Gift in a Storm

Food and shelter are two important gifts.  People need these basic gifts to survive.  Elsa Schiaparelli (1890–1973), an Italian and prominent fashion designer said, “Eating is not merely a material pleasure.  Eating well gives a spectacular joy to life and contributes immensely to goodwill and happy companionship.  It is of great importance to the morale.”  Food like shelter gives us confidence.  They are inspirational and morale boosters.  It’s not only about eating and having a home – it’s about having the right kind of food and shelter. Many of the poor are unable to appreciate these gifts in our society with an overabundance.  All should share food that supports life.  St. Teresa (1910–1997), a Roman Catholic religious sister and missionary wrote, “If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one.”  Undoubtedly the person you feed may be able to live a successful life.

Gifts of Food

There are amazing ways to view food.  Louise Fresco (b. 1952), a Dutch scientist, and director said, “Food in the end, in our own tradition, is something holy.  It’s not about nutrients and calories.  It’s about sharing.  It’s about honesty.  It’s about identity.”  Food could be a miracle worker.  It touches lives, shares joy, and celebrates special moments.  That’s why Ludwig van Beethoven (1770–1827), a German composer wrote, “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”  It takes talent and perseverance to serve up the right type.

As believers we must endeavor to help others by giving food.  These gifts could take a variety of forms, and might literally make us become better people.  Joseph Wooden (1910–2010), a basketball player said, “Be true to yourself, help others, make each day your masterpiece, make friendship a fine art, drink deeply from good books – especially the Bible, build a shelter against a rainy day, give thanks to your blessings and pray for guidance every day.”  It isn’t only for food we must pray, but for shelter on rainy days.  We should do our best to help the disadvantaged, and the homeless.

The Basic Necessities

Even if we have the basic necessities that won’t mean we wouldn’t be tested with storms in our lives.  Dalai Lama (b. 1935), a monk and 14th Dalai Lama wrote, “Even when a person has all of life’s comforts – good food, good shelter, a companion – he or she can still become unhappy when encountering a tragic situation.”  Tragedy doesn’t discriminate, it happens to everyone, and we must spiritually prepare to handle such misfortunes.

Having a good heart could invoke our compassion to be sensitive about God’s creation.  This could be a gift for how we treat our brothers and sisters.  Francis of Assisi (1118/1182–1226), an Italian Roman Catholic friar and preacher said, “If you have men who will exclude any of God’s creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity, you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men.”  Whether animals we raise for food, used in sports, or pass unnoticed – our actions relate how well we would treat people.

The Storms of Life

So during the storms of life we must stand side by side with the afflicted to give them support.  We must show we really care, ensure they have food, and provide shelter.  Anne Graham Lotz (b. 1948), a Christian evangelist wrote,  “When the storms of life come, if they come to me personally, to my family or to the world, I want to be strong enough to stand and be a strength to somebody else, be shelter for somebody.”  Lotz vividly captured what being a gift to those embroiled in such a storm should be.

Love by Serving

In life it’s delightful to live simply and share our gifts with others.  That’s how we can capture the dignity of living fulfilled lives.  Life is all about faithful service, and understanding differences in cultures.   We’ll love God more, and capture the truth about love.  Our affection will then become the basis of biblical promises to the world.  Saint Teresa of Calcutta (1910–1997), a Roman Catholic religious sister and missionary said, “Let us meet each other with [a] smile, for the smile is the beginning of love.”  In simple ways people take cues from believers.

The Road in Life

By living godly lives there’s a surge of new life.  In their daily walk believers express this blessing.  Their demeanor shows the embodiment of the gifts of a merciful God.  This sort of love is effective for it brings about healing, doesn’t discriminate, nor makes distinctions.  It’s through such caring bridges are built in our world.  These are the visual signs of God working within and through us.  God’s love is nurturing and ever-watchful as we travel along our spiritual journey.  But there’s another way to determine love’s effectiveness.  Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929–1968), a Baptist minister, and activist wrote, “A genuine leader is not a searcher of consensus but a molder of consensus.”  It’s for believers to meet people where they are, and bring them along the path of righteousness.   

