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For God So Loved the World

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We have a promise of eternal life; but not because of the “good” we do or how righteous our life appears to others.  Because eternal life is a gift; for believing that God gave selflessly, His own Son; His life, for our life.  But why?

Easter is around the corner, and we know it’s not about chocolate bunnies or egg hunts, it is instead about the life, death and returning to life; to walk as a man until He was reunited with His Father once again.

It all seems so unreal doesn’t it?  But that is what walking in faith means, believing the unbelievable.  It’s the mystery of faith. 

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May you be blessed with unbelief this holiday season, may you be lifted in faith to a deeper level of learning, may you lean against Your Heavenly Father for strength, love and hope.

 

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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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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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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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Pieces of Loss

There are many variations of loss.  Of life, love, a health diagnosis, home, job, and whatever it is, is the most important thing to you at the time.  No one could possibly understand, even if they can relate – it’s not the same.  Sometimes we don’t want empathy as much as we want someone to listen.  We want someone to put up with our bad days — the days when we feel deeply alone in our grief.

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In time of grief that is so incredibly overwhelming, where do you go for peace? 

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Jeremiah 31:3
The Lord has appeared to him from afar, saying: Indeed, I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.
John 13:34
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.
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Pieces of Compassion

Image result for compassionThe word “compassion” is as hard to define as it is – understanding its importance.

  • empathy; not knowing — but attempting to understand.
  • help
  • love
  • care
  • concern
  • prayer

Is it not the most important path we walk as believers – to love and support those who are in need, whatever that need may be?

Isaiah 49:13 Shout for joy, you heavens; rejoice, you earth; burst into song, you mountains! For the Lord comforts his people and will have compassion on his afflicted ones.
Ephesians 4:32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
This post is personal, as I have several women friends battling cancer.  They are in varying stages, but all are fighting to live.  What can I do to ease any of the pain?  Bring a meal, pray intentionally and listen.
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Pieces of Humility

Oh the irony!!!! While perusing our church’s small library, I was asked if I was looking for a specific subject; I held my breath for a second; hmmm……how best to answer this?  Well, yes, I’m looking for a book on “Humility.”

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Touchy subject, isn’t it?  For some, they may feel “right” or “deserving” of something or someone.  Others might feel that pride is what we’ve been taught at home; “take pride in what you are doing,” etc.

Mother Teresa would say that humility is climbing a ladder.

  1. Do not speak of yourself
  2. Mind your own business
  3. Do not manage the affairs of others
  4. Avoid curiosity
  5. Accept contradictions and corrections cheerfully
  6. Pass over the mistakes of others
  7. Accept insult and injury
  8. To accept being slighted, forgotten and disliked
  9. To be kind and gentle, even under provocation
  10. Do not stand on your dignity
  11. To choose “always the hardest”

Wise and perhaps sorrowful woman at times?  How could she have walked this path that is so foreign to most of us.  She began as a human being-same as us.  She just took the vow to follow Jesus at any cost, as a complete promise.  Complete.

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Is (learning) to become humble, an easier “New Year’s resolution” than dieting or some other life change?  Here’s to those who are willing to share in the experiment with me!

 

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Pieces of Peace

I held off and didn’t post this right away; to see if the world would calm down in the aftermath of the U.S. election for President.  I do think on social media, 1/2 of the people are still searching to answers “why” and the other 1/2 have gotten back to work, home, their daily life.   I fall into the latter camp.

Back in biblical times I imagine there were similar elections, their rulers and kings holding the highest office in the world, being voted in – or perhaps there was just a lot of mayhem and then someone said I AM KING.

And then there is this 8 year old kid!

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Our voting process is probably MUCH more civil than in biblical times.  So if that helps with your angst, yay!!

Genesis 31:44 Come now and we will sign a peace pact, you and I, and will live by its terms.
Romans 16:17  Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offenses contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.
Psalm 133:1 Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!