Clean up your act

Let the refining and improving of your own life keep you so busy that you have little time to criticize others. H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

We are called to not judge other people….but we often forget that. Criticizing others can make us feel important or somehow”better than.” ‘m not thinking about the big things but the little everyday things like “why do she choose to wear that color” or “he always acts likes he’s in charge.” It is so easy to have these thoughts or make these comments.

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God has told us to watch out about this. He has laid it on the line. If we do this then we will be judged also. We are better off cleaning up our own ideas and being careful to be kind. There is enough to clean up in ourselves to last us a lifetime.

Go and do!

Pray as though everything depended on God. Work as though everything depended on you.                          Saint Augustine

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We can pray to God and know that he will hear. We can depend on God. But we can’t sit back and do nothing. We are God’s hands and feet. Jesus didn’t just sit and expect people to come to him. He traveled, he reached out to the homeless, the downtrodden, the sick. He couldn’t have done that sitting in his home. He had to go out. We have to do the same. Sitting in the pew in church is a good thing to do but that is not our major task. We have to go out of the door and follow the steps of Jesus as he walked among the people.

God is there

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.

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Pray for others!

I am a member of a group who pray daily for others. The list of people can grow quite long but I try not to miss praying. Prayers for others is call Intercessory Prayer. I find that it can take the focus away from my problems and help me to see all the many needs in the world. I don’t always know what the need is but know that God is aware. I often ask for Jesus to heal all ills and make his presence felt in their lives. Praying for others is a blessing for me.

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[ Instructions concerning Prayer ] First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone,

Show caring

how much you care

When we become part of a group we often want to show people how important we are. We want to be important in everyone’s eyes. We want to be special and accepted.  So we set out to do things that make us stand out. The part we forget is it is not those things that make other people see us. It is our caring and our sharing of ourselves and our possessions and our love that set us apart. We gain the respect and admiration of others by how we show our caring.

We have been called to love our neighbor as ourselves and it is in this way that we are granted affection and love in return.

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1 Thessalonians 2:8

So deeply do we care for you that we are determined to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you have become very dear to us.

Let me sow love

Psalm 85:8 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

Let me hear what God the Lord will speak,
    for he will speak peace to his people,
    to his faithful, to those who turn to him in their hearts.[a]

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With war always looming on the horizon, I wish that the whole world would hear words of peace. We must make God very sad with all the hatred and violence that goes on in the world some of the worst of it in the name of God. Even his faithful people don’t hear his voice. None of us are exempt.

The Hebrew word shalom means fullness having everything you need to be happy and fulfilled. It’s easy to be peaceful when you have everything you need. That’s where the world’s problems are. Not everyone has what they need much less what they want.

Christ tells us to love our neighbor as ourselves. If I want my neighbor to be happy and fulfilled as much as I want that for myself then things will be good.

Frederick Buechner says “for Jesus peace seems to have meant not the absence of struggle but the presence of love.”

Prayer: Lord God of peace, let us grow in love toward you and our neighbor until wars cease and shalom rains. Support us with your Holy Spirit and surround us with your love, now and forever. Amen

Teach me

Psalm 119:65-66

65 You have dealt well with your servant,
    Lord, according to your word.
66 Teach me good judgment and knowledge,
    for I believe in your commandments.

We all need to be taught. We slip so easily into doing the wrong thing. We have to be reminded that we stray from God’s path. There is so much to tempt us. We are bombarded with TV programs that make love of others and kindness seem outdated. Violence is present in computer and video games. The exposure make it seem “normal.” God calls us to turn away from hatred and turn back to love and compassion. We need to be taught God’s ways not those of the world.

Put away anger and hatred

Ephesians 4:31-32 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

31 Put away from you all bitterness and wrath and anger and wrangling and slander, together with all malice, 32 and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you.

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This world needs this verse from Ephesians. Everyone seems so angry. So much division and hatred. It seems to me to every major religion in its pure form teaches peace, compassion and love. Put away your anger and bitterness and every day show your love for one another.

Jesus didn’t seek power

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There are so many who seek power. We see it in politics, religion, business, everywhere. Seeking power through religion has led us down some dark paths. Until we can focus on Christ’s message there will still be those who use religion for their own reasons. Only by following the walk of Christ…act like Christ, nothing will ever change.