Just For Today 5 – Teaching

Innocence, Gentleness, Peace

Just For Today

Introduction

This week we complete our discussion about walking the Christian path; doing our very best to uphold those virtues and behaviors that would exemplify Christ in our lives; and our examination of the Five Reiki Principles. This final week brings us to the Fifth Reiki Principle: Just For Today, I Will Be Kind To All Living Creatures.

Spiritual Quote

“Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.”
~Dalai Lama

Thoughts

We’ve spoken about kindness before, so this isn’t something that’s new to us. But, it is worth discussing periodically because it reminds us of the importance of kindness. Hebrews 10:24 & 25 says, “…consider how we may spur one another toward love and good deeds…let us encourage one another…” And Hebrews 3:13 says, “Encourage one another daily.” So it’s good to discuss these types of topics to remind each other, and to encourage each other. It also allows us to talk about new ideas we may come up with to demonstrate kindness to those around us. Also, much of our previous discussion has revolved around being kind to family and friends – people we know. Of course, that’s important. But, equally important is our call to be kind to strangers, and, as the Fifth Reiki Principle brings to awareness, our responsibility to be kind to all creatures – even non-human.

1 John 4:8 tells us, “God is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:4 says, “Love is kind.” Based on these two simple verses, we see that kindness is a manifestation of God at work in our lives. Colossians 3:12 tells us, “Clothe yourselves with kindness…” So, kindness should just be a part of who we are. We should be clothed in kindness and we should allow that kindness to be a manifestation of God’s love in the world around us. Yes, even showing kindness to strangers. There’s a wonderful little story in the Book of Acts that is often read, but seldom seen from the standpoint of kindness to strangers. In Acts 28, Paul is on his journey and becomes shipwrecked. After swimming to shore to save themselves, verse 2 tells us, “…the natives (islanders) showed us unusual kindness; for they kindled a fire and made us all welcome…” Picture that…a group of shipwrecked people, swimming to shore like drowning rats, and what do these natives do? They built a fire and welcomed them. Think, too, about the words that were used at the time. The Hebrew word is Chittim or Kittim, which means “bruisers.” The Greek word is Barbaros, which translates to Barbarians or Heathens. In Luke’s eyes, in telling this story, he sees these natives, these islanders, as heathens – and yet it is these “heathens” that showed them kindness and saved their lives.

Jesus’ Example

We’ve talked before about how Jesus was a boundary-breaker. Let’s take a look at how He also demonstrated kindness – to two people who were completely different – and what it might have meant to people around him at the time. One of the people is Jairus, a ruler of the synagogue. Given the status of those of such a position, he was surely well regarded and had a level of social standing. The other is a woman who has been sick for years. Given the status of women in that culture, and the attitude against the sick, she was surely an outcast amonst her people, probably very poor, with absolutely no social standing. The Scripture passage is Luke 8:40-56.

Jesus had grown in popularity and was a well respected teacher and healer. People followed him and crowded him everywhere He went. Remember, He sometimes had to go away by Himself just to get away, rest, and to take time with God in prayer and meditation. But, through it all, He always stopped to help them, to meet their needs. Despite whatever was going on in His life, he paid attention to those around Him who were in need. How many of us can say the same? We get so caught up in our own ‘stuff’ that we sometimes fail to pay attention to what’s going on around us.

In verses 40 & 41, the crowd had gathered around Jesus because they were expecting him. Enter Jarius, who fell at Jesus’ feet and pleaded for Him to come to his house to heal his 12 year old daughter who, by all accounts, had died. As Jesus went with Jarius, the crowds almost crushed him. Think about that simple act for a minute. Jesus was obviously headed somewhere, to do something that He had planned – but He immediately changed His plans in order to be of service to Jarius.

Think of your day, your schedule…do you handle interruptions this well? To be honest, many of us don’t. When someone, or some situation, interrupts our concentration, our “flow,” we don’t always respond as well as we could. But these interruptions can sometimes lead to new opportunities. This is what happened with Jesus. As He was walking away with Jarius, another interruption occurred – the poor, sick woman. Verses 43-46 tell us that this woman had been bleeding for 12 years and no one could help her. She came up behind Jesus, and touched the edge of His cloak, and immediately her bleeding stopped. Jesus asked, “who touched me?” Everyone around him denied it.

