Extra Mercy Jubilee Day Is Here! How shall we spend it (really, invest it)!

“This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24

Isn’t it great? Imagine! In this Jubilee Year of Mercy, we have been given an extra day to receive the Mercy of the Lord–in receiving His Precious Body and Blood, in receiving His healing forgiveness in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, in performing spiritual and corporal works of mercy, and in countless other ways!

Yes! Inasmuch as 2016 is a leap year, we have 366 days–one extra day–to immerse ourselves in God’s Mercy. We thank the Lord for His amazing timing!

Let’s not miss the chance! Let’s plan–purposely and purposefully–to spend—no, better yet, to invest–that day.

In terms of the calendar, the extra day is today, Monday, February 29th, but we can choose any day this year to be our extra Mercy day. We might choose a day before November 20th when the Jubilee Year ends. Or we might choose a day after then in order to give thanks for the Jubilee Year just ended.

As we choose our extra Mercy day, we might consider personally significant spiritual milestone days, such as our Baptism, First Holy Communion, First Confession, Confirmation, Marriage, Ordination, or the dates on which a parent or child was called home to the Lord. Or we might consider Liturgical Feast Days that are especially close to our heart.

As we consider which day to spend (really, to invest), and how to spend (really, to invest) it, please allow me to share one experience.

A number of years ago, after my “conversion experience” (as I call my spiritual reawakening following a head-on crash with a pick-up truck), I wanted and “needed” to spend a quiet day with the Lord. I choose the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus as the day to “treat” the Lord with my spending an isolated “vacation day” from work to spend totally with Him.

(I hope you get the ridiculous prideful irony in that; in my thinking I would grace the Lord! Good thing He is Meek and Humble of Heart; not only did He tolerate my nonsense, but He actually rewarded it, treating me to a permanently closer relationship with Him.)

Spiritual book, pen and notebook, and Rosary in hand, I headed to a local monastery for Mass and to spend the day. What a humbling, eye-opening experience that day with the Lord turned out to be!

Young expectant mothers, mothers of all ages pushing strollers or carrying infants, well-dressed business men and women, elderly men and women struggling with physical challenges–the steady stream of those who came to worship the Lord during the day was simultaneously humbling and edifying.

…I was speechless; as I had gone about my work life each day, I had no idea what was happening in that monastery.

“Late have I loved You.” To borrow the words of St. Augustine in his masterpiece work Confessions, as I watched so many “ordinary” men and women (I stopped counting at two hundred) who had gone out of their way to worship the Lord, I felt such regret for years of closeness to the Lord missed, not because of the Lord’s choice, but because of mine.

I regretted never having taken my children–born or unborn–to visit the Lord, to be blessed by Him outside Sunday or Holy Day Mass. Never had I spent a lunch hour in His Presence. Never had I spent quiet time in His Eucharistic Presence without being obligated to do so.

Fortunately, “… with the Lord is mercy, with Him is plenteous redemption.” (Psalm 130:7)

And so, in truth, with the Lord, we always have a chance to change our ways; to begin again. In that light, that vacation day, I wasn’t so much gifting my time to the Lord as, given that I made myself available to the Lord, He was gifting Himself to me. Rather than “spending” time with the Lord, I was investing my time in His Mercy. And what an amazing investment that was…It still is bearing fruit!

Truthfully, that day was the best vacation day I ever chose to spend anywhere with anyone! That day spent quietly being edified by seeing how much the Lord is loved made me want to love Him more. Like being the child taken to work on “Bring your son or daughter to work day,” I got to see Him “at work–being Himself” in a whole different light. I got to see how much He is trusted and how available He is to brothers and sisters of all different ages and circumstances who seek Him.

Inasmuch as His Cross has a vertical beam–reaching up to God in worship, as well as a horizontal beam–reaching out to our brothers and sisters, we might choose to spend the extra Mercy day focusing on either or both beams.

Rather than spending the day in the Lord’s Eucharistic Presence, as I had chosen to do on His Feast Day, we might choose to perform spiritual and corporal works of mercy. In that regard, we might even feel called to invest our extra day volunteering at a shelter or food pantry, spending more quality time with our family, visiting a sick person or even those in a prison facility, or in other ways ministering to those who are lonely or suffering.

