Our Hearts

What an amazing organ the heart is.  It is the pump that brings life (blood) to all parts of our bodies, nourishing us and keeping us alive.  It has a rhythm, a beat which allows it to function.  It is centrally located and works around the clock, bringing life and removing waste products.  If it stops, we soon die.

What an amazing organ the heart is.  It swells with pride when we watch our children’s accomplishments.  It aches when someone we care about is in pain.  It races when we contemplate the loves of our lives.  It breaks when we lose someone close.

Think about the images that come to mind with some of the common expressions we use about our hearts:  heart of gold, heart of stone;  take something to heart, eat your heart out;  hardend heart, young at heart;  your heart in the right place,  your heart sinks.

  Our hearts seem to have senses of their own.  Hearts can see beyond and through what the eyes can’t. They allow us glimpses into the souls of others and allow us to feel their suffering and to offer compassion.  Our hearts teach us truth and beauty.    Our hearts teach us love.

Our hearts are made of muscle, and just like any other muscle of the body they can be conditioned and made strong.  If we work at it, we can make all of our hearts more healthy. …….if we work at it, we can make all of our hearts more…..loving.  If we work at it, we can make our hearts more like our Creators heart.

St. Augustine said, “Our hearts are restless until they rest in You”

What an amazing organ the heart is….

Today I Choose:

Today I Choose:

To be kind, even if those around me aren’t

To be patient, even if I am in a hurry

To listen, even if I have much to say

To be compassionate, even if I disagree

To comfort, even though I am hurting

To smile, even though I’d rather scowl

To offer understanding, even though I may not ‘get it’

To serve, even though I am thirsty

To love…..because I am loved….first, last, and always.

Baby Talk

Did you ever notice that when we talk to little babies we tend to raise our voices to an unatural pitch, speak slower and have a smile on our face?  Somtimes we even use different words, simpler words that we think may be easier to comprehend.  Some even use sounds that aren’t words at all like goo-goo and ga-ga. 

Do you think that God speaks baby talk to us?  He tells us in Scripture that his ways are not our ways and the answer that he gives to poor Job makes it clear that until we can grasp him and create as he does, we will never be able to understand his answers to some of our questions.   I heard someone say the other day that he is really happy that he cannot understand God because if he could then he and God would be on the same intellectual plane and that would be a really scary thing.

God speaks to us in love because he is love.  He speaks tenderly, compassionately and quietly.  He speaks to our hearts and to our minds.  He speaks through others, through nature, through his Word.  He is constantly speaking, inviting.  He speaks sweetly and gently.  If you listen, you will hear the God talk from a loving Abba (Daddy).  Baby talk?  God talk.  Can we always understand his words?  Probably not all the time, but knowing the Source, we can be sure of the message.

The Bump on My Finger

I have this bump on the index finger of my right hand.  It’s not too noticeable and it doesn’t hurt, but it is obvious to me and I certainly didn’t have it all my life.  I know very well what it is, it’s arthritis, there, I’ve said it.  Not a big deal, silly really in the big scheme of things, but it does serve as a reminder to me that time marches on and that this is just a journey that leads home.

I want this bump on my finger to be a reminder of my mortality.  Each day I have opportunities to brighten someone’s day with a kind word or a sweet smile.  Each day I can listen, really listen, when someone has something to say.  Each day I can find and create peace. Each day I can find a bit of quiet time to reflect on this journey and to look ahead to my eternal home. 

In many ways my body defines who I am.  I dress a certain way and wear my hair in a style I choose.  I know how I want to present myself to the world, but that is my shell.  My essence is what is inside and it is that soul that will accompany me to eternity.  The bump on my finger will probably get bigger if I am blessed with many more years.  Other outside changes will occur as well.  I only pray that there are inner changes as well and that these will help to transfom me so that when my earthly journey is over, I will be welcomed home.

Halloween Masks

In just a few days our doorbells will ring and we will open our doors to witches, monsters, football players, and  princesses.  Giggles from behind their masks…we hear the words, ‘trick of treat’.  After they have received their treat  we return to our comfortable chair only to hear the doorbell ring yet again.  It’s always fun to see the costumes, the creativity and what’s ‘in or out’ for a particular year. 

As the kids get older the costumes become less creative and the costumes are not so elaborate.  For you see, for the older kids, it’s all about the candy.  Yet they try, they make the effort to pull together some kind of disguise, but you can usually recognize them.

