Monday, June 29, 2009

Love Is the Answer

"I believe that every single event in life that happens in an opportunity to choose love over fear" (Oprah Winfrey). A group that was trying to get me to join just sent that to me at a time when I needed to hear it. I so believe in love. On facebook I have a group about love called, "The Greatest of These Is Love", named after the I Corinthians 13:13, "And now abideth faith, hope, charity; but the greatest of these is love." When we feel dumped on and wronged, we might fear love because it hurts. It is at that time, we need to realize that behind the pain someone may try to inflict on us is a call for love. We have to be careful not to let any negative words get into our thought processes so that we start obsessing over them and let them steal our peace. "Beloved, since God loved us so much....God lives in us, and His love is perfected in us," (I John 4:11-12). Any time we feel anger, it is because of fear. Jerry Jampolsky wrote a book called LOVE IS LETTING GO OF FEAR, and he explains that when we get upset, it is usually not for the reason we think. Usually something from our unhealed past comes up that we need to forgive, heal, and release. Forgiveness is the only thing that will return peace of mind to us. We need to make a choice to harbor good feelings toward others, no matter what they do. When we hang onto guilt and blame, we begin to fear love. We can not experience peace and love if we find value in guilt and blame. God promises us "a pleasant vineyard" in Isaiah 27:2-4. All we need to do is guard it from harm by not harboring anger. In the previous chapter in Isaiah, chapter 26, verse 3, the prophet tells us, "Those of steadfast mind you keep in perfect peace--in peace because they trust in You." Then in Romans 14:19, Paul states, "Let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding." When others are acting angry, resentful, judgmental, and seem to be attacking us, we need to hold out an abundance of love and compassion. What we give will expand and no one will lose. Every one will be a winner. So no matter what is happening, we can choose peace. This peace is not dependent on what another says or does, or whether we get our way or not. It is dependent on our choice and our perception. Our perceptions are formed by our thoughts and beliefs, and we can choose what we put in our minds. Choose forgiveness and healing for our relationships because harmony is more important than being right. Isaiah 52:7 states, "How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of the messenger who announces peace." Let us be that messenger, Lord. Help us remember that no matter what is the problem, love is the answer. Jesus says in John 13:34 "I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you should love one another."

Monday, June 22, 2009

Practice Happiness

"You have made known to me the ways of life. You will make me full of gladness with Your presence" (Acts 2:28). I just returned from visiting my daughter Teresa and granddaughter Jess in another state. While I was there, Teresa checked out a book for me called HAPPY FOR NO REASON by Marci Shimoff. I didn't have time to read much of it during my short visit, but I found what little I read was very illuminating. Aristotle wrote that "Happiness is the meaning and purpose of human existence." Thomas Jefferson, along with other founding fathers, said we had the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness in the "Declaration of Independence". I did not realize until recently that in 1776 the word "pursuit" meant "practice" instead of "chasing after". We were guaranteed the practice of happiness, not just the right to chase after the elusive idea of happiness!! Wow! What a difference that makes! So few people are happy, but I've found that if I stand straight and tall, with my shoulders back and take a deep breath, while putting a smile on my face, a little light of joy comes on. Try it!! Joel is often criticized for his ever-present smile, but I practice smiling all the time too, even when I don't feel like it. Guess what? The smile actually makes me feel the joy that is on the inside. Tolstoy tells a story of a beggar that sits on a box full of gold begging for money because he is unaware of that on which he is sitting. Let's not be like the beggar. Let's be aware that we have the ability to be happy now, regardless of circumstances. It's inside us. All we have to do is practice to bring it out. Throw back your shoulders, believe in God's joy, and smile. Relax! Feel the joy! Now with gratitude in your heart, thank God for all your many blessings. "He will fill your mouth with laughter, and your lips with shouts of joy" (Job 8:21). Yay! You might even start singing! :)

Friday, June 5, 2009

All Things in Moderation

"Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand," says Paul in the King James Version of Philippinas 4:5. The dictionary says that moderation is the avoidance of extremes, or the practice of calmness. Aw, yes, calmness and serenity....I like that! I have my three granddaughters staying with me this week, ages three to fourteen, and believe it or not, I have found such peacefulness. For one thing, the older ones help a lot with the youngest one. To keep the house serene, we practice moderation...not too much sugar, enough sleep, and healthy food. The youngest two granddaughters are vegetarians so their eating style helps us all eat a little healthier. Last night Hubby fixed delicious eggplant parmigiana. It's been a while since I've had that, and it was yummy. Another part of this moderation is to stay in the flow....not too much excitement before bedtime, no mommy calls after six p.m., and no loud screamo music from the teenage granddaughter. Still, another very important part of staying moderate is to make sure I get some time to refresh my spiritual I practice meditation as I perform simple tasks like dishes, etc. I also try staying in the present moment so I can enjoy each moment with them. While I am bathing the three year old, I pay attention to her chatter. She says the cutest things. This morning she told me that she loves me to the moon and back, and even to the grass and back. She also asks if she could wake the older girls and tell them that the sun woke up. Oh, the joy of grandchildren. "We were gentle among you, like a nurse tenderly caring for her own children," says Paul in I Thessalonians 2:7. Lastly, I relax, realizing the divine order of everything. Peace fills my soul, and I am grateful to be a nana. I feel energized and ready for anything. These bright little angels are my heritage, and I love them so much!! :) In YOUR BEST LIFE NOW, Joel asks what we are passing down to the next generation. My hope is that I am passing down the blessing of doing things in moderation with peace of mind.