Ramblings

Life, family, business


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Every Single Person Matters and Why Fear is Killing Us

I do believe that this is true, every single person matters, to someone.  Every person is a mother, father, son, daughter, niece, nephew, friend, or loved one.  Every one of us matters to someone.

I see the hatred and racism, I hear it talked about at my store, on the news, and all over Facebook.  People categorize and generalize, and group people into labels.  But each of those people matters.  Every one of us is a child of God, and a child of the Earth, and a child of two other people.  Every one of those lives has a purpose, has a reason.  Each one of those lives has been given a different set of talents, unique to that person, and they should have the opportunity to use them.

I know not all of us are the same religion, but that shouldn’t mean we can’t cooperate and learn together how to make this planet a better world for all of us.  We’re not all the same color, but that shouldn’t make any difference; the color of one’s skin doesn’t make them any better or any less of a person.  WE ALL MATTER!

But the power behind all of this nonsense, is FEAR.  When we fear other people because of their color or their religion, or even their sexual preference, we are the losing team.  God tells us to fear no man.  But we do, we fear all kinds of things, but mostly, we fear anything different than us.  We fear the differences in culture, in language, and in morals.  We fear that someone will try to make us change, and we fear change of any kind.

But the world is changing every minute, every second.  The world changes and we change too, even if we’re afraid.  I am not the person I was 40 years ago, 4 years ago, 4 days ago.  My experiences in life change me every day.  I learn new things everyday, and by learning those things, I am a different person, a wiser person.  I go out of my way to learn about people and their cultures.  I learn about them, their families, their hopes and dreams, and their own fears.

Education is the key to stop FEAR in its tracks.  The more you know about something, the harder it is for you fear it. I have friends and relatives who are gay, transgender, straight, black, brown, yellow, red, white, and even pink. I have friends and relatives who are Atheist,  Christian, Muslim, Pagan, and even a couple who are witches. I don’t fear my friends, I want them to be happy and have joy and fullness in their lives.  I want them to feel love and be loved, just as I want that for myself.  I want them to be accepted for who they are, without feeling any type of oppression or fear from others or for others.

I challenge everyone to learn about the people who scare you.  Before you stereotype a person into a label that you fear, try to meet them, befriend them.  “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you”, as Jesus once said, because once you start praying for them, they are no longer enemies, perhaps only friends you haven’t met yet.  If we all work together, we can make this world, this country, this state, a better place; a place where all lives truly do matter.  A place where we build each other up, look out for each other, and try to help each other understand why there should be no fear here.  We are all brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, and children.  We are all in this world together.  What a beautiful place it could be if we saw each person for who they truly are, if we could see their lives as valuable, just as we value our own.  Each of us has value, each of us has a unique soul, and each of us has a worth.  We just need to open our eyes and see that we are all the same, yet we are all different, and that is why each of us, each single life, matters.

 

 

 


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Everything You Tell Yourself is TRUE!

Everything you tell yourself is true.

You are what you say and think you are.

~be careful little mouth what you say~

You have to believe in yourself.  If you’ve ever been in sports, your coach probably said those words, or told you that you have to believe it to achieve it, or something similar. Many times in life when we face obstacles, we talk ourselves through it, we help ourselves do something by believing we can!  But if the talk in our minds is negative, its not going to help us at all.  Its going to pull us down, because if you believe you are worthless, you’ll become worthless.  If you believe you are overcoming, then you are an over-comer.  As children, we are told many things, some good, some bad.  Stop believing the bad things.  Stop believing the cruel words of others.  Only believe the good, and work toward being better. Try hard to be a better person today, than you were yesterday.  Change only happens when you change what you are saying to yourself!

~be careful little ears what you hear~

But think about this, what if every song lyric you sang or listened to automatically transferred into your life as a true fact.  Would you keep listening to the same music?  The songs you sing in your head; are they going to lift you up? Or bring you down?  Do you listen to sad songs? Or songs about violence and rage?  Those words are who you become.  Do the lyrics of your favorite song talk about how pathetic you are?  How screwed up you are?  Its only going to reinforce these thoughts and keep you stuck in the downward spiral.

