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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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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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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?

 

 

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Location pieces

You’ve heard it before: Location, location, location.  Where  your business is located, or your home, the school your children attend, walking distance from here to there — depends greatly on location.

I have finally after 52 years, GOT THE LESSON!!!  It does not matter where you worship; it merely matters THAT YOU DO!!!

Yesterday I was pleasantly surprised that a church I had attended previously; had me clapping and singing with a rousing rendition of “I’ve got peace like a river.”  During the service, various members shared memories of loved ones who had passed; in honor of “Day of the Dead.”

The part that I finally GOT was that it does not matter where you “go,”  — sure you might have your favorite church, people you know that pray regularly and have bible study groups, but if you happen to find yourself some place different — you can be guaranteed that God is there.  He was “so there” yesterday it kind of blew my mind.

It's not about the church meeting your needs; it's about joining the mission of God's people to meet the world's needs. - Brian D. McLaren

It really never is about where you go, or that you go, or that you should.  God is already in your heart, so wherever you are; He is also.

On the other side of the coin; belonging to – or attending church on a given day is an incredible blessing.

Romans 1:11-12 For I long to visit you so that I can impart to you the faith that will help your church grow strong in the Lord. Then, too, I need your help, for I want not only to share my faith with you but to be encouraged by yours: Each of us will be a blessing to the other.
Ephesians 4:15-16 Instead, we will lovingly follow the truth at all times—speaking truly, dealing truly, living truly—and s  o become more and more in every way like Christ who is the Head of his body, the Church. Under his direction, the whole body is fitted together perfectly, and each part in its own special way helps the other parts, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.
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Pieces of Salvation

You start a conversation off with the word “salvation” and people run for the hills.  There are Christians, believers, followers, whatever term you wish to use that do not believe salvation is the only way to eternal life (it is!!)

I’m not here to tell you what you should believe, this blog and the book; “The Pieces” is merely a part of my journey to becoming more like Jesus, more whole, more faithful.

Recent “pieces” (thoughts, expressions) are bringing me to some very honest truths.  The word is speaking to me in ways that I fully understand and find to be doable in my life

Ephesians 4:1-4  ….I beg you—I, a prisoner here in jail for serving the Lord—to live and act in a way worthy of those who have been chosen for such wonderful blessings as these. Be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each others faults because of your love. Try always to be led along together by the Holy Spirit and so be at peace with one another.

Salvation takes place once, sanctification is life changing; a transformation of spirit.  The Holy Spirit guides our life.  Everything we do, say, think, pray – should be done as a reflection of Jesus.

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Healing Pieces

At one time or another, we have begun the healing process.  Perhaps emotionally from a broken heart, or physically from a surgical procedure.  There are literally so many types of pain and hurt, there is no one cure.

I’ve been healing from a four-inch incision in my lower back.  Thanks to meds, I rarely have pain, and in its place, I find myself moody, offtrack and unable to “use my (kind) words.”  The truest rest I’ve found, is in my Savior.  He is after all; comforter, peacemaker, and “home” to those who believe in him.

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When I feel sorry for myself or am frustrated at what I can’t do “right now,” I realize this is when I need to draw closer to God.  He isn’t pushing me away, I am doing that all by myself.

Psalm 23:2-3 He lets me rest in the meadow grass and leads me beside the quiet streams. He gives me new strength. He helps me do what honors him the most.
1 Peter 1:21 …..Now your faith and hope can rest in him alone.
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And where you are, Lord — I am free.