On a lighter note

 

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Blackbird for breakfast

 

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Peace

Jim

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January 20, 2019

Spend some time today thinking about what it means to love unconditionally.  How can I show love when the louder voices of the day promote division between people?

Think about those our society suggests are not worthy of our time – except as a mission project – unless they change and become like “Us.”

How can we show love?

Peace

Jim

January 19, 2019

I’ve spent a lot of time this week trying to sort through my thoughts.  The result?

My head hurts.

After thinking about things I’ve heard said, things I’ve read, comments people have made about other people, I’m even more convinced of why Jesus said that the greatest commandment was to love God with all heart, mind, soul and strength, and the second greatest was to love our neighbor as ourselves.

It just seems that if we spend our time focused on God and trying to love all others, we might just not let the distractions get between us.  And distractions have been an issue since the beginning, even among the disciples.  That wasn’t what Jesus wanted then so I doubt that’s what Jesus would want now.

Love seems too simple, and to some love seems weak.  But when love is an attitude, a way of life it is the power of God.

Peace and love

Jim

January 17, 2019

Be light…

cracks light

I wish I could paint or draw what I see in my mind. 

Many times when it comes to my faith and beliefs I picture this wall that represents the edge of what I understand about God…I’ve pushed my acceptance as far as I think possible…

…and then God shows me more.

What I picture is this wall bulging toward me with cracks and a few small holes in it and light is shining through the cracks and there is almost this sunrise with beams of light bursting over the top!  It’s an exhilarating scene in my mind.

And I think about how much Light is beyond what I can understand calling me to dig deeper.

I’ve said many times before that the more I learn about God the larger the Kingdom seems to be.  In other words, when I study, think, read, listen, when I’m actively seeking God through Scripture, through my experiences, through the traditions of the church, and through some good old common sense reason…more people begin to step out of the shadows of my boundaries and into the light.  Those people didn’t change.  I did.

The opposite is equally true.  If I’m satisfied with what I know and become complacent with just living within safe boundaries pigeon holing people into groups and categories…when I do that I grow stale, arrogant, and satisfied with my plenty.  The result is often a hard heart that leaves God no room to move beyond the boundaries of our thinking.

And God refuses to be controlled by our lack of understanding…(1 Corinthians 1:25)

Move close to your boundaries, and look for Light coming through the cracks.

Peace and Light

Jim

 

January 16, 2019

If the mission is to love God with all heart, soul, mind, and strength and to love everybody else after that, Matthew 22:37-40…then revisiting and centering ourselves in that mission helps us to stay focused on being light in a dark world as well as to recognize what is opposite of love. 

We are called to be light, to be influence, and we don’t shine too brightly when our heart and mind and strength isn’t centered on love. 

I suppose this is on my mind because I catch myself from time to time being – and I see in others – a negative influence caused by what I believe is a lack of attention to the heart.  By that I mean that Jesus’ example was to love unconditionally, and not to create divisions.

It seems that believers have always had problems with divisions. Maybe it’s because of our felt need to put people in categories, maybe it’s because we feel that our version of beliefs are right and others are wrong.  Maybe it’s a thousand other reasons.

But if I want to follow Jesus it seems to me that I’m better off putting my attention to the New Kingdom that Jesus taught about…

“Your Kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven… Mat 6:9-10”

And if we believe that the New Kingdom will look like our world today, …Red and yellow, black and white…along with the rest of the labels we put on people…why do we create categories?

Like most other thinkers I have my opinions of why, and none of them seem Biblical to me.  Compare our thinking with the greatest commandment…How do our opinions hold up that?

Just some thoughts for the day…

Peace

Jim

 

January 15, 2019

Sometimes I get frustrated thinking about my own feelings and actions, words and attitude.  And I wonder what part of following Jesus I missed.

Sometimes I get frustrated thinking about the actions, words, and attitudes of other people, especially those who claim to follow Jesus, and I wonder what part of following Jesus that these missed.

In short, all of us who claim Jesus need to stop from time to time, examine our witness and go back to some centering point and begin again to be the light we’ve been charged to be…because if we’re honest we often allow our limited knowledge of the mind of God – evidenced by our lack of showing love – to lead us along.

So how do we find our center?  As followers of Jesus what is our center?  The answer is that there are many Scripture texts that can center us but to me the Gospel of Matthew pretty much nails it down.

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’  All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”  Matthew 22:37-40

So if the genealogy of Scripture is all traced back to loving God above all else and loving other people after that, why do we so often branch off of that with categories that take our mind away from love?  Why and how do we allow the love process to be hijacked opting instead for division?

I don’t know for sure why that is although I have my own thoughts on the subject.  But I do know that if we don’t revisit our center from time to time we run the risk of moving farther and farther away from what God intended for us.

My question is:

Are we individually moving toward God or away from him?  Is Christianity in general moving toward or away from God?

Before answering that look deep into the heart to see if the base of all our words and actions are based on our love for God and all people.  (Resist saying, “Yeah but…”  This is simply a reflection on the condition of the heart).

Peace

Jim

January 14, 2019

A thought that keeps recurring in my mind is this:

How far has Christianity distanced itself from Love?

Now, we don’t do that on purpose…we would never allow love to take a backseat especially since we know from Jesus that love is the greatest commandment which sums up all of the law and the prophets.

But any time there is a me mentality that puts any one over anyone else love becomes a little more elusive, the distance gets a little bit greater.

And about here is where the “yeah buts” start coming into our mind. 

Yeah but there has to be some distance between us and some people.
Yeah but you don’t understand my position.
Yeah but secular law says this or that.
yeah but the Bible says this or that.
Yeah but some people are just bad.
Yeah but we never did it that way.
Yeah but some are just lazy.
Yeah but why should I have to help them.
Yeah but they aren’t one of us.
Yeah but they insulted me.

I could go on all day with things I have heard and things I have said.  I could talk politics, religion, or about any other subject and there are “Yeah buts” a plenty from all angles.

No wonder Jesus just told us to love God first with all our heart, mind, soul and strength, and then love everybody else after that.

The worldview or our national view is too often tainted by our plenty, and if we’re not careful we push love to the shadows opting instead to look out for “me” first.

Just some thoughts

Peace and love

Jim