Whatever we choose to do, let us make a decision now, ahead of time, to make a commitment how to purposely use and not to squander the extra day we are receiving, most Providentially, during this Jubilee Year of Mercy.

And, please, if you have ideas, experiences, or intentions about how best to invest our extra Mercy day, please let us know so that we might follow your lead. Thank you! The Lord is amazing and awesome in His inspirations to His beloved children! Let us help each other benefit from them.

“This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24

Whatever we do, let us rejoice in the Lord’s Mercy and spread that joy, not only on this year’s extra day, but on every day to everyone we meet!

 

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mindfulness

Spiritual Journey framed

This week’s focus word comes compliments of Violet N. Please join us; please share your reflection. Thank you!

 

In the context of being one on a journey home to the Father, mindfulness, to me, connotes full consciousness, awareness, and a deliberateness of thought that lets me know whether what I am thinking, saying, and doing leads to Him or away from Him—that facilitates forward progress or loss of yards to use two football expressions.

In order to act with mindfulness, I’m thinking I need to have a full mind. So…., of what should my mind be full?

Ideally, it will be full of what Jesus’ mind is full…. And yet, my mind is limited (understatement!) in its capacity to think as God thinks:

“… My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55: 8-9)

What God revealed in the Old Testament about His thoughts versus our thoughts still holds true in the New Testament. In Mark 8:33, for example, Jesus even admonished St. Peter for thinking like man and not like God.

Admittedly, then, hard as I try, I simply cannot have the same Infinite Mindset as has Jesus.

Yet, Jesus said He came to teach us “everything [He] learned from [His] Father” (John 15:15). In that light, I think, Jesus wants to reveal His Mind to us; He wants us to think His thoughts.

Thus, while referring to and acknowledging the reality of Isaiah 40:13, St. Paul could say what has to be possible for Jesus’ disciples, with the aid of His Holy Spirit:

“For ‘who has known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him?’ But we have the mind of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 2:16)

Acknowledging my limitations, then, nonetheless, I need to try immersing myself in the teachings of Christ so that I might know what thoughts please Him; lead to Him and through Him—to the Father.

In this Jubilee Year of Mercy, for example, we are being asked to have a heightened awareness of God’s Mercy, which Jesus spoke about and modeled. I think it’s  not impossible to know what Jesus thinks about works of mercy. In fact, He made it clear that  showing mercy to our brothers and sisters (as He described in the Beatitudes and in the Final Judgment) is the litmus test of being His faithful disciple.

I know, too, that Jesus kept things simple. He reduced the laws to two: Love God. Love neighbor as love self. …Whatever conforms with that love leads me forward; whatever rebels against/violates that love leads me backwards….( forward progress or loss of yards).

I know, too, that Jesus came to do His Father’s Holy Will. He came to serve. He came to obey. And through His obedience, He saved us.

“Have among yourselves the same attitude that is also yours in Christ Jesus, Who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God something to be grasped. Rather, he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; and found human in appearance he humbled himself becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross.” (Phil. 2: 5-8)

And while it is a tall order for me to keep on top of holy mindfulness–that is consciously, deliberately doing what St. Paul admonishes in 2 Corinthians 10:5: “…take every thought captive in obedience to Christ”– it seems easier (less intimidating, less onerous, actually pleasant!) for me to have the mindfulness St. Paul describes in Philippians 2:8:

“…whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”

So that is what I will do. I will be mindful of the Word of God, Who is Jesus, and I will think about Him. And based on those thoughts, whatever resultant things I think, say, or do–please God–will be with a mindfulness that is in conformity with His thinking.

Whew!

 

 

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Delight

 

Spiritual Journey framed

DELIGHT is our focus word, compliments of Irene L.  Please join us.

 

Delight. Here’s what I’m thinking. There’s no greater joy this side of Paradise than delighting in the Lord–the kind of joy that led Pentecost onlookers to question the Spirit-filled apostles’ and disciples’ sobriety.

Sometimes I’ve experienced that kind of joy while worshiping Him solitarily and silently.

Other times, I’ve been caught up in that kind of joy while worshiping Him in community, especially amid hymns of praise and thanksgiving.

