” Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord.” Romans 12:19 (NASB)
It seems like every time we turn around, someone somewhere takes revenge into their own hands against others who think differently than they do, believe differently or vote differently than they do. The news stories are filled with revenge, revenge and revenge. Vengeance is not ours. It isn’t the way we should respond to our differences.
For Father’s Day this year I really wanted to find a very special saying for my card to my dad that expresses how I truly feel about him. I searched on-line for just the right one since I make my own cards for special family occasions. It can be hard to find what you really want to say but this one tops them all.
“Dad, I just want you to know
That you mean so much to me,
Through all the years of growing up,
You taught me how to be
Someone that has faith in God
And accepts responsibility,
Someone that has a love for life
And hope for eternity
And there’s still more that you imparted
In everything you taught,
But one that meant the most to me
Was how to love the Lord.”
© By M.S.Lowndes
What more could a dad hope for but to teach his children how to love the Lord, even if it takes us years to learn and to follow in his footsteps?
Happy Father’s Day Dad.
Angel kisses sent to us from above in the form of a newborn baby to our family. I can’t help but think of our littlest angel as we hold her near and dear, likening her to angel kisses from Heaven, as she sleeps peacefully in the crook of an arm, being rocked gently as her siblings proudly brag on her, caressing her soft, fuzzy head.
I have to keep reminding myself that all happens in God’s time and not my on own schedule. After having a snow storm that left us with four feet of snow at one time while away, I sure yearned to get home and transplant my flowers. To feel the warm soil between my fingers as I transplant some root bound flowers. It is late May and should be a good time for gardening. But God sometimes runs on a different schedule than we do and so we wind up having to put off what we think is good to do according to our calendars. Fortunately waiting has paid off since cold nights, snow flakes and small hail have been visiting us often. But waiting on God’s time is priceless and filled with blessing as co-creators with him, planting our flowers and gardens to be showered and grown by Him. Not on our time-table, but His divine time-table.
Sitting in a class this afternoon I heard a good reflection on forgiveness which defined what happens when we are not willing to forgive someone who has hurt us. We harbor resentment toward that person causing us to demonize that individual in our hearts and minds affecting how we treat the person. Sometimes a person may not even be aware of having hurt us, which isn’t fair to them that we harbor that resentment and not forgive. It is harmful to us. Forgiveness releases us of our resentment, and releases the one we demonized with our resentment, reconciling us with God and the forgiven one. How freeing that is. I had never thought of un-forgiveness that way.
Our church so fittingly celebrated Divine Mercy Sunday yesterday following our glorious Easter celebration of Jesus’ resurrection. I am reminded of his mercy available to us each day, freely given as we ask of him.
I pray the Divine Mercy chaplet often when I am uncertain of how to pray about things happening in our world. The anger, the violence, war atrocities, fires and natural disasters that may occur. Sometimes I can’t find the words to express how I feel as I hear the bad news. But the prayer of Divine Mercy stills my soul and I pray for our Lord’s presence in the difficult circumstances and challenges people face. I pray it when I am in need of his mercy and love. It takes only minutes to pray and is such a powerful devotion to pray for peace in our world, our families and in our own life challenges. Jesus loves to hear us pray that we trust in him and in him alone.
He gave his all for us and still does. All we have to do is ask.
I believe that we are seeing more anger in our world than ever and I do believe it is because overall, we are choosing to run from the absolutes. By living truth in our lives, especially for those of us given absolutes as children in our formative years. But realistically those absolutes weren’t given to us by our parents or those before us, though they were passed on to us. We were given them by our Heavenly Father, lover and creator of our souls, of who and what we are in Him. We live in a world where people fear living by them and following them. Those who fear them don’t realize where they come from, but they are God’s ten commandments, and those who call them demands are right. They are not suggestions, but commands and when we neglect them, life becomes a frenzied mess, thus angering people who are running from them, never wanting to admit that they know what they have to do to bring positive change to their lives and the world around them. So anger is rampant and is taken out on innocent, unsuspecting people in violence against them, blaming them for the way things are. Especially we Christians. When others see God in us who don’t want to live by absolutes, they want to harm us. Even in our own families we have loved ones who hurt us, not because of what we do, but because of Who they see in us.
This holy week, we may need to take time to look at what that means in our lives. Jesus gave his all for us. He took on what we refuse to deal with in our lives and didn’t deserve to be treated or tried as he was. We deserve it but our loving Father chose to take it all upon the shoulders of His most beloved Son, so that we don’t have to. So why does anger have to remain when we look at the Love sent to us, to be like us in all ways but sin?
I can scarcely believe that Easter is just around the corner already. I think that for me that is because we took a vacation trip recently and time surely races while you are away, having fun and catching up with loved ones we don’t get to see every day.
But before I look at Easter’s swift approach, I like to look at what this blessed season of Lent has shown me. We tend to give up something we really like such as chocolate or maybe cut down on eating sweets as a sacrifice to deny ourselves and build a bit of character while we are at it. But, this year I chose not to do give up something to eat. I chose instead to adopt some new positive habits, exercising self-denial in a different way, such as not focusing on negative situations or circumstances. I try to find the blessing side or what I can learn from them.
I am learning that positive habits have a way of crowding out bad ones, rather than focusing on changing the negative ones. We tend to lose the battle of changing negative habits or bad attitudes. But if we adopt positive ones in their place and practice them every day, before we know it, we don’t want to exhibit the negative attitudes or habits any longer because we have no room in our lives for them. I find that I am less grumpy or irritable that way and can deal with whatever comes my way better. I can’t do this alone. I have to rely on God and His graces to help me to keep up with the positive habits He has shown me as I hand over the negative ones to Him rather than feeling guilty about failing.
Spring has sprung today, at least according to the calendar. It sure feels like spring too giving me a bad case of spring fever. Having just returned from a two-week vacation, I am feeling a bit of the let down, getting back, catching up on laundry, grocery shopping and other errands. But as I went about this busy day, I savored the luxury of soaking up the sun’s warmth and savoring the gentle breeze.
I realize as I look back on our wonderful vacation, that I needed that to spring clean my mind and heart from the cares and routines of my every day life. Without the break from my normal routines and tasks, my brain would remain cluttered with cobwebs and not leave room for creativity, deepening spirituality and pursuing things God may have for me to do. Spring cleaning isn’t just for our homes, cleaning closets and drawers, and throwing open windows to air out the staleness of winter. It is for our minds, hearts and souls as well, to remove the brain and heart clutter to invite God in to work on us with spiritual spring cleaning, especially during this season of Lent.
This first Sunday of Lent I am reminded of the words to a simple prayer, one of my favorites I hadn’t prayed in a while, as I looked at circumstances beyond my control. I wasn’t sure just what to do and my husband reminded me to keep the words to this prayer in my mind and take them to heart as I face a difficult time, learning to accept things I cannot change or control.
God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
– Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971)
I believe that this prayer is one we all could benefit from as we face challenges in the world around us. Maybe it could be a Lenten prayer for starters and one we cling to when our Lenten journey is through and we come to the joy of Easter.