Tag Archives: christ

Free will…

I have had three discussions about our free will over the last three months that have stuck with me.  Then last night I was watching the documentary The Human Experience and I saw the following quote.

“The last of the human freedom’s is to choose one’s attitude in any given circumstance.”
– Viktor E. Frankl

As soon as I saw this quote I immediately thought that this seems not only to be the last of our freedoms, but also the first and original freedom we were given when God gave us our free will.

Until recently I have limited my thoughts of our free will to only our physical actions. When I think of free will only in relation to my physical actions such as taking the stairs vs. the elevator or going to work vs. staying home or doing something wrong vs. doing something right, then I become quite confused because if God gave me free will, but knows what I will choose to do and can bring about events that will cause me to make a different choice then my free will seems limited.  Please don’t misunderstand me though. I am not saying that this limitation means our physical actions have no bearing or carry no weight.  I believe God still wants us to do the right thing.  I believe He still wants us to be generous rather than selfish, He wants us to not steal, He wants us to not kill, He wants us to love others, but we can’t forgot that God is bigger than we can imagine.  God can take any bad physical action we make and combine it with other actions to make it good in the end.

Isn’t this what he did through Jesus’ death and resurrection?  God took the worst imaginable physical action (us killing His son Jesus) and turned it into good (resurrecting His son Jesus).  By combining these, Jesus’ death becomes good because without it He could not have been resurrected.

Now, if I change my perspective of free will and look at it as my freedom to choose how I perceive things or to choose my attitude as Viktor Frankl put it in his quote above, then the limitations I spoke of disappear.

God can give me a sunny day, but it is up to me to enjoy the sun or complain about the heat.  God can give me a rainy day, but again it is my choice to complain about the rain or to instead look for a rainbow.

He completely relinquished control of our consciousness through free will giving us complete freedom to perceive the world as we wish.  This doesn’t mean that God will ever stop trying to convince us to perceive good in all things, but he literally cannot make us see the good in all things.  He is limited to trying to convince us that all things are good through combining bad actions with others to make them good in the end and through showering us with grace and inspiration which we have the choice to accept or decline.

It is completely up to us to see the good, but what happens when and if we do perceive the good in everything?

I think we will have found our own unique perspective of the good in everything which will mean that we have also surrendered to God’s will because God’s will is Good!!!

Therefore I think we will have found God’s peace!!!

God thank you for loving us so much that you gave us free will.  Please help me to use my free will to find the good in everything and therefore surrender to Your will!

I want to stand for good… it is everywhere even if we don’t think we can see it, it is hidden from view, but it is there!

I want to stand for Jesus… he is Good, Oh so Good!!!

Peace

I am reading The Imitation of Christ by Thomas a Kempis.  Today I read chapter 3, The Man Who Loves Peace, and I want to share a bit of it with you and a few thoughts I had while reading.

Thomas a Kempis wrote
The good and peace-loving man turns everything into good.  The man who dwells in perfect peace suspects evil of no one.

The man of blind passion even turns good into evil and is quick to believe evil of others. The man who is discontented and disgruntled has a heart filled with suspicion.

I want peace!  How do we teach/learn peace?  Is it being taught?  I am honestly asking and would love your thoughts.

Does finding peace lead one to believe that everything is good?

Or

Are peace and believing everything is good equivalent, meaning that once you believe everything is good then you have also found peace and vice versa once you have found peace then you believe everything is good?

If the latter is correct, then seeing/finding the good in everything should lead us to peace. This seems like a great place to start if you are looking for peace!

I know I am not the first to say this, but I think

  • Believing the glass is half full could help lead us to PEACE
  • Finding the sliver lining in the clouds could help lead us to PEACE
  • Looking for the rainbow through the rain could help lead us to PEACE
  • Finally whoever came up with the slang expression, S’all good, hit the nail on the head and wanted to help lead us to PEACE

Jesus said in John 14:27

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

Let us reclaim the PEACE Jesus has left with us, the PEACE He has given to us.  Let us live with untroubled hearts and let us live fearlessly!

My friends, I wish you peace from the bottom of my heart!  Let us live Our Best Life in Peace!

The Little Way

I watched a movie about Saint Thérèse of Lisieux last night, Thérèse.  I loved it and loved learning about “The Little Way”.

