Our Flashlight

As we approach Pentecost Sunday in a few weeks when the Holy Spirit came in like the wind and enlightened all those who breathed deeply of His love, we always are encouraged to look for the light…. The Light in the Darkness.

 

Let me share a story with you.

 

“ There was once a little boy who lived on a farm in the country. One evening he left his teddy bear outside. That night he tossed and turned. He tried to sleep, but he couldn’t. Finally he went over to his daddy and said, “Daddy, I left my teddy bear in the front yard. I need it.”

 

His father, who was half asleep, turned over and said, “Well, son, go on out and get it.”

 

The boy looked out the front door, but he couldn’t see anything. There was no moon out that night and it was pitch dark. He went back and woke up his mother. He said, “Mommy, I left my teddy bear outside. I need it. I can’t sleep.”

 

She said, “Here, son, is a flashlight.” He turned it on and put that beam of light out the door. But still, the beam didn’t go far enough and he couldn’t see the teddy bear. He went back to his parent’s room and talked to them together.

 

They said, “Son, when the flashlight was on, could you see far enough for your first step?”

 

He said, “Yes.”

 

They said, “Well, then step on that step. When you step on that step you’ll be able to see another step. Step on that step and walk in the light.” He did so.

 

He walked in the light with that flashlight a step at a time. He couldn’t see where he was going, but he walked in that light and was able to get his teddy bear and go back to sleep.

 

That’s an important lesson for us. We need to walk in the light of God.

 

“Let your light so shine before humans, that they may see your good works, and glorify your God which is in heaven.” Matthew 5:16

 

 

 

Even though we think we can’t reach beyond our “step”, our finger tips on the keys of the computer, we must remember that we have that “flashlight” and we become God’s light as we allow Him to work through us. We can take that one step forward, knowing that even though we can not see into the deep darkness that the Light is with us and we can go that extra mile – for each other. We can do what Jesus said … to become a point of light in our world.

 

“Faith is NOT a spectator sport.  Life is NOT a spectator sport.  Life to be life has to be lived. It has to be alive in you every moment.”

 

One day, a naturalist who was passing by a farm, saw in the barnyard a flock of chickens. Among them was an eagle. The naturalist inquired of the owner why it was that an eagle, the king of all birds, could be reduced to living in the barnyard with chickens.

 

“Well,” the farmer said, “Since I’ve given it chicken feed and it thinks it’s a chicken, it has never learned to fly. It behaves as a chicken behaves, so it no longer thinks of itself as an eagle.”

 

“Still,” insisted the naturalist, “It has the heart of an eagle. It surely should be taught to fly.” After talking it over, the two men agreed to find out whether this was possible.

 

Gently, the naturalist took the eagle in his arms, looked into its eyes and said, “You belong in the sky and not to the earth. Stretch forth your wings and fly!” The eagle, however, was confused. He did not know who he was. Seeing the chickens down there eating their food, he jumped down with them again.

 

Undismayed, the naturalist took the eagle on the following day up on the roof of the house and urged him again saying, “You are an eagle. Stretch forth your wings and fly!”

 

But the eagle was afraid of his unknown self and the unknown world and jumped down once more for chicken food.

 

On the third day, the naturalist rose early and took the eagle out of the barnyard to a very high mountain.

 

There he held the king of birds up high above him and encouraged him again to fly saying, “You are an eagle.

 

You belong to the sky as well as the earth. Stretch forth your wings and fly!” The eagle looked back towards the barnyard and up to the sky, and still he did not fly.

 

Then, the naturalist lifted him straight toward the sun, and it happened. The eagle began to tremble. Slowly he stretched forth his wings. At last, with a triumphant cry, he soared into the heavens.

 

It may be that the eagle still remembers the chickens with nostalgia. It may even be that he occasionally revisits the barnyard. But as far as anyone knows, he has never returned to lead the life of a chicken.

 

He was an eagle although he had been kept and tamed as a chicken.

 

Just like the eagle, some people have learned to think of themselves as something less than they really are, less than God created them to be.

 

They can decide in favor of who they really are, once again with God’s help.

 

I want to share this with you. It’s called “The Cowpath.” Listen to the words of this poetry.

 

One day, through primeval wood
A calf walked home as good calves should.
But made a trail, all bent askew;
A crooked trail as all calves do.
The trail was taken up the next day
By a lone dog that passed that way,
And then a wise bell-wearer sheep
Pursued the trail over vale and steep
And drew the flock behind him, too
As good bell-weathers do.
And from that day over hill and glade
Through those old woods a path was made.
And many folks wound in and out
And dodged and turned and bent about.
And uttered words of righteous wrath
Because t’was such a crooked path.
But they still followed … do not laugh…
The first migrations of that calf.
This crooked lane became a road
Where many a poor horse with his load
Toiled on beneath the burning sun
And traveled some three miles in one.
And thus a century and a half
They trod, the footsteps of that calf.
The road, before they were aware,
Became a crowded thoroughfare.
And soon the central street was this
Of a renowned metropolis.
And people, two centuries and a half,
Trod in the footsteps of that calf.
They followed still his crooked way
And lost one hundred years a day.
And thus such reverence is lent
To well-established precedence.
A moral lesson might teach
Were I ordained and called to preach,
For people are prone to go it blind
Along the calf paths of the mind.
And work away from sun to sun
And do what others have always done.
They follow in the beaten track
And out and in, forth and back.
And still their devious course pursued
To keep the path that others do.
But how the old, wise wood gods laugh
Who saw that first primeval calf.

