If You are Not Enough with it- You will Never Be Enough without It

I heard this on a movie I watched for the hundredth time. The movie was called Cool Runnings. The back story is they were the first Bob Sled team from the islands that went to the Winter Olympics.  While they didn’t win a medal that year because the sled broke, and they crashed, they carried the sled across the finish line to finish the race.

In our daily lives, sometimes we think that we are not enough unless we have A,B,C. What we fail to understand is that if we are not enough with A,B, C we will never be enough without it. How many of us say to ourselves, if I only had A, B, C  I would be happy. Or if I had A,B, C I could do this or that. Or if I had A,B or C I would be able to do this or that.

What we need to look toward is that we are already enough without A,B or C. We are enough because this world is not our home. We are only pilgrims on a short journey. Our ultimate goal is to understand that we are enough. We are enough because we are heirs to a kingdom that is not of this world. We have riches beyond all comprehension. We are enough because we are children of the Most High. We are enough because his son gave his life that we might live.

We do not have to wonder if we are going to be enough without it because we are enough with the promise that God has given us. We just have to reach out and receive it.

We just need to keep our eye and hope on the finish line no matter how many times we break or fall down. We are more than enough without A,B or C. The prize is not how much we accumulate. The prize is being with our Father forever. The journey is not how much we gather here on earth, the journey is how we look forward to that which transcends gold or silver. We are enough without it and we are enough if we have it.

As we go through our daily lives let us all understand, We are all enough with it, but we will never be enough without it. The it being  God’s grace, Christ’s sacrifice and the understanding of being with them always.

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The 2019 Journey Begins

For Christmas this year I was given a wonderful gift – This gift is the One Year Bible. Each day is a devotion for that day. This Bible will take me through the entire year of 2019. The beginning starts with the creation. So, in order to share with each of you my journey and to being you along with me, I will start with creation and the ancestry of Christ. All of these things were part of God’s plan. He has the big picture.

As I was reading this I was struck by two things I had overlooked many times. Genesis talks talks about the Garden of Eden and the rivers that ran through it. There were four.

Gensis 2:10-14 “A river flowed from the land of Eden, watering the garden and then dividing into four branches. The first branch, called the Pishon, flowed around the entire land of Havilah, where gold is found.  The gold of that land is exceptionally pure; aromatic resin and onyx stone are also found there. The second branch, called the Gihon, flowed around the entire land of Cush. The third branch, called the Tigris, flowed east of the land of Asshur. The fourth branch is called the Euphrates.

What is interesting to me is when one looks up those rivers, we see they still exist today, even though the ebb and flow has changed over the centuries – yes the garden is underwater, however, we do know it existed. The Bible tells us so and facts prove it. God had a plan.

The second thing I had never been taught in all of my years and had never noticed before hit me like a ton of bricks. The genealogy of Christ is amazing and human. The ancestors were not anything special, they were every day people with flaws and failings, strengths and weaknesses just like we have today. The women, were strong, determined and the backbone of the ancestry.

For those of us who study ancestry to determine where we came from in order to better understand who we are, can appreciate, the fact that in Matthew Chapters 1 and 2 the writer talk about the genealogy of Christ. He spares nothing. He tells us the names of four women who were instrumental in the linage. These four women were not perfect in fact three of them would be considered criminals.

Tamar slept with her father in law

Rahab was a harlot who hid the spies of Israel

Ruth- after Ruth’s husband died – she left her own people and traveled with her mother in law to a strange land and became part of her mother in law’s people

Bathsheba was an adulteress whose husband was murdered by King David.

And yet God used these women as vessels to bring forth his son.

God has a plan- he knows the plan even before we are born. He knew Adam and Eve would sin, he knew what these women would do – and yet, even knowing the events would happen, his perfect son arrived.

My point in all of this is none of us are perfect, we all have flaws, we all sin. We have to understand where Christ came from in order to better understand why he came. That includes the Garden, the women and the journey of the ancestors. Imperfect  they were.

Yet, we have a perfect way to our creator. He descended from imperfection.

So take this journey with me. Learn things . Have a greater understanding. Learn that none of us are perfect, however,  we have a perfect way.

We have Hope!

 

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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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.

