An offering from Donnie: New Hope of Dignity

March 23, 2015
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New Hope of Dignity

John 9:1-17

In this Gospel reading from John, Jesus reached out specifically to the blind beggar. His actions show us that all are worthy of dignity no matter whom he/she may be.

Like many of the people who didn’t understand Jesus’ actions and refused to see, I, too, can stay in my blindness. It is safe to be with others who are similar to me, who look the same, think the same and disapprove of the same people and things.BVM and Jesus

I remember when I was a young elementary school teacher, I had a little girl in class who was physically and mentally disabled; her disability caused her to look and act very differently from the other children. I’m embarrassed to say that I was reluctant to do more than the bare minimum for this little one. Luckily for all of us in that third grade class there was a boy who recognized the dignity of the disabled girl and was very attentive to her, sat with her at lunch and played with her at recess and came to me with sweet stories about her.

I now see God’s hand in all of what happened that year. Not only I, but many of the children in class viewed her differently and made the effort to see her as one of God’s special children. I am so thankful for that wonderful opportunity to overcome my own blindness and see that I was being offered new eyes of faith in how I view others.

 

You are my lamp, O Lord!

O my God, You brighten the darkness about me.

-2 Samuel 22:29

(c) 2015 Donnie Hawley

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An offering from Eunice: Remodel My Heart

March 22, 2015
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“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me. Do not cast me away from your presence, and do not take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and sustain in me a willing spirit.” Psalm 51:10-12Eunice Remodel my heart for Psalm 51

For a little over six weeks, my husband and I have been in the thralls of updating and renovating our 47 year-old home. We have had new flooring installed, all the walls and trim repaired, replaced or/and repainted. We have parted with many things and kept those that represent good memories and bring us joy; we’ve washed, polished, painted, or replaced others. We are now in the stage of delight – we feel like we have a new “old house.” With the house transformed, we are very motivated to keep it clean and tidy. This project has become my metaphor for Lent.

“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me.” I am not asking for a heart transplant, but a heart transformation. I desire to keep those memories in my heart that make me loving and compassionate and bring me joy. But I pray that the hurtful memories and disappointments that make me fearful, hesitant to reach out or serve generously be washed away. I want my heart cleaned out and made new. I desire the strength to part with old ways and old ideas that no longer fit in a renewed heart. In the six weeks of Lent, my hope is to be restored to “the joy of God’s salvation, and” to be able to sustain “a willing spirit.”

Amen. – May it be so, O God, may it be so.

(c) 2015 Eunice Cheshire

Spiritual Director

HeartPaths Core Faculty

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An offering from Lil: Those who have been called

March 21, 2015
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Romans 8:28

28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

I remember the first time I felt called by God.  It wasn’t Paul’s lightning bolt experience.  It was, however, a lightning bolt in my heart that shattered the wall the world and I had built up around it.  My heart was so full, I thought it would burst.  grandmas adventures 010

While attending a Pilgrimage (Cursillo) 3-day weekend, I heard God’s call to me.  I am his beloved.  I heard it through the voices of those who invited me, those who loved me (and still do) unconditionally, those who take time to listen to me and truly care about my journey.  I heard for the first time how God wants a relationship with me.  All God asks of me is to glorify Him in all that I do.

After this experience I really understood how all are called by God to do the same thing.  All are called to glorify Him in all things.  If we think glorifying Him leads to violence or tearing someone down, this is false and not a correct interpretation of scripture.  Paul tells us in Romans all who love God are called according to his purpose.

All have the invitation to love God.

To know God is to love God and all of God’s beloved.

We love God by loving all of God’s children.

For God first loved me.

And God first loved you.

I am pray for all of you who are participants and staff of 4th Day weekends.  Especially North Texas Presbyterian Pilgrimage #38 this weekend.   May God’s love overflow!

(c) 2015 The Rev. Lil Smith

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An offering from Nancy: I stretch out my hands to you

March 20, 2015
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Psalm 143: 6

I stretch out my hands to you;

my soul thirsts for you like a parched land.image004

In times of trial, when I’ve reached the end of my own capabilities, it’s easy to stretch out my hands.  Then I know myself to be a parched land.  When I have things “under control,” it doesn’t often occur to me to me that I am thirsting for God, even when I receive no satisfaction from my accomplishments.  It’s easy to ignore the dryness of my soul.

I want my life to be God-centered before the point of my desperation, but I often stay mired in familiar patterns of self-sufficiency.  Still, I yearn for the constant awareness of my deepest need.

For what do I stretch out my hands?

Sometimes I long for living water.

Sometimes I long for the longing.

 

(c) 2015 Nancy Jagmin

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