 

Each and every day you are to walk in the light of your faith in God; it does not matter that you may not know your destination or how long you will be traveling. You are to walk as far as you can see, as far as you are guided. Remember who you are. You are a son or daughter of the Most High, our Loving God who handed you that flashlight. Do not be blinded by the path of others. You are a co-creator with God. We are here to work with God to make a difference.

 

Think about this thought provoking question: What if, as your fate, you had to come back in another lifetime into the situations you have created for others?

 

If that were true: What then would you create? How would your journey change, if at all. What messages would you send to them. The thing that makes people and rivers crooked is always following the path of least resistance. It is not always the best way. We are here to follow the path of letting our light shine. That’s what following the path of Jesus Christ is.

 

An ad appeared in a London newspaper many years ago that said, “Men wanted for hazardous journey. Small wages. Bitter cold.  Long months of complete darkness. Constant danger. Safe return doubtful. Honor and recognition in case of success.”
The ad was signed by Sir Ernest Shackleton, Antarctic explorer. Thousands responded instantly to the call. They were ready to sacrifice everything for the elation of adventure and uncertain honor.

 

We should do the same as children of God. Why don’t we? Because we are sometimes afraid. Often when one talks about being afraid, we immediately picture soldiers in war, or emergency crisis situations, but actually, often courage rises in the individual during desperate times. Being afraid often happens in ordinary ways on ordinary days.

 

Are we afraid of life?

 

“When we are afraid to listen, we only talk.
When we’re afraid to be with others, we make sure we’re alone.
Are we afraid to make good friendships?
Are we afraid we might reveal too much of ourselves?
Are we afraid to touch and be touched?
Are we afraid of letting our defenses down?
Are we afraid to recommit ourselves?
Are we afraid of success?
Are we afraid to try again?
Are we afraid to forgive?”

 
Once upon a time there was a Bishop Tucker of Uganda.  He was an artist.How did he become a bishop?

 

One day he was painting a picture of a poor woman thinly clad, pressing a baby to her bosom, wandering homeless on a stormy night on a dark, deserted street. As the picture grew, the artist suddenly threw down his brush, exclaiming, “Instead of merely painting the lost, I will go out and save them.” And he went to Africa. He spent the rest of his life letting the Lord guide him one step at a time. He brought many into the Fold of Christ and taught them how to follow that light and become rich in heart and soul and to become a light for others.

 

I want to close with a story about the about the beginning of the Reformation.

 

‘There was a man by the name of Martin of Basle. He came to a knowledge of the Truth, but he was very afraid to make a public confession. So he wrote on a leaf of parchment, “Oh merciful Christ, I know that I know the Truth, Oh Holy Jesus. I acknowledge Thy sufferings for me. I love Thee! I love Thee! I love Thee!” Then, with this covenant he wrote in hand, he removed a stone from the wall of his chamber and hid it. It was not to be discovered for more than 200 years.

About the same time, Martin Luther found the Truth as it is in Christ. He said out loud in a public area, “My Lord had shown mercy to me before men, and I will show mercy to men before kings.” The world knows what followed. We’re all heard of Martin Luther but we have never heard of Martin of Basle. Why? They both wrote a covenant, but one put the covenant in a wall and the other lived it.

 

Let this example guide you and always remember Martin of Basle. We will never forget Martin Luther. He followed his Light and changed Christianity forever. You also have the Light. Even a small star shines in the darkness.

 

“It’s good to be a Christian and know it. It’s even better to be a Christian and show it.”

 

“Now you are light in the Lord; walk as children of light.” Ephesians 5:8

 

 

Let us pray:

Father, help us dedicate ourselves, our time, money, our efforts, all of our souls to the Spirit, the Light of Your Magnificence. Help each of us to dedicate this in our daily lives, sharing and helping others. Give us that abundant spiritual supply of health, wisdom, understanding ,love – all what is necessary to meet the needs of others and never making these the object for our personal material benefit – all for Your working through us and helping that Light of ours to shine brightly.

We are letting our light shine. In the name of Christ Jesus … Amen

Thank you, God.

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The Princess and the Pea

 

“Come to him, a living stone … chosen and precious in God’s sight.” 1 Peter 2:4

 

This scripture reminds me of the old story “Princess and the Pea.”

 

“A long time ago in a kingdom far away, there lived a young prince who had just turned 21 years of age.  His name was Prince Peter. He longed so for a bride. He asked his parents, “Is it time, right now, for me to get married?”

 

His mother, the Queen, who was a very kindly queen said, “Yes, I guess it is. But make sure that the girl you choose is a princess—a real princess.”

 

So the search began. They began looking all over the kingdom for a real princess. Many young women came to the castle, but the Queen was not interested in them because not one could prove that she was a real princess.

 

One day there was quite a storm that came over the kingdom. It was the type of storm where the rain came down in buckets and the lightning flashed across the sky. Out of all this sound that was going on outside, there was a tapping at the castle door.

 

The King and Queen looked up and asked each other, “Did you hear anything?”

 

Prince Peter said, “I think that somebody is outside the door.”

 

They opened up the big door to the castle. Standing out there was a small, soaking wet young woman.  She looked up and said, “Hello. I have come because I am a real princess.”

