Private Letters of Mother Teresa

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I picked the above up from church yesterday.  It’s a simple sticker that says, “Beyond Your Selfie.” As I looked at it I thought…this should be everyone’s life motto.  Take a moment and consider living in such a world.  It would almost be heaven on earth.

Mother Teresa is one who definitely lived beyond her “selfie.”  If you haven’t seen it, you should really watch the movie, The Letters.  This movie is based on the true account of Mother Teresa’s life.  It’s amazing what this woman did as a result of her love for Jesus and her love for the outcast.  Other than Jesus, I dare say, not another human being has lived a life with such compassion in their heart.

Gonxha Agnes Bojaxhiu, who would later be called Mother Teresa, left her home at the young age of 18 to live the life of a missionary.   From then, until her death at 87 years old, this dear lady served the Christ she loved.  During that time span, Mary Teresa wrote many letters and within these letters there are glimpses of her that she never wanted the world to see.  Before her death she expressed her desire that these letters be destroyed, but thankfully they were kept safe and are now published for all to read in the The Private Writings of the “Saint of Calcutta” . The writings are extremely personal and it seems as if her heart bleeds upon every page.  The following is one such letter in which she is asking the Archbishop for permission to live among the poorest of poor in India…I hope it touches your heart as it did mine…

“From the age of 5 1/2 years,-when first I received Him [Jesus]-the love for souls has been within.  It grew with the years-until I came to India-with the hope of saving many souls.”

“Your Grace, let me go, and give myself for them, let me offer myself and those who will join me for those unwanted poor, the little street children, the sick, the dying, the beggars, let me go into their very holes and bring in their broken homes the joy and peace of Christ.  I know you are afraid for me.  You are afraid that the whole of this will be a failure.-What about it?  Is it not worth going through every possible suffering just for one single soul?  Did not Our Lord do the same:  what a failure was His Cross on Calvary-and all for me, a sinner.  

I can tell you sincerely from my heart, I will lose nothing.  From my Superiors down, I know they will laugh at me.  They will think me a fool, proud, mad etc.  What if the good God wants my name?  I am His and His only.-The rest have no hold on me.  I can do without all the rest if I have Him.  Fear not for me-nor for those who will join me-He will look after us all.  He will be with us.-If for a glass of water, He has promised so much, what would He not do for victim hearts given to the poor?  He will do all.  I, I am only a little instrument in His hands, and because I am just nothing, He wants to use me.

Your Grace, don’t let me be unfaithful to Him now…Day after day, hour after hour, He [Jesus] asks the same question:  “Wilt thou refuse to do this for Me?”  Let me go, your Grace- let us trust Him blindly.-He will see to it that our faith in Him will not be lost.  Don’t delay, Your Grace, don’t put it off.  Souls are being lost for want of care, for want of love…  

I feel sometimes afraid, for I have nothing, no brains, no learning, no qualities required for such a work, and yet I tell Him that my heart is free from everything and so it belongs completely to Him, and Him alone.  He can use me just as it will please Him best.  To please Him only is the joy I seek.

You will say, what could you and your few Indian girls do?  We could do nothing, but Jesus and we few victims can do wonders.  Let me go and begin this work…I don’t know if the Holy Ghost has filled your soul with those desires and thoughts, for I am praying that He should do so.  During these days of prayer and penance, pray for, pray often, that I may love Him more.

Your devoted child in J.C. [Jesus Christ]

Mary Teresa 

[March 30, 1947]

Against much opposition, the Archbishop granted her permission to live among the poor and dying, and this she did for the rest of her life.

According to Hebrews 12:1-2,  we are surrounded by a “great cloud” of witnesses…such great ones as Noah, Abraham and Sarah, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, Rahab and many other heroes of the faith.  I have no doubt that Mother Teresa is also among them. Paul encourages us to take strength in this knowledge.  Our heroes, who’ve already run their race, are with us and they are cheering us on!  Paul put’s it like this, as paraphrased by the ERV, We have all these great people around us as examples. Their lives tell us what faith means. So we, too, should run the race that is before us and never quit. We should remove from our lives anything that would slow us down and the sin that so often makes us fall.  We must never stop looking to Jesus. He is the leader of our faith, and he is the one who makes our faith complete.”  