It kills me when people who suffer from depression listen to death metal.  Don’t you want to feel better? Listen to happy music, children’s songs, church hymns, anything that’s upbeat.  Don’t reinforce your depression by listening to someone drone on about how miserable they are, or how terrible their life is.  Every genre has this music; Country, Rap, Metal, and Rock.  There are even Classical pieces that resonate doom and despair-don’t listen to them! Pick something that makes you feel good inside.  Find some music that makes you feel happy.  And no, don’t try to tell me you only feel happy when you listen to depressing or angry music, I don’t buy it, please don’t insult my intelligence.  Find some relaxing music; Native American flutes, Buddhist singing bowls, or ocean waves, or something from nature; anything that clears your mind and helps you think in a positive manner.

~be careful little eyes what you see~

Did you know that when you watch a movie, your subconscious brain believes its really happening to you?  There are people who have been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder after watching violence happenings on television.  Some people are more sensitive than others and watching horror movies, or violence, can cause serious repercussions, especially in children. So think about how much stress you are inflicting on your subconscious just by what you watch on the screen! (I’m going to start watching exercise videos!)

~be careful little hands what you do~

Having nothing to do is an invitation to boredom, and that can cause you to feel worthless.  Find a hobby.  Find something for you to do in your spare time.  You’d be better off finding a part time job to make a few extra bucks than just sitting around moping.  It good to have things to do, find some!

Finding peace is possible, if you want to find it.  You have to believe you can, and you need to feel that you are worthy.  Only you can make your life better, and the best way to start is by realizing that everything you tell yourself is true.  The words you say, the music you listen to, the things you give your attention to, are the things that make up your life.  If you want your life to change, you have to change it!  You have to pick a different choice than you have in the past.

“Whether you think you can or you can’t, you’re right.”

“If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.”

“There is no man living who isn’t capable of doing more than he thinks he can do.”

Henry Ford is credited for the quotes above, and he’s right.

YOU CAN DO THIS!!!

 

 

 


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Are You Good Enough?

 

The world is a terrible place, full of lies and deceit.  As a young teenager, I remember looking in the mirror and being OK with who I was.  I needed braces, but other than that, I thought, I was OK.  But then the world chimed in and told me that I wasn’t OK at all.

The world is so miserable, it just can’t stand to see anyone happy.  It wants you to be just as miserable.  It conspires against you, telling you that YOU ARE NOT GOOD ENOUGH.  It wants you to believe that you are not as good as the others.

You are not pretty enough,

Skinny enough,

Smart enough,

Strong enough.

You don’t have the right hair, the right clothes, or the right body.

The world is a bully.  It’s the worst bully of all.  It says bad things to us about ourselves, and SOMETIMES, WE ACTUALLY BELIEVE THEM!!

That’s the worst part of this.  We actually believe the lies the world tells us.  Why?  Why would we put ourselves through this misery?

The TRUTH says that we are exactly the way we were meant to be.  Generations upon generations have blended together to make you exactly who you are today.  Even one variable in those ancestors would have made a completely different person!

You are good enough!!  You are pretty, smart, and strong!  Your physical features have nothing to do with who you are inside.  Your body is just that, its a body.  Its a vessel that we are given to move our brains around in.  You need to take care of this body!  Its the only one you get.  Maybe you’re not happy with it, but don’t envy the one someone else has because you think its better.  For the most part, you can shape yours too, like a potter shapes the clay.  It takes work, but the results can be fabulous if you stick with it!  Maybe you aren’t happy with some aspect of it, perhaps its not the one you would have chosen had you been able to try them on and pick.  But the one you got is the one that was picked for you.  Learn to like it, that one thing will make your life a much happier place!  Feed it well, with nutritious foods.  Nurture it, exercise it.  Perhaps yours is a malfunctioning body, or one who has taken much abuse and now has a few dents and dings in it.  It may be hard to understand why yours isn’t in good working order, but none of us knows why these things happen.  None of us knows what things we will learn in life because of that thing that makes us unique.

Once you have made peace with your body, its time to look into your heart and see who you are.  Who are you?  Not your name, or your title, but who you are on the inside.  Its hard to find, because we’ve accepted so many labels from so many people over the years.  But take away all the things that others have named you, and what do you have left?  Take away the lies you have believed in the past, wipe the slate clean. Who is living in your body?  Who is this person called “I”?  Think about it. Dwell on it.  See if you can find “I”, meet them, ask them questions.  Ask them who they truly are.