 

She didn’t look like a real princess. She was soaking wet. Her clothes were just hanging on her.Her soaking wet hair was hanging down in her face.

 

But the Queen said, “Come in, my dear. Tonight we won’t worry about whether you’re a real princess or not. We’re going to get you dried off. After you’ve had a good night’s sleep, we’ll decide if you’re a real princess or not.”

 

Then, the Queen called over the head chambermaid and said, “Do exactly as I say. I want you to put a small, dried pea right in the middle of the bed. Then, on top of that small, dried pea, I want you to put 20 of our softest feather mattresses.”

 

The chambermaid did exactly as she said. When the young woman went into the room after her bath, she had to look up at the bed because all of these mattresses practically went to the ceiling.  (She did not know about the small, dried pea underneath them all.) So, she climbed up a step ladder and got into the center of the bed.

 

While she was sleeping, all the servants were busy drying and ironing her clothes. The next morning when she got up and came down to breakfast, she looked more like a princess than anyone that they had seen. She was beautiful.

 

The Queen looked up and said, “My dear, how did you sleep?”

 

The young woman said, “Well, I do not mean to be impolite, but I didn’t sleep a wink. No matter which way I turned, I felt a lump in the middle of the bed. I tossed and turned all night long.”

 

The Queen looked at Prince Peter and Prince Peter looked at the Queen . . . but he was looking more at the young princess by now. Soon they were married, and they lived happily ever after.”

 

We all have probably read or at least heard this story – this little dried pea in the middle of the bed of so many feather mattresses. No one who laid in the bed could have possibly feel that pea. It actually was probably impossible.

 

But let’s put this little story in modern times and modern interpretation.

 

What if this story is not about a little pea in the bottom of the mattress but rather it is about a thought or a feeling deep inside of us. That dried up pea is really an old dried up thought or negative feeling like anger or resentment

 

Oh, how we have tried to stuff it, cover it up because it hurts to bring it up. So we push it further and further and cover it with so many years of living. But it is still there; and sometimes, we wake up and start thinking about it for no reason. The tossing and turning begins. No sleep this night. That small dried up pea – that pea-sized thought remains within us. It’s still there, and it’s still pushing out. It’s still affecting you. You don’t really even know what it is anymore because it is has been pushed so far down, for so long.

 

“But what is pushed down, pushes up. It is like trying to hold the beach ball underneath the water the further you push it down, the harder it tries to pop back up.”

 

You see, we learn to stuff our thoughts. If something really hurts, don’t let anyone know it, just hold it in, stuff it. We learn that if we do that, it just won’t hurt any more. But that is incorrect reasoning. It really will keep bubbling up and out all the time; and it always hurts. And over time, it may just hurt us physically by really affecting our health.

 

Well, the princess couldn’t rest. She felt discomfort. The princess was royalty. But you know what? You are also royalty. Oh, you may not really feel too much like a royal person right now because you have so many of these wrong reasoning inside that tells you otherwise.

 

I claim this as truth due to the teachings and the authority of the authority of Jesus Christ.

 

Jesus said, “You are a child of God.” You are a king/queen. The only thing that keeps us from accepting that fully in our awareness – is our awareness – of the small, dried-up wrong reasonings that are inside of us. These small outdated thoughts make us think that we are less than we are. They make us uncomfortable during the day, and often make us toss and turn at night.

 

God has granted us some wonderful gifts. “The gift of God is rest; a mental cleansing that gives a good night’s sleep. The gift of God is a confidence from deep within to allow you to do things that you wouldn’t dream that you could do.

 

The gift of God is that extra foundation strength that is inside of you that is firm; that you know that you can stand on when you’re facing some adversity.”

 

All life outside of you is an echo. Remember the images of the person standing on one mountain and shouting and then the echo would come back? Well, all life outside of you is an echo of everything that is inside of you in your awareness.

 

Even the small, dried-up thoughts, (the old, error thoughts that we should have cleansed out long ago), are STILL in there. They have a small voice, but it comes back many times largely magnified. Every thought inside of our heads is like a seed. It can grow into something that is way, way out of proportion as the years go on if we give it the power.

 

“There is a wonderful story that author Emmett Fox tells about a big old bear going into a campground. This big old bear is hungry. He sees a cast iron pot on the fire. The lid is just dancing because of all the heat. The bear licks his chops. He comes into the campground and puts his arms around the kettle. And interesting thing happens next.

 

That bear is scalded and burned so badly. The normal thing to do would be to scream and to drop the kettle. But a bear’s only defense is hugging. So, as the kettle begins to hurt the bear, he does the one thing that it can do . . . it hugs the kettle tighter, to the undoing of the bear.

 

But, you know, we do the same thing. When something hurts us, we push that back down fast so that it is not in our face. In doing that, it can live inside of us to come up another day.”

 

Think about the soft drink Seven-Up. I am sure you have seen, tasted, felt the bubbles in that drink. The television commercial really shows that they continually bubble up. Well, that is our consciousness. Our hurts, our pains, our resentments keep bubbling up and giving us a chance to deal with them (not push them down again). We have the opportunity to resolve them before they so affect us negatively.

 

Jesus Christ talks about the inside of you and what we should do with these small, dried-up thoughts.

 

In Matthew 23, [verses 25-26], Jesus Christ says, “Woe to you scribes and Pharisees for you cleanse the outside of the cup and the plate, but the inside is full of extortion and rapacity [covetous]. You blind Pharisee. First cleanse the inside of the cup and of the plate, that the outside also may be clean.”