Peter says, basically, that Jesus must have imagined it because there were so many people crowding Him and pressing against Him. Of course Jesus knew – He felt the flow of God’s healing energy flowing out from Him. And, though He was busy heading over to Jarius’ house to heal his daughter, Jesus stopped and tood time to give His attention to the woman.

In verses 47 & 48, we read that, realizing she couldn’t go unnoticed, the woman fell at Jesus’ feet and told Him why she had touched him and that she had been instantly healed. Did Jesus get angry, or was He put off by the interruption? No…He told her that her faith had healed her and to go in peace.

Again, remember that woman did not hold a place of importance in Jewish culture at the time. And, because she had a chronic menstrual discharge, she was considered unclean and was outcast. She was likely very much alone for even her family would have put her out. What did Jesus do? He listened. And, listening to her story, he affirmed her as a human being, as a child of God, in a way she had likely not been listened to or affirmed in all those 12 years of her sickness. Jesus also affirmed her with His proclamation that her faith had healed her. She had been outcast, hadn’t had human touch or any real interaction for years and yet Jesus tells her that her faith has healed her and that she can go in peace.

Finally, Jesus is back on his way to Jarius’ house. In verses 49-56 we read that the people told Jarius not to bother Jesus any further, his daughter was already dead. Jesus tells him not to be afraid, and to believe. Jesus, Peter, John, James, Jarius, and Jarius’ wife went into the room. Outside, the people were wailing and mourning. Jesus tells them to stop because the girl is merely asleep. How do they respond? They laugh at Him. Still, Jesus calmly goes about taking the girl’s hand and told her to get up. And, when she did, Jesus told the others to get her something to eat. He also told Jarius and his wife not to tell anyone what had happened.

Why would Jesus say not to tell about what had happened? He certainly could have gone out to the masses and gloated, “I told you so, I told you so.” But He didn’t.

Concerened more about hey they felt, and would feel, He didn’t try to shame them, or get even, or even to glorify Himself. He simply said to “…leave it the way it is.”

Two very different people – a ruler of the synagogue and a poor, sick woman. Both entirely deserving of Jesus’ kindness.

And so it is with us. No matter whether those around us are known to us or strangers, whether we perceive them to be of “high status” or “low status,” everyone is deserving of our kindness. We can be kind by helping others, by listening to others, and by affirming others.

Kindness to Non-humans

As we’ve seen, when it comes to kindness, it’s fairly easy to find Scripture that supports or teaches kindness to each other. But animals? Some say we have been given dominion over the animals, so we can do what we want. While it’s true we have dominion, we must be responsible, too. Ezekiel 34:17 & 18 says, “Is it not enough for you to feed on the good pasture? Must you also trample the rest of your pasture with your feet? Is it not enough for you to drink clear water? Must you also muddy the rest with your feet?” This passage reminds us that while we enjoy all the bounty God has provided, we must use that bounty responsibly. All living creatures are God’s creation. And, we would do well to remember that God has a relationship with all of his creation – not just we humans. Genesis 9:15 reminds us, “…I will remember my covenant that is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh…”

Yes, we have dominion over the animals, but we must also act responsibly toward them, too. Just as important as treating each other with kindness, we must also remember to extend that kindness to “every living creature.” Those words from Genesis directly correspond to our Fifth Reiki Principle!

Conclusion

There is a multitude of ways we can demonstrate kindness and, in so doing, allow God to be made manifest through us. We’ll talk about some of them during our discussion. I’ll also share a couple of opportunities that presented themselves to me over this last week.

In closing, I enjoy the simplicity of the Dalai Lama’s words. Be kind whenever possible. Since making the choice between being kind and being rude, mean, hateful, or vengeful is always ours to make – choosing kindness is always possible. I’d also like to share this thought by Ralph Waldo Emerson, “You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late.”

And so it is that I invite you this week to focus on our Fifth and final Reiki Principle – Just For Today, I Will Be Kind To All Living Creatures.

Illustrations for Discussion:

  • Opportunity Missed – Telemarketer
  • Opportunity Realized – Drive-thru employee
  • Opportunity Realized – Drive-thru ‘pay it forward’

Scripture

  • 1 John 4:8
  • 1 Corinthians 13:4
  • Colossians 3:12
  • Hebrews 3:13
  • Hebrews 10:24 & 25
  • Acts 28:2
  • Luke 8:40-56
  • Ezekiel 34:17-18
  • Genesis 9:15

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Just For Today 5 – Quote

Innocence, Gentleness, PeaceJust For Today – Part 5

Introduction

This week we finish our discussion about walking the Christian path, and doing our very best to uphold those virtues and behaviors that would exemplify Christ in our lives; and our examination of the Five Reiki Principles. This final week brings us to the Fifth Reiki Principle: Just For Today, I Will Be Kind To All Living Creatures.

