Great opportunities to please God are infrequent,

But turning little actions into great acts can happen all the time...

“How do I love you, let me count the ways…”

Posted by on Jul 18, 2015 in Previous Posts | 0 comments

“How do I love you, let me count the ways…”

 

  How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

         I love thee to the depth and breadth and height

         My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight …

                                                            Elizabeth Barrett Browning

 

We study, search, and discuss how we can know for certain that there is a God and that He is real. Yet, in the end, we have to admit that the only way to know God best is through relationship. In this way, God shows us–through love how He cares. This friendship will be later confirmed with these words of Jesus: “Love one another as I have loved you.” With these words, God states clearly that it was His desire to be our friend–which has no bounds.

 

As we read in Genesis–the story of God’s love begins with Adam and Eve and the beautiful garden home He gave them. And further, in other Old Testament passages, we read about His love. For instance, in the the endless ways God helped the Israelites leave Egypt and find a new home in the Promised Land. God never gives up helping and caring for us. Even to the point of sending His Son to make our lives “whole” again after we messed it up.

 

In all these ways, God is saying over and over again “I love you” and I want you to succeed. God is always lifting us from pain and hurt, always pointing us anew–towards our big entrance day into heaven. That’s God’s goal “friends forever!” And this forever is eternity.

 

So all we have to do is to show God that we appreciate this “eternal” love by making our relationship with Him mutual. Simply love God back in the many ways He loves us. True, God doesn’t need our love, but He truly desires it.

 

The easiest way to love back is to see where or how God loves us right now. God is loving us daily through the many people doing all kinds of wonderful things we take for granted.

 

How about the paperboy who leaves the paper at our door at 5:30 a.m.? How about the smiling woman at the super market, who makes the potato salad “extra special,” because she knows you like it? Simple things, yes, but this is love!

 

Then there is the homeless man on the corner who says “good morning” with a big smile each day as you pass by. And there are countless other ordinary everyday people we take for granted, but who nonetheless gives our day a little “pizzazz” amidst the many frustrations and “slip ups.” These are God’s various disguises giving us that much needed lift–at the right moment, because He knows that we need it to get through, and be happy.

 

Just as God made the garden for Adam and Even, God makes our part of creation work the same way. He gives us gifts from “our garden” to help us get through our day and be grateful to Him.

 

When we appreciate creation, its beauty and how it works through others, we are embracing God. It is the best way to show God we care, and the best way to build our relationship with God.

 

Again, as Elizabeth Barrett Browning wrote:

            How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

         I love thee to the depth and breadth and height

         My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight …

God speaks these same words to us today and everyday, because He is always looking for ways to love us more. God is always counting the ways…Can we count our ways?

 

 

 

 

 

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Jesus Heals Even When He Sleeps

Posted by on Jul 8, 2015 in Previous Posts | 1 comment

Jesus Heals Even When He Sleeps

In the midst of a hot summer afternoon, we can almost be certain a thunderstorm will appear bringing high winds, intimidating darkness, ferocious thunderclaps and the staccato flashes of lightening!

When this “perfect” storm arrives, everyone dashes for cover and safety.  We wait undercover and wonder “what is the purpose of all this fury?  It does nothing but disrupt life, destroy property, and spread fear.”  And as we wait the storm out, we continue to ponder–“What’s God’s plan around this disruption and what’s its purpose?”

It may be just that “to wonder” where is God in these terrible times?  Or even to wonder why Jesus doesn’t come during these scary moments and restore calm?  I wonder if these were the questions on the mind of Jesus’ disciples, when one day Jesus and his disciples were taking a boat ride.  If you recall the scene from Matthew (8:24),   Jesus was fast asleep and a threatening summer storm swept over the boat–dropping fear and panic over the disciples.

With waves crashing over them, they thought they would drown.  It wasn’t even enough that Jesus was there and sleeping.  The disciples wanted Him awake and doing something.  They had to watch Jesus “fixing” the danger, before they could trust and feel safe.  For these disciples Trusting without watching wasn’t an option!

What is the lesson Jesus wants His followers to grasp from this story?  It is simple, but overwhelming.  Jesus, our savior and our friend, is forever caring and protecting us even when we don’t see Him.  God, Our Father, created us to be saved, not perish.  And Jesus’ mission is to do the SAVING!

As in Matthew’s vivid story, Jesus is there like a 911 response call or EMS services quick arrival.  Jesus goes to work immediately on whatever pain, hurt or personal tragedy befalls us.  St. Francis de Sales explains it this way: “Either He (Jesus) will take away our pain or He will give us the grace to endure it, so put aside all anxious cares or imaginations.”

We can be certain that Jesus stands ready always to fill our boat with the same peace He shared with the disciples during this alarming episode.  Instead of wrapping ourselves in fright, we should strive to open our hearts to hear Jesus softly saying, “Quiet my peace is with you.”  And we can always rest assured it is.

But even more so, we have to trust Jesus– and bravely let Him “sleep” through it.

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Finding True Freedom on this Fourth of July!

Posted by on Jul 4, 2015 in Previous Posts | 0 comments

Finding True Freedom on this Fourth of July!

Majestically overlooking New York harbor, the Statue of Liberty proclaims these eloquent words: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to be free . . .”

Simple words, yet they ignited passion and determination in every incoming immigrant’s heart even to this Independence Day 2015. To guide these new arrivals , a welcoming America offered the great torch of freedom as their first gift.

We know from later stories, perhaps from our own relatives how many of them did become free, and fulfilled their dreams. While many more today, still wait to be handed that sought after torch to realize their own dream of freedom.

When we think of liberty, doesn’t each of us yearn for the hope it brings? Whether we are poor, rich, homeless or just plain tired, we want to be free to enjoy happiness.

The Lord Jesus also came to give us this very gift. He wanted us to be spiritually free. He wanted us to remove all barriers and obstacles that smothers the Lord’s voice calling us to a holy life and giving the grace to choose it. When we embrace Jesus, we hold a great torch of freedom

Yet in countless ways, we don’t grab hold of this torch. We go it alone making poor choices and choosing unsafe activities. These hold us captive instead of freeing our hearts and lifting our souls to choose true happiness.

Unlike these risking immigrants, we don’t grasp the torch that lights the way to a new world. Yet even in this present moment, this dream for spiritual freedom is still possible.

As we celebrate Independence Day, we pray anew to hold firmly this torch that frees our hearts to love and embraces all strangers we meet along our way.

We find courage in these words:

 

“God calls us to Himself and is watching to see how we are doing and will never allow anything to happen which is not for our greater good.”  De Sales

Look at what is before your eyes. If you are confident that you belong to Christ, remind yourself of this that just as you belong to Christ so also do we.  2 Corinthians (10:7-8;Paul)

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