New Beginnings

Today is a beginning as well as an ending. At Midnight it will be the beginning of a new year, a clean slate, a new beginning. It will also be the ending of all that is old. It is the time to put away those things which haunted us in the past, those things which kept us from being the best we could be. It is time to put away regrets, loss, hurt, anger, grudges, and time to build bridges, reach out and forgive not only others but ourselves as well as we let go of all the baggage of the past.

It is time to wipe the slate of life clean, to start fresh and new, to give all of our fears, doubts and worries to God. To understand that he has us in his hand and it is big enough to carry us over the troubled waters of life. It is time to understand that if we give our life and our worries to him, he will take care of it. He knows the big picture.

Mark 11:24 tells us this, ” Therefore I say unto you, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.”

He goes on in verse 25-26 “And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have naught against any; that your father also which is in heaven may forgive your your trespasses. But if ye do not forgive neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.”

So as we enter this new year and leave the old one behind, let us bend our knee to our Father, praying for forgiveness even as we forgive those who have hurt us so that we might have a clean slate, a new day, a new beginning with a clear mind, a pure heart and a peaceful soul knowing that God does answer our prayers and understands our heart.

Do not carry the baggage of the past into the clean air of the new year. Leave it in the past where it belongs, let it go to be scattered like the dust in the wind.

 

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SONY DSC

Turn The Page

As 2018 draws to a close and once again we have a moment to reflect on the year that we will soon see in our rear view mirror, it is time to ask ourselves a question. Are we going to turn the page? Yes, turn the page. You see life is a book of sorts. Each day is a new chapter, a new phase a new beginning. The past is yesterday and the future is tomorrow.

What we have is today and if we don’t turn the page we get stuck in the past which affects our present and future. In fact, if we don’t turn the page we have neither present or future.

Things that happen in our life sometimes can and will create a void – a place where we get stuck because we dread the next page – we become afraid, or  the prospect of turning the page is too painful, due to a loss or an illness.

The question we have to ask is this, How do we know how the story goes if we don’t turn the page. How do we know what is next if we don’t turn the page. The answer is simple we don’t know. We waste time that we could be using to shine by refusing to turn the page.

So, with all things of the past year in mind, all the tragedies, triumphs, successes and not so good successes, do not be afraid to turn the page.

Carpe diem quam minimum credula postero”  Which is translated,   “seize the day, trusting as little as possible in the future” in other words, turn the page. You might be surprised.

 

old book

The Things We Don’t See are Sometimes the Things That are Most Real

Once again, I was watching a mindless movie and heard a line that stuck in my head. This happens to me quite often. This time the sentence was, “The Things We Don’t see are Sometimes the things that are Most Real.”

Think about that for a moment. We don’t see the wind, and yet it is very real, it can be calming, or it can be destructive. It just depends on the other elements of nature that mixes with the wind. We know the wind is real because we see the effects of its destruction during a storm, we feel the effects of its cooling ability on a warm summer day.

We don’t see love, but we do see the effects of our love. We see it when we feed and clothe the homeless, become a caregiver for someone who is ill, grieve when we have a loss. The effects of our love has the ability to be calming or destructive, depending on the elements it is mixed with. It can be healing, uplifting and supportive or it can become destructive and hurtful.

Faith is another intangible thing that we cannot see but is real. We have faith that the sun will come up on the morrow, that our heart will keep beating without assistance, that our vehicles will start when we crank them. We have faith that we will have employment.

We do not see any of those things, but we know they are real. Taking all of these things into account and understanding that even though we don’t see them, we do see and feel the effects of them in our everyday lives.

Without these intangibles, our lives would be a disaster, we would have no hope. Hope is the basis of faith. “Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen.” Heb. 11-1.

Our faith in our God, gives us our hope for his heavenly presence. When we have moments of faltering faith remember this, The things we don’t see are sometimes the things that are most real.

Wisdom

When I was a child, I used to hear the adults talk about how wise so and so was. How anyone could go to them for advice and get it.

As I have grown older and maybe a bit wiser, I find myself being the one who people come to for sage advice. Not that I am filled with that much wisdom, there are too many roads yet to travel to be that wise. However, some of the knowledge I have gleaned on the roads of my life have given me a tad of wisdom. I will never be as wise as some of the adults I respected as that wee child. I will never have as much knowledge as those sagely wise men and women. But I have it filed away to pass along to the next generation.

We tend to forget that words are powerful. We forget that the knowledge we acquire during our journey only becomes wisdom when it is shared. For years I struggled with my faith. I struggled with the knowledge that I would never be good enough to get into God’s Kingdom on my own. I looked around me and saw others who appeared to be so much better than me.

A very wise woman told me that none of us are good enough. We enter the Kingdom by the grace of God. We all are fallible, we all struggle, and we all fail. However, if we walk the path, hold on to our faith and understand that God is in complete control, that he understands the big picture and he knows use better than we know ourselves, then we can be assured of the destination.

