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Archive for the ‘reflections’ Category

Happy New Year!

January 1, 2015 is about to come to a close.

For the last week, we have all read and seen advice about how to have a better year than the previous one.

Advice on

resolutions to make

resolutions not to make

what will truly make us happy

how to reach your goals

what goals are important

relationship goals

professional goals

personal growth goals

fitness goals

organizational goals

It’s one day.  Is it different from the previous ones?

 Should it be?

How is your book coming along?

Ready for page 2 of 365?

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Markers

The end of the year is a marker.

We look back.

We wonder.

We review.

We remember.

We conclude…

Then we make plans that all involve change in our lives

based

on the past year

past decisions

hopeful thoughts for a better “me”

a better “year”

better “decisions”

better “opportunities”

better “relationships”

I am reminded of Tim Elmore’s blog post

At the Corner of Big Dreams and Harsh Realities.

We could say “it is what it is”

or

we could accept the challenge of a new year!

The great thing is “we” all get to choose individually.

It’s coming.  Choose well.

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The other day I passed a church building that looks similar to this one.

I wondered what services were like on Sunday and in years gone by.

I could see and hear and feel . . .

the out of tune upright piano with the tops of the keys missing or yellowed with age

the hymns being sung with more enthusiasm than perfection

the minister with the soothing voice that encouraged his people to be followers of Jesus or

perhaps the minster with the booming voice due to no sound system

sharing his experience with God’s Word

the prayers of the saints

the open windows because there is no air conditioning

the slick pews that were mostly uncomfortable

God’s presence as His people gathered together to worship Him.

Nostalgia demands that there is a serenity in this rural country church.

Reality demands that we are seeing it through the eyes of wishful thinking and know that the idyllic scene we impose on these remembrances also contain scenes that we do not want to remember…

Yet we all long for the serenity of God’s presence speaking to us in a place where we can breathe deeply and be filled with His presence.

looking for that everyday…

experienced it that day when I saw that church in the country…

When I seek Him, I find Him.

How extraordinary!

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Giving Thanks to God

Giving thanks to God

Do we make a general list of “things” or people we are thankful for?

or

Do we make a very specific list of “things” or people we are thankful?

Do we really believe that we should give thanks in everything?

I Thessalonians 5:18

Whatever happens, keep thanking God because of Jesus Christ. This is what God wants you to do.

As I heard a pastor say this weekend,

“When God sends a test or a trial, we should respond with ‘I’m ready.'”

Perhaps it is to believe Jesus’ words

 “I came so that everyone would have life, and have it in its fullest.”  John 10:10

living fully alive –

Yes, that would include giving thanks to God

even in the “it is what it is”.

You know –

the whatever happens,

in all circumstances,

in everything,

no matter what happens,

the good, the bad, and the ugly

Are you alive?

How are you giving thanks in your life?

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“Sorry seems to be the hardest word”

Have truer words ever been sung or spoken?  We either ignore our poor behavior or we awkwardly try to explain it away.  To take responsibility for our actions seems to be a lost art.  We look for someone else to blame or we easily dismiss as miniscule the feelings of others.

After all, they brought it on themselves.

Why would someone be upset over that?

I only said what everyone else was thinking.

I was just telling them the truth.

When we have offended someone or hurt someone’s feelings and dismiss their response as trivial, we loudly proclaim that people have little value.  So

Kids say:

“Sorry” to their sibling as they shrug their shoulders and go on to the next thing

“just kidding”

“I didn’t mean it.”

“I was joking.”

“It wouldn’t have happened if you didn’t _____________ first.”

Adults say:

“If you hadn’t _________, then I wouldn’t have had to  _____________.”

“Who’s sorry now?”

“It is what it is.”  Whatever that means.

“I’m sorry IF I . . . “

“I’ve had bad feelings towards you, because I THOUGHT you had _____________.”

Why do we think so little of each other that we can’t say “I’m sorry.  I didn’t mean to hurt you.”

or even “I know this may hurt, and I’m sorry.  You need to know.”

“I care about you.  I’m sorry.”

or do we use the words “I’m sorry” in place of “I was so terribly wrong.  I never should have . . . Can you forgive me?”

Maybe “I’m sorry” is the place to begin to heal the brokenness in ourselves, and somehow others are healed too.  How hard can it be?

Maybe the fear of not being forgiven for the pain we cause is what makes saying “I’m sorry” so hard.

or could it be our unwillingness to forgive others when they bring pain into our lives?

Can’t we all just get along and love one another?

John 13:34-35

Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.

I Peter 4:8 ESV

God is love.  He loves you.

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More Life = Faster?

It’s all about life and wanting more.  What makes up more life?  More stuff?  More activities?  More time?  We crave more.  Perhaps the paradox is less stuff, less activities equals more life.  Taking the moments to stop and think, reflect, appreciate, and consider the world that we inhabit and the God who created it and us.

There is more to life than increasing its speed.

~Mohandas K. Gandhi

I came so that everyone would have life, and have it in its fullest. 

Jesus

It is amazing that when death strikes, life as we have lived it stops.  We stop to reflect on the life that has left this earth.  We change our schedule to grieve.  We reach out to loved ones in meaningful exchanges.  We are at a loss for words of comfort to others, because we have never stopped to live and love well and deeply, because we have filled our lives with noise.  We speak to God intimately now.  Maybe we need more death of the stuff and activities in our life so we might have life to the fullest with the One who gave us life.

 

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Jesus Loves Me?

Jesus loves me

How do I know?

Yes, the Bible tells me so

and so does the preacher

and maybe even the Sunday School teacher

but how do I know Jesus loves me?

by knowing Jesus

yes, reading the Bible

yes, talking to him

yes, responding to his invitation to know him

yes, being part of his church

yes, Jesus loves me

I know because he told me so

Jesus loves me?

Yes, because he tells me so

in the morning

at noon

in the evening

whenever I stop and listen to him “speak” the words

“I love you”

How has Jesus said “I love you” to you today?

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