Silent Listening

Silent Listening

 

Do you hear it, or

is it too noisy?

Are your thoughts

yelling, telling you

to get busy, no time to waste?

Is your cell phone buzzing

bringing unimportant tweets?

Listen now . . .

Is that a bird singing softly,

awakening you at sunrise,

bringing a message of life?

Are you tranquil enough,

to hear the silent knocking

at your door,

bringing comfort to your heart?

Can you sense the whisper

that we do not hear,

the whisper we can only feel,

deep inside,

so soft that you know,

you can only hear it in silence?

Listen in silence, for

these noiseless shouts

are God, loving you.

My Sabbatical

My Sabbath is Here.

My wife and I are taking a well-earned rest this weekend, enjoying sitting on the patio of our hotel at Virginia Beach. I am presently watching two teams playing volleyball just below our patio. Many people are walking the boardwalk and the surf line. I will do that later. I am also listening to the jets fly over us from the naval air station behind us, as they go out to sea for maneuvers and ship landings. They’re loud but not intrusive to my meditations of the beauty of God’s creations.

Not being a scientist, I am always amazed that the ocean and the tides continue day in and day out; I remember from my high school science that the position of the moon controls the tides. Although, I am probably remembering in error.

What I am thinking is that the beauty of the ocean, and the people enjoying the calmness of life in such an Edenic setting, is what brings us all to His majesty. I sit here watching and listening. The cawing of the terns reminds me that just because I am relaxing, the birds are in their constant search for food. Nature never rests.

We are very fortunate as humans to be able to store food to eat later; although I am watching a homeless man being escorted off hotel property. He entered to perhaps have a little food. We are too selfish to allow him to survive without paying. This is not God’s will. I am reminded of Jesus’s saying that what you do to the least of these, you do to me. I was Hungry and you did not feed me. Our Christian world is not following Jesus.

I thank God for his presence in our lives; I thank Him for the opportunity to sit back and relax. I pray to him that modern societies will discard the harsh covetous practices it has perfected and open our hearts to those left behind by greed. Please God, help us find our way.

Believing in Life

Believing in Life

In troubled times, it is too easy to be deflected and succumb to all that is wrong, all that is dreadful in the world. Remove these thoughts from your mind, forget those things that are not in your control, and believe in the wonderful majesty of something that is always with us. Feel the presence of God in your life; God is Life!

Every one of us is armed with two blessings in life. Primarily, we have the power of Love; this is not something that can be touched, but it is something that can be felt, internally. When we meet a person, who becomes our soul mate, we cannot shed, we do not want to shed the glorious feeling of completion in our very being. This is a blessing bestowed on us from God. It is magnificent.

The other gift we have is the power to comprehend. We are born with thinking brains and, through experience, we learn to distinguish between good and evil, between right and wrong. We are guided by parents, clergy, and God, but not necessarily in that order. We do learn that sometimes the first two try to lead us on the wrong path, but God never does. We must put our intellectual abilities in focus to accept the truth that God offers. There are many naysayers, but they only have superstition and fear on their side. God has Love.

When we surrender to the true path of Love, and I know this is a radical idea, we discover that this is the path of true Life, the Life that God gives. This is an experience that not only satisfies our intellectual ability, it also gives us that all over tingling feeling of true love.

I was born to parents who were totally different; my father was a man of faith, and my mother was an atheist. My father attended church every Sunday, and I never saw my mother enter a church except for the day I married. And, for years, I wavered back and forth between the two. I loved them both but could not follow either.

Eventually, I chose the path of my father. It was then that I learned true comfort, true serenity in my life. I no longer had disturbing sleep; I turned away from my addiction to cigarettes. I became the man my father always wanted me to be. I discovered Life; I discovered Love. God’s Life and God’s Life.

Intellectually, I continued my education ending in a doctorate degree in literature. I read just about everything, but I mainly read the writings of the first century Christians who were not influenced by 2000 years of western religious aggression. My faith increases every day, due to the knowledge, love, and life that these early prophets wrote of.

I believe I Life!  In my intellectual searching, I discovered that God is not the subject of my life, God is Life itself. Physically, I may be limited by the confines of my human body, but spiritually, I am powerful, knowing that the life of live is the Life God offers.

