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.

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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.

 

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.