November 3, 2011
Okay, have you EVER had one of those days when life seemed to be kicking you to the curb and yet EVERYONE ELSE seemed to be really happy? Did it drive you nuts? It does seem that there are people who radiate happiness quite often and yet when we look at their situations, they don’t seem to have it much easier in life than we do. What’s up with that?
There are many answers to that question and the purpose of this post is to inspire you to seek your own answers rather than to give you my own, but this quote got me thinking. Maybe it’ll do the same for you.
Happiness is the absence of the striving for happiness.
– Chuang Tzu –
April 21, 2011
“Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him. “Abba, Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.”
Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Simon,” he said to Peter, “are you asleep? Couldn’t you keep watch for one hour? Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
Once more he went away and prayed the same thing. When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. They did not know what to say to him.” Mark 14:35-40
I don’t know about you, but sometimes I read of the goings on in Jesus day and the choices made by his chosen 12 and I find myself wondering “what were they thinking” and “why can’t they see . . . ”
We were not there and facing all that they faced. We live in an easier time, yet we are no different than they were. Would we have watched and prayed for one hour? All too often, I believe, we find ourselves too busy to “watch and pray for one hour.” Even though I “pray a lot” it’s often in “stolen moments” as I rush about through my day. Why don’t I more often find the time to “watch for one hour” since I know that when I do so, my life is changed! Grace flows and my soul rejoices, yet I find myself too busy . . .
Busy? I find time to bake a pan of brownies. I find time to catch a 30 minute sitcom on tv. I find time to be online in social networking sites. I find time to run off to the bookstore . . . surely I can find time to “watch and pray for one hour.”
Today I will.
March 27, 2011
It is a beautiful day! Yes, I know the clouds are moving in, but do you know what? I know the maker of the clouds personally and so I’m not threatened. Actually, trust me – even when we have total cloud cover, the blue skies and sunshine are still there. Never far from us – just as the Lord is never far from us. Tomorrow’s Sunday! Holy Spirit rain down! Won’t dampen my spirits any! I am free!
That being said, I was just thinking . . . if you turn on any television station, pick up any magazine or newspaper, walk through any bookstore . . . you are inundated with opportunities to be taught to “get centered.” We constantly have opportunities to “de-stress” and to deal better with anxiety, even to bring on “good” stress. We are told we need to “chill” and to free our spirit . . . we are told we need to learn to focus better. We are told that once we do all this, we will be happy and peaceful and oh, so successful. What is all this? I can’t say that much of these books and lectures I’ve seen contained any reference to Christianity. I am also reminded of having read more than once that if we persist in doing the same thing and it never works, YET we continue to repeat it anyway, we are surely “crazy,” whatever that means. Well, crazy or not, if we are so much in need of finding our center and we keep reading these books and not finding it, are we perhaps chasing our tails which can only result in eventually getting dizzy?
To a Christian, there can be only one answer to what is at the center of our being. If we are to “get centered” and be at our peak, we must acknowledge the presence of the Lord living in our heart and soul. We must invite Him to fill us with His Holy Spirit to guard and to guide us, and to use us and our talents given BY HIM to His glory. We know this, yet our free will takes hold of us and we turn in every other direction BUT inward! We possess the answer to our every need. We’ve been given the perfect answer! A gift beyond our comprehension and more valuable than any we can buy for 29.99 plus shipping . . . all we have to do is open our hearts and say “come, Holy Spirit, come!”
March 12, 2011
I read a quote recently that really made me think. An unidentified missionary in Russia was quoted as having said that God loves us just as we are but that He also loves us too much to let us stay that way. Initially, this statement seemed contradictory and I questioned its theological accuracy. It, at first, sounded as though it reduced God’s immeasurable love for us to the somewhat questionable claims of love we hear (and speak) almost daily from (or to) family, friends, even virtual strangers. How often is a greeting card signed “love,” or an email closed with “love you?” How many times have you heard those “three little words” while on date with someone you’ve only barely come to know and thus assumed that they were perhaps a “means to an end” rather than a true expression of sentiment?
On the other hand, giving the quote a second thought, I find myself thinking of my childhood. As children, we were constantly surrounded by our parents, grandparents, teachers, etc., who accepted us as we were and then reprimanded us as well, expecting something more. What was this? It was their love for us manifesting itself in the effort to teach us to grow in understanding, and to keep us safe from harm. If our earthly mentors can love us this much, how much more can our Heavenly Father love us? He did, after all, give us His only son who died on a cross to save us from ourselves, and gave us His Holy Spirit to reside in us, to guard us, and to guide us in all we do.
We are the mirrors of that amazing love to the world. What a gift this is! How humbling to be given such a privilege to serve Him in this way! When we accept this commission, those three little words “I love you” are no longer a casual statement in the way our society has so often used them. Rather, we realize that they represent a blessing given to us, and one which we must share with others. This amazing love is indeed a gift and when we share it, we are twice blessed!
March 7, 2011
If you use a search engine with the keywords “let your light shine” you will find 238,000 hits. If you then search “darkness” you’ll get a shocking 75,900,000 hits. We, as Christians have much to do. Those numbers – so sad. But, look at Matthew 5:16 and we have our commission! Reminds me, too, of my days as a church school teacher. I first taught 5th grader and I myself was just in the 9th or 10th grade at the time, but Mom was in charge and knew what I could do, so there I was. Taught ’em the Ten Commandments. It was priceless because as I tried to break them down to examples and dialog that they could understand and broaden things so they’d see there’s more to it than perhaps they thought, they’d then ask me if “when Mommy does this, isn’t that again this commandment?” Later in another parish when I was in my twenties i taught the first and second grade and they were so adorable. They were also drawn to the most “goolish” (is that a word?) parts. Interesting comparison though. The little kids – the 1st and 2nd graders – they had such strong faith. Oh, yes they could be fresh and all but usually they were fighting to see who sat next to me as I “told stories” to them. There was a pure faith so clear in them, but less evident in the 5th graders I’d taught before.
This ties into the “let ur light shine” as our commission as Christians. We are born naked and we’re full of God and full of faith. As we are “exposed” to the world, our nakedness becomes an embarrassment and our faith becomes weakened by the world and the fact that it’s impurities take away our trust. It’s our job, as Christians, to enable folks to be in the world but to restore them to their earlier faith by reminding them that they are not OF this world. That’s really all there is to it. It really is rather simple. Or, to state it another way, check out Isa 26:3 “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You.”
We make it harder than it is. WE do. It doesn’t have to be.