Archive for your journey
building our faith is the ultimate goal but remember “building” is the key word. the concept indicates action is taking place. that there is planning, there are tools and there are hands on. think about the things we have built in varying stages of our lives from sand castles and lego cars, from friendships to reputations, from a house of cards to a happy home, each one of us has building experience. we can all agree that the investment in the time of construction was necessary to accomplish the structure, good or bad. we have been built up and been torn down by ourselves and others throughout our lives but each person along our path has provided the architecture of who we are. we have been told that a strong foundation is where we begin, however we continue our quest for the solid construction of our souls. remember “building’ is an action item so in order to assemble our unshakable faith and the storm proof soul, prepare your foundation with a planned dedicated time, bring the proper equipment for the heavy load and get your hands dirty. do the work necessary to build the greatest design yet, God’s house in yourself.
“but you, dear friends, build yourself up in your most holy faith and pray in the holy spirit.’ – Jude 1:20
think of it this way, when you look through a telescope you can see in great detail the craters on the moon. from the cheep seats you can see the sweat on the players with binoculars. with a magnifying glass, the amazing designs of a small insect. over our existence, humans have developed ways to see what we cannot see. through our desire to learn, understand and enjoy our world more fully we have found ways to get a closer look. and as close as we can get to outer space we have only barely scratched the surface of what is there. our relationship with God can be seen or unseen in the same way…although we don’t have physical tools to help us see our faith clearer, we do have the ability to glow closer and see Him more clearly. most of us have had the experience of seeing Him up close in the birth of a child, a death, in tough times and miraculous blessings. and if we focus in on day to day prayers, devotional reading and worship we can allow ourselves to blow of the dust, wipe the foggy glass, and zoom in on a clear vision of our faith and creator. only then can we can see.
for now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. now i know in part; then i shall know fully, even as i am fully known. 1Corinthians 13:12
the new year brings such hope and promise…..out with the old, in with the new! like a brand new pair of shoes-no scuffs or scratches. no rips, tears, or loose strings hanging. and like a new pair of shoes we put on without any signs of the journey we have previously walked, the new year does come with a shiny new cover and with the experience inserted of roads we have traveled. as we reflect on the past blessings we have been given and stresses we are happy to leave behind, lets use both to plan resolutions for the coming year. where we have been blessed, plan to pass it on, use it to benefit someone else. where we have faced challenges, use them to learn, to teach and position our lives differently from having been through them. lets set up this new beginning with action, not just introspection. make a calendar of habits to start. make a list of goals to achieve. make a real change on the path ahead using faith as a guide.
“Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert,” Isaiah 43:19
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6
the primary mission of cross-skills is to illustrate the potential of our faith when applied. if we were to truly utilize the tools of our faith in all we are called to do, how many of our questions would be answered, our lost days found and our purpose made clear? on Christmas and Easter we truly stop everything and celebrate Him for that very gift. for being born. for dying. we all gather the friends and family, do “that thing we all do”, and remember (at various levels of consciousness) what the true meaning of these specials days really are. but this time truly stop and listen to the words given to us in Isaiah about His arrival and His role. we should use these powerful words to penetrate our very soul, our every worry and honest aspiration for peace and glory in our days. so many things are said here…He is given to us - at no cost, no obligation, a gift. the government will be taken on by Him - thank God someone will hold those guys accountable. He can be wonderful for us. He can be a counselor for us - who doesn’t need that? mighty and everlasting too? the secret to peace in our lives and to the much-needed peace in this crazy world! would you get a gift and never open it? would you have a computer or a cell phone and never power it on? would you learn, train and perfect a skill and never use it? would you purchase a car, then walk everywhere? then if these possibilities are there everyday with God, why only celebrate Him two days, why not explore His potential at every opportunity?
