Thursday, January 26, 2017

who or what rescues YOU?

It was reported that last week, an avalanche struck a small mountain town in Italy, trapping 30 people in a small inn high up on a mountain. At last count, nine people perished with more being found alive, including small children and some puppies. One survivor recounted how, once buried under the snow, ice and debris, there was total darkness--no light, absolutely no sound, nothing for the four days he was trapped.

I read that and pondered. What would MY reaction have been, stuck alive under more than 30 feet of snow? I know I would have felt indescribable fear of never being found, or  dying before I was rescued. The fact that there was no light or sound, either...the claustrophobia in me would have been my undoing.

This is a metaphor, however, for what some people feel in life. The world goes by, revolving on its axis. People wake up, they go to work, they do recreational activities, they eat, sleep, play, hang out with friends. For others, however, there are situations that keep them feeling as though they are in a huge void, no hope. Day after day.

Who or what rescues them?

I have been in that situation. For the first 42 years of my life, though on the outside, I appeared happy, no one knew just what I was going through internally. My home life was horrible. As the days went by, one by one, I saw any chance of hope for a new and better day slowly recede..until I felt as if there were nothing left.

BUT!.....I made that knot and hung on! I knew that as long as God was "there," I could get through just one more day...and one more day after that. As Psalm 40:2 says, 
"He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand."

Impressive, right? All it took was that small bit of faith to set me free. Faith, the same faith that can move a mountain!  Even if it is a mountain of snow and ice, high up on a hill. Many who survived said that they held God close in prayer. I am sure that in the silence of that perilous moment, they felt God's presence as they kept the faith, knowing that rescuers were doing all they could to find them.

Today, whatever storm buries you, know that you are never alone! Whatever...storm! Name your storm, tell God how big your storm is....then tell your storm how big your God is! Miracles DO happen. Trust me.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

be kind...always!

daily, ask God to show you how to recognize Him in those whom you meet. He resides in the homeless, the hungry, yea, but sometimes he can be right next to you in those you wouldn't think twice about ignoring!

Today's topic is: "be kind, always!" With the inauguration of yet another president later this week, I think it only fitting that we focus NOT on politics or the ramifications of those Hollywood stars who have chosen to either participate (or not) but rather, let's focus on something smaller; our own corners of the world. There is more than enough hate. I say....

"Be kind, always."

How easy it is to say! How much harder it can be to do!

How many of you do these things without really paying attention to your actions: gossiping at work about someone else? Turning away when you see a beggar? When you go shopping and see the person in front of you using a "food stamp card"--do you then look at their purchases, thinking of how unfair it is that they have something other than canned soup or a loaf of bread? Watching a disabled person try to navigate through a narrow store aisle and you become impatient because you are in a hurry? Seeing someone count out pennies to pay for a purchase, does that invoke the ire within you? Speeding in your car and cutting someone off just to save a few precious minutes to do_____? How about seeing those food collection boxes at the store and you toss in, perhaps a box of mac-n-cheese? Half-heartedly. Thinking, "well, something is better than nothing!" and feeling justified for your act. Or passing judgment on anyone who doesn't meet your standards because they are black/white/Asian/gay or whatever gets you riled up?

I am reminded of a story about a homeless beggar who was turned away at church by the congregation....only to be introduced as the congregation's new pastor. He had dressed that way to prove a point: that we all sit in judgment of others whether we admit it or was even more grievous that he was judged thus in a house of worship!

I can go on and on (and on) but I tell you this, whatever you measure out will be measured back to you. Luke 6:38 says: "Give and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down and'll be evaluated by the same standard with which you evaluate others. For with the same measure that you measure, it shall be measured out to you again."

Matthew 7:2 says almost the same thing: " For with the judgment that you use you will be judged and with the measure that you use, otherwise you will be judged by the same standard you use to judge others..."

Be kind, always!

Kindness is a fruit that is always in season. How wonderful it is to see someone smile or compliment you! To give from the bottom of their heart, not because they have to, but because they want to. We have no idea of the baggage some people carry, yet we tend to treat them as if they are more of a nuisance than as a child of God. It seems the only time people show compassion is when a natural disaster takes place, but Love is an act of God also. Jesus taught us how to love in His Sermon on the Mount. (Matthew 5:3-16). His last admonition of that sermon was: Pass no judgment towards anyone. kind...always.

Friday, January 6, 2017

fill the world with love!

The headlines of the news yesterday told of  a very sad event: a mentally disabled man was held captive, tortured and beaten by four black people, he was white. The headlines screamed at how it was a "hate crime" and hoped for a bitter but final end for these four perpetrators.

Hate crime. There are "rules" for defining what this is, according to a court of law. But please, any one who would do this to another for any reason...isn't that hate? Hate means taking away the dignity and respect of and towards another by demeaning them, wishing them ill, hurting them and yes, even killing them. I think about this poor disabled man, only eighteen years old and what must have been running through his mind; the confusion, sadness, horror and now, the trauma, his trust shattered. My heart just breaks. In another video, posted on social media yesterday, a group of men, seeing a deer swimming towards them in a shallow pond, swam out to meet it, then dragged it to shore where they stabbed it mercilessly, tried to smother it and when it continued to struggle, stabbed it some more.

What evil runs through people's minds when realizing someone or something is weaker than they are and taking advantage of that? It is hate, pure and simple. Hate of weakness, hate of themselves. Think about it, if you were filled with love, love would want only the best for others, no matter the color, creed, gender, be it person or animal. And the weaker the subject, the greater the love!

Back when I was young, Andy Williams sang a beautiful ballad about Jesus, of how some see Him white, others see Him in a different color. Regardless of how He is seen, He is the One and same:

click here to listen

Jesus felt the same way. The Gospel is full of His examples of love: towards women, children, Samaritans, tax collectors, prostitutes, He reserved judgment for none. He sought out the weak, the ill, the infirm. Though He was God, He was also man, because he wept when his friends died, and rejoiced when His miracles allowed them to be reborn.

In today's world, it seems that those who terrorize others, either as part of a group, or else solo, have taken the world by the storm. But Love trumps evil. It always has. Jesus won for us salvation. Love wins. You can be the one who spreads love and joy to others. If you see a need, fill it. Fill the world with love by your acts of goodness, kindness and mercy. You may just be one person, but to one person, you may be the whole world. Don't ever forget that!

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

what is your resolution?

"No matter how good or bad you have it, wake up each day thankful for your life. Someone somewhere else is desperately fighting for theirs. Many of the things we take for granted, someone else is praying for. Be grateful for everything – even the crosses in your life. They are all a grace.
God will take your sufferings and bring some kind of good out of them, though you may never see the numerous effects of this grace in your lifetime. It may be that because of what you are going through someone else is praying more, loving more, or turning back to God. Offer everything up to God, give Him all the glory, and thank him for the many blessings in your life.
God heals eternally. Be grateful for everything. God loves you. Trust Him."

Now that it is another new year, what resolutions have you made? From losing weight to giving up chocolate to setting aside income for that dream vacation, many people have high hopes for 2017.

One resolution that I think will resonate better is this: "be kind, always." be kind to all who you meet. Friend or stranger, just take that moment to flash a smile, say a compliment or lend a hand. Everyone agrees that we need to have peace on earth. What better way to do that than to treat others as you'd want to be treated, with fairness, love and respect. Gratitude goes a long way also. If you live with an air of gratitude, soon all you'll have is love within your heart. How can anyone wish to hurt someone else when all that is desired is peace...and love?

May you have a happy and blessed new year!