Sunday, January 31, 2010

Accepting God's Word and living it.

We cannot give what we have not first received.

"How can they call to God for help if they have not believed? And how can they believe if they have not heard the message? And how can they hear if the message is not proclaimed? And how can the message be proclaimed if the messengers are not sent out? Faith, then, comes from hearing the message, and the message comes through preaching Christ." (Romans 10:14-17)

Each of us is called to a personal relationship with a God who loves us. Each of us needs to listen to God’s Word as it is written in the Scriptures. Each of us, by the power of the Holy Spirit, must make a decision to surrender to God’s love and to commit ourselves to follow Christ. Each of us needs the support of a faith community to experience God’s love and empower us to go out to others.

Living It Out: Our lives speak more clearly than our words.

"Do not deceive yourselves by just listening to God’s Word; instead, put it into practice…For whoever looks closely into the perfect law that sets people free, who keeps on paying attention to it and does not simply listen and then forget it, but puts it into practice, that person will be blessed by God is what is done." (James 1:22-25)

Each of us is called to share the love we have received with others. Each of us can show care for each person we meet at work, on the street, and in times of leisure. Each of us who is a member of a family can express our love for each other within the family. As a family, we can show love toward others. Each faith community must let people know that they are disciples of Christ by the love they have for one another. Each of us is called to help others as effectively as we can, especially the poor and the marginalized.

Listen to God's word today and share it with someone you love.



"Be still and know that I am God"(Psalm 46:10)

Saturday, January 30, 2010

How heavy is the yolk on your soul?

In our day and age, no matter how high the standards of living reach or how physically comfortable we try to become; true peace of heart still does not exist. On the contrary, each individual feels some kind of fear, a deep seated restlessness within him or herself.
These are all indications of the soul's pressure on the body, warning the person of the wrong path that he or she has chosen to follow. Hence, some kind of grievous depression or anxiety makes the person worry and feel sad, but without a clear reason. These are all signs of the soul's distress and the effect of the heart's discomfort in a person, due to his/her not paying attention to the Soul's nutritional needs and instead focusing on strictly human material matters.
Furthermore, many of us today are deceived into thinking that more material things actually give us the strength to satisfy that cry from within us; that cry that says, "If I could just get others to like and accept me, I'd be happy …" or "If I could just get someone to say something good about me, tell me I look better, or am better than so and so…" or "If I were rich and had power or influence it would be enough…" Do you hear and allow yourself to be burdened down by that inner cry for strength? If you had all the wealth, power, position, favor, or publicity, would it ever be enough? No. And neither would you possess the inner strength or real joy that your soul craves. Even if you should become King or Queen of the entire world, without satisfying the needs of your Soul, it wouldn't be very long before you'd again be asking, "Is this all there is…?" "Is there any more?"
Material things are never enough because they do not strengthen your inner being (i.e. your soul) or satisfy the craving within which causes people to reach out for possessions, fortune and fame, drugs, alcohol, self-gratification etc, all in an attempt to satisfy the Soul.
The soul is something that in the end does not depend on material things.
When in an attempt to gain a level of comfort, people become excessive in any area of their life, be it excessive jewelry, clothing, purchases, habits, etc. they only receive a temporary calm to satisfy and soothe that inner cry for real joy which originates from within. The next day, the next week, or some other time later, that cry starts over again. Only this time a bit louder and a bit more urgent.
Perhaps also, we then try to throw ourselves into religion believing that this will satisfy our soul. We become involved in many activities of the particular church we attend thinking that we will find happiness and rest for our soul. This seems to be good, but it is just another part of being busy. This, too, can become just an additional burden. We again think by being busy in these good activities, we will find peace in our soul. Wrong again. We have still missed the point of the needs of the soul. We have again missed the discovery that our soul does not need things or activities to be at peace, we just need relationship with Jesus. That relationship requires us not to be busy, but to be still and at rest and to listen. We cannot develop relationships if we do not spend time with the object of our relationship. We need to be in conversation, spending time, learning to understand this person with whom we desire a relationship.
So it is with Jesus. We need to take time to rest, reflect, and pray (the way to conversation with Jesus). We must also know that we cannot have peace of soul without his assistance. We cannot do it on our own. This is the meaning of the term "rest in God". Stop your constant need to be active and take the time just to be with Jesus. His invitation is very clear to all of us.

“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light."
(Matthew 11:28-30)

Peace and love,


"Be still and know that I am God"(Psalm 46:10)

Friday, January 29, 2010

We are all significant in the eyes of Jesus.

“And, oh, what a great love it is! Nothing can separate us from it. "Neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8:38-39)
I have always had a great love for the writings of St. Paul. He is an inspiration in that he changed his life after his encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus and he wrote with such feeling and love for the people he converted to Christianity. In this short passage from Romans, he has shared his own spirituality and has told of God’s great love for us which is unconditional and forever. It has helped me to formulate my own understanding of true spirituality and how it must be manifested in my own life.
In my quest for true spirituality, Jesus speaks to my dark side with his eternal message of love. I long for true spiritual connection with him that transcends my hurried existence and from which I can leave the world of temporary and changing and secure a sense of permanent and unchangeable. I know that I can only receive this security by developing my relationship with Jesus. Security will not come from a new age therapy, from the accumulation of wealth, nor from any of my earthly relationships. I come to Jesus, embracing my spiritual bankruptcy
and brokenness, and seek His love and acceptance. I know that I cannot come to Him on my terms, but come to Him on His terms and also with His assistance.
Jesus tells me that I am significant. He tells you the same thing.

Peace and love,


"Be still and know that I am God"(Psalm 46:10)

Thursday, January 28, 2010

It is in the quiet that we hear God's voice.

In the busyness of our lives we seldom stop to hear the voice of those who wish to speak to us. I know that when someone is trying to speak to me as I move from one task to another, I do not hear what they are saying. I am only concentrating on the task at hand. When I am busy, I do not even listen to my own thoughts and most of the time I don't even take the time to think at all. I am driven, focused, and blind to everything that is going on around me.
In this business of mine, I could not possibly be having much conversation with God. I could not have much of a conversation with anyone in my task oriented mode. It is only when I stop my busyness, take the time to rest and listen, can I converse with God. I can hear him in my thoughts, in the stillness. When you stop and take the time to reflect, you can see how he was present to you during your day; how he spoke to you in the people that you encountered during the day. God will not tap you on the shoulder and tell you to listen to him. God will wait patiently for you to recognize that he is there with you and waits patiently for conversation with you. I feel that God speaks to you all the time, but you cannot possibly know that unless you stop, rest, and listen.

