Mixed Emotions, Ashes and Dust

This is a post of many mixed emotions and possibly a thought just for the black hole of the universe with each person having their own opinion with most of us have a leaning one way or the other. I took a walk the other day for quiet reflective thinking and left being sad and upset. Why was this not fixed? How can this remain this way? Does no one care?

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You can tell by the tree its been this way for a while

 

Life is a cycle, I think everyone agrees with that. Babies are born, become young children, grow into crazy teen, then young adults, and so on until we die. We as living beings don’t like talking about death as it seems a scary thing. But in reality, its just a part of life. We don’t know what to expect so we fear it, or we lean on our faith with hope and strength. My faith tells me that with my very last breath, I die. Only to take my next breath with Jesus. It is that fast.

Scripture tells us that when God made Adam, he was made from the dust of the earth. Gen 2:7, the Lord formed man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and man became a living being. Gen 3:19, tells us that from dust we came and into dust we will go.  In my opinion of  how I understand the scriptures, and my knowledge is small, I think people get concerned about not having a body to rise from the grave. Ezekiel 37, in  speaking about the valley of dry bones and how God will give them knew life to be with him. 37:12 says ‘I will open the graves and bring you up’.           I Thessalonians 16 tells us that at Jesus’ second coming, the dead will rise first from the grave and join Jesus in the air.   But I think what people forget is at that split moment in time, we will receive new bodies, the earthly body is no longer useful. So it doesn’t matter if its dust, ashes, from the ground, from the ocean, wherever the remains are lying, they will be raised to new life in Christ.

Now that the philosophical and Christian avenue has been spoken, lets go back to the original shock of mixed feelings for cemeteries. When you think of all cemeteries over the centuries that are no longer in existence, yet the graves are still in the ground, then the pictures I took may make it more understandable. It still makes me very sad of the apparent apathy as this is a final resting place. I, myself, am choosing cremation as my family is scattered and in 200 years, who will care. Some of these tombstones are  over 200 years old now and only because perpetual care of the grounds is done does it seem mostly cared for. You could tell they just mowed around fallen head pieces. So sad.

This is all the more reason I push in all of my post for the show of kindness to all living creatures while we are still on this side of the dirt. Once we are in heaven, we are in the middle of all the love of Christ but can not get it that kindness back down to earth where it is so badly needed. So remember to always be kind.

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Recharging

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There are times when our supplies are low and we need to build them back up and recharge our efforts. This week has been one of those weeks for me but due to the massive heat wave we are having, which is not normal for this area, the outdoor activities for today have been canceled allowing me to recharge.

This morning’s devotion was very much a recharge for me and I thought I would share. I am a firm believer in sharing the riches I pull from my devotions as much as I also enjoy other’s teachings on things they obtain from their studies. I think it is a way we can build each other up in His love.

Sarah Young’s book Jesus Calling for July 18 made a statement from Hebrews 11 talking about faith as being something we believe in that we can not see. While that is true as the stories and truths of the bible happened thousands of years ago, we still believe in them happening, the truths that they teach us and how we can apply those truths to situations we face today.

But understanding those truths, as much as I am able, (because each time I read them I get a different perspective)  when I see the beauty and ugliness of life, it only strengthens those truths.

The beauty we see helps bring us hope when ugliness happens. Here are today’s scripture readings to remind you that he did it all for us – Acts 17:24-28 NIV

The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else. From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so men would seek him and perhaps reach out to him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. For in  him we live and move and have our being.

I pray that today as we come together in reading each other’s blogs, that we also share in each other’s love and happiness and may you also share in the peace, love and grace offered daily to you by God above. And if you can, share that love and kindness with others so that the ever growing ripples of love never stop.

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Trust, Obey and Enjoy

My  morning devotion spoke to me today and so I am sharing my thoughts with you. When God was first laying down the foundational rules in Exodus, he told the people he was a jealous God and to worship no other God’s but him.

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In today’s world, we often sugar coat the gentleness and kindness of God and forget his powerful being – the ultimate rule maker, the mighty Father. We don’t want to believe he will ever punish us, we don’t want him being something we fear because fear is a negative aspect. God is never negative, right? Do you read the same old testament that I read? How many people were killed by the command of God. Why would you worship a being that does that? Be cause he loves me! And people forget that and lose his love.