 

So do you think Jesus is teaching us how to clean our plate or how to do the dishes? We laugh, but no, he’s talking about our minds, our personalities, and, really the whole human condition – and He’s talking about your mind and mine.

 

He’s talking about how we spend so much time dressing up, putting on our makeup, fixing our hair, and doing everything we have been taught to groom ourselves. BUT, we forget about the cleansing of our mind. And that is the most important thing – the interior so much more than the interior The exterior will take care of itself once the inside is clean.

 

The second part of that teaching is talking about the exterior of all of your life. We spend so much time trying to clean that up. If we cleaned up the inside of us, the whole outside would be clean.

 

And in verse 27 [of Matthew] Jesus says, “For you are like whitewashed tombs which outwardly appear beautiful, but within they are full of dead men’s bones and uncleanliness.” We have a lot of old, dead ideas, resentments, hurts inside of us. It’s time, now, to cleanse those out of our consciousness.

 

Look at this same teaching from a different Gospel, clarifying this even more. Luke 11:39-40, “And the Lord said to him, now you Pharisees, cleanse the outside of the cup and the dish, but inside you are full of extortion and wickedness. You fools. Did not he who made the outside make the inside also?”

 

God can heal our bodies. But God can also heal what is deep inside of our hearts and souls. Pray to God to completely wash the inside of your cup. Some pray for God to heal their depression, their emotional state. Many are down because of those old dried up thoughts churning around. God made the inside of you also and God can heal that once and for all. It’s a HUGE thing to you, but nothing to God. Just ask for, and accept an inside healing.

 

Jesus goes on and tells us how to do it. He said, “Give for alms those things which are within, and behold everything is clean for you.”

 

What does it mean to ‘give for alms?’ It means to give freely. So, I believe that when those old things come up, instead of pushing them down because they hurt us, give up freely and let those old thoughts be gone once and for all. See those bubbles in the Seven-up glass. All you have to do is drink from the cup and they will be gone. God can even pop those bubbles when you drink from His cup.

 

So, when they come up we have the opportunity to examine those thoughts. Then, we have a choice. Our choice is to cleanse or push down again and re-pollute.

 

“Once upon a time there was a giant Maytag washing machine as big as your whole kitchen. It cleaned clothes beautifully. But when it went into the spin cycle and started to drain out its water, it pumped it back into the machine the dirty water instead of draining it out, and dirtied the clothes again with the dirty water. We do the same with soiled memories; we have an opportunity to eliminate these old thoughts when they come up.”

 

Old anger thoughts often push up and out as illness in the body, sluggishness and fatigue. We must take care of our consciousness, or our souls if you will, as well as our bodies.

 

Thoughts occupy space; you might not think that that a tiny, dried-up old thought inside of you is going to come through all those layers of the years. But they do.

 

“A man bought a brand new trash can for his house. He always put the trash in bags and tied them tightly. Yet, when he opened the lid, it would almost knock him over with the smell. He couldn’t understand why. Finally he got brave enough to stick his head in that trash can and look around. He found a little piece of rotten banana peel about the size of a dime.”

 

You might think, “Well, I have so many good thoughts inside of my mind. But, occasionally one of those old thoughts creeps up. Surely, if I push that back down and don’t deal with it, it won’t hurt the rest of the thoughts because I’m getting more good thoughts all the time.”

 

One small thought inside can pollute you. Now is the time that we must also do a mental housecleaning.

 

You have authority! You have authority over every thought and feeling within you. Take the reins of those out-of-control thoughts. Every night before going to bed, deal with the thoughts that have not been up to the Christ standard about you that day. Simply say, “NO!”

 

I’m going to close with these words from Romans 12:2: Do not be conformed to this world, BUT BE TRANSFORMED by the renewing of your mind. that you may prove what is good and acceptable and perfect of God.

 

There were lots of other princesses that slept on that bed. They probably didn’t have a good night’s sleep either. But they didn’t want to admit it. Therefore, they didn’t get to marry the prince. We are in this life to become better on the inside; it is our hidden curriculum, but it will also reflect for all to see.

 

Jesus provides the way, the truth, the life. Drink from His cup and release those old dried up hurts. A little dried up pea does not need to keep you awake at night.

 

It is time to stop tossing and turning. Start enjoying life. Life is a joy. Live each day that way.

 

Rest well.

 

 

Pray with me.

 

Dear God,   I ask that old embedded thoughts will come up and out so that I have an opportunity to examine each.
Help me now to empower and strengthen myself through Your grace to follow this process. Help me realize that old thoughts, as they come up, are disarmed and defenseless. They have no power to hurt me. Help us, Father, to be empowered during this process. Help us to smile again in all areas of our life.

 

Lord, I depend on you as I begin this process. Let me walk with You through the recesses of my mind and clean the interior of my cup. Help the cleansing and let the renewal be at hand.

 

Praise be to You, O Lord.

 

In Jesus Christ’s name . . . Amen.

Mothers’ Memory Boxes

Today, or Sunday if you are reading this early, we celebrate the woman who birthed us and gave us life. Most of us have or had Mothers who raised us and taught us to be moral, honest, wise, loving, and nurturing. Some were not as lucky and those we hold in our hearts.

