Give Me Today – Quote

I heard this quote in one of my favorite television shows. I love the simplicity of it – though living it can sometimes be a challenge.

Trouble will come in its own time,
It always does;
But that’s tomorrow.
Give me today and I will be happy.
~Babylon 5

Join us this Sunday when we come together for worship and fellowship, and we’ll explore the subject of happiness.

Battle Between Two Wolves – Teaching

This week’s quote was posted by a friend no Facebook. Though many have heard or seen it before, it was totally new to me. And, I love the simplicity of the message – definitely something we should all keep in mind.

Quote

An old Cherokee told his grandson, “My son, there is a battle between two wolves inside us all.

One is Evil. It is anger, jealousy, greed, resentment, inferiority, lies, and ego.

The other is Good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, humility, kindness, empathy, and truth.”

The boy though about it, and asked, “Grandfather, which wolf wins?”

The old man quietly replied, “The one you feed.”

~Unknown

Thoughts

That on which we focus our attention we bring about in our lives. Our thoughts become who we are. “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.” (Proverbs 23:7)

When we focus our attention, or feed, anger, lust, hate, jealousy, etc., we become nasty, hateful, spiteful people. And it’s infections. Think of the times you’ve been in a room with someone who’s really, really angry and nasty. They never smile, their words are full of venom, and the nastiness in the room can literally be “felt.” Stay around it long enough and what happens? You get sucked in. You start feeling just as angry, just as nasty, just as spiteful. All of a sudden you’re thinking about all the terrible wrongs in your own life. And, you just can’t wait to spread it around to anyone and everyone who will listen.

Conversely, what happens when you enter a room that’s full of happiness and love? you can literally feel it. This, too, is infectious. you begin to laugh. You feel happier, you even begin smiling.

Most of us would like to have more beauty, more happiness, and more joy in our lives. If we want to live a more joy-filled, peaceful life, we must focus our thoughts and attention on those things that are true, noble, just, pure, lovely, virtuous, and praiseworthy. (Philippians 4:8) And, we must meditate on these things, giving ourselves entirely to them, that our progress may be evident to all. (1 Timothy 4:15)

Wishing Doesn’t Make It So

Not only must we meditate on these things, we must act on them. Even small acts and gestures can go a long way in changing our state of mind, and how we live. Demonstrating acts of kindness, volunteering, helping others. Being kind, compassionate, and loving on a daily basis – not just towards others, but towards ourselves, too.

  • Want a little more beauty around you? How about picking up any trash you might see walking through a parking lot?
  • Have an elderly neighbor? You could offer to mow their lawn, or pick up a few groceries next time you’re headed to the store.
  • Feeling angry or depressed? Take a 5-10 minute walk. Focus your thoughts on the beauty that is all around you – the brilliant colors of the flowers, the magnificent color spectrum in the sky above you…whatever. Just shift your attention away from what’s making you angry or depressed and focus instead on the beauty that’s all around you.

Changing your focus and attention changes you – you will be “…transformed by renewing your mind…” (Romans 12:2) and “…renewed in the spirit of your mind…” (Ephesians 4:23)

If there truly are problems that you’re facing, will this make them go away? No. But, you’ll be able to face them with a completely different outlook.

The Battle Rages On

We can give in to the bitterness, the anger, the jealousy, and the hate. Or, we can focus on those things of beauty, love, compassion, and joy. That which we nourish will flourish. The choice is ours. The battle between the two wolves, between Good and Evil, rages on.

Which wolf do you want to feed?

Scripture References

  • Proverbs 23:7
  • 1 Timothy 4:15
  • Romans 12:2
  • Ephesians 4:23

Join the Discussion

Feel free to share your thoughts and comments and, if this message resonates with you, feel free to share it!

Battle Between Two Wolves – Quote

This wonderful quote was posted by a friend on Facebook. It carries a profound message in just a few words…

An old Cherokee told his grandson, “My son,m there is a battle between two wolves inside us all.

One is Evil. It is anger, jealousy, greed, resentment, inferiority, lies, and ego.

The other is Good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, humility, kindness, empathy, and truth.”

The boy thought about it, and asked, “Grandfather, which wolf wins?”

The old man quietly replied, “The one you feed.”

Join us Sunday as we explore some Scriptural principles regarding this battle within us all.

