Imperfect People


God didn’t pick perfect people to make himself known.

Moses was a murderer. (Exodus 2:12)

David was an adulterer and accomplice to murder. (Samuel 2:11)

Saul (Paul) hated Christians and terrorized them. (Acts 8:3)

Jacob was a deceiver. (Genesis 27)

And yet, these people had a starring role in God’s purpose for his people.

What is his purpose for us?

Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect. (The words of Jesus in Mathew 5:48)

We are to strive for perfection by making that phone call, paying that visit, forgiving that hurt, loving those who are difficult to love…and the list goes on.

We don’t have to remain imperfect people. Happy Sunday

A Must


Our sermon today is the last in a series on forgiveness and features the story of the prodigal son. It has been an eye-opening, heart-stirring, mind-opening series. Yesterday I found this picture and thought, how fitting for this Sunday’s post. To my way of thinking, to have a peaceful life, forgiveness is a must. Happy Sunday.

Fully Forgiven, Fully Free – J.S. Park: Hospital Chaplain ...

I’m Sorry, So Sorry


Recently I was asked where my blog material comes from and it comes from everywhere; an overheard or general conversation, certain books and authors, TV and radio programs…life itself.

Today it’s from a radio program I listened to on CBC yesterday, about apologies and how effective they can be in healing people and the world.

One segment was about a drunk driver killing two young ladies in a car crash in 2002. The mother of one of them wanted only to see the twenty-two-old young man face to face and hear a sincere apology from him. And she did. It was replayed on radio and I had tears in my eyes and in my heart. These two people, the mother and the killer of her daughter became friends in the end. How? Because forgiveness was asked for and given.

It’s not only a drunk driver who can affect someone’s life. There are many ways of doing that and perhaps with some soul searching, we may see where we have been just as guilty as this young man and say, “I’m sorry, so sorry.”

This song of Brenda Lee’s talks about being too blind to see and not seeing the wrong that’s been done. It’s meant to be a romantic apology but it was played on the radio program and was very effective…it too, brought forth a few tears because of, like the young man, the genuineness of her voice. You can hear both apologies right here on this page.

http://www.cbc.ca/radio/outintheopen  Then click on “A drunk driver apologizes…”

It’s Hard To Be Humble


Just like patience, forgiveness, tolerance, and other virtues, humility needs a lot of work. It’s not always easy to put someone else’s feelings ahead of our own, or to stay quiet when we want to correct someone. It’s definitely difficult for some to acknowledge that the creator of the universe is deserving of a bowed knee, and an outstretched hand.

Here are a few quotes on humility:

True humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less. C.S. Lewis Mere Christianity

There is no respect for others without humility in one’s self. Henri Frederic Amie

It was pride that changed angels into devils; it is humility that makes men as angels. Saint Augustine

Self praise is no recommendation.  Romanian (on flattery and praise) 

Be the change you wish to see in the world. Ghandi    

“A man should never be ashamed to own that he has been in the wrong, which is but saying in other words that he is wiser today than he was yesterday.” Alexander Pope

but with humility comes wisdom. Proverbs 11:2

And now for a little humble humor from Mac Davis and the Muppets

 

 

 

 

The Week that Was – The Crucifixion


Mary watched as her beloved son died on the cross…a mother’s worst nightmare…the death of her child.

Luke 23:26, 32-49 New International Version (NIV)

The Crucifixion of Jesus

26 As the soldiers led him away, they seized Simon from Cyrene,who was on his way in from the country, and put the cross on him and made him carry it behind Jesus.

32 Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed. 33 When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there, along with the criminals—one on his right, the other on his left. 34 Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”[b] And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.

35 The people stood watching, and the rulers even sneered at him.They said, “He saved others; let him save himself if he is God’s Messiah, the Chosen One.”

36 The soldiers also came up and mocked him. They offered him wine vinegar 37 and said, “If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself.”

38 There was a written notice above him, which read: this is the king of the jews.

39 One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!”

40 But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? 41 We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.”

42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.[c]

43 Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

The Death of Jesus

44 It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon, 45 for the sun stopped shining. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. 46 Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.”[d] When he had said this, he breathed his last.

47 The centurion, seeing what had happened, praised God and said, “Surely this was a righteous man.” 48 When all the people who had gathered to witness this sight saw what took place, they beat their breasts and went away. 49 But all those who knew him, including the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things.