One day our race will be over.  The time to run is now.  So let us, with confidence, lace up our sneakers, lay aside any weight, look to Jesus who is at the finish line and run like we’ve never run before!

On Your Mark…Get Set….Go!

Daily Prayer:  Lord, give me eyes to see, a heart that breaks, and a faith that takes action.  I realize my faith without good works might as well be dead, because it serves to do nothing to help the hurting.  Thank you Lord, for the testimonies of those who’ve gone on before me. Thank you for the life and faith of Mother Teresa…it inspires me so much.  I want to know you as intimately as she did.  Help me to fall more in love with you every day. In Jesus name, Amen.

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Serenade to the Moon

I felt so fortunate to capture her, and her glory, as she gazed over our Shenandoah Valley.   

Just had to serenade with poem…

Ancient As The Moon

The moon with all her glory and wonder,

bathes us all, beneath and under.

Her sky of dark and stars ablaze

our blanket we cuddle till light of day.

And then she bids us farewell…ado 

until the night…to smile anew.

 

 

 

 

Co-Creators

Psalms 13:5

But I have trusted in thy mercy, my heart shall rejoice in thy salvation.

Trust and rejoice…David’s choice of words for today.  Trust and rejoice are active words. They insinuate we not sit idly by as our day takes form, but rather to become co-creators of our day.  Trust and rejoice, invites us to take part in this thing we call life.  Our life is measured in increments of time and how we spend that time is what our life will be. Pretty simple concept, yes, I know, but how often it eludes us.  I need to be reminded and reminded often.

Let’s look at trust and how it is used in this context of scripture. David proclaims that he puts his trust in God’s Mercy.  Well, what does he mean by that?  In order to understand all that David is implying, we first need to know the meaning of the word Mercy.  I looked it up at dictionary.com and this was the definition:  compassionate or kindly forbearance shown toward an offender, an enemy, or other person in one’s power; compassion, pity, or benevolence. 

And so, Mercy, simply put is receiving compassion when we deserve punishment.  Notice, Mercy is not just  withholding of punishment but it is also the act of giving.  God is so good at this!  He shows us Mercy by withholding the punishment we deserve, but then He takes it a step further by putting Salvation in punishments place.  Thank the Lord, with God, Mercy and Grace go hand-in-hand!  

Now, let’s take a look at the other word, rejoice.  David writes, “…My heart shall rejoice in thy salvation.”  The word rejoice, according to dictionary.com, means to be glad and to take delight in.  David takes delight in God’s salvation.

God’s salvation is the second part of this “Mercy” thing.   Remember Mercy and Grace go hand-in-hand.  Dear friends, that is something to truly rejoice about!  We are saved by Grace…it is the gift of God.  Since it is something we don’t deserve then it is also something we can never, ever screw up!

Another good thing about God’s mercy is that it is fresh every morning!  Lamentations 3:22-23 promises, “The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”

Let’s join God, today, and  become co-creators of our world!

Trust and rejoice.

Daily Prayer:  Lord, I’m trusting in your Mercy.  I can never be good enough to earn it  or bad enough to escape it, and for this I thank you, because I screw up all the time.  Help me to be proactive through out my day by trusting and rejoicing in your Love.  In Jesus’s wonderful name…name above all names…Amen

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Who’s Staring Back?

The words of the Lord are pure words:  as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.  Psalms 12:6

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Photo by John Robertson

In ancient times silver was purified in a hot furnace.  The metal was put into a clay container and heated to extreme temperatures.  As the metal got hotter the impurities would float to the top, at which time the refiner would skim them away.  This was done many times over until the refiner could see his reflection within the silver. Once he saw his reflection he knew the silver was pure.