Spiritual Quote

“Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.”
~Dalai Lama

Potential Scripture

  • 1 John 4:8
  • 1 Corinthians 13:4
  • Colossians 3:12
  • Hebrews 3:13
  • Hebrews 10:24 & 25
  • Acts 28:2
  • Luke 8:40-56

Join us Sunday for fellowship and worship!

We Are A Community Of Spiritual Healing And Growth Where All Are Welcome!

Just For Today 4 – Teaching

Innocence, Gentleness, PeaceJust For Today – Part 4

Introduction

This week we continue our discussion about walking the Christian path, and doing our very best to uphold those virtues and behaviors that would exemplify Christ in our lives.

Today is Father’s Day. I’d like to start by taking a moment to honor all fathers, and those who are as a father in someone’s life. Purely coincidentally (are there really any coincidences?), our examination of the Five Reiki Principles brings us to the quality my father believed to be of the highest importance. So, in honor of my dad, and all that he taught me, we will examine the Fourth Reiki Principle: Just For Today, I Will Do My Work Honestly.

Spiritual Quote

“I hope I shall always possess firmness and virtue enough to maintain what I consider the most enviable of all titles, the character of an honest man.”
~George Washington

Thoughts

Like George Washington, my dad prized honesty above all else. Was he perfect? No. He struggles at times, just like all of us. But, he strove to be an honest man of integrity. And he instilled those virtues in us as well.

Growing up, no matter what we had done, lying made it worse. And, correspondingly, whatever punishment our misdeeds had earned us, lying made the punishment worse, too.

When describing my dad, I used to say, “my dad has three rules – don’t lie, don’t steal, and don’t lie about stealing.” Of course, it wasn’t quite that simplistic, but it was close. Dad lived by, and instilled in us, sometimes painfully, a code of honesty – a code that guides our lives still today. And, it must have taken root. I had a wonderful visit with my son, Gary, from North Carolina this week. We were talking and reminiscing, especially about his grandfather since Friday was dad’s birthday and this being Father’s Day weekend. Gary commented that the same code of honesty and integrity is a part of his life, and he remembered the same lessons – no matter what he had done, lying made it, and the subsequent consequences, worse. This code is so much a part of his life that it was one of the factors that spurred him to a career in Military Law Enforcement.

Honesty & Integrity

So, what does it mean to be honest; and to have integrity?

Honesty is defined as: Free of deceit and untruthfulness; sincere; genuine; creditable; marked by integrity.

Integrity is defined as: Adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty.

As they are part of each others’ definition, honesty and integrity go hand in hand – just as my dad, and George Washington, believed.

Scripture talks a lot about honesty and integrity, too.

Proverbs 21:3 says, “To do what is right and just is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.”

Remember, in the Old Testament, the way to stay on God’s good side was sacrifice. There were sacrifices to honor God, to thank God, to cleanse the sick, to make amends for sins, etc. But this Old Testament passage reminds us that, as important as those sacrifices were, being honest and having integrity was even more important.

Proverbs 10:9 says, “The man of integrity walks securely, but he who takes crooked paths will be found out.”

Yep – this was sure true. Dad seemed to have a sixth sense. When we were less than honest, he always found out.

James 1:26 reminds us that if we proclaim to be walking the Christian path, but we live our lives in lies and deceit, we are fooling ourselves: “If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless.”

And, in I Timothy 2:2 we are given a simple, clear instruction: “Pray that we might live a life of honesty.”

When most people first hear the Fourth Reiki Principle they think, “This one’s easy – I’m already honest at work.” While that may generally be true, there may be areas for improvement. Dishonesty at work would include:

  • Arriving late or leaving early – not putting in a full day’s work.
  • Extra long breaks and lunches – in a 50 week work year, adding just 5 minutes to two breaks and a lunch each day equals 1.6 weeks of “stolen” time.
  • Using work time for personal business – online shopping, balancing your checkbook, making personal calls, etc.