 Kingdom of Life

It isn’t enough to be a lover of life, for such people may be selfish in their desires.  It’s unwise to be self-centered in living without God.  News about God mustn’t be buried, but proclaimed in building confidence in the world.  To know God’s glory people have to be creators in showing others love.  Ralph Ellison (1914–1994), a novelist and literary critic said, “If the word has the potency to revive and make us free, it has also the power to blind, imprison and destroy.”  There’s a difference between “worldly” and “spiritual” love.  Unlike “worldly love,” the “spiritual” enlightens our hearts and minds.

Oscar Wilde (1854–1900), an Irish playwright, and novelist wrote, “Our ambition should be to rule ourselves, the true kingdom for each one of us; and true progress is to know more, and to do more.”  Believers could only attain these gifts through prayer and dedication to their communities.

 Being Compassionate

It’s best to be compassionate.  One of the ways that believers can accomplish this is by interacting with the people they encounter.  It’s the way we treat them that matters.  By being kind we share in God’s love to our colleagues.  Muhammad Ali (1942–2016), a former professional boxer said, “Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.”  If people believed they must serve as a way to pay back a debt, this world would be a better place.  They wouldn’t be so self-centered, but would see themselves as guardians on our planet.  To accomplish these goals mean we have to walk in love by serving others.

What is Religion?

Religion means different things to believers.  To some it may be a church, temple, or mosque, but to others it may be any group worshiping their god or gods in unique ways.

This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness.

Dalai Lama (b. 1935), the current Dalai Lama

How do believers view their religions?

Believers generally have definite objectives which they think their religion offers.  Whether they know it as a baptismal rite, belief in a savior or saviors, and salvation of their souls – from sect to sect these conditions may vary considerably.

Whether you call it Buddhism or another religion, self-discipline, that’s important. Self-discipline with awareness of consequences.

Dalai Lama

 I have an everyday religion that works for me. Love yourself first, and everything else falls into line.

Lucille Ball (1911–1989), an actress and comedian

 It is my goal to love everyone. I hate no one. Regardless of their race, religion, their proclivities, the desire of their heart and how they want to live their life and the decisions that they make. I can even respect people’s decisions and lifestyle choices just as I hope they have the courtesy to respect my decisions and my choices.

Kirk Cameron (b. 1970), an actor

I love you when you bow in your mosque, kneel in your temple, pray in your church. For you and I are sons of one religion, and it is the spirit.

Khalil Gibran (1883–1931), a Lebanese-American writer

 Just as a candle cannot burn without fire, men cannot live without a spiritual life.

Buddha (563 or 480 BC–483 or 400 BC), an Indian religious leader

 We must seek the loving-kindness of God in all the breadth and open-air of common life.

George A. Smith (1817–1875), a leader of the Latter Day Saint movement

 What are some tenets of religions?

Teachings vary among religions.  But regardless how people may regard them there exist some universal truths.

I like the religion that teaches liberty, equality and fraternity.

R. Ambedkar (1891–1956), an Indian jurist

 Human rights is a universal standard. It is a component of every religion and every civilization.

Shirin Ebadi (b. 1947), an Iranian lawyer

 To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing.

Martin Luther (1483–1546), a seminal figure in the Protestant Reformation

 Rivers, ponds, lakes and streams – they all have different names, but they all contain water. Just as religions do – they all contain truths.

Muhammad Ali (1942–2016), a professional boxer

 The truth is that killing innocent people is always wrong – and no argument or excuse, no matter how deeply believed, can ever make it right. No religion on earth condones the killing of innocent people; no faith tradition tolerates the random killing of our brothers and sisters on this earth.

Feisal Abdul Rauf (b. 1948), an Egyptian American Sufi imam

All religions and all communities have the same rights, and it is my responsibility to ensure their complete and total protection. My government will not tolerate or accept any discrimination based on caste, creed and religion.

Narendra Modi (b. 1950), a Prime Minister of India

What part does music play in religions?

All religions have their own music.  It ranges from the secular to the sacred.  Chanting, singing, and with accompaniment of instruments devotees participate in praising their deity or deities.

Music is one of the most powerful things the world has to offer. No matter what race or religion or nationality or sexual orientation or gender that you are, it has the power to unite us.

Lady Gaga (b. 1986), a singer

What are some ill-effects of religions?