You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence… (Ps. 16:11)

How blessed we are that our God allows us to enter into His Presence, to worship Him.

Given how Infinitely Loving, Majestic, Good is our God…no wonder that there is delight in His Presence!

What is especially humbling to ponder is that this Infinitely Majestic God would delight in His creatures!

The Lord, your God, is in your midst,
    a warrior Who gives victory;
He will rejoice over you with gladness,
    He will renew you in His Love;
He will exult over you with loud singing.      (Zephaniah 3:17)

How Infinitely Loving and Good God is to deign to delight in us–to sing over us.  Imagine!

And even more humbling for me–more difficult to wrap my head around; to really accept is to imagine those words personally directed at me. Sometimes I find God’s Infinite Unconditional Love overwhelming.  Maybe because I feel incapable or unwilling to reciprocate, even to the fullest extent of the limited way I am able…Foolish pride. False humility.

Today’s focus word reminds me of the reciprocity involved in making a spiritual journey with and toward an All-Loving God.

To be delighted in by the Lord, and to delight in Him, always! what an amazing way to journey–even during Lent.

You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence… (Ps. 16:11)

Delightful!

 

 

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Intent

Spiritual Journey framed

This week’s focus word is compliments of L.A. Eck: Intent

 

Sometimes I play a solitaire-incentive game. “Do [this or that chore],” I tell myself, “and then you can [do this or that discretionary activity].”

Sounds reasonable, even maturely responsible, don’t you think?

Problem is that the discretionary activity usually involves some relationship activity that I really should do–something I’ve intended to do; even promised to do.

Something I’ve told a friend I would do. Something like making a touch-base phone call; sending a birthday, get well, or some other greeting card; sending an email response, or formalizing and finalizing get-together plans.

“The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” (disputed origin)

Intended good left undone. I repent, and I promise myself that next time I will do better. That I will keep my word, a la my father’s mantra: “A man is only as good as his word” (also disputed origin); and Robert W. Service’s admonition, which my father also quoted: “A promise made is a debt unpaid.”

Regardless of all the good intentions and a lifetime of oft-spoken inspirations, sorry to say, more times than not, the greeting cards stay unsigned, emails unsent; the phone calls remain unmade; the get-together plans do not get together.

St. Paul admitted: “…I do not do the good I want, but I do the evil I do not want.” (Romans 7:19)

Hmm…At least I’m in good company; not that St. Paul’s admission excuses my behavior. No. Absolutely not.

Why do I delay, defer, disregard? …Laziness, indifference, inertia…. who knows! (Might as well blame satan, too, don’t you think! Not that I doubt for one minute that he instigates and absolutely revels in sabotaging the fulfillment of our good intentions.)

“The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” (disputed origin)

And, yes, I know that “… the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7)–the intent; the intentions, but somehow, I’m thinking that without extenuating circumstances or legitimate impediments, I’m not getting partial credit for social obligation promises broken and social obligation responsibilities unfulfilled, no matter how good or genuine my intentions were.

Perhaps not quite as bad as breaking promises made in the intended recipient’s hearing, I think, are those charitable intentions made “only” in one’s heart. Although, given that the Lord knows everything we think, feel, say, and do–or not–I think it’s still not a good thing I do to “intend,” even to myself, and then not follow through.

What about you? Do you find yourself having similar spiritual journey challenges? If not–or if you’ve overcome them, please advise! Thanks and God bless you!

 

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(blind) Faith?

Spiritual Journey framed

This week’s focus word: (blind) Faith comes compliments of Justin S. Please join us at Spiritual Journey Thursday. Thank you!

 

Given that I like to ponder, I looked ahead at the SJT list that Holly shared, and started jotting down some thoughts for the first few OLW.

This week’s OLW, I admit, has been more challenging than any of the others. Truthfully, I’m not sure that I’ve fully processed yet what I think I want to say, but as of this time and day, here’s what I’ve determined. Truthfully, too, of all the SJT posts I’ve written this one is the only one I am not “happy” with. Maybe because what I am about to share seems counter-intuitive or counter-expectation. Of course, (blind) Faith is an admirable, expected aspect of my spiritual (faith) journey!

…Or is it?