And, if you’re the employer:

  • Charging unfair prices – taking advantage of people to gain profit
  • Expecting employees to come in “just a few minutes early,” or stay “just a few minutes longer” without the benefit of overtime pay.
  • Cutting corners or taking shortcuts – putting profit ahead of quality

To me though, the Fourth Reiki Principle goes further than just our occupation. It includes all our work – the work we put into our relationships, working as a volunteer, etc. We must strive to be honest in all of our “work.”

Let’s face it – it’s easy to be dishonest…it’s become commonplace. I’m not just talking about big things like having an affair. I’m talking about those “little white lies,” the “half-truths.” We’ve all told them. We’ve all stretch the truth, or skirted the truth, or, sometimes, we’ve twisted the truth into a pretzel.

Living up to the Fourth Reiki Principle goes beyond the workplace. Do we exaggerate claims about our product? Do we make promises we have no intention of keeping? Do we set others up to be dishonest?

(Example – Does this outfit make me look fat? Let’s face it – there’s no right answer to that one! Perhaps we should ask a different question – one that doesn’t put the other in the position of lying or offending.)

Chapter 8, verses 1-8, of the Book of Amos tells a story of dishonest business dealing, taking advantage of the poor and needy, and wastefully using up natural resources – all in order to increase profit:

“Thus the Lord God showed me: Behold, a basket of summer fruit. And He said, “Amos, what do you see?” So I said, “A basket of summer fruit.” Then the Lord said to me: “The end has come upon My people Israel; I will not pass by them anymore. And the songs of the temple shall be wailing in that day,” Says the Lord God – “Many dead bodies everywhere, they shall be thrown out in silence.” Hear this, you who swallow up the needy, and make the poor of the land fail, saying: “When will the New Moon be past, that we may sell grain? And the Sabbath, that we may trade wheat?

Making the ephah small and the shekel large, falsifying the scales by deceit, that we may buy the poor for silver, and the needy for a pair of sandals – even sell the bad wheat?” The Lord has sworn by the pride of Jacob: “Surely I will never forget any of their works…”

Greed and deceit are nothing new. Even thousands of years ago, people knew that dishonesty and lack of integrity got in the way of living in a right relationship with God. It was true then, and it’s still true today. When we’re honest, we’re giving freely of ourselves. Our character is one of integrity, and we are blessed. Acts 20:35 says, “In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how He himself said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Honesty and integrity are good for us, too. We can go to bed at night with a clear conscience. Acts 24:16 reminds us, “…always take pains to have a clear conscience toward both God and man.”

How does this apply to walking the Christian path? Whatever it is we’re doing, we should see ourselves doing it for the Lord; and we should approach it with honesty and integrity. In Colossians 3:23, Paul was speaking to slaves. But, the message can be applied to our relationships with employers, co-workers, spouses, families, and friends: “Whatever your task, put yourselves into it as done for the Lord and not for your masters.”

Conclusion

My dad had a deep sense of his own connection with God, though he didn’t identify with ‘religion.’ Even so, once again, in examining this topic, I discover just how closely the lessons my dad taught, though he may not have even realized it, were actually rooted in Scripture. Looking back and remembering Dad today I can honestly say that he earned what George Washington termed “the most enviable of all titles, the character of an honest man.” My hope and prayer is that, when my time on earth is through, my children, my family, my friends, and all who know me would feel that I, too, had earned this enviable title.

Focusing on the Fourth Reiki Principle; making it part of our daily devotion will remind us to always approach each and every situation from a place of truth, honesty and integrity. And so, once again, I invite you to focus on this principle every day for the next week.

Finally, I’d like to remember and honor my dad, and dad’s everywhere, for the love, guidance, and lessons. Personally, I was blessed to have had the best father I could have imagined. And, since today is Father’s Day, I’d like to close with today’s passage from The Daily Word titled Father’s Blessing:

I Bless My Father and Fathers Everywhere.

“When we think about fathers, we may imagine the ideal father – someone who is always available; eager to guide, teach, and assist; encouraging and supportive.

Today, I acknowledge the good that my father provided for me, the lessons he taught me, and the love he gave me. No one does everything perfectly all the time. Each father does the best he can with the knowledge and experience he has. I know I am a work in progress as well, even as I vow to become the best person I can be.

Being a father is a sacred role. Fathers have the responsibility to provide a strong foundation from which their children will flourish and grow. Today I thank and bless my father and fathers everywhere.”

