I Believe!

I just heard the song I Believe by Chris August!  This is the first time I have heard it and I love it and wanted to share it with you!

At one point in the song he sings…

If you had some heartache that made you cry a thousand tears
Then let me tell you now I know just how you feel

When I heard this I thought, I have never experienced this heartache and would not be able to tell someone that I know how they feel, but I then thought of a dear friend who has experienced this heartache.  I had this image for a moment of how treasured, loved and special she is and that we are so blessed that Jesus has been carrying her through these difficult times.

I believe and carry a hope in my heart that she is nearing the end of these trials.  Every now and then I think I see Jesus put her down for a day or two so that she can begin taking her baby steps while still holding His hand.

Thank you Jesus for loving my dear, sweet friend so much and carrying her through so many difficult times!

I believe it is Our Best Life!

Jesus is in everyone… have you seen Him today?

My youngest daughter now goes to school two days a week.  A few weeks ago as I was driving home from dropping everyone off at school I was listing all of the things I wanted to get done in my head and all of the sudden I decided to push everything back by 45 min and I started looking for a place to get a pedicure.  Just down the street from my house I drove by a place with it’s doors wide open.  I walked in and although they didn’t open until 9 am, the pedicurist said she would be happy to take me early.

The pedicure was awesome!  I have very dry and rough feet and I was so thankful to have someone else scrub them down.  As I was sitting there feeling blessed, I thought of Jesus washing our feet and what a blessing it was that this woman chose to wash my feet as her profession.  For the rest of the pedicure I thought about how much I loved this woman!  I am so thankful to have glimpsed Jesus in her that morning.

Thank you Jesus and Sydney for washing my feet!  Jesus please help me to open my eyes to see You in everyone and to see the opportunities You set before me everyday to serve You and wash Your feet.

It’s Our Best Life… Believe it, Live it and it will be!

Was it really just about the apple?

Have you ever wondered what would have happened if

– Eve had tasted the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, but had refused to let Adam taste the fruit as a declaration of love for Adam and an unwillingness to let harm come to him and had been willing to take on the full punishment herself?

– What if then Adam with full knowledge of what he was doing tasted the fruit himself as a declaration of love for Eve and an unwillingness to let her fall alone and an unwillingness to be separated from his partner, the bone of his bone, the flesh of his flesh?

This would be a true keeper of thy brother, of thy partner, a willingness to fall in order to protect another.

Isn’t this what Jesus did for us?  He fell to protect us, to declare his love for us and to teach us to do the same for each other.

Thank you Jesus for falling for us!  Help us to fearlessly fall for others, and help us to know through faith, in the end you will extend your hand to catch us as we fall!

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!

Maybe I knew a carpenter?

I love the smell of freshly cut wood, sawdust and cedar.  When I was little I loved to smell these things and whenever I did I always thought that it meant I must have been a termite in a previous life.

My sweet husband just started a project to build a bench for our breakfast nook this evening.  I stepped into the garage and was enveloped by my favorite smell, but this time the first thought that came to my mind was that Jesus was a carpenter and He probably smelled this smell for the first 30 years of His life on a daily basis.

I am not sure why I love this smell so much, but it makes me smile to think that our sweet Jesus was surrounded by this smell daily and that I share a love for this smell with Him.

I probably wasn’t a termite in a previous life, but maybe I was close to a carpenter in a previous life… I hope so!

It’s Our Best Life!

What would you do?

Imagine that someone close to you (Jay) took the blame for something that a friend of his did (Evan).  Imagine that Jay got into big trouble at school and Evan took none of the blame.

If you were Jay’s parent or guardian would Evan be welcome in your house after this?

  • Would your answer change if you could see that Jay truly loved Evan regardless of how Evan felt?
  • Would your answer change if you could see that Jay truly loved Evan and you could see that Evan truly loved Jay?
  • Would your answer change if Evan apologized to both you and Jay for what he had done?
  • Would your answer change if Evan confessed his guilt at school and was give the same punishment that Jay already received?

How far must Evan go in order to be welcomed back into your house?

