To Love and Be Loved

Have you ever started to keep a start of journaljournal?  They can be handy.  There are many styles, one for every purpose.  So far I have not been disciplined in that area of writing.

I have one in my planner for making spiritual notes.  It is set up for jotting down a Daily Devotional, Today’s Focus, Notes and Plans, and to highlight what I’m grateful for.  It seems, once again, I have fallen short and only have used it sporadically.  When I remember to take it with me I have made a few notes from the Bible readings or homilies at Mass.

This morning I pulled it out to see if I could transfer some profound words of inspiration I may have noted into my beautiful, new, Heartfelt Creations Journal that was recently given to me.  Following is on spiritual thought that has a burning urgency to comprehend and dwell on.  I hope you find the relevance of this message as important as I do.

The reason we hunger for things to bring happiness is because we are created by God and therefore destined to return to him.  Happiness and love are all about God.  He created us for love.  The human soul yearns to be closer to God, that is where true happiness is found.  This is why we have a hunger for that feeling: we hunger to be in the presence of our God, the hunger for the ultimate fulfillment of divine love.

The force that drives us is to love and be loved, it causes us to reach for something to satisfy our desire, yet too often we are led in the wrong direction and grab unhealthy and ungodly experiences that may satisfy for the moment but mislead us in the end.  In our misguided search we often fall down a spiral filled with sin and never achieve our desired state of true love.  Let’s be about seeking the original source of love – God.

It is never too late to realize we have misjudged what will bring happiness, that our choices only led us away from our true goal, from God who is the true source of real love.

What is the way to love God?  First it is to love God with our whole heart.  Love God above all earthly possessions.  When this gets confusing or seems too hard – pray for this!  God will increase your love and faith when you pray to him without ceasing.  God will lead you in your search for strength to love him more.

Try these three steps to find love:

1. I will love God with my whole heart.

2. I will seek to know what God expects of me.

3. I will listen to his Son, Jesus Christ.

We must be patient as we develop and strengthen our minds for understanding and our hearts for loving God and others.  For starters we must read our Bible often and come together with the Body of Christ weekly.

See you in the universal celebration of Mass this week!  It’s how we all join our spirit in the Lord’s presence.  May you look forward to worshiping our God, who is the source of love.

God is love!

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Just Keep Asking

Just like the Canaanite woman did in the Gospel of Matthew.

She knew that this man passing through her region was the one to heal her daughter.  She knew he was the son of David. She knew he was God and she was not going to back down from beseeching him to heal her daughter.

Have you ever prayed to God for something really important and nothing happened?  Was it like God was not hearing you, ignoring you, perhaps had abandoned you?

I have certainly been there!  Unlike this Canaanite woman, I did give up.  I even turned my back on God; I’m very ashamed to confess.  I am blessed to have been drawn back to the all knowing and loving Creator in spite of my disobedience.

The message today struck me hard.  I know now that sometimes when God seems to be silent and not answering our prayers there is always something deeper going on.

Looking back now at situations I realize the error of what I was asking for on various occasions.  Some things were not the best course of action for me, although I was sure it would have been at the time.  Other times what I was praying for wasn’t the best option for those I was praying about.  I’ve looked real hard at my life and understand a little more than I did before mass today.

If I know I am asking for something righteous and truly in line with God’s way and the teachings we have from Jesus at our fingertips to learn, then I should never back down, never stop praying.

The Canaanite woman didn’t.  She knew who she was talking to and she didn’t care that she was way out of line for speaking to him (first of all a woman in that time was never to speak to a strange man, and especially one of authority, and it was clear that this Jew was someone!), and besides Canaanites were hated by the Jews, yet she persisted to ask help of this man.

Why would she do that?  He had ignored her, then he insulted her as a Jew might telling her he had been sent to take care of the “House of Israel”, not the likes of her.

But she persisted because she knew this was more than a Jewish man, this was God!

Of course Jesus heard her, and he wasn’t really ignoring her, even when his disciples with him tried to encourage him to move away from her.  He was testing her.

I realize better now what this means, that God will test us.  Not like your professors who want to write a hard quiz and really don’t care if you pass or not, but like a good teacher that wants to find out that you understand and “get” the material that is important for getting along in this life.

You would think the humiliation he dealt her next would have silenced her.  Remember that she and her countrymen were thought of as lower that low.  Jesus presented one more test when he told her it wasn’t right to take food from the children and throw it to the little dogs.

Wow.  Talk about a slap in the face.  That was cruel.  Did she quit?  No!  She knew this was more than a man and that he was her only hope for saving her daughter.

Verse 27 – “She retorted, ‘Ah yes, Lord; but even little dogs eat the scraps that fall from their masters’ table.”

Jesus already knows what is in our hearts.  He didn’t have to execute this terrible quiz for her benefit.  Anyone listening to this exchange needed this example.  We, today, have it documented in God’s Holy Word.  If we choose to read it and be led to its understanding by the aid of the Holy Spirit, that exchange will also benefit us.

I wonder if she ever doubted, like I have.  During this exchange, did it ever cross her mind that in spite of this being the Lord, would he not help her so she might as well just turn and walk away?  We do not know her thoughts.  The one thing that is important is that she did not stop believing the Lord God would help her and that she would not turn away.

We just have to keep asking.

My faith has been strengthened by today’s message, and I hope you will read it for yourself and take it to heart.   Matthew 15:21-28 

This evening I made a card, but I’m not sharing it on my blog.  It is a sympathy card for a friend who’s father has passed away.  I think this should be left private between us.

I do have two cards that I’ve finished in the last couple of days just so you might be inspired by something crafty after my outpouring of my soul.

 

I had some “Saving cream” paper left over from a precious challenge that I used gold embossing powder for the flower. The leaves are stamped in the same color of ink as the paper, Fun Stampers Journey Limeade Splash, and then I put clear embossing powder over it.  The Fall card was stamped on watercolor paper and I used wc pencils on it.

I leave you with this final thought – Believe in God, never give up or turn your back -your faith is stronger than you know.

Blessings,

Crafty hugs, too!

Joyce Ann

Exodus or Exile: Our Daily Choice

This past Sunday my pastor got me thinking about this idea of my own choices.  Two of the main studies in the Jewish Faith is the Exodus recounting when God redeemed the Jews for himself by freeing them from their Egyptian slavery and the traumatic Exile from their homeland where their Temple was destroyed along with their freedom.

The words Exodus and Exile are totally deserving of a capital E!  Not so much for most of us on a daily basis.  Nevertheless, think about the choices we have in this overall vision of our day, if you will.

Life is an exodus, a journey to where we want to be.  Daily.  What are our goals we want to accomplish?  Unless perfect people are reading this blog of mine, I’m believing many of you are like me.  I want to do better in so many areas, like relationships with others, the tasks of navigating daily chores, and enjoying my “toys”.  I want to smile more, worry less.

It may help to remember that nothing in this life stays the same.  To some degree we are all on a journey – it’s either an exodus, a day lived in freedom, or we surrender our selves to a self-appointed exile.

Be thankful Christ is with us.  If God’s light isn’t shining through brightly enough, perhaps we can find ways to let the love Jesus taught us show more.  Think about the analogy of the clay jars and add a few more holes in there.  Jesus promised that God is with us, each and every one of us, we just need to find ways for the light of His message to get out there.

So, I think I’ll start by smiling more, speaking more kindly, especially to anyone I pass in my journey.  And make more cards to actually send out.

It’s up to each of us individually – it’s either exodus or exile.  You choose.