Peace and love,

"Be still and know that I am God"(Psalm 46:10)

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Why Pray?

All prayer begins with a desire to have something. We pray to God to grant us our wishes, to have, to be, or to do. We pray for what we want God to give us or what we want to happen to us. Prayer may take the form of asking for good health for ourselves or someone we love. It could be that we pray for something good to happen such as obtaining a new job or something bad not to happen such as the death of a loved one. Since God is the ultimate giver, we as his children ask for our many desires to be granted to us.
As children, we seek simple things. We might ask God to make it snow so we would not have to go to school. It may be forgiveness that we are seeking and we look to God as a loving father who will pick us up when we have fallen. He is our ultimate care giver and as the provider of all things. We come to God for all our human needs. In our simplicity, we expect God to grant all our requests and as children, we can sometimes become angry with him if our desires are not granted. Our prayers to God are simple, we talk to God, or we talk at God and expect him to grant our requests.
The emphasis of our desires in prayer must move us away from the simple childlike need to constantly receive and move us toward a real connection with the God who is with us and in us. It is in this manner that we satisfy the souls longing to feel his presence and to abide in his embrace. It is to experience his ultimate destiny for us.
When our prayer life matures, we do not always have a desire for things; we also have a desire to be a part of the world around us. Through contemplative prayer, our hearts, minds and souls desire a deeper meaning in life. We have a desire at the level of our soul to connect with our divine creator. Prayer to God articulates our longing and desire to find his love and to experience that love within us. We want God to be with us and we want to be with God. Prayer not only becomes a talking to God, but now we seek to listen to what God has to tell us. We pray to seek his desires for us and we desire to do his will. Our desire in prayer now takes the form of communication with God. Just as communication is the way we get to know one another, we seek to get to know God. Our prayers of desire now involve the wish to be a part of his life and his creation. We seek a deep connection with others as well as a deep connection with God.
We learn more and more about his character and how his perfect will is working itself out in our lives. Deepening our understanding of God also deepens our faith and desire to worship. As we become increasingly aware of our limitations, we can rest in the knowledge that our God is omniscient. Availing ourselves of God’s counsel is a blessing of prayer.

We do not have all the answers to the whys and hows of life. Isn't it comforting to know that we do not need to know all the answers? It is freeing to understand that we are not in control. To pray is to rest in God's guidence. It is to begin to let go and just be who we are.
God loves us just as we are and prayer with God helps us to find out who we are instead of trying to be something we are not.

Peace and love,


"Be still and know that I am God"(Psalm 46:10)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


Today, I would just like to offer a prayer for the people of Haiti.

God of love,
Take care of your children in Haiti.
They had so little,
and have lost what they had.
Help them to see your love,
Your great compassion.
Be with them during their time of trial.

God of love,
help us to be your instruments of love,
Make us compassionate, kind and generous,
to your children in need.
Show us the way,
to walk in your service.
Teach us to love,
your children in Haiti.

Peace and love,


"Be still and know that I am God"(Psalm 46:10)

Monday, January 25, 2010

Prayer and Scripture

Prayer and connection with God is our defense against the dictates of our sterile and material seeking civilization. Prayer and connection with God is what gives us the strength to live the good news of the Gospel. Prayer does not mean simply to pour out one’s heart. It means to find the way to God and to speak with him, whether the heart is full or empty. We believe scripture is God’s way of communicating with us, shaping us, and informing us.
Jesus Christ wants to pray with us and to have us pray with him, so that we may be confident and glad that God hears us. We learn to speak to God because God has spoken to us and continue to speak to us. God’s speech in Jesus Christ meets us in the Holy Scriptures. There is peace in the will of God, which we can discover through prayer.. Spiritual formation is the process of coming to know God and allowing God’s vision and values to shape us. We participate in this process through prayer. Prayer is really nothing more than coming into greater consciousness of what already dwells within us and within every person and creature.
We are invited to live with a heart that yearns for life, a heart that desires God, and a heart that delights in the voice of God. The invitation is always there even if it is difficult for us to respond. As we recognize God’s tremendous love for us, we grow in our love for others. When we live out of an awareness of our union with God and others, we live a life full of gratitude. Our gratitude deepens as we develop an appreciative eye. Scripture emphasizes the importance of gratitude and shows us the way to live our thankfulness. An unconditionally positive attitude moves us toward more positive life experiences. We no longer live tied to the standards which are tied to the “normalcy of civilization” .
While efficiency and control are the great aspirations of our society, the loneliness, isolation, lack of friendship and intimacy, broken relationships, boredom, feelings of emptiness and depression, and a deep sense of uselessness fill the hearts of millions of people in our success-oriented world. The Christian leader of the future is called to be completely irrelevant and to stand in this world with nothing to offer but his or her own vulnerable self. That is the way Jesus came to reveal God’s love. God loves us not because of what we do or accomplish, but because God has created and redeemed us in love and has chosen us to proclaim that love as the true source of all human life.

Peace and love,


"Be still and know that I am God"(Psalm 46:10)

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Cranky Christian’s guide to prayer

One of my friends sent this to me. I told him that he needed to have his own blog, but he told me just to post this on mine. Hopefully you will get a good laugh and it may just express some of your own thoughts on how we pray today.

Joe Petroselli 12/30/2009

My name is Joe and I'm a Christian, Catholic to be exact, and I'm Cranky and I'm impatient and I'm bored. Not with God and not with my faith but rather with the way we choose to worship and communicate with God. After 8 years of Catholic Grammar school, Two years of Catholic High School (parents ran out of money) and 4 years of Catholic College (paid for it myself) I am sick of all the mindless canned prayers we offer to God.

When we talk to one another we use words and language to convey our thought. If I wanted to tell you that I love you, there are many ways and combinations of words I could use to do that but the key thing is to share the thought or feeling I have for you. If I keep using the same phrase or sentence over and over ( like the cashier at the grocery store wishing that I “Have a nice day” ) I tend to doubt that there is any genuine thought or meaning that accompany those words. As a matter of fact I don’t actually believe the cashier would care of I fell over in the street as soon as my credit card was approved, yet she feels that she has done her duty by saying the words (wishing me a nice day). It sounds good; it looks good, but really doesn’t mean much to me.
I hate to say it but that’s just about what our prayers have become when we get together to pray to God.