 

I remember when my daughter or my son would bring me a special gift. It may have been a twisted piece of yarn from my crocheting days, or a piece of construction paper carefully cut out with kindergarten scissors (I would be told it was an angel or a car or something) that had no true identity at all. Do you remember when your child brought home a picture of his/her hand trace on a piece of construction paper and decorated as a turkey. Ahh – memories. I cherished each and saved these little tokens (even the rocks) for years.

 

Just a few months ago, my grandson gave me a yellow cut up piece of paper that said “love you.” He said it was an angel. It so reminded me of his mother’s gifts to me. (I think it said love you but he is in kindergarten and he had cut through a part of it – so who knows). I have it in my drawer and will keep it forever. Whatever the gift, we mothers cherish them so much, and it brings tears to our eyes to receive from our children and our grandchildren any and all types of gifts because it tells us that they truly do love us.

 

And as they grew, the gifts became more elaborate – a piece of wood with holes drilled in it or a piece of cloth with long ties sewn to it that was to be an apron. And we all received a dandelion flower each spring. I loved to hold it up to my child’s chin and show him how he also turned yellow. “This means you love butter” was the Pennsylvania way it was done. I know this because my mother and grandmother did that to me when I was so little.

 

These gifts are made with pure joy, pure selflessness, and with no thought of return. These are made and given just for the sake of giving. Maybe that is why they are so valuable to us and a while ago to our own mothers and maybe your mother still enjoys that. Maybe your mother kept a box. Maybe your mother kept a drawer. When you opened this box, or this drawer, you found it was full of her priceless treasures. And my father did the same, I must say.

 

So what I am getting at here is that as we celebrate Mother’s Day we remember our Mother and all she did for us, never thinking about herself – just keeping us in her heart and safe. There seems to be nothing as precious or as sacred as the gift from a small child. It is especially so on Mother’s Day.

 

Here is a story from a man that touches my heart. “A sound came from across the hall. It came from a very small child. The first sound he heard was the child crying. This child cried and cried and cried. Then he heard some adults talking outside of the room. It was quiet for a few moments, and then he heard the mother talking to the child. Then came the precious gift – the baby started laughing. Do you remember the laughter of a baby? There is no sound in this universe like it.

 

That sound touched his very soul. At that moment, he knew everything was all right in God’s world. Have you ever been in that situation when you just know that everything is all right with the world? He knew, in that instant, that everything was all right. He felt such joy in his heart. Remembering your own mother when she tried to make you laugh is a precious gift.

 

He could not help but think about the mother and how wonderful the mother must have felt to hear the baby laugh that night.

 

Motherhood is such a wonderful experience! Motherhood can and should be wonderful.

 

But we also recognize how difficult motherhood can be.

 

How difficult it must have been to be a Biblical mother. Let me give a couple of examples–one from the Old Testament and one from the New Testament.

 

Think about Sarah in the Old Testament. One day, Sarah was sitting in a side room while God’s spokesperson and Abraham were talking. Sarah was listening to the conversation when God said to Abraham: “Your wife, Sarah, is going to have a baby.”

 

Here is Sarah, well beyond childbearing age. She started laughing. She thought this was the funniest thing she had ever heard. She thought this was impossible.

 

Imagine, if you can, that you are mature, and at the age of 60 or 70 or 80 or 90, you discover that you are pregnant. Wouldn’t that get your attention?

 

She is the wife of Abraham. Sarah has been told that she is going to be the mother of a great nation. They describe Sarah as being an elderly lady, well beyond childbearing age. She is going to be the mother of a great nation?

 

She figures God knows what God is doing, so she sends her servant to Abraham (her husband) and tells him to have children with the servant. He does that, but that was not what God had in mind.

 

Genesis 16:1-3 (NIV) 16 Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children. But she had an Egyptian slave named Hagar; 2 so she said to Abram, “The LORD has kept me from having children. Go, sleep with my slave; perhaps I can build a family through her.”
Abram agreed to what Sarai said. 3 So after Abram had been living in Canaan ten years, Sarai his wife took her Egyptian slave Hagar and gave her to her husband to be his wife.

 

It could not have been easy to be Sarah. She had many trials in her woman and motherhood times.

 

Consider Mary, the mother of Jesus. Consider the difficult time Mary had to have had. First you had the young unwed teenage girl. It is a small town and it is a virgin birth. What would she tell Joseph, an older man – would he believe her? And then she had to go with him, pregnant, all the way to Bethlehem to pay his tax. And to make it even more difficult, her baby was born in a stable.

 

It could not have been easy being a mother in Biblical times. It is not easy being a mother today. Maybe we, as parents, have not always done the kinds of things that we wanted to do.

 

When people talk about their children they say, “Oh, I would do things so differently now. It would be so different, now, if I could just raise them again. I made a lot of mistakes when my kids were growing up.” I do not know if you have ever made that statement, but I have said it and thought it many times.

 

All parents regret some period of time. I am sure you regret some things you have done with your children. It is not easy to be a parent.

 

If you have some regrets, you might just check with your kids and see what their memories are of that thing you regret. It could be one of the most special times in their lives. Maybe you do not even have cause to have regrets. But if they are there, maybe it is time we do some healing work with God’s gentle help.

