Longing for Purity of Heart

Here is an amazing quote from Prof. Ronda De Sola Chervin, from her book Prayers of the Women Mystics.

Longing for Purity of Heart”

“Such close union with God could not be without anguish because of the many imperfections of even a holy soul. But why should someone see seemingly small defects as offenses against God in the first place? We find a clue in our human loves. Don’t we feel worse when we display a weakness in front of someone we especially admire? How much more if the beloved one is hoping that his or her love would heal us of the insecurities revealed in sin. The offense comes when our behavior manifests the fact that some trifle is worth more to us than even love. Such defects include not only addictions of the flesh, but also those virtues themselves can becomes vices if worn with pride”.

Prof. Chervin wrote this in a chapter on St. Catherine of Genoa.  The comment that hit me the most was,  “The offense comes when our behavior manifests the fact that some trifle is worth more to us than even love”.  Some trifle; some insignificant thing which we hold onto for dear life, instead of letting it fall into the sea of love and forgiveness.  We, as a people are very good at holding onto the trifles of life.  We displayed them as ornaments for others to see. “So and so did this to me. Don’t you see it?”  Oh yes, we do.  We can’t help but see them, because we have some of our own trifles.  Trifles cling to us, and we cling to them.  We turned them into golden idols which drain away precious opportunities to dive deeply into the forgiving-truth; the healing truth; the saving truth of a love that is greater than anything.

Can’t we forgive as Christ did, and seek a purity of heart which does not remembers those trifles?

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Romans 8:35 KJV

Let no trifle, or anything else separate you from the love found in Christ.  Abandon the trifles beloved, and long for the purity of heart offered to us.

 

Prayers for our world

Dear fellow believers:

Pray for Paris, Mali, and Nigeria…may the Spirit of love and forgiveness rein supreme during these perilous times.  May heaven comfort the families of victims.  Lord, prick the hearts, souls of those living in the darkness, and have them turn away from this evil, and return to you.

Help us all Lord, to be more like you.  May we never give up on hope, love, peace, joy, trust and faith in YOU.

Amen

fruit-of-the-spirit

Sanctifying the Month

Beloved

Begin this new season by reflecting upon our great and merciful God.  Leave the stains of despair, regrets, sin, mistakes, worry and concern in His capable hands.  Return to him fully and allow the Holy Spirit to create in you a clean heart for worship and service.

“May God himself, the God who makes everything holy and whole, make you holy and whole, put you together—spirit, soul, and body—and keep you fit for the coming of our Master, Jesus Christ. The One who called you is completely dependable. If he said it, he’ll do it! ”   1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 The Message

“Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.”  John 17:17 KJV

Enjoy this prayer for this new season from our Hebrew brothers.   Sanctifying the Month of Tammuz birkat-hachodesh

Blessings.

Jesus

Ice Cream is Soul Food

While purging some old papers I came across a story my sister shared with me back in 1997.  It was sent to her anonymously so I can’t give credit to the author. Upon reading it again, I felt compelled to share its timeless message with you.

Last week I took my children to a restaurant. My six-year-old son asked if he could say grace. As we bowed our heads he said, “God is good. God is great. Thank you for the food, and I would even thank you more if mom gets us ice cream for dessert. And liberty and justice for all! Amen!” Along with the laughter from the other customers nearby I heard a woman remark, “That’s what’s wrong with this country.  Kids today don’t even know how to pray.  Asking God for ice cream!  Why, I never!” ?

Is God mad at me?” As I held him and assured him that he had done a terrific job and God was certainly not mad at him, an elderly gentleman approached the table.  He winked at my son and said, “I happen to know that God thought that was a great prayer.”

“Really?” my son asked.

“Cross my heart.”  Then in a theatrical whisper he added (indicating the woman whose remark had started this whole thing),  “Too bad she never asks God for ice cream.  A little ice cream is good for the soul sometimes.”

Naturally, I bought my kids’ ice cream at the end of the meal.  My son stared at his for a moment and then did something I will remember the rest of my life.  He picked up his sundae and without a word walked over and placed it in front of the woman. With a big smile he told her, “Here, this is for you.  Ice cream is good for the soul sometimes and my soul is good already.”