When Joshua first invaded Canaan, the first town on agenda for God was Jericho. Jericho, who many many generations ago, forgot who God was now going to be punished for forgetting. So God tells the people to walk around the walled city and then come back to camp. The people – the entire nation of Israel – just walking around the massively walled city. So let’s think about that a minute. You are an Israelite, and God says you will conquer the land. How is walking around the city conquering the land. I am sure there were some in that group that were think, “what? is this how we are conquering?” And I am sure the people of Jericho, who were originally shaking in their boots with fear hearing all the stories of the Red Sea parting and the destruction of the Egyptian army, were wondering “what is this, why are we scared of this?” Evidently none of them knew the song called Trust and Obey.

Then on the 7th day, the walls miraculously just fell down. Walls that had been standing as a fortress for hundreds of year…just fell. And all the people of Jericho, all the people, were killed. Trust and Obey, for there is no other way….

In Sarah Young’s devotional  Jesus Calling for July 11, she reminded us that today’s false gods are out of the realm of religion. Those of us who are practicing the Christian religion have a tendency to get complacent, especially here in the US. And sometimes that complacency can turn us to worshiping other things than God. Oh, it was not our intention and there may not be a physical thing we have set up in our home we bow down to, but any thing that gets in the way of our worship of God can easily become an idle; our jobs, more money, and a big one is our TIME.

24 hours in a day x 7 days = 168 hours, 168 hours in a week x 52 weeks = 8736 hours, 52 Sundays x 1 hour = 52 hours. Not sure 52 hours out of 8736 hours show a good representation of loving our God. How many hours do you spend with your friends doing fun stuff. If you spend an average of 5 hours a week doing fun stuff that is 260 hours, you see where I am going here. God does not want you to not enjoy going and doing fun  stuff. He created a lot of fun stuff for you to do. He just wants to go with you. He wants to be part of your everyday, to share your highs, not just coming when the moments are low.

So as you go about your day, everyday, ask Him to come along smile with him at the funny ‘coincidences’ that seem to happen and realize – “I know that was You God.” And as you smile with him, remember to be kind like him.

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Attitude of Hope and Love

There is so much sadness in this word today. So many broken promises, so many hurts both physically and mentally but I cling desperately to the spiritual truth of God’s love for me and all of mankind and of course for His creation with all its components. He said after creating the world at the beginning that it was good.

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And it was meant for good but alas, it failed due to the weakness of man and the trickery of the evil one. It failed due to the misunderstanding and distrust of man of God. It failed because man forgot the first love. Not our first love that we remember but we have forgotten that HE loved us first.

So many have become so complacent with the world that God is no longer even in their picture.  Then they question those of us who still hang on to God’s hand and His love for us asking “WHY??”. My answer to them is…

I would rather live my life fully believing in a God that loves me, will take care of me, will guide me in all ways but when I go to die, only to realize the belief I encourage myself and others of the joy and peace we felt through our entire lives was only our imagination and none of our beliefs were true and once you are dead its over…..   Than to live my life not thinking anything about a God that loves me, throwing all of my life and cares to the wind and doing everything that pleased only me, never thinking of the harm or discord I brought to anyone or anything else, then to die and realize in horror that I was wrong. There was in fact a loving God who loved me and cared for me and now…it is too late for me and I am lost forever.

That would be the saddest scenario that I can imagine. May we all strive to believe that there is a just, loving and compassionate God who left us an instruction book called the Bible to guide us in any way that we need, to help us face our toughest day, and to show us how to feel the joy of His peace that he offers us through His grace to all of His creation and that He does dearly love us.

And may we remember to reflect His love by showing the kindness He so heavily graces us with so that we in turn we can give it to those who have forgotten His ways and maybe bring them a smile and a hope of His love for them.

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The Warm Fuzzies

Jut got home good from church so I am still feeling the warm fuzzies. That doesn’t always happen but today Pastor Rob really struck home on some key things for me as a Christian. No, he did not preach on warm fuzzies but on the power of prayer. We are all familiar with the golden rule, some may not realize it is biblical because it expresses something we all want, to be treated fairly. John 6:31 – Do to others as you would have them  do to you. 

I found this picture of a explanation by Michael Josephson sometime ago that to me sheds a different light on that rule and I liked it.

Golden Rule
Its About WHO WE ARE, not who they are!

John 6: 27-36 goes into other details of why we treat all people with kindness, even people who may mistreat us, as kindness is an expression of God’s love. It is easy to love those who love us but infinitely hard to love those who are mean to us just because they can be.

