Reflections following a fellowship meeting…

Human existence may be as a vapor; it is not, however, insignificant.  That an all-powerful all-knowing, ever-present God would give as was given is proof we are of worth to the Creator.  Of worth, while not worthy; believing a lie rather than truth; exalting self over humility; desiring independence opposed to dependence on the provider of life.  Where is truth?  Where is a true perspective?  What loving father would willingly give up his son as a sacrifice to atone for the wrongs of a people who really didn’t care?  Yet God loves His creation that much.

Can any of us create something from nothing?  Yet many thumb their noses at the power who did.  We call that a special kind of stupid?  The child will choose the candy over the nourishing food and suffer disease and death.  The childish humanity chooses an inflated view of self over knowledge of the Creator and suffers disease and death; of the soul, mind and spirit.  A clear picture of foolishness and how can one make this clear to those who do not see?  Pray to the God of creation that eyes be opened, ears unplugged and understanding restored.

What does the Lord require of you?  To act justly and love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

My physical existence is a flash; but my spiritual existence is forever.

Silence begets violence

Silence begets violence

Saturday, July 21, 2012

5:56 PM

Listening, a lost art in a world of action, scurrying like ants in their colony to and fro, not stopping to hear one another.  STOP!!! Cried the little ant we are going much to slow, we’ll never get there this way…  and they never did.  There is so much health to be had when listened to and listening to another.  It validates existence, purpose, value, worth.  If we love, if we care, if we have spirit can we stop to listen, without interruption, with interest and fascination.  The one speaking can be free to share, to think, the one listening learns and grows with the knowledge.  Focus shifts, reality steps up and says hello.  Can you hear the silence of listening, one voice speaking.  Turn about fair play enhances the ability of two to listen and be heard.  Violence grows out of an environment where no one listens, no one hears, no one cares.  We become islands adrift in a sea of bodies.  We don’t see each other, we don’t hear each other, we don’t know each other.  We are self-absorbed to the point others do not exist and then the violence erupts to bring reality to our existence.  After the violence the silent cry is heard;  can you hear me now?

original poetry by gracie hill

Speaking truth to another in love…

Speaking truth to another in love…

Monday, June 18, 2012

6:05 AM

This is often an area that produces a dilemma.  We are aware of something in another that is bringing harm to them and because we love them we want to fix it or make it better.  Scripture is useful for instruction and rebuke.  We are instructed however to act in love at all times.

If I see in another that which is producing harm in them, I can, in love, speak to that condition.  With the fruit of the spirit of love and kindness, I can speak.  If it is received, well and good.  If it is not, I do not take offense or feel the need to make it happen.  I do not possess that ability it is God’s doing.  What I perceive, they must also perceive to make change.  If they do not, that is their loss not mine and I am free of obligation for it never was mine.  Change is of the spirit and it is the work of God.  We are light and salt.  We show the truth, shed light on it.  The light from a lamp illuminates and that is it, no more.  Salt gives back, enhances flavor and preserves from decay.  It must be received and used to have effect.  If not, the lack of change is not the fault of the salt.

Going Deep

Going deep.  Jesus gave us the example to follow.  We’ve all heard that.  The truth is, he was God, and he was showing us the former things.  What it was like before sin.  He was without sin, yet willing to be born into sin.  He suffered yet it did not destroy him for he was as the first of creation.  He was showing us this experience, our present, our life on terra firma is only a beginning, we have all of eternity before us.  When this ends, we continue into the next chapter because we believe.  When we believe, we live differently, speak and act differently, and are eager to share our ‘find.’  This find does not have a pleasant reaction from an evil world.  And so we invite the same suffering that Jesus experienced, and like him it will not destroy us.  We are on an eternal journey that is much more than just ‘now.’

Go Deep…

                                   

A discussion, discourse perhaps, on Psalm 91 generated the following reflections. 

Dwell – implies time spent, not a casual visit, quick come and go, but staying, living, relaxing, growing… includes reflection and meditation.  Where?  His place – a place of refuge, go to hide, recoup, find peace, heal…and fortress – a place that is unattainable by the enemy, safe place.

I see healing for mental health distress, ease of mind, lose any mental stress or distress.           

Distressed?  go to the quiet place; go deep, this is not a surface relief but deep relief; brigs to mind some commercials on remedies for muscular pain, go deep.  This place of the Most High provides relief that goes deep, into the soul, mind and spirit of the one dwelling there, spending time there, time to heal.

Abide – means to stay close and brings to mind being immersed in the Word of God, again; go deep, spend time.

Trust – allows faith to well up within you, give time for healing to occur.

The take away:  This is a place to go to or a place to be to grow.  Grow and mature until He, the Most High says, ‘Now, go and do for me… ‘ 

Can you see it?

Psalm 91:1 and 2

He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High

Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.

I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress;
 
My God, in Him I will trust.”

Commitment…

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

7:41 AM

Observations of our group and otheres have led me to some conclusions about commitment and its effects upon the strength of a group and that groups ability to grow and last. 

The bonds of fellowship have a thread of commitment that runs through them much like steel cords reinforce and give strength to tires.  Without that thread, the tires will do their work but fail much more quickly than those with.  Fellowship groups that lack those threads of commitment soon fall apart and fail to grow.  I have observed the formation and development of two such groups.  Each have about four years duration to this point.  Members of one group refuse to allow anything to interfere with their coming together, while members of the other frequently have other things to do and fail to come together as a complete group.  The first group is strong, its members are growing in the Lord, and change is taking place in their lives.  They are able to withstand conflict, opposition and hard times with more insight and strength and come out singing.  The second group is full of personal strife, conflict, pain, distress and often speak of ‘giving it up”.  The first group does not use that kind of language.  The second group finds that often there are those in their fellowship who are not in attendance.  To have a group requires membership and meeting.  If these are lacking a group does not exist, only the shadow of a group.

