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 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.

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.

Grace

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.
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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!

Take care of yourself

These thoughts are from SSJE are so very true. There are limits to our energy, time and space. We can only do so much. It is important to know when those limits are reached and do the things we need to survive. If we over do we are no use to anyone.

take care

 

Enclosure

All of us have parts of our lives that need protection for the simple reason that they are precious. By setting up intentional boundaries on our space and limits on our time, we can create an enclosure that fosters those precious qualities and experiences which the demands of life would otherwise devour.

– Br. James Koester, SSJE

Discard hurts and grudges

We cannot embrace God’s forgiveness if we are so busy clinging to past wounds and nursing old grudges.

T. D. Jakes

let grudges go

It is so easy to hold onto grudges and past hurts. We can actually enjoy chewing over the hurt and savoring our pain. We can think back and relive the emotions and it gives us a kind of satisfaction.

This kind of thinking is toxic. The only person being harmed by it is us. God has promised us forgiveness of our own mistakes. How can we approach him with these thoughts foremost in our minds. To heal ourselves we must let go of hurtful memories and discard grudges. That healing will bring us to God ready for forgiveness.

His dwelling place is in us!

A prayer from the New Zealand Prayer Book of the Anglican Church. This is another of the prayers that I find so dear to my heart. The wording always makes me think in a different way. See if you like it.

Be present, Spirit of God,
within us, your dwelling place and home,
that this house may be one where
all darkness is penetrated by your light,
all troubles calmed by your peace,
all evil redeemed by your love,
all pain transformed in your suffering,
and all dying glorified in your risen life. Amen.

dwelling place

Think about us being the dwelling place of God and his home. I plan to use this prayer every day.

Open our eyes

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.

God waits

Always waiting
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God
I say that I seek you
But is that true?

I look for you
In the noise
Of mindless music

The television’s endless voice
Drowns out
Your voice

I hunt for you
By being in charge
By filling each moment
By running away

When things are good
I don’t remember you
Or call for you

When I am lonely
Or sad
Or afraid
I cry to you

Knowing that
No matter how
I ignore you

You will listen
And answer
My cry