Below is a definition I found online for “The Little Way” of Saint Thérèse.

It is an image that tries to capture her understanding of being a disciple of Jesus Christ, of seeking holiness of life in the ordinary and the everyday.

I have been thinking about this a lot today and I think when you empathize with someone it can naturally guide you towards “The Little Way”.  In the movie Saint Thérèse was very considerate and aware of her family and then later of her fellow sisters.  She attempted to help others in ordinary and everyday moments without ever expecting anything (a thank you or even acknowledgement) in return.

I think when you empathize with someone, really attempt to see things from their perspective, it can help you to move beyond the expectation for a thank you or acknowledgement of what you then do for that person since you now can more fully appreciate the difficulties that brought about their current needs in this moment.  I think once you are released from this expectation you can then truly find joy in meeting their needs (serving them) in that moment without the weight of what you will receive (your expectations) on your mind.

I know I still have a lot to learn about “The Little Way” of Saint Thérèse, but these are are my initial thoughts.  I hope to learn more when I get a chance to read the autobiography of Saint Thérèse of Lisieux: The Story of a Soul.

Wouldn’t it be AWESOME if we could all truly let go of “me” and focus on “you”?  I think what we would find would be Our Best Life because even if I really let go of me, Jesus won’t let go of me… He wants us All!

Perspective shift

We went to the park the other day to take a short hike with the girls. As we were all getting out of the car and unfolding the stroller a woman was walking by with two small dogs. I was just about to look up and say hello when she dropped her wallet and said in a very angry and exasperated voice to herself, “This has been the worst f*****g day, can anything else go wrong?” She picked up her wallet and stomped past us through the parking lot. It was only 10:30 am, and I thought to myself, unfortunately she still has most of the day left for things to continue spiraling out of control. Obviously I only saw one moment of her story and it appeared to be a very bad moment, but it made me think about perspective and if a perspective shift could have helped her through the rest of the day.

Perspective is defined as a mental view of or outlook on a situation.  I think a perspective shift can change almost anything.  When I don’t know someone else’s full story it is difficult to suggest a perspective shift, but hopefully a personal story will help make my point.

A few weeks ago I was out on a Sunday evening on my way to return a movie. I turned onto the highway feeder road a little too quickly and hit the curb with my rear tire. The tire immediately blew and luckily I was just about 200 yards from an open gas station. As I was pulling in to see if they could help me change my tire I was thinking, It serves me right because I made the turn too quickly, as if this was punishment for my poor driving. A really nice young man changed my tire and I was on my way.  The next day I went to buy a new tire and the man at the store strongly suggested replacing the other three as well.   I took a look at the tires and if you know about the penny test to check the treads then you will understand how necessary it was for me to get new tires when I tell you that there was nowhere to even put the penny.  As I was pulling away with four new tires I could have been complaining about the hour I had just spent waiting for new tires or the money I had just spent that I had planned to use for something else, but instead I thought to myself, Thank you God for making me get new tires since I wasn’t going to find the time to do it without your help.

Despite some of the terrible things I see in the news, I try to keep my perspective shifted  and continue to believe it is Our Best Life and I hope you do too?  If we all believe it is our best life would the news change?

Jesus said, “Whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”

A finite number of lashes…

I watched The Passion of Christ (2004 American Drama directed by Mel Gibson) on the evening of Easter Sunday.  It was the first time I had seen it and now two months later I still think quite often about the lashing of Christ scene.  While I was watching the movie the lashing scene seemed to go on forever and at one point I actually winced as Jesus received a lash and I thought to myself, that one was mine.  The thought actually surprised me and made me cringe, but the more I have reflected on it the more I think it is true.  I think we are all responsible for at least one lash that He received that day.

The comfort I have found as I continue to think about this scene and the innumerable lashes Jesus received is that the lashing did eventually stop.  Even though the final number of lashes could not be counted by the end of His lashing, we know the final number of lashes was a finite number.  I find comfort in this because to me it means that although there is evil and sin in this world, there is a finite amount.  It does not go on forever and there will come a day when all that is left will be GOOD.  Thank you Jesus for loving us so much.

I believe it and I pray with all of my heart that you do too!  It is Our Best Life!