First, I needed to remove the parentheses in order to explore directly the idea of Blind Faith. I couldn’t—choose not to—reflect on the construct “(blind) Faith.” Was that construct made to elicit a likely or possible inference? (Do I think faith is necessarily understood as being blind?) Or was that construct communicating an implication (Of course, faith is understood to be blind). For purposes of this reflection, “Blind Faith” is the focus word for my reflection.

Once upon a time, I thought that Blind Faith was an ideal kind of faith. Blind faith as in the kind of faith that children display; the kind of faith, then, that Jesus presumably calls us to display, too. Or does He? Is blind faith implied or required to live Jesus’ imperative found in this quotation:

“Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:3).

At this moment, the older I get, I don’t think that blind faith is what I aspire to have. I don’t think that blind faith, as I am defining it in this reflection, is a necessary component of being child-like; thus, I don’t think that blind faith is what Jesus is seeking from me at this stage of my spiritual development/faith journey. After considerable reflection and soul-searching, here’s why.

Faith as I am defining it in this reflection denotes belief, specifically belief in God, reflected in a creed to which I profess belief, and at this stage of my life, I don’t want blind belief, the unknowing belief that I had as a child, when I believed what I was told to believe without knowing what the beliefs meant. Not that that kind of blind faith was a “bad” thing for me to have. No. Quite the contrary. I am very grateful that the grownups in my life transmitted a faith—a credo belief system–that gave me a foundation.

…In fact, I’m very glad that my parents did not do what a particular pair of neighbors did–despite the neighbors’  best intentions. They decided not to “impose” any religion on their children, saying that their children could investigate and explore religions as adults. Therefore, they did not introduce their children to any formal religion.

I remember the wonderful commentary I once heard a religious speaker give to that kind of well-meaning thinking. “Would you refuse to feed your child until they were old enough to decide what they would like to eat and could afford to buy their own food?”  …I’m so very glad and grateful that I was not starved, but fed!

…Back to blind faith…Having blindly believed as a child, I blindly believed as an adult, too. And then as I came into contact with individuals with different beliefs or negative beliefs, I really couldn’t defend my faith, because I really did not know what I believed. Yes, I knew the words to the creed, but I didn’t know the truths behind the words. I needed to grow up, to be accountable for believing, for knowing what I believed.

That is not to say that I fully understand the mysteries of God inherent in the creed I profess each week. No. Faith would not be faith if all were understood. But the un-blind faith I am talking about is the adult faith that says, I assent. I willingly, knowingly profess belief, even taking into account areas of unknowing or understanding in terms of those beliefs. I have made a deliberate, conscious, knowing decision and commitment to believe in a set of expressed beliefs about God, others, and myself.

In that context, my eyes of faith are not blind, nor closed. My eyes are wide open, looking toward the eyes of my Triune God, and I am saying, “I believe. I don’t understand all, but I know what I am asked to believe about You and the tenets of my faith, and I willingly do so. Credo. I believe.”

And then I am closing my eyes, putting my hands into Theirs, and I am (to the best of my ability) blindly trusting in my Triune God. And at this stage of my life, it is the blind trust (which others might call “blind faith”) that is challenging–oh so very challenging for me!

Once, during our weekly Scripture-sharing lunch, a colleague shared a scenario-story from his minister, the response to which was intended to reveal our faith, hope, and love relationship with Jesus.

Play along, if you will. (This scenario was shared pre-cell phone, so calling for help is not an optional response to the dilemma.)

Imagine that you’re driving through a deserted area when your car gets a flat tire. Jesus is your passenger. What action do you expect Him to take?

a.)  miraculously inflate the tire

b.) wait with you, alongside the road, until a passing car stops to help

c.) walk with you the miles it takes to find a gas station

That little scenario revealed a major flaw in my thought-relationship with Jesus.

For in my naivete, I didn’t like any of those answers. No. When traveling with Jesus, I didn’t expect to get a flat tire. And when I did, it set up into a number of questions. Doesn’t Jesus love me enough to keep something “bad” from happening to me? My trust in Him and my sense of His love for me was totally rattled. My faith wasn’t. I never questioned that Jesus had the Infinite Power to keep something “bad” from happening. I suppose some would call that “blind faith”; I prefer to call it “total faith” or “strong faith” or “unshakeable faith.” Always with eyes opened to conscious belief.

