Faith, Hope, & Love

Life, faith, surviving depression, Soulmates, relationships


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What God has Shown You

If you believe in God, or a higher power – what has your experience shown you? Faith is a very personal individual experience. It is not and should not be based on what you have learned from someone else. Yes, look at the scriptures your individual faith has, and ask yourself – is this true of my experience? When you listen to someone else teach – has this been proven true for me as well? Psalm 48:3 – God is in her citadels; he has shown himself to be her fortress. Investigate for yourself – what God has shown you.

Lord God, help everyone discover you for themselves who you are. Help them to hear you and not the opinion of someone else who thinks they know better. Amen.


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Tools or Witchcraft 

I know I haven’t written in some time, but this subject has been on my heart.  For the last year I have been exploring the  ancient healing practices of Reiki, crystals, and meditation.  Many of my dearest friends would and probably have said that I have walked not only off the deep end, but that I have walked away from the God I have served from the day I was born.  I can assure these dear ones that that is not the case.  For the last 10 years or so I have not been fed in the church like I was when I was young. I want the meat behind the Word, I want to truly live, and serve as the God I serve calls me to. I believe that God created all there is, the energy that flows through our bodies and all living things. I believe that God gives us this energy to use in healing, and bringing peace to the world. Reiki, crystals, and meditation are nothing more than tools to accomplish what God has called us to be, and do. God created our bodies with energy centers that assist the body in its daily function.  When those centers are out of balance they need to be brought back to the balance God intended.  Reiki and crystal healing use non-chemical energy to bring that about. 

One of the major problems for people today is the incredible amount of stress and depression that consumes not only our emotions, but affects our bodies and relationships in an adverse way. The Holy Scripture tells us time and again that we should meditate on His Word, allow it to become ingrained in our very being.  We are to know ourselves and those close to us. Meditation allows lessons to be assimilated completely, which helps us to react to a situation in love and self-control, without having to think about it.  It becomes an automatic action to what is before us. Meditation helps us to ground and center ourselves in the truth, to know ourselves, and honestly confront what we need to change. 

Allowing these practices I’m my life have helped me become healthier both physically and emotionally.  My soulmate, and best friend of my heart has brought all of this to my life and I thank God that He loved me enough to bring this loving man back into my life.  God wants His people to live abundantly, with joy and a light heart. Not in depression, need, and want. We are not truly useful if we are struggling every minute of our lives to just keep it together and and only desiring an end to our pain. 

Be a good Girl Scout and use your tools and resources wisely. 


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Daily Prompt – Craving

“Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4
 

So, forgive me for not having a disertation with the original word meanings like I normally would. I am writing this on the bus heading home from work. I do want to look at two words here – delight and desire. 

First, let’s look at delight.  To me, this means to find profound and abundant joy. The verse says we should have this great joy directed to the Lord.  But as I meditate on this I am convicted that recently I really haven’t been delighting in the Lord, I have been delighting in the focus of my heart’s desire.  With this conviction comes the an awakening, the realization that I can change my attitude and create a new delight in the Lord that can be greater than what came before. 

Now, the desires of the heart can vary as our souls grow in greater understanding.  When I was young my greatest desire was to be married, and have a family. To be important to someone else, that my being here mattered.  Today, some of that has changed.  I still want to be important to someone else, and to matter; but, I really don’t desire marriage.  My heart’s desire is to not be alone, which in a sense I’m not, but I do want that special person in my life who fits me.  Who is different, helps me grow in all the areas of my life, and fills that deep need for a physical touch. 

So, here’s my plan, the Lord knows this deep craving I have for the man who truly fits me and my crazy wild world.  He created me with this desire, and I believe that any desire He gives us, He is willing to fill. I just need to delight in Him and rest in His unlimited power, and love for me, and the other person.  And Delight in Him with my whole heart. 


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Week 11: Back to the Basics: Light Your World

14“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. (NIV – Mt.5:14-16)

Every person is a light in their world, the light I’m talking about is our spirit/soul that radiates beyond our bodies and touches the other lives around us. The key here is what are we shining? Do we shine the principles of Christ, the Beatitudes, and the Fruit of the Spirit, or do we shine selfishness, anger, and hate? Of course, Jesus is encouraging his disciples and those listening to light their worlds with the kind of lives he described in previous verses, the Beatitudes, which are motivated and put in motion by love for all the people of the world.

In today’s larger world, and greater diversity covering every aspect of our lives, we have to look closely at what is lighting our candle; and, that we accept everyone no matter what they believe about faith, politics, or sexual orientation. Many of us have a strict belief system that refuses to bend to the progress of our times. My question to everyone whether you have a strict or liberal belief structure is – “Are you blowing out someone else’s light with your inability to accept someone else for who they are?” When our candle is lit by something other that complete “Agape” love, we have the potential to do more damage to those around us and cause further hurt.

Everyone has a light that has gone through times of trial that have either blown their light out completely, and some that have hidden their light behind great pain. I challenge everyone who reads this to take the time to examine yourself and your light closely, ferret out anything in your attitudes that are not lovely; then, ask yourself why you are holding onto something that causes hurt not only to others, but maybe yourself as well.