Our masks are even more invisible to the outside world, and yet we all wear them, don’t we?  What mask will you wear today?  Sometimes we wear our ‘happy’ mask that hides the pain of a broken heart.  Sometimes we wear that ‘It’s ok – no really it’s ok’ mask when really deep inside it’s not.  Sometimes we wear our ‘don’t you feel so sorry for me?’  mask when we are searching for sympathy and pity.  And sometimes we wear our ‘leave me alone’ mask…..enough said. 

I don’t think that Jesus ever wore a mask.  He revealed all of himself to us.  He opened up to us and stood vulnerable under the weight of a cross.  No mask, nothing to hide.    Let’s leave the disguises to the little ‘trick or treaters’ and let the power of his love help us to shatter our masks.

The Dance

Life has a rhythm, don’t you think?  Certainly watching the seasons change, the sun rise, the flowers bloom, even the ebb and flow of a life, teaches us that there is a pattern, a flow that is present throughout the world and beyond.  Some people adapt well, go with it, so to speak, while others seem to be fighting it all the time, resisting and struggling against that which is.  How best to live it?  Dance.

Think about watching dancers.  They are so graceful and caught up in the music that it seems as though they sometimes break through the laws of nature, they seem to defy gravity.  Their flexible bodies move in ways that seem impossible (and painful), and yet they seem oblivious to it, they are caught up in the rhythm of the song. 

Watch the trees as they sway in the breezes.  Watch squirrels as they dance while collecting acorns for the winter.  Watch the birds flutter in dance around a bird feeder.  Watch fish perform their water dance.  Watch children, they often hear the music and dance.

I think that we should dance more often, letting life’s music sing in our souls.  We should listen to it,  and move with it.  We should twirl and spin in gratitude, we should leap over rough spots, we should bend and twist to life’s changes.  We should close our eyes and feel the rhythm inside us.  Every heart has a song, every life a unique melody.  Listen to it, embrace it….and begin to dance.

Loud Voices

Sometimes at a sporting event or even watching a football game on TV, I can almost be deafened by the noise of the crowd.  Driving through a construction zone my body can shake with the rhythm of a jack hammer.  I hate being in a room where an argument has people so enraged that there is shouting and yelling, everyone at once.  Loud noises are discomforting, they bother me.

But, sometimes the loudest voices of all are those inside of me.  The inner voices can be the loudest of all.  What may begin as a gentle whisper, reminding me of something, frequently becomes a loud cry the longer it is denied.  A regret, something I should have done but chose to ignore, blares inside. 

I can move away from or turn off the TV when the noise becomes too disturbing.  I can walk away and find quiet.  Not so with the inner voices.  When I am plagued with the inner noise, I need help.  I look to the Lord who can calm the storms.  I need to stop and surrender and the God who dwells in the stillness of my heart silences the noise.  Quiet is restored…..welcome peace.

If you were God….

I posed this question to about 75 eighth graders last evening…..’If you were God, what would you do differently?’  I didn’t see their answers but on the ride home, began to think about the question myself.  What would I do?  Well, I suppose that I would end suffering, cure sickness, create peace in the world, feed the poor, and on and on.  In my world people wouldn’t have to ask questions like, ‘why me?’ or ‘how could you let this happen?’  I wonder how many of the eighth graders had similar answers. 

I think that we all question God’s decisions sometimes, especially when we suffer pain or loss.  No matter how much we trust him and believe in him, those little nagging questions arise….

In my world there would be peace and happiness……but would there be freedom?????  Would people have free will – the choice to walk with me or turn away?  Our free wills are one of the greatest gifts that God gives us.  It is our own freedom that causes the pain and suffering in our world.  God takes a tremendous risk in giving us free will….he doesn’t force obedience, he asks for our hearts. 

It’s fun to dream of my world but it is far better to live in his!

Words

When you really think about it, words are just letters that are put together in a certain order.  When we look at words in languages that we don’t understand, they mean nothing to us.  And yet, in our own language, words evoke many different emotions.  For most people the words puppy, kitten, balloon, and ice cream carry thoughts of happiness and may even bring a smile to our faces.  Words such as poverty, war, suffering and sickness can tug at our hearts.  Names of those in our families or people we love mean everything to us and yet to others, they are just names. 

Words that are spoken to us by others have the power to tear us down or to elevate us in joy.  Who doesn’t welcome a kind word or a phrase of affirmation offered by someone whom we care about?  Sometimes words can be a call to action.  Sometimes they are a warning to stop. 

Each day we have the opportunity to use our words to encourage others, to help them on their journeys, to assist them through a difficult time.  One word, I believe, spoken in the present transcends into the future…that word is hope.  Today, let us offer hope to all those we meet.  Today, as we celebrate our Sabbath, let us bring hope to our splintered world.