Throughout the ages there have been wars fanned by religious beliefs.  In contemporary times there have been atrocities spurned by intolerance.  Yet religions teach people must show love and live in harmony.

Religious wars are not caused by the fact that there is more than one religion, but by the spirit of intolerance… the spread of which can only be regarded as the total eclipse of human reason.

Montesquieu (1689–1755), a French political philosopher

 In the long term we can hope that religion will change the nature of man and reduce conflict. But history is not encouraging in this respect. The bloodiest wars in history have been religious wars.

Richard M. Nixon (1913–1994), a president of the United States

Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.

Karl Marx (1818–1883), a German philosopher

Why do unknown questions arise with all religions?

Some passages in sacred texts contradict each other.  At times statements about natural phenomena are not supported by science.  Often mythology is used to explain events, so some obvious questions arise.  Some of these explanations leave religious leaders and their followers unsure of their meanings.  In these instances, sages, theologians, and philosophers interpret doctrines giving diverse reasons.  But there still remain these problems.

God is a metaphor for that which transcends all levels of intellectual thought. It’s as simple as that.

Joseph Campbell (1904–1987), a professor of literature

 Science can purify religion from error and superstition. Religion can purify science from idolatry and false absolutes.

Pope John Paul II (1920–2005), a head of the Catholic Church

 If one has the answer to all the questions – that is the proof that God is not with him. It means that he is a false prophet using religion for himself. The great leaders of the people of God, like Moses, have always left room for doubt. You must leave room for the Lord, not for our certainties; we must be humble.

Pope Francis (b. 1936), a head of the Catholic Church

Controlling Your Life

Need a remote?  Do you think by having this devise you’re going to control your life?  It might be natural to think so, for if you could settle your mind, you might be able to solve the problems bothering you.  But is that possible?

Personal Control

When thinking about oneself it’s usually a battle with the mind.  You may try to harness your thoughts by using a TV remote. What do you want to think by monitoring what’s good or bad? But, “Use commonsense” you say, “because I’ll have a perfect plan.”  By encouraging good thoughts – those that enlighten the mind, body, and spirit you’ll solve your problems.  These are the good deeds you must feed and nurture.  By starving negative thoughts you’ll discourage unwanted feelings.  What must you therefore do?  Do some breathing exercises, meditate, and pray to have control.  Do these techniques work?  Yes they will, to some extent.  Some negative thoughts you might be able to capture, and banish from your mind, but some emotional ones would linger.

Controlling the Emotions

Psychologists warn us about the consequences of feeding our minds with negative thoughts.  When these come to your mind do something about them.  You should try distracting yourself by going for a walk, or playing music which is sure to change your thinking.  If negative emotions persist don’t dwell on them, but pray, and let them go. Remember to call on the Lord, and quote Scriptures to find relief. Then watch a change come over you.

 Dream Dreams

A dreamer may dream about the future.  It’s estimated that 20 percent of the population are lucid dreamers.  Another 50 percent occasionally remember some of their dreams.  These are figures about dreaming while we are asleep, but remember we’re all dreamers when we’re active.  Dreaming is like when you click on the remote to be transported to an imaginary place.  The only thing is, this action doesn’t actually give you a movie-like experience.

Rewinding Our Life

Like a movie we can’t rewind our life.  Listen to what Frank Matobo of the Africa University, Zimbabwe said, “Time waits for no man.  A second of doubt means you are a second behind.  So make a choice, use it wisely or lose it forever.  There is simply no rewind.”  This is why believers must have faith in what they do.  They must embrace life, believe in good things, and think positively.  Believers must never doubt, but accept what’s holy, true, and just.  These attributes come with perseverance, and by studying the Word of God.  There’s a Facebook community where people are planning to rewind their lives. They could only speculate about those aspects they wish to change, what they haven’t done, and if they could do it over again, what they are willing to do differently.

Fast-forward

Like the rewind feature people could use their minds to recall past events.  They might linger on their experiences, errors, and faulty thinking, but with a fast-forward button they could only dream.  We are limited for we’re unable to fast-forward our minds through problems.  To do so we’d have to know what the future holds.  With a real-life movie you could speed forward because you know all scenes have already been prerecorded.  You’re able to watch the end, or middle, before the beginning.  In life you could only imagine this feature.

