Choose to live out good things

As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience…And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful. – Colissians 3.12&15

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It is important to understand that this means US! We are chosen by God. He has told us we have been called by name. Each and every one of us belongs to God. Clothe yourselves with these good things but as you do remember that we can have the peace of Christ. It is ours for the taking.

And there is hope

Romans 5: 4-5

and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.

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Many of us have something to endure right now. This verse tells us that “endurance produces character.” This is very true. Whenever we go through a trial we come away with new insights, new ideas, and new compassion. By enduring we understand better those who have endured before us. We have insight we can use to help others.

Take what you have learned and share your compassion.

Live with love and compassion

So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it.

Colossians 3:12 MSG

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I hope that all those people whose fear caused them to choose selfishness will turn to this verse and listen to God.  The scripture is so very clear. If we choose love we can turn away fear and act with compassion.

The peace of God

The world is a scary place. Even more so now. People are frightened of catching this new virus. In reality, so am I. My husband and I are in a vulnerable part of the population being older.

The truth is we can’t spend all of our time being afraid. Things happen every day and something that goes wrong may have nothing to do with Corona Virus. We have to keep our perspective. God has promised to be with us not matter what. We need to spend our time focusing on good things and not spend our time in fear. God’s peace with uphold us.

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“Fix your thoughts on what is true and honorable and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned from me and heard from me and saw me doing, and the God of peace will be with you.” (Philippians 4:8-9).

Bread?

I have been watching a Lenten series produced by the brothers of the Society of Saint John the Evangelist. I was struck by something said and it clarified my feeling about some things in the church.

The quote is: We reduce the symbols (used by the church) so much that they lose life.

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The reason that this resonated with me is that some churches (including mine) give communion in the form of ?bread? and wine. The wine is real but the bread is in the form of dry, tasteless wafers. The bread has been reduced until it has lost its life. I was so glad to find the right comment to make when discussing this. We can, and should, use real bread! Some could be made gluten free for those with Celiac disease.

The ten commandments

Know therefore that the Lord your God is God, the faithful God who maintains covenant loyalty with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations,

Deuteronomy 7:9 NRSV

God is asking us to do two things. One is to keep a covenant. A covenant is something that both parties have agreed to. We are called to keep our part of the deal. God will be our God and we will remain loyal to him.

We are also called to keep the commandments. You would think this is not hard so they are basically a way to live without hurting each other. Not so, just read them from The Message in more modern language. I wonder how many we mess up on each week.

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No other gods, only me.

4-6 No carved gods of any size, shape, or form of anything whatever, whether of things that fly or walk or swim. Don’t bow down to them and don’t serve them because I am God, your God, and I’m a most jealous God, punishing the children for any sins their parents pass on to them to the third, and yes, even to the fourth generation of those who hate me. But I’m unswervingly loyal to the thousands who love me and keep my commandments.

No using the name of God, your God, in curses or silly banter; God won’t put up with the irreverent use of his name.

8-11 Observe the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Work six days and do everything you need to do. But the seventh day is a Sabbath to God, your God. Don’t do any work—not you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your servant, nor your maid, nor your animals, not even the foreign guest visiting in your town. For in six days God made Heaven, Earth, and sea, and everything in them; he rested on the seventh day. Therefore God blessed the Sabbath day; he set it apart as a holy day.

12 Honor your father and mother so that you’ll live a long time in the land that God, your God, is giving you.

13 No murder.

14 No adultery.

15 No stealing.

16 No lies about your neighbor.

17 No lusting after your neighbor’s house—or wife or servant or maid or ox or donkey. Don’t set your heart on anything that is your neighbor’s.

Do we know God?

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Isaiah 55:8-9 NRSV

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How often we create God to be what we want. Each of us has an image of God and I wouldn’t be surprised it they were all different. If we were raised as Christians our earliest images were probably Jesus with the children or some other pleasant and kind fatherly image. As we grow that image can change along with us. The more we learn the more we alter that image. We have to be careful to read the Bible and pay attention to the words of Jesus. His statements about and the parables give us an image to think about.

A Holy Lent

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Today is Ash Wednesday. I was crushed because things conspired against me getting to the service. I love Lent. Some people find it depressing but I see it as a time to reflect, to read something uplifting and search ourselves. It is a time to think.

Whether you choose to give up something for Lent or take something on or both Lent can bring us closer to God. Have a Holy Lent.

[ The Call of Matthew ] As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax booth; and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he got up and followed him.

Love everyone!

He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’

Matthew 22:37-39 NRSV

love everyone
from the Gut and Grace project

The verse says that this is the first and greatest commandment. It is also the most difficult to follow. By neighbor it means everyone. Not just the people we like but everyone! Not easy to do. There are so many people that for one reason or another I would rather not love but God calls me to do so.

I hope that God teaches me every day how to love those that are hard for me.

Seek the Lord

For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope. Then when you call upon me and come and pray to me, I will hear you. When you search for me, you will find me; if you seek me with all your heart,

Jeremiah 29:11-13 NRSV

The Lord is waiting for us. He wants the best for us. All we have to do is seek Him.