 

I have always regretted that as a single mother I often worked three jobs and had little at home time. I once mentioned this to my now grown children and they saw a whole different view. They saw me as the best soccer cheerleader in the stands. They saw me at every soccer practice and game and at every gymnastics event. They saw me making their favorite dinner and making them eat their spinach. They saw me clean up their illness events and scrub the room. They saw me cry when they graduated from kindergarten, 6th grade, and high school, and even college. They knew that even when they got in trouble, I was always there – even if I had to do the “tough love” act. Even if my heart was breaking at the time, I knew what I had to do. And years later, my son once told me that I saved his life by not bailing him out of trouble and sending him away to rehab. How I cried over that.

Or the time I brought my daughter home from a bad situation she could not get out of. She also looks back on that and realizes how I risked so much totally out of love.  Motherhood is not always jelly beans and roses.

 

Romans 5:3-5 (NKJV) 3 And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; 4 and perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

 

My point is that our children see things totally different than we do. Where we see regret, they see total love and joy. They knew even then. So, today, let’s all put a smile on our faces and enjoy the memories, the gifts, the love.

 

The older I get, the more aware I am that there is nothing as precious as family. It is the most precious thing you have in life.

 

“CNN reported a study that showed that experiences more than possessions bring lasting happiness.”

 

Watching daytime television reality talk shows can be revealing. This one program was about “mothers and daughters and how the mothers wanted to kick their daughters out of the house, and some had already done so.

 

Most of these mother and daughter discussions showed that all they really wanted was to get back together, again. There were a lot of regrets there, and they just wanted forgiveness and to bring the family unit back together. Maybe it was time to bring about some forgiveness and some love in that situation.”

 

Let’s get back to the joy. Let’s get back to that box of memories or drawer of memories, or whatever you have with all those special memories in it—the pieces of this and that, the construction paper with the hand on it, the paper doily heart, even your kids’ report cards.

 

Isaiah 60:4-6 (NIV) 4 “Lift up your eyes and look about you:
All assemble and come to you; your sons come from afar,
and your daughters are carried on the hip.   5 Then you will look and be radiant,  your heart will throb and swell with joy;…..

 

Do you remember going through your mother’s memory drawer as a child, do you remember saying, “Mom, what are you saving all that stuff for?” You just knew your mother would bring it out and show it to others at the most embarrassing moment.

 

What kinds of things do you have in your memory box? Remember the sacredness of the construction paper, the doily, the wood, and the yarn? Remember the sacredness of the children?

 

So, on this Mother’s Day, I want to acknowledge all the mothers out there. I want to wish you the greatest day in all the world. I hope today is a special, wonderful day for you.

 

Those of you with children, especially very small children, I want you to do something today. Give thanks for the simple joys of the experiences of life. All too soon, they will be grown up, doing their own things with their own families. Memories are God’s gifts; they can be some of our most valuable possessions So hold on to them, dearly, today.

 

Mothers know the truth about their children. Those are sacred, sacred people. Remember what Jesus said about them: “To such belongs the kingdom of God.”

 

So let’s say this prayer for every mother on this Mother’s Day

:

Let Us look up to God and realize these wishes as we pray:

 

Today, I wish you small hands made out of construction paper. And today, I wish you hearts made out of doilies. Today, I wish you a child’s picture glued to the back of a wooden block. And today, I wish you flowers made of tissue paper. But most of all, today, I wish you the laughter of a child when you are hurting the most.

 

If there are any regrets in your life, today, I wish you a love and a compassion and a forgiveness that can only come from the grace of God.

 

For you mothers, I wish you special God’s blessings on this day. Always, God is there to help you. You have but to turn to God, in thought and prayer, to feel God’s loving, reassuring presence.

 

As you love with an everlasting love, realize that you are loved with an everlasting love, direct from God. Always, God says to you, “You are my beloved. I am here. I care about you.”

 

Always, we pray that God’s power is with you and within you; we pray that God’s help is at hand. We pray that you turn to God in prayer and feel an upsurge of faith, and that you realize again that you are not alone; you know that with God, you can do all things.

 

We pray that you know you are never alone.

 

“Ever, always, night and day, you are enfolded in the love of God. Ever, always, night and day, you are surrounded by the light of God. Ever, always, night and day, you have your breath and being in the life of God.”

 

As it says in Psalms 139:7, “Whither shall I go from Thy Spirit? Or whither shall I flee from thy presence?”

 

May all Mothers feel His Spirit upon them today and always.

 

In Jesus Christ’s name. . . Amen

Speak To Me Only of Goodness

I begin by reading from Kahlil Gibran’s book The Prophet:

 

And then a scholar said, Speak of Talking.

 

And he answered, saying:

 

You talk when you cease to be at peace with your thoughts;

 

And when you can no longer dwell in the solitude of your heart, you live in your lips, and sound is a diversion and a pastime.”       Kahlil Gibran

 

 

An old Chinese proverb says, “We have two ears and two eyes but one tongue in order that we may see and hear twice as much as we speak.”

 

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The most powerful vehicles we have are the words within our minds. They are the tools that create all the experiences of our lives. We always are using the power of the spoken word; and sometimes, we don’t even realize it.

 

What we need to realize is what are the words we are speaking – – what kinds of conditions or experiences do we create with our minds.

 

Have you ever stopped to think that our lives are the results of the words that we speak.

 

Scripture says this: “By thy words, thou shalt be justified and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.”

 

Does God condemn us by our words?

 

No. We condemn ourselves by the words we speak – and we do it continuously by what we say and what we believe. Our words become reality because as we proclaim things in words either out loud or to ourselves, it starts to happen.

