simplyenjoy


To begin again.

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Hanging head

unfold my heart

reveal light to broken twisted parts

reach for the sinners lost in strife

pull them into more new life

refresh, renew, hearts turned to You

Faith leads away from confusion

Your love is real –

All else is illusion.

a war for souls

in the hearts of men

Jesus, help your people to begin again.

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pleasure is a simple shift…

a cup of tea

a deep breath

a thankful prayer of gratitude

a snoring kitty

a knowing of hope

making room for more love

and only love.

accepting what is

what has been

and what is yet to come.

“Do not those who plot evil go astray? But those who plan what is good find love and faithfulness.” Proverbs 14:22

 

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Faith to move forward…

Philippians 3:12-14

12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal,

but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.

13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it.

But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,

14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which

God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

 

There is such power in prayer. God always meets all of our needs according to his perfect will when we pray in accordance with His will… when we trust Him and not try in our own strength to get everything right. God is God alone and I know He doesn’t depend on our prayers to help Him move and work, but God can do what He wants to do. And he knows exactly what we need.

I’m feeling so small in the world today, I guess. I am in awe of an omnipresent God who really loves us and hears us. It’s such a mysterious wonder.

Some very specific prayer requests I had last week were answered Saturday and yesterday and I just want to praise Him.

It was like everything bad that could happen happened at once… then this past weekend God just parted all the clouds…

and it was just a humbling reminder

that God is always in control

He always knows what He’s doing…

and we must trust Him through the difficulties…

And I am so grateful to live in a country

where I can truly worship freely

and speak the name of Jesus…

not in pushy, arrogant judgement…

but in healing, edifying, encouragement to those who need a good word.

Just as what was done to me yesterday…

I know my God answers prayers…

In His own way.

In His own time.

He already knows what we need for our families, for our homes, for our jobs, for our health… everything. He knows what we need. I’m choosing to trust God today.

 



The empirical experience of faith.

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:

Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;

rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.

And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross!

Philippians 2: 5-8 

A few posts ago I wrote on empirical versus clinical research in regards to behavior change and kicking old habits by sticking with them consistently for 21 days. To rehash it, the gist is that empirical evidence is based on results gathered through actions in practice, observation and experimentation. On the contrary, clinical research is a branch of medical science  that determines the safety and effectiveness of medications, devices, diagnostic products and treatment regimens intended for human use. These may be used for prevention.

So empirical evidence stands in contrast to the rationalist view under which reason or reflection alone is considered to be evidence for the truth or falsity of some propositions.  The senses are the primary source of empirical evidence. Although other sources of evidence, such as memory, and the testimony of others ultimately trace back to some sensory experience, they are considered to be secondary, or indirect.

So I’ve been reflecting on these two different types of evidence and research gathering methods in regards to faith-based belief systems. I see that since I was a young child I’ve been taught to put God first, to do the right things, to care about people, to think about others and to forgive and show compassion. As a child, this was simple and very natural. In preteen years it became more complicated and challenging to stay focused, but support and direction were always ever-present. In teenage years, it became even more challenging and temptation was more present in the form of boys, alcohol, drugs, cheating, skipping school, being distracted from purpose, work ethic and God. Also, at this time there was a large falling away from faith of some of the people closest to me within my circle of friends and in my family, and myself. (I guess this is just what they call “growing up” and learning.) It seemed that distraction and confusion was the norm. The clear, simple-to-follow golden rules of childhood melted away under the distracted, busy adolescent years going into the 20’s. So I also fell away from faith and for many years lived without outwardly expressing faith in Jesus, though I was always searching, studying and working to be a decent human being.

And I see, as we all move through our lifetimes and face challenges, obstacles and distractions from our faith, we are being tested, strengthened or shaped into the people God would have us to be.

But see, we have this element of free-will wired into us, and during all these events we’re constantly choosing our reactions and the path that we will take.

What does all this have to do with empirical evidence?

My faith in Jesus has been strengthened through the storms, trials and the falling away. It has shown me two ways of living: with Him and without Him. I see that without Him, drugs, sex, addiction, confusion, low-levels of health and poor habits were mastering my life and so many lives around me. I learned that with Him, I was stronger, making healthier connections with people, learning how to give back, to love, to lean on Him entirely and to rest in the perfect peace of his light yoke. The empirical evidence gathered by experiences, the observations of the experiences of others, my sight, my heart and my mind reactions began pointing me back to the truth of Jesus Christ.

I’m at the point in my faith where a lot of things slide off of my back. Because based on all the empirical evidence I’ve been gathering over the past 28 years I see that my faith and my story has absolutely nothing to do with anyone’s lack of faith or lack of belief. But it has everything to do with the ultimate sacrifice Jesus made when he gave Himself – totally – for the betterment of humankind. And my faith, my walk, my health has only been strengthened because of His mercy and His hand on my life. I see that God gets all the glory for saving me from a life of shame, anger, addiction and pain and for doing this for so many others. His grace truly is amazing.

