hope

The Ark Encounter

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In the news:

Noahs Ark

They actually built the boat!  It’s a 510 foot-long wooden ark that is in a theme park in Kentucky!

http://tinyurl.com/hv4lsqk

Also:

Mosaics depicting prominent Bible scenes were uncovered during annual excavations of an ancient synagogue in Israel’s Lower Galilee.

http://tinyurl.com/hmbrqtf

Check that Bible story out in Genesis Chapters 6-9!

 

Retreat and Regroup

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A week ago I read the Sunday Readings for July 19 that focused on Christ’s peace and this was my summary:

St. Paul says Christ is our peace.  He will bring us together.  We all have access to the Holy Spirit!  We are brothers and sisters in the Body of Christ.  How can you make peace?  Mark tells us how Jesus said we can be ready for being peacemakers and going out into the world.  Jesus said, “Come to a deserted place and rest.”  Interesting that He said, ‘Come’ not just ‘Go.’  He will go with you.  And, you will find rest.  So, we can do our best today.  And then, rest up for tomorrow.  Be sure to find your own retreat time!

What I really love about reading and reflecting on Scripture is that I always see something different if I really look.  Contemplating the meaning of Scripture changes from day to day and year to year.  Today as I heard the Readings proclaimed, the first reading from Jeremiah stood out like a flashing road sign.

“Woe to the shepherds who mislead and scatter.”  Today that jumped out.  When I talk to teens about what the Scriptures can mean to them, being a shepherd is a great topic.  You may be able to relate, too.  Have you ever thought of yourself as a shepherd?  Just think about the basic idea of a shepherd:  leading and guiding.  We are shepherds of our friends.  We can lead them well and raise the bar.  Or, we can lead them astray.  Today, that could mean gossip, bullying, drinking and drugs or just being negative.  Are we lifting people’s spirits?  Are we bringing hope and peace?

Shepherd and sheep

A big shocker to teens is that you can be an ‘accessory to sin’.  Most of us relate an ‘accessory’ to a crime.  You can go to jail for helping someone commit a crime even if you didn’t do it.  Same goes for sin.  You are in big trouble with ‘the guy upstairs’ if you lead someone to sin.  This is probably what I would have said to a class this week.

That reading was followed by Psalm 23.  It contains the explanation of what our Good Shepherd does for us.  It’s our example for being a shepherd to those around us as well.

So, regroup.  How can you be a better shepherd today and tomorrow?  Examine your conscience.  Is your barometer working properly?  Twelve Step programs tell us to do an inventory.  Take stock.  What can you change?  Take one small step toward a brighter future.  Then read the first paragraph again.  Retreat and regroup.  Rest and then start again tomorrow! – Mrs. D

Calm the storm…get in the boat!

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Mark’s Gospel this week (the full Reading) is all about healing.  Mark 5:21-43

Phone call

Here are a few pointers you could get:

1) ask.

Don’t be shy.  Definitely a message in this Sunday’s Readings.  What have you got to lose?  Just ask.  Jairus is sure that if he asks, Jesus will cure his daughter.  He knows.  How?

2) stay close enough to Jesus to touch His cloak.

The woman who touches Jesus’ cloak has been ill for 12 years!  Numbers always mean something too.  That’s a whole ‘nother take on this event.  12 usually means 12 tribes, that’s everybody.  That’s just one way to look at it.  Scriptures are deep.  They speak to us personally and as a people of God.  No matter how you look at it, 12 years is a long time!  She had to be desperate to touch Jesus cloak without even asking!  Jesus, of course, knows right away and asks her to come forward.  She falls at his feet and he tells her to be at peace and be well!  Her faith had saved her!  So are you waiting on the sidelines for Jesus to show up and cure you?  Take a step of faith and reach out.  He will make your faith stronger!  Just give Him a chance!  Are you staying in touch?

3) have faith—believe and trust.

Faith involves believing and trusting.  But WHO do you believe in and trust?  Faith is not abstract.  Faith involves more than you.  It involves knowing someone (God/Jesus/Holy Spirit) well enough to know that they won’t let you down.  It takes experience.  That’s relationship.  It’s give and take – on both sides.  So how’s your faith?  Does it show?