As human beings we should never stop gaining knowledge to pass on as wisdom. Even a child has a bit of wisdom in their minds, we just have to take the time to listen.

There is always someone who needs what we can offer. There is always someone who needs our particular knowledge to help them on their journey.

The greatest gift besides the Good News we can give others is the wisdom of God’s grace. The wisdom that his love covers us like a warm blanket. The wisdom that we are secure in the knowledge of his grace and that when we step off the path we can return. We can be embraced, and we can see the destination ahead.

old book

 

Life is an Occasion, Rise to It

The other day I was mindlessly watching a movie and there was a line from that movie that stuck in my head. The line goes like this, “Life is an occasion, rise to it.”

That line hit me like a thunderbolt. The more I thought about it the more it made sense to me.

Life is an occasion. Webster defines the word occasion as “A particular time or instance of an event.” That is exactly what our life is. A Particular time or instance of an event.

Once that event ends it never comes around again. It can be recalled to a certain extent in memories from others, however, that either fades with time or becomes embellished as facts dim with the re-telling.

As I thought about this statement, it hit me why don’t I rise to that event, why don’t I make my event count?  Sure, I am grieving for my husband and my other family members, sure I am sad; however, my life is an occasion, it is an event, time to rise to it.

Then I went one step further and thought about those around me and how I could share that statement and challenge each of them to rise to the occasion. To challenge them to do things they have thought about doing but were afraid to do for whatever reason. Because FEAR is only False Evidence that Appears Real.

There was a time I was afraid to put myself out there. There was a time I would have never walked into a new congregation by myself. When I was told I was too stupid to write, I almost didn’t. But you see, Life is an occasion, rise to it means exactly that. We have no idea what we will find when we do. The things we can accomplish, the joy we bring others or to ourselves. The love we can radiate around us and the encouragement we give others just by rising to the occasion.

I am sure many of us have asked ourselves, “I wonder if….” I asked myself that question far too many times to count, and the epiphany I learned is this, if we don’t ask the question, we never know the answer.

Life is an occasion, rise to it. Ask those questions, then go and out and do those things that you always wondered if you could do. Dare to attend that event. Dare to make it happen. Rise to the occasion. Make a statement. Use those talents that you have been blessed with and have never tapped into. I think you will not only surprise yourself, you will find that you encourage others to rise to the occasion as well. All it takes it that first step.

Life is an occasion – Rise to it!!!!

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Turn The Page

Our Life is like a book, with each phase being a chapter. As with all books sometimes we get stuck on a chapter. How can we know what is next if we don’t “Turn the page.” The same with our life. How can we know what is next if we don’t turn those pages.

While some of the chapters might be sad, or funny or even suspenseful, we cannot grow until we turn the page. Sadly, in our day to day life, we get comfortable just walking in that same old rut. We look neither right or left we just plod along in our book of life.

We miss so much, we waste so many of our gifts and we cheat ourselves of new adventures, new things to accomplish and the ability to reach others on a level we didn’t know we possessed.

The beauty of our book of life is the fact it is still being written. We have not yet reached the end of the book. We have no idea what is next. That alone should make us excited to Turn the Page to see what is next, to face each new day with the wonder and excitement of a child. To follow that bend in the road, to see who we meet next, who we influence next and what impact we have on their life story.

Turning the Page gives us an opportunity to try new things, to see the world in all of her beauty, to be blessed by Our Creator, to bless others by being a part of their lives. To love ourselves better, to accept our self better. Turning the page, gives us the ability to set right wrongs, to clear up misunderstandings, to forgive and be forgiven.

So let us not waste another hour, let’s Turn the Page of the book of our life. Take that adventure. Write that story. Own it.

old book

Grief and Loss

Grief and Loss those two words are such small words and yet, they are such powerful words. Loss is that thing that happens when we lose something precious to us. Be is a job, a thing or someone. Grief is that thing we do after the loss.

Grief is that lingering ache in our heart, that sadness that fills our soul with pain as we wonder how we will ever get through it. Grief has no time line. While there is a process that process has its own ending.

Grief creates other emotions that some find they cannot deal with. People in their circle cannot understand how those emotions dance around like a mad tap dancer, moving first one way than another. The loved ones just want that person to move on – there is no moving on. There is only moving forward.

Some on you might ask, “How do I move forward? How do I fill the void in my heart and life? ”

First of all there is no filling that void, there will always be a hole. Once that tapestry of your life is ripped it can not be repaired, however, the tapestry can be added to.

When we allow God to be our guide and truly understand that he knows our loss and our grief better than we ever could. When we lean on him for our comfort and strength and know that he holds us in his hands, then and only then can we heal.