 Pause & Mute

Some critics argue that there’s never pause, and mute buttons by which we have control.  From birth the play button propels us on our trajectory.  It’s therefore for us to steer our ship, and do our best to avoid shipwrecks.  Let us reflect on what author Sonya Parker wrote, “Life doesn’t come with a rewind, FAST -FORWARD or PAUSE BUTTON.  Once it starts it PLAYS until it ends or until you press STOP.”

It would be of interest if we could view the pause and mute buttons when we reflect, and pray.  In a hectic schedule it’s often best to withdraw to a quiet place, close our eyes, and give thanks to Almighty God.  Our prayer might well be on pause when we fail to utter words, and when we become one with creation.  It’s suicide if you hit the stop button.  Let your life end naturally.

 

 

 

 

 

Our Universal Gifts

Our earth has certain characteristics:

  • It arose some 3.5 billion years ago;
  • 7.3 billion people, inhabit it;
  • 71 percent of its surface is covered with water;
  • Its remaining 29 percent is land with mountains, deserts, plains, and plateaus, and over the year because of its axial tilt there is variation of sunlight reaching every part which causes seasonal changes.

John Lubbock (1834–1913), an English banker and philanthropist wrote, “Earth and sky, woods and fields, lakes and rivers, the mountain and the sea, are excellent schoolmasters, and teach some of us more than we can learn from books.”  People learn that the future of the earth is tied to the sun.  Over billions of years 99 percent of all species that ever lived have become extinct on earth.  And today there exist over 200 sovereign states with which America has diplomatic ties and trade.   American journalists travel to these countries – some torn by political strife, and they report about them to worldwide audiences via the ubiquitous media networks.

Gift of Earth

There are concerns how long the planet earth will continue to sustain life.  Estimates range from 500 million to 2.3 billion years, for earth’s future is closely tied to that of the sun.  Evo Morales (b. 1959), president of Bolivia said, “Sooner or later, we will have to recognise that the Earth has rights, too, to live without pollution.  What mankind must know is that human beings cannot live without Mother Earth, but the planet can live without humans.”  But entrepreneurs continue to obtain large deposits of fossil fuels like coal, petroleum, and natural gasses from the earth’s crust.  They are concerned about how long these will last – and while doing so nations’ industries, air-crafts, and other motorized apparatuses are polluting the environment.  Scientists make linkages of environmental pollutants with extreme weather – cyclones, hurricanes, typhoons, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, blizzards, floods, tsunamis, droughts, and wildfires.

Jimmy Dean (1928–2010), a TV host and businessman said, “I can’t change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination.”  Are citizens able to adjust their sails to the needs of their 7.3 billion inhabitants increasing geometrically each year?  It’s true that wind is a great blessing beginning with our first breath of life, to early civilizations with wind powered sailing ships, and modern air-crafts, windmills as power supply, for dispersing seeds in farming.

Gift of Water

Through evaporation and transpiration there’s precipitation of our lands.  Although this water is a great gift, some one billion people still lack access to safe drinking water.  More than 2.5 billion people suffer from a lack of adequate sanitation.  Margaret Atwood (b. 1939), a Canadian poet, novelist, and environmental activist wrote, “Water does not resist. Water flows.  When you plunge your hand into it, all you feel is a caress.  Water is not a solid wall, it will not stop you.  But water always goes where it wants to go, and nothing in the end can stand against it.  Water is patient.  Dripping water wears away stone.  Remember that, my child.  Remember you are half water.  It you can’t go through an obstacle, go around it.  Water does.”  Undoubtedly scientists must continue to build dams, and construct wells, to bring pure drinking water to the drought-stricken villages of Africa, Asia, and Latin America that lack this vital resource.  Many indigenous villagers’ survival depends on such efforts.

Gift of Fire

People must be positive when thinking about fire.  It’s a stimulant of life, is used for cooking, generating heat, as lighting sources, and engines of propulsion generators.  It’s also known as being the foundation of ecological system.  Bruce Lee (b. 1940), a Hong Kong American martial artist said, “Love is like a friendship caught on fire.  In the beginning a flame, very pretty, often hot and fierce, but still only light and flickering.  As love grows older, our hearts mature and our love become as coals, deep-burning and unquenchable.”  That’s why people must be fired up about God’s great gifts of wind, water, and fire in their lives.  It takes love to kindle these vital elements for the benefits of mankind.

