Monday, August 19, 2019

God's Creation

God’s Creation
How do believers make sense of God’s Creation?
God’s manifestations of the celestial sky, rotating earth, far-flung lands,
Mountains, rivers, animals, flora, and fauna
Grace us each day and night
But it’s through reason that believers consciously make sense of these phenomena.

Scientists note the facts of the setting and rising sun.
Believers experience the changes of the earth as it heats and cools.
That’s how people know about what to expect during the seasons of the year.
Science tells us of impending storms and natural disasters
Reasoning is a characteristic of human intelligence
That helps us to determine the facts of life

But it isn't only believers’ reason at work.
They have to rely on their intuition to make that leap
To fully understand  creation and  Divinity
This creative process leads to formal proof
And makes it possible to set goals, have beliefs, and attitudes
Based on human freedom and self-determination

Over centuries scientific research has evolved
And answered questions about beliefs in sacred books that were myths
So religious believers now understand why different cultures
Might have divergent beliefs on matters of faith and morality

“Eternal Spirit, help us in our reasoning to find the true nature of reality.  Guide us in our understanding to have better perspectives in interpreting the faith traditions of the world.”

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Reflections on Living

Reflections on Living

Is Heaven For Real?
People are on an earthly journey.  They hope that eventually they will be in paradise.  There they will discover immortality, perfect beauty, and the truth about life.  Many believers see this place as heaven.  In anticipation of this reality they talk about experiencing heaven on earth.  Some refer to this place as the original Garden of Eden that once existed in the Middle East.  This garden described in the Book of Genesis was destroyed by the Fall of Man.
Earthly Paradise is a four-volume collection of narrative poems written by William Morris (1868–1870).  Its prologue described the flight of a band of Norse sailors in the Middle Ages from the Black Death, and their search for this glorious place.  But heaven is more than an earthly paradise. Whatever it truly is our limited minds can’t begin to comprehend.    

Right Comforts in Perspective
When people talk about having right comfort do they mean being in Comfort Inns, improved home efficiency, using a hybrid bike shopper, and having the right service?  Or do they wish to retire financially comfortable, having at their convenience an adjustable chair, and a water furnace geo-thermal unit?  These might be part of your plan of the good life, and you’re able to watch multiple-TV channels both via satellite and cable.  But are you really satisfied with these comforts?  You might say add my heart’s desire of favorite drinks, wine, beer, and liquor.  Aren’t you sure though that you might still be lacking what’s essential for a healthy lifestyle?  Your friends could advise you to do an exercise program to be in good shape, and try developing physically.  It’s essential though that you take a good look at how you’re growing spiritually.  For behind all your earthly comforts, much care should be taken in selecting what you do in your spiritual life.  You should always remember that our heavenly Creator is the provider of all comforts, so be wise about them.

Descent to the Underworld
The descent to the underworld is a motif in many myths.  Readers find these in Greek, Jewish, Slavic, Hindu, Chinese, and Japanese mythology.  These stories are in folklore of all peoples.  The descent is usually made to rescue someone, who is either abducted, or rightfully dead.  It’s all done to find the answer to a question, discover a secret from the ruler of the underworld, or to seize some treasure.  The rallying cry that believers should heed is don’t wait for a hero or heroine to recapture you.  Be safe, live wisely, and do what’s right in the sight of God.  Waiting until you’re in a dark and bottomless pit, then realizing you’re in trouble, isn’t the best thing to do.  It’s better to stay away altogether from such a dark and gloomy place.

Enjoy Life!
Be a success in life! Don’t let disillusion get you down.  Some people act bizarrely at bad stages in their life because they are discontented.  It’s better and more fulfilling to work at being happy.  Take time to reflect on the good things that life has to offer.  Discover the richness in the arts.  Listen to uplifting music, and enjoy reading good poetry.  Remember to see the good-hearted gifts in people, and celebrate the joys of life.  Why don’t you fill your dreams with these pleasant reminiscences, and see the joys of the world unfold before your eyes?  Katori Hall (b. 1981), a playwright and journalist wrote, “Follow your intuition, listening to your dreams, and your inner voice to guide you.”