Thinking about this scenario really helps me put into perspective why I think we are only welcome in God the Father’s house through Jesus.  Jesus loves us, but God loves Jesus so much that he is willing to open His door only to those who truly love His Son.

Maybe our own personal answers to the above questions will help us see what God’s answer would be for us to enter His house?

Thank you Jesus for taking all of the blame and loving us so much!

Sending my love to all of you!

I watched the PBS documentary, The Mystery of Love, this evening.

At one point the documentary was discussing loving the whole world and it was mentioned that the Buddhists all say that during their wedding ceremonies the bride and the groom should marry the whole world, through this one person, and that rabbis have a similar expression that the whole world is a huppa or the whole world is a wedding canopy.

On the morning of his wedding, Ketsu Norman Fisher, a Zen master wrote this poem.

Of all the women in all the world
Delicate in their various encasings of body, of mind;
This one, bent asleep before me, in the bed,
Is the one through whom all must be loved,
As I have promised.

I thought this was beautiful and I had this moment of truly feeling loved and honored  by this man who I have never met, but knows that I am delicate.  What a blessing!!!

In Our Best Life I know that I truly love all of you and since I want to live Our Best Life now, I am going to begin intentionally trying to love the whole world!  I pray to be able to truly love everyone who is put in my path and I pray to send YOU my love by loving everyone who is put in my path.

Jesus said to love your neighbor as yourself.   It is Our Best Life, let’s LIVE it!

Rainbows

My girls love rainbows!  They talk about them a lot and love to color rainbows.  I have always loved rainbows too, and have always loved to stop and look around for a rainbow at the end of a storm.

My girls love to look for rainbows too, but they don’t just look for them at the end of a storm.  They are always looking for rainbows on sunny days, overcast days, rainy days, snowy days and the amazing thing is that they almost always find one regardless of the weather!  They found the rainbow on the back of a CD/DVD, they found the rainbow on the blank TV screen caused by the sun reflecting off of it at a certain angle, and today we were on a boat and they found the rainbow caused by the sun reflecting through the water spray along the sides of the boat as it sped through the lake.

The more rainbows they have shown to me, the more I have begun to wonder if my girls really see what I see when we look at the world?  At the park when I hold their hands and tell them to step over a log, do they see the brown log that I see or do they see something else?  I am starting to think that we see things very differently and I want to see their world, I want to jump over a rainbow, see magic caterpillars, and see the Care Bears peeking down from the clouds.

I think children truly see with the eyes of love!  I want to take off my dark and dingy glasses and see with the eyes of love too and I think listening to what my girls see rather than telling them what I see is a good place to start!

Look for a rainbow in an unexpected place and I bet you will find it because it is Our Best Life!!!  My friend, I wish you true joy in your heart when you find your hidden rainbow today!

Betrayer and Beloved?

I just finished reading all four gospels for the first time.  Even though I grew up attending mass weekly, this is the first time (at least in my flawed memory) that I have heard of the disciple whom Jesus loved or the beloved disciple.

Who is this disciple?  I didn’t realize until I did a few internet searches last night that the question of the identity of this disciple has been under discussion for quite some time, but I always love a good mystery so I have decided to join the scholars in their discussion despite my lack of in depth knowledge.  Below are my initial thoughts.

Jesus gives the most love where the most love is needed.  Jesus will leave 99 sheep grazing in order to search for 1 lost sheep.

Jesus chose his disciples and he knew all of their fates.  He knew they would be hated, despised, persecuted for following Him.  He knew most of them would be killed for spreading His message.  Jesus loved them all, but of the twelve who needed the most love?

Matthew 26:24 – “The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man!  It would be better for him if he had not been born.”

I think Judas Iscariot needed the most love from Jesus in order to survive the self hatred that he would inflict on himself following the betrayal and to survive the centuries of hatred and persecution aimed at him from people all over the world.

Jesus thank you for loving Judas Iscariot so much.  I have a feeling that he may be Your beloved disciple.  Please help us to remember that we do not know the whole story and that we do not need to know the whole story, but we must love as You love.

Please help me to love Judas Iscariot as you love him.