A prayer is talking to God, making a request or conveying a feeling of fear, love or thankfulness. When we talk to each other we don’t rely on formal structured repetitive statements and we certainly don’t speak in Old English. When Jesus gave us the Lord’s Prayer he didn’t want us to use specific words as if they were magic words, he wanted us to embrace the thoughts, emotions, and intent contained in the prayer. My 8th grade nun once told me that if you want to know how God sees you “pretend he can’t hear you and pretend he can’t see you, but can only know you by how he sees the world through your heart”. So if you tell God that you love him and if you sit in a church every week and spew lofty sounding magic words (in old English yet) with little or no thoughts and your heart isn’t involved you may as well have stayed home. God didn’t see the Big Show and nothing much got through to him and he probably wasn’t too impressed.

When we say the Lord’s Prayer we start by saying “Our Father who art in heaven hallowed be thy name”. We don’t speak like that .What the heck are we doing. We are slipping into religious speak as if there was only one set of acceptable words to express the wish or intent of the prayer. Remember, Jesus never used Old English with its “thy”, “thee”, “thou”, and “art” what he wanted us to absorb and savor is the thought or the soul of what these words represent. It’s that spiritual core that is the prayer not the words. However I doubt there is one of us that can’t rattle off the entire Lord’s Prayer without giving a single meaningful thought as to what it is we are saying. I know I can, and for those of us that are Catholics we have the “Hail Mary” which when used in saying the Rosary, can be fired off at astounding speed. I certainly hope Mary is impressed by velocity.

Talk to God as we talk to each other. Use the language that is best for you to express the thoughts that are in your heart. Speak from your heart and the core of your soul. Mean it. Don’t use ceremony, don’t use someone else's words. It’s a very personal relationship. Express yourself the best you can God will understand what you want or need.
So now that you have a clue of how to pray let me give you some insight on how to get your prayers answered. I’ve prayed to God for help in many instances throughout my life. After nearly 60 years I’ve learned something about prayer. It seems the answer to your prayers always comes but almost never how you thought it would.

There is an story told in churches many times: There was a woman trapped in her house during a flood. As the water rose she prayed for God to rescue her. Since she was a woman of great faith she had no doubt that God would help her. A small boat pulled up to the house and asked if she needed help, she said “No God would save her”. The water continued to rise and a larger boat came and asked if they could help and she replied “No God will save me”. The water continued getting deeper and finally she was trapped on the roof when a coast guard helicopter hovered over her but she waved them off too because she new God would save her. Finally as the water covered her roof the poor woman drowned. When she got to heaven she asked God why he didn’t answer her prayers and allowed her be a victim of the flood waters. God answered “I sent two boats and a helicopter but you refused them all”.

That has actually been my problem; I always seem to want divine help directly from God. Even though intellectually I know better I always expect a movie type of miracle from God. I pray for a new Porsche 911 sports car ( a “Carrera S” if anyone in heaven is listening), and I expect that if God is going to answer my prayer “Zap” the car will suddenly appear in my driveway. Well despite the great stories in books and films my experience tells me that’s not how it works. Actually the answer to most of our prayers exists somewhere in this world. God intends for us to work together, love, help and respect one another. I think I read in the New Testament that the greatest commandment was to love your neighbor as yourself. I believe that when I pray for something God answers by bringing together the necessary earthly elements with a pinch of divine influence to grant my prayer. Sometimes I can’t possibly imagine how it’s going to happen but it usually does. For example if you’re very ill and you pray for Gods help, don’t just sit there but try to find different doctors, different treatments or travel to a famous hospital in another state. It seems the God will step in to see that the right people or medical remedies and other necessary elements are brought together to answer your prayers.

As I have thought about it all, there has always been a problem in my mind when I pray for something as to who is worshiping who when we ask God for something then just sit there and wait for it to happen. Its kind of like a rich person asking the servant to get him a glass of water. Someone who loves you is more likely to help get you that drink of water if they see you struggling to reach the glass or trying to turn on the faucet. God helps us because he loves us but he is not our servant. Every time I have had my prayers answered I have been in motion trying to solve my problem. I have often been frustrated and can’t possibly see just how help will or can come but it usually does and almost always not in a way I expected. In the Air Force I worked on Jet Fighters and when these little air planes were leaving for a mission they were loaded with weapons, fuel and countermeasures and were actually too heavy to take off under their own power. They always got up in the air though because as they are rolling down the runway working as hard as they possibly can to get up in the air there is something called an afterburner that fires and it gives the plane the extra power it needs to get off the ground. You can actually hear it fire with a blast. Well that’s how I see prayer. When you are rolling down the runway, trying as hard as you can to have your prayers answered God provides the afterburner to give you the extra blast of help you need to have your prayers answered. I guess it doesn’t always have to happen but for me it usually does. Be aware that you may be experiencing answers to your prayers but just don’t recognize them because they don’t look like what you expected.

Pray with your heart and your love. Don’t worry about the words. When you pray, pray for help which means assistance with doing what you are already trying to do. There is no given amount of effort you have to put forth but all God asks for is to do your best. If you are too sick or confused there may be little or nothing you can do but even that is enough for God because its your best.

I hope that these thoughts put some logic in praying because it’s what I sincerely believe and how I understand my relationship with God. Don’t believe it if it doesn’t make sense to you but only if it seems logical and helps you come to your own conclusions.


Disclaimer: The above thoughts represent the best insights of a thinking malcontent. Do not accept them on blind faith but only if they make sense to you. If they turn out to be wrong feel free to use the attached “Get out Of Hell Free “card. Be aware though that like other guarantees in this world there is a good chance that it may not be honored by those involved in your final judgement.

Cut on line below

Get Out of Hell Free

To whom it may concern: Your name below
Please forgive _____________________________________ for literally accepting the concepts in the “The Cranky Christians Guide to Prayer”. He or she is just a well meaning chump with an inquiring mind trying to improve their personal relationship with God. We feel that hell is too severe a punishment for this transgression and would like to offer a plea bargain in which we are willing to accept 100 years in Purgatory for a guilty plea in lieu of hell.

Brown nose clause:
If you are assisting God in my final judgment remember that you
St. ________________________were always my favorite saint. Enter saints name above


I hope that you all enjoyed this post. I know that I did.