So,

Jairus believed his daughter would be healed.  He asked.  He believed and he brought Jesus home.  Sometimes, Jesus is just waiting to say, “Little girl (or my child), I say to you, arise!” Healing comes in many forms:  physical and spiritual.  We just need to ask, trust and invite him in. – Mrs. D

Calm in the Storm…Get in the boat!

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boat-20clip-20art-9cR7Mjzce

In the midst of the violent storm, Jesus sleeps in the boat and the disciples are afraid.  The disciples ask Jesus, ‘Don’t you care?’ He calms the storm and says, ‘Why are you afraid?’ Mark 4:35-41

So how big is your faith?  Can you trust that Jesus is with you in the storms of your life?

This is one of my favorite Scriptures when I feel like all is lost or a situation is hopeless!  I have recently had a moment where I said to God, “You promised me You would give me what I need when I need it!”  You said that Your grace is sufficient for me! (See 2 Cor 12:1-10)

Over and over again, Jesus says to us, “Why are you worried?  Your faith is so small!”  I think I totally felt like maybe God doesn’t really care.

I have to give the disciples a bit of credit.  Not only were they in the boat (Jesus told them to and they listened), they brought Jesus with them!

There is an important element that brings me back out of my darkness or despair is my friends.  Funny how the disciples are all together in the boat.  That didn’t seem to help.  They needed to go wake Jesus up.  They go to the One who can really help save them.   While that was my ultimate go to – I prayed and talked to God, it was my husband and friends who were Jesus in the flesh for me.  They were the ones who could help me through and give me hope.  This is it!  If we aren’t hope for others, we are not living the way Christ wanted us to.  So check in with your friends, offer some hopeful words and help them carry their burdens.  You might even need to get in the boat!

It’s not the critic who counts…

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At a time when I started to feel tired and struggled to stand up again, my husband told me about this quote:

“It is not the critic who counts;

not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles,

or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.

The credit belongs to

the man who is actually in the arena,

whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood;

who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again,

because there is no effort without error and shortcoming;

but who does actually strive to do the deeds;

who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions;

who spends himself in a worthy cause;

who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement,

and who at the worst, if he fails,

at least fails while daring greatly,

so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls

who neither know victory nor defeat.”
― Theodore Roosevelt

 

Scripture inspiration:  Hebrews 12:1-3 “Run the race!”

Boy_finish_line_clipart

Ruth’s Journey to Happiness

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  Ruth

The story of Ruth is some-what peculiar. It is a love story, but one that stands out greatly from the ones we hear about today. Ruth’s husband dies and she is left alone with only her sister-in-law Orpah and her mother-in-law Naomi. Naomi decides to go back to Judah, her home, and Ruth and Orpah start to follow her. Naomi tries to convince them to return to their home so they can remarry. Orpah goes back, but Ruth stays by Naomi’s side. Naomi tries to get Ruth to go back but Ruth refuses, and Naomi, seeing that Ruth will never leave her, allows her to come with, and they go to Judah together. After they get settled, Ruth goes out to a field in order to pick up the grain left behind by the workers. She happens to go to the field of Boaz, one of Naomi’s relatives, and he is very generous to her while she picks from his fields. Naomi realizes the field belongs to Boaz and she gives Ruth specific instructions about what she should do to get Boaz to marry her. Ruth follows the instructions to a ‘t’ and she and Boaz were married, and they had a son.

One can see that this is a very unusual love story, but it does have a very important point to make. Things may not have started out very well for Ruth, but her loyalty and obedience to Naomi lead her to a life that probably turned out even better than she could have imagined. We should demonstrate that kind of loyalty and obedience to the Church, because it is lead by God Himself, and since God knows all things He can most certainly make us the happiest we can be through His Will. – Sarah

Be the solution…

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It’s a Word in a Word!

Did you make a New Year’s resolution?

I noticed the “solution” inside the resolution.  So I ask myself “what is the solution?” or better yet – “how can I BE the solution?”  It would change everything that I do or think this year.

If I am the solution, I can’t be the problem!  I would have to do the right thing all the time, think before I act or speak, and have a good attitude!  Seems so simple.  “Re” in resolution is do it again – repeat.  Can you take the challenge?