November 24, 2014

Forgive Yourself

My latest discovery on the New Books shelf at  the Penn Yan Library is 100 of 
the Worst Ideas in History by Michael Smith and Eric Kasum. In the authors’ own words, their book explores the “priceless, multifaceted jewels of misjudgment.”

One example is the deal John Pemberton made to sell the formula for a dark, sugary syrup that he claimed would cure a host of physical problems. Today, that sweet sticky syrup is the flavoring agent for Coca-Cola, the top-selling product in the history of the world. Pemberton never got a penny from the mega profits.

I wonder if John Pemberton ever forgave himself for denying himself and his family the pleasure of all the “stuff” he might have purchased with the profits of Coca-Cola sales of more than $20 million a day?  

Most people know how important it is to forgive others for our sins against them, but are we prepared to forgive ourselves for our errors, our sins and our “jewels of misjudgment?” 

In his letter to the Colossians, Paul tells us to “forgive one another.” Scholars suggest the Greek root word for “one another” refers not only to others but to ourselves!  

Are you carrying a grudge toward yourself for any reason? If so, you are turning your back on a gift God gave to you through Jesus’ death on the cross. That gift is forgiveness. Isn’t it time you showed yourself some compassion by accepting this most precious gift? 
Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.  
                                                                                              Colossians 3:13 

November 15, 2014

Stress and the Power of the Holy Spirit

In the theater production of The Oldest Living Graduate, old Colonel Kincaid is sitting in his wheelchair remembering his life as a young cowboy. He reflects on nights under the stars, the good taste of ranch food, his children and the wife he loved.

As he sadly reflects on his life, he says, ”I let it all slip by. I let it all slip by.”

How often do we let life slip by as we deal with stress like the demands of our job, failing health, loneliness, financial problems, rejection or difficulties in a relationship. These are just a few of the frustrations  that can overwhelm us and make our life miserable.  

In the Fourteenth Chapter of the Gospel of John, Jesus informs his disciples:
“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever—“
The advocate to which Jesus refers is our soul/spirit, breathed on us by the Creator of the Universe. If you follow Christ and if you are aware of the Holy Spirit within you, you will find the strength to cope with the stresses of life.   You will also find the confidence to overcome adversity and the power to live without fear.
“… the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.”                                                                
                             2nd Timothy 1:7    

November 6, 2014

The True Self

Nancy and I have a granddaughter who is expecting her first child in early December, and we are enjoying following our great-grandson’s growth and development since he was the size of a pea.

Recently, I wondered if our new great-grandson has a soul yet. Most people of faith believe our soul leaves our mortal body when we die, but when does it enter our body?

My research suggests there are many answers to that question including that ensoulment happens at conception, forty to 120 days after conception, when an embryo moves, at birth, at  age fourteen or the first time a child says, “Amen!”

I believe that this spark of divine creation which is the purest part of ourselves enters our bodies sometime between conception and birth. And during that miraculous time when mother and child are bonding, our eternal identity is created. It is our True Self and what makes us genuinely unique.  It is also our link to where we came from.

Furthermore, I believe that during our lifetime, if we discover that link to our Creator which is available in Jesus Christ, it can lead to the peace and security which is always present in our True Self.
"If you really know me, you will know my Father as well."
                                                                    John 14:7