Peace and love,


"Be still and know that I am God"(Psalm 46:10)

Saturday, January 23, 2010


This past week I was tested on my ability to be loving, compassionate, and forgiving. I would like to say that I passed the test, but I did not. Being a follower of Jesus we have the responsibility to love our enemies, to forgive those who do wrong to us. This past week, I found that to be easier said than done. I was put in a situation where I had to show love to someone I felt was difficult to deal with. I did not do this. The only thing that I can say in my defense is that I realize that I did not do this. I realize that this was a lesson that I had to learn through experience. It is easy to love those who love us. Jesus said to "love your enemies", and I thought I understood the message. However, when it was time to put these words into actions, I missed the mark.
I am grateful for the lesson. It gave me the opportunity to realize that in order to do this, I must ask for God's help. It is not something that I can accomplish on my own. It is an important realization that in the past, I might not have recognized. It may make it a little easier to remember to seek God's help when faced with difficult people.
It is arrogant to believe that we can live as followers of Christ without always seeking his help when faced with situations that may cause us to be unloving. We cannot follow him without recognizing that he is leading the way. That may not make sense, but think about it. When we try to rely on ourselves to get through difficult situations, we often fail. If we keep our eyes on Jesus and call upon his assistance to help us when we are tested, success can be ours.

Peace and love to all,


"Be still and know that I am God"(Psalm 46:10)

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Jesus continues to encourage us to love.

Jesus dealt with many aspects of human life but the one that He spent longest on was the need for love. His focus was not just on the love for our friends and family, but something much more challenging, a love that tests every normal human reaction.
"Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you" (Matthew 5:44).
He spoke of a love for those who we want to hate, a love for those who already hate us. This love requires effort, and strain, and every ounce of self-command that one can summon up.
It is the easiest thing in the world to hate, to let the desire for revenge grow in our hearts. Indeed vengeance may even have the shadow of justice attached to it, but in reality, it leads to dark, unadulterated hate and a spiral of destruction.
To be truly happy we must rise above the bigotry and jealousy of others. We must love even if we are hated for it. Love and do not hate, for surely love is the only path to peace, freedom and happiness. Those who follow the path of love will be demonstrating the kingdom of heaven that Jesus was trying to tell us about. God's Kingdom is at hand.

Peace and love,


"Be still and know that I am God"(Psalm 46:10)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Neither Jew nor Greek,neither slave nor free, neither male or female?

Is that correct? Are we all one in Christ Jesus? Did Jesus distinguish the male soul from the female soul. The Roman Church has gotten the message for two out of those three stipulations. They seem to understand the neither Jew nor Greek part (we are all welcome no matter what race or nationality); they seem to understand the neither slave nor free part (we are all equal in God's eyes); but they can't seem to grasp the neither male nor female part.
Jesus set an example for His church, He taught both women and men. Many of these women were mentioned by name in the Gospels. At times this value Jesus gave to women as disciples embarrassed His male followers. Once, when Jesus was found talking to a woman of Samaria about her faith, His male disciples watched in guarded silence (John 4:1-26). They marveled that He was speaking with a woman about her faith.
In Paul’s letters, he acknowledged the value of women leaders within the churches. Some years after leaving Philippi, he wrote to the congregation there, entreating two women leaders, Euodia and Syntyche, to end a dispute between them the fact that he named these women indicates their importance within the church. Paul took it for granted that within Christianity, women as well as men could receive the same gifts, offer the same services, and perform the same activities.
Women exercised the gift of prophecy in the age of Paul. Besides Paul himself, seven men and four women are identified as prophets in the Book of Acts. Paul referred to the act of women praying and prophesying during public worship, and he did so in a casual manner, as if the practice were well established.
The advent of Jesus Christ means that we can no longer regard anyone from just a human point of view. We are more than our outward appearance. Does God love women in a different way than he loves men? According to St. Paul, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free person, there is not male and female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:28)
Unless the Roman church is going to drop that last stipulation (not male or female) from this text of the letter of Paul, they need to search for a better understanding of its meaning.

Peace and love to all my brothers and sisters in Christ,


"Be still and know that I am God"(Psalm 46:10)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

A Prayer of Love

A Prayer of Love

"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, 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, and always perseveres." 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Dear Lord:
Because love is patient:
Help me to be slow to judge, but quick to listen, hesitant to criticize, but eager to encourage, remembering your endless patience with me.

Because love is kind:
Help my words to be gentle and my actions to be thoughtful. Remind me to smile and to say "Please" and "Thank You" because those little things still mean so much.

Because love does not envy or boast, and it is not proud:
Help me have a heart that is humble and sees the good in others. May I celebrate and appreciate all that I have and all that I am, as well as doing the same for those around me.

Because love is not rude or self-seeking:
Help me to speak words that are easy on the ear and on the heart. When I'm tempted to get wrapped up in my own little world, remind me there's a great big world out there full of needs and hurts.

Because love is not easily angered and keeps no record of wrongs:
Help me to forgive others as you have forgiven me. When I want to hold onto a grudge, gently help me release it so I can reach out with a hand of love instead.

Because love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth:
Help me stand up for what is right and good. May I defend the defenseless, and help the helpless. Show me how I can make a difference.

Because love always protects and always trusts:
Help me to be a refuge for those around me. When the world outside is harsh and cold, may my heart be a place of acceptance and warmth.

Finally, because love always perseveres:
Help my heart continually beat with love for You and others. AMEN.

This says it all!!

Peace and love,


"Be still and know that I am God"(Psalm 46:10)

Monday, January 18, 2010

What is Spiritual Direction?

In recent years, a great need has arisen among Christians of all denominations to develop and foster their relationship with God. The practice of spiritual direction is centered on and concerned with a person’s experiences of his/her relationship with God. Spiritual direction is the help given by one Christian to another which enables one to be able to understand how God is communicating with them and how they should communicate with God. The spiritual director is a companion accompanying one on their spiritual journey. We all need a way to cope with these troubling and unsettling times. The search for the rock upon which we can ground our search for meaning is not found in the things of the world. The rock is God and spiritual direction can become our roadmap on the journey to find God in our lives.
The present day practice of spiritual direction is not only encouraged for the religious, but is also encouraged for the spirituality of the laity. Spiritual direction is a relationship in which one person assists another, in attending to God’s presence and call. Spiritual direction has been, and remains, particularly strong within Roman Catholic and Orthodox religious orders, and over the past twenty years Anglican and Protestant traditions have begun to recover it more fully. There is also growing interest in spiritual direction among other faith traditions, such as Judaism and Buddhism.
We define Christian spiritual direction as help given by one Christian to another which enables that person to pay attention to God’s personal communication to him or her, to respond to this personally communicating God, to grow in intimacy with this God, and to live out the consequences of the relationship. Christian spiritual direction becomes specifically Roman Catholic when done within the context of the Catholic Church's understanding of Scripture, is connected to its sacraments, and is aware of the teaching and guidelines that have protected and fostered a variety of spiritualities over the centuries of the Church's history Throughout Christian history, spiritual direction has traditionally been practiced by ordained clergy alone. In recent years, however, this practice has widened to embrace the spiritual gifts of non-ordained persons as well. Today, spiritual direction is regarded as a ministry open to all, not an order or office reserved for the few.
Do you need help with your relationship with God? Would you like to develop a better prayer life? Do you see God's work in your life?
Maybe Spiritual Direction could help you.

