Loving One Another

Posts tagged ‘relationships’

What is Faith?


Foyer

When you enter the foyer of my home, you see a circle staircase that will take you up to my sanctuary. To the right of it is the word art my son and daughter-in-law gave to me for Mother’s Day. It says, “The Greatest of These is Love.” Bob and I appreciate so much the fact that our children see in us the LOVE which is a gift from God, who first loved us. That love is born of FAITH – another Gift from God.

A recent sermon at the Madison Valley Presbyterian Church in Ennis, Montana was a follow-up to the previous Sunday’s Trinity message. Rev. Jean Johnson explained that understanding the concept of God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit was a matter of Faith… only obtained from God. Not something we could work to obtain by ourselves.

Like LOVE, we receive faith from our Heavenly Father, and as Christians we learn how to LIVE it by studying the life of the Son, Jesus Christ. When we need a “refill,” we go to the Holy Spirit who is our Teacher and Guide here on earth. Today’s sermon contrasted FAITH based on such a gift with faith borne out of reasoning and pragmatic expectations. Here is what the sermon said to me. I took these “notes” while listening intently:

WHAT is FAITH?

Faith is not the product of reasoning.
Faith is a gift from God, our Father.
The skeptics question our beliefs –
And so do some sisters and brothers in Christ.

What does Faith give to me?
What do I get out of it?
Some Christian leaders teach that it is “utilitarian.”
Faith is good because it’s useful.

Pragmatism is a dominating force in the U.S.A.
It is the basis of our consumer society.
Pragmatists go beyond “What IS it?”
They go to “What is it good FOR?”

Some feel FAITH is magic words like “I Believe”
or “Eternal Life is mine.”
When pragmatists hit a crisis,
They give up on Faith; it failed them!

What IS the value of Faith?
Is it what it produces for us?
Most of us believe God is more than
A helpful idea that makes us feel better.

He is more than the Great Granter of wishes.
God is Good… All the time!
Even when our needs are not being fulfilled.
Is Jesus of value for what He can do for you?

Is Faith about getting what you need to make life worth living?
Or is FAITH about a relationship with God?
Prayer is not just a self-help therapy.
Prayer is about listening and praising.

It’s not just about talking and asking!
Do not surrender to pragmatism.
Receive the gift of faith from God.
Pray to listen for God’s desires – and SERVE.

What can I do for God?
What can God do IN me?
God’s tenacious desire to talk to me and love me…
That’s FAITH!

Amen?

One-of-a-Kind Gem


One-of-a-Kind Gem

If I measure me against me,

I could be six foot three.

If I measure me against YOU,

I’m not even two foot two!

So, who do I use?

What feet do I choose?

Who carries my blues?

Who walks in my shoes?

“No one,” You say?

God took His soft clay

And molded a shape –

Unique! Full of play!

God gifted your soul

Full of treasure untold.

Then He threw out the mold.

You’re more precious than gold.

Who do I measure myself against then?

Do I look at my friends, compare me with them?

“No one,” God smiles.  “I’ll say it again,

You’re a unique,  one-of-a-kind gem!”

http://www.thoseshoes.com/index.html

JOY!


The question was, “How do we love the swallow?” How do I love the life-sucker, the “neighbor” who seems to want to take, take, take – without offering anything in return? The answer came to me this week:

Just

Open

Yourself

The acronym spells JOY, the WAY we choose to love one another. Be open – with joy – with prayer and help from above – to loving others. My friend, Marcia, commented on my blog, “… love unconditionally, as God loves you!”

But, a friend of mine wrote on her FaceBook page the following confession/question: “I have as acquaintance who is constantly calling me asking if he can ‘crash on my couch’. Here’s the problem: I watch him make one bad decision after the next. He hangs around with complete losers and users… if there are 99 good choices and only 1 bad one, he will make the bad choice. He is sleeping under a bridge. He is 49, perfectly healthy, can work, is smart as a whip… but just lives like a Hobo. 20 years ago, I would have said ‘Sure, come crash at my place.’  Then I would regret it. Now I just say, “Sorry hon…no can do” … and kind of feel guilty.  Am I wrong for not ‘helping’ him?  I have ‘ helped ‘ so many people before… some worked out, most didn’t. I can not help anyone get their life in check… I can only control my own life. Am i being a heartless bitch or a smart person?”

Is the answer to her question a blanket “Just Open Yourself”? I think not! My friend, Marcia, elaborated a little in he response.

Love the Swallows?


Our resident bluebirds sit on their box and preen. They flit to a nearby branch and soak in the springtime. His blue feathers are brilliant in the early morning sunshine. Hers are more subdued. Look closely, she has blue plumage tucked in there, too. I love them. It’s wonderful to watch their nest building process and to anticipate their box filled with tiny blue eggs. The promise of new life always excites me.

But the swallows? Why do they dive-bomb the happy couple? Why do they try to steal the box? Go find a home of your own, swallows! We built this one for the bluebirds.

Is my attitude toward the swallows indicative of other phases of my life? It’s easy to love the ones for whom we have prepared a place, the ones we are expecting, the beautiful people in our lives – blue-plumed, graceful, promising new life. But what about life’s swallows? The gray and dismal creatures who are so needy they seem to suck life out of things, take life from others, dive-bomb our tranquility with their uninvited presence, contribute nothing in return – what about them? Can I love the swallows? Should I?

How?

Why?

Love Your Neighbor


Life is all about LOVE. Love your neighbor as yourself. That’s the greatest commandment. On this blog I will record each day at least one thing I do to demonstrate how I remember to “Love My Neighbor” AND something I do to “Love Myself.” Today I begin with a healthy lunch: lettuce, a small bit of smoked salmon, 1/4 of a sliced cucumber, a little goat cheese and some tasty basil flavored olive oil from Olivelle (my favorite Bozeman, MT store). Now I am headed to go be a Senior Companion to a client who has difficulty getting around. I’ll sweep and mop her little apartment – and cheer her with a few quotes from my latest book, “Aging with Attitude” – subtitle: “Better than Dying with Dignity.” I’m off to provide a little help, a lotta cheer, and a hug or two. See ya tomorrow, my friends.

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