many of us are in a constant state of “planning” or at least we feel we should be since people are always asking “so…what’s your plan?” “what do you want to be?” “what are you going to do next?” and once we have a plan we are then mere fools if we don’t have a “back up plan”. think of the tools that are available to help us achieve our plan….calendars, organizers and smart phones in the day-to-day and then there are seemingly endless textbooks, classes and research available throughout the years leading up to “the plan”. then there are the people we have in our lives to help guide us in our plan; the college planners, the wedding planners, vacation planners, the retirement planners and the not-so-popular funeral planners. it is a wonder how we can get anywhere in this “life thing” without always having someone to help us through it. truth is we really can’t. take a look back and no matter how easy your road has been or how rocky your travels are chances are you did not get where you are now without the encouragement, advise and support of someone along the way. but why do we spend so much effort planning our futures? is it so that we can lighten our future burdens by becoming prepared? is it so we can maximize our personal gifts and make the most of our blessings? or is it because we recognize that life is to be cherished and the milestones in life should be held up as precious and celebrated? it’s yes to all of the above. life here can be anything we want it to be but only because He has allowed that. He has provided the ultimate plan and each of us should employ His expertise, read His guide-book and heed His advise for the plans have already been set. while many of us are in the midst of our meticulous process to get where we are going we could be missing the opportunity to seek His guidance and make our baggage so much lighter. constantly guided by our own selfish intentions we may never find our true path. we may get to the end of the road, our bags filled with the “stuff ” we have collected along the way but still somehow find ourselves empty-handed. executing our future plans is solely up to each one of us (God is pretty big on accountability). the future is ours to shape and we can’t go back. we can’t retake the steps we have already made. a really successful plan is measured not just by where you have ended up but by how you got there. as always, the truth has been said. the words has been used. we just have to apply them.
“If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self?” – Luke 9:23-25
today catholics celebrate the lives of all Christians who have died in a state of grace, it is all saints day. these pillars in history leave us with stories from failure to glory, from struggle to strength and from follower to Christian leadership. these were real people who walked the planet we live on with compassion, generosity and grace. the people celebrated and remembered today left this earth having made a mark, they left an impression. they changed the people who knew them then and continue to impress those who learn about them today. similarly our entire nation has celebrated icons like dr. martin luther king, jr., past presidents on presidents day, and fallen service men and woman on memorial day. we have historically revered these models for their leadership, selflessness, bravery, and their impact on freedom and justice. but the question is this…when we seek role models today, are we still looking for these qualities? take a look at the news stand next time you are in the grocery store. who are we celebrating and why? what are we celebrating… gifted athletes, cheating celebrities, beautiful faces, bizarre murderers, struggling addicts and thieves? who are we when we don’t prop up the people who carry the torch for all that is right and good? think for a moment on who you would call a role model…a person you’d like to be….are they “talented” or truthful? are they “rich” or righteous? are they brave or bogus? the greatest example of humanity to walk the same dirt we walk was patient, peaceful, honest, forgiving, courageous, loyal, and a leader among leaders. He walked here so that we could see, if only for a short time, the ultimate model set for us. think about who we are watching as an example for our life. then, stop and think who might be watching us as an example for their life.
“Beloved, do not imitate what is evil, but what is good. The one who does good is of God; the one who does evil has not seen God.” 3 John 1:11
no matter what stage of life we are in, motivation to “stay with it” is a key. there are days we are self motivated and there are days we look for those around us to inspire, lead and guide. some of us have a natural ability to get up and go…those who seem to have the strength of 10 men. and still others have more talent in their little finger than they even know, but lack confidence, an inspiration or the support it takes to simply apply themselves. but where does the confidence to succeed and attempt to apply ourselves come from? think about some of the people we have known who have accomplished the goals in their life…anything from academics, career, sports, to true peace (arguably the most challenging goal we seek). these people seem to have an unsurpassed confidence. 100% of the time it comes from a “belief”. maybe they are their own god and they have convinced themselves that they created the world and we are all here to enjoy and marvel at their existence. others have people; parents, friends, mentors around that believe in them. these folks don’t want to dissapoint…they know what is expected of them and they are working to please others. but the belief in God produces a confidence that supersedes all other. those who are working for the Man will never disappoint. as long as we give Him everything we have, turn to Him and open our hearts our job is complete. those who are working for the Man will be fearless in our attempt to offer the gifts we have been given without the worry of embarrassment or failure. the support and strength of an infinite number of men is there to hold us up and guide us every step of our way. our prayer, the conference call. our church, the conference room. our bible, the employee handbook. the only question is who are we working for?