Peace and love to all,


"Be still and know that I am God"(Psalm 46:10)

Sunday, January 17, 2010

What is religion?

Today's Gospel is the "Wedding Feast at Cana".
It is revealing that Jesus chose a wedding party for the launch of His public ministry (John 2:1-11). The news of what he did probably spread like wildfire, alerting everyone in the surrounding area to His kindness and His remarkable gift to the bride and groom. Kindness seems to be the message that Jesus wanted to precede Him, to disarm people so that they would not fear Him. Everything about Jesus spoke of simplicity, being born in a stable, living an unknown existence, showing nothing out of the ordinary except when some need called forth His extraordinary power to heal or to comfort.

Jesus cut through all the nonsense concocted through the centuries and touches the very core of what religion really is: our relationship with God. The person who is pleasing to God is focused on God and sensitive to all the pain and hurt that surrounds them. The accuracy in belief and disciplining human weakness are not important, but what is important is to love God and to care for others in need. These were teachings that were critical to Jesus. This was the Good News.
As concerned as Jesus was about spreading His Good News, He is not compulsive or driven like so many people with a mission. He lived His life, enjoying each day, making new friends, and maintaining warm relationships with His old friends. This, too, could be considered part of His Good News. He taught by His example how people could live with joy and serenity, and not allow themselves to be so driven that they lose their peace of mind and sense of balance. Through it all, they can enjoy an intimate relationship with God, which is built into the essence of being fully human.
Jesus showed little concern for the religious doctrines, customs, and rituals of the religious leaders. He did share His identity, and His relationships with the Father and the Holy Spirit, but this sharing of His inner life was the expression of His love. The doctrine of Jesus was in the relationships He was sharing (Matthew 15:29-38). He did not teach doctrines to be memorized; His doctrine was displayed in the life that He lead and the way in which He shared with others. He shared His unique understanding of God, and the relationship that God’s children should have with one another. Deepening of our intimacy with God and caring for one another was the religion of Jesus.
As we go through our daily lives, we should not use religion to beat each other with, but instead it should be a voice of love. Remember that religion is about relationship. It is about our relationship with the loving God that Jesus revealed to us. It is also about our relationship to one another. True religion is to love as Jesus loves, with arms open to embrace the world. Religion should be the language of love, the language of community, the language of acceptance, the language of compassion, and the language of forgiveness. We must all do our part to make this a reality.

Blessings and Peace to you all,


"Be still and know that I am God"(Psalm 46:10)

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Love your neighbor.

With all the news regarding the disaster in Haiti, I wonder how many people consider them our neighbors. They are going to need a great deal of assistance to help them get back on their feet. I know that this will not happen in a day, or a week, or a month, or even a year, but with God's help and the help of God's people it will happen.
I have heard it said that it is too dangerous to go over there and help them, but didn't Jesus put himself in danger throughout his ministry. He was not afraid the heal the sick on the Sabbath, he was not afraid to touch the leper, he was not afraid to talk to a woman.
If fear is keeping us from offering our assistance, how are we fulfilling our Christian mission. Sure, not everyone can go. That would just add to the chaos that is already there. But people with talents, like doctors, nurses, interpreters, builders, and tradespeople, are going to be in short supply in comparison to the great need.
Donations are great and should be encouraged, however, I believe that gifts of money,as well as time and talent, are the gifts we are asked to share with others.
Members of my family have volunteered to offer their time to go to Haiti to share their time and talent with those who are so very much in need. I am so proud of them and know that God will be watching over them so that they will be safe. It is when the need is the greatest that we should be offering our help. To wait until it is safe to go and help seems to fall short of Jesus' example.

Blessings and love to all,


"Be still and know that I am God"(Psalm 46:10)

Friday, January 15, 2010

What is Prayer?

To understand the meaning of prayer, we must first believe that God exists, and that He is a personal being, a person who can be addressed and who responds. We must believe that God knows us, cares for us, and loves us, even more than we love ourselves. Some describe prayer as talking and listening with God. Others may call prayer love letters to God. Since prayer engages and expresses our relationship with God, the essence of prayer is communication.
Prayer is a communion of the human with the divine. We talk to God, our creator and we connect with Him as father, mother, friend, lover, and savior. Whether our prayer comes from love, gratitude, and inspiration, or from fear, despair, and desperation, we talk heart-to-heart with God. When we pray we use the voice of the human, but we align with the voice of our hearts and our souls. Prayer fulfills the need humans have for God, for inspiration, for affirmation of our own souls. We talk to the one who loves and accepts us as we are.
We must feel that God has called us into a relationship with Himself. Relationships require communication. Prayer is communication between a holy God and a beloved you and me. God wants to be in relationship with us and He knows we need what He can give. Through prayer, we experience life-transforming, life-renewing intimacy with the Creator of the universe.
Through prayer, we learn more and more about God’s character, and how His perfect will is working itself out in our lives. Deepening our understanding of God also deepens our faith and desire to worship. As we become increasingly aware of our limitations, we can rest in the knowledge that our God is omniscient. Availing ourselves of God’s counsel is a blessing of prayer.
Prayer opens our heart and mind to God, and makes us capable of receiving heavenly blessings and bringing forth fruits of virtues and perfection. Prayer attracts into our hearts the grace of the Holy Spirit, thus strengthening our faith, hope, and love. It illuminates our minds, directs our will to do good, consoles the heart in sorrow and suffering, and, in general, gives us everything that serves our true welfare.
There are different forms of prayer. The purpose of the various prayer types is for each individual to be able to find a way to experience God in their lives and to discover God’s intimate will for their lives. We experience events in our lives differently according to our personality and the environment in which we were raised. Therefore, it is important to find a prayer type that is comfortable, meaningful and suits our individual personas.
The way that persons in love deepen their bond of charity with each other is through the sharing of their interior lives in an authentic and generous exchange of words, gestures, and feelings. The conversation of prayer deepens our intimacy with God by drawing us into the communication with Him that leads to ultimate communion. In the process, prayer conforms us to the Lord we love so that, our will becomes united in some way with the will of God.
Have a conversation with God today. Keep in mind that conversation works both ways. Talk to God, but also listen to what God wants to say to you. Stop your busy lives for a little while and spend time with God. The only way we can develop our human relationships is with contact and conversation. Our relationship with God requires the same time and ingredients. Just as a loving friend or family member wants to hear from you and talk to you, so it is with God.