Does commitment to meeting, to being available to support one another, to collaboratively study the Word of God have an impact upon a group’s ability to do the work of God?  Absolutely. 

Psalm 37:5 NKJV – Commit your way to the LORD, Trust also in Him, And He shall bring [it] to pass.

Proverbs 16:3 NKJV – Commit your works to the LORD, And your thoughts will be established.  If God makes a commitment to us can we do any less toward him and our fellow believers? Psalm 105:8 NLT – He always stands by his covenant–the commitment he made to a thousand generations.

Not only is this necessity for commitment scripturally based it can be heard from the secular world.  Take for instance the quote from Vince Lombardi, legendary coach of the Green Bay Packers:

Individual commitment to a group effort — that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.”

 What we put first in our activities and daily lives is where our true commitment lies.  For some of us it truly sits within family or job rather than the work of God.  Can we make adjustments to our obligations to family and job and still keep the commitment we make to God?  Again, absolutely.  Sometimes it only requires our being firm with ourselves.  Ha!  Imagine that, self arises… It is time to put self down, it is time to commit and be responsible to our word when we say we will and then don’t.  This is not in the character of a true believer.  We can do… In Him we have our strength and ability.  Commit thy way unto the Lord…

Trampling Pearls…

When I share God’s word and message with another, it comes from the deepest part of me, out of love and concern.  It is my belief and my heartfelt understanding.  Its intent is to share what I have found and received with another from love and concern for them.  When what I offer is returned with scorn, when I am accused of judgmentalism and manipulation, when I am told I am pushing my belief upon another and taking the stand that I am right and you are wrong, then what I have offered to another out of love and concern is something precious, something priceless that is being trampled on in the mud.  Often we are in a place where we can recognize the condition of another because we have been there and because we are in tune to the Spirit’s leading.  We do not need to feel attacked or take the negative responses personally.  We have acted out of love; what we shared has been trampled upon; it is time to turn and walk away.  We share the same sadness Christ felt and feels when faced with the same rejection.  We are not greater than he, we stand side by side with him in both the sharing and the suffering.  The sharing does not stop as a result, it simply moves on and those God has chosen will respond.  For those , it is worth it.  There is a lot of love to spread around, for it flows through us from God, the Father of all.  Be found faithful.

Thoughts driven by Dusty’s passing…

Life is short with much to be done.  A gift, this life, given to us by God who loves His creation but does not compromise his standards.  The passing of Dusty so suddenly and without reason, seemingly, makes one look again more closely at what we’ve been given.  Don’t know why there must be a reason.  He is taken  young, and a wife and child are left, dependent now on God to provide.  A love that  was tangible, has become intangible and the change hurts.  Loss happens all around us all the time, but when it is the one who goes to bed with you, gets up with you, laughs and plays with you it hurts.  The sense of being alone can overwhelm.  At that point you realize how big  God is or isn’t in your life. 

 

The bird song is stronger this am.  They sing an anthem.  The sky dawns clear and bright.  Rain came in the night but the sun is here this morning.  The skies cried but we have the healing warmth of the Son in our lives to dry up the tears.  Joy comes in the morning.  The ache will diminish, memories not.  Life will take on a new shape not replace the old.  Life as it was is not changed, it is past.  Life as it is and as it is becoming is different, only that…

Sensational Saturday morning…

The sun’s rays clothe the trees in light this early morning.  A soft breeze causes the leaves to twinkle in the early light.  Rain drops from the evening storms glisten in the sun – soon to disappear.  The sky is pale blue, cloudless for the moment.  It’s quiet but for early morning motorists in the distance.  The birds have not begun their song, though a few are flying about in the clear air.  One, must be the conductor of their choir, calls out the signal to begin.

Long way round…shortest way home

This is too good not to share.  Chapter 3 of Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis talks about Social Morality.  One of the points made  in this chapter is that charity – giving to the poor – is an essential part of Christian morality.  Among other things he points out the need to be giving to the poor is more than generosity, ie tipping, hospitality, more to helping those who really need help.  This giving is to the point that it affects our ability to purchase items classified luxury, comfort, amusements, etc.  For most of us that is a stretch!

Also dealt with is the importance of living debt-free.  He notes that three great civilizations agreed that money should not be lent for interest.  Ancient Greece, Jewish law, and Christian teachers of the Middle Ages all told us not to lend money at interest; and lending money at interest— what we call investment–is the basis of our whole system.  So why are we surprised at the recent turn of events.  We have been amply warned throughout history of its dangers, we disregarded and created the stock exchange!! Something novel???  Would it be too much to say that if we lived debt free we would be enabled to give to the poor?

But that is a very simple summary of some complex and highly stimulating reading.  What I want to share is this.  C.S.Lewis states:

There are bits in this section that I wanted to leave out.  And that is why nothing whatever is going to come of such talks unless we go a much longer way round.  A Christian society is not going to arrive until most of us really want it: and we are not going to want it until we become fully Christian.  I may repeat “Do as you would be done by,” till I am black in the face, but I cannot really carry it out till I love my neighbor as myself till I learn to love God: and I cannot learn to love God except by learning to obey Him.  And so, as I warned you, we are driven on to something more inward–driven on from social matters to religious matters.  For the longest way round is the shortest way home.

To conclude then, we cannot be put off by those who want nothing to do with ‘religion’ and must continue to strive to be real in our living our beliefs based on the Scripture we read and share.  This is more than ritual, or even belief, it is living life as obedient children of the Most High God.