“whatever you do, work with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.” Colossians 3:23
picture yourself preparing for a hiking/camping trip with 5 of your best friends. you get together before and decide where you are going, map out the trip and split up responsibilities for supplies. there is always one in every group that will take the lead on delegating the tasks of preparation. one that will take on the map, the course the rest of you will just trust. you know there will be one in the group that will be planning the pranks for the night out and one that might be a little unpredictable and you really don’t know if they are coming until that day of your departure. and there’s always one who’s been there before, who is more comfortable on theses types of ventures. you head out having discussed the plan, done the research on the terrain and packed what you need. you are now on your way, it is all going great…beautiful day, everyone shows up and the path is smooth. you think you have prepared. well you guessed it…things didn’t go exactly like YOU planned. the map was wrong because people make mistakes. one in the group strayed from the path when the uphill road was ahead and was not prepared to have to work that hard. the day grew long and you were not where you thought you would be at night fall. the situation changed and the group started to make knee-jerk reactions based on emotion and selfishness. all for one, everyman for himself and the plan is out the window!
in case you aren’t sure…this is life. we plan, we prepare and we have expectations of ourselves and others. at the moment impact…where a decision to stay the course, stick together or go it alone based our own personal satisfaction we reveal ourselves. our true intentions. are we the people who follow the master plan as long as it is easy and we are content? or are we the people who stay the course, even when it’s uphill, both ways in a snowstorm because it’s right? following His plan is hardly the easy path. it usually involves the consideration of others first, the courage to stand alone, and a dedication that is larger than life.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
we all know young people who are wise beyond their years. young adults who have goals, have self-discipline and commitment for their sport or their instrument or their grades. we hear stories of kids that have done amazing things like starting community service projects based on a need even their young eyes can see, traveled on mission trips to tattered countries in the third world or run an entire household because the mother or father cannot or won’t. as well, we all know so-called grown-ups that continue to make poor decisions with their lives. we see adults who do not care enough about their brothers, young and old, to deliver respect but are the first to demand it. we see grown men and woman who dish out the rules on honesty, responsibility, accountability but do not have the personal strength to take the tough road themselves. we are told our entire childhood what we can and can’t do because we are not old enough or experienced enough to make decisions for ourselves. and although that is absolutely true, we then see these “years of experience” play out in some adult lives as higher divorce rates, irresponsible spending habits, parents looking the other way on bad behavior or not being a living examples of self-restraint or grace and forgiveness for their children. from Ponzi schemes, lying politicians and the overall moral decline led by, you guessed it…adults, we could be in a heap of trouble. such a disappointment when we finally arrive in this long-awaited “adult” status to see this childlike behavior. we are led to believe that when we hit this stage of life that people will know better than to lie because as a child we are taught not to. we are led to believe that everyone will be responsible for themselves since as children we earn responsibility a little at a time through good behavior. it would stand to reason that adults would be the most accountable, non-judgemental and honest, right? as always… the answer lies in The Good Book.
“When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things.” 1 Corinthians 13:11
these holy words are not about age or position in life, these words are about where we are in the maturity of our faith. the enlightenment waiting will be the entire difference in our outcome as individuals and as a society. if we all could see we aren’t done “growing up” in our faith or otherwise by just confessing our belief in God and going back for more birthdays. but that only by nourishing our souls with prayer and devotion, feeding our hearts with selflessness and forgiving ourselves and those around us we will understand the words that follow the above…
“For now we see through a glass, darkly, but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as I am also known.” 1 Corinthians 13:12
just a thought… but it certainly sounds like when our faith is not fully developed we can’t see clearly. it sounds like when we do develop ourselves and our faith even then we are only partly there and that only in the face of God will all be revealed. not sure what your plan is, but a little clarity would do a lot of good right now.