A Christmas BLessing

In Him is Life, and the Life is the Light.

The light of all people shines on a bright Christmas morning. As the shepherds I the fields, the world is filled with wonder, the wonder of a grace-filled God born among us to suffer the hardships of mortal life. This is not just an experience for those of us who are called Christians. This light is for all people, all of God’s creation. Nothing can separate us from God’s Love and Grace. The Love that Jesus brings is so massive and so bright, we must close our eyes and see it with our hearts.

Only the majesty of this loving God can invite us to understand it, then, and only then, can we out our trust in the message that Jesus brings. As Christians, our God-given duty is to pray that others will be opened to realize and be strengthened by this Love. We must not force them to do so; we must only offer God’s invitation to do so. The Spirit of God is within us all to realize when we listen for His words with our open hearts.

Jesus asks that we love God, love ourselves, and love one another. We cannot love God, nor can we love Jesus, if we do not love one another. That means that no matter what a person looks like, what religion or gender that person is, or what color that person is, he/she is invited to hear the light of Jesus and the light of God wit their open hearts. If we do not love one another, we cannot absolutely love God, for God created all on this earth and love and respect for all His creation is all He asks of us. Remember, Love is the very character of God.

We spiritually climb to the heights of the His holy mountain to truly feel the warmth of Love that is all around us. We step carefully to show respect for God’s creation. We feel the warmth and bask in the light that only God can give, and Jesus can bring to us. The Lord our God will keep us from all harm and watch over us for eternity. This is the message of Jesus.

Godly Principles

It is said, “let godly principles guide.” Not so easy to do all the time, as I long ago discovered. We try to live according to God’s principles, but life gets in the way. In my life, my path of light to walk upon has been disturbed by my time in the military during the 1960s, my children crying in the night, and physical problems that have interrupted my path. Our mortal existence does not make walking on the lighted way shown by Jesus easy to navigate.

Thusly, I try a new way; I seek what God is asking of me today; how He is speaking to me about my wholeness with all of humanity, all of His sacred creation. In my morning meditation, I pray, I pledge my life to God’s will, I renew my faith in His loving comfort. But when I lack in conviction perhaps if I abandon the word faith and substitute the word certainty, I am better prepared to let godly principles guide. This substitutes a doubt with a conviction. Realizing this, I no longer walk in a desert of my life; although I plan my day and my life, I know that it is God who guides my steps, because I trust.

I accept God’s challenge to see others as He sees them, welcoming them into my life as a long-lost brother or sister. I accept Jesus’s invitation to share and allow God’s compassion to be realized by all. I pray for all to know that God’s will is not suffering, but goodness and life. We live by God’s power and with His power, we serve others, bringing them to love and goodness. Let our lives life through our hearts, keeping God’s peace and love. Our relationship with others as we walk Jesus’s lighted path is our only hope. We need our inter-relationships. Only together can we benefit from God.

© Russell Kendall Carter

Myths or Stories?

Many times, I ask the question if there is a difference between a story and a myth. Modern language classifies a myth as something imagined, not real, a story of lore that people created to answer a question. In olden times, a myth represented a truth, something that occurred in the past to explain why or how something occurred and what the meaning was.

A story, on the other hand, creates a remembrance of an historical past, sometimes fancified to make a point, sometimes sanctified to create an ism. A story can be true or fiction, can instruct or amuse, but will always make a point. I see the similarity.

When I read the Bible, the first story we read, hear, and are taught, is the story of Adam and Eve. Is this a true story, a mythical story, or just something someone created to explain the relationship between God and man? There were no cameras in the garden, nor were there scribes writing everything down. Is the story of the Garden of Eden true or myth? That, my friends, is up to you and how you believe.

I can tell you a story of my life; I lived it, experiencing every event as I remember it. How much is true and how much is imagined we may never be known. Even the memory of these events changes over time in my mind. I ask if a certain element is true or has my current situation altered my definition of what occurred. Is my life a story or a myth?

Is God a myth? Well, if I think of it as the ancients did, I say no, God is not a myth. The story of God and His relationship with humanity is especially important to me. However, I do not take all of the stories literally; the scribes who wrote the words in our Bible were describing things as they learned them, stories handed down through the centuries; all stories are important to me. Are they true? To me some are absolutely true, but some are what I would call modern day myths that are related to bring my thinking into what I refer to as spiritual enlightenment. All stories in the Bible have a meaning to me, whether myth or fact. The messages contained in them are as true today as several thousand years ago.

And to be perfectly honest, spiritual enlightenment itself may be a myth in my own mind. When I read the story of Jesus in the Garden before His arrest, however, I cry. I can feel and hear the anguish in His voice as He asks Abba if this cup can be taken from Him. This is not a myth; this is a human begging his father for relief from what is to come. It is something I have asked God many times; but as with Jesus, God lifts me from my anguish and heals me, bringing me into a new life.

My Bible contains 84 books, including the Apocrypha; each is a unique story, and within each are many stories; myths? Maybe, but stories that I revisit daily because there is truth in their telling.