Scripture

  • Amos 8:1-8
  • Proverbs 21:3
  • Proverbs 10:9
  • James 1:26
  • Acts 24:16
  • Acts 20:35
  • 1 Timothy 2:2
  • Colossians 3:23

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Just For Today 4 – Quote

Innocence, Gentleness, PeaceJust For Today 3 – Introduction

This week we continue our discussion about walking the Christian path, and doing our very best to uphold those virtues and behaviors that would exemplify Christ in our lives.

This week is Father’s Day. Purely coincidentally (are there really any coincidences?), our examination of the Five Reiki Principles brings us to, perhaps, the most important quality my father believed to be important. In honor of my dad, and all that he taught me, we will examine the fourth Reiki Principle : Just For Today, I Will Do My Work Honestly.

Spiritual Quote

“I hope I shall always possess firmness and virtue enough to maintain what I consider the most enviable of all titles, the character of an honest man.”
~George Washington

Potential Scripture

  • Amos 8:1-8:8
  • Proverbs 21:3
  • Proverbs 10:9
  • 2 Corinthians 8:21
  • James 1:26
  • Acts 24:16
  • Acts 20:35
  • 1 Timothy 2:2
  • Colossians 3:23

Join us Sunday for worship and fellowship!

We Are A Community Of Spiritual Growth And Healing Where Everyone Is Welcome!

Just For Today 3 – Teaching

Innocence, Gentleness, PeaceJust For Today – Part 3

Just For Today – Introduction

This week we continue our discussion about walking the Christian path, and doing our very best to uphold those virtues and behaviors that would exemplify Christ in our lives. Our examination of the Five Reiki Principles this week brings us to the third Reiki Principle : Just For Today, I Will Count My Many Blessings.

Our quote this week reminds us that, no matter how dark things may seem, there is always something we can find to be thankful for.

Spiritual Quote

“I cried because I had no shoes…
Then I met a man who had no feet.”
~NCIS, Persian Proverb

Thoughts

We’ve talked about being thankful before, so some of today’s message may not sound new.

There’s no denying we live in stressful times; and troubles, it seems, abound. Just listen to the news or pick up a paper – crime, terrorism, homelessness, earthquakes, tornadoes, and on and on. And, when a lot of us look at our own lives, the picture may not be any brighter – job loss, health issues, relationship problems, addictions. Again, the list could go on and on and on. With so much negative stuff going on, it’s easy to let ourselves wallow in the muck and mire – and it’s easy to question or lose our faith.

And yet, it’s precisely in these times we need to hold fast to our faith. Scripture tells us to remain thankful in all things:

  • I Thessalonians 5:18 – “…give thanks in all circumstances…”
  • Ephesians 5:20 – “…Giving thanks always and for everything…”
  • Colossians 3:15 – “…And always be thankful…”
  • Psalm 134 (Modern Translation) – “Be thankful servants of God, You who wait for God. Be thankful all the days of your life. Be thankful for the beauty of the earth. And the One who is making it will bless you.”

Being thankful is simply another way of saying “count your blessings.” What we see, hear, read about, and experience may not always inspire an “attitude of gratitude”; and that’s precisely when we need to turn to God, taking time to examine the blessings all around us, and, in that quiet stillness we the Holy Spirit will fill our hearts and our minds with thankfulness.

And it’s not just good for our spiritual wellness, it’s good for our physical and our emotional well-being. Excerpts from an article in the New York Times state:

“Cultivating an “attitude of gratitude” has been linked to better health, sounder sleep, less anxiety and depression, higher long-term satisfaction with life and kinder behavior toward others, including romantic partners. A new study shows that feeling grateful makes people less likely to turn aggressive when provoked…

But what if you’re not the grateful sort?

Start with “gratitude lite.” That’s the term used by Robert A. Emmons, of the University of California, Davis, for the technique used in his pioneering experiments he conducted along with Michael E. McCullough of the University of Miami. They instructed people to keep a journal listing five things for which they felt grateful, like a friend’s generosity, something they’d learned, a sunset they’d enjoyed.

The gratitude journal was brief — just one sentence for each of the five things — and done only once a week, but after two months there were significant effects. Compared with a control group, the people keeping the gratitude journal were more optimistic and felt happier. They reported fewer physical problems and spent more time working out.

