Posted in spiritual/religious

It’s Easter Sunday

God is here! As we your people
Meet to offer praise and prayer,
May we find in fuller measure
What it is in Christ we share.
Here, as in the world around us,
All our varied skills and arts
Wait the coming of the Spirit
Into open minds and hearts.

Here are symbols to remind us
Of our lifelong need of grace:
Here are table, font, and pulpit;
Here the cross has central place.
Here in honesty of preaching,
Here in silence, as in speech,
Here, in newness and renewal,
God the Spirit comes to each.

Here our children find a welcome
In the Shepherd’s flock and fold;
Here as bread and wine are taken,
Christ sustains us as of old.
Here the servants of the Servant
Seek in worship to explore
What it means in daily living
To believe and to adore.

Lord of all, of church and kingdom,
In an age of change and doubt
Keep us faithful to the gospel;
Help us work you purpose out.
Here, in this day’s dedication,
All we have to give, receive:
We, who cannot live without you,
We adore you, we believe!
– Fred Pratt Green 1979, rev. 1988

Posted in self-improvement, spiritual/religious

What Makes You Happy?

In 1978, I answered the question, what makes me happy with the following:

  • Traveling
  • Innocence
  • Truthfulness
  • Feeling needed and special
  • Contributing to planet earth
  • Learning
  • Beach time
  • Hotels (not motels)
  • Great music
  • Friends and family

 Almost 40 years later, I found this list while going through old papers. Looking at this list again and cannot think of anything else to add to it.  What about you? What makes you happy? Has it changed or been added to over the years? Do you have any lists from the past that have stayed constant over the years?

While I believe that people do change and improve continually, I also believe there are core strengths and attributes that are constant within us. What about you? What are your core desires?

Posted in spiritual/religious

My Secret Identity

 As you search from goal to goal, what do you feel? Do you feel the moment’s satisfaction of completing the goal, or obtaining the object – the car, the house, the vacation – then followed by the ‘what’s next?’ feeling? It seems we are never completely satisfied with what we do, what we have, and who we are.  In Hebrews this is listed as, ‘longing for a better country.’

 “All the things that have ever deeply possessed your soul have been but hints of it – tantalizing glimpses, promises never quite fulfilled, echoes that died away just as they caught your ear. It is a secret signature of each soul that is incommunicable.”

Part of my journey has been an appetite toward self-discovery. I am always excited when I can peel away another layer and discover another part of myself. But then, I start digging again to see what else is there. As an avid reader, I do a lot of my digging via reading books and articles of interest. The areas of interest are vast but can be explained by C. S. Lewis.

“Have you noticed that the books you really love are bound together by a secret thread? You know very well what is the common quality that makes you love them, though you cannot put it into words: but most of your friends do not see it at all, and often wonder why liking this you should also like that.”

For me, the yearning to learn more about my identity continues. Based on what is written in Revelations, it will probably continue. Revelations 2:17 states, “God will give us a white stone with your new name written on it – known only to you and Him.” So, based on this, only in heaven (our identity’s birthplace) will I find out who I really am. It will be revealed with my new name, the name only God and I will know. Until then, I will continue my journey and rest along the way after each discovery. And to finish with C S Lewis: “If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.”

 

Cite: A Better Country: Preparing for Heaven by Dan Schaefer

Posted in spiritual/religious

Home

home2

  • Home
  • The place where I belong.
  • The place where I am known.
  • The place I want to return to over and over.

Home
Family, friends, buildings, rooms, familiarity, love, belonging, security, roots, and memories.

Home
A place of retreat, comfort, and security, where we enjoy special relationships with family. Fond memories, sights, sounds, and smells remind us we are home, and when we are away from it, make us want to long to return.

Home
Includes certain experiences that can’t be repeated. Relationships with our family change over time. We change over time. We change emotionally, physically, intellectually, and in many other ways, so it is impossible to recapture those treasured experiences of the past that we think of when we think of home. All we are left with are faded memories.

If we think about it, our dearest memories of home are nothing more than snapshots, precious memories, and moments captured briefly before the tide of time washes all evidence of them away. We try to preserve our ideas of home with pictures of people and events, but even they fade with time as those who were truly moved by them pass away.

What do you think of when you think of home? Do you think of your childhood home? Your now home? Your forever home?  Your idealized home?

  • Think of stepping on shore
  • And finding it heaven
  • Of taking hold of a hand
  • And finding it God’s
  • Of breathing a new air
  • And finding it celestial air
  • Of feeling invigorated
  • And finding it immortality
  • Of passing from a storm of stress
  • To a perfect calm
  •  Of walking in
  • And finding it home.

Cite: A Better Country: Preparing for Heaven by Dan Schaefer

Posted in spiritual/religious

Heavenly Thinking, Eternal Living

gods-love

In my childhood, there were lots of conversations about heaven. There were discussions about heaven as a city with streets paved in gold. There were discussions about heaven as a country with trees, shrubs, waterfalls, fountains, and flowers. There were discussions about the location of the third heaven: above the atmospheric heaven (the sky), and above the celestial heaven (home of the sun, the moon, the stars, the planets, and the galaxies). There were discussions with some who believed that the more a person suffered in their earthly life, the more they would be rewarded in their eternal (heavenly) life. There was a song that stated I don’t need a mansion; I just need a little cabin in the corner of glory land, which inferred that there were different sized rewards in heaven thus creating competition between some of the church members. “I’ll be happy with just a cabin.” “Oh no, with all you do, you’ll surely get a mansion.” “Oh no, no, but you’ll surely get a mansion.” And so it went.