I am compassionate, loving, caring, strong, and determined.  I am introverted, intelligent, creative, and empathetic. I am a daughter of God. I am a mother, wife, daughter, friend. I am patient, I am impatient.  I am so many things.  I am also not many of the things the world has labeled me as.  I get to choose who I am. I don’t have to accept any label I don’t want.  If another person chooses to label me, I am not that label. I am not what others think. What the world thinks is not my concern, my concern is what I think.  What I think I am, is who I am.

I’d love to hear about who your “I” is.  What labels have you chosen?

 

 

 

 

 


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Baptism

My sermon from Sunday, January 10th.

What is baptism?  A baby comes to mind, all the family and sponsors dressed up and smiling, as the minister drips a little water on his or her head.  The baby usually cries or fusses a little, we all read a liturgy together, pledging to help raise this child in the family of God.  Some churches baptize people as adults instead, plunging them into a tank of water or submerging them in a river. Either way is fine since we only baptize with water, Jesus baptizes us with the Holy Spirit.

The purpose of baptism is to show the world we are accepting Christ as our Savior.  If we baptize a baby, we are welcoming him or her into the family of God.  Baptism itself is simply a ceremony of identification with the Christian church. But the true meaning of baptism is rebirth, being born again in the presence of Jesus, and accepting His resurrection for the life-changing thing that it is.

I remember awhile back, Pastor Brian Dixon gave a sermon on baptism, and during the sermon, he presented a bowl of river rocks and invited each congregant to come up and take a rock to remind each of us of our baptism.  I took a shiny black rock and listened to the rest of the sermon instructing us to use this rock to remind us of our own baptisms.

I kept that rock in my pocket for months.  Each time I felt the rock, or became aware of its existence, I made to sure thank God for something. I was reminded that God is the rock I build my life upon. God is my foundation, and all things come from Him.  I would thank Him for my family, friends, coworkers, and all the blessings He brings into my life.

“Thank you for this beautiful day, God!” I would think as I felt the rock. Sometimes I would hold it in my hands as I prayed and I would thank God for giving me this rock so that I thought of Him more often.  When life would get chaotic and my brain was thinking of a million things at once, all I had to do was hold the rock and I could stop and thank God for any and all things.  The rock became almost like a security blanket.

Then, one day as I got ready for work, I stopped to grab my rock and my lip balm to put them in my pocket, and the rock was gone.  I looked all over, under the couch, in the bathroom, in the laundry room. Where did I put my rock?  I had to go to work without it.

That night I continued searching for my rock, but it was gone. I questioned my husband and children if they had seen it.  But alas, the rock was nowhere to be found.  I told my wise friend that I had lost my rock, and she said to me, “Maybe its because you don’t need it anymore.”

God gives, and God takes away.  I thought about this for awhile.  Its true, I was thinking about God on a regular basis, and every time I noticed my rock was missing from its place, I would still thank God for something.  My thanking God had become a habit.  But a good habit at that!  I may have not had the physical reminder, but I still remembered to thank God for everything in my life.

I realized that I truly didn’t need the rock to have God in my life.  And I realized that the rock helped me become a better person by helping me to remember that God is with me in all things.  When I feel God in my life every day, I am more at peace. I know that God is in me, and I am in God.  I know that God works all things together for my good.  I trust God to take care of me, and in this trust I have learned to have less fear of the world and the circumstances of life.

God tells us to ask Him for everything we need, and He will provide.  I worry less about the future and take the time to experience the present.  I ask God for wisdom and knowledge when I have a problem, and He gives me what I need.

When I strive to see the world through God’s eyes, its an entirely different place.  I tend to look for the good in people instead of the negative.  I see the beauty of nature which is God’s creation.  I understand that God’s will prevails over humankind, and no matter what I do, God loves me the same.  I know how much I love my children, even when they make mistakes, and to think that God loves us more than we love our children is amazing.   I am one of those children, and so are you.  God loves us no matter what we do.  When we place our trust in our Father, He always takes care of us.  He is the ultimate definition of love.  God promises us all these things when we become His children, and so much more.

So if any of you want to become more aware of God in your life, I invite you to find some thing that makes you think of God.  Think of it as continuing your baptism.

 

 

 


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The Song of Spring

As the sun gains strength and holds its head boldly in the sky,

The sheets of white slowly melt, dripping their nutrients into the soil beneath.

The skeletons of trees form new buds, and tiny fragile shoots sprout forth from the ground.