This is why the Serenity Prayer is so powerful in recovery practice – recovery from abuse, recovery from drug and alcohol addiction, recovery from sex addiction, recovery from co-dependency or recovery from loss and the bereavement process. We truly must ask for discernment and wisdom in our walk to good health and a good life. This is why recovery is a process. It’s a daily walk.

We must ask God to weed out the poor influence, the low feelings, the hurt, the pain – we must ask Him to pull all of those things out and to help us change what it is we can change. He has to pull out the bad roots to allow his good seed to grow. We must use our free-will to assume control over the things we can control. Only the things we can control. And we ask for wisdom to know the difference. It’s amazing what this prayer can do. It’s amazing what God can do!

serenity

(Courtesy of Google images.)

Great scripture for meditating on wisdom:

Moral Benefits of Wisdom

Proverbs Chapter 2

2 My son, if you accept my words
and store up my commands within you,
turning your ear to wisdom
and applying your heart to understanding—
indeed, if you call out for insight
and cry aloud for understanding,
and if you look for it as for silver
and search for it as for hidden treasure,
then you will understand the fear of the Lord
and find the knowledge of God.
For the Lord gives wisdom;
from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.
He holds success in store for the upright,
he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless,
for he guards the course of the just
and protects the way of his faithful ones.

Then you will understand what is right and just
and fair—every good path.
10 For wisdom will enter your heart,
and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul.
11 Discretion will protect you,
and understanding will guard you.

12 Wisdom will save you from the ways of wicked men,
from men whose words are perverse,
13 who have left the straight paths
to walk in dark ways,
14 who delight in doing wrong
and rejoice in the perverseness of evil,
15 whose paths are crooked
and who are devious in their ways.

16 Wisdom will save you also from the adulterous woman,
from the wayward woman with her seductive words,
17 who has left the partner of her youth
and ignored the covenant she made before God.[a]
18 Surely her house leads down to death
and her paths to the spirits of the dead.
19 None who go to her return
or attain the paths of life.

20 Thus you will walk in the ways of the good
and keep to the paths of the righteous.
21 For the upright will live in the land,
and the blameless will remain in it;
22 but the wicked will be cut off from the land,
and the unfaithful will be torn from it.

 

weeds

(Courtesy of Google images.)



Joy enough.

Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is sacred to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength. Nehemiah 8: 10

on a ratty old sofa in a cozy apartment

I read in 1 Kings about Elijah

being fed angelic bread under a tree

as my cat hummed near my shoulder

plump and free.

New prayers released

New smiles stretched across same faces

at work and in community

I felt my legs walk steadily across the floor

My back and shoulders straight

My vision clear and arms reaching out…

to wash, and help, and cook, and mend, and write, respond, text and shop… 

So many actions capable,

while others limited by loss, by poor health, disability and diagnosis…

empty hands changing clothes and changing sheets and working, working, working…

How startling

to face the truth

day in and out

of human discomfort that so often is the same joy-giving life

 

which we dare to cherish.
allowing all the trials to be considered as joy
To face with faith
And endless love.

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Forgiveness and gratitude.

“Who is more grateful?” Jesus asked. (And I loosely, loosely quote.) “He who has been forgiven a $10 debt or he who has been forgiven  a $10,000 debt?”

If you are loved much, then love much.

If you think you are not loved much… I hope love will come. Love comes in many forms. Forgiveness. Charity. Generosity  Graciousness. Words of affirmation. Helping. Donating. Encouragement. Supporting. Listening. Sometimes silence. Sometimes even rebuke. But if you would notice, many of these methods are sacrificial in nature… requiring a bit of our “self” to disappear so more love can come through.

My belief is love is a choice we make every morning when we open our eyes. “Choose this day whom you will serve.”

Have you ever tried loving someone who seemed unlovable? Have you ever been unlovable?

If we are honest with ourselves we could probably recount many ways in which we were less than kind, less than honest, less than conscious of how our actions or lack of actions have hurt or offended another.

This excerpt below was taken from 2 Corinthians in the Bible. This is the apostle Paul addressing the church in Corinth and Christians throughout Achaia, the Roman province comprising all the territory of Greece south of Macedonia.

So I made up my mind that I would not make another painful visit to you. For if I grieve you, who is left to make me glad but you whom I have grieved? I wrote as I did, so that when I came I would not be distressed by those who should have made me rejoice. I had confidence in all of you, that you would all share my joy. For I wrote you out of great distress and anguish of heart and with many tears, not to grieve you but to let you know the depth of my love for you.

Forgiveness for the offender…

If anyone has caused grief, he has not so much grieved me as he has grieved all of you to some extent—not to put it too severely. The punishment inflicted on him by the majority is sufficient.Now instead, you ought to forgive and comfort him, so that he will not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. I urge you, therefore, to reaffirm your love for him. Another reason I wrote you was to see if you would stand the test and be obedient in everything. 10 Anyone you forgive, I also forgive. And what I have forgiven—if there was anything to forgive—I have forgiven in the sight of Christ for your sake…

Romans 13: 9-10 The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,” and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. 




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