Further benefits were observed in a study of polio survivors and other people with neuromuscular problems. The ones who kept a gratitude journal reported feeling happier and more optimistic than those in a control group, and these reports were corroborated by observations from their spouses. These grateful people also fell asleep more quickly at night, slept longer and woke up feeling more refreshed.

“If you want to sleep more soundly, count blessings, not sheep,” Dr. Emmons advises in “Thanks!” his book on gratitude research.

Interestingly, to me anyway, this is also the advice put to song in the Bing Crosby classic White Christmas:

“When I’m worried and I can’t sleep
I count my blessings instead of sheep
And I fall asleep
Counting my blessings

When my bankroll is getting small
I think of when I had none at all
And I fall asleep
Counting my blessings…

…If you’re worried and you can’t sleep
Just count your blessings instead of sheep
And you’ll fall asleep
Counting your blessings”

So, where do we start?

Taking the advice of Dr. Emmons, we can start small.

  • Do you have clothes on your back?
  • Do you have food in the refrigerator and cupboard?
  • Do you have a roof over your head?
  • Do you have money in the bank, in your wallet, or even spare change in a jar?
  • When you woke up this morning, did your eyes still see? Could you still hear, taste, and smell? Did all your fingers and toes work?
  • Are you free to worship God, in whatever way that means to you, without fear of imprisonment, harassment, torture, or death?
  • Do we live in an area filled with God’s beauty all around us?

Conclusion

It’s easy to get caught up in all the negative stuff happening around us, and sometimes to us. Through it all, though, it’s important to remind ourselves of all we have to be thankful for. Despite what might be happening, or what ills might befall us, we are truly blessed. And as Dr. Emmons research points out – it’s in our best interest physically, spiritually, and emotionally to maintain an “attitude of gratitude.”

I’d like to close with a personal story. It never ceases to amaze me how Holy Spirit brings people into our lives, if only briefly, who, when we pay attention, teach us so much. While I was writing today’s message, I was reminded of a young woman who stopped by the church a few months ago. She happened to be parked in our parking lot, noticed our sign, and came in just to talk. During our conversation I learned she is homeless, living in the van parked in our lot. In fact, she’s been homeless and living in that same van for a few years.

To many of us, she seemingly has nothing. But what amazed me was her attitude. She considers herself to be one of the most blessed people on the planet. In her eyes, she has a roof over her head. She has food every day. She has a small heater that keeps her warm. She meets wonderfully generous people like the gentleman down the street that lets her occasionally park in his side yard and use his shower.

As our visit came to an end, she asked, “This is a church, right?” “Yes, ma’am” I said. “Do you take donations?” “Yes, ma’am.” She opened her purse and started walking toward to collection box. Everything in me wanted to stop her – she obviously needed whatever funds she had. But, then I remembered that to stop her would be to deny her the blessing of giving. As I watched I was reminded of Mark 12:41-44 – the story of the widow with two coins. You may remember it…

“Now Jesus sat opposite the treasury and saw how the people put money into the treasure. And many who were rich put in much. Then one poor widow came and threw in two mites (two copper coins worth less than a penny), which make a quadrans. So He called His disciples to Himself and said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all those who have given to the treasure; for they all put in out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all that she had, her whole livelihood.”

Like the poor widow, the young lady dug through her coin purse, pulled out her last two quarters and dropped them in our collection box. We bid each other a blessed day and she walked out to her van. In complete humbleness I stood, watching her go, as I felt tears roll down my cheeks. This beautiful woman, who gave all she had to give – two quarters, who lives in her van, and has, what most would perceive as nothing, considers herself to be incredibly and wholely blessed. To me, she is truly an inspiration of the type of humble, thankful, kind, and generous Christian I would like to be.

There’s no doubt we have troubles and issues. Through it all, Scripture and research remind us that it’s in our best interest to “count our blessings.” It’s better for our spiritual growth, it’s better for our physical health, and it’s better for our emotional health.

So, regardless of what’s going on in your lives, I invite you this week to focus on the third Reiki principle – “Just For Today, I Will Count My Blessings.”

Let us Pray…

Lord, we are thankful that your light shines within us, around us, and that You are always with us. We are thankful for the blessings of Your love, Your kindness, and Your example in our lives.

