Hope – Messages For The Journey

For all of them have contributed out of their abundance…  Giving at the most difficult times in our life can be a challenge. We desperately want to hold on to what little we have whether it be money, goods or even a way of living or a certain way of thinking. It’s a struggle to believe that by letting some of these things go we may be allowing space for a certain peace to take it’s place. It is a peace that passes all understanding. It is a peace that opens us up to the mystery of redemption and resurrection eagerly waiting to happen. If what we’ve been doing isn’t working, perhaps it’s time to we try another way. We have nothing to lose and everything to gain.   …but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.  Take time to remember – God is greater.

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Fitting In

…the one who sent me is with me…  I remember when my parents sent me off to college. As they drove away I immediately experienced a different kind of wilderness celebrating all of the possibilities and yet wondering if I might actually fit in. Holding to some old ideals and relationships admittedly made “fitting in” a bit difficult. It was my mother who helped me understand that by being there I had already fit in to a culture of higher learning. Learning to put things in proper perspective would be my first challenge. This is one of the moments in my life that helps me remember how much my mother’s presence carries on within me, still guiding and comforting me in those times I’m feeling like I don’t “fit in.”  Thank you God for your love and presence are everlasting.

Fighting Through

…unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains…  John12:20-26  Everyone knows that a cold or flu must run its course. Sometimes we can take things that help shorten the effects of their duration, but it still runs its course. Nonetheless medication is a good way to fight through it until we can give our body the rest it really needs. If at some point we don’t stop and give our body the rest it needs, the situation will get worse before it gets better. Occasionally, this is how we treat life. Sometimes we fight so hard to keep what we have, push through bad situations or environments and turn away from the obvious. What we sometimes need to do is let things go, be still, and turn towards what is not so obvious to others, but to us is quite clear – much like that cold or flu, by God’s grace and favor – this too shall pass. We then emerge strengthened for our journey and again bearing much fruit.

Letting God

And now I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. John 17:1-11  Let Go and Let God. We say that a lot don’t we? We say it both to our selves and to one another to keep us from being bound up. Yet sometimes no matter how much we try to convince ourselves to let something go, occasionally – something reminds us that we haven’t totally left a painful or discouraging situation behind. Interestingly, it is also difficult to let go of good situations as well, for example when someone with which we come to have a special relationship, moves or passes away. This is what the disciples are faced with during this discourse with Jesus before he is taken away by the authorities. Letting go is difficult! Anything that has an effect on our lives, good or bad – we have a hard time letting it go. No one understands this more than God. In terms of the body, all physical relationships are temporary. So too Jesus relationship with his disciples was temporary, but not without purpose. We still live that relationship today because of the evangelical Spirit of the Gospel which the disciples received – now falling on us. The process of letting go is allowing the human relationship to be replaced with the divine. Letting Go isn’t so much about releasing something as it is about replacing it with the consciousness of the Spirit of God and who God has called us to be and do, in order that we may move forward in times of loss, pain or opportunities for growth.

…the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, support, strengthen, and establish you. 1 Peter 4:12-14, 5:6-11

Imagine The Possible

“For mortals it is impossible, but for God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:23-30  Like the rich man, we all struggle to let things go. All factions of fear, such as worry, doubt and past experiences keep us from stepping in faith. All possibilities belong to God. So go ahead, walk with God, change your way of thinking and imagine the possible. For to imagine the possible is to imagine God.

See, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh; is anything too hard for me? Jeremiah 32:27

Then What?

“Teacher, what good deeds must I do…?”  Matthew 19:13-22  This discourse reminds me of a an exercise I participated in while at a business conference. We were asked to find solutions to a problem by continually asking the question; “Then what?”  The rich man in this passage seems to play this game with Jesus until he gets an answer that leaves him silent. “Sell your possessions, give the money to the poor…then come follow me.”  Perhaps he should have stopped at just keeping the commandments. We all get to a place in our lives where we want to move forward until we realize in order to do so we have to let something go and the trade off is scary. Then What? Of course like the rich man, Jesus also gives us something to consider. When we are willing to let go of the thing that holds us back, we give ourselves the opportunity to experience God’s love and faithfulness as something greater than all our fears.

Born To Create Change

John 12:20-26 Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.

It’s no mystery that there are times when something has to die in order for something different to emerge. By the same token, whether we like it or not, our birth creates change for someone or some situation. Yet throughout life we resist change for various reasons, but they all fall under one category, fear. We are afraid that we are going to lose something or that we will inherit something of which we are uncertain that we want. Of course I am not solely referring to physical death, but also things that simply need to end. This includes the things we want in our relationships. Jesus knew that his (physical) end was inevitable. He understood that with the separation of his body from the relationship he had with his disciples, was the expectation of the glorification of God and the gift of the Holy Spirit for all who believed. What might we be holding on to in our relationships that is keeping us or the other person from blossoming into the person God has called us to be or simply experiencing something greater that God has intended? How do we know when it is time to change? Perhaps when we begin to ask these questions is the beginning of knowing when change needs to take place.

Job 42:1-2 Then Job answered the Lord: ‘I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.

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.

 

Are You Using All Your Strength?

One day a small boy was trying to lift a stone much too heavy for him. His father walked by and seeing his struggles said; “Are you using all your strength?” The boy said that indeed he was.  But the father replied; “No son, you aren’t, for you haven’t asked me.”

How much haven’t we asked God about? How many of our weaknesses do we keep locked up inside us, because we think that we should be able to handle on our own? We need to remember that a part of our strength, the greater part, comes from our relationship to God – the God who is able and willing to help us. But first we must realize our weakness, and then we must trust that God’s spirit will take control and strengthen us in our weakness as we move forward.  Doing our best as Christians always includes asking God to help us do what we are striving to do.  From independence to dependence; God makes his power perfect in our weakness; for it is there that he is able to do for us what we, out of our own strength alone, won’t let him do.

Living Out The Parable

When Christ wanted us to heed what he had to say he told a story. Jesus called it a parable. Although all parables have meaning, they don’t always have benefit to the hearer. One must be able to understand its meaning. Jesus said, (Mark 4:26-29) “The kingdom of God is as if someone would scatter seed on the ground, and would sleep and rise night and day, and the seed would sprout and grow, he does not know how. The earth produces of itself, first the stalk, then the head, then the full grain in the head. But when the grain is ripe, at once he goes in with his sickle, because the harvest has come.” The harder we try in this journey to take the fate of our own lives into our own hands, when fall, the greater the redemption in our own eyes seems to be. (But) our redemption, becomes our testimony; our own story about the seed that was planted and the growth through our experiences in the world that needed to take place. God’s presence of that seed, allows us to see that our fate has always been in God’s hands and that our fate is destined for something larger and more valuable than even we could imagine. It is then that the parables of the Kingdom are no longer riddled with metaphors to be deciphered. When we realize that the parables have taken on different meanings for us at various times in our lives, no longer are we prodigal but instead reconciled in our understanding of who God is and has always been. As we examine our selves in this journey and our own “perfect” imperfectness with the world, sometimes it is difficult to see what God sees in us. But when we consider the earthly relationship and its ultimate cycle of realization, which brings us back to the knowledge that indeed our Father can do anything, the Kingdom becomes clearer as we are able to see our selves in the parables for the benefit our own learning and ultimate growth.