Pieces of Community

In the past two days I’ve spent a good amount of time with UU’ers (Unitarian Universalists).  I remain a “friend” of this community, as I had been an active participant for four years.

Some Christians would tell you “don’t converse with unsaved folks.” But that NEVER made sense to me.  How are you supposed to share the love of God and the reason for grace if you only ‘hang out’ with like-minded people?

I personally don’t believe the God I believe in put His “Good-Housekeeping” Seal of a Approval on a particular church or religion.

However, I digress, this post is about community, and the importance of belonging; finding your (various types of) people and how the bible encourages it.

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Acts 12:12 …..”gathered together praying…”

Deuteronomy 31:12 “Gather the people together, men, women, children, and your foreigner who is within your towns, so that they may hear and learn…..”

A core belief in the UU church is to “question everything.”  I am not a Lutheran because my parents raised me to be one, in fact – I no longer identify as a Lutheran at all.  I check the box for Christian for medical forms and leave it at that.

But community; is more than a group of people hanging out together, it’s being with people who respect, are concerned about and want you to live your best life (I’m channeling Oprah)!

Is your community healthy?  Are you inspired and encouraged by those in your circle?  Is God at the center?

what does your community look like?  what is it missing?

 

 

Pieces of Loss

There are many variations of loss.  Of life, love, a health diagnosis, home, job, and whatever it is, is the most important thing to you at the time.  No one could possibly understand, even if they can relate – it’s not the same.  Sometimes we don’t want empathy as much as we want someone to listen.  We want someone to put up with our bad days — the days when we feel deeply alone in our grief.

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In time of grief that is so incredibly overwhelming, where do you go for peace? 

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Jeremiah 31:3
The Lord has appeared to him from afar, saying: Indeed, I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.
John 13:34
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.
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Pieces of Broken Chain

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While doing my devotions this morning, I added music to my routine.  Blasted the volume on my laptop and plugged into YouTube and started with Selah, Wonderful Merciful Savior, then one of my favorites by Jesus Culture; “Break Every Chain.”

I was reminded of what keeps me in bondage; bad habits some might say, but I know they are more than that – they keep me separated from God.  Ironically (but not really, right???!!!), my devotion was on placing my trust in the Holy Spirit to guide and nudge me towards a Godly life, instead of living by feelings; which can change in a moment’s notice.

I have been overcome by the presence of God many times.  Music seems to be the vehicle, the lyrics speak to my heart and remind me through repetition (I listen to the same song fifty times, like I did when I was a teenager!) what my  heart longs for, to be closer to God, to live in His grace and to know that I am saved.

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Where Do You Find God?

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I find God on a quiet day, in nature, the sound of wind always reminds me of Jesus.  As if He is whispering to me.  Also in my daily devotions, or wanderings in the bible.

Today “faith” was a dominant word in my day; it came reading Hebrews; all of the people who chose (not just obey) to walk in faith.  Abraham offered up his son (how awful a decision to make), the only thing Sarah ever wanted was a child and Moses, a grown man; preferred to suffer hardships than live within the walls of great wealth.

WHY?

3 John 1:3
It gave me great joy when some believers came and testified about your faithfulness to the truth, telling how you continue to walk in it.
Hebrews 11:6
And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

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On This Day

Facebook has a feature called “On This Day,” it’s a flashback to the past, a year ago, three years ago, 6 years ago.

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And, as only Facebook can do, it picks out the positive during that time frame.

Unfortunately, life can be ugly or hurtful.  And looking back a year, or three is not something most of us want to reflect on.  Why?   We have enough to get through in the day-to-day.  Human beings struggle.  So does a Christian.  We are not immune to heartache or bad memories.

Philippians 4:12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.
Hebrews 11: 39 These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, 40 since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.
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Less feelings, more Jesus.  Less worry, more prayer.  Less heartache, more healing. 

What we gain by giving up

During this Lenten season, some are giving up sugar or Facebook or something else that bogs down their time or life.  Some; instead of giving up, are giving.  They are volunteering or adding more bible study to their routine.  Whatever path you choose, make it prayerful, make it important.  You are in essence, to deny yourself, carry your cross and follow Jesus.

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For me, as a young child, Easter was about decorating hard boiled eggs, shopping for a pretty outfit with new shiny shoes, a basket filled with lots of candy and a plush rabbit, a very touching church service, complete with palms for waving and a big dinner at home after church.

Now, as a ‘grownup’ …. I find that being as mindful as possible about the significance of this time is all I need to draw closer to Jesus.

When it comes right down to it, we are sorrowful for the death of Jesus, celebratory for the resurrection and grateful for the life ever after.

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Pieces of Humility

Oh the irony!!!! While perusing our church’s small library, I was asked if I was looking for a specific subject; I held my breath for a second; hmmm……how best to answer this?  Well, yes, I’m looking for a book on “Humility.”

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Touchy subject, isn’t it?  For some, they may feel “right” or “deserving” of something or someone.  Others might feel that pride is what we’ve been taught at home; “take pride in what you are doing,” etc.

Mother Teresa would say that humility is climbing a ladder.

  1. Do not speak of yourself
  2. Mind your own business
  3. Do not manage the affairs of others
  4. Avoid curiosity
  5. Accept contradictions and corrections cheerfully
  6. Pass over the mistakes of others
  7. Accept insult and injury
  8. To accept being slighted, forgotten and disliked
  9. To be kind and gentle, even under provocation
  10. Do not stand on your dignity
  11. To choose “always the hardest”

Wise and perhaps sorrowful woman at times?  How could she have walked this path that is so foreign to most of us.  She began as a human being-same as us.  She just took the vow to follow Jesus at any cost, as a complete promise.  Complete.

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Is (learning) to become humble, an easier “New Year’s resolution” than dieting or some other life change?  Here’s to those who are willing to share in the experiment with me!