Monthly Archives: April 2018

Grace Rules

 


Child psychologists tell us that children not only need, but want rules. “They require set limits to ensure them of the security and sense of control needed for proper development.”

Adolescents balk at rules. They seem to go all out to prove the old saying that, “Rules are meant to be broken.” They, too, are desperately groping for a boundary of comfort and safety, however.

Adults are generally regarded as “rule setters.” We use our wisdom and life experience to make those rules we feel are important for our children’s well-being.

I don’t know about you, but when I am exhausted by life’s demands or find myself out of resources to deal with a difficult situation, I long for a set of rules for the game of life. I would enjoy giving up the gut-wrenching decisions and judgment calls of life, for a set of rules that would free me of the awesome responsibility of the moment.

If you have ever wanted someone to tell you what to do and relieve you of your burden of responsibility – GREAT NEWS! Romans 12:9-21 gives us ten rules for a successful life:

  • Love sincerely.
  • Hate evil.
  • Honor others.
  • Have joy, hope, and patience.
  • Pray.
  • Share.
  • Be good to your enemies.
  • Get along.
  • Don’t be conceited.
  • Don’t get back.

Paul wrote these words to a group of beleaguered and persecuted Christians in the huge pagan city of Rome almost 2,000 years ago. The payoff for following the rules for those first century Christians is exactly the same for us today and is found in verse 21. “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Be assured of this promise – good overcomes evil – always!

—-Monica Boudreaux


 


PRAYER

Lord – Help me to always seek to overcome evil with good in my life. Help me rely on your rules for mercy and grace to make all my decisions.

Amen

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Bloom Where You Are Planted

 

bloom wher you are planted

Am I a weed or a flower?

The above picture is from an article about natural substances that act as weed killers. This little flower won’t acknowledge that he is a weed. He just wants to thrive and bloom. We find ourselves in that very same situation from time to time. The world seems to have dealt us a hand that limits our space, crushes our self-image and tells us we are not worth much. Our choice is simple. Do we accept worthlessness or do we press on to bloom?Our decision is simple, we must be a flower and not a weed regardless of our situation. Paul said to them in his letter to Corinth – In whatever condition you were called, brothers and sisters, there remain with God. 

That‘s the answer! Remain with God.  Never forget that it is God that has designed the wildflower to grow through the sidewalk cracks. He has designed us to grow through the cracks as well as the fertile ground. I like to look at this little flower as a motivator. Tony Robbins, a well-known motivation speaker, charges $230 for CD seminars, and it costs well over $1000 to attend one of his live seminars. The little flower in the crack is God’s free gift to us, and it tells us to bloom where we are planted. Let us learn from the flower in the crack.

  • Develop an attitude that allows you to let go.

That little guy in the crack was designed to bloom and bloom he did. I believe – I know that we were created in God’s image. Our creator gives us the ability to thrive wherever we are placed. Even in the worst of times, we are given the innate ability to be the person God created. We can reach that high plain by letting go of all the fears that the world thrusts our way.  The “letting go” attitude gives each of us the permission to thrive in any circumstance.

  • Remember, change is not your enemy.

Many people would rather fail than change. Such stubborn behavior robs us of the 497127816joy that could come our way. No matter how much we hold on, sometimes we must change. In the midst of the turmoil of change is the opportunity to bloom where we have been planted even when the choice was not ours. Change is a part of life, and we would profit by remembering that simple fact.

  • Value the place that is given to you.

I once knew a man who would give the same greeting every time I saw him. When asked “How are you?” his consistent answer was, “ Living in the hope of a better day.” I was a very young pastor and I always wondered what was wrong with today? Benedict of Nursia, the founder of western monasticism said that stability was the key to living the monastic or Christian life. Learning to live in the stability of relationship involves the skill of rubbing off our own sharp edges. We cannot run away from ourselves or those that know us the best. I have been married for over forty years, and I know what I do wrong and so does my wife. We are challenged to bloom where we are planted because other paths are, all too often, very disappointing.


Prayer

Lord, help me to see myself well enough to acknowledge my weaknesses. Because of that, I can depend upon your strength to carry me through in spite of all adversity that may surround me. You give each of us the ability to make our own fertile ground.

Amen

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The God that Loves Us

During this time our Lord showed me a spiritual sight of His simple, homely loving. I saw that He is to us everything that is good and comforting to us. He is our clothing, which wraps and embraces us in love. He completely enfolds us in tender love so that He might never leave us, being to us everything that is good, as I see it.

—-Julian of Norwich

Julian newThe world that surrounds us is full of strife and anger. Loving relationships seem to very hard to develop and maintain. People are turning to drugs, legal and illegal, to make life work. If we can’t find love and security, we’ll just check into a fantasy. Julian did not live in a setting that was much more accommodating than ours. She had problems and insecurities that plagued her, and yet she found love and she found it in solitude. Her entire life was dedicated to finding divine love.

What do we discover when find divine love and how does it change our perspective?

Julian asserts that God has a homely love. The love of God is simple and unassuming, unlike the love of other people that can be so complicated. So many of us perpetuate our false selves, not only to the world but to ourselves as well. We try to avoid being simple because simplicity invites vulnerability and vulnerability leaves us open to hurt. God, however, give us the example of a love that disregards these dangers and it is a grand thing.

Shaker  Elder Joseph gives us a word in his “Simple Gifts.”

simple gifts

Some four hundred years later this follower of Jesus is seeing God in the same way that Julian did from her cell. Perhaps we can also look for this simple God in our hectic world.

God’s love is all that is good and comfortable to us. Untold amounts of money are spent every day by people that are seeking comfort. We long to hear a comforting word or see a comforting movie. The longing for comfort is an essential part of how we are designed, and yet it remains so elusive to us. Julian sees it as a simple act of God that is only waiting to be recognized. When many of us think of comfort, we think if comfort food or comfort waist bands in our clothing. That comfort implies excess ,but the only excesses that God holds are in his ability to give of himself to us. For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.(John 3:16) What kind of comforting love is that?

The God that loves us never abandons us. We may lose touch with Him but he is always there. I know that is hard for many to process. All of us have had those times when we think God has forsaken us. Those times are frustrating and fuel anger and resentment. It helps to envision God as our clothing.  We never even think about what we are wearing, but we would quickly notice if we lost our coat on a cold day. In the same way God clothes us in our most difficult times.


Prayer

Lord, may we never forget the homely love which is simple and comforting . We try to complicate love but you make it simple. Your simple love is  reliable as the clothes on our backs and as available as the sun that rises every morning. Let us recognize this love.

Amen

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