Catholic, life experience

Conversation and conversion

I like having a good conversation about why I became Catholic, it seems to be what people care about now days, and is the first topic we discuss when we haven’t seen each other for awhile.

What I dislike greatly is the morbid curiosity or judgment kind of conversation about my conversion.  Had one of those tonight at a pancake breakfast!  It was accusatory and put me on the defensive.  In the end I just said that it fed my spirit and let them push their nose up to the ceiling and sigh.  I did the latter and left the table.

Shared this theory with my SIL when we visited her last month, we agreed, it’s not like becoming Lutheran.  I mean – heck people don’t see that as admonishing.  Or Jewish; now I do have a friend that converted to Judaism and she’s functioning just fine and doesn’t seem to get hassled about her beliefs.  (Gypsy, I’m gonna need some feedback from you)!

Catholic is probably the most misunderstood religion on earth.  I should know, I had my high and mighty opinions too, when I was in RCIA (a class to learn more about Catholicism) I asked my many ignorant questions.  Why do you worship the Virgin Mary?  Why is she so important anyway?  What is purgatory all about (I still don’t buy that one)!  Why can’t priests marry?  The amazing thing is, all of my teachers were patient and gave me explanations that helped me understand.

I’m not an expert, trust me.  I attended mass tonight, my first Tuesday night service and felt like a 3 year old.  However, I was able to function and it was a lovely 1/2 hour. When you have conversation with people; whether it’s about lifestyle changes, religion, politics or child-raising, remember the other person is a human being and deserves the same respect you have for yourself.

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Ephesians 4:32
Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
life experience

Pieces of Companionship

What does companionship have to do with faith?  A lot, as it turns out!  Conversation, conversion, discernment, spiritual direction, even sharing in community projects.  It’s always more enjoyable with a friend.

If you regularly attend a church, you maybe involved with the different ministries that support the members or outside communities; such as social justice.

I’ve found that using the skills you already have can help others in what they may need.  If you are organized, maybe help with the food shelf.  If you like to read, volunteer to proof the newsletter.  If you enjoy hearing about the “old days,” visit your elderly members.  There is always a way to reach out, and in doing so, you increase your faith, and likely – that of those you are in contact with.

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When you are a bright light in a dark world, sharing your testimony of faith is a gift to those who are open to hear it.  I give God ALL the glory for bringing me out of ovarian cancer and healing my body.  God planted the seeds for research and treatment, I am blessed beyond words, to be alive.  Alive and well and cancer free.

So when you need a friend, reach out to those who know you, and perhaps you will extend your reach even further, to those you don’t. 

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2014 Pieces

I found my first “Pieces Journal,” dated January 22, 2014.  It seems so long ago, but it also shows me the walk I’ve taken along Jesus; is just a moment a time, and my faith has continued to grow; year after year.  I’d like to share with you some of the earlier “scraps of paper, devotions and musings” from my journal.  May you find your own special “pieces.”

It’s in the act of faith that courage becomes reality and the Lord’s grace rushes in to supply divine power.

Dear God, I want to be gracious and lovely in Your sight.  Open to receiving.  Take me away from the things that waste my time and rob me of meditative time with You.

I am encouraged by the mighty works of God.  “Prayer” has become a powerful word in my vocabulary, and one that gives meaning to my life.  I pray for HOPE, what a beautiful gift; and, it is free!!!  He walks with me in the garden of my life.  We talk, I learn, I am blessed to know Him as my Father, and Friend.

Keep your defense strong, trust in God.  Pray when anxiety seeps in.

Take it to God.  When you are low or upset, even when it feels contrary to do so; tell Him, share your heart.

I see so many parallels in my past and current life; except now I am grateful for all of it – the hard, hurtful times along with the peaceful.  I believe it’s more than ‘equal parts,’ rather how Jesus wants to live in me; “Grateful for all of the pieces.”  In this way, everything is a subject for witnessing.

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Impossible situations are opportunities for the Lord to teach us valuable lessons that we’d never learn any other way.

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When we get stuck

Have you felt “stuck” in your prayer life?   Sometimes we forget the more we lean on Christ, the less stuck we become, and the softer the place is to land.  But it’s hard “getting there” sometimes.  I was recently hospitalized.  I actually could not pull a decent prayer together in my head, I couldn’t express to God what I needed from Him, what I was grateful for or even my love for Him.  I was stuck.

My minister stopped in to visit, his prayer upon leaving was like a prayer on wings.

Sometimes we need intercessory prayer.  We all know that one person who is a “prayer warrior.”  Send them a text or make a quick call, let them know you need prayer on your behalf.   That’s all you have to say, no details necessary.

May you be deeply blessed in prayer this week.