The period of Lent is fast upon us. We revisit our own journey in the desert during this time; our forty days are for us for self-examination, repentance, and returning to the heart of God. We relate to the temptations and loneliness that Jesus experienced. We are all Jesus in the wilderness.

We emulate Jesus in this time to attain our destinies, or at least as far as our earthly existence permits. We are as broken as Jesus was in these days; our healing by God confirms that we are at one with Him and all of His creation. – if we are to become truly whole, unbroken units – we must feel and know ourselves to be one, not only with God and humanity, but also with nature. Our hearts open to love all of humanity, all of God’s creation.

Just as Jesus was named as God’s son after baptism by John, we are named as God’s children when Jesus rises from His tomb to live within us.

Fruits of the Spirit

The Fruit of the Holy Spirit is Love, Kindness, and Faith. With these, we grow in understanding the true value of the fruit of the Spirit. We sing with joy when God assures us that He is our refuge and strength and present when help is sorely needed.

When we do God’s will, we are His disciples, always caring, always giving. It is all He asks of us. We practice our caring as Jesus did; He was not just concerned with the soul of a person; He was also very concerned with the health of the physical body. This is so evident in His healings. We care for the entire person.

Our days of searching through prayer are blessed when we  share our concerns and the concerns of others. As we have these conversation, many questions are raised and at times answered. We always await God’s response knowing that He does not work on our time; there is no time in God’s world; there is only eternity.

When we understand this, we stop demanding certain results, knowing that the clarity of God’s Love and caring is our security blanket. When we give ourselves fully to God’s wishes, we are rewarded with the knowledge that we have shared the blessings we receive with all people, and if we really care, with all of God’s creation. We are God’s church, bringing love and comfort to our neighbors in all of humanity.

God bonds us together in Love; let us respond in kind. Let us share the fruits of God’s Spirit.

Becoming Unveiled to Trepidation

By the end of each day, I feel that I am a lost sheep from the turmoil of our tumultuous days. It is like I have been set adrift on a sea of danger. I meditate to rediscover the anchor that secures me to God’s goodness. I long for quietude; letting go of my false assumptions, I turn to God and accept His guidance. I again find the exhilarating brightness of God’s Light and Truth, accepting the mystery of my relationship with my Lord.

God looks into my heart and the veil of doubts is removed by His Love. I retire to my bed comforted by this revelation that is open to me in His light. My nightly rest is free from dreams of misfortune and apprehension. When I awaken to the new day, I am refreshed and solidly on the path that Jesus walked, loving my known and unknow friends. I praise the Lord for His Love and Comfort.

Direction and Discernment

Truth will come with the Holy Spirit and will guide me onto the path of righteousness. What will I do today for life is very complicated. Following Jesus, I know that I must keep my life simple, love God, love others and myself. In my meditation I search for the One who brings Truth. I search for the spiritual truth and when finding it, I know that my direction will be beneficial to all.

I recognize the differences in all of my brothers and sisters, but I know that they also are created in God’s image and offer me the chance to see the true source of Revelation. In the midst of the hard times in our society, I avoid the temptations that keep us separated from each other; I recognize God’s goodness and love in all whom I meet. I do not withhold the love I feel toward each of the different people I meet. When doing this, I gain a lifelong friend.

The goodness of all people shines within me; I am truly blessed. I may not fully understand all of the teachings of Jesus, but I know that by divining the true direction God wants me to follow through the blessings of Jesus, I am on the correct direction for my life. May the love of God and the Wisdom of Jesus shine in me for me to share with others.

© Russell Kendall Carter

Messengers

Become a Messenger

God spoke to the Israelites through messengers, called prophets. It did not matter what the Israelites did, God sent them blessings and sometimes punishments. Looking back at that time, I sometimes feel that God was harsh towards his chosen people, but most of the time, I also yearn for that type of simplicity and dependence on God in our present society.

We also learn in John, that the Word was made flesh, and through Jesus, we are blessed to experience the full Grace and Truth that God offers us. Jesus remains a partner in our lives if we only remain quiet enough to hear His loving words. He is the Word.

I am blessed to have the time each day to scrub the current problematic thoughts from my head to have an open conversation with our Lord. During my daily faith readings and meditation, I can eliminate the distractions in my life and turn to God for his presence each morning. This allows me to avoid those overwhelming thoughts and feelings that permeate our moral lives.

Presently, I know that as a single human, I am weak, but with the faith of others around me, I am blessed with their presence and the added benefit of God within us all. Gracious God, I pray that Your light continues to brighten my life and allow me to continue to share this light with all whom I meet. Allow me to be Your messenger.

© Russell Kendall Carter

What’s in a Name

Jesus in Name

Whether we refer to our Lord as Jesus or Yeshua, the meanings are identical; Yeshua delivers and Jesus rescues, this according to Hebrew meanings. I prefer Yeshua, only because I think it brings me closer to what the early first and second century Christians prayed whether in cities or in exile in the deserts of Israel or Egypt.

