November 6, 2018
My residence – so disappointing,
there was nothing I could do.
I was ready to give up
but then my Father spoke to me.
He started with the woodwork,
old ceilings to bad floors.
He renovated tattered walls
and then the windows had to go!
He worked hard day and night . . .
took up residence right there.
Instead of leaving in the night,
His love did me repair.
I learned so very much from Him!
Soon everything was new!
I want to be so much like Him,
giving blessings in His name!
By Martha L Shaw – © 2018
My Mom and Dad both helped me reno my house and me! The most important task they did was lead me to my Lord and my God!- ML Shaw
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Posted by Martha L Shaw
October 29, 2012
Growing up, I was led to believe that my church did things right while others did not. It doesn’t matter which denomination it is. I’ve since found many denominations share this opinion about their own sense of what “the truth” truly is.
I came across this quote this morning:
Rivers, ponds, lakes and streams – they all have different names, but they all contain water. Just as religions do — they all contain truths. – Muhammad Ali –
It reminded me of some courses I studied in college. I attended a Christian college and was “required” to take a world religions course. I loved it and opted to take more than one such course. You see, they taught us not only Christianity . . . not simply western religions . . . but eastern ones too. It was truly a “world” religions course. I was taught about some groups whom I’d been raised to believe were “evil” in their beliefs.
Know what? When you are put in a position to listen, to truly listen, to the culture and values and beliefs of another, you learn that we are all far more alike than we are different. I was amazed at the similarities I could suddenly so easily see as I compared and contrasted the many religions of the world.
This is not the place to delve into a long sermon on what I took away from each and every world religion I studied for it would be far, far too long for a blog post. I write this because rarely do I pick up a newspaper, click to a webpage, or switch on the television or radio without finding the “different” among us being judged and found lacking.
We judge one another, but we also judge the church . . . in my mind that is much the same thing since WE are the church, not the brick or wooden building with a few trees and a parking lot. You and I are the church and we carry its message to those who need to know it in our generation and the next. How can we do so when we seek to relate hate and indifference rather than truth? A tired cliché tells us the “truth will set us free.” Sure enough. Freedom. Isn’t that what we all seek?
Yesterday’s Gospel reading at my church spoke of difference, of the truth, of freedom, and of healing. You do not have to belong to my parish, my denomination, be a Christian, nor belong to any “organized religion” to admit those are things you seek. We all do. It was, in fact, creating a stir in the Gospel story told. Someone seeking those things was not “one of us.” He was overlooked, despised, an outcast. What was Jesus response?
In the reading Jesus was surrounded by a vast crowd including His chosen 12 and oh so many others eager to meet Him, to hear Him, to touch Him. One man, Bartimaeus, was blind. He’d been the despised one of which I spoke. Society at the time believed his condition surely was caused by some dreadful sin he or his people had committed? He cried out to Jesus believing He would heal Bartimaeus. Oh, the crowd had fits, even Jesus own chosen 12. Jesus, though, called the man to come to Him. Jesus didn’t care which “group” this man belonged to. He surely wasn’t part of any. Jesus didn’t overlook him as pretty much everyone else did. He healed the man and told him that “your faith has set you free.” Freedom, healing, acceptance.
We climb over, walk around, and pass by those who are different every day. We wrinkle our nose at how they “smell” and cover our eyes at the way they look. Our failure to accept them forces them to live as they do in many cases. Why do we not look at them? Could it be that if we looked into their eyes we’d see ourselves reflected there? Could it be that we’d see our own human weakness, often denied, staring at us? Could it also be that we’d see Jesus Himself looking back at us? We would see the Truth staring back at us for sure. We don’t want to see it. It is time we stopped denying. We are all different. It is time to embrace this and to seek unity.
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Posted by Martha L Shaw
September 19, 2012
Read the following quote: “Abundance is a fact of nature. It is a fundamental law of nature, that there is enough and it is finite. Its finiteness is no threat; it creates a more accurate relationship that commands respect, reverence, and managing those resources with the knowledge that they are precious and in ways that do the most good for the most people.” – Lynne Twist –
I appreciate the intent expressed in the words of Ms Twist, but I believe she has actually expressed the very reason why we see a growing lack of abundance in our natural world rather than a respect for it with an inbred tendency to value it and work toward the increase of our finite worldly resources. We do, I believe, crave abundance but most of us in our secret hearts feel a sense of entitlement. Our worldly or natural resources are finite and as such do run out. The sun does continue to rise and set yet our trees, ocean life, wildlife of various sorts and more do become extinct. Their finiteness was and is real, was not reverenced, thus extinction becomes a reality in the nature of this world every single day. What is reverence? Can the finite be protected from extinction? Is there, in fact, any possibly link between the two?
Reverence has been defined as an outward manifestation of a feeling of awe. For me, the feeling of awe I experience in nature is one of feeling the grace and love of the hand which created all that naturally surrounds me and not quite a sense of reverence in the flora and fauna itself. That being said, the abundance suggested in the quote is overstated and instills in us a need to possess. Nature in its own sphere has an innate ability to regenerate itself, but once removed from that place, becomes threatened by extinction caused by the very reverence the quote suggests. True reverence, I believe, gives life rather than taking it away. I believe the fundamental law of nature which most directly impacts us is our own free will and the decisions we make determine what is enough or what we cause to “run out.”
That being said, I believe the finite in this world is a gift to us by an infinite divine and loving God. I believe true reverence in Him and in His gifts to us and the nature of His giving is the only truly effective means of living the life we were born for, having the resources we need to do so, and doing the most good for the most people. In the many world religions I’ve studied, the common thread among them whether eastern or western religions and whether the focus is on one divine being or many . . . all of these which I’ve read and studied DID believe in the divine. When we love the giver, we truly do appreciate the gift and the spirit in which it was given and in doing so we have a true abundance! In looking to the heart and not the gifts . . . or the resources, it is that relationship which truly effects the change needed in our own lives and the lives of others. When we take on the heart of the Giver, there is no distinction between finite and infinite . . . for our focus changing from acquisition to the common good.
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Posted by Martha L Shaw