The beautiful melody of birdsong grows into a glorious choir.

Soft, gentle breezes blow into hurricane force winds,

Bringing the warmth, and blowing away the old,

The dead,

The paper thin husks of last year’s bounty, shriveled into nothing.

Rebirth, the earth renews her fresh bouquet,

Her glamorous green wardrobe that feeds her children.

Such is the entrance of spring-

God’s glorious garden.

We helpers rejoice, wanting nothing more

Than to feel the living soil in our hands.

The seeds that wait patiently under the ground for the sun to shine on them,

And tell them that it’s time,

It’s time to begin anew.

They also rejoice and grow heartily, singing praises to heaven.

The flowers will open, they will bear fruit, and it will be good,

Just as God intended.

For the Earth sings for her Creator, and we are invited

To sing harmony.


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On Being Grateful

Everyday we make the choice to either be happy, or to be something else.  Its easy to be depressed in the world we live in.  There are so many people to compare ourselves to, and so many things others have that we don’t. Too many times, we get lost in our “have-nots” and don’t think about all the things we do have.

Health
Family
Friends
Knowledge

Wealth is nice, and truly I tell you that you are probably a lot wealthier than you believe.  (If you don’t believe that, go visit any third world country.)  But there are so many things that money can’t buy.

You can buy all types of medical procedures, but none of them can truly make you healthy.
You can buy people off with gifts to have friends and family want to be around you, but they will never truly love you just for those material things.
You can buy a college education, but more times than not, it won’t actually make you smart, but it will train you for a better paying job.

God gives us so many great gifts, and love is at the top of that list.  God’s love is what truly makes your heart beat in your chest, and your brain think in your head.  God’s love is contagious, and when it seeps from your pores, it pours out into others.  Do you know anyone who is truly infectious?  Someone you just love to talk to because they always seem happy, and make you feel happy too?  They always have a positive outlook and always seem to lift everyone up?

That’s who we should strive to be, infectious spreaders of God’s love!  It takes some practice, but feeling grateful for everything you have is the first step.  Always think about what you do have, not what you don’t have.  Grateful people tend to get more of the good things, because they rejoice in God’s grace and mercy.

When you focus on good, you receive good.
When you focus on bad, well, most times you receive bad.

God knows what you desire long before you do.  Focus on gratefulness, and let God do the rest.

(This is a repost from my original blog.)


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How To Be Right (Sermon from 2-1-15)

Scripture Reading:  1 Corinthians 8:1-13

Now concerning food offered to idols: we know that “all of us possess knowledge.” This “knowledge” puffs up, but love builds up. If anyone imagines that he knows something, he does not yet know as he ought to know. But if anyone loves God, he is known by God.

Therefore, as to the eating of food offered to idols, we know that “an idol has no real existence,” and that “there is no God but one.” For although there may be so-called gods in heaven or on earth—as indeed there are many “gods” and many “lords”— yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist.

However, not all possess this knowledge. But some, through former association with idols, eat food as really offered to an idol, and their conscience, being weak, is defiled. Food will not commend us to God. We are no worse off if we do not eat, and no better off if we do. But take care that this right of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak. 10 For if anyone sees you who have knowledge eating in an idol’s temple, will he not be encouraged, if his conscience is weak, to eat food offered to idols? 11 And so by your knowledge this weak person is destroyed, the brother for whom Christ died. 12 Thus, sinning against your brothers and wounding their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ. 13 Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble. <Biblegateway.com>

How to be Right

“I will never eat meat again.”  I think this is probably one of those passages of the Bible that we read, then wrinkle our forehead in confusion, and then just dismiss.  Why would Paul say he’s not going to eat meat?  Is it bad to eat meat?  It’s not bad to eat meat.

One of the things I really like, is being right.  I study and read and educate myself, and in an argument, I really like to be right.  I think I can say that most of us feel this way.  Being right feels good, it feels smart, and being wrong feels terrible.