Peace and love,


"Be still and know that I am God"(Psalm 46:10)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

What does Jesus look like?

I don't mean back in the first century. Although even though from the Scriptures we know that he walked the earth as a man, we don't have a picture of what he looked like.
Most of the pictures I have seen depict him as a white male with long brown hair and blue eyes. He was probably not white, did not have very long hair, and didn't have blue eyes. In the part of the world he lived in, people did not look like that.
What he looked like was really not important. Who he was and how he treated people was what has stayed with us for over two thousand years. Being that he is God, he can look anyway he wants to. We cannot limit Jesus to a specific image.
In today's world he could be black man, an Indian, an Anglo, or (should I say it) he could look like a woman. If Jesus is truly in all of us, he can very easily look like one of us. Jesus is in all of the people we encounter on a daily basis, both male and female, and in every color of this beautiful world we live in. That is why we can say that the "Kingdom of God is at hand". We are Jesus, we are the kingdom. We just haven't figured that out yet.
There are many things that happen to us as we live in the world. These things may color our perception of who we are and how we relate to other people and the world. Sometimes these things are not good and we lose sight of our significance, our talents, our need for one another and we forget that Jesus is right there with us and in us. We may not see Jesus with us, but he is there. He is in that person who offers us a kind word when we are down. He is in the person who puts their arm around us and comforts us when we need it. He is in all of the people we share both good times and bad times with. He is in us, as we are there to love others.
So, what does Jesus look like? Does it really matter? I think it matters more what he does within us. Looks are temporary, we all change. Just look at your baby pictures as compared to how you look now. What doesn't change is that we are Jesus to one another. That may seem like a big responsibility, but it really is what we are called to do and to be.
So, what does Jesus look like? He looks like you and me.

Peace and love to you all,


"Be still and know that I am God"(Psalm 46:10)

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

How do we connect with God?

Welcome this new day. Stretch your arms toward the sky, inhaling deeply your hopes for this day, exhaling whatever anxieties you wish to put aside.
Breathe in welcome.

Breathe out suspicion.

Repeat this several times.

Prayerfully ponder and review the distractions or obstacles that may be blocking you from receiving fully the blessings of this day.

Pass these over to God's loving care.

Sit for a few minutes in silence and offer a prayer asking for God's blessing on you during this day.

Teach me to love, Lord, as You love,
Make it unconditional, honest, and kind,
To ask nothing back in return, Lord,
To encompass the whole of mankind.
May I offer my love without speaking,
May it radiate as it shines forth from me,
May it be seen in my face and my eyes, Lord,
May it be simple, sincere, and shame free.
Show me how to forgive, Lord, as You do,
To not burden another with guilt,
To not play the role of the martyr,
To be a rock on which trust may be built.
Make my love for others be greater by far
Than any love that is offered to me,
Led by the Spirit, Inspired of God,
As forgiving as Jesus...and free.

by Virginia (Ginny) Ellis

"Eternal Father, I offer You the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Your dearly beloved Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, in atonement for our sins and those of the whole world.” (Chaplet of the Divine Mercy)
Choosing is part of our everyday life. We choose all day from morning until we sleep in the evening. As children of God with free choice, we may also choose our method of attaining spirituality. Choice lies in the heart of this matter, for the spirituality chosen, if one is indeed chosen at all, will be present in the minds and attitudes of those who do the choosing. In this case, choice can influence one’s entire life.
Choice, specifically concerning a rule of spirituality, is the choice of a specific set of beliefs in how to connect with Jesus. Those who authentically enter into a rule of spirituality do so by choosing these methods over all others. However, the concept of choice itself and its overall effect on a person’s life varies by spirituality. Every rule of spirituality manifests this choice in different ways. Of course, choosing Jesus is the focal point. Ultimately at the heart of the choice is the person and Jesus. Underneath the entire choice of externals, one must choose whether to enter into relationship with Jesus. In choosing Jesus, one does not surrender but instead is made complete.
Remember,spirituality is not an end in itself; it is a means to find a way to walk in the presence of Jesus, to connect with Him as a friend. It is a way to follow the message of Jesus and that message is love.
In order really connect with Jesus, a prayer life is extremely important. However, closing ourselves in a dark room and praying on our knees from morning to night is not necessarily the way we are called to pray. Our life has to be a prayer. We must recognize Him in everyone we meet during the course of our day. We must recognize Him in ourselves. We must live in such a way that we not only speak to Jesus, but also are able to recognize His response to us. We must love as He loves.

Peace and love to all,


"Be still and know that I am God"(Psalm 46:10)

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

What do you think God wants you to do with your life?


As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. "Come, follow me," Jesus said, "and I will make you fishers of men."At once they left their nets and followed him. Going on from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets. Jesus called them,2and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.(Matthew 4:18-22)

It is not likely that Jesus is going to call us as directly and dramatically as he called Peter and Andrew, James and John, saying face to face: "Come, follow me." But God does call us. God knows us best. He created us, and gifted us with a unique soul and unique personality. There never was and never will be anyone quite like you or me. Just as we have unique fingerprints, we have also a unique soul. What does God want you to do with your life?

Each baptized Christian has two vocations: a general and specific vocation. Our general vocation consists in having Christ live in us and through us. We are called Christian. Even if a complete stranger meets us, that person should be able to identify us by our dress, manners, words and deeds as a Christian. When a stranger enters your home, are there things that indicate that this is a Christian home? Is there a Bible on a table? Is there a picture of Jesus?

By appearance, are you a Christian by wearing a cross? By your words, are you Christian: praising God, not using God’s name in vain? By your deeds, are you Christian by doing good and avoiding evil, by making sacrifices to do good things for other people, in imitation of Jesus?

When you do good things and help people, do you feel so good deep down that you can do this everyday of your life? All people young and old ask the question: "God what do you want me to do with my life?

After you ask the question, pray quietly, and frequently. Watch and listen. What do other people say to you? Do they compliment you on sharing, on helping, on sacrificing, on your level of responsibility? If they do, excellent, give thanks to God. If people do not say these things to you, why not? If someone likes you, that is excellent; that is how God made us. More importantly, why do they like you? Is it because you have lots of money; or because you treat people well, you listen, you help, you are mature in loving God and other people..

Most importantly, ask God quietly and frequently, "God, what do you want me to do with my life?" God knows you best. He created you, uniquely. It is not likely that Jesus is going to walk up to you like the four apostles and say directly, "Come, follow me." Instead, God will guide you through prayer and experiences. Pray quietly, pray often, "God, what do you want me to do with my life?"