 

“One man went to his Minister for help. He had many health problems. In a short while, it was quite evident to the Minister that this man was excessively negative. The Minister invited the man to affirm this next statement 20 times a day: EACH DAY I AM HEALTHIER AND HEALTHIER.

 

Well, the man returned in a week looking and feeling much worse.

 

His complaint this time was that he couldn’t use the affirmation very well because he kept losing count. The Minister said, “Well, take a string and tie 20 knots in that string.
Every time you say the statement, move your fingers down to another knot and you won’t have to count.

 

The man left pleased. When he came back the third time, he was looking worse than ever.
”What are you doing?” asked the Minister. “Just what you told me,” said the man.
”Twenty times a day I say, ‘Each Day I’m Getting Healthier and Healthier . . . knot.’”

 

He was negating every positive statement that he made. This is a funny story, but I hope it hits home and makes a point for your life,

 

When you listen to yourself, I pray that you will hear wonderful/ positive things; not frightening /negative things. The problem is, a lot of people say and believe very negative thing about themselves.

 

They are their own worst enemy. Are you? Am I?

 

Matthew 12:36 (NIV) 36 But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken.

 

They are constantly talking themselves down. Then they come to a friend or a Minister for prayer and the Minister prays with them. But, the Minister cannot change a whole lifetime of negative thought about themselves unless they want to change. They have to want to change. Many do not want to change and enjoy being miserable.

 

I’ll give you an example. Let’s say that every moment of the day, every day of the week, you talked and believed negative things about yourself. Then you came to me, and we prayed.

 

“That is like if we had a huge tub of water here, the size of a bathtub, and the water is at 70 degrees. Then, we pour in one glass of 90 degree water. It’s not going to change the temperature of the water that much.”

 

Prayer changes you, not God. You must align your awareness with God. Yet to do that, you have to go the extra mile and change all the other thoughts that are negating that prayer inside of you.

 

What are you saying to yourself? What are speaking aloud to others about yourself?

 

Now, let’s suppose, after you have actually gone that extra mile, “that I have a tub of water at 70 degrees and I pour in a lot of 90 degree water. Pretty soon, all the water is going to be 90 degrees. So, that spiritual temperature inside of you will raise towards God’s awareness as you begin, through the power – of your spoken word, (both audibly and silently), to raise your consciousness.

 

In order to change your consciousness by using prayer, you will involve using all the levels in your mind.

 

To be born again is an ongoing activity. We are experiencing a rebirth within our spiritual thought, and that includes how we think and how we speak.

 

The conscious level of our mind is our awareness. We are aware of many things, right now. As you’re sitting here reading this, you’re also thinking about what is for lunch, what you may be doing today or what you did do today. And you’re thinking about many other things. This is your awareness, right now. We all have multiple thoughts.

 

“Then we have a sub-conscious level of our mind that is everything that is stored up from the past. It is our memory. Your conscious and your sub-conscious combine together to make your field of awareness. This is when you can say, “ I know what I know.”

 

The mind has another level also.. That is what we call – your super-conscious level of the mind. This is that part in you where spiritual inspiration comes.”

 

Have you ever sat down to write a letter or an email and you don’t know quite what you are going to write to this friend. All of a sudden the words are coming and you are writing that letter. Or maybe you are at work and you start to work on a business plan, but have no idea how to start. But as you get into it, the ideas come to you. That’s God working in your life in a very practical way – through your mind.

 

I’ll give you another practical example. I want you to imagine that the screen of your computer can be compared to the conscious level of your mind. It allows you to display the data with which you presently work. This data is called up from the memory of the computer.

 

The memory is like the sub-conscious level of your mind.

 

And then, connected to your computer is a modem. That is the part of the computer that allows you to connect with any database anywhere in the world, via the Internet. This could be compared to the super-conscious level in your mind that allows you to tap into the all-knowing God.

 

Let’s look at our illustration that we are a three-fold being. We are Spirit. We are also soul. We are also body.

 

Your body is the expressing part of your soul. The soul includes the conscious and sub-conscious minds. Soul makes the body. The body is an outer clothing of the soul. Bodily health is in exact correspondence to the health of your soul.

 

Now, how do we raise the health of our soul? Well, we program our human computer differently.
Through the power of the spoken word, we say yes and no to our thoughts. We say no to negative thinking. And we affirm inspirations saying YES that come from the super-conscious level.  The result inside of you is an overall uplifting of your entire awareness system.

 

Saying no—Jesus said, “Let all your words be yes, yes or no, no.” Why did He say that?   Jesus knows we have that God-given power, inside of us, to take control of our own mind. Jesus was giving us the power that has been held secret for the ages.

 

He was saying, “You can say no to what you don’t want in your life and it will leave.
You will evict it from your mind. You have a God-given power to reject unwanted habits and addictions. And you will say yes to what you do want, and it will become part of your mind and life.”

 

When we speak, when we decree, we program our inner-computer. Thoughts held in the mind manifest after their kind in body and in our lives. In other words – what happens in the mind happens in the body.

 

Here is a story that makes this point more practical. And it is a true story. “A man in New York always said, ”I always miss cabs. The taxi invariably pulls away just as I arrive.” And, of course, he always misses taxis.

 

His daughter watched this all of her life. Now she says, “I ALWAYS catch taxis. The cab is sure to come just as I get there.” And, of course, she always catches taxis.