I love this Kathy Troccoli song, it makes you remember that not everyone has an easy life and that our love for others needs to be motivated by a love that is greater than what we can produce on our own.


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Week 10: Back to the Basics: Are you Salty?

Bowl of Salt

Matthew 5:13

You are the salt of the earth, but if salt becomes insipid, with what will it be salted? It is good for nothing except to be thrown outside and to be trodden upon by people. (Aramaic Bible in Plain English)

So let’s talk about salt. I have to say I have looked forward to studying this verse. My favorite TV shows are cooking competitions such as: Chopped, Hell’s Kitchen, Guy’s Grocery Games, and Master Chef. One of the biggest take a ways from these shows is that the thing that will get you chopped, eliminated, or sent home is lack of seasoning. Oh, for a little bit of salt, it makes a world of difference in the food we eat, whether sweet or savory.

Salt enhances the natural flavors of food, it preserves food to keep it healthy longer. Salt was also used to treat the soil before planting crops, and in the Old Testament, God told the priests to season the sacrifices-even the Divine likes salt with His meals. Sharing salt was also a way of sealing treaties of peace between warring peoples. So, salt is flavor, preservative, a way to make soil more productive, and a symbol of peace attained.

So, why did Jesus call believers the salt of the earth. Salt is used to make something plain, bland, or simple more appetizing, and symbolizes peace. The Gospel of Christ is simple and can become bland over time. You need to be salt in your relationships to prepare the soil of a friend’s life to accept the seed of the Gospel and for their lives to be made into fertile ground. The simple bland Truth needs the salt or seasoning of real life experience to catch a person’s attention, and keep them focused on what you are telling them. When this develops into belief, it then needs to be preserved by the salt of mentorship, and growth. The Salt of the Gospel then seals the treaty between a person and the Divine in a treaty of peace, and salvation.

Without the salt of testimony, life experience, and shared growing faith people will loose interest, and turn away from peace with the Divine. The message of the Gospel without relevance to the world, a Gospel that doesn’t keep up with the cultures, and progress through time becomes salt-less and bland. What takes our saltiness away? I know in my life it has been a holding to religion, traditional, and lack of growth in myself that has taken away the seasoning in my life. Unlike regular salt that can’t be made salty again, a person can regrow salt through growth, and (for me) meditation.  Asking questions, digging to find the truth and making it your own. Learning that what held as truth many years ago may need to re-thought through to be applied to life today.

So many times mainly in  the Old Testament people are encouraged to meditate on God’s word. To be honest, until recently, I have never practiced this tool to gain greater growth and understanding; not only of the Scriptures, but of myself and what holds the greatest meaning to me and my world. I encourage everyone to stop take a few minutes and look inside themselves, ask the Divine to unfold His word, and ask how this can give my life more seasoning bringing greater attraction to those around us.

Be Still and Know, Be Still and Believe~

 


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Week 9: Persecuted for Christ

Mercy

Matthew 5:11-12 New International Version (NIV)

11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad,because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Last time I took a look at what it was to be persecuted for righteousness sake – for acting in a morally correct manner. And I pointed out that the verse didn’t mean to be persecuted for being a Christian, but for making the choice to live a moral life. This week’s Scripture is all about being persecuted for being a Christian or living a Christlike lifestyle.

Jesus uses words that we typically use for verbal abuse, and they are but looking further into the word “insult” actually has a stronger note of something that could be viewed as physical abuse. The Greek word, “oneidizō “ is what is used here and one of Strong’s definitions is to cast in one’s teeth. Gives me a picture of someone trying to bite or rip apart the object of their hatred. He (Jesus) ends by saying you will be falsely accused of all kinds of evil things. Here the Greek word is, “poneros” which is meant as an active form of evil in actions and speech and was used to describe Satan and demons.

Jesus, himself accused of being in league with the devil, and the Pharisees believed that all the good He did was done by the power of the devil and not God Almighty. Jesus also points out that the prophets were also persecuted this way. Persecution is nothing new it has been going on for as long as there have been people on the earth.

So, what is it about Christians and the prophets that cause people to be so insulted and enraged? It goes back to my last discussion on how we mirror the things that someone wishes they could be and are not by choice. Living a Christian lifestyle is to truly be a servant, to promote health and healing in those that are hurting and are unable to care for themselves. This is so contrary to today’s lifestyle that promotes living for self and using any means necessary to get a desired end result. Any charitable lifestyle is contrary to secular lifestyle and will be seen as a visible condemnation to the person living a lifestyle built on selfishness.

So, my question is this, “Are you being persecuted for your Christlike lifestyle?” I would say that if you are not, then you aren’t living your life loud enough. I can’t sugar coat this to make it more palatable for most of my readers. Rediscover the lifestyle we  were meant to live as Christians. Honor the leaders around you who are trying to bring you back to the simple loving lifestyle you were meant to live. I am not saying don’t take care of yourself and your basic needs, what I am saying is get rid of whatever keeps you from being open to the mission of Christ,

“to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners,2 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn,3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise  instead of a spirit of despair.” (Isaiah 61:1-3)

Verse 12 gives us the reason we can go into this attitude with joy,

“12 Rejoice and be glad,because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” We are not alone in our persecution, we are part of group of people who have stood up for God Almighty before us.