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But we are to be reflections of God Most High and He is…Love. He is Kind to the unkind. Verse 36 tells us – Be merciful, just as you Father is merciful. And if you just can not do that face to face because you know the rebuttal you will invoke, then pray for them. Always pray.

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The benefits of peace you will receive from the prayers you make or the kindness you give will never be removed from you.

One of the songs we sang today was When Peace Like A River. It is such a wonderful visual image of His love continually flowing over us like a river, soaking us with His peace. The warm fuzzies of peace.  And like the last song that we sang, Better Than Life, its closing line says Your loving kindness is better than life!

So I encourage you today to come join me in the warm fuzzies and remember even in the meanness that you sometimes come upon, always try to be kind. Sometimes when we are nice to meanness, it stops it in its tracks as it tries to understanding why you were kind…and maybe it will begin to change.

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Precious Time

In the mornings I read from Sarah Young’s devotional Calling Jesus. It really spoke to me this morning as I know today’s labors are going to be intense as I work to clean the damages of these intense spring rains in my flooded basement. It reminds you to turn your focus to Him first before dealing with the demands of the day. “Bring Him the sacrifice of your time. This creates a sacred space around you permeated with His Presence and Peace.” Jesus Calling, May 30

The Psalms also have many uplifting verses to help with you when you think no strength is left.

Those who trust in the LORD are like Mount Zion, which can not be shaken but endures forever. Psalm 125:1

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path. Psalm 119:105

Your faithfulness continues through all generations; you established the earth and it endures. Psalm 119:90

For great is your love, higher than the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the sky. Psalm 108:4

So even when life seems to be drowning you, remember His hand is always reaching down to you, so reach up and grab it.

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In my reading this morning I also read a verse that goes along with how I always close…

And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased. Hebrews 13:16. 

Some many think only of sharing physical items but sharing of your time when others are in a desperate need is critical. A simple smile and gentle hug can share the warmth of Christ to provide endurance to finish a hard task. So remember to share of you, which shares of Him, and be always be kind.

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The Strongest Little Word

My task, which I am trying to achieve is, by the power of the written word, to make you hear, to make you feel–it is, before all, to make you see.”
― Joseph Conrad, Lord Jim

How profound is the written word when by the mere use of it you can empower an individual to achieve wondrous things but in the same manner it can also destroy beyond any hope of ever rebuilding. In scripture, James chapter 3 reminds us that while the tongue is small, its small spark can create a great forest fire. Words have impact, good and bad. But then there are also words that I call transitional words, as in cause and effect words. One of these such words is one of the tiniest words in the English language and has immense impact regardless of which side of the fence it falls on. It is even used in mathematical equations.

And that word is “IF”. Examples: If the rain would fully stop and the sun would shine, the flood waters would abate faster. See, caused / effect. Or how about, if I would not eat that piece of chocolate mousse pie, it would help me lose the 10 pounds needed to fit in those jeans. Algebra uses if, excel uses if, people use if and God uses if. There is even a song called If.

But I come with one of my favorite verses in all scripture that resonates the power of the word “if”. Such a simple word, with a simple request, creating …power and peace.

II Chronicles 7:14 – if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

Cause / effect:  if…will humble, pray, seek and turn…then I will forgive and heal. Little tiny word, very powerful use.

The first hurdle to jump over – being humble. We live in a world where being humble is a negative concept without understanding the power in being humble. Next you have pray. Do we really understand the power in prayer and do we use it for even the small stuff therefore not using it much at all. Then there is seeking God, oh that’s heavy. The Israelites were terrified of him and knew that if you were to fully look on his face you would die. Then there is turn from you sin. That’s a hard one and while 95% of us have never done anything worthy of jail time, we still sin. But if we would, he would. Little tiny word, great big impact.

So I remind you today of God’s ever growing desire of love toward you and how easy and hard it is to ask for that love as it is given freely. If you ask Him, he will reach out and pull you close.

First day

Try to you will keep the word if in your day to days doings. You would be surprised of the impact it would have. If your outgo is sour, you will reap sorrow. If your outgo is gentle, you will reap goodness. So I remind you to drop your if moments in kindness and let the effects spread out in gentle ripples wherever you go.

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Kind words are a creative force, a power that concurs in the building up of all that is good, and energy that shows blessings upon the world.  Lawrence G. Lovasik