Psalm 145:1-9 – I will extol you, my God and King, and bless your name forever and ever. Every day I will bless you and praise your name forever and ever.
Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised, and his greatness is unsearchable
One generation shall commend your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts.
On the glorious splendor of your majesty, and on your wondrous works, I will meditate.
They shall speak of the might of your awesome deeds, and I will declare your greatness.
They shall pour forth the fame of your abundant goodness and shall sing aloud of your righteousness. The Lord is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
The Lord is good to all, and his mercy is over all that he has made.
You, too, can find God.
The Bible says you are in the image of God. Do you know what that means? Your life can be a reflection of God. a model of God, a picture, and an illustration of God’s works, if you choose to be. But, you can become that picture in just one way and that is by doing what Jesus said to do, allowing God to come through you. When people look at you, they will see goodness because you are so filled with spiritual traits.
When we are facing problems and challenges, we often forget about what should be number one in our lives and that is God. We feel sorry for ourselves and, often, feel victimized, pacing back and forth, looking for answers that we rarely find.
Have you ever heard this story? “A spider built his web in a barn, high among the rafters. The spider started by spinning a long, thin thread attached to the end of one of the beams. With this thread still attached, the spider jumped off the beam and spun out more thread on the way down, until it reached the place it had planned as the center of the web. From the center, it then spun out other threads like the spokes of a wheel, attaching each end of them to the walls and other places. Finally, there was an exquisitely made web that caught many fine, fat flies. But the spider grew fat, lazy, and vain.
One day, while admiring the web it had spun, the spider noticed the long fine thread it had first spun from the top beam and said, “I wonder what that is for? I can’t imagine why I ever put it there; it doesn’t catch any flies.” And so, on a sudden impulse, the spider broke it. But, as a result, the whole, wonderful web collapsed. The spider had forgotten that the one thread – the link to the strongest beam above – supported the whole web.”
And just like that spider, we forget our spiritual support, our connection to God. It’s important to take time to remind ourselves of that connection, fully and completely, that you are strongly connected with God, He who holds your life in perfect order.
When we accept the idea that there are impossibilities and defeats, we allow ourselves to be cut off from God; yes, we do it. To have a bright future we must hold fast to our connection with God.
We teach about becoming what Jesus taught, to make your daily life truly better. We follow Jesus and become what He taught us to become. So, we give ourselves to the world and become a light to the world. This is what our churches and other religious organizations do and what each of us individually need to do. We become that light in the darkness.
Actually, deep down we do believe that if God is in our lives we will create a better future. God working in and through us creates that “light.” And that is the key. We just bury it deep within ourselves and forget, unfortunately.
This is all true! We have spiritual instincts that give us this truth. “We come to church; we read our books; we are inspired and we know how to live a better life. Yet, so many times those human thoughts arise inside of us. The “I can’t,” or the “I would do this, but,” or “If it wasn’t for this in my life I could do it.” So many excuses, so many blame frames.
Here is a true example. There was a fourth-grade classroom. It looked like many other fourth-grade classrooms. Students sat in five rows of six desks. The teacher’s desk was in the front and faced the students. The bulletin board featured student work. In most respects, it appeared to be a typically traditional elementary classroom. Yet, something seemed different in THIS classroom. There seemed to be an undercurrent of excitement.
Donna, the teacher, was a veteran, small-town Michigan school-teacher, only two years away from retirement. In addition, she was a volunteer participant in a county-wide staff development project. The training focused on ideas that would empower students to feel good about themselves, and to take charge of their lives.
The observer in this classroom said, “I took a seat in the back of the room and watched. All the students were working on a task, filling a sheet of notebook paper with thoughts and ideas.” The ten-year-old student closest to him was filling her page with “I can’ts.”
“I can’t kick the soccer ball past second base.” “I can’t do long division with more than three numerals.” “I can’t get Debbie to like me.”
Her page was half full and she showed no signs of letting up. She worked on with determination and persistence. Walking down the row, glancing at students’ papers, everyone was writing sentences, describing things they could not do.
“I can’t do ten push-ups.” “I can’t hit one over the left-field fence.” “I can’t eat only one cookie.”
By this time, the activity engaged his curiosity, so he decided to check with the teacher to see what was going on. As he approached her, he noticed she, too, was busy writing. He felt it best not to interrupt.
“I can’t get John’s mother to come in for a teacher conference.” “I can’t get my daughter to put gas in the car.” “I can’t get Alan to use words instead of fists.”