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Agape Love

Webster defines “agape” as being in a state of wonder.  I often felt the meaning was to “love as Jesus loved,” it also involves faithfulness, commitment, and an act of the will. It is distinguished from the other types of love by its lofty moral nature and strong character. Agape love is beautifully described in 1 Corinthians 13:1 If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 

A friend of mine, Unitarian minister, theologian and scholar and I, agree completely in this type of love.  It has little to do with “Christianity, the Christian church, a specific religion or belief,” and everything to do with loving as in caring for others without judgement.  WITHOUT JUDGMENT.  Can we do that?  What are the bylaws of our various religions?  Some say; well not the gay people, or not the terrorists, not the people that are different from us.  I say ALL PEOPLE.  We need to love and care for ALL PEOPLE.

Hebrews 10:24
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds….
1 John 2:10
Anyone who loves their brother and sister lives in the light, and there is nothing in them to make them stumble.
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12/31/2017

The new year begins tomorrow!  Skip resolutions and promises to yourself, instead dive into the Bible, looking for new and fresh ways to connect with your Savior.  Jot notes on recipe cards, find inspirational apps for your phone, enjoy coffee with a neighbor and share your faith. But ultimately walk with Jesus at your side.  We are to be His hands and feet, so serve when you are able, say a kind word, spend time with family; particularly your elders.

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Deuteronomy 6:5
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.
Philemon 1:6
I pray that your partnership with us in the faith may be effective in deepening your understanding of every good thing we share for the sake of Christ.
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Spiritual Direction

My husband has been joking with me about a country song titled:  “I could write a book about what I don’t know.”  He thinks his book would be blank!

I am continuing/beginning/carrying on down my spiritual path.  I’ve decided that I will seek “spiritual direction.”  This is not a formal or expensive endeavor, generally a clergy person of any and all religions, including pagan or atheisim will advise, poke, prod, explore, ask questions about where/when/how/why you are considering this particular path.

Who advises you deeper than your relationship with God, when you receive a calling?  Curious of any comments.

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Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

 

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It Takes Time

We are a hurry-busy-fast society.  However, a hand has reached down often enough in my life that SLAMMED on the brakes, Jesus calls to me.  Take more time with Me, get into the Word, tomorrow is not promised, but today — it’s here, let’s move some mountains, let’s climb to the top instead of wallowing in the shadows.

I’ve experienced some heavy health issues the last two months.  I have slowed WAY down.  And yet, with all this free time, I am still selfish, not having committed my time with better intentions.

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Our relationship with God is our most important.  Jesus walked the earth for 33 years as a human being, we can bring to him all we’ve got.  He “gets” it.  Let the extra time in your days, be filled with prayer, conversation, servitude and love, all we are; and all we can be — can be received by the love of the Father.

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Deuteronomy 4:40
Keep his decrees and commands, which I am giving you today, so that it may go well with you and your children after you and that you may live long in the land theLord your God gives you for all time.
2 Timothy 2:22
Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.

 

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Reconnected

As you have probably experienced; losing a password and jumping through a variety of hoops can be very frustrating.  This happened here, with WordPress!  I have missed writing and encouraging!

This scripture came to me inside a card from a friend today.  I thought it was incredibly powerful.  When we are down and out, we must never ever forget that our God, the Holy One of Israel, Lord and Savior – is ALWAYS here and is ALWAYS the same.  Circumstances in our lives change constantly…..what a blessing to know we remain intact in our faith and that our foundation never even quakes – as long as we are connected to our Heavenly Father.

Isaiah 43:2-3

When you pass through the waters,
    I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
    they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
    you will not be burned;
    the flames will not set you ablaze.
For I am the Lord your God,
    the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;…

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Pieces of Community

In the past two days I’ve spent a good amount of time with UU’ers (Unitarian Universalists).  I remain a “friend” of this community, as I had been an active participant for four years.

Some Christians would tell you “don’t converse with unsaved folks.” But that NEVER made sense to me.  How are you supposed to share the love of God and the reason for grace if you only ‘hang out’ with like-minded people?

I personally don’t believe the God I believe in put His “Good-Housekeeping” Seal of a Approval on a particular church or religion.

However, I digress, this post is about community, and the importance of belonging; finding your (various types of) people and how the bible encourages it.

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Acts 12:12 …..”gathered together praying…”

Deuteronomy 31:12 “Gather the people together, men, women, children, and your foreigner who is within your towns, so that they may hear and learn…..”

A core belief in the UU church is to “question everything.”  I am not a Lutheran because my parents raised me to be one, in fact – I no longer identify as a Lutheran at all.  I check the box for Christian for medical forms and leave it at that.

But community; is more than a group of people hanging out together, it’s being with people who respect, are concerned about and want you to live your best life (I’m channeling Oprah)!

Is your community healthy?  Are you inspired and encouraged by those in your circle?  Is God at the center?

what does your community look like?  what is it missing?