Thoughts and musings on faith and our mighty God!

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Reading: 1 Timothy 6: 6-11

Paul calls us to what really matters in this life and in the life to come.  He states in verse six, “godliness with contentment is great gain”.  When we live a godly life and are content with God’s blessings, then we do find much joy, peace, and happiness.  But it can be a struggle to live this way all the time.

Even though Paul reminds us in verse seven that we brought nothing into this world and can take nothing out of it, sometimes we sure act differently.  We eye the latest cell phone, tablet, or other gadget.  We see the newest model of our favorite car and think our 2015 version is getting a bit old.  We hear the Jones’s got a new boat and we think it sure would be nice to take the kids out tubing or fishing anytime.  Pretty soon it can be easy to not be so content.

Paul spells it out very clearly when he says, “the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil”.  He does not say money is bad but that the LOVE of money in bad.  This love causes us to pursue much instead of God.  When we love something more than God, soon enough we “wander from the faith” and we find ourselves”pierced with many griefs”.  Money, possessions, status, … do not last.  When we chase after such things all we want is more, more, more.  Enough never comes.

“Flee from all of this!” is Paul’s advice.  Instead, Paul encourages us to pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, and gentleness.  When we fill our lives with these things, contentment is not far away.  When we pursue these things we soon realize the depth of God’s care and love for us, each a child of God.  When we realize this, we trust in God that all of our needs will be met and that our lives will be richly blessed no matter how much or how little we have.  When we live pursuing God, we find true contentment.  May God be our all in all.

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Clothe Ourselves Well

We are often concerned with what we wear.  We like to look good or at least be presentable!  If our hair is a little wild or our make-up a little smudged, we neaten it up a bit.  Many will give themselves a quick once over in the mirror to make sure they can be seen in public.

In our reading from Colossians, we are also instructed to put on more than clothes each day.  We are also called to put on compassion and kindness and humility.  These traits help us to see others as God sees them and to treat all as worthy of God’s love and of our love.  They help us to see the person and not their circumstances.

We are also called to put on gentleness and patience.  These two traits help us to treat people as God would treat them.  When we are gentle and patient we understand that some people require more time and attention than others and we are willing to offer this.  They help us to invest both deeply and long term in others so we can build relationships.

And we are called to forgive as God forgives us.  This encompasses two main components: there is no limit to how many times to forgive and it is a gift freely given with no strings attached.  People who are in need often walk a hard path in life.  It is easy to stumble along this path.  Clothing ourselves with forgiveness allows us to give mercy and encouragement over and over and over.  This shows we are in it for the long haul.

Lastly we are called to cover all of these traits in love.  It binds the other traits together in the perfect unity of the love of Jesus Christ.  This love of Christ must be what motivates all the others as well.  We cannot be compassionate, kind, … without the love of Christ being the driving force.  Without love the other traits will falter and fail.  May we clothe ourselves well this day so that all we meet can see Jesus Christ within us and experience His love shining forth from inside of us.

Scripture reference: Colossians 3: 12-14

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When We Pray

Paul calls on us as believers to rejoice always, to allow our love or gentleness to show to everyone, and to not worry about anything.  Always, everyone, anything are pretty complete and all-encompassing.  When I look at my life, I realize I fail in all three.  I can and do rejoice in the Lord often, but not always.  I try to let me love and gentleness show to all people, but not to everyone all the time.  I tend not to worry very often, but I do at times.

For some, one or more of these areas are struggles as well.  For example, a lot of people worry.  We worry about health, terrorism, finances, family, decisions, jobs, and so on.  Worry can be a consuming emotion.  Paul’s answer to those who worry or don’t rejoice always or fail to show God’s love all the time?  Prayer.

Paul suggests that we “take it all to the Lord in prayer.”  Again, one of those absolutes: all.  Not just some of the things we struggle with, but all that is on our hearts and minds, both the good and the bad.  Time in prayer shifts the focus from us to God.  Time in prayer builds our trust and reliance on God and His activity instead of on our own efforts.  Prayer also reminds us of God’s absolute love for us and His constant presence in our lives.  Lastly prayer acknowledges that we must trust God with our lives.

When we pray and focus on all we have to rejoice over in our lives, somehow our worries seem less.  When we come to realize how much God loves and cares for us, His love seems to flow to of us and into others.  May we learn to take it all to God in prayer.  May we learn to trust in His steadfast love for us.  Draw close to Him and He will draw close to you.

Scripture reference: Philippians 4: 4-7

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Unity and Love

To live in unity and peace as the community of faith can be a challenge.  It takes effort.  Paul reminds us of our call as the body of Christ to work together for the common good.  To best accomplish this he offers three key characteristics to strive for: humility, gentleness, and patience.  When this is how we each walk, unity is much easier to accomplish.

Paul also calls for us to bear one another up in love.  What does this look like?  It looks like coming alongside a brother or sister in Christ when they have lost a loved one.  It looks like showing up when a single mom needs a hand around the house.  It means showing up to babysit a young couple’s children so they can have a date night.

At first glance maybe it seems unity may be hard because we appear to be quite diverse.  But diversity is good.  When we are diverse we all have unique gifts, perspectives, and thoughts that we can offer to each other.  Paul reminds us, though, that we do have much in common.  We worship one Lord and are guided by one Holy Spirit.  We share one common faith.  We practice one baptism.  We hold onto one hope.  We come together as one to worship one God and Father over all and through all and in all.

Together in unity we are strong and powerful and able to do much for God.

Scripture reference: Ephesians 4: 1-10