In Psalms 147:3  ”  He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” God understands, he sent his only son to die for us. He willingly gave him up to a death that no man should ever have to suffer. He was in such grief that he had to turn his back. And yet, he tells us that he will heal us as the brokenhearted and he will bind our wounds.

We are told In Psalms 34:18 “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” What a beautiful thought, when the entire world leaves us and goes back to their own lives, God is near to us, he saves our crushed spirit. He listens when we repeat our pain over and over again. When we beg to understand the why of it all. He listens. And if we allow it he comforts us and saves us in our darkest hour.

Grief and loss is a natural phenomenon it is a part of life. However, it does not have to consume us nor does it have to destroy us. It does not have to become who we are, just what we do for  a season.

 

The Elderly

In this age of all things new all the time and throw away all things “unuseful”, we are losing one of our most important natural resources. That is the Elderly, you know those folks of a certain age that have become a “Burden” to the rest of us in our “Busy” lives.  Yes, those lovely wise people. Those folks who have lived through many years of life and have so much to offer the young. In I Timothy 5:1-2 we are told “Rebuke not an elder, but intreat him as a father, and the younger men as brethren. The elder women as mothers; the younger as sisters, with all purity.”

In other words, when men and women get of a certain age we are to treat them was we would our own parents.  Sadly sometimes we treat our own parents worse than we treat strangers. We don’t have time to sit with them, to talk with them, to listen to them even though they may repeat themselves over and over.

My question is why do we do this? There are many excuses but no good reasons. The first one that I often hear is I am to busy, I work all the time. My answer is were they too busy to care of you when you were small? Were they to busy to listen to you when you came to them with problems that in your mind were earth shattering? Were they do busy to sooth you your broken heart? That answer would be no they were not . The next excuse is well, they don’t know me anymore, they have dementia – and my answer is this, they may not know you- but you still know them. Even with memory issues inside that broken body is your parent who loves you still.

My favorite excuse is well, I have small children and I can’t handle all of it. That one makes me sad. Your parents never said they could not handle you even if they had several small children. They just hitched up their pants and handled it.

The best one of all times is well my siblings won’t help me. My answer to that one is this- that is on them, they have to live with the consequences and the guilt not you.

We are blessed with one set of parents, even if those parents are no longer together, they are still out parents, what went on between them was between them it is not about you. Your responsibility is to love both of them – because they first loved you.

Bottom line stop treating our Elderly like they have no worth. They have more worth than the most priceless painting, the largest gem and they are certainly worth more than that gym membership. Once they are gone so is the history they have locked in their minds.  Gone is their sage advise, their love and their support in our darkest time.

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Joy

Joy is another word that when we are not using it in the wrong way, we are not using it at all. I believe we have forgotten not only the true meaning of the word but how to express it and how to live with it.

Webster defines the word this way: “ the emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires DELIGHT, the expression or exhibition of such emotion GAIETY,  a state of happiness or felicity BLISS , a source or cause of delight”

How many of us are really filled with joy. Joy at the beauty of God’s world, nature, even ourselves. We find no joy in God or his blessings. It is a sad state of affairs that we have lost that emotion.

We are told in Psalms 149:5- 6″Let the Saints be joyful in glory: let them sing loud upon their beds. Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two-edged sword in their hand.

In other words, being filled with joy is the best weapon. It disarms those who are angry all the time. It takes the power away from those who fling the arrows of vile words at us. Being filled with joy removes doubt, hurt and sadness from our lives.

It helps our health mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually. Joy not only brings us closer to God it brings us closer to each other.

Keep joy in your heart all the time. We all go through trials and tribulations, however the joy we surround ourselves with acts like a buffer to make those trials easier to bear.

 

Grace What Is It?

We use the word Grace all the time. We throw it around like a ball not fulling understanding the true meaning.

Webster defines Grace as:

unmerited divine assistance given to humans for their regeneration or sanctification

ba virtue coming from God

ca state of sanctification enjoyed through divine assistance

With that in mind let’s see how that equates to us as humans. The word unmerited means we didn’t earn it, and there is no way we can ever earn it. In Romans 3 23-:24 This grace was bestowed upon us by God through his son. ” For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God. Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is Jesus Christ.”

All of us have sinned – none of us are worthy of being with God. However, God has through his grace and mercy given us unmerited favor. He has told us that his grace is sufficient in 2 Cor, 12:9 “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness…..”

Paul had a thorn in the flesh we do not know what that thorn was we are not told, he prayed three times to have it removed. And God explained to him that all he needed was God’s grace. How many of us forget that in our lives this is all we need. We need to just understand that God’s unmerited favor is all we need in order to lead our lives no matter the circumstances. When we have things that happen in our lives whether it be illness, death or other human calamities all we need to sustain us is God’s grace. For when we are at our weakest we can be at our strongest.