The elderly gentleman’s actions set the stage for a teachable moment for mom, the little boy and of course the woman.  We get so caught up into religious ideology that we forget Christ said to come unto Him with the simplicity and heart of a child.  Our grown up ways cause so much misalignment with our Heavenly Father and with each other.  The streets, workplaces, schools and churches are filled with people ready and willing to “rain” on your parade, inflicting their brand of “righteousness.”  However, we don’t have to become a carrier of negative attitudes and behaviors.  Each moment present the opportunity to cast our lot with the likes of the elderly gentleman, whose brief encounter, listening to the beauty of a child’s prayer, opened the door for joy. In that moment the sound of childlike innocence and laughter brighten the room, and gave purpose to an ordinary meal.  He  made a deposit into the little boy’s heart and soul which the little boy appropriately withdrew and transferred to the woman.  “Ice cream is good for the soul sometimes, and my soul is good already” he stated with the blessed assurance that God was not mad at him, and that he could share his blessing with her.

When was the last time you made such a deposit? ice-cream-sundae

Christ told us to love our enemies, and those who mistreat us. Perhaps if we shared our ice cream with those who need it, there would be a little more joy, love and forgiveness in those places that are much too dark and dreary.   Share some today.   You may be surprised to discover just how really good for the soul ice cream is.

 

 

Elul

On August 6, according to the Jewish calendar the month of Elul began. This month is significant because it is in preparation for Rosh Hashanah which begin at sunset Wednesday, September 4, 2013 and ends at nightfall Friday, September 6, 2013. It is a time of repentance, reflection, and forgiveness.  It calls us to clear our minds, souls and bodies of the things which separate us from God.   As I’ve been studying this significance of this month, I’ve learned special prayers will be offered for past sins committed not only by the individual, but also for the entire family. I am reminded of Nehemiah, who upon his return to Jerusalem, asked God to forgive him, and Israel their past sins. It is a beautiful prayer.  It recounts everything Israel did in the past, and include the sins of those present at the time of the dedication of the temple. No one was exempt.

As this month continues, Jews will offer special prayers, recite the 27th Psalm, and be awaken by the shofar[ram’s horn].   The major focus is, however on repentance.  On turning away from the sins that so easily beset us, and going before a Holy God and seeking forgiveness with a sincere heart.  And as we do, our souls are restored, and “He will lead us beside still waters, and anoint our heads with His oil.” Then “goodness and mercy shall follow us all the days of our lives where we shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”

I’ve taken to heart the significance of this month, and asked the Lord to forgive me, and my family for our sins.  This is a holy time, and because of it,  I will be taking more time to reflect on His word.  So dear readers, my posts will not come as often as before. (You probably noticed)  I encourage you to do the same. Don’t miss this special time. Cover yourself in His word. Spend time only with Him. Turn off some stuff. Get quiet and listen for Him.  Repent. Reflect. Forgive those who wronged you.   Prepare for the coming season with joy, love, appreciation, and anticipation. It is Elul.

Meditation on Forgiveness

Meditation – Forgiveness- August 9, 2013 at 6:20am written by Michael A. White

Father, I think today about our grudges [bitterness, ill feelings, hatreds, chips on our shoulders), and wonder how we miss our forgiveness lessons, delivered by Your grace, and Your mercy, as our eyes flutter open each day. Time and time again, we read about it, every now and again, we hear about it through Word [the Bible], preached, and daily, we experience, forgiveness, where grudges are terminated from Your thought, and our slates [accounts, tabs, bills], are wiped away, with opportunities for “more” chances, to get right, and to get it right.

We do what we must oh Lord, in our processing of how we feel when we feel wronged [mistreated, offended, persecuted, hurt, wounded]. We may even realize the penalties of carrying the brunt [impact, force, effect, burden], of those feelings alone; we may look angry, bitter, troubled, unforgiving, on the outside to others, while feeling really torn up, hurt, injured, in our spirits, on our insides, oh and maybe Your lack of forgiveness toward us. Are we missing, are we not focusing on the power of forgiveness, not only what is may mean to others [letting them off the hook, giving them a break, a pass], but what it “will” mean to us?

Through You oh God, and by Your son Jesus, our Christ, our Redeemer, we learn the limitless [unlimited, inexhaustible, never-ending], boundaries, the actions of forgiving are, and by our faith, believe, understand, the proper roads to take; if we are wronged, we forgive, wronged again, forgive again, and again, and again, limitlessly, inexhaustibly, never-ending. Maybe we treat resentment [anger, hatred, bitterness, dislike], and forgiveness, as four-letter words, words we shouldn’t say and practice not using them in sentences, or simply call them burdens or yokes [burdens, bondages, loads, annoyances], ready to come to You, our protector and provider of all things good, for more lesson on love, and of course our lesson, targeted [directed, aimed, pointed], specifically [exactly, precisely, in detail], on forgiveness.