 

Apologize, Forgive, Forget


Sunday was a great learning day for me. The sermon was about the reconciliation of the biblical twin brothers, Jacob and Esau, who had been estranged for twenty years due to Jacob sneakily stealing Esau’s birthright from their father, Isaac, and Esau threatening to kill his brother because of it.

Jacob eventually decided to seek out his twin and make amends; not to just offer his apologies but to see him face to face even though the prospective meeting weighed heavily on him. Here is what the pastor said: “Communication can happen in a lot of different ways, but relationships happen face-to-face.” Isn’t that a heart stirring statement? Just think about it…the awesomeness of a face-to-face reconciliation after months or years of estrangement.

Here is another statement from the sermon that stood out for me: “If there are issues within our families, with people at school or work, or even here within the Church, the path to reconciliation is one that, first, has to bring us face-to-face with God.  Face-to-face.  With all the exposure, and vulnerability, and demand for authenticity that implies. The simple fact is that you’ll never know peace around you until you experience peace inside you.  And you’ll never experience peace inside you until you make peace with God.”

And this comment was the frosting on the cake: “Those who apologize are the bravest, those who forgive are the strongest, those who forget are the happiest.”

How wonderful to be just sitting still, peacefully listening, and have life lessons like this fall into my lap.

Apologize, forgive, forget. Amen.

 

 

 

 

Getting Along With Others


“Mine your own material” was assignment sixteen from #everydayinspiration. Well, I spent quite a few hours doing some mining and came up with the following, due to so much unrest in today’s world. It’s material from a past post which I’ve edited for this one…words of wisdom from various sources for peaceful living.

If someone hurts you repeatedly, you are commanded by God to forgive them instantly, but you are not expected to trust them immediately, and you are not expected to continue allowing them to hurt you…The Purpose Driven Life – page 143.

Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments because you know they produce quarrels…be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful…2 Timothy 2:23, 24

Thoughtless words can leave lasting wounds. God did not put us on earth to hurt people’s feelings. (Source unknown)

I am resolved in all human contact to meet petulance with patience, questionings with kindness, hatred with love, eager always to do the kindly deed that brings the joy of service and that alone makes human life truly human…Ralph Waldo Trine, In Tune with the Infinite.

Love your enemies for they tell you your faults….Benjamin Franklin.

…Encourage each other daily….Hebrews 3:13.

Compassion is to share with another whatever it is that circumstances are bringing to bear on that other. It means to be with, to share, to overlap, no matter how difficult or painful it may be…Madeleine L’Engle, Author…A Wrinkle in Time among other books.

Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as you ever can…John Wesley.

Let everyone you meet be happier for having met you, for having spoken to you. This you can do by spreading joy….Edgar Cayce.

…Never hold grudges…Forgive the person who offends you…Col. 3:1

…Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Philippi9ans 2:3,4.

If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all people…Romans 12:18

How people treat you is their karma; how you react is yours. Dr. Wayne W. Dyer

When the choice is to be right or to be kind, always make the choice that brings peace. Dr. Wayne W. Dyer

Don’t walk in front of me, I may not follow…Don’t walk behind me, I may not lead…Just walk beside me and be my friend…Albert Camus, French Novelist 1913-1960

Our world right now is in much need of getting along with others, and we all need to do our part, however small it may be, however infinitesimal, be it ours to do by all the means we can as John Wesley so wisely said.

 

 

 

 

Am I a Terrible Person?


“God Forgive Me” is the fifth prayer in Anthony DeStefano’s book Ten Prayers God Always Says Yes To. Here is today’s excerpt from the chapter, Am I A Terrible Person?:

Finally, as most people know, there is a famous line from the “Our Father” that says: “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” What that means, essentially, is that God is going to be merciful to us in the same measure that we are merciful to others. This is God’s quid pro quo of forgiveness, and its importance should never be underestimated. We are required to forgive others, not just once in a while, not just when we feel like it, but all the time. And if we don’t, we are going to have the same strict standard of judgment applied to us. Thus, if you are a very hard, callous type of individual who holds grudges and harbors all kinds of animosities against people who have offended you, you may have a lot to worry about on Judgment Day. But, on the other hand, if you are one of those weak individuals who is constantly falling into the same sinful behavior but are also merciful and forgiving to others, then, as Jesus said, your heavenly father will treat you in exactly the same way.

Am I a terrible person? When I look back on my life and all the wrongs I committed along the way, it is certainly easy to believe I was, if not a terrible person, at least not a very nice one at times. My biggest hurdle was unforgiveness after the breakdown of my marriage. It was Matthew 18:22 where Jesus told Peter he had to forgive seventy times seven that redeemed me. I asked God to help me forgive seventy times seven and that prayer was answered…not in an instant but relatively quickly.