By Special Authority

You’re a leader, and by a special God-given authority you’ve to energize your organization.  This means finding ways to deal with assignments that appear as though they don’t have a chance of succeeding.  It’s for you to diagnose these problems.  Your responsibilities must not be seen as a power play, for you’re working for the welfare of the church.  You aren’t carrying out a private agenda but are doing your job for the goodwill of all concerned.  Vince Lombardi (1913–1970), a football player, best known as the head coach of the Green Bay Packers wrote, “The achievements of an organization are the results of the combined effort of each individual.”  Thus, you have to realize like in football, every church member is gifted, and through their gifts there will be success.

 Maximize Potentialities

People ought to be treated as adults.  Listen carefully to them, and hear what they are saying.  All things don’t necessarily work out as planned, but there’s always another point of view.  It’s for you to motivate your workers to be happy about what they’re doing, and urge them to higher and higher levels of performance.  That’s why it’s essential to keep tabs on the heartbeat of the group.  In this way you’ll know more about each parishioner.  By so doing you’ll be best able to promote the church’s growth, and parishioners’ competence. Take things a step at a time and build on each success.

Margaret Mead (1901–1978), a cultural anthropologist observed, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”  Committed leaders move their followers forward as they work at implementing what’s best for their congregations, and the world at large.

Lack of Control

Leaders must be people-oriented.  In the church there’s no room for tyrants, bullies, or autocrats.  With dictators organizations die.  It’s the kiss of death even with benevolent leaders who lead by whim.  Let leaders move away from being ego-centric, but democratic, and work in the interest of their flocks.  Dr. Seuss (1904–1991), a writer and cartoonist warned, “Only you can control your future.”  Spirit-filled leaders always lead in the best interests of their congregations.

Be Inspirational

Leaders’ role is to help people.  To do so effectively they must take ample note of relationships within their churches.  They should lead by example by changing outmoded methods that no longer works.  They ought to stimulate growth by expressing their sincere beliefs in humanity.  Let parishioners be energized by their apostolic zeal. By the Holy Spirit they would move away from the narrowness of self-absorption.  In so doing, they will motivate others for the general good.

Lee Haney (b. 1959), a former professional bodybuilder said, “Exercise to stimulate, not to annihilate.  The world wasn’t formed in a day, and neither were we.  Set small goals and build upon them.”  Haney’s message is encouraging.  Some may look for giant steps to be successful, but it’s always wise to remember good results may often come in small doses.  Your goals as leaders are to build on little achievements until projects are successful.  Remember, “Strive and persevere when the going is rough, because at the end of every dark cloud there may well be a silver lining.”

 

 

 

Our Eternal Future

Whether black, white, Asian, or Hispanic – people are people, so why not make a difference in their lives?  Many speak the same language, but some say they speak different languages. Be it English, French, Spanish, Russian, Chinese, Hindi, or Japanese, but does it really matter which language they speak?  There’s definitely one God regardless how they communicate.  To identify with a particular group, politicians will often say a few words in their language, but do they really understand them?  This happens especially during an election year as candidates make pitches for a specific block of voters.  This would be at synagogue by speaking Hebrew, rubbing shoulders with rabbis, and trying to convince Jews they know about their culture.

But regardless who these people are, it’s good for them to know who they really are.  Steve Jobs (1955–2011), a pioneer of the personal computer revolution said, “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone’s life.  Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking.  Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice.  And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.”  A measure of what people become is what they keep coming back to, just reminding them to take that next step in pursuing their dreams.

Making a Connection

Some people – young and old alike, make decisions to join the Peace Corps.  While others participate in a Fulbright programs to Asian, African, or South American countries.  They live with the natives, teaching them to plant crops, build wells, and construct homes.  They teach English as a foreign language in their schools.  Missionaries are involved in outreach programs to villages, and working alongside different ethnic groups in remote areas.  By so doing they are fulfilling God’s mission in bringing the teaching of the Bible to the ends of the earth.