This passage of the Bible tells us that it’s more important to love others, than it is to be right.  Paul is talking about eating meat that has been sacrificed to idols.  This meat is then eaten by the pagans, in expectations of receiving some sort of blessing from their false god.  At the time of this letter to the Corinthians, most of that region was in a famine, there wasn’t much food to go around.  Plus, most of the Christians there were converts to Christianity.  They had been brought up worshipping idols, but had received salvation by accepting Jesus as their savior.  They are now children of God.  Some of them thought it was wrong to eat this meat, and some thought it was ok.  The ones who approve of eating the meat know that only God is God, there is no other god, and therefore this meat has been sacrificed to nothing.  There’s no harm in eating it, because there is no other god.  The ones who disapprove think that eating the meat shows some allegiance to these false gods, these idols.

Paul basically says that its true, you can eat the meat, it doesn’t matter.  But here’s where it gets sticky.  So you, in your knowledge of God, go and eat the meat.  You know its ok because there’s no one else but God, eating the meat has no connections to any idols for you.  But if someone with a weaker faith than you sees you eat the meat, and they are confused and eat the meat too, even though they believe it does have connections to the idol, then you have made them stumble in their faith.  You pulled them into sin because they don’t have a mature faith yet.  They are still learning and still studying.  You know the truth, but they don’t understand it yet.

It says knowledge puffs us up, but love builds us up.  We think we are better than others because we know so much.  In this letter, Paul is saying that its good to have knowledge, but its better to help your fellow Christian follow God than to be legally right and cause them to stumble.  If you have a friend who is a recovering alcoholic, then you shouldn’t drink alcohol when they visit you.  You wouldn’t want to tempt them back into addiction.  There’s nothing wrong with you having a drink, but to be a supportive friend, it’s a good idea to abstain while this friend is with you.  And in this same example, Paul says that if you have a friend who doesn’t want to eat this sacrificed meat, you shouldn’t try to push them into doing it.  They feel that it’s wrong, and so to them, it is.  Legally by God’s laws, you are right.  You can eat whatever you want, but they haven’t gotten there yet, so don’t push them in the wrong direction.

Those of us who do study the Bible to become more knowledgeable are actually in a dangerous position.  We know what God did for us by putting Jesus on the cross.  We know that there is nothing we can do that hasn’t already been forgiven. We know that once we accept God, we can never lose our salvation.  God made us free from sin on that cross.  Jesus took every sin ever committed, and every sin that would ever be committed and he bore that heavy weight on the cross.  He died one time for all sin, and in his sacrifice, made us one with God.  He freed us from the slavery of sin.  He freed us from death.  We have God in us.

But there are those people who don’t understand the amazing thing God did for us. They think that they are bad people, they are sinful people, and they have to work hard to get into heaven. There are people who are following all the Jewish laws trying to be good enough to get into heaven.  There are people who condemn others who are different from them, trying to make others follow these laws as well.   I know that there is nothing I can do that will make God love me any more than He already does.  I can’t win His affection by being good because I already have it.  Once Jesus died for our sin, He took all that away, and made us new creations in Himself.  He won’t ever stop loving you, and once you give Him your life, you can’t take it back.

But having this knowledge, I need to share it and to be a good example to those around me.  I need to help others see how good God is so they too can share in His love.  Once you have truly experienced the freedom and peace and joy of God’s love, you want everyone to experience it!  It a joy you can’t contain!  But not everyone is there yet.  And for the weak in faith, if they see you doing something they thing is wrong, they might do it too.  You may know it’s not a sin, and it’s not a sin for you.  But if they think it’s wrong and do it anyway because you did it, then you have helped them stumble.  Stumbling takes us farther away from God.  And if we cause people to stumble, then we aren’t loving people the way God intends for us.  We aren’t loving people the way we need to in order to draw them into the family of God.

Knowledge is a great thing to have, and the more you know the better.  But another thing about knowledge is the potential for it to make you prideful.  If you keep reading in 1 Corinthians, you get to chapter 13, one of my favorite chapters in the whole Bible.  The second verse says “If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.”  You could actually be the smartest person in the world, being able to read the Bible in every one of its original languages, and be able to interpret dreams, and heal people with your faith, and perform miracles.  But if you don’t have love in your heart for your fellow man, you have nothing.  All those amazing things are for nothing.  Without love, we are nothing.  God is love. Without love, we are nothing.  Without God we are nothing.

So instead of being right, or prideful, or getting angry at people who “just don’t get it”, we all need to take a step back, and love like God does.  In spite of our weaknesses, in spite of our differences in theology, in spite of our pride and anger and self-righteousness, we need to love and have love for those around us, no matter what they believe.  For then, we will have love, and love is everything.