Question and grow

If someone wants to learn more about God,  he(Jesus) implies, it will involve more than believing someone else’s answers. It will involve thinking deeply about the questions you are asking and why. Then it will involve acting on the answers you come up with in order to discover what is true.    Barbara Brown Taylor in “Holy Envy.”

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We must continue to question and grow in our faith. To sit and think we have all the answers is a mistake. We never have all the answers. Only God does.

Out of the box

Following the rules can be good but sometimes the rules can be stifling. We have to learn when the rules keep us in a safe place and when they need to be discarded. In our religion rules can be either. Discernment is needed to see when they are helping us to follow Christ’s way or when they are holding us back. Throwing out the rules in favor of heeding Christ’s word can be scary. Sometimes doing so can be disruptive and does not show respect for those around you. When, where and how must be chosen carefully. Much prayer and listening is needed but there are times when stepping out in faith is important.

out of the box

We can end up  in a box created by rules. The rules are supposed to allow us to move closer to God. Some of the rules seen in ritual can help us to “center down” and experience God. Bowing at a certain time, in some faiths taking  your shoes off in a holy space, genuflecting,  saying the proper responses can make you part of the experience.

However, some rules that are more related to following Christ’s actions may not be for you. These are not true of all Christian denominations but each denomination has their own set. Rules that keep us from reaching out in compassion to all others by condemning them do not seem to be Christ’s idea. He treated all people with love.

Some ideas block us in and make us feel unworthy: You are not knowledgeable enough. You are not educated enough. You are not holy enough. Most of all you must believe what those around you believe. You must see the same God that they do even though in truth none of us see the same God in our minds. These things keep us in the box.following

These things can be meaningful if we do them because they move us in an emotional way closer to God. They can make us comfortable. But if we are doing them just to follow the rules then they put us in a box. In the box we must follow the rules in order to be accepted by God but the truth is that we are already accepted by God’s grace. There is nothing we can do to make us perfect enough to reach the level of God. No matter how hard we try.

I don’t remember anywhere in the Bible that Christ told anyone they could not heal or bless. He encouraged his disciples to baptize in the name of the father. He never said anything about forming a church or setting people apart from others. He encouraged us to go and make disciples of ALL. He said we could do all these things on our own. He never said you needed anyone’s permission except that you follow the 2 great commandments; love god, love one another. I will do my best to follow that.

 

Doubt?

Doubts are the ants in the pants of faith. They keep it awake and moving. Frederick Buechner

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Doubt is not the opposite of faith. Doubt is something that keeps us asking questions. It makes us grow. The trouble is that doubt can be uncomfortable. Growth can be painful. Don’t be afraid to question but when you do know that the answers may change you.

Prayer: Infinite God, give us the courage to ask the hard questions and the wisdom to know the answers may not come in our lifetime. Help us to continue to grow in faith and knowledge of you. AMEN

 

No shortcuts

There are no shortcuts to any place worth going. ——-Helen Keller

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We always want life to be easy. Sometimes it is….sometimes not. The struggles that we encounter help us to grow. We learn from them. We would be less than we are without them. Some of the most famous poets, writers and artists drew inspiration from their struggles. Helen Keller is a good example.

Just remember… no matter what God is with us.

Ever present God, we thank you for your promise to be with us through our trials. AMEN

Learn from pain

Out of pain and problems have come the sweetest songs, and the most gripping stories.

Billy Graham

When you read the Bible you discover that the stories are about problems. If there is no trial there is no story. We all suffer pain of some kind. Life is not free of pain but if we are careful we can learn from the pain and use it to help someone else. Each person’s story in the Bible is there for a reason…so that we can learn from it. We can also learn from our own stories and those around us.

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Loving God, you can us many stories in the Bible to learn from. Help us learn from our own and the ones we hear each day. AMEN

The field

My soul is a broken field, plowed by pain. ————Sara Teasdale

This may sound depressing. The thought that my soul is in this state. But think about that field. It is plowed by God and ready for planting. It is rich soil and can produce food to eat or flowers for beauty. It is ready to receive the seed that God will plant.

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Creative God, we wait for the seed… your gift to bring our soul, not only to fruition but also, to joy. AMEN

Why are we here?

If I can stop one heart from breaking
I shall not live in vain
If I can ease one Life the Aching
Or cool one in pain

Or help one fainting Robin
Unto his Nest again,
I shall not live in Vain.

Emily Dickinson

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We often wonder “why are we here?” What is the point of this life? I think that this poem tells us why. We are here to love God’s world and everything in it.

Miraculous God, help us to cherish everything in this world. AMEN

Learn and Grow

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We must continue to learn and grow each day. We ourselves change each day so if we read a Bible passage tomorrow it may have an insight it didn’t have yesterday. We can never stop growing. God expects us to use the mind he gave us.

 

Gentle God, you have given us ways to learn and grow. Remind us to use them. AMEN