We rejoice that God directed Mary to name her child what she did. It is a pronounceable and understandable name for God. Either name is easy to say and remember. When our lips form His name, we are taken to a place that is filled with wonder and salvation. This name glorifies us in God’s Love.

When we bring Yeshua into our hearts, we dwell in the glorious realm of Jesus’s home, a simple dwelling, lacking in any ornate trimmings. Although the room is bland, there are no walls; we enter and are amazed at the beauty of God’s creation within. We also notice that there are so many people that we cannot count them, nor can we miss that there is a variety of skin tones, and couples vary according to gender. It is an open and welcome place.

There is no darkness in this room; there is no strife in this room. When we enter this room, we are no longer in the desert of despair and want. We know we are welcome because everyone is happy and secure in their stations. We are led to this divine room by the eternal Love of Yeshua and His Father. We say His name in prayer and are transformed.

© Russell Kendall Carter

Prayer and Fasting

We make so many plans for our future that we sometimes forget that this fine-tuning often goes to naught. We forget to take our plans to the One who matters. We forget that God is always at hand and His message comes through our hearts before it surfaces in our mortal thoughts. This is the way He seems to hide from us always.

In our darkness when thinking of the future, God is there to pave the way. We are now contending with a vicious virus that dims the future for us and all humanity, but we are freshened when we feel God’s hands caressing our hearts, assuring us that all will be well. For most of us, we need the darkness to find the light of God.

Remember back when we were mere children; we did not have a care in the world. Our days were filled with small thoughts, a few chores, and lots of fun with other kids in the neighborhood. Our minds were at ease, because we had no thoughts of the future. I sometimes think that this is the way God wants us to be, even in our adult years. I recall the words of Jesus, “anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”

Does this have any meaning for us today? It should! Jesus asks us to put aside our daily mortal worries and live in the present. To achieve any degree of ease, we must think as a child. The universe is at our hands. The universe is eternal, therefore, we must live in the eternal, we must live and think in eternity, for eternity is the only real existence.

My challenge is to bring the eternity of God’s presence into my daily life to live and prosper in the only way it matters. My enemy is hunger, hunger for assurance that what I am matters, what I am is beneficial to others and not just a selfish existence. I am thirsty for God’s assurance, but if I think in terms of eternity, my enemy is small; it is God’s eternity that matters. I pray and fast each day for God’s comfort.

© Russell Kendall Carter

Trust in God

A Prayer for a New Year

God meets all my needs, bringing the richness of Jesus’s Glory to my doorstep. As God became the Father to Israel, like Israel, I am His son. He speaks to me through His daughter, Truth, and She gives me my holy reward. I trust my sole provider. My faith grows as the proverbial mustard seed. Therefore, God gives me Hope when hope is hiding.

When my life is empty, my soul calls out for God’s intent and purpose. I open my heart for the awareness of His bountiful provisions. I grow wrapped in the comfort and promise of His Love. He blesses me with Christ’s presence in my life. As Jesus forgives those who hung Him on that tree, I forgive those who harm me. In this, I obtain the inheritance of His word.

His manifestation brings all things His creation. There is remarkable Hope in my realization that all is not lost according to Christ. He brings all to me with His transforming Love. I feel deep internal change when I practice silence and stillness in my life. When I walk in Christ’s holy light, my awareness of the plight of those long forgotten by society scorches my very soul, knowing that I am a part of a society that denies the pluralism of God’s world.

I am refreshed, knowing that nothing is lost in God’s eyes, and all I must do is work to lift those oppressed by selfish egotism. God gives me Hope that what I do, and other champions of God’s word will help to help our brothers and sisters, who are also worthy of the best of God’s creation, rise from the oppression of the cruel despot, greed.

Abba, give me the strength to spread your light to the world.

© Russell Kendall Carter

Living in Simplicity

What is God saying to me today? Am I growing in prayer for all humanity?

Where can I improve my relationships with others, with Jesus, with God?

These are questions I ask myself every day. My goal is to rename myself; The Lord is Here. I open my Bible, read whatever chapter falls open; this is always random. I then turn to my Bible in a Year App and Read the selections for the day. Then I look to the other inspirational sites I read each morning. I take my pen and my daily diary and jot notes from each of these.

Then I put all aside and begin my morning meditation which includes a prayer of thanksgiving for my life and those dear to me. I invite God into my heart and meditate on my relationship with God and God’s relationship with me. At times, worldly issues delay my immersion. All the while, I am deep in conversation with God, our eternal Abba.

Eventually, I know that you and I are marvelously made and fully known to God. I pray for assistance to practice this all day long. I keep it simple – I try to see the face of God in all whom I meet. My desire is to assure that my relations with all are wrapped in one simple word – Love. Love comes from God into my heart. It’s that easy. 

When this is complete, I open my word document and write in my blog. Something simple, such as this, will appear the next day. I also write a short poem on my topic for the morning:

Take your favorite pen;

find a blank page in your diary.

Hear the knock; open the door;

let God enter your heart,

and the marvelous city

of simplicity will enter.

© Russell Kendall Carter