We Choose Our Own Thoughts & Emotions – Teaching

Quote

This week’s quote is short and to the point:

You choose your own thoughts and emotions,
therefore, no-one can make you angry unless you let them.
~Unknown

Thoughts

What is anger? Depending on the dictionary you read, anger is basically defined as ‘a strong feeling of displeasure and hostility aroused by a wrong…” Anger is a normal emotion, and something that we all experience. However, it is also an important thing to handle correctly. Anger has been the cause of death, destruction, degraded relationships and friendships, wars – and the list goes on.

Since anger is a ‘feeling,’ it is an emotion – and is therefore something we can control. No one can ‘make’ us angry, just as no one can ‘make’ us love, hate, or become jealous.
We allow those feelings into our lives based, in large part, on the actions of others. We cannot control the actions or behaviors of others. However, we are 100% in control of how we respond to them.

We All Struggle

We all struggle with anger in some way. Like all emotions, anger in and of itself is not bad. It’s what we choose to do with our anger. How do we choose to respond? Do we fly off the handle? Do we yell and scream and get violent? Or, do we examine the cause of our anger, decide what’s really important, and respond in a measured and appropriate way?

The first thing we need to do is “own” our anger. It’s our emotion, and the response is ours alone. We must accept responsibility for our responses and quit shifting the blame to others. We do have to acknowledge the feelings, though.

An appropriate, thoughtful, measured response is healthy. When we don’t acknowledge and deal with our anger – when we try to suppress it and keep it bottled up – it can become very unhealthy. We become doormats, letting others walk all over us. Keep in mind, we must own this – we gave our control and power away. Or, worse yet, we let it build to a point where we literally explode – often with disastrous results. Our response to the given situation is completely inappropriate, we cause hurt feelings, we may even injure others or ourselves in the process.

What Does The Bible Say?

The Bible gives many examples of people getting angry. Moses got angry with the people when they rejected God and returned to making idols. Jesus got angry when he saw the synagogue had been turned into a marketplace. Both Moses and Jesus reacted very strongly – exhibiting what we call “righteous anger” – acting in the defense of others. Moses was angry at the people for denying God and disobeying His commandments. Jesus was angry at the religious leaders, the Pharisees, because they were exploiting their faith – turning the synagogue into a self-serving marketplace rather that a place to bring people closer to God.

The Bible cautions us, though. In Proverbs we are taught:

  • Don’t say ‘I’ll get you back for this’ (20:22)
  • Fools give in to anger, the wise bring about calm (29:11)
  • Gentle answers turn away anger, harsh words stir it up (15:1)
  • When we are quick tempered we act foolishly (14:17)

What Are We To Do?

We know it’s possible to control our anger because we’ve all done it. Think of the times everything has just gone wrong…you’ve had a bad day at the office, you come home, the kids are fighting, you trip over the toys, you burn dinner, and you just ‘lose it’ – you start yelling at the kids, threatening the kids and even the dog, throwing the pots in the sink, and the phone rings. It’s your child’s teacher and all of a sudden you’re as calm and as nice as can be.

We can all think of times when we were ‘losing it’ and instantaneously calmed down. Obviously, anger is something that can be controlled, when we choose to. But, anger doesn’t simply go away overnight. Especially if we have a habit of reacting inappropriately – yelling, swearing, flipping people off, even getting violent. It takes prayer. And sometimes, a lot of it. We must think about the situation, and the reason for our anger, and choose the appropriate response.

We can all get angry at things like injustice – human trafficking, drug trafficking, harming children, senseless acts of violence and murder, etc. But, we choose to respond in a lawful, peaceful, appropriate manner – writing letters to our civic leaders, volunteering with social organizations, forming neighborhood watches, etc.

When we’re faced with individual, personal situations, we can give thought to what’s really going on – stop, take a breath, and think. Don’t get caught up in verbal one-upsmanship. Choose to remain calm, and respond in a kind and pleasant manner. Is it easy? No. Is it what God wants us to do? Yes.

New Testament Advice

Luke says if someone sins against us, rebuke them (talk to them), and if they’re sorry, forgive them – even if they sin against you seven times in a day, and they ask forgiveness seven times, we must forgive them.

