It’s my experience that we’re much more afraid that there might be a God than we are that there might not be. from The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron
Are we willing to believe that God loves us and is present in our world? Many times things happen that we slough off to coincidence when it could be a miracle. Do you have your eyes open to see the works of God? Pay attention. Miracles happen every day.
Ephesians 2:8-9 [Full Chapter]
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God— not the result of works, so that no one may boast.
In my youth I believed that good works would get me into heaven. The thing is, that made getting into heaven up to me. If I was good enough, if I worked hard enough, if I kept on the straight and narrow I could earn my way.
My belief has changed. It is important for me to be a good person and strive to be what God wants me. However, God’s grace has been given to me as a free gift. That is so hard to grasp. Does it free me from responsibility for my behavior? No but I am not perfect and never will be. It is only God’s grace that can save me and it has been freely given.
Thanks be to God!
If God seems far from you who has moved? unknown
God never moves. No matter how you feel…whether lost or alone…God never moves. Sometimes our emotions and feelings get in the way and we feel deserted. Down in the depths of darkness when we can’t see, can’t pray, immobilized, God is still there with us. We have to remember that.
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,
Even though I walk through the darkest valley,
I fear no evil;
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff—
they comfort me.
Advent 2019: December 6
Jesus said: “There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on the earth distress among nations confused by the roaring of the sea and the waves. People will faint from fear and foreboding of what is coming upon the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see ‘the Son of Man coming in a cloud’ with power and great glory. Now when these things begin to take place, stand up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”
This sounds pretty scary. Something like some of the climate changes that we are seeing now. This could be a projection from the climatologists. For many centuries there have been prophecies about the end of things. Many have come and gone. We are still here.
The people of Jesus’ time expected him to return in their lifetime. That didn’t happen. Will it happen? We don’t know. We can only live in our belief that he will come in glory. Whether we will see it in our time no one knows. It doesn’t matter. The point is when He does come it will be a time for rejoicing. He will come again.
Today I was watching part of “The Crown.” It is a popular series on Netflix. I often have things just out at me that you don’t think of finding in a docudrama. In series 3 Phillip (queen’s husband) is talking with his mother. She had a horribly difficult life and has recently been brought to England because of uprisings in Greece. She was a nun running a small clinic in Greece.
She asks Phillip about his faith. He tells her it is “dormant.”
Her reply is: “Find yourself a faith. It helps….No not just helps….it is everything!”
I do so agree with this statement. Having a faith that supports and nurtures you when everything around you is falling apart is everything. It is the one thing that allows you to rest in the strong arms of God and be held. God will be with you through any crisis…small or enormous. His love will fill your heart and soul and bring you peace.
I have often wondered how people manage to get along without some sort of faith. I definitely could not be an atheist. When things go wrong I need someone to share it with me. I have friends who do but sharing it with God is different. There is something special about leaning on God and knowing that I am loved and understood. I don’t know what people do who don’t have anything to fall back on. In my darkest moments I am held up and cared for. For me, God is there and always will be.
Yesterday I experienced a “God moment.” I was at a physicians office and he indicated I needed to schedule some surgery. The surgery is a simple one but you never know what will be found. A woman came and led me to her desk to set everything up. I was moved by the fact that in her cubicle there were wonderful quotes from the Bible and other words of encouragement. I mentioned that I was happy to see those words in a somewhat stressful moment. She and I began to talk about our faith and her compassion and caring were present in every word. Before I left she and I hugged.
We wonder if we can see Jesus in our everyday lives but he is visible in people we meet. He was there with us as we talked and shared. Open your eyes. Jesus is there.
Doubt can be a scary word. As children we are taught that some things are just true and we accept that. As we grow older we begin to realize that not everything we were taught is true. Our exposure to the world makes us begin asking questions. Some of the truths that held us up are taken away. We find ourselves in a dark place.
Many of us believe that doubt is the opposite of faith but I don’t think that. I think the opposite of faith is disbelief. Doubt is not sinful. It is a nudge to push us forward. It makes us question and by doing so…grow. It makes us search for God and look in places we have not explored.
Don’t be afraid of doubt. Embrace it and look deeper, listen more, learn and grow.
4 I sought the Lord, and he answered me,
and delivered me from all my fears.
5 Look to him, and be radiant;
so your faces shall never be ashamed.
6 This poor soul cried, and was heard by the Lord,
and was saved from every trouble.
I don’t know about you but I tend to worry. I know that I should turn my worries over to the Lord and let them go but I am not good at it. I will turn it over and then pick it back up again. I do this over and over. How ridiculous this is!
God will hear us when we cry to him. He will answer. Don’t keep picking things back up. Worry is a waste.
Religion tends to prefer and protect the status quo or the supposedly wonderful past, yet what we now see is that religion often simply preserves its own power and privilege. God does not need our protecting. We often worship old things as substitutes for eternal things.
A study that I attended was about how people view God. Each of us has our own view and to define it can be difficult. There are some people for who God is part of something visual. They may feel closer to God in the church they have attended all their lives. The only difficulty comes when something in that building is changed. The connection can be shaken. That is why changing something we have associated with our faith all our lives can be so distressing.
We can’t stay connected to the past. We have to live in the present. The words of the service may change, the building may change but our faith must stay connected to Jesus Christ himself.