 

Well, are we praying to the “great taxi God?” No. We are becoming more aware. The man who misses taxis totally expects to miss taxis, so he does. He brings it to pass.

 

What are you expecting to miss in your life?

 

Maybe it’s your physical health. Maybe your parents had illness so you also believe that you will inherit it. Or maybe your parents were not as successful as they always wanted to be, and therefore you believe that you can’t be a success.

 

How is your mind programmed? Can you change it?

 

Yes! You can change it today. No matter what you were yesterday—this is a brand new day, and you make the choice – both consciously and spiritually through the power of your spoken words. Then it is time to take positive action.

 

There are trillions of cells in our body and mind, and they hear you when you speak – it is like an audience. More importantly you have the “ear” of God.

 

Have you ever had an old-fashioned chat with a friend?

 

“This “old-fashioned chat” means getting together with a friend and that “old-fashioned chat”.  would contain about 500-1,000 destructive words. The principle topic would be, “Poor Me”on the part of your friend: loss, lack, failure and sickness.

 

Your reply should be, “No thank you. I’ve had enough old-fashioned chats in my life.
And they’re too expensive. I would be glad to come over and have a new-fashioned chat with you and talk about what we want; not what we do not want or what we are dreading in our life.”

 

 

A person can only dare to use his or her words for three purposes: to bless, to heal and to prosper others AND themselves.

 

 

We often leave out ourselves. We can see this for others, but we have to think about ourselves.

 

There’s an old farmer’s saying: “Curses, like chickens, come home to roost.”

 

Are you cursing yourself? If so, they’re going to come home. It’s going to be like the boomerang. It’s going to go out from you and it’s going to come back, hitting you.

 

In the Bible it says, “Thou shalt decree a thing and it shall be established unto thee.”
It is the Truth about you, today. This works. And it works in the cathedral of your life, in the temple of your body.

 

All around there are forces that we cannot see; forces that directly affect us. These forces are the forces of God who is all good. And these are just waiting for you to call them forth. They will not respond unless you call them forth. Make yourself a vessel of their creation.

 

Think about all your words actually coming alive. . Well, your words do come alive. “Our words are like King Kong and our body and mind like Fay Wray. We are creating these monsters with our own mind, our own thoughts, and they are attacking us.” That spiritual part of us is trying to hold these monsters at bay by using only positive, loving thoughts. Who is going to win the battle?

 

Psalm 141:3-4 (NIV)
3 Set a guard over my mouth, LORD;
keep watch over the door of my lips.
4 Do not let my heart be drawn to what is evil
so that I take part in wicked deeds
along with those who are evildoers;
do not let me eat their delicacies.

 

 

Here is another story that illustrates my point. “A man was driving in the country late at night when one of the tires on his car went flat. He had a spare tire, but he didn’t have a jack. It seemed that the only thing to do was to walk back to the nearest farmhouse and borrow a jack. So, he got out of his car and started to walk.

 

On the walk, he talked to himself. “It’s so late, they’ll all be asleep. They won’t like a stranger who awakens them. Since they don’t know me, why would they trust me with their jack? Maybe they don’t even have one. Why, out of meanness they’ll probably refuse to let me have their jack.” He rang the doorbell. He had talked himself into such a state that when the door was answered, he shouted, “I don’t want your silly jack anyway!”

 

Try to give every sentence this test – “Would a loving God speak this to me?” Say that to yourself every time you speak.

 

Psalm 1:1-6 (NIV) 1 Blessed is the one
who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
or sit in the company of mockers,
2 but whose delight is in the law of the LORD,
and who meditates on his law day and night.
3 That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
whatever they do prospers.
4 Not so the wicked!
They are like chaff
that the wind blows away.
5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.
6 For the LORD watches over the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked leads to destruction.

 

This week, I invite you to join me in forming a positive words club. I encourage everyone reading this to commit to only speaking positively to ourselves, to others, and with each other when you come together with friends and family.

 

A profound difference in the way you feel and the effect that you have on others will start taking place. 

 

When you meet a friend on the roadside or in the marketplace, let the Spirit in you move your lips and direct your tongue.

Let the voice within your voice speak to the ear of his ear;

For his soul will keep the truth of your heart as the taste of the wine is remembered when the color is forgotten and the vessel is no more.” – Kahlil Gibran

 

I close with Luke 21:15: “For I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which none of your adversities [that are inside of you] shall be able to withstand.”

 

God Bless You.

 

Pray with me.

 

I pray that you will pray and meditate on these words. Let these words be your words.

 

Lord, help me to let go of worn-out conditions and worn-out things. Let the perfect and Divine order be established in my mind, my body, my tongue, and the situations of my life. Let it be that I speak in my mind and in my spoken word – only positive, loving thoughts.

 

Help my tide of destiny turn and everything come my way. Blow the winds of success From North, South, East and West and let them come for my and others endless good.

 

Let me realize without a doubt that The Christ is now risen in my life. I follow God. I now fulfill my destiny. I am awake to my good, and I gather in the harvest of endless opportunities.

 

Isaiah 55:11 states, “It shall not return unto me void, but shall accomplish that where unto it is sent.”

 

Now, With the power of the belief in the spoken word, with the power in the belief of the teachings of Jesus Christ, the Truth of God surrounding me, and the Truth of God’s actions going through me, I give thanks and send love and blessings to each of you.

 

In Jesus Christ’s name. . . Amen.