Category Archives: PEACE

THE PRAYER OF ST. FRANCIS.070516

Saint Francis

“Lord, make me an instrument of your peace, Where there is hatred, let me sow love; Where there is injury, pardon;  Where there is doubt, faith;  Where there is despair, hope; Where there is darkness, light; and  Where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; To be understood, as to understand;  To be loved, as to love. For it is in giving that we receive,  It is in pardoning that we are pardoned, and  it is dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen”

I don’t know much about St. Francis.  I’ve heard a few stories.  I’ve read a few passages from him and about him, about how he was so in harmony with nature and with people; how he was totally surrendered to his place and time; how he, more than most, fulfilled the Golden Rule (see Matt 7:12)   He probably did a better job of following Jesus (of being like Jesus) than anyone I know of.  You know why?  Because he had the attitude of Jesus, the attitude of a humble, obedient servant. (Philippians 2:5-8)  His prayer, cited above, is a clear indication that he got it.

Like Jesus said, “43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven . . “ Matt 5:43-45.

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HOW DO YOU WAIT? 060316

Farm cat enjoying the sun and waiting to greet visitors Isaiah 40:31 says, “They that wait on the Lord shall renew their strength . . .”  I call it the “Old People’s Prayer’.  A verse or two before it says, “even the young men will grow weary and fall, but those that wait on the Lord . . .” (the old people like me).

But the question for today is, “How do you wait?”

Most of us (often including me) wait anxiously.  We worry about things.  Even those of us who claim to trust God (sometimes we DO trust Him) we wait anxiously.  We wait with anxiety. That nagging doubt and fear.  We ‘sorta’ trust the God is gonna take care of us, but we’re still scrambling around looking for ways to take care of ourselves.  We forget Philippians 4:6-7, where it says, “Turn it over to God and get peace that passes understanding.”

At the very least, even if we KNOW God is taking care of us, and that somehow things will work out, we are still worrying about when.  We let the devil keep us agitated about all the stuff that’s hanging over our heads, bills we can’t pay on time, commitments we may not be able to keep; what people are going to think or say if we don’t do this or that exactly when we said we would.

Let me tell you the answer.  It’s in Ephesians 6:10-18: “Put on the whole armor of God, so when the devil attacks, you can stand.  SO STAND!!!” Every time the devil says, “You know, God isn’t going to take care of you this time; and even if He does, it won’t be in time, it won’t be enough.” You look him in the eye and say, “Oh yes He will!  He is able to do exceeding abundantly above all we could imagine by His power that works in us!” (Eph 3:20) And “He has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you, so you can boldly say, ‘The Lord is my helper, whom shall I fear, what can man [or the devil] do to me!” (Heb 13:5-6)

CONSISTENCY.040516

Open Your Heart Concept

“Consistency is the crutch of small minds.”  Tex (from a letter to my kids)

Some people said Jesus was inconsistent because He said people should abide by the law one time, and the next time He said people should be led by the Spirit, and be merciful to lawbreakers. Even in the Old Testament, God said He’d rather have someone with an obedient heart than sacrifice, even though sacrifice was according to the law.

Over and over in the Bible, it says that God looks at the heart.  Somehow or other it should be the way we look at it too.  I’m sure people ought to do what they say they will, but you don’t have to do the same way ever time. Different situations require different responses.

And this isn’t situation ethics either.  It is just realizing that we ascribe to a higher law, which is layman’s terms is being true to God and the people that God puts you with, above being true to man’s law or any dogmatic principle.  (How do you know which is is right?  If you’re seeking God, you’ll know.)  Like it says in the Bible, “This is the first and great commandment, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, . . . And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.”  This is the fulfillment of all of the law and all of the prophets.  If you love God, you will keep His commandments; if you love your neighbor, you’ll treat him right.

My experience has been that if you abide by these two commandments, you won’t always appear consistent to the world, but you will usually do the right thing, and you will be consistent to God and in your heart.

SMALL GROUPS FOR JESUS 3.111115

drinks, communication, friendship and people concept - happy young women with cups sitting at table and talking in mall or cafeThis is my last post about “small groups for Jesus”, at least for the time being.  I just have a few more comments to make.

