Wednesday, February 20, 2013

I'm back to blogging again

I have not posted in this blog for 3 years, I'm a little surprised its still here! Not sure any one's ever read anything but maybe someone has been reading off and on in the past. Well, I'm back to try again.

We are once again in the season of Lent. What a wonderful contemplative time Lent is. Its still winter here in Georgia, its cold, the trees are bare, the grass is brown. But under this apparent dead world is the promise of Spring! So it is in Lent. Its a time to prepare to remember the Passion of the Our Lord and then to celebrate His resurrection with joy! Hidden in this serious time of reflection on our lives and time of considering "I am I pleasing my Lord" is the knowledge that Jesus rose from the dead to free all of us from sin and death forever! Now that brings a smile to my face and great joy to my heart and spirit!... That is the season of Lent.

As part of my personal Lenten habits is to read "The Little Black Book" that our parish provides every year. Its a great booklet that has daily devotionals to encourage your journey through Lent. I also read the "Magnificat" publication, another Catholic devotional book which is packed with wonderful prayers and scripture readings. This year I've struggled to decide "what to give up for Lent" the great Catholic tradition. As I prayed about it nothing came to mind, so now 10 days into Lent, as I was reminded by the little black book, I thought, good grief what's wrong with me why can't I figure this out this year. Even before I joined the Catholic church I celebrated Lent by giving something up until Easter. Then suddenly while reading about Jonah today I realized the whole point! We should give up sin! Yes its that simple and that hard, sin is what we should give up. Now I can't imagine being able to stop sinning altogether, only Jesus could do that! Then I realized if I could just stop doing one sin that God shows me, that would please Him immensely! If we give up one sin a year and continue to do so through the year then year by year we will be doing as Christ said, to become more and more like Him. We'll never be sin-free, but we can at least work on areas God shows us at times such as Lent.

God bless you as you too celebrate all that Lent has to offer  you!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

What is Mercy?

I recently read the following Psalm, and was struck by "His mercy endures forever" refrain over and over. I thought,what is God's mercy? The traditional sense is the mercy God showed by sending Jesus to earth to save us from sin. OK that's great, but from reading this Psalm I thought to myself there is more than just that theological line! So read the Psalm below and I'll tell you what I learned this week!

Psalm 118:2-4 "Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever. Let Israel now say, His mercy endures forever.Let the house of Aaron now say, His mercy endures forever. Let those who fear the Lord now say His mercy endures forever." Psalm 136 has this same refrain after each sentence in many of the verses as it tells all God has done for the world basically!

Again my interest was piqued in what is mercy, what really does it mean. God said, get out the dictionary and read and I will show you. So I did that on Sunday morning while the house was quiet and what an amazing series of words came to light to explain mercy.

Webster's dictionary explains mercy like this " 1)compassionate or kindly forbearance shown toward an offender, an enemy or other person in one's power;compassion, pity or benevolence. 4) An act of kindness, compassion or favor. 6) 'at the mercy of'= subject to ;entirely in the power of.

WOW! I love number 6, its how we are to be with God!We are to be entirely in the power of God, its how the Holy Spirit works best with us, when He is in control!

Next I looked up compassionate,forbearance and benevolence for further evaluation.

Compassion from (Webster's)-"1) A feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by suffering or misfortune accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the pain or remove its cause."

WOW,again! God sees us in our sinful state and had compassion on us! He desires always to alleviate our pain! Our pain is caused by Satan and one day he will be removed FOREVER! That day God will show us ultimate mercy!Meantime, God's daily mercies are abundant just so we can get thru our days. He gives me little mercies every day, little or big places to help me. We need to focus on these and find them, dwell in their awesomeness because it shows how much God loves me and you!

Next I looked up forbearance and forbear in Webster's dictionary.
Forbear -"1)to refrain or abstain from;desist from. 2) to keep back;withhold.3) 'archaic' to endure 4)to refrain;hold back;5)to be patient or self-controlled when subject to annoyance or provocation."
Forbearance- "1)an act of forbearing;a refraining from something. 2)forbearing conduct or quality;3)an abstaining from the enforcement of a right."

God has had patience and endurance for mankind! God abstains from enforcing His right to punish and banish us all to Hell because He sent Jesus to be our Messiah and cover our sins! But the days will come when this forbearance will end and then here will you be then? To receive God's mercy which has no end is to receive Jesus as Messiah and covering for your sins, then you and I can live forever in God's mercy in heaven!

Lastly I looked up benevolence which means "1)desire to do good to others;good will' charitableness; 'to be filled with benevolence towards one's fellowman';2)an act of kindness;charitable gift." What a great picture of God toward us! He loves us so much and showed us by sending Jesus to cover our sins so we can have a relationship with Him now and forever!

