True wisdom

I feel so blessed because I have had God in my life since I was old enough to talk about it. My grandmother was an example of how to follow Christ. She rested for a short while every day after lunch and read her Bible. She prayed every morning and every night. She loved and cared for other people. She and my grandfather lived with us and I learned so much from her. Her wisdom was such a gift.

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This excerpt from Proverbs 3 sums up her life

The True Wealth

13 Happy are those who find wisdom,
    and those who get understanding,
14 for her income is better than silver,
    and her revenue better than gold.
15 She is more precious than jewels,
    and nothing you desire can compare with her.
16 Long life is in her right hand;
    in her left hand are riches and honor.
17 Her ways are ways of pleasantness,
    and all her paths are peace.
18 She is a tree of life to those who lay hold of her;
    those who hold her fast are called happy.

God wants us to understand

I have heard that some evangelists are using this crisis to say that it is God’s wrath coming down on us for our evil ways. Well, there is one thing for sure. There are plenty of evil ways out there and have been since the beginning. Unfortunately mankind has not changed much over the centuries. There are still people who believe in doing good and people who don’t.  In reality I believe that most people fall between the two. Some more on the good side and some on the bad.

The Bible tells us that we should strive always for the good. It also tells us that God is loving…he loves each and every one of us. He wants the best for us. He told us clearly in this passage from John

John 3:16-17

“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.

17 “Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.

Our God is a loving God. He did not send a pandemic but I’m sure he hopes we will learn from it. I reminded me of this song from my era. God asks”When will they ever learn?”

Called to help

Those who read this blog know that music is the thing that turns my heart and soul toward God. Today I was thinking about how much help others need now and when we are again able to gather together. We are called by Christ to help each other. I have sung this song so many times and for so many years but it still speaks of how we should live.

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.

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 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.

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.

Speak words of encouragement

 Every blade of grass has its Angel that bends over it and whispers, “Grow, grow.” The Talmud

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Each of us need someone to watch over us. Each of us needs someone who cares enough to be there for us and help us to grow. It is said that plants that are spoken to and urged to grow do better than those that are not. God is always watching but he needs our voices to urge the growth. Speak kindness, urge healing, growth and encouragement.

 

Don’t hold on to affronts

One who forgives an affront fosters friendship, but one who dwells on disputes will alienate a friend.

Proverbs 17:9 NRSV

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When we are hurt it can be so difficult to forgive. We often nurse the hurt so that we can carry it with us. That only hurts us as well as the other person. We can’t continue to dwell on hurts but have to let them go. Doing so opens the chance for understanding and friendship.

Down the rabbit hole

down the rabbit hole.

In order to get the most from our faith we have to dive in. Like Alice we need to jump down the rabbit hole. Immersed in scripture and fellowship with other Christians we can plumb the depths of God’s plan for us.

Down the rabbit hole can be a scary place and jumping down can feel like letting go of everything that feels safe but it is the way to draw closer to God. Take that leap.