Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Sunday, March 28, 2010
I must admit that much of my life is spent thinking about the past or planning the future. Many times, whether I'm spending time with the kids, doing the day to day things of life, my mind is elsewhere, thinking of the "next thing" I need to do.
The Bible clearly warns us against this type of thinking:
"So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom" (Psalm 90:12; NKJV; Emphasis mine).
Further, James tells us:
"Come now, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit"; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead you ought to say, "If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that" (James 4:13-15; NKJV).
These verses were brought to the forefront of my mind when I stumbled upon the following poem:
First I was dying to finish high school
and start college
And then I was dying to finish
college and start working
And then I was dying to marry
and have children.
And then I was dying for my children
to grow old enough for school
so I could return to work.
And then I was dying to retire.
And now, I am
And suddenly I realize that I forgot to live.
My heart attack and hospital stay really shook things up and caused (maybe forced?) me to take a step back and ponder things. Tragedies happen, divorce, business failure, and on and on. The next "big thing" can crumble in no time. Its in the small everyday things where life is at. Just wanted to encourage each of you - don't forget to live ... Have a blessed day!
Thursday, March 25, 2010
Sunday, March 21, 2010
Friday, March 19, 2010
When you drop a stone from your hand, what does it do? It immediately falls to that earth from whence it once came. The stone returns to its original source. The same is true of fire and water. They always seek to return to their centers. Your soul, once it begins to turn inward, is brought under this same law of central tendency. It too gradually falls toward its proper center, which is God. The soul needs no other force to draw it than the weight of love.
Jeanne Guyon, from Experiencing the Depths of Jesus Christ
I just love this. The thought that all that is most truly me needs no special effort, but only its own true nature, to return to God, is like a drink of cold, clear water to my parched heart.
St. Francis saw it, I think, when he wrote ...
I beg you, Lord,
let the glowing and honey-sweet force of your love
draw my mind away from all things that are under heaven,
that I may die for love of you
who thought it a worthy thing to die for love of me.
Have a blessed evening and weekend everyone!
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Further along He says that when we love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us, we do it "in order that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven". So does that mean that if I don't love my enemies, I can't be a child of God anymore? No, I don't think that's what He's trying to get across. What He is saying is that God loved me when I was His enemy, and so if I am a true child of God, then I'll behave in the same way. I am to be my Father's Son. I am to see things the way God sees things. When I do that I am doing all that God calls me to do.
But then Jesus goes on to say something absolutely off the wall to me. Or at least at first glance it is ... Lord, you go on to say "Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect". That's going too far! I'M NOT PERFECT, Lord. You know that I fall short of this. So what are you trying to say? Your standard is way too high for me!
But then when you think about it, God couldn't have very well said to me, "Just do your best, and I'll accept that." A perfect God doesn't give me an imperfect standard to live by. God wouldn't lower His standards to accommodate us would He?
I guess when I love my enemies, then I participate in something that is part of God's perfect character. I do something perfect in His strength, but I still don't get to that kind of standard in the everyday part of my life. I still get it wrong at times.
Its time to look at how Matthew uses the word "perfect" in this passage. "perfection" in the original Greek has the idea of "complete." In other words"capable of doing everything that God calls us to do"
Colossians 2:10 (NLT) says "So you also are complete (or "perfect") through your union with Christ, who is the head over every ruler and authority."
"Perfect" (teleios from télos = goal, purpose) means "one who has accomplished the intended goal (telos)." If something accomplishes what it is designed to do, it is said to be perfect (teleios). A child is imperfect in the sense that they have not yet grown to full maturity. So telios is often translated as "mature". When something is fully developed then it is said to be perfect. So Telios has the idea of "being complete."
2 Corinthians 5:21 (NLT) says, "For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.:"
When I trust in what Jesus did for me on the Cross, then I am complete. God sees me as righteous, ie in right relationship with Him, as perfect and complete, as forgiven of all my sins. Instead of seeing me, He sees what Jesus did for me, and so I stand before Him AS PERFECT.
That doesn't mean I'm going to be perfect in my everyday relationships. I'm never going to be perfect in that way. I get it wrong all the time. But as the Lord works through me, I live out the kind of life He wants me to live. I am complete. I am doing all that God has called me to do, and in that sense it is PERFECT and I live in a way that is holy and acceptable to God. It is a journey of perfection that we are taking.
"I don't mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us. Let all who are spiritually mature agree on these things. If you disagree on some point, I believe God will make it plain to you. But we must hold on to the progress we have already made."
Jesus is our perfect standard for life and faith, and as I live it out then I display glimpses of the perfection of God in my life. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NLT) says, "All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work." The Kings James Version says "That the man of God may be PERFECT, thoroughly furnished unto all good works."