So God's mercy does endure forever, just like Psalm 118 and Psalm 136 says! Now because of all God's mercy and protection we can sing the verse below today and every day. No matter how bad it may be,God's mercy is enough to get us thru life today!

Psalm 118:24 "This is the day the Lord has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it."

Thursday, March 4, 2010

A time to pause

This week I attended St. Anna's Parish Mission. This was a "retreat" time for me to be with God, and to hear from the Lord. There were four nights each with a healing and encouraging theme to help us grow closer to God.

First I learned again how I am the beloved of God. To hear this was healing to my broken and wounded heart, spirit and soul! There were several illustrations of what God's love is to us using things we are all familiar with. The love of a nursing mother towards her infant fore instance. The mother tenderly caresses the child, lovingly feeds the child, cares for all the child's needs. This is the way God cares and loves us all too. Also water was another illustration to show the abundance of God's love for us. Water is everywhere around us, and readily available, just like God's love for each of us!

The second night we were reminded how God thru Jesus' death on the cross forgives our sins. The teacher encouraged us to keep our relationship with God open by frequently confessing our sins. Then we were reminded to forgive others as God forgives us so that earthly relationships are as God would have them to be.

The third night we were encouraged to serve others with the love of God flowing thru us. We learned the phrase "Be Christ to others and Let others be Christ to you". This put a new slant on serving the world as Jesus did. It is blessed to serve, but it is also a blessing to allow others to serve you. It must go both ways. To be Christ to others requires we know Christ and what He did to serve others! Studying scriptures, prayer and direction from the Holy Spirit is the key to this element.We are all called to help those who come across our path in life.

We also need to share with others what God is doing in our life. The best way we can share the gospel with people is to share our personal story of our walk with God. Then you are not offending the listener, just sharing what God does for you. Sometimes this is the door that opens the listener's heart to God, sometimes not. But our job is just to share the gospel, our story of faith in God.

I hope you will take a few minutes and reflect on these four ideas and let God speak to you too.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

How much Jesus gave

A Lenten meditation caused me to ponder how much Jesus gave up. Matthew 26:17-29 is telling the story of Jesus' last Passover meal with His disciples. Today as I read thru these passages I was struck by how Jesus totally gave up everything, down to his very blood for us! How much more can a someone give than their blood! Its the life force of all humans, and Jesus gave His for my sins and yours. Wow! Jesus so totally have up all of life,all health,all his body all for us. Do we truly get it? Today it just hit hard how much Jesus gave, down to his blood. We don't give that much to anyone or thing do we? We have nothing to complain about and everything to be thankful to God for!

Dear God, Thank-you is so little to say, but with all thanksgiving and praise in my heart, I thank-you for Your Son's work on the cross for me!AMEN!

Where's Your Ministry?

Mark 5:1-20 The story of the demon possessed man is told here. He had a legion of demons. Wow! He was a very messed up person before Jesus met him! Jesus commanded the legion of demons into a herd of pigs and totally freed the man forever! The man wanted to come with Jesus. But Jesus said no. How surprised the man must have been. Instead Jesus sent the man home to his friends and family. His mission was to tell all of them what God had done for him. That is exactly what the man did, he shared his story all over his home area!

If God has sent you "home" to minister do not think it isn't a ministry! Wherever God sends you is a ministry area. Because you can always tell others what God has done for you personally! You can always share what scripture blessed you today. Do not neglect your "home" ministry area. In years to come you will see the blessings of God on those around you. Be faithful to the mission God's give you, where ever that may be.

See you in ministry soon!

God walks with you and I

Psalm 138:1-2 This Psalm is such a blessing to me in almost every verse. First you praise God with your whole heart,sing and worship Him. Remember how much God loves us, He sent Jesus for us!

Psalm 138:3,7 says "In the day when I cried out, You answered me, and made me bold with strength in my soul.(7)Though I walk in the midst of trouble You will revive me; You will stretch out Your hand against the wrath of my enemies and Your right hand will save me.(8) The Lord will perfect that which concerns me; Your mercy, O Lord, endures forever..." What promises from God! What encouragement, for whatever is happening in your life at this moment! Yes, God sees you and me. Yes God will see us thru these difficult moments. Hang on, trust God, He "will perfect that which concerns " you and I today!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Question answered

A reader of my blog asked me if these come from a book or something I've read. If I quote a book I will be sure to tell you and give credit where credit is due. Usually these little entries come from my own personal time studying God's word and praying and mediating. I only share what God tells me too. Its up to you to ask God if its correct for your life. I hope these entries are encouraging you to seek God harder. God bless you reader!