Faith, Hope, & Love

Life, faith, surviving depression, Soulmates, relationships


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Back to the Basics: Week 5: Mercy: A Mirror of the Golden Rule

Matthew 5:7New International Version (NIV)

7 Blessed are the merciful,

for they will be shown mercy.

Mercy

Dictionary.com defines mercy as compassionate or kindly forbearance shown toward an offender, an enemy, or other person in one’s power; compassion, pity, or benevolence. Looking forward a bit in our travels through “the Sermon on the Mount,” we see mercy in action in, “the Golden Rule.” “Do unto others as you would have them do to you.” I call it “Love in Action.” According to Wikipedia, every culture on earth has had some form of this moral rule from ancient Egypt, to the Hebrews, to ancient India, China, Christianity, and Islam. It is also in the newer world religions such as Wicca, and Bahá’í Faith. “In economics, Richard Swift, referring to ideas from David Graeber, suggests that “without some kind of reciprocity society would no longer be able to exist.” [8]”

It’s the merciful who come to the rescue of those less able to defend or take care of themselves. The merciful go to the suffering areas of our world, whether the suffering is caused by famine, natural disaster, war or terrorism. They care not just for the basic needs of people in crisis, but also care for their mental, emotional, and spiritual needs.  They are people who deserve our respect and thanks for going and doing what they do best, when many of us don’t feel able to take action on their own.  I feel fortunate to have several friends and some family members who have been a part of youth mission trips and caring ministries, such as “Mission U2,”“YWAM,”and the various medical missions available throughout the world.

In the aftermath of November 13, our world needs more people who live out mercy in their everyday lives. Being “Love in Action” to those who are in need. There’s not much more to say, there is so much misunderstand, mistrust, anger, and hatred in our world. We need to have a fresh wind of the Divine guiding us into greater and deeper mercy to everyone around us. We will destroy our world without it.

References

New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Wikipedia.com

Dictionary.com

Biblegateway.com

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Choices: Free Will the Price and the Blessing

bless02

We have all heard messages about how love, happiness, joy, peace, humility, gentleness, kindness, and self-control are a choice we all make; but, what about sin? Sin also is a choice, we choose to be involved in sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. These are all choices we make. At the core of this issue is freewill. Something we all prize and crave is our gift of freedom to choose how we will live our lives, treat others, and God’s creation. Whether you believe in the fall/redemption tradition or original blessing theology doesn’t matter. From the very beginning of mankind, when God gave man dominion over His Creation, he/she has exercised their freewill to change and destroy the things God had made good, including people. Our world is in the condition it’s in because mankind has made the choices to sin against God, people, and creation – being instruments of destruction to all on our world. Romans 8:19-21 says, “For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.” So, mankind, who have chosen to sin instead of live by the law of love for God, people, and creation have brought decay and destruction to all the good God created; and, creation waits for the children of God to stand up and liberate creation from all that mankind has done to the world.

We have a broken world and everyone knows it; but, people feel powerless to do what needs to be done to liberate not only creation, but mankind. Singly no one can make change happen – we need to work together with all God’s children to create the redemption of our battered world. This can be done through learning to make the choice to reject sin/destruction/violence/hate and being to learn how to make the choice of loving reconciliation, loving understanding, and loving the diversity that our world provides us every day.  That means all people not matter what they believe, what color their skin is, or where they live. Creation needs a renewal of all its climates, lands, and people. It’s just waiting for all the people of God to stand up and choose to use our freewill to make a difference.


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Back to the Basics: Week 4: How Hungry and Thirsty are You?

Matthew 5:6New International Version (NIV – http://www.biblegateway.com)

6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,

    for they will be filled.

feed the hungry

How hungry and thirsty are you for righteousness? What really is righteousness? How deep is this yearning for these special people of God? How can we be used to fill this need? These questions come to my mind as I consider this passage today.

I have a friend that has told me that if I had unlimited funds I would feed the world. I love to cook, especially, for those I love and those who appreciate good food and great conversation. But, what about feeding those who are hungry and thirsty for righteousness? In John 21: 15-19, “…. Jesus said to Simon Peter, ‘…,do you love me more than these?’ ‘Yes, Lord,’ he said, ‘you know that I love you.’ Jesus said, ‘Feed my lambs.’ Again Jesus said, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me?’ He answered, ‘Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.’ Jesus said, ‘Take care of my sheep.’ The third time he said to him, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me?’ …He said, ‘Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.’ Jesus said, ‘Feed my sheep.’ ….Then he said to him, ‘Follow me!’” To me this means that believers are to be actively involved in feeding and caring for those who are seeking the righteousness that God/Divine has to offer. It also means that we take care of other believers who are searching for something deeper and want greater depth to their faith and beliefs. These words of Jesus to Peter are relevant to everyone called to be ministers in our community of believers. I have had these words flowing through my mind for the last ten years – I believe God/Divine has gifted each called person with this desire to feed the hungry and thirsty.

