Friday, July 29, 2011

I can't stand how judgmental some religious people can be. Just because a person follows a religion doesn't make him or her "a better person." I was raised by the most loving man you could ever imagine; a man who was a widower and sacrificed everything for his kids -- and guess what? He was an atheist. To this day, I still can't find anyone as good and honest as my father. Why would God create something so wonderful and then discard it? And why would God place me in a household of atheists, knowing that I would eventually be His daughter? There is a lesson here; nothing is coincidence.

We shouldn't be so quick to assume that we understand anything about God. I feel like some people cling to the Bible because they don't really think God exists... at least, not beyond a book. A book is something easy to believe in; it's firm, touchable, readable, etc. But God -- God is complicated, invisible, practically undetectable for the average man or woman, in the same way that oxygen and nutrients pass through our body without our conscious knowledge. Who can really believe in something that they haven't seen themselves?

God's realm is the heart and it is through a person's actions that we can determine their closeness to God. Selfless and loving people are better acquainted with the Spirit of God than those who point fingers and judge; no matter what a person professes with their mouth, it is by action that we are saved, by action that we come to know Christ, and essentially it is by actions that we are judged.

Look to a person's actions, and you will see the true quality of their faith.

By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit.
Matthew 7:16-18  

Friday, July 22, 2011

How gentle God is, and how loving, and how forgiving....

and how sheltered He has made me, both hands cupped at my sides

and His feet under mine, holding me up like a child; who can walk on their own?

None of us, certainly. He has brought all things

into my life, new blessings, new worlds, new love

and all things have been kind on my journey.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

I believe in a God who does not leave anyone behind. Not even those who want to be left. God does not abandon His children.
It is hard to get anything done on earth if we are afraid of suffering. We must let go of that fear.

It is easy to suffer when we do it for a higher purpose, a higher love.

We reach a point when love and suffering become almost the same thing, because real love craves to be selfless, and selfless acts are always sacrifices, always in the attempt to relieve suffering. So by suffering, we are better able to love, better able to sacrifice ourselves, better able to draw close to God and the Spirit that resides within us.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

A thought on gifts....

How is it then, brethren? Whenever you come together, each of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification.
1 Corinthians 14:26

God has given us all unique talents through which we can understand Him. I am endlessly amazed by the talents of others, both the obvious and the latent. It makes me wonder why God gives us certain lives; why a man with a talent for carpentry might also have an unused penchant for music and art. How a great philosopher might grow up as a cattle shepherd in Africa. So much hidden potential, and God doesn't always choose to use it. We are given things that we don't need, that we never use, simply for the pleasure of having them in us.

Which brings me to a thought on my own talents. As an English major and writer, I look at my own proficiency with language, and I have decided that God's greatest gift to me is not language, necessarily. It is music.

Because God's voice is music, and language must have a rhythm in order to be clearly read and understood. God's voice strikes a note in the body, an ineffable chord, and all I do is take that music and put words to it. My father was a talented pianist with a doctorate in Music Composition from UCLA. My mother, too, was a gifted pianist. My penchant for music has been funneled into a penchant for writing, because when it comes to both life and the arts, rhythm is in everything. This is the gift I can use to glorify and understand God, and God has given it to me to use freely. It is all I can do to try to give it back.

And now a finishing through from Corinthians:

What is the conclusion then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with the understanding. I will sing with the spirit, and I will also sing with the understanding.
1 Corinthians 14:15

14 The Lord is my strength and song,
And He has become my salvation.
Psalm 118:14

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Happy to be an instrument.

Happy to carry the tune.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Fear and Perfect Love

"Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love." 1 John 4:18

This passage from John has jumped out at me several times this week, so I figured I would write a few thoughts about it. I like this commentary by the Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible:

"Fear has no place in love. Bold confidence (1Jo 4:17), based on love, cannot coexist with fear. Love, which, when perfected, gives bold confidence, casts out fear (compare Heb 2:14, 15). The design of Christ's propitiatory death was to deliver from this bondage of fear."

I do feel that since losing my parents and having to rely solely on God to bring blessings and opportunity to my life, that I have found within myself a bold confidence. A certain fearlessness... one might go so far as to call it recklessness... when it comes to taking worldly action. I am not afraid to rely on faith, or to speak out about God. I am not afraid to take chances, to face the unknown, to tread in that horrible borderland where we feel internally and externally out of control, out of place. I know that where I go, faith goes with me, and it's not something that will ever be lost.

I am not immune to all fear, though... for instance, allowing myself to be vulnerable in friendships and relationships is very difficult, and I am, of course, afraid of the pain of a broken heart.... I am afraid of losing people... not to death, but to life; people who come into my life who give me strength, and who then leave, continuing in whatever direction life takes them. It is a terrifying process, learning to stand on our own, with only our hearts as a guide. I am not there yet. But God's faith is a solid foundation and, stone by stone, I am getting stronger. His perfect love is what builds us.

But I wonder, sometimes, if we are ever truly meant to stand alone.... We are made to need each other, to need God. But to what extent? Is that my spiritual goal -- to be strong and whole, but only when I am alone? To be honest, it does not seem like much of a challenge. I think it is easy for us to feel whole when there is no one around to remind us of our shortcomings, our vulnerabilities and insecurities. But that is not true wholeness, something that hides behind walls like a wounded animal.

No, the wholeness I seek is one that includes others. One that will allow me to overcome my insecurities and anti-social tendencies and embrace people for all of their faults and imperfections. I want God's wholeness, God's perfect love, God's patience and acceptance of all things. I want bold confidence in all things, so that I might be a more loving and generous person. How can I share God's love if I am afraid to share myself openly with others? Where do we draw the line between protecting our hearts and offering our hearts as tools of salvation? It is something that time will have to teach me....

I will finish with this thought from St. Augustine:

"As in sewing, we see the thread passed through by the needle. The needle is first pushed in, but the thread cannot be introduced until the needle is brought out. So fear first occupies the mind, but does not remain permanently, because it entered for the purpose of introducing love." 

Monday, July 4, 2011


There is joy in submission. In fact, the only joy is submission.

True bliss is liberation from self.

You can't destroy your smaller self; you are not fighting a war with some internal apparition. That is for God to do. Life will remove it for you. It is a painful process until it is finished. You must submit to it. Your only duty is to follow where God takes you. Liberation is not a process that can be understood. Only God knows the path that will bring you to that moment... and then the path continues.


What is difficult now will become easy.
What feels unnatural will become your nature.
What is impermanent will be stricken from you.
It is found in simplicity. It is found in humility. Once found, it is never lost.
It is not an idea. It is an experience. It is a part of yourself. Ultimately, it is ineffable.