Thwarted in his efforts to determine why students and teacher were dwelling on the negative instead of writing the more positive “I can” statements, he returned to his seat and continued his observations.
Students wrote for another ten minutes. Most filled their pages. Some started another.
“Finish the one you’re on and don’t start a new one,” were the instructions the teacher used to signal the end of the activity. Students were then instructed to fold their papers in half and bring them to the front. When the students reached the teacher’s desk, they placed their “I can’t” statements into an empty shoe box.
When all of the student papers were collected, the teacher added hers. She put the lid on the box, tucked it under her arm and headed out the door and down the hall.
The students followed the teacher, the observer followed the students.
Halfway down the hall, the procession stopped. The teacher entered the custodian’s room, rummaged around, and came out with a shovel. Shovel in one hand, shoebox in the other, the teacher marched the students out of the school to the farthest corner of the playground. There they began to dig.
They were going to bury their “I can’ts.” The digging took over ten minutes because most of the fourth graders wanted a turn. When the hole approached three feet deep, the digging ended. The box of “I can’ts” was placed in position at the bottom of the hole and quickly covered with dirt.
Thirty-one fourth-graders – 10 and 11 years old – stood around the freshly dug gravesite. Each had at least one page full of “I can’ts” in the shoe box, three feet under. So did their teacher.
At this point, the teacher announced, “Boys and girls, please join hands and bow your heads.” The students complied. They quickly formed a circle around the grave, creating a bond with their hands. They lowered their heads and waited. The teacher delivered the eulogy.
“Friends, we gather today to honor the memory of ‘I can’t.’ While he was with us on earth, he touched the lives of everyone, some more than others. His name, unfortunately, has been spoken in every public building – schools, city halls, state capitols, and yes, even the White House.
“We have provided ‘I can’t’ with a final resting place and a headstone that contains his epitaph. He is survived by his brothers and sister, ‘I can,’ ‘I will,’ and ‘I’m going to right away.’ They are not as well-known as their famous relative and are certainly not as strong and powerful, yet. Perhaps, some day, with your help, they will make an even bigger mark on the world.
“May ‘I can’t’ rest in peace and may everyone present pick up their lives and move forward in his absence. Amen.”
The man observing this said, “As I listened to the eulogy, I realized these students would never forget this day. The activity was symbolic, a metaphor for life. It was an experience that would stick with those students, forever, in their unconscious and conscious minds.”
Writing “I can’ts,” burying them, and hearing the eulogy was a major effort on the part of this teacher. And she was not done, yet. At the conclusion of the eulogy, she turned the students around, marched them back into the classroom, and held a wake.
They celebrated the passing of “I can’t” with cookies, popcorn, and fruit juices. The teacher made a huge tombstone that covered one wall. It said, “I can’t, RIP,” and the date. When a student forgot and said, “I can’t do this,” all the teacher had to do was point to the tombstone and they rephrased their statement.”
We are taught as young children to believe in limitation In our mind, we believe in limitation. We fool ourselves into thinking we are alone and somehow, we have to do it alone. We have to figure everything out alone. We have to climb over this mountain alone, heal our bodies alone. This is not true. I am telling you, today, as you read this, God is with you. You are not alone. It is impossible for you to be alone. God does not know the meaning of “I can’t.” With God, you can do anything, be anything, and overcome anything. You can BECAUSE GOD CAN!
We can have an I CAN vision of tomorrow when we focus on our Christian life/our Christian mind. Visions of our wonderful tomorrow, a positive tomorrow, is a very perhaps the most important thing we can do, especially when we are facing a difficult time, a challenge, a struggle.
The chief of a tribe of Indians was dying. He summoned his three sons and said, “I am dying and one of you must succeed me as the head of our tribe. I want each of you to climb our holy mountain and bring back something beautiful. The one whose gift is the most outstanding will succeed me.”
After several days, the sons returned. The first brought his father a flower which grew near the summit and was extremely rare and beautiful. The second son brought his father a stone which was colorful, smooth, and round, having been polished by rain and sandy winds. The third son’s hand was empty.
He said, “Father, I brought nothing back to show you. As I stood on top of the holy mountain, I saw that on the other side was a beautiful land filled with green pastures and a crystal lake. I have a vision of where our tribe could go for a better life. I was so overwhelmed by what I saw and by what I was thinking that I could not bring anything back.” The father replied, “You shall be our tribe’s new leader, for you have brought back the most precious thing of all – the gift of a vision for a better future.”