"YOU THINK YOU'RE SO PERFECT!" Well, as a matter of fact, we are ... In Christ.
Sunday, March 14, 2010
Thursday, March 11, 2010
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
Love never dies a natural death. It dies because we don't know how to replenish its source. It dies of blindness and errors and betrayals. It dies of illness and wounds; it dies of weariness, of witherings, of tarnishings.
Love does not consist of gazing at each other, but in looking together in the same direction.
Love is a choice you make from moment to moment.
Love is patient, love is kind.
It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
It is not rude, it is not self-seeking.
It is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth.
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails.
Love, like truth and beauty, is concrete. Love is not fundamentally a sweet feeling; not, at heart, a matter of sentiment, attachment, or being "drawn toward." Love is active, effective, a matter of making reciprocal and mutually beneficial relation with one's friends and enemies. Love creates righteousness, or justice, here on earth. To make love is to make justice. As advocates and activists for justice know, loving involves struggle, resistance, risk. People working today on behalf of women, blacks, lesbians and gay men, the aging, the poor in this country and elsewhere know that making justice is not a warm, fuzzy experience. I think also that sexual lovers and good friends know that the most compelling relationships demand hard work, patience, and a willingness to endure tensions and anxiety in creating mutually empowering bonds.
Love is anterior to Life
Posterior to Death
Initial of Creation, and
The Exponent of Earth
Love doesn't make the world go 'round; love is what makes the ride worthwhile.
Love is only half the illusion; the lover, but not his love, is deceived.
Love does not die easily. It is a living thing. It thrives in the face of all of life's hazards, save one -- neglect.
Love is the strange bewilderment which overtakes one person on account of another person.
Love is a promise, love is a souvenir, once given never forgotten, never let it disappear.
Love is like pi - natural, irrational, and very important. (Something I'm trying to remember in math class!)
In reality, in love there is a permanent suffering which joy neutralizes, renders virtual, delays, but which can at any moment become what it would have become long earlier if one had not obtained what one wanted, atrocious.
Love seems the swiftest, but it is the slowest of all growths. No man or woman really knows what perfect love is until they have been married a quarter of a century.
Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into friend.
Love vanquishes time. To lovers, a moment can be eternity, eternity can be the tick of a clock.
Love is the only bow on life's dark cloud.
It is the Morning and the Evening Star.
It shines upon the cradle of the babe,
and sheds its radiance upon the quiet tomb.
It is the mother of Art,
inspirer of poet, patriot, and philosopher.
It is the air and light of every heart, builder of every home,
kindler of every fire on every hearth.
It was the first to dream of immortality.
It fills the world with melody,
for Music is the voice of Love.
Love is the magician, the enchanter,
that changes worthless things to joy,
and makes right royal kings and queens of common clay.
It is the perfume of the wondrous flower -- the heart
and without that sacred passion, that divine swoon,
we are less than beasts;
but with it, earth is heaven
and we are gods.
Love is a condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own.
Love does not alter the beloved, it alters itself.
Love is blind, but friendship closes its eyes.
Love doesn't just sit there like a stone; it has to be made, like bread, remade all the time, made new.
Love is never lost. If not reciprocated, it will flow back and soften and purify the heart.
Love, I find, is like singing. Everybody can do enough to satisfy themselves, though it may not impress the neighbors as being very much.
Thursday, March 4, 2010
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
Every long lost dream
Led me to where you are
Others who broke my heart
They were like Northern Stars
Pointing me on my way
Into your loving arms
This much I know is true
That God blessed the broken road
That lead me straight to you….
(Rascal Flatts, “Bless The Broken Road”)
And then there are the words from singer Wayne Watson’s old classic, “Home Free:”
Out in the corridor,
We pray for life
A mother for her baby
A husband for his wife
Sometimes the good die young
It’s sad but true
But while we pray for one more heartbeat
The real comfort is in You
You know, pain has little mercy
And suff’rings no respecter or age
Of rank or position
I know that every prayer gets answered
But the hardest one to pray
Is slow to come
“O Lord, not mine
But your will be done….
Yeah, no kidding, Wayne. When I heard of older children’s ‘difficulties’ so to speak, I told him, “I keep telling God, ‘You’re not checking my list!’ And the fact that I even have a list is a good sign that I’m not quite all there, spiritually…”
At the ultimate healing
We will be home free…
Monday, March 1, 2010
Better To Light Candles
It is better to light candles
than to curse the darkness.
It is better to plant seeds
than to accuse the earth.
The world needs all of our power
and love and energy,
and each of us has something that we can give.
The trick is to find it and use it,
to find it and give it away.
So there will always be more.
We can be lights for each other,
and through each other's illumination
we will see the way.
Each of us is a seed,
a silent promise,
and it is always spring.