Tomorrow: This Stress is Killing Me!…Lord, Give Me Peace

Unlikely Interview


I found this on the Internet on August 31, 2001 and liked it so much, added it to my collection of quotes, prayers, poems and special writings. This seems like a good time and place to share it.

I dreamed that I had an interview with God. “So, you would like to interview me?” God asked. “If you have the time” I said. God smiled. “My time is eternity…what questions do you have in mind for me?”

“What surprises you the most about human kind?” God answered “That they get bored with childhood, they rush to grow up and then long to be children again. That they lose their health to make money and then use their money to restore their health. That by thinking about the future they forget the present thus live in neither present nor future. That they live as though they will never die as though they never lived.”

God’s hand took mine and we were silent for awhile and then I asked, “As a parent what are some of life’s lessons you want your children to learn?”

“To learn they cannot make anyone love them, all they can do is let themselves be loved. To learn that it is not good to compare themselves to others. To learn to forgive by practicing forgiveness. To learn it only takes a few seconds to open up profound wounds in those we love and takes a few years to heal them. To learn that a rich person is not one who has the most, but is one who needs the least. To learn there are people who love them dearly but simply do not yet know how to show their feelings. To learn that two people can look at the same thing and see it differently. To learn that it is not enough that they forgive one another but they must also forgive themselves.

“Thank you for your time” I said “Is there anything else you want your child to know?”

God smiled and said “Just know that I am here….always.”

What would you like to ask God?

 

 

 

Seventy Times Seven


Today I am going to post a full chapter from my now published book, My Precious Life.  It can be found at Amazon.com, Amazon.Ca, Westbow Press, and many other online book stores. As well, copies will be available through me for residents of Ontario, and some other provinces. And now, Seventy Times Seven:

A Lesson in Forgiveness

The anger I carried inside was making me sick. It felt like a grapefruit-size growth taking up precious space in my body, threatening to annihilate me, and it was directed at my husband. We had recently separated, and it was not amicable. Bill’s verbal abusiveness and alcohol dependence had taken its toll on our twenty-one year marriage.

One day, my sister came to visit. She knew about the separation, but did not know the details. I had shared these with no one. Eyeing me over the rim of her coffee cup, Mary bluntly said, “Patsy, you look very unhappy.” Astute observation, I thought. Suddenly, I was spilling over with words of rage, anger, hate and hurt; all the emotions that made up that grapefruit inside me.

“I hate him so much it’s making me sick,” I told her.

“Have you prayed about it?” Mary asked.

“No,” I admitted, “I haven’t.”

It was food for thought, and I chewed on it for several days before finally crying out to God, “Please help me to stop hating him!” But the feeling was still there. I prayed to be released from the agony of negative emotions my life had become. You need to go to church. It was a pop-up thought out of the blue. I remembered the quaint little church one of our daughters had been married in. It reminded me of a small country church from my childhood.

One Sunday morning found me sitting in a sun-bathed pew, listening to a sermon on a part of The Lord’s Prayer; a prayer I had memorized since my high-school days.

Give us this day our daily bread, was this week’s message. The pastor had been giving a series of sermons on this popular prayer, and I wished I had heard the previous messages. It was comforting being in the hushed sanctuary, hearing the sermon, and listening to hymns and prayers, but when I left, my grapefruit was still with me. The following Sunday, the sermon was on forgiveness.

“Holding hatred and anger towards others can make us sick,” Rev. MacNeill said. “We have to learn to forgive.”

He quoted a scripture in which Jesus told his disciple, Peter, he must forgive, not only seven times, but seventy times seven. I left the church with those words reeling around in my head. My new prayer was, God, please help me to forgive, seventy times seven. It didn’t happen overnight, but gradually the hate began to dissolve, and the grapefruit with it.

I continued going to church, and found solace there week after week. The love I had allowed to be smothered began to resurface, and life became liveable again. One day, Bill phoned to rant and rave about something real, or imagined, as was his custom. I stayed silent until the tirade was over.

“Pat, are you there?” he yelled.

“I am,” I said, “and I love you.”

Where did those words come from? His incredulous, “What?” prompted my next words.

“I love you, Bill, but not in a romantic way. I love you seventy times seven.”

I had found that forgiveness and love went hand in hand.

Thereafter, communication was more reasonable, and in the end we became friends, and remained so until his dying day many years later.

“Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy times seven.” (Matthew 18:21,22)