How fitting for David to use this analogy in his comparison to the the word of God!  Just as silver that’s heated 7 times is pure, so stands God’s word.  Just as the refiner see’s his reflection in the silver, so can we see our reflection in God’s word.  James, the brother of Christ, uses a similar analogy; “For if anyone only listens to the Word… he is like a man who looks carefully at his [own] natural face in a mirror… observes himself, and then goes off and promptly forgets what he was like.” (James 1:23-24)  

In this scripture, James is saying, the word of God is like a mirror, and when we look into it we will see the reflection of our true selves; whether it be good or whether it be bad.   Therefore, we should look and look often, to see if our lives…the things we do, the things we don’t do…are in accordance to His word.  

James continues his analogy in verse 25 by saying, when the man sees his flaws in the mirror and makes the needed adjustments, then that man becomes a “doer of the word” and as a result he is blessed.  Jesus conveyed the same concept in his sermon on the mount when he said, “…seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things [your needs] shall be added to you.”  So, Jesus is literally saying, if we seek to “live out” the truths of God and make it of most importance, then the blessings will follow.  

Now, this is not to imply, if we do all that God asks, our lives will be “hunky-dory” and free of problems.  No, it means, He will take care of our needs, we will be blessed, and we will be a blessing to others.  In truth, being a blessing and helping others, is the proof as to whether or not we are sincere in our faith.  James writes, “If those who claim devotion to God don’t control what they say, they mislead themselves. Their devotion is worthless. True devotion, the kind that is pure and faultless before God the Father, is this: to care for orphans and widows in their difficulties and to keep the world from contaminating us.” (James 1:26-27 CEB)  

The motto of my church, receive love…give love…repeat, in a nut shell, sums up true Christianity.  Since we freely receive God’s love, we should freely give God’s love and then repeat the process for as as long as we live.  

God’s word is the mirror reflecting who we are.  We should look to it often and make the necessary adjustments. And so, in closing, I guess the question we all should ask and answer is this:

Who is staring back, when you look into the mirror of God’s word?

My Prayer:  God, show me who I really am.  Show me what I need to change in my life to be more like Christ.  Help me to use my tongue to praise you and to edify others, and forgive me for all times I’ve used it to hurt and cause pain.  Lord, thank you for your free gift of salvation.  I accept your love.  May I daily live in that love, so all those around will be blessed. In Jesus’s name…Amen.  

(A publication of the “Walk Through Psalms” series)

Tear Down Your Walls

For I will restore health to you, and I will heal your wounds, says the Lord, because they have called you an outcast…  Jeremiah 30:17

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“I  used to put up walls to protect myself…However, I learned that if I wall others out, I also wall myself in.  If you built walls around yourself out of fear, then you must tear them down out of faith.  With the help of the Lord, you can survive hurt and disappointment and find your completion in “Him.” ____ Joyce Meyer

My Prayer:  Dear Lord, thank you for loving me, an outcast.  You too, Lord, were an outcast so I know you understand.  Help me to come to you to heal my hurt, rather than building walls and becoming bitter.  Give me faith to find my completion in you and not in what other’s may think or say of me.  Sometimes, Lord, it is so hard, but I believe with your strength I can do it.  Amen.  

Election 2016

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Oh how fitting, this poem for Election 2016.

Please help me, Lord!
    All who were faithful
    and all who were loyal
    have disappeared.
Everyone tells lies,
    and no one is sincere.
 Won’t you chop off
all flattering tongues
    that brag so loudly?
 They say to themselves,
“We are great speakers.
    No one else has a chance.”

 But you, Lord, tell them,
    “I will do something!
The poor are mistreated
and helpless people moan.
    I’ll rescue all who suffer.”

 Our Lord, you are true
    to your promises,
and your word is like silver
    heated seven times
    in a fiery furnace.
 You will protect us
    and always keep us safe
    from those people.
 But all who are wicked
    will keep on strutting,
    while everyone praises
    their shameless deeds.

(Psalms 12)

I thought it would be nice to feature some of the best political cartoons for 2016!

Enjoy!

 

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Offshore
April 6, 2016

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Tax Havens

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Minimum Wage
April 5, 2016

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(A publication of “Walk Through Psalms” series)