So, let’s take a closer look at the words Jesus uses to describe these blessed ones that He loves so greatly.  Jesus uses the Greek word “peinaō ,“to describe the depth of hunger these people feel for righteousness.  According to the Blue Letter Bible online helps, this means to be hungry, to hunger, to suffer want, to be needy, metaphorically, to crave ardently, to seek with eager desire.  The word Jesus uses to describe the extent of those who thirst is, “dipsaō”.  This means to suffer thirst or suffer from thirst. The Blue Letter Bible goes on to say, “figuratively, those who are said to thirst who painfully feel their want of, and eagerly long for, those things by which the soul is refreshed, supported, strengthened.” Both of these words describe a craving so deep and consuming that the people who feel like this will do and search everywhere they go to be filled.

Now that we know the totality that these people crave and desire righteousness, let’s take a look at what they are craving “righteousness”.  The word Jesus used here is “dikaiosynē,” which means, “in a broad sense: state of him who is as he ought to be, righteousness, the condition acceptable to God.” Going further, “the doctrine concerning the way in which man may attain a state approved of God; integrity, virtue, purity of life, rightness, correctness of thinking feeling, and acting; in a narrower sense, justice or the virtue which gives each his due.” (Blue Letter Bible) My question is, “Are we, the community of believers, providing the measure of teaching for these dear ones seeking to go deeper into this kind of righteousness?”

I have been searching for just this kind of teaching in a church community, and to be honest I haven’t found it. I have found it in certain Bible Study teachers in women’s Bible studies, which are not offered at a time that I can easily join. I am also finding that many churches have done away with adult Sunday school. Twenty minute sermons, written for predominantly new believers, delivered on Sunday morning is not going to do it for most mature believers.  New and old believers crave a deeper connection to God and a deeper learning on working out our sanctification.

How do we address this problem of craving deeper righteousness? Well, to begin with, there needs to be Sunday morning adult education for all levels of belief. Another thing we need to do is ask people what they are hungering and thirsting for in their spiritual lives, and what they think the solution should be. Then we need to pray for the right people, who have been called to fill this need, to step forward and be instruments providing the feeding and care of these precious sheep.

My final questions are, “Are you hungry and thirsty for more of God/Divine in your life? Or, “Are you one being called to provide the food and drink for these starving people?’


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Back to the Basics: Week 3: Blessed are the Meek

Meek

Matthew 5:5New International Version (NIV)

Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.

This week we take a look at what it means to be meek or gentle and why God would want a meek person to inherit the earth. I like the commentary in the Blue Letter Bible online: Meekness toward God is that disposition of spirit in which we accept His dealings with us as good, and therefore without disputing or resisting. In the OT, the meek are those wholly relying on God rather than their own strength to defend against injustice. Thus, meekness toward evil people means knowing God is permitting the injuries they inflict, that He is using them to purify His elect, and that He will deliver His elect in His time (Isa 41:17, Luke 18:1-8). Gentleness or meekness is the opposite to self-assertiveness and self-interest. It stems from trust in God’s goodness and control over the situation. The gentle person is not occupied with self at all. This is a work of the Holy Spirit, not of the human will (Gal 5:23). This explanation points out the person’s deep knowledge of the sovereignty of the Most High God, and the God who is in total control. The base of this is total trust. Original Blessing says this beautifully, “trust is not just a psychological issue – it is in fact a faith issue, indeed the faith issue, because in fact trust is the most basic meaning of faith.”  Edgar Cayce says, “an individual’s faithfulness is realized whenever they act upon the very best they have come to know in this time, in this place, right now….., regardless of our present state of mind, faith exists as a potential awareness upon the very fiber of our being.” (12 Spiritual Lessons)

I believe that this type of person is perfectly suited to be in charge of an abused and tired world in need of tender care and revitalization. It takes patience, trust, faith and love to coax the hurting whether it be people, animals, or plant life to healing and wholeness. Who do you gravitate to when you have hurts that need healing? Most seek out the one person in their lives that have great faith and trust that the present hurt will be healed and that in time with the right encouragement they will be whole again.

I believe the “Blessing” here is that all they do will be abundantly made to produce positive and complete wholeness and beauty. The meek are blessed because they totally believe in the positive outcome.

References:

NIV www.biblegateway.com

Blue Letter Bible https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G4239&t=NIV

Original Blessing, Matthew Fox, ISBN, 1-58542-067-0

Edgar Cayce’s Twelve Lessons in Personal Spirituality by Kevin J. Todeschi, ISBN, 13-978-0-9845672-1-8