Continually inspire us, the Universal Church, with the spirit of love, truth, and unity. May Your love and light fill our hearts and our lives; and, in so doing, may we always remember, as peacemakers, our true nature as children of God; may we live our lives more abundantly, lovingly, and respectfully; may we help others to do the same; and may our world always be bright. Amen.

Scripture

  • I Thessalonians 5:18
  • Ephesians 5:20
  • Colossians 3:15
  • John 1:16
  • Psalm 134 (Modern Translation)

New York Times Article Referenced: Gratitude

Join the Discussion

If you’d like to share your thoughts, please feel free to comment. And, if this message resonates with you, please feel free to share it.

We Are A Community Of Spiritual Growth And Healing Where All Are Welcome!

Just For Today 3 – Quote

Innocence, Gentleness, PeaceJust For Today 3 – Introduction

This week we continue our discussion about walking the Christian path, and doing our very best to uphold those virtues and behaviors that would exemplify Christ in our lives. Our examination of the Five Reiki Principles this week brings us to the third Reiki Principle : Just For Today, I Will Count My Many Blessings.

Spiritual Quote

I cried because I had no shoes…Then I met a man who had no feet.
~NCIS, Persian Proverb

Potential Scripture

  • I Thessalonians 5:18
  • Ephesians 5:20
  • Colossians 3:15
  • John 1:16
  • Psalm 134

Join us Sunday for worship and fellowship!

We Are A Community Of Spiritual Growth And Healing Where All Are Welcome!

Just For Today 2 – Teaching

Innocence, Gentleness, PeaceJust For Today Part 2

Introduction

This week we move on in our discussion about walking the Christian path, and doing our very best to uphold those virtues and behaviors that would exemplify Christ in our lives. We continue our examination of the Five Reiki Principles with the second Reiki Principle: Just For Today, I Will Let Go Of Worry.

Scriptural Quote

The Dalai Lama has this to say about worry:

“If a problem is fixable, if a situation is such that you can do something about it, then there is no need to worry. If it’s not fixable, then there is no help in worrying. There is no benefit in worrying whatsoever.”

Worry Defined

What does it really mean to worry? Simply, worry is:

  • A state of anxiety and uncertainty over actual or potential problems.
  • Giving way to anxiety or unease; allowing one’s mind to dwell on difficulty or troubles.

Thoughts

To be honest, this is probably the toughest principle for me to live up to. There are so many issues in our lives that cause us angst; it’s hard not to worry. We worry about our jobs, finances, health, family, safety, finding the “right” partner, maintaining our relationship.

For many of us, these are very real concerns. And I’m not saying we shouldn’t give them careful, prayerful thought. The trick is not to let those thoughts escalate into worry – causing anxiety and allowing our minds to dwell on the difficulties or troubles.

Unfortunately, most of us tend to allow our thoughts to escalate into worry about things that don’t matter all that much at all. In my research for today, I came across numerous websites citing statistics about worry – and they all said the same thing:

  • 40% of all things that we worry about never come to pass.
  • 30% of all our worries involve past decisions that cannot be changed.
  • 12% focus on criticism from others who spoke because they felt inferior.
  • 10% are related to our health, which gets worse when we worry.
  • 8% of our worries could be described as “legitimate” causes for concern.

Think about that for just a moment. 40% of the things we worry about never happen, 30% are things over which we cannot change, and 12% are based on criticism of others based not so much on us as it is on their own issues. 10% of our worries are about health. Worrying only makes our health worse – bringing on such ailments as ulcers, digestive issues, high blood pressure, etc.

And, if we do have medical issues, unnecessary worry only makes them worse. Now, I’m not saying we shouldn’t give thought to our health, and make decisions that will make us healthier. But, we shouldn’t let it so consume us that it turns to a state of anxiety.

What does that leave us? 8%. Less than one in ten of the things we worry about are “legitimate” causes for concern. The others are simply things we need not concern ourselves with, or that we can learn to see differently.