That scenario and the gentle, correcting feedback from the other members of the Scripture-sharing group when I confided my response, helped me to mature in faith. No more “blind faith,” if that’s what it is when one closes one’s eyes to human reality and expects Jesus to flex His Infinity. Not that I close my eyes and trust that with Jesus nothing “bad” will happen in the natural sense, but eyes fully open, with eyes on Him, knowing/believing His Word and His Promises that if I am doing my best to live according to His Holy Will, no matter what happens to me—no matter how apparently “bad” it is, He will turn it to good.

“Blind Faith”? No. I think that Jesus appreciates even more the open-eyed faith that has been tested, the faith that doesn’t go to Him eyes closed, but eyes open. The faith that recognizes and accepts that there will be persecutions. The faith that recognizes that what was done to the Him, the green, will be more done to us (Cf. Luke 23:31) …and goes to Him and follows Him—believes in Him, in His Holy Word, anyway.

The same person who shared the scenario that helped my faith mature, helped me again when I was struggling with whether to stay with the company or leave. I confided in him that I was afraid to make the wrong decision, and desperately wanted assurance to know proof-positive from God what to do.  What my colleague believed about God–the truth about God– led to his being able to trust God. His faith-response, his belief in God as a Loving Father, gave me great hope. Faith and hope; they are inextricably connected, I think.

“If you pray and do your best, God will be there for you no matter what choice you make, when either choice is good. He is for you. He gives you the freedom to choose. He will not abandon you. Even if He would have preferred that you had made the other choice, He will honor your choice. He will not abandon you or punish you. Don’t worry. You can’t go wrong. If you stay or if you go, God will be with you.”

I needed to hear that, to believe that, to know that there is latitude, that there is not one and only one way of doing God’s Will. Believing in His Goodness, I didn’t need to close my eyes and do what was safest, apparently most pleasing; I could put my hand in the Hand of God and trust He would come or stay with me.

A version of “blind man’s buff” is a good faith-building exercise that catechists sometimes use; it has its place, but open-eyes, conscious, deliberate, putting one’s hand in the Lord’s for Him to lead and sometimes taking the first step in darkness trusting that unseen, He will be there is no longer blind faith to me, it’s closed-eyed (“blind”) confident, faith-tested, seasoned trust.

Absolute Faith; Steadfast Faith; Zaccheus Faith: Yes!  Nevertheless, Blind Faith? I still can’t embrace that expression. I think that an adult faith is not static, since there is always more and deeper to know and therefore to believe about God, it is a living and growing/deepening faith to which I aspire.

Blind Faith in God–no. But please do help me with my closed-eyed, no-matter-what, unconditional (blind, if you will) TRUST in Him, born out of faith and love.

And sometimes, after moments of praise and thanksgiving, it’s good—Selah style, I’m beginning to think–to accompany the closed eyes with closed lips and open ears, waiting on the Lord.

 

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Selah

Spiritual Journey framed

SELAH …Today’s focus word comes compliments of SJT community member M.H.

SELAH!! …I satisfied my curiosity once, looking up the meaning of Selah. Apparently, I didn’t do a good enough job because I can’t say for sure, with any semblance of convinced certainty, what the words means. However, instead of looking up the word, I will take the chance that one of the other SJT community members will expound on it, and I will take my reflective time to share something I’ve been looking for the appropriate time and place to share.

With my confessor’s recommendation, this year, I am [supposed to be] prayerfully reading one psalm every day. Every time I read a psalm or listen to an Old Testament reading at Mass, I am reminded of the debt of gratitude I feel toward my Jewish brothers and sisters.

Inasmuch as God does not revoke His gifts, they remain His Chosen People, even if we Christians have become the New Israel. In His Human Nature, Jesus was Jewish. That is enough reason for me to want to know about Jewish culture, to better understand the life and times of my Savior. His Mother was Jewish, His Apostles were Jewish. Christianity, I think, is the full-flowering of Judaism–of humankind’s expression of faith, hope, and love for the Triune God.