Be Happy
Carp Diem is a Latin aphorism that calls for people to live to the fullest right now.  “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die,” declared the Roman poet Horace.  But does life only consist of pleasurable pursuits?  There’s an essential goal that’s necessary to make people happy.  On a fall’s day people can take a stroll in the woods.  They could watch a powerful and life-affirming film.  Take a trip to some exquisite destination, or read a good book that warms their receptive hearts.  Still these joys might not satisfy their desire to be happy.  They could even breathe in the fresh air of the seaside.  Swim in the Atlantic Ocean, or go biking on the beach when the sun is shining brightly in the sky.  Still real happiness could escape them.  Why is this so?  It’s because they are only satisfying some emotional, physical, or intellectual needs.  But have they ever stopped to think what is lacking?  It could be that with all they are doing, there’s no balance in their life.  They could be neglecting their spirituality that’s because their souls are hungering for higher fulfillment.  This satisfaction only comes when they love knowing God.  Their happiness then becomes truly enlightened only after they have attained a perfect equilibrium.

Lost Saints
A poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1812–1861), who was more successful than her husband Robert Browning, wrote in Sonnet 43 about love without limits.  She addressed the “lost saints” this way, “With my lost saints – I love thee with the breath, smiles, tears, of all my life! – and if God choose, I shall but love thee better after death.”  These were saints Browning didn’t know.  It was an acknowledgement that some of these wonderful individuals as important as they were, people didn’t know.  They lived humbly doing good works, suffering patiently, and kept the faith.  Only God in heaven knows, who these men and women really are.  These are the incredible ones Browning loved so deeply.  Yes, we hear a lot about the saints, who are canonized in the Catholic Church, and are blessed to know them.  But what about those that are under the radar?  Are you listed among these?  Maybe you are, and don’t even know it.  You could be humble, self-effacing, but abundantly blessed.  Yes! You’re listed among those that Browning hopes to love better in death.

 Changed Lives
Unlike poet and novelist Thomas Hardy (1840–1928), the world isn’t just governed by “chance.”  And natural laws aren’t always hostile.  These aren’t necessarily indifferent to human lives.  Do people get what they deserve?  Some persons think so.  They might say it’s all about karma.  And what goes around comes around.  Others could be simply indifferent concerning the needs of their neighbors.  They find explanations of events with coincidences, view these incidents as the bleakness of nature, and are pessimistic.  But it’s always better to be positive.  When people look on the bright side of life, and serve their community they are able to find peace.  It’s through this special kind of love that lives are changed for the better.                


Friday, August 16, 2019

Guyana's Seawall Girl

Guyana's Seawall Girl

This biographical novel Guyana’s Seawall Girl paints a picture of love that triumphant for three Guyanese nationals.  In the 1950's to 1980's this story occurs against the backdrop of the Republic of Guyana, the West Indian Islands, and America.  It tells about Kevin Thompson and his relationship with two women.  One was Gwen Philips, who was on a roller coaster ride.  She has had affairs with different men, notably a professor at the University of Guyana (UG), and with Kevin. 

Kevin, who was a teacher with Gwen at St. Cyril’s Anglican School in Georgetown was fascinated by her charm and intelligence.  Buffeted by local political and cultural intrigues their relationship was unsettling and unpredictable.  But Kevin was soon drawn by educational opportunities to study mass communications in the United States, and Gwen was left behind in Guyana.  While in America he had an affair with Susan, a British blonde, and found their relationship going nowhere.  In the 1960's and early 1970's, while at school in Oregon, New York, and Missouri pursuing undergraduate and graduate degrees he was caught up in America’s social, and cultural revolution.  He however never forgot Gwen with whom he had a sexual encounter on May 26th, 1966 on Guyana’s Independence Day celebrations near the seawall.