What do you think God wants you to do?

Are you already doing it? If so, how do you know? If not, how are you going to do it?

Take quiet time to listen to God.  Since we cannot expect him to come up to us, tap us on the shoulder, and give us the directions of the day, we must sit and rest in God in quiet.  Talk to God, and then listen to what he wants to say to you.  A thought may come to you, a message may come from a Scripture passage or from a prayer that you speak.  What God wants of you will not be complicated, and will not require a great deal of education.  Whatever God wants you to do, he will give you the strength and talent to do it.  Just ask him!

Peace and love to all of you,


"Be still and know that I am God"(Psalm 46:10)

Monday, January 11, 2010

Our Christian Responsibility to Love is not so bad!!

”So we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually we are members one of another.” ( Romans 12:5)

As St. Paul writes in his following letter to the Corinthians, love must be the focus of our lives.

"And I will show you a still more excellent way. If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient and kind, love is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things. Love never ends. As for prophecy, it will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For our knowledge is imperfect and our prophecy is imperfect; but when the perfect comes, the imperfect will pass away. When I was a child, I spoke like a child; I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall understand fully, even as I have been fully understood. So faith, hope, love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love. Make love your aim, and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts.” (1 Cor. 13-14:1)

(I absolutely love that passage.  Paul really understood what it means to love.)

The ending statement from St. Paul references the spiritual gifts. The proper use of our spiritual gifts must be guided by a constant focus on love. Each of us possesses our own spiritual gifts given to us by God. We are given different gifts to encourage us to come together and help each other in our community. We must take a risk and love each other because only in loving one another can we truly love God.

When we choose to bring unconditional love into our personal, professional, community and family lives, we begin to restore wholeness and happiness to our world. We recognize the "Kingdom is at hand". The effort to love as Jesus loves us is rewarded in the realization that we have gained a new perspective on everything and every part of our lives and the lives of the people we touch are benefited. 

“And this is his commandment that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us. Whoever keeps his commandments abides in God and God in him. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit whom he has given us.” (1 John 3:23-24)

Choosing Jesus

”I am the Way--yes, and the Truth and the Life. No one can get to the Father except by means of me.” (John 14:6)

(Jesus in not presenting an obsticle, rather, he presents an invitation to share life with him.)

Even though Jesus chooses us first, we still need to choose to follow Him in our everyday lives. Since our lifestyles reveal our inner self, to connect with Jesus spiritually we must change our lifestyles, attitudes and actions to mirror those of Jesus. We must take on the heart and mind of Jesus in everything we do and say.

Today and every day, I make the effort to love.  Remember that love is a choice, not just an emotional response.  To love is to care, have respect, show forgiveness, reserve judgement, and to walk with a compassionate frame of mind in all things.  It is not easy, but it is very freeing to love.  Loving allows people to be who they are.  Loving allows you to be who you are. To love is to let go of control.  Loving places you withing God's Kingdom.  Try love, you may be surprised that in loving God and loving others, you will gain so much more than you give.  Love will show you how to live life with "joy". 
I have heard it said that,quote, "there must be a heaven, because this life is sure hell".  Apparently these people have not really understood the message of Jesus.  The Kingdom is here, the Kingdom is now, the Kingdom is love.  Come join the Kingdom.  Let go and love.

Peace and love to you,

"Be still and know that I am God"(Psalm 46:10)

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Life's Spiritual Journey and the Labyrinth.

"Your life is a sacred journey. And it is about change, growth, discovery, movement, transformation, continuously expanding your vision of what is possible, stretching your soul, learning to see clearly and deeply, listening to your intuition, taking courageous challenges at every step along the way. You are on the path... exactly where you are meant to be right now... And from here, you can only go forward, shaping your life story into a magnificent tale of triumph, of healing of courage, of beauty, of wisdom, of power, of dignity, and of love."

Caroline Adams

This is a Labyrinth

We are all on the path... exactly where we need to be. The labyrinth is a model of that path.

A labyrinth is an ancient symbol that relates to wholeness. It combines the imagery of the circle and the spiral into a meandering but purposeful path. The Labyrinth represents a journey to our own center and back again out into the world. Labyrinths have long been used as meditation and prayer tools.

A labyrinth is an archetype with which we can have a direct experience. We can walk it. It is a metaphor for life's journey. It is a symbol that creates a sacred space and place and takes us out of our ego to "That Which Is Within."

Labyrinths and mazes have often been confused. When most people hear of a labyrinth they think of a maze. A labyrinth is not a maze. A maze is like a puzzle to be solved. It has twists, turns, and blind alleys. It is a left brain task that requires logical, sequential, analytical activity to find the correct path into the maze and out.

A labyrinth has only one path. It is unicursal. The way in is the way out. There are no blind alleys. The path leads you on a circuitous path to the center and out again.

A labyrinth is a right brain task. It involves intuition, creativity, and imagery. With a maze many choices must be made and an active mind is needed to solve the problem of finding the center. With a labyrinth there is only one choice to be made. The choice is to enter or not. A more passive, receptive mindset is needed. The choice is whether or not to walk a spiritual path.

At its most basic level the labyrinth is a metaphor for the journey to the center of your deepest self and back out into the world with a broadened understanding of who you are.

Labyrinths can be walked in many ways. Different images and metaphors can be used as an aid to the experience. In this section I want to give examples of brief rituals that can enliven the labyrinth experience. A ritual is a structured experience designed to celebrate life. It creates a container in which we can learn more about ourselves and our relationships with others. A ritual deepens our connection to our psychological and spiritual center.

Labyrinth is an interactive installation for spiritual journeys. It's for anyone who wants a break from surfing the surface of culture to contemplate the deeper things of life.

Labyrinth reshapes a 12th-century ritual for the 21st century. Its maze-like path takes you on a symbolic journey, creates space to unwind and think - in particular about our relationships with ourselves, one another, our planet and God.

The path has three stages - the 'inward' journey, the centre and the 'outward' journey. The theme of the 'inward' journey is letting go of things which hinder our wholeness and inner approach to God. The centre of the Labyrinth is a space of meditative prayer and peace. The theme of the 'outward' journey is relationship - with ourselves, with others and with the planet - seen in the light of our relationship with God.

Find a Labyrinth near yor and try out this ritual for yourself.