As an adult, I’ve had other discussions. One believes (as does the author cited below) that when you take your last earthly breath, you’ll also take your first eternal breath. This seems to go along with a Henry Van Dyke poem from years ago:

I am standing upon the seashore. A ship, at my side,
spreads her white sails to the moving breeze and starts
for the blue ocean. She is an object of beauty and strength.
I stand and watch her until, at length, she hangs like a speck
of white cloud just where the sea and sky come to mingle with each other.
Then, someone at my side says, “There, she is gone”

Gone where?
Gone from my sight. That is all. She is just as large in mast,
hull and spar as she was when she left my side.
And, she is just as able to bear her load of living freight to her destined port.
Her diminished size is in me — not in her.
And, just at the moment when someone says, “There, she is gone,”
there are other eyes watching her coming, and other voices
ready to take up the glad shout, “Here she comes!”
And that is dying…

Another discussion is we are already eternal beings. When the earthly body gives out, the spiritual being goes on. There is no delay, no waiting. There is a quote that states, “To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord,” which goes along with the quote when Jesus said to one of the thieves on the cross, “Today, you will be with me in paradise.” There is also a quote that God lives within us and that we are the temple of God. So if God lives within us, aren’t we already present with Him?

And if we are already present with Him, aren’t we already eternal beings? And more importantly, if we are already eternal beings with God living in us, then aren’t our daily actions already our eternal actions? And if our daily actions are already eternal actions, how are we doing? How are our actions stacking up? Are they eternal worthy? Are they heaven worthy? If not, should they be?

 

Cite: A Better Country: Preparing for Heaven by Dan Schaefer

Cite: https://allpoetry.com/I-Am-Standing-Upon-The-Seashore

Posted in self-improvement, spiritual/religious

Here I Am

here

Hope: Where do you go to find hope? Can you be hopeful and doubt? Can you be hopeful in times of change? How? Say, here I am. Here I am. I am here. While here, I will hope and will not doubt. Here I am. I am here and will stay despite the change. Here I am. It doesn’t matter what I’m going through, it matters what I’m becoming.

Strength: How strong are you feeling right now? How is your mental toughness? Your inner resolve? Your confidence? Your peace? Adversity happens to everyone. No one escapes it. Everyone gets weary and discouraged. Adversity is not to be avoided. It is to go through. How? Say, here I am. Here I am. When I’m weary and feel I cannot go another step, here I am. When I feel crushed by life, here I am. With all my inner strength, all my toughness, all my confidence, here I am.

Courage:  Courage is the quality of mind and spirit that enables a person to face danger, difficulty, and pain without fear. Courage is the motivation to do what needs to be done, whether it’s overcoming adversity or taking on a challenging task. Success is the outcome of courage. How? Say, here I am. Here I am. In the middle of financial crisis, in medical crisis, in relationship crisis, here I am. I may be troubled, but here I am. Here I am without fear. Here I am despite the pain.

Integrity: Integrity is the inner quality of your heart. Integrity shapes your character. Integrity is having your actions match up with your promises. A breach of integrity in one area of your life soon spills over into other areas of your life. Integrity is wholeness of spirit. Integrity is complete honesty, being honest in all the areas of your life. A person of integrity is an unbroken person. How to become this person? Say, here I am. Here I am. I am here. I am whole. I am honest in all my actions and words. I will not ‘fudge’. I will not give false witness, false impressions, or alternate facts. Here I am.

Perseverance:  Winston Churchill reminded us all in 1941 – Never Give In. Perseverance is enduring to overcome. Perseverance is continuing when you are weary, and when you cannot see the finish line. Perseverance is pushing toward the goal. Perseverance is endurance with confidence. Perseverance is believing what you are looking for to happen will happen. Perseverance is the heart of hope. How? Say, I will not complain or blame. Say, here I am. Here I am. I am here.

Cite: Hope: Comfort and Encouragement by Bruce Bickel and Stan Jantz

 

Posted in self-improvement, spiritual/religious

Labels Are Lazy


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We are a country divided. There is no doubt about it. However, we do not have to be a hateful country.

After the election, I tried to post issues, mostly about bills that were being submitted to the U. S. Congress. Silly me, I really thought my Facebook family and friends and I could have a discussion of issues. I knew that some of us disagreed about some of the issues, but I know these people personally. I know them to be intelligent people. Still, within two comments of any posting, the labels began. Once the labels were tossed down like gauntlets, there was no turning back to thoughtful discussions. I tried this for a couple of weeks and then I gave up. I accepted the loss, that people I thought of as friends and I could not have a civil conversation about the issues coming out of Washington, D.C. and around our country.

I am saddened by the labels because how can I understand people who think and vote differently from me if we cannot talk together about why I think the way I do and why others think the way they do? What is it that makes us throw labels around at people instead of saying…wait…why does this upset you? What other options do you see? Why do we so easily go to the basest of our natures instead of being the adults we are?

Throughout the decades it has been proven that labeling, also known as name calling, is no way to get along with others or to reach understanding. Ns, Js, Cs, Ms, Os,  Ps, … none of these labels got us closer to unifying ourselves and our country. When I use a label, I make you less than human. Thus, I can discount you and be above you. Why then, are intelligent people tossing out labels so easily again now? Why are we being lazy? Why are we allowing the rebel-rousers to poke at us and get reactions so easily?

We have fundamental differences in this country. And I believe we are at a true point to decide how our country will go. While it is true we are on different sides of the arguments, and our opinions are 180 degrees apart, we must decide how we go forward. Are we going to try to win at all costs, meaning that our friends, family members, and neighbors are losers? Are we going to take a flame thrower to everything, or are we going to put the labels aside and learn how to talk to each other?  The choice is yours. Choose wisely.