Living in Grace

This week at the hospital I had an amazing visit with a couple. They are truly living in God’s grace. Anyway, it prompted me to talk about faith with you. Please receive it as an invitation for you and I to think about God's possibilities for our lives. 

I strongly belief that living in grace and by faith is what life is all about. I read in Hebrews, chapter 11, that without faith we cannot please God.

I translate what I read as grace-living faith being the faithfulness of God’s love. Such a love creates in us a trust so great that it becomes the core-substance and the basis of life — no matter if the ground around us is shaking or not. Faith IS the inner core of our existence.

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The Gift of Fragility

I am in the beginning of a new chapter of my life. So many new things! I am at the beginning of a year-long Clinical Pastoral Education residency and at the beginning of life in a brand-new place. 

Many of you know that I have been in transition for several months now—since I had to resign from the church I served in California. This time in my life has been a time of epic proportions where I have experienced the ups and downs life throws at you.

The truth of this matter is that I am feeling a significant amount of stress these days. It is soooo intense that my eyes just cry. I am learning how to lament for the first time in my life and have found myself constantly immersed in deep feelings of grief and loss.

My family and I moved from the Deep South to California with great hope of staying home. Such was not the case, and we are now in the Midwest. 

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Handling Your Anxiety

With everything that has been going on in our world lately (although, I know it’s really nothing new), if you are anything like me, your level of anxiety is elevated to the highest degree. The bottom line is that I am an anxious beast by nature and handling my anxiety well determines the quality of my life.

Anxiety is a big deal. It can cause us to breathe more rapidly and shallowly, which in turn can produce a variety of physical symptoms that can intensify the anxiety. If you are not aware of what’s happening and don’t take charge of it, you will be in trouble. 

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Struggling With God's Plan

I hear people say, including myself, "I believe that God has a plan for my life." 

Let’s say that we are facing a difficult decision and want to make it in accordance to our conviction that God has a plan and is working it out  in our lives… And we want to work with God’s plan, so we say, ”I'm just waiting to figure out what God has planned for me to do.” 

I am in a challenging position right now in my life and maybe that is why I am noticing it more than usual. Whatever the case, perhaps because life seems more uncertain and more chaotic each day, the good people of faith around me are more prompt to remind me that God has “a plan." 

As a matter of fact I just exchanged those words with a dear friend yesterday morning.

I wonder! Are we just asserting, even when all evidence seems to show the contrary, that God really does have a plan? 

I can't often see that plan—can you?  

Can anyone say for sure? 

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 I was talking about my need to write this month’s blog with a dear friend and the fact that I am so late in writing it prompted me to ask him to write something for me. He accepted the invitation and sent me short thoughts he wrote titled: “Prayer with Persistence.” 

If you would sit around my family’s table you would know that one of our favorite conversation topics is about living Jesus in our daily rhythms of life. And if you know me at all, you know that I always emphasize the importance of praying with Scriptures––or, in other words, praying God’s promises. So, yet again, I thought we could talk about prayer.

PRAY! Oh, that sounds so simplistic and basic, doesn’t it? Ever-so-many books have been written that teach us to pray. A “zillion” sermons have laid out for us the techniques of prayer. But when it comes to actually praying, when we are broken and hurting a lot, when our lives need to be rebuilt… effective prayer becomes key in determining a desirable outcome. Prayer is foundational to our human existence.

I need to open a parenthesis here because my grandson just nicely interrupted me with a question: 

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