Journey of Life

The most basic metaphor for walking a labyrinth is that of Life’s Journey. Walk the labyrinth while mindful of your life. Envision your life’s goal. Walk to your destiny and see what you learn. Pay attention to the sights and sounds. Do you feel lost at any time? If so, where in the labyrinth did it occur? What does that mean? Do you like one part of the labyrinth more than another? Why? What do the turns represent in your life? Do you resist some turns and like others. When you are outdoors notice subtle changes in the terrain – the ups and downs. Notice any synchronicities such as an overheard word or a bird’s song. Consider all of your experiences in the labyrinth in relation to your life’s journey. Walk alone and then journal your experience. Walk with a group and then share your experiences. What does the labyrinth teach you about your life?


"Be still and know that I am God"(Psalm 46:10)

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

So, What is the Soul?

To progress along our individual paths of spirituality it is necessary to develop an understanding of the soul. Our soul is not something that we have; it is something that we are. The soul is the life energy within a human person. The soul is what gives life. It is also the adhesive that holds us together, the principle of integration and individuation within us. As long as we are alive, which means that we have a soul within us, all of the chemicals within us work together to form a body. At the point of death, we no longer have a body. Chemicals that used to work together begin to go their own way. Once the soul has left the body, decomposition occurs. Life stops and we literally fall apart.

The soul has a dual purpose. It puts the fire in our veins and keeps us energized, vibrant, living with zest and a sense of hope. It also keeps us fixed together. It gives us a sense of who we are, where we came from and where we are going. We are given this gift of fire, our souls become illuminated, and we are invited to live in the presence of God.
Faith in Jesus Christ enriches the soul because the message of Jesus is all about love, hope, and belonging.  To feed the soul within us, we are all given the invitation to experience God's love and life.  God has already accepted us as his beloved children, it is now up to us to understand and accept God's invitation to be loved. 
God is all you need. 



"Be still and know that I am God"(Psalm 46:10)

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Is life what you make it?

There are times that we have very little control of what happens to us.  We may start out with a plan for the day and pretty soon we find that life twists us and turns us in a different direction.  But is it really important what that direction is, or is it more important how we travel down the road.  If we look at our life as a part of God's plan, it should not surprise us when what we plan, is somehow changed.  We may not be able travel down our chosen road, but we can travel through the unknown road with faith and trust in God and in his plan for us.  We may not know where we are going, but we know that we will have the constant companionship with a God who loves us and wants us to live our life with joy.  We may not know what it is that makes us happy or brings us joy.  However, we can be certain that if we follow God's plan for our lives, we will experience joy and peace. 
We can control our ability to be flexible and let our life unfold as God wants it to.  We can control our ability to sit quietly and let God speak to us and we to him.  We can also go kicking and screaming, demanding that we must follow our own plan.  We have the freedom to do that, but I don't believe that we will find true happiness relying upon our own efforts to make a joyful life. 
I examine my life daily to determine when I experience that joy of life.  It is usually when I let go of my own stubborn plan and let God work his magic in my life. 
So if things don't seem to be going the way you want them to go, stop and sit with God and listen to that small voice, and let God lead you in his direction.  I guarantee that you will not be disappointed.

Peace and joy to you all,


"Be still and know that I am God"(Psalm 46:10)

Monday, January 4, 2010

What is important to you?

We all have time for people and activities that we find important.  When I hear someone say, "I don't have time" or "I'm too busy", I think that they are really saying "This is not important to me". 
It is good to be able to draw the line and limit the activities that errupt during day.  We are all drawn into far too many activities.  We have too many people who want our time.  So, what is important? 
I used to say that my job was important.  I worked many more hours than was necessary in the name of taking care of what is important.  I probably sacrificed family, friends, and especially God in my misdirection of what was important.  True, you have to have money in order to live.  Food, clothing, and shelter all cost money.  But how much do you need.
When I lost my job, I discovered that the job was really not important.  The love of family and friends, those who took the time to be with me during my time of trouble, they were important.  The loss of a job just limited my ability to spend.  The loss of any of these people in my life, who have been and are there for me, would truely be tragic.  They are important
In addition, while I was trying to find happiness in things, I completely forgot the one who is with me during all the times of my life.  I neglected the one who would never let me down and the one who asks for so little and gives so much.  I forgot about my true friend.  The great thing is that Jesus was still there when I finally decided to look at what was important in my life.  He did not turn away from me, when I turned away from him.  I had no time for him and his people, but that did not stop his giving love to me, and patiently waiting for me to look his way. 
I was one of those people who did not have time to spend with God.  My life was too busy.  I had more important things to do, or so I thought.  The greatest gift in my life is realizing that God always has time for me.  He is never too busy to be with me.  He is never too busy to help me during my times of sorrow and celebrate with me during my time of great happiness. 
He is there for all of us and is never too busy to love us.
So now I think before I say I am too busy.  I think about what is important.  I think about how Jesus would handle the situation and what he would tell someone if they needed help.  I don't always live up to these high standards of Jesus, but I do take the time to think about what is important, even if I fail to always acknowledge that importance.
Luckily, I can always try again.  I can always try again to love. 

Peace to you,


"Be still and know that I am God"(Psalm 46:10)

Saturday, January 2, 2010

How do we celebrate the "New" in New Year?

Every year we have a new beginning.  We  have a chance to begin again, a chance to change, a chance to improve.  But is it necessary that these changes only occur at the beginning of a New Year?  Don't we have a chance to begin anew each day?  Every day we wake up is a chance to begin anew. 
For instance, if yesterday you were not a kind, loving, or forgiving as you wished to have been, don't give up, you have another chance to be better today.  God is always giving us opportunities to be the people we want to be.  He forgives us of our weaknesses and always gives us another chance to try again.  In addition, he is always there to help us to be the people we want to be.  We should not lose heart that our mistakes are forever held against us.  We have the blessing of a loving God who looks at us with loving eyes, not looking for us to make mistakes, but instead, looks to offer us help to be better.  God wants us to love each other in the same way.  We must look at each other with those same loving eyes.  Just as God gives us the opportunity to improve, we must give each other the same opportunity. 
As followers of Jesus, forgiveness and compassion must be the hallmarks of our experiences with others.  We mirror God's love to each other and that entails forgiveness, kindness, and compassion.  So, just as we have an opportunity to begin anew each day, we as loving members of God's family, should allow the people in our lives to begin anew as well. 
This in not easy especially if we have been hurt by others.  It is not easy, but it is so very freeing.  As we move into the New Year and think about the "resolutions" we could make, make a resolution to wake up every day cherishing the new beginning we have been given and to remember to give that new beginning to others.
My wish for all is the freeing experience of love and forgiveness in this New Year.

Peace to you all,


"Be still and know that I am God"(Psalm 46:10)