Jesus Calling

I speak to you from the depths of your being.  Hear Me saying soothing words of Peace, assuring you of My Love.  Do not listen to voices of accusation, for they are not from Me.  I speak to you in love tones, lifting you up.  My Spirit convicts cleanly, without crushing words of shame.  Let the Spirit take charge of your mind, combing out tangles of deception.  Be transformed by the truth that I live within you.

The Light of My Presence is shining upon you, in benedictions of Peace.  Let My Light shine in you; don’t dim it with worries or fears.  Holiness is letting Me live through you.  Since I dwell in you, you are fully equipped to be holy.  Pause before responding to people or situations, giving My Spirit space to act through you.  Hasty words and actions leave no room for Me; this is atheistic living.  I want to inhabit all your moments - gracing your thoughts, words, and behavior.

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What makes you afraid?  Is it certain situations or circumstances?  Do you fear the dark or what might be in the dark?  Do you fear weather, not sunny and mild but stormy and unpredictable?  As I write this we are in the midst of winter weather, strong winds and dropping temperatures.  Most of us remember the 2009 ice storm and some of us still have fears as a result of that storm.  Our neighbors lost their home to the tornado in 2005 and they now have a real fear of potential tornadic storms.  Unlike Jim Cantore who acts like a kid at the sound of thunder in snow storms, most of us have some history with bad weather, and that plays a part in our reaction to certain forecasts.

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Faith - It's Who You Are

As we speed into another month of 2015, I want to point out a subject we are focusing on in Youth Group, an adult Sunday School class, and our Marriage Enrichment class.  Our identity as believers and followers of Jesus Christ defines us first and foremost - period.  The classic 80's movie "The Breakfast Club" has a lot to teach us about teenage culture both then and now.  In a Wednesday night youth group meeting we used a clip from that movie to help us evaluate how we see others and ourselves.  Who are those we associate with and why?  Who are those we seem to put into categories of unapproachable or outcast?  As Christians we see our identity in our creator, sustainer, teacher, redeemer, Savior and Lord Jesus Christ.  We believe in the Father, Son and Holy Spirit - the triune God.  It is the most important part of our identity.  Our faith defines us.  It determines what kind of spouse, parent, child, friend, employer, employee, and person we are.

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The Art of Celebration

There's an album by Rend Collective Experiment that has this same title.  It's a collection of songs that speak to the very core of our souls and being as the group incorporates so many aspects of truth and grace into their music.  You may gather that I really like it!  There is also an accompanying video on YouTube titled "Joy" which we've used with our youth at Loucon.  It speaks to our walk with God as a celebration, a life not weighed down by condemnation, but one that is lit by the fire and security of our redemption pulsing through us!  If you are anything like me you may choose sometimes to allow this world to darken your attitude towards life in general and people as a whole.  We have many distractions around us that can shift our focus from joy.  But as the gentleman in the above mentioned video reminds us, seriousness is not a fruit of the Spirit but joy is.  Give yourself some time to watch the video and see if you don't find yourself smiling a lot.

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Family Traditions

We are in a season that is filled with traditions.  A tradition, as defined by the Encarta Dictionary, is the handing down of patterns of behavior, practices, and beliefs that are valued by a culture.  The "handing down," I believe, is the most important part of the definition.  We are a people who need that passing along and handing down.  One of the most quoted scriptures in history is the Shema that was passed down from generation to generation, "Listen, O Israel!  The Lord is our God, the Lord alone.  And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength.  And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today."  Deuteronomy 6:4-6.

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As I sit at my desk I'm reminded of a mess.  Any of you who have been in my office know what I'm talking about.  I have a very bad habit of allowing things to gather.  There may possibly be some hoarding tendencies in me. If it runs in the family, then it may very well be hereditary for me.  I have an uncle who has had a few vehicles collapse under the weight of stuff he's collected.  There are even shows that deal with this condition.  I'm not that bad, and don't intend to get that bad with help from family and friends, but it does make me think, "Why do I and others hold onto things that need to be filed away or thrown away?"

Indecision may be part of the reason for me and others.  Maybe, I'm not sure of course.  Being unable to pull the trigger, make the leap, climb the hill, or whatever clichés there are for not being able to move or make a decision can cause small piles to become heaps of trash.  Sometimes I think it's because I really believe I need something or I will use something.  This happens occasionally, but more often than not it just sits there until I decide to throw it away or it grow legs and walks away on its own.

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Recently I've noticed that my eyesight is getting worse.  My 1.25 cheaters are becoming more and more needed as my arms are not getting any longer.  It's common for a lot of us.  There is a term for this condition,"presbyopia," which basically means "old eyes."  I kid about it and make fun of myself as I've been known to leave these cheaters in strategic locations so I don't have to keep up with them in my pocket.  As I pondered this morning what might fall on the pages of this article, I found myself trying to focus on the words I read and write.  They are blurred and fuzzy.  It reminds me of our faith journey.  How are we keeping things around us in focus?  We are told that scripture should be the lens we look through to see God, the world around us, and ourselves.  But we even have disagreements there too, as to what God is really saying.  Translators and scholars sometimes have different interpretations don't they?  I've also seen it in the circles of people I've been around.  So what do we do with this?

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