Many people believe that Christianity is always looking backward, reading the history knowing what happened but forgetting the impact of the truth that the holy Bible brings us, thus missing the whole point of Christianity. We should see the teaching of Christianity as a positive and powerful vision for a amazing future for ourselves and our loved ones because we have the belief, the faith that Christ promised us a better and breathtaking eternal world. When we focus on this, we realize what we can become by following Jesus Christ and obeying his teachings. What a special reality we have.
“We are a church OF Jesus Christ, not just ABOUT Jesus Christ.” There is a huge difference.
When we take and accept into our minds and hearts the words of Jesus, we know that they represent the truth. And this truth is not necessarily the words of a formulated doctrine of a specific church, or a creed of any denomination. The truth is what the Scripture says and what is written on our hearts and in our minds. It is the understanding and the knowing that sets us apart; it is of the truth and the justice that we recognize as the foundation of true life. “Whoever consecrates himself or herself to follow the inner monitor, the Spirit of Truth, and lives up to its promptings, regardless of social or commercial customs, has consecrated themselves to do God’s will, and they are fit to take Jesus’ words and make them their own. His words are then the spirit and life in us”.
We are not an experiment; we are not experimenting with Scripture. In order to follow this positive truth, we must have total sincerity, earnestness, positive motives, and a strong determination to understand and hold true the spiritual teachings. This will require time and patience and focus in order to apply our mind to the deeper meanings in Scripture.
People often have a way of speaking and living and dealing with Scripture and sacred messages that are just too superficial to be effective. They spin the words, toss them around juggle them in the air with an evangelical and strong voice, and let people know that these are the requirements for living a spiritual life. But this is only another form of the prayer wheel. In particular belief systems in several countries there is wheel. This wheel has all the prayers anyone would ever want to say inside of it, thousands of prayers. They hold the wheel up high and spin it. And in their belief that is the same as praying and sending your prayers to heaven. All this drama and they have not actually said one prayer.
The words of Jesus are much more important than a little wheel. These words from Jesus have special significance for our spiritual, our inner life. Once this inner life is alert and awakened, we can understand the meaning and touch of the words . But through your devotions, the sincere keeper of Jesus’ teachings will awaken this inner life of Spirit, and God will come to you and minister to you carefully.
Jesus said, “The words that I have spoken to you ARE spirit and life.” (John 6:63) and everyone is invited to become knowledgeable of these words, and become familiar with the Holy Spirit. What a wonderful world that becomes. Unless you perceive there is something more to the doctrine of Jesus than keeping up just an outer standard as preparation for salvation after death, you will fall short of being a real Christian.
A student of the Torah went to his teacher and announced that, in his opinion, he was now qualified for ordination as a rabbi. “What are your qualifications?” asked the sage.
The student replied, “I have disciplined my body so I can sleep on the ground, eat the grass of the field, and allow myself to be whipped three times a day.”
The sage said, “See that yonder white donkey? Be mindful that it sleeps on the ground, eats the grass of the field, and is whipped no less than three times, daily. Up to the present, you may qualify to be a donkey, but certainly not a rabbi.”
This story shows us that it’s not the outer things; it is the inner spiritual beliefs. It is when we are alive and are able to spread this excitement, this joy every single day. It’s like being a bright light that glows for ever and the energy comes from the energy of our Lord. We must always keep this light shining, not be afraid, not feel unprepared. Like the Boy Scouts say, “Be prepared.”
“Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish Thou the works of our hands upon us.” Psalms 90:17
In other words, may our work be the work of God, working through us.
Be the image of God in our homes, on our jobs, at the store, wherever we are let people know and feel your love, your smile, your peace. Let them feel God’s love through you. And this is how you share the truth with others. Live the life of a real Christian in action and attitude and they will know that you are a disciple, a representative of God. And that is how you tell people without saying a word, “do you know that I and Jesus loves you!”
God is counting on you and me! . We are the salt of the earth, the light of the world. We are the light in the darkness. Let our light shine and give away to all our love, our kindness, our truth, and others will want that truth for themselves.
Let us pray: “Gracious and almighty Father, thank you for your great works…especially for your greatest work for us in Jesus Christ. Thank you! The church and I repent of our slow, shy tongues when it comes to you. You have given us PLENTY to tell about you. So, bring it off my lips Lord, from my generation to the next…that my children and all my neighbors may hear… and that I may praise you every day, forever and ever. In Jesus’ name I ask this, amen.”
God loves us. Thank you, Lord.