The question becomes, how do we “let go of worry”? Let’s take a look at what Scripture says:

  • Proverbs 12:25 – “An anxious heart weighs a man down…”
  • Philippians 4:6 – “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”
  • I Peter 5:7 – “Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.”
  • Ephesians 6:10 – “Finally, let the mighty strength of the Lord make you strong.”
  • Isaiah 58:11 – “The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.”
  • Matthew 6:25-34 – “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?
  • “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?
    “So do not worry, saying, `What shall we eat?’ or `What shall we drink?’ or `What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

Proverbs is telling us that worry, being anxious, weighs us down – it becomes a burden. Philippians reminds us to remove that burden by turning to God in prayer. Peter tells us to cast our worries to Jesus, and Ephesians tells us that when we give our worries over to Jesus, His strength will strengthen us. Isaiah reminds us that God will satisfy all of our needs. Finally, Matthew seems to sum it all up for us. Created in God’s image, are we not greater than birds and lilies? Worry will not add to our life, in fact it detracts from our life. And “things” such as clothing, a home, a car, etc. – are they important? Sure. But, do we sometimes get more caught up in the “splendor” – rather than having our basic needs met? It seems to me that this goes back to serving the god of Money rather than serving God. Even non-believers can do that. For those of us following the Christian path, through everything, we must keep our priorities. We must seek that spiritual state of being – His kingdom – which leads to a full and abundant life, and all that we need will be provided as well. Notice the word “need” – not necessarily want, but need.

Conclusion

Does this mean that as soon as we pray our troubles will magically disappear? No. But in developing a strong relationship with God, and by turning to Him in prayer, and by letting His Spirit guide us, we will learn to let go of that 82% of stuff that we really shouldn’t be giving our attention to anyway, and we will be guided to right decisions and right actions to face the rest without anxiety.

Looking back at our quote, the Dalai Lama reminds us that worrying about something we can’t change is pointless – if we can’t change it, why worry about it? And, worrying about something we can change is pointless – make the change that’s necessary and move on. Letting ourselves get all caught up and worked up into a frenzy does no good in either situation.

And, the needless worry steals the very life from us. As Corrie ten Boom said, “Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength.”

We often hear, “Let Go and Let God.” How do we do that? Turn to God in prayer. In closing, I’d like to share a wonderful lesson I came across in May’s The Daily Word titled, appropriately enough, “Let Go and Let God”:

All I need is fulfilled in God

I may not always know where my path leads, but I can be sure that God is with me. I release my need to know every turn my route will take. I trust the indwelling Spirit of God to lead me.

If I am concerned about family or friends, I let it go. Worry is unnecessary. God is in every life circumstance as peace, love, wisdom, and understanding. I don’t need to comprehend every detail. I trust that hearts and minds are open to divine ideas and God’s grace.

My role is to pray and have faith in right outcomes for myself and others. All we need is fulfilled in God. In prayer, I let go and let God.

The Scripture referenced for the day is Isaiah 42:16:

I will lead the blind by a road they do not know, by paths they have not known I will guide them. I will turn the darkness before them into light, the rough places into level ground.

Overcoming worry is something we do one day at a time. There are a couple of lines I’ve heard over the years…”Don’t open the umbrella until it starts raining” and “Today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday.” We can’t change yesterday, we can’t control tomorrow, and worry only serves to make today more challenging than it needs to be. There’s no “magic pill” to rid ourselves of worry. Only God can do that. Turning to Him in prayer, in the quietness of our minds and the stillness of our hearts, He will guide us. Even when we are traveling unfamiliar roads, He will light and ease our way.

As, hopefully you have done with letting go of anger over this last week, I invite you to take time in prayer every day this next week and focus on this one Reiki Principle – Just for today, I will let go of worry.

Scripture

  • Proverbs 12:25
  • Matthew 6:25-27
  • Philippians 4:6
  • I Peter 5:7
  • Ephesians 6:10
  • Isaiah 58:11
  • Isaiah 42:16

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Just For Today 2 – Quote

Innocence, Gentleness, PeaceJust For Today – Part One

Introduction

This week we move on in our discussion about walking the Christian path, and doing our very best to uphold those virtues and behaviors that would exemplify Christ in our lives. We continue our examination of the Five Reiki Principles with the second Reiki Principle : Just For Today, I Will Let Go Of Worry.

Spiritual Quote

“If a problem is fixable, if a situation is such that you can do something about it, then there is no need to worry. If it’s not fixable, then there is no help in worrying. There is no benefit in worrying whatsoever.”
~Dalai Lama XIV

Potential Scripture

  • Proverbs 12:25
  • Matthew 6:25-27
  • Philippians 4:6
  • I Peter 5:7
  • Ephesians 6:10
  • Isaiah 58:11

Join us Sunday for worship and fellowship!

We Are A Community Of Spiritual Growth And Healing Where All Are Welcome!