Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Saved by...

Right now, Toyota is running an ad campaign which has the refrain from a 1980's song "Saved by Zero" by the Fixx. If you'd like to refresh your memory, you can check out Video "Saved by Zero"

The song portrays a young artist being pulled by two worlds. With a hope of being "Saved by Zero"

Our faith gives a much different and deeper hope. When you feel yourself getting tugged in all sorts of directions, be still and know God. It's an important skill to learn in our 24/7 fast paced do more with less society. Sometimes, you need to find a place of solitude, even if it is only for a few minutes. There are countless studies out there on how we are suffering from sleep deprivation. One study says it is more important to get to bed before midnight, so you sleep in natural darkness. (ask our parish nurse for the full details)

Make an appointment with God daily; write it on your calendar and honor it like any other appointment. During that time, pray simple prayers...Help Me! and Thank you! are perfect prayers. Try to be surrounded by silence, or natural sounds. While listening to the silence, the small voice of the Almighty Creator becomes more clear. Hear it remind you that we are not saved by zero. We are saved by Jesus, who died on the cross and rose from the dead on the third day. We are saved by someone, very real, very human and very Divine.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Tuesday's Word: Honorable

"think about what is honorable"

Once again, we find a word with a plethora of meanings.  For a complete run down, I invite you to click on this link:

What people or things in your life are worthy of you honoring?  A person?  A special event?

When we honor someone, we take time out to acknowledge all of the good things the individual has done.  There are days when I see nothing but bad stuff and it is easy to fall into a rut and assume that people are bad.  When I notice this mind set, I force myself to see the good things first.  I find that when I start by honoring someone, seeing them as a gift from God, my relationship improves.  Whether a little thing, or a big thing, to start with honoring values who they are as God's children.

In Philippians 4:8 Paul takes the pagan values, and tells Christians there is nothing wrong with these things.  In fact, he goes on to say Christ embodied these traits.  He thought about and did whatever was true, honorable, just, pure, pleasing, commendable, excellent, things worthy of praise.  This is why Paul implores us to think about and do the same.

Word of the Day--True

There is an old computer saying:  garbage in, garbage out.  Meaning whatever we put in, is what we get in return.  This applies to our lives.

When we are filled with garbage, i.e. surrounded by fear filled pronouncements, smothered by pictures and words that debase and demean our fellow children of God or God's creation,  we become polluted and less able to function.

Paul in his letter to the Philippians, invites us to ponder things that clear out the mind of the pollution and remind us of God's rich mercy, love, and leadership.  You'll find this in chapter 4.  In verse 8, he hits upon a series of words and concepts to keep in the forefront of our minds.  Today, we'll think about "True"

In our post-modern world, we question everything and live as if there is nothing true.  We have become cynical; and so it is time to recapture the meaning of "Truth".  While the online Merriam-Webster dictionary defines it as:  the quality or state of being accurate, we need to recall the older definitions:  steadfast, loyal, just.  These are words that accurately capture the majesty of God:  God is loyal, just, and steadfast.  Throughout scripture there are stories of God's involvement in situations to get things back on track.

Jesus promised, "I am the way, the truth, and the life."  We do not live in a vacuum; our relationship with God touches every area of our lives.  So, when the world seems spinning out of control, think about what is true:  God is true.    When the nightly news announces doom and destruction, think instead about how God is true; and pray for God's continued involvement in worldly affairs.  

This week, may God's true, faithful, peace be upon you.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Martin Luther King Jr once remarked: "There is so much frustration in the world because we have relied on gods rather than God. We have genuflected before the god of science only to find that it has given us the atomic bomb, producing fears and anxieties that science can never mitigate.

We have worshiped the god of pleasure only to discover that thrills play out and sensations are short-lived.

We have bowed before the god of money only to learn that there are such things as love and friendship that money cannot buy....These transitory gods are not able to save or bring happiness to the human heart. Only God is able. It is faith in Him that we must rediscover."

460 years earlier, Martin Luther wrote in the Small Catechism, "We are to fear, love, and trust God above all else" as an explanation on how to keep the First Commandment. (Some people substitute "honor" for "fear" because they don't think we should be afraid of our merciful and loving God. I believe a little fear is healthy because it keeps us humble and reminds us to listen to God's commands.)

Both of these preachers implore us to fully rely on God, trusting the Almighty in times of fear and doubt. This week, each day I'll write some thoughts on the list Paul provides in Philippians 4:1-9 that encourage us to Rejoice in the Lord Always.