 

The Rich Man and Lazarus

Rich Man & Lazarus

The rich man is condemned to an eternity in the burning river of Hades. Lazarus, a poor man, ridden with sores across his body, is welcomed in heaven, enjoying all the goodness that God graces us with. Lazarus was a beggar, whom the rich man ignored all his life. When they both died, they received their just rewards; as Jesus taught, the first will be last and the last will be first. The rich man did not listen.

He learns from Abraham that he is to spend an eternity n the burning river and cannot be helped by anyone in heaven. He begs but he does not received God’s grace. He then asks that someone visits his brothers to warn them to be righteous and not so greedy. He cannot save himself, but he is trying to save his brothers.

He is denied this request with the answer that if they do not believe the prophets, even a messenger who returns to life after death, they will not heed the advice. How true this is; there are many in this world that deny the resurrection as a fable. They neither listen to the teachings of the prophets nor do they believe in the goodness of God. They do not share their blessings with others.

Nothing can save them. Like the rich man in this parable, they need to face an irreversible catastrophe to see the truth. Irreversible is the key.

To bring this to modern day, we have been warned by the experts on climate (i.e. the prophets) that our human civilization is destined for a catastrophe if we do not heed the messages that our out-of-control weather is sending us. The Earth is giving us forewarnings every day with greater intensified storms, earthquakes, and the ice caps at the poles melting. Soon, our coastal communities will begin to disappear; is this the irreversible catastrophe that we need to experience?

We are the rich man and the Earth is Lazarus. Let us reverse our present course and be good stewards of God’s world.

 

Serving Two Masters

Serving To Masters

We live in the kingdom of God. This is a kingdom that is perfect, if we allow it to be. We often confuse ourselves when we accept the worldly practices of humanity over the spirituality of the true existence. Many of us look to the wealthy and think that they are good people; we ask ourselves why else God would reward them with such wealth.

Their god is not the god of creation; their god is money. Wealth is truly the thing that separates us from ourselves and from God. It is what causes world-wide oppression, wars, and racism. The wealthy think that those who are not wealthy are not worthy. According to them worth is judged only by how much money a person has.

But this is not God’s plan. To live a happy and contented life, we assume the attitude of the open heart, determining what is best for everyone, and denying that there is a group referred by many as the other. The future of our humanity that we take up the cross of God’s passion for us, being shrewd stewards of His entire creation. We ignore the false importance of wealth and build our riches on the greatness of God.

If we have money, use it for the benefit of all humanity, not just a few overly egotistical minds that deny the existence of God’s great creation. We reject the attraction of egotistical wealth and enjoin our resources for the benefit of all. Our future and the future of our children beg that we ignore the pressures of the modern world and make an effort for a closer relationship with God. We are his stewards; let us act responsible.

 

 

It is Time

It is time.

Jesus hands a stone to those leaders and people who were ready to stone a woman for infidelity, asking, “He who is without sin can cast the first stone.” The crowd, the angry hypocritical crowd, disperses quickly, their tails between their legs in shame. Jesus then tells the woman that God forgives her, and she is to go and sin no more.

Is there a sin so heinous that God will not forgive? God loves all, accepts us all, and forgives all. Can we do any less? God forgives those on death row for the murders they commit. We should too, as Jesus did, forgive them so they will sin no more. They may still be incarcerated, but a stay in their executions will change their mental conditions so that they can benefit others also incarcerated.

This brings a greater question: do we live on God’s earth alone, in our own subliminal society? We sin when we allow our unwise decisions to overpower our duty to each other. Many people denounce, or ignore, the existence of God, saying that the goodness they do is not a gift of God, or from God. We do not live alone on this planet; we share our world with all other people, all other creatures, the hummingbird, and the butterfly, even with the lowly slug in our yards. We live with the newborn puppy, the kitten, the cockroach, and the rhinoceros. All creatures and plants in God’s creation are good. All the world is God. We can accept and respect all life. Our country violates every one of God’s commandments. We can change this.

It is time, Lord; it is time for us to reevaluate and reexamine our lives on earth; it is time to undo our selfishness. It is time, Lord. It is time for beg for your eternal forgiveness for the sins we have done.

 

 

My Thoughts are not Your Thoughts

“For My Thoughts are not Your Thoughts”

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, and your ways are not my ways. This is the very word of 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

We literally do not know what we are doing. To become a wise person, we cannot rely on our own thoughts and learning; we learn to listen, particularly to God. We are all students of life, learning as we age. God’s path leads to a wholeness that is unattainable by any other means. Our mistakes let us know what is incorrect and if we learn from them, we are well on our way to a healthy relationship with God.