Interestingly Maya Angelou (1928–2014), an author, and poet wrote, “The thing to do, it seems to me, is to prepare yourself so you can be a rainbow in somebody else’s cloud.  Somebody who may not look like you.  May not call God the same name you call God – if they call God at all.  I may not dance your dances or speak your language.  But be a blessing to somebody.  That’s what I think.”  Angelou explained in her own way the missionary service believers are taught in serving their Creator.

Non-Verbal Communication

To start understanding people call for more than being able to master the spoken word.  It comes through the Holy Spirit who works in diverse ways.  People also use body language to communicate.  Missionaries can see these in the natives seeking their help.  With good interpersonal skills barriers are broken down.  But people all have one spirit in common.  It doesn’t matter if a person is a Westerner dressed in fashionable clothes, or a beggar in rags.  It’s the Holy Spirit who penetrates our communication barriers.

Barbara Bush (1925–2018), a former first lady of the United States said, “Cherish your human connections – your relationships with friends and family.”  With God each human is a friend and a family member.  It doesn’t matter if they live in a small Guyanese town like Ituni, or a faraway place like Timbuktu.  In building up God’s Kingdom volunteers would know like Albert Einstein (1879–1955), a German-born theoretical physicist “the only source of knowledge is experience.”  Missionaries bring their experiences to the building blocks of life, and knowledge, to make the world a better place to live, paving the way for mankind’s eternal future.

God’s Kingdom

There’s a place beyond the universe that’s irresistible.  When people die they will be escorted there by angels.  And they will find eternal rest with their Supreme Being and the best of humanity.  This will be our eternal reward won for a life of grace, dedication, and service to Almighty God.  In this state there will be an everlasting celebration.  People presently live with angels watching over them and with visions of heaven.  But when they cross over into God’s territory there’s no looking back.  Eventually they will be face to face with God’s radiance, and his celestial forces of goodness.

Christopher Columbus (1451–1506), an Italian explorer, navigator and colonizer wrote, “Gold is a treasure and he who possesses it does all he wishes to in the world, and succeeds in helping souls into paradise.”  People often hear that gold – money if you wish, corrupts if not used wisely.  Columbus viewed gold positively as a means for winning souls.

Family & Friends

Heavenly goals must begin with family and friends.  Charles Kuralt (1934–1997), a journalist said, “The love of family and the admiration of friends are much more important than wealth and privilege.”  By honoring and obeying God’s will people know the truth, and are touched by love.  So when dark moments raise their ugly heads they would say like Aristotle Onassis (1906–1975), a Greek shipping magnate, “It is during the darkest moments that we must focus to see the light.”  Onassis might have thought about our final destination that surpasses all understanding.

Light & Darkness

Before being called home most would have worn-out their bodies.   They would experience harrowing feelings in a troubled world.  Evil forces sought to influence them into doing evil deeds.  But do not be dismayed, just remain steadfast in the faith, and follow the narrow road of righteousness.

Harriet Tubman (1822–1913), an African American abolitionist wrote, “Every great dream begins with a dreamer.  Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach the stars to change the world.”  Tubman’s observation is true.   People must play their role in leading others – even if it’s only one person, to do what’s right.  This is a believer’s responsibility undertaken by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Mother Teresa (1910–1997), a Roman Catholic missionary said, “Be faithful in small things because it is in them your strength lie.”  In perseverance let’s all endeavor to do our very best.  So when people arrive at the finish-line in heaven they will hear the angels proclaiming: “Well done, true and faithful servants.”  Then they will gather at God’s heavenly banquet where there’s rejoicing as they are called to God’s Kingdom for their just rewards.

 

 

Living in Holiness

The spirit of holiness comes to believers after accepting God in all of his glory, and by doing his will.  These devout ones live disciplined lives.  They taste the true freedom of life, and love God with their whole hearts.  Every day these believers approach the Supreme Being and are blessed abundantly.  Shakti Gawain (b. 1948), a New Age and personal development author wrote, “Every time you don’t follow your inner guidance, you feel a loss of energy, loss of power, a sense of spiritual darkness.”  These individuals who live triumphantly know security in the Lord.