I LOVE the Old Testament priestly blessing that is sometimes given at Mass, and that religious orders like the Franciscans use as part of their charism:

“The Lord bless you, and keep you; the Lord make His face shine on you, and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up His countenance on you, and give you His peace.” (Numbers 6:24-26)

This is my prayer for each of us this year. (Maybe another post, I will reflect on the words of that prayer which I love so much that I have it posted in more than one room in my house.)

SELAH! If I recall correctly, that is a word of joyful emphasis. I look forward to reading other SJT posts today to find out for sure. (I could be wrong, but it reminds me of the US Marine’s affirmative “Hurrah!”)

Meanwhile, thank you for indulging me in letting me share my love, respect, and gratitude for Jewish witness. I pray that the Lord will bless His Jewish people and keep them, and one day, please God, may they accept Jesus for Who He is, as we believe in Him.

More than once I have been blessed to have Jewish colleagues as part of our Scripture sharing groups. Their reverence for God, even to not speaking His Name is something to emulate at at time when the Lord’s Name is so taken in vain! Their reverence for the Holy Name of God is a strong reminder, too, of how blessed we are to be invited into a personal relationship with God through Jesus, Who invites us to have His Name always on our lips!

SELAH!!

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Gift; Give; I’m here: Present

 

Spiritual Journey framed

This week’s SJT word, compliments of M. Simon, one of the SJT community members is, Present.

Present as in a gift.

Present  as in to give.

Present as in I am here, in attendance.

 

Here goes a reflection weaving all three meanings.

As a fellow student, as well as a teacher, I have heard my share of “Here’s” and “Present’s” in response to attendance roll calls.

Until I began noodling for this post, I never had considered the difference between those two responses in a spiritual journey sense, in the sense that, as we journey through life on this Earth, in what we might consider God’s living and learning laboratory, school or classroom; we accept or reject His teaching, with Him and His delegated teachers.

We can be truant. We can stay after for remedial assistance. We can be good students or not.

“Here I am, Lord,” notwithstanding, to be “here,” in God’s classroom, as in “Look, God, I’m here,” it seems to me can be self-congratulatory, and perhaps even presumptively passive. “Okay, now, teach me.”

On the other hand, to be “present” to God, it seems to me is a more active response to God’s presence, even as we are more humble, more submissive. “I’m receptive. I’m listening. I’m here. I want to learn. Please teach me.”

The gift of being present to God is really a gift to ourselves, since we are actively open to God’s action in our lives.

When we give the gift of ourselves to God, we come to realize that God has been gifting Himself to us. He has been loving us into loving Him, teaching us to be good disciples, good students.

What a great God we serve! He Who needs nothing or no one outside Himself not only presents Himself to us, but He delights when we present ourselves to Him.

In the end, we know the final exam. Have we made a gift to others of our presents and our presence–our time, talent, and treasure? (Cf. Matt. 25: 31-46)

As a social studies teacher, I regularly gave students the essay questions ahead of time. Students thought it was too good to be true. I assured them not only were the questions I gave them truly “those” questions that would appear on the test, but that they would have their choice of answering a set number from among those questions.

I told students that I believed testing was meant to be a learning experience. Since I was testing them on the most important concepts, I wanted them to reflect on those concepts ahead of time. In return, I told students my expectations were elevated. No “bulling me.” Only one student tried snowing me. Every other student I can honestly say wrote a thoughtful response to each question chosen to answer.

Now that I am much further along in my spiritual journey than I was when I started teaching, in retrospect I wonder: subconsciously, did I model my testing technique after the Lord’s? Did I take His technique of giving the test questions ahead of time to ramp up the results? No excuses. No: “I studied the wrong thing.” No: “I knew everything but what you asked me about.” No excuses.

The Lord has given us the same challenge and opportunity. He has raised the bar. Being present to Him provides the information, the modeling, the help we need to make it over the hurdle. If the final exam were a playground game, this isn’t the “Limbo” dance…how low can you go?—no, this is how high can you go to meeting the Lord’s expectations of loving Him and neighbor.

As I take my turn with practice runs, training to make it higher and higher over the hurdle, thanks for giving me a boost! Thanks for being present to me in the journey. Thanks for giving the gift of your faith, hope, and love!  Thanks for revealing His Presence to me. God bless you, and thank you so very much!

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