Saturday, July 28, 2012

Why I don’t give parenting advice

My goal for this blog was to share my own thoughts concerning my walk in faith. I have to make an exception and share this blog post that I read on another blog that I follow. Enjoy!

Why I don’t give parenting advice

Friday, July 20, 2012

What Happened to LOVE? (Part 2)

By the the time you read this post you will most likely have heard about the shooting @ a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado. With the events still weighing on my mind I wanted to post a response to this event after yesterday's post.

What should our response be to events like the one in Colorado? The first, and probably the most important answer to this question is "Pray". Prayer is such a simple act but through it God can do mighty things. We should pray for the victims of this crime, their families, for the family of the alleged shooter and the alleged shooter as well. Remember that that out of God's love death lost its power. That is a very powerful love. When we, as believers pray in the name of God, we allow God to move through us, in love. So, let us pray.

We can also reach out to others. While we may not live in or near the events in Colorado we do live in communities where other people live. We live in a world where people are hurting. In love we can, and should say, "Hey! I just want you to know I love you and if you need anything I am here for you."

Do you remember the last time someone said those words to you? If you do you know how good it feels and if you don't, may your sorrow drive you to tell someone so they won't know the sorrow you feel. When we reach out to others in love, God has an amazing way of meeting our needs as we meet the needs of others.

So let us love, pray and serve.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

What Happened to LOVE?

In 2003, on their 3rd album, the Black Eyed Peas released "Where is the Love?"  Nine years later, I can listen to this song and it still speaks to the condition of the world. This October I will have lived 40 years and I find myself asking more and more, "What happened to Love?" In 2012 there are still terrorist bombing people because of their nationality and you have leaders of countries killing some of their own people. In our own country not only are we divided politically but churches and denominations are divided, and while we may not be killing each other the words I hear come from church leaders and their members makes me cringe.

When I hear about so much hate in our world and what is coming out of the church, I think where is the church? Seriously, where is it? In all my readings of the Gospel I have never found Jesus supporting, condoning or even commanding us to hate and to judge and yet that is what is happening in my own country. Judgment is nothing new, one of the times that the religious leaders challenged Jesus was when they caught the woman committing adultery. As was custom, the law said that a woman could be stoned for committing adultery. Jesus talked about the law and how the Jews were not living according to the law, but in this moment he very clearly does something contrary to the law. He challenges the people who are prepared to stone the woman with their own sin and then he goes one step further and says, "Who here condemns you?" The woman replies, "No one, " and he says, "then neither do I."  Here Jesus shows us a different way or law to live by, a law that says forgive. We also here in the Gospel about loving our neighbor as our selves. When I witness someone being hurtful or mean to someone I immediately ask , myself, "Do they really not love themselves?" I ask this question because if you dissect part of the "Great Commandment" you get two parts, "Love your neighbor," and "As your self" The intuitive in me draws the conclusion that someone must not love themselves very much if they have a hard time loving others. Think about it for a moment, we are to love our neighbor as ourselves. I can't know the mind of Christ completely but I don't think it is in God's plan that we should hate ourselves. If the creator of the universe loves us so much that he sends his son to die for us, then why would we not love ourselves too?

In addition to the commandment, "Love your neighbor," Jesus commands his disciples (and us) in John, chapter 15: 14 - 17.

14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 "I do not call you servants anymore. Servants do not know their master's business. Instead, I have called you friends. I have told you everything I learned from my Father. 16 "You did not choose me. Instead, I chose you. I appointed you to go and bear fruit. It is fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you anything you ask for in my name. 17 "Here is my command. Love each other."  

The command to love each other is tied to friendship, more specifically our friendship with Jesus. Could our problem with hate and judgement be eradicated by being a friend to everyone and strengthen our own friendship with the one who saved us? According to the passage in John, the answer is 'yes'. 

In 39 years I have seen what can happen in the absence of love and what is possible when love is present.