If we are imperfect creatures, we are born of the flesh, and destined to die. Our efforts can help us lay down our defenses, surrendering ourselves to the will of God. Saying we are sorry and on the wrong path, is a beginning to start our efforts anew. This helps us climb from the hole life tries to put us in. Some people call this repentance; I call this faith in a loving God.

Prayer and meditation have guided me to the acceptance of a mind greater than my own. These two practices give me a path to realize that I do not have to carry the world on my shoulders. God tells me that if I open myself to something greater than myself, I am happier, more productive, and able to turn those against me to be in my corner. Jesus teaches if we defeat our opponents, we have lost; if we make them friends and work with them, we are walking on His lighted path. When I read “my thoughts are not your thoughts,” I am reminded that there is something much greater than self, and this is God, who only wants me to love Him and keep his commandments . . . and be happy.

 

 

Clothed in the Spirit

Clothed in the Spirit

Impossible? No, not if we open our hearts to what is truly real, not what is materially real. Isaiah remarks that we should try to revive the spirit of the humble. Humility is difficult in these times, when one is considered a failure if he is not a person of material wealth. I, personally, would be happier with spiritual wealth. We do not take our material wealth with us when we die. That is factual; what we don’t know is what happens to our spiritual life. This is what faith means in the end. Humility is not thinking that we are the center of life; we are only important when we join with others for the benefit of humanity.

Isaiah goes on to mention we should also revive the heart of the contrite. One definition of contrite is humble, another is repentant. Our prayers mention how repentant we are in Jesus’s name. Too many of us just recite these words from rote memory. I watch people in church recite these words while checking their cell phones. Contrition is not on view in these people’s faces or hearts. My other observation is that maybe it is not necessary to revive the heart of the contrite. By practicing contrition, we are, in fact, strengthening our hearts, our inner core. My heart never feels stronger that when I truly admit my repentance for self-exalted ego, or thinking I have done a great job, when all God wants is for me to love and be brotherly.  

In John’s gospel, the following is offered: “If I have told you about earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you about heavenly things?” We have to see thing to believe them. I say that maybe we do not. I have been in the delivery room when my children were born, but I have never seen a foal at birth, but I know it happens, because I can see the new colt. I have never seen the waters creating the beautiful landscapes in the river valleys, but I see the beauty, so I know it has occurred. I also see the beauty of God’s world, His creation, and have felt His grace. I do not need to see God to see these beautiful parts of my life; so, how can I deny the existence of God, of the heavenly things Jesus speaks of, even if I have never seen heaven. The other thought is heaven. Heaven is Eden. It is the perfect place.

I pray that we can all be more spiritual in this confusing world we have created. May our hearts be open and humble to God’s gracious care and comfort. May we understand that we are led by His glorious presence in our lives.

 

Enemy-Occupied Territory

My spirit lives with God

My trust is unwavering

He strengthens my resolve

Although my antagonists are great

and censure my faith

I walk in His light

not fearing the blindness of men.

I am blessed by His trust in me

The desolate valley of my dwelling

I fear not, for my enemies are powerless

in the abundance of God’s grace.

I pray for the steadfast trust of Joseph

recognizing God’s mandate

to live in safekeeping while dwelling

in enemy-occupied territory

Eternal Life

Whomever believes in Him has eternal life. What is this promise? Do we live forever? I look at it this way: we are two people wrapped in one. Our mortal body wears out and eventually dies, but our spiritual life, what we call the soul, is eternal. The sooner we realize this, the happier we will be. We are living in enemy-occupied territory; everything around us defies the wishes of God, the wishes of Jesus Christ.

The way we live our life, according to God’s will, determines our smooth journey to God’s loving arms when our mortal bodies expire. We are all God’s children and are accepted by God for whom we are, but our life in devotion to His will makes us a more complete person for ourselves and for others to emulate.

The author of Numbers reminds us that as humans, we are subject to impatience. I am experiencing this now; the recovery after surgery is slow and I despise this. But God has slowed me down to take the time to heal and to meditate on what the rest of my life will be like to serve God and to serve each other.

This author continues by telling us that the Israelites asked why they were taken from Egypt only to suffer and die in the wilderness. We are living in the wilderness, but God is with us to keep us safe and healthy in our  own wilderness, as He was with the Israelites. Let us sing our praises in thanks for God’s wonderful patience and steadfast love for us. Let us revel in this beautiful relationship.