Sickness of the Soul

 What are your motives in life?  Are you bogged down?  Do you feel rebellious?  Are you living in debt?  Are you morally bankrupt?  Do you suffer from sickness of the body, mind and spirit?  If you are worried about such matters you may be suffering from a sickness of the soul.  Marilyn Monroe (1926–1962), an actress, model and singer said, “I am good, but not an angel.  I do sin, but I am not the devil.  I am just a small girl in a big world trying to find someone to love.”  As Monroe puts it her main motive for living was to find love.  Her focus though shouldn’t be on false love, but rather on God’s gifts of true, and abiding love.

Moral Dynamism

 By the Creator believers are blessed with strong assurances to do good deeds.  They serve and each day,  pursue moral goals, and find richness in the Torah.  By their lifestyle they are enthroning the living God, for they have a childlike trust in him.  These righteous ones obey God’s commandments, and are blessed in deciphering the intricacies of life.  Henry David Thoreau (1817–1862), an author and abolitionist wrote, “Aim above morality.  Be not simply good, be good for something.”  Thoreau wasn’t prepared to settle on a basic type of morality.  He wanted us to pursue meaningful lives.  People agree that we should endeavor to be the best we can by the way we live, and what we do.

Walk in Holiness

Peace and hopefulness should be a way of life for those walking in holiness.  Such a commitment brings self-fulfillment and blessings to our communities.  All of us have to be compassionate, repentant, and committed to daily prayer.  By the grace of God we’ll grow to know salvation and be saved from our misdeeds.  Roman Stoic philosopher Lucius Annaeus Seneca (4 BC–65 AD) said, “One of the most beautiful qualities of true friendship is to understand and to be understood.”  Seneca could well be speaking about us today, for there’s much rancor in public discourse.  To have true understanding and live in spiritual holiness believers have to turn to God – the Provider of good gifts.  He loves those estranged from him, and we have the privilege to turn to him.

The Gift of Healing

The Gift of Healing

The Lord promised to heal people’s waywardness and to love them freely (Hos 14:4).  God was going to restore their health and heal their wounds (Jer 30:17).  A Dutch Catholic priest, professor and theologian Henri Nouwen (1932–1996) wrote, “Did I offer peace today?  Did I bring a smile to someone’s face?  Did I say words of healing?  Did I let go of my anger and resentment?  Did I forgive?  Did I love?  These are the real questions.  I must trust that the little bit of love that I sow now will bear many fruits, here in this world and the life to come.”  Undoubtedly people can do many small things to be these miraculous gifts to others.  This means we don’t have to do big things to see great results.  Small ones are just as important.

Growth is essential when giving love.  This comes in different forms with abundant meanings.  Max de Pree (b. 1924), a businessman and writer said, “We need to give each other the space to grow, to be ourselves, to exercise our diversity.  We need to give each other space so that we may both give and receive such beautiful things as ideas, openness, dignity, joy, healing, and inclusion.”  These lasting transformations are known in various ways.  When they contribute to growth and understanding, healing takes place.  These manifestations often take time, and ought not to be rushed.  People should persevere in doing good works.

Friendships

A vice president of the United States, Hubert Humphrey (1911–1978) wrote, “The greatest healing therapy is friendship.”  It’s ideal to have good friendships.  They enable us to interact freely, explain our personal concerns, and solve problems.  Good friends are able to give us honest opinions.  These are free gifts that bring joy to our hearts.  In times of worry their words soothe us bringing us comfort and hope.

These benefits are from people who appreciate us for who we really are.  They know our faults and accept us as blessings.  An Indian spiritual master Sai Baba (1835–1918) said, “Love one another and help others to rise to the higher levels, simply by pouring out love.  Love is infectious and the greatest healing energy.”  With love a healing balm encompasses us.  People come to know their brothers and sisters care about what they do, and count on them for support.  Such attributes nurture their welfare.

Positive Faith

People do hear good and bad things about religion.  But author and literary critic Christopher Hitchens (1949–2011) views were positive.  He believed, “Religion is part of the human make-up.  It’s also part of our cultural and intellectual history.  Religion was our first attempt at literature, the texts, our first attempt at cosmology, making sense of where we are in the universe, our first attempt at health care, believing in faith healing, and our first attempt at philosophy.”  People who are healed attribute these phenomena to their beliefs in a loving God.  Hitchens saw religion not only as important but having far-reaching consequences.  Many believers become recipients of these blessings that shape their lives for the better.