A single mother finds that her only solution in life is to leave this world and a dramatic way because of the love she NEVER received from her own family, because she chose to follow Jesus into the ministry.

A teenager goes from a place of anger from the abuse they endured at the hands of a family member to a place of forgiveness and event lifts the abuser up to God in prayer, in hopes that they might repent and change their ways. That is what love can do.

I pray everyday that more and more people will choose to love. That the church will rise up to be what it has been called to be, a body of people that loves all and a place that people can find the love that is missing in their life.

Let us love.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Spiritual Health Insurance

In April I started attending a yoga class once a week. I had 2 reasons for starting a yoga class:

1) Start an exercise regimen to lose weight
2) Start an exercise regimen that would not hurt my back but also help relieve the symptoms of sciatica.

Since then it has become so much more than that. Now don't get me wrong, I have lost weight and yoga has done wonders for my back pain and sciatica but it has also helped me to be much more calm and less stressed. Though yoga makes you sweat a lot I always feel refreshed after the class is over. I have never been tired or exhausted after the hour long class. For the longest time I could not figure that part out.

About a week or so ago, during yoga class, the instructor talked about how the sweat is the bodies way of releasing toxins that are inside our bodies. When she said this I immediately thought about Jesus and how he drove demons and unclean spirits from people. This class was just on the heels of the Affordable Care Act being upheld by the Supreme Court so I already had insurance on my brain and thought how Jesus is our Spiritual Insurance. We all know the importance of diet and exercise to be healthy and prevent diseases and when we do get sick we go to the doctor to be treated so we can get better, "to remove the toxins from our bodies"

So, how often do we go to God for healing? For physical, mental and spiritual healing? Jesus was many things to many people when he walked this earth. To the little boy brought to Jesus by his father, the woman with the bleeding disorder and the man possessed by a demon, Jesus was a healer. For by their faith he cleansed their body that was filled with toxins and they were well when they departed from him. For all of us who are sinners he is a redeemer, for by his death we have been forgiven. Through and by Jesus we know that God is in the business of healing us in every way, physical, mentally and spiritually.

As I said above, yoga has not only helped me to lose weight and help relieve the pain from my back but I have also felt better physically. Yoga is tough, ask anyone who does it but the result is a feeling of well-being because the toxins have left your body by the time the class is over.

If we want to feel better from what makes us feel bad and or sick then at a minimum we need the Spiritual Health Insurance that comes from God. (And a yoga class won't hurt you either)

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Freedom from Oppression

"The Spirit if the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach the good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight to the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor."                  Luke 4:18 - 19

Does that not sound wonderful? Jesus has proclaimed the year of the Lords favor, freedom for ALL from what disables/hinders or oppresses them. When I read this verse I always experience a sense of calm and peace knowing that my Savior has freed me and all of us from what hinders or oppresses us. Then it does not take very long for me to remember the world we live in.

In our world there are more people today that are held in slavery and servitude than ever in the history of this world. People around the world are oppressed, harassed and even killed because of their gender, race, ethnicity, faith and sexual orientation. And sometimes a person is killed only because they are standing next to the intended target of the crime.

As a follower of Christ how do I reconcile the violence of this world with this passage from Luke that quotes the book of Isaiah? I believe that despite the oppression that still remains with us, in no way negates what the prophet Isaiah said and later repeated by Jesus. This alone shows that God is always with us and that despite what oppression we may experience in this life God comes to us each day to offer this freedom. I also believe that just as Jesus was called to proclaim the good news we too are called to do the same as followers of Christ. If we proclaim this good news of freedom then no room is left for us to oppress another person. So how do we proclaim this freedom as Christ did?

When Jesus was asked which commandment was the greatest Jesus replied,

 "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and foremost commandment. The second it like it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself."                                                   Matthew 22:37 - 39

If we are to proclaim the Lords favor and freedom to all then we must follow the commandment to love God and love our neighbor.