Sometimes Lord, we need a revival [renewal, recovery, restoration], lesson on what Your love really means to us. We exercise too much of our own abilities to pick and choose our subsets [subsections, subcategories, subdivisions], when Your love, encompasses [includes, contains, cover], all categories, including forgiveness. Let us each, by You strength learn our valuable lesson, then share them with the world, in the mighty name of Jesus, our Christ, our Redeemer [Savior, Rescuer, Liberator]. Amen.

Read Matthew 18:21-35  A Story About Forgiveness   The Message (MSG)

Matthew 6:14-15 The Message (MSG) 14-15 “In prayer there is a connection between what God does and what you do. You can’t get forgiveness from God, for instance, without also forgiving others. If you refuse to do your part, you cut yourself off from God’s part.

Mark 11:25 The Message (MSG)  22-25 Jesus was matter-of-fact: “Embrace this God-life. Really embrace it, and nothing will be too much for you. This mountain, for instance: Just say, ‘Go jump in the lake’—no shuffling or shilly-shallying—and it’s as good as done. That’s why I urge you to pray for absolutely everything, ranging from small to large. Include everything as you embrace this God-life, and you’ll get God’s everything. And when you assume the posture of prayer, remember that it’s not all asking. If you have anything against someone, forgive—only then will your heavenly Father be inclined to also wipe your slate clean of sins.”

Colossians 3:12-14 The Message (MSG)  12-14 So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it.

Forgiveness and Love

“Forgiveness is the key that unlocks the door of resentment and the handcuffs of hate.  It is a power that breaks the chains of bitterness and the shackles of selfishness.” 

William Arthur Ward.

Forgiveness is created in the priceless love that never fails.  We can’t truly forgive unless we decide to love.  Love heals the broken-hearted and repairs the damage and unlocks the  door to forgiveness.

“If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,but do not have love, I gain nothing.

4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.  1 Corinthians 13 [NIV]

Spread a little love today, and then take the key of forgiveness to that closed door.  You’ll find it’s been opened.

The Space Before – Forgiveness

Yesterday, I wrote in my journal about forgiveness while praying for someone who is dealing with the lost of their mother. Grief and lost are difficult enough, but dealing with bad attitudes, misplaced emotions, and contentious behaviors in the midst of it can be too much. As I was meditating, the word forgiveness came up. It wasn’t in any of the scriptures I read, but there it was. Forgiveness. What is forgiveness? And why is it necessary to forgive? And when does it occur? I believe it is a gift-a sacred present. A grace offering. Jesus said forgive and pray for those who mistreat you. It is an expectation, a divine directive from our Savior. Life’s challenges make it difficult to forgive, and much time and energy can be lost in the space of unforgiveness.
I was intrigued, and compelled to write about it. In fact, the word returned this morning, so I had to share this thought. How does forgiveness happened?

Forgiveness takes place in the space between “for” and “give”. Yes, in the space before forgiveness is offered. There is a melting, a release, and moving away from the rock and the hard place. It is like the cold snow melting away under the warmth of the bright morning sun. Picture it! The snow and ice becoming water. This is what happens in the space before forgiveness. Transformation takes place, when the giver makes the decision to for-give. In that space hate becomes love, resistance becomes acceptance, and the past gives way to the future.

A new beginning comes into focus in that sacred space [the before]. And this is not a small space. Look at the word forgive. There does not appear to be any space between the letters. Now, look at it again. F O R G I V E. There is more space. Look at it one more time. F O R G I V E. The space is much wider. In fact it huge, because if you have ever been hurt, betrayed, rejected, abused, the space from the pain is wide. However, at the second, the very moment the decision is made to forgive the space [gap] begins to close. And during the closing of the space preparations for the delivery of the gift begins. The gift is wrapped in love with a bright ribbon of hope. Upon delivery the space is closed, and miraculously another space is opened.

Forgiveness is a wonderful gift. It restores, heals, and allows you and I the opportunity to share the greatest gift we’ve ever received, that of God’s forgiveness.