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Pieces of Grace

Grace is the foundation of our faith and daily strength.  What then, does it mean to “live in grace”?

For me, it is to be like-minded with Christ, to want what He wants for me, not the other way around.  It’s so easy for us to let time slip, days pass without opening our Bible, reading something encouraging, sharing with our Heavenly Father, the hopes and fears we have.  Something draws us back, and I believe it the work of the Holy Spirit.  Perhaps you’ve gone stagnant, still a believer, grounded in your faith, attending church regularly and bible study, but maybe your light has disappeared. That “still small voice” that guides our comings and goings.  That voice that is your Father

It’s easy to get back in touch, whether your distance has been a few weeks, or perhaps many years.  Jesus is always here for us.  He wants to reconnect, no matter how long its been.  He nudges softly, reminding us that He never left, it was us who stepped further and further away.

Your conversation doesn’t have to be complicated.  Ask God for what you need, be mindful that you are the presence of the Holiest One.  And He wants you back in the fold.  He has missed you.  Let Him provide the grace necessary to live in His word.

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Amazing Grace

Have you ever noticed when a phrase or word pops into your mind one day and stays for “awhile”?  I’ve had this experience with “Amazing Grace” the past few months.  I have a bracelet, the first line of the song is engraved all the way around.  The song has been played at a recent funeral and I’ve heard the modern version almost every day on the radio Amazing Grace My Chains are Gone

I don’t know what to make of it; except it’s God sending a message about His love, or it’s like when you get a yellow car, having never seen yellow cars on the road, and now you see one every day!  But I think I’ll go with the former!  Our Father has “amazing” timing!

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Hypocrisy

“No Religion” is the third largest religious group following Christians and Muslims.

The “unaffiliated category” covers all those who profess no religion, from atheists and agnostics to people with spiritual beliefs but no link to any established faith.

Hypocrisy is keeping a lot of people away from the Christian church for a myriad of reasons.  I am in no way an expert and due to chemotherapy I have a terrible memory, having memorized scripture as a child, I cannot bring one to memory.  I’m not the person to have a conversation with regarding the history of Christianity, which IS one of the reasons many turn away.

But hypocrisy seems to be a big player in these decisions to not follow a particular faith.

Believing one thing, acting like or saying something different.  Or vice versa.

Part of my spiritual journey was learning whether or  not I could stand on the foundation of my faith.  Did I believe what I felt and said I believed?  It turns out I do, and I do.

Having been through ovarian cancer, a gigantic tumor removed and chemotherapy received; I feel I have been healed by faith.  I love this little sentence so much, I’m having it tattooed on my wrist.

Granted, there are a lot of reasons for not being involved in a church; but my advice to you — is keep going, trying new faiths, churches, go with a friend, etc.  I was baptized and confirmed a Lutheran.  I’m now an Episcopalian with ties to the Catholic church and socialization with my UU’er friends (Unitarian Universalist).

For me, I need to be spiritually fed, believe in my spiritual leaders and advisers, feel I could bring ANY friend of mine to the church and learn more about the magnificence of God!

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Pieces of Humanity

There is a great divide in our country.  I am not hoping to change your mind either way.  I think ultimately we should be making decisions based on the fact that we are human beings, and not brains walking around on bodies.

All human beings deserve to be safe and have their basic needs met.  We demand this of our selves why are we so unwilling to meet the needs of human beings in other countries?

Continue to pray, reaching your arms out to those who are suffering.  Get involved; text and write your congressional representatives.

More Ways to Help

Being “upset” is no longer the only option.

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Pieces of Discord

Our world is a suffering place right now.  Political opinions are causing rifts with friends and family members.  “Their way” is the right way.

It is not a “Christian” thing; it is a PEOPLE thing.  Praying, calling your political leaders, signing petitions, this is how to make change.

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How NOT to make change is belittling or bullying those who think differently or remain silent.

Jesus turned the other cheek on a daily basis, and yet – change came.  Centuries later there is still deep unrest in the Middle East, wars continue to kill people of all ages, terrorist attacks and school shootings are the modern version of strife during the Roman empire.

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Genesis 13:8
So Abram said to Lot, “Please let there be no strife between you and me, and between my herdsmen and your herdsmen; for we are brethren.
Prayer from Gregory Coles, Penn State University
Bring an end to violence and hatred and discord. Steady the feet that rush into war and the finger poised on the trigger. Bring justice to the downtrodden, restoration to the marginalized and abused, hope to the hopeless. Guide all those in positions of power—whether that power is political or physical or social—and give them wisdom to use their power wisely. Give them, and all of us, the grace to admit when we are wrong and to seek forgiveness. Give us the grace to forgive.
Help us see your face in the faces of the people around us. Give us courage to love one another even when love seems like a risk. Give us compassion for those who are unlike us. Teach us to listen to those we disagree with, to hear stories that make us uncomfortable. Heal the hatred in the world around us by healing our own hearts first.
Give us peace by making us agents of peace.

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The Greatest Love

1 Corinthians 13:13
And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
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The journey of cancer has made me very reflective.  I am free, healing, solemn and a garden-variety-of-words that face me each day.
Prior to cancer I was a “talk radio” person, I rarely listened to music, preferring a jarring conversation about what is wrong with the world today, or what is right (God)!
In the “dark nights of the soul” I found some unbelievably heavy-hearted, beautiful soul cleansing music.  To this day I am still deeply moved by the lyrics.  My favorite is:
Micah 6:8
He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God?
Galatians 2:20
I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.
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Pieces of Opinion

I wonder, back in biblical times if there was a lot of judgement and opinion making of others.  I’d have to believe that people were petty even back then.

We can be one of the most thought provoking, upstanding and prayerful person, yet inside – judge others with our thoughts or even eye rolling.

What we tell ourselves is equally as bad as what we tell others (gossip for example).

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ALWAYS BE KIND

Proverbs 11:13
A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy person keeps a secret.
Colossians 3:12
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.