In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul says we are not to let the sun go down while we are still angry, but he also says not to let unwholesome talk come out of our mouths, but only that which is helpful for building others up. He also says to speak to each other in love, get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, brawling, slander, and every form of malice. We are to kind, compassionate, and forgiving.

And James sums it all up: “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.”

Scripture References

  • Proverbs 20:22
  • Proverbs 29:11
  • Proverbs 15:1
  • Proverbs 14:17
  • Luke 17:3-4
  • Ephesians 4:25-27, & 29
  • Ephesians 4:15
  • Ephesians 4:31-32
  • James 1:19-20

In Summary

No one can make us angry – anger is a response to a given situation. It’s up to us how we choose to respond. Again, is it easy? No. But, through studying Scripture, and through thoughtful prayer, we can learn to control our anger.

Many of you know that I am a Reiki Master/Teacher. The very first Reiki Principle is a simple, one line mantra that we can all use in our daily prayer. I simply add “Lord” to the beginning of the statement and it becomes: “Lord, just for today, I will let go of anger.”

Join the Discussion

Feel free to share your thoughts and comments and, if this message resonates with you, feel free to share it!

Christ is Risen! – Teaching

As mentioned in the Quotes post, this week’s quote is a poem that was given to me when my partner passed away in 1995. It helped me a lot then, and it’s helped me several times since. It reminds me of the hope and the promise we have through Jesus.

Quote

I invite you to close your eyes and imagine Mary Magdalene at Jesus’ tomb. She’s standing there, weeping, mourning the loss of her Lord; and worse, it seems his body has been stolen away. When Jesus appears to her, picture him saying,

Do not stand at my grave and weep.
I am not there. I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow;
I am the diamond glints on snow;
I am the sunlight on ripened grain;
I am the gentle autumn rain.

I am the quick uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circling flight.
I am the soft star that shines at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry.
I am not there, I did not die.
~Mary Frye, 1932

Thoughts

Most, if not all of us, have experienced loss – loss of a parent, grandparent, brother or sister, spouse or partner, child, grandchild, or friend. When we lose someone, we experience many emotions – shock, disbelief, anger, loneliness, depression, guilt, numbness, and finally, acceptance. This is the normal cycle of grief.

Sometimes, we move back and forth through the stages and emotions. Perhaps we’ve reached the stage of acceptance. Then, out of the blue, something happens, we forget for just a moment, and we set a place for our loved one at the table. Though shorter this time, the cycle begins again.

There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think of my beautiful little granddaughter, Chevelle. What would she be like? What would make her laugh? What games would she like to play?

My parents, too…though it’s been a few years since they passed, events will happen and I’ll think, “I need to call Mom” or “I need to tell Dad about this.” Briefly, the pain resurfaces. But, it’s sting doesn’t hurt quite so much.

Christ’s Promise

Though no longer physically here, our loved ones are always with us as long as we remember. Easter is a time for us to remember and to celebrate the Hope that we have in Christ. His death and resurrection, and the promise of everlasting life, is the cornerstone of our faith. He has gone ahead to prepare a place for us with God.

By this Hope and this Promise, we know that He and our loved ones are all around us. Though gone physically, their spirit lives on. As the poem says, they’re all around us – in the wind, in the sunlight on the grain, the soft star shining at night.

Paul’s words are for us all…O death, where is your sting? O grave, where is your victory? Thanks be to God who has given us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

And St. Peter sums it up beautifully…Blessed be God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who by His abundant mercy has again renewed us spiritually to a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead…to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled, that does not fade away and is prepared in heaven for you, while you are kept by the power of God through faith for the life eternal…wherein you will rejoice forever…though at present you are sorrowful for a while…

Yes, pain and sorrow, grief, depression, sickness – even death – have been destroyed. The tomb is empty. “Do not stand at my grave and cry. I am not there…I did not die.”

CHRIST IS RISEN! ALLELUIA!!

Scripture references

  • John 20:13
  • John 20:15
  • John 14:2 & 3
  • 1 Corinthians 15:55-57
  • 1 Peter 1:3-6

Join the Discussion

Feel free to share your thoughts and comments and, if this message resonates with you, feel free to share it!