 

Traditions of Men Versus The Law of God

As with all things in our lives we like traditions. You know those things we do time after time and pretty soon it becomes a way of life. For instance during the holidays we gather at a certain family member’s house year after year expecting it to never end. Or we fix a certain meal on a certain day year after year because it has always been done that way.

Sadly, we also find ourselves making tradition part of our “religious life.” It has nothing to do with the scripture and yet we find ourselves believing it does. We start to believe that if we do certain things time after time they become scripture. Case in point. For years we worshiped this way – opening prayer, three songs, announcements, prayer, another song, the lords supper, another song, the sermon, closing song, invitation and then closing prayer. We always met at certain times on Sunday Morning, Sunday night and Wed night. The times were strictly adhered to. We never deviated. This went on from the time I was a child until now.

If one of our elders, deacons or someone else suggested that times change, or the order of the service change one would have thought that a great sin had been committed. Because tradition had become scripture. Yes, we are to do things in decency and in order, however no where in the Bible does it state what order or how long the service should last. The early Christians went from house to house and worshiped daily.

I agree that our environment does not lend itself to the way the first Christians spread the word, however, it does open new possibilities and new avenues to spread that word.

Colossians 2: 8 states….” See that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of the world rather than on Christ.” (NIV)

Before we set in stone tradition as gospel we must go back to God’s word and see if it is discussed, if not then maybe we should re-think our attitude about what we think of it and how we react when others see a different way of doing things.

As with our personal lives things happen things evolve and traditions should be able to change along with it. If we want to be effective and not just efficient we must be open to those changes while staying true to the word of God.

Love

We all talk about being in love, staying in love and wanting to be loved. We become disappointed and disheartened when that either doesn’t happen or the one we thought we loved didn’t love us enough.

Some of us fall in and out of love like we change our clothes. Some of us say we love and then our behavior shows differently. Some of us have no clue how to love because we really don’t even like the person, we just lust after them and when that has run its course we are gone. Some of us don’t even like ourselves so how can we love ourselves.

In order to love someone else we must first look within. We must first learn to like ourselves and then love ourselves warts and all. Love is not about the clothes we wear, the places we visit or the feelings we find in the pit of our stomach, that is hormones raging.

To find out the true meaning of love and what it stands for we must go to the Bible. It is filled with example after example of love. True unconditional love.

It gives many examples of the types of love, how we are to love and why we are to love.

Let’s just start with one of the most well-known verses,

John 3:16 ” For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

Let’s just think on this for a moment. How many of us are willing to give our child up to be killed in order to save someone else. How many of us are willing to love someone else enough that we would send our child to their death? I venture to say none of us. But God did. He knew what would happen when he sent his son to the earth. Because he has the big picture. He could have stopped it at any time. But he loved us enough.

John 15: 13 tells us this 13 “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” How many of us are willing to make that kind of sacrifice”. I would dare say not many.

Now let’s get back to the meaning of love that is real love.

I Cor. 13: 1-13 is the best example of how real love works.

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. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, 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. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
Real love is enough. Real love puts others first, it is quiet, meek, it is not proud, or self-centered, it makes sure the other person always comes first. Real love does not keep a score card of the wrongs that someone commits against the one they love. Real love always protects, always trust always hope and always perseveres. Real love never ever fails.
When we say we love someone, do we really mean it? When we say we love ourselves do we really mean it? Or has the word love become like so many others, it gets lost in the translation of the moment.
Are we ready to throw in the towel when the journey gets a bit bumpy? Do we hold grudges and try to find ways to get revenge? Do we look at ourselves in the mirror and wish we were this or that way? That is not love. Do we truly understand the word and what it represents? Or do we live in a TV fantasy world that life is happily ever after. Life is not always happily ever after nor is it perfect. But we can have the perfect love if we follow God’s example. If we understands he loves us enough. Enough to never turn his back even though we leave him, enough that he gave his son to die in order that we might live, enough that he hurts when we hurt. Enough that he knows our every need or desire even before we do. God loves us enough, but do we really love him or ourselves or others enough?
When we are willing to step out of our own way and understand that unconditional love is the only true love, that it is enough then and only then will we be able to have a relationship with our self, God and others. Then and only then will we be able to make life long commitments to our self, Our God and others.
This process begins with YOU! only YOU! can be the change.