If I Were Lost

For some reason, I was aware of the love and reality of God, early on…

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“For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” – Romans 8:38-39
“‘Am I a God who is only close at hand?’ says the Lord.  ‘No, I am far away at the same time.  Can anyone hide from me in a secret place?  Am I not everywhere in all the heavens and earth?’ says the Lord.” – Jeremiah 23:23-24
“The Lord keeps watch over you as you come and go, both now and forever.” – Psalm 121:8

Everyone Familiar

handshake-2056021__480“It was not only the people of His day, but it is so common for people of all times to just keep commandments and church laws and observe the externals of religion.  In living this way, we miss the point of what worship of God really is, falling each day more deeply in love with God, expressing that love by our sensitivity to the pain and hurt around us, and reaching out to help others, even strangers.  To a person who has found God, no person, ever again, is a stranger.  In that is the perfection of love, the kind of love that God is, a love that knows no strangers.” – Joseph F. Girzone, “A Portrait of Jesus”

“…I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger, and you welcomed me…” – Matthew 25:35

Not Hearing Goodbye

friends-581753__480I met *Sarah in a retail store.  She helped me shop for a ring.  She informed me that people are calling costume jewelry by another name now, “progressive jewelry.”  We both laughed a little.  Sarah was in her 60’s and had retired several years earlier so that she could travel.  She was back at work, but in a job that she liked, and she spoke of no regrets having used some of her savings to explore the world.  Sarah told me that her family was made up of diverse backgrounds.  She and her siblings were raised Muslim (although she did not identify herself as Muslim any longer), and she had relatives by marriage who were Jewish, as well as Catholic.  She said that family ties meant a lot to her.  She said that she celebrates Christmas.  Sarah’s life and family background were atypical, and she seemed to appreciate that.  I liked thinking of her family sitting together at holiday gatherings, differing beliefs and all.  I do believe that there is one true way for people to find close relationship and eternal life with God, through Jesus’ sacrifice, but it’s because of this that I can appreciate when people show love toward one another even and especially when their views differ.  It’s one way of truly loving our neighbors, which Jesus equated with loving God with our whole heart.  Before leaving, Sarah and I shared a hug.  I said goodbye and she responded by saying that she wasn’t going to say goodbye…that she had a feeling we would see each other again.  Not hearing goodbye from my new friend touched my heart.

” ‘Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?’  Jesus replied, ” ‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’  This is the first and greatest commandment.  A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ ” – Matthew 22:36-39
(*Names have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals.)

When on the Cross

cross-66700__480When on the cross, Jesus saw His mom standing next to one of His disciples and said, “Dear woman, here is your son.”  He then looked at His disciple and said, “Here is your mother.”  The Bible says that “from then on this disciple took her into his home.” (John 19:26-27)  When on the cross, people gambled for Jesus’ clothes while others mocked Him, and Jesus prayed for them to be forgiven.  As Jesus hung between two criminals that day, one of them asked Jesus to remember him when He came into His kingdom, and Jesus replied, “I assure you, today you will be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:32-43)  Even when on the cross, Jesus made provision for His mom, He prayed for His persecutors, and He guaranteed life with Him to a dying man.  The actions of a loving Messiah.

“For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” – John 3:17