Christ is Risen! – Quote

Quote

Do not stand at my grave and weep.
I am not there. I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow;
I am the diamond glints on snow;
I am the sunlight on ripened grain;
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning hush
I am the quick uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circling flight.
I am the soft start that shines at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry.
I am not there, I did not die.
~Mary Frye (1932)

This poem was given to me many years ago when my beloved partner passed away. It helped me a lot then, and since. And, to me, it exemplifies our hope of life everlasting through the death and resurrection of Jesus.

Join us this Sunday when we discuss the Easter Celebration: the hope and the promise that are ours through the death and resurrection of our Lord and Savior.

Our Mistakes Don’t Define Our Future – Teaching

Quote

This week’s quote is short and simple, yet carries a profound message:

It’s not our mistakes that define us…
It’s what we do afterward that counts the most.
~Numb3rs Episode

Thoughts

Part of Being Human

Mistakes are a normal part of being human – we’re imperfect. But, we don’t have to let our mistakes define us. Nor do they have to define our future. Usually, we feel bad about the mistake, and about the hurt we might have caused others. But, when we realize we’ve made a mistake, we have a choice.

Our Choice

We can stay wrapped up in the guilt and bad feelings. We can beat ourselves up. We can view the mistake as some sort of “proof” that we’re bad, undeserving of love and forgiveness. We may even say things like, “See, I can’t do anything right.” But, where does that get us? We end up in a terrible cycle of self-deprecation and depression. And, if we let it go on long enough, we lose all hope. We continue to make poor choices because we feel like it doesn’t really matter anyway.

Or, we can choose to look at the mistake, examine the results of our actions, and learn from it. Then, we must leave the mistake in the past and choose a different future. We need to let go of the guilt, forgive ourselves, and ask for God’s forgiveness and guidance. We can take the lessons that we learn from our mistakes and decide how we want our future to be.

All Things Work Together For Good

Scripture tells us that God can use our mistakes, and our learning from them, for an ultimate good. Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good.”

Scriptural Example

Let’s take a look at the Apostle Paul. Here was a man whose purpose in life was to persecute Christians. Remember, he was known as Saul at the time. In Acts 8:1 & 3 we read, “Saul was pleased to have had a part in the murder of Stephen…he continued to persecute the church of God, entering into houses and dragging out men and women and delivering them to prison.”

Obviously Saul was a mean, nasty, hateful man. But, in Acts 9 we read how the Lord taught Saul about his mistakes. Now, Saul had a choice:

  • He could have stayed in that cycle of hate
  • Once he learned how wrong he’d been, he could have let himself be overcome with guilt and depression, or
  • He could change the path of his life and move forward

Of course, he chose to change his path, and he became an apostle of Christ – preaching the gospel everywhere he went. He acknowledged his imperfection and chose to look forward, not dwelling on the past.

That doesn’t mean, however, that he forgot all about what he had done. He freely acknowledged his past. In 1 Timothy 1:15 he says, “…Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners, of who I am chief.” And in Philippians 3:13 he writes, “My brethren, I do not consider that I have reached the goal; but this one thing I do know, forgetting those things which are behind, I strive for those things which are before me.”

These passages give us great hope. God can use all things for good. And, as Paul’s example shows, none of us have reached perfection. We will continue to make mistakes. But even our worst mistakes can be forgiven, and we can choose to take a different path going forward.

A Modern-day Example

We have modern examples, too. While doing some internet research I came across the story of a young man lost in the trappings of addiction. Hitting rock bottom, he entered into a Christ-centered rehabilitation facility. He is now clean and sober. He owns his own successful landscape company. And, more than just turning his life around, he chooses to give back – to make a difference in the lives of others. His work includes:

  • Encouraging clients to donate one-month’s fee to charity instead of paying him
  • Volunteering with Head Start
  • Donating landscaping to the elderly and disabled

Yes, we all make mistakes, and we need to learn from them. But, they don’t have to define us. We can choose to move forward and create a better and brighter future for ourselves and those around us. In the process, we strengthen our relationship with, and move closer to, God.

Scripture References

Take the time to read the scripture for yourself. Pray and meditate on the verses and listen to what God has to say to you.

  • Romans 8:28
  • Acts 8:1 & 3
  • Acts 9
  • 1 Timothy 1:15
  • Philippians 3:13

Join the Discussion

Feel free to share your thoughts and comments and, if this message resonates with you, feel free to share it!