are ways of being according to that faith but when it comes to following through….. we fall short. Being in the world gets in the way of being in the faith. If we’re not careful we’ll blame the Faith. Falling away is not the problem. It happens. None of us is perfect. If we stick to the 3D approach we soon recognize it’s not the faith, it’s the faithful. We simply must be accountable for what we say we believe, get back to our 3D approach and strive forward. One moment at a time, faith is a daily life-long resolution holding to the God within, that existed before we came into being and will remain long after.

Joy

In my younger years, I’m certain that I took waking up in the morning for granted. I was young. I had not experienced some  things. I made decisions based on what I thought I knew. Fortunately, I had parents to advise me as I made those decisions, some of the advise I took and some I didn’t. Needless to say I made some mistakes along the way, but I survived by the grace of God. And that’s what it’s about, finding joy in the sheer graciousness of God, that was always transparent even in the midst of my mistakes. Circumstances are part of the journey. They are results of the decisions we make. The good news is that our decisions only define us in the moment, they don’t determine our future. So waking up is clearly a joy not to be taken for granted. It is a blessing by the transparent grace of God because we have another opportunity to strive towards all that God has called us to be. My Lord what a morning!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

We’re a part of the strongest grassroots movement in the history of creation! We are validated by the birth and strengthened by the blood of the lamb – We are the Jesus Movement. Whatever we did not finish in 2016 we are already thanking God for the courage to challenge in 2017. Our power is in the proclamation of The Holy Name of Jesus. Through Christ God has said yes to all who believe. When God says yes, the word no has no power in God’s grassroots movement.
Message for 2017

Be Dedicated, Be Discipline, Be Determined, And Be Blessed!

The Altar

I admit it. I almost fell for it – that small voice that tries to convince you that not much has changed. It didn’t dawn on me until I was on my way home from an early evening service. I was asked “How are you?” I replied “same stuff different day.” In my defense I was tired (not the best excuse). However, the service went really well and I left slightly energized because I was going home to be with my family to celebrate my brother’s birthday. On the drive home it hit me – that question about how I was doing was an altar question, an opportunity to pause, take a couple of deep breaths and be thankful for the genuineness of the individual to care enough to ask the question. Upon further reflection, I felt really bad when I realized that the day hadn’t been the same at all. When in the weariness of life and we are just going through, we don’t have to find an altar – the altar comes to us. At the moment of encountering that question it may have been a different day, but certainly not the same stuff because in the form of a question, the day came with a gentle reminder of love: that thing that shows up when you least expect it, that something which happens when you need it the most.

A Simple Thing

I made sure I got out today. It’s not often that the weather is this warm in October. It was however mostly the brightness of the day that got my attention. I couldn’t let it go by as I’ve done so many times in the past. But today no depth of my emotions would allow me to settle in and make up some excuse for not taking the opportunity. I suppose I could have found some park with children playing or ventured through serene county woods looking for a babbling brook but I wasn’t really interested in watching children play or escaping the everyday.  The purpose was to simply go on a quick journey outside of the house. So I went to the mall. I talked to some people, smelled some fragrances and got caught up on the latest electronics. I know this all seems like a simple thing, perhaps even a little ridiculous. It was barely a two hour adventure, but just enough time to enjoy the brightness of the sun. On the ride back home I think to myself – God is good.

Slave Mentality

While it is God who changes the heart of humanity, it is the actions of humanity which help to create the catalyst for change or stifles change from taking place. Without change we risk becoming slaves to the in-equitable conventionalism in human society. This slave mentality preys on other people’s hope that if by their action they work hard they will be rewarded, all while the system in place perpetuates the status quo which does not allow any such “reward” from ever taking place, thus starving people to death because hope does not feed, action feeds. Yet it is never the action of the conventional wisdom in place which blames the starvation on not working hard enough or the real kicker – they simply didn’t live long enough.