1] In my opinion, small groups are like family; they’re not about enforcing rules, and everybody being disciplined; they’re about letting God’s love flow through you into other people.  You may not believe this, but I’m convinced that almost every single person is acutely aware of their short-comings, and what they really need, on a regular basis, is encouragement and moral support.  (I find a lot of support for this attitude throughout the Bible; call it grace and mercy)  Small groups are, and should be, about sharing and expressing the fruits of the Spirit; and while self-control is one of the fruits and is therefore important to God and should be important to us; it is the very last thing on the list.  Wonder why that is?  (I don’t even know if there IS a hierarchy of the fruits, but I hear a lot more about love in the Bible than I do about self-control.)

2] One of the central, indispensible ingredients of a small group is trust.  Continue reading

EVERYTHING’S CHANGING.110715

past lifeAt my house we have a 66-year-old husband, a 55-year-old wife, and a 17-year-old son.  Everyone is involved in more than we can say grace over.  And though we have each other; for which we are all very grateful; we daily shake our heads and strain our brains to maintain stability.  Our church got a whole new pastoral staff this summer, and there have been multiple collateral changes.  For one thing our son and I have been involved for several years in a close working relationship with our youth director who’s been here for 11 years and is now, just this month, moving on.  Most of the kids we have worked with for 5-6 years have graduated from high school and gone off to college.  The few that are left are struggling to keep the program together.  As we look to the future, things are shifting. Seems like almost every week there is an announcement of another change in the leadership. Sometimes we almost lose heart.

But not for long.  Do you know that if you trust God, you can have peace in your heart, in spite of all the crazy stuff that’s going on?  Philippians 4:6-7.  Continue reading

MAKING DISCIPLES, WHAT DOES IT MEAN? 110415

 

Walk on water with a businessman walking on the surface of an ocean as a business concept of confidence and courage to take on an impossible challenge and achieve success with the power of belief.

OK, In Matt. 28:18-20, Jesus says, “I have all authority, so go into all the world and make disciples, baptizing them .  .  .  teaching them .  .  . and [know this] I am with you always, even unto the end of the world [age].”  What does in mean, “Make disciples”?  Some say it means to get people to make a commitment to Jesus.  To “get ‘em saved”, so they go to heaven when they die, which many people call “having eternal life”, being “converted”, “born again”.

So I had this revelation just today.   In John 17:3, Jesus is praying, talking to God, and He says, among other things, “And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.”  So how do you get eternal life?  Well John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes [trusts] in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting [eternal] life.”  So to get eternal life, you trust Jesus.  So what does the first verse mean when it says, “this IS eternal life, to KNOW GOD and JESUS.”  Sounds like eternal life means to know God and Jesus, to have a personal relationship with the ONE TRUE GOD, the eternal I AM. 

So when a preacher gets up in front of a congregation and says, “If the Spirit is moving in your heart, and you think you should make a commitment to Jesus, come on down, so you can go to heaven;” it means a whole lot more than that.  It means you can know the LIVING GOD for yourself.  You can know the WAY, the TRUTH and the LIFE, (real life) right here on the earth today.  You can experience the LOVE that only God can give, while you’re still here.  You can have rest and peace, the kind that passes all understanding!  It means you can be God’s instrument to touch the lives of others so they can be changed, be transformed, FOREVER.  Now that’s real ETERNAL LIFE!

BUTTING IN LINE.101815

Merging trafficSo I have this real serious problem.  I’m obsessed with people butting in line.  As for pedestrian butting, it irritates me considerably when three or four people are waiting and the one who arrived last steps up out-of-order.  Sometimes I just can’t resist the temptation to say something rude like, “Didn’t your momma teach you any manners?  Those other people were here first.”  You know, it’s just not right, it’s just not fair, it’s just not polite. I just can’t believe the gall of some people.  What happened to courtesy?

Sometimes I almost wish that America would adopt the custom they have in Mexico for waiting in line. In a bus station late one night at least 200 people waiting to buy tickets, and ONE ticket window open, and everyone in a great big semicircle jostling and side-stepping, ducking and jiving, working their way to the front.   Continue reading