This seawall meant to be symbolic of life in the novel prevents the Atlantic Ocean from flooding the low-lying coastland of the East Coast.   Kevin wished to do right with Gwen, although while pursuing studies in America he married Lynn, a white American of Irish heritage.  Unknown to her he continues writing Gwen whom he would see during trips to the region.  Kevin though never stopped loving Gwen.  Eventually he taught at three universities, had an American family, but couldn’t forget about her although married to Lynn.  Meanwhile Gwen became involved in a relationship with UG’s Professor Harry, who refused to leave his wife.  With these heart-aches she was persistent, struggled over Kevin’s love, and was troubled by Professor Harry’s advances. But with all these problems she was still able to continue teaching at St. Cyril’s, and completed an undergraduate degree in languages at UG.

Gwen, who lived under the watchful eyes of her parents, with Billy and Nora as their mutual friends, determination paid off after she left Guyana’s shores to further her studies in America.  While in the United States she visited Kevin and Lynn in Virginia Beach, attended Boston University, and eventually earned a doctorate in linguistics at the University of Washington, Seattle.  It was while living in Seattle she met and married an American naval officer, had a child of her own, and presently lives happily with her family in Washington.                   

Trusting God

Trusting God

So also Abraham “believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”  Understand, then, that those who have faith are children of Abraham.  Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: “All nations will be blessed through you.”  So those who rely on faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.

Gal 3:6-9 

God is always at work in our lives.  Situations come and go, but God directs our paths.  Joel Osteen (b. 1963), pastor and televangelist said, “I believe if you keep your faith, you keep your trust, you keep the right attitude, if youre grateful, youll see God open up new doors.”  Jeremiah 11:1-5 urges us to obey the terms of Gods covenant and be his people.  Of this nature is the love of God.  1 Peter 2:1-5 tells us to rid ourselves of all malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander.  For those who have tasted the Lord is good.  On the theme of love, Desmond Tutu (b. 1931), a retired South African Anglican bishop and social rights activist reminded us: “You dont choose your family.  They are Gods gift to you, as you are to them.”  We therefore have to accept not some, but all of our family members, even when it seems they have problems. 

Gods View of Us

God loves us all.  In the world some give the impression that they have a special place with him.  These individuals could be self-righteous.  Albert Einstein (18791955), a German-born theoretical physicist wrote, “Before God we are equally wise and equally foolish.”   But we could enhance who we are if we heed the advice of Voltaire (16941778), French Enlightenment writer, who said: “God gave us the gift of life; it is up to us to give ourselves the gift of living well.”

It ought to be remembered that our talent is God’s gift to us.  We have to recognize God is wiser than humans, and his weakness is stronger than ours (1 Cor 1:25-26).  Thats why believers should speak the Word of God with the strength he provides (1 Pet 4:11-12), and they will be blessed. 

Be a Blessing

The Lord is always with us and we should have no fear (Isa 41:10).  Its him who gives us strength and power (Isa 40:28-31).  Joel Osteen said, “When you focus on being a blessing, God makes sure that you are always blessed in abundance.”  But should believers pursue these blessings?  Saint Teresa of Calcutta (19101997), an Albanian-Indian Roman Catholic nun wrote, “We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness.  God is in the friend of silence.  See how nature trees, flowers, grass grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence … we need silence to be able to touch souls.”  Trusting and loving God is a process that takes time.  The Word of God is right, true, and faithful (Ps 33:4-6).  With dedication to Gods Word believers could say like Joyce Meyer (b. 1943), a Christian author and speaker: “I may not be where I want to be, but thank God I am not where I used to be.”           

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Marriage of Compatibility

Marriage of Compatibility
Nature is “consistent” and “inconsistent.”
That’s the way of the Laws of Nature.
So when it comes to the Law of Attraction it’s just the same.

People say, “Opposites attract.”
That’s “true” and “false.”
With sub-atomic particles of “positive Protons”
And “negative Neutrons” that’s always true
Believers have heard of Christians inter-marrying believers from other faith traditions –
Jews, Chinese, Japanese, Africans, Hindus, Buddhists, and Muslims
Whites marry Blacks, Blacks marry Asians, and Asians marry Native Americans
Many such unions are successful and last for a life time.

People also say, “Like attracts like.”
Again we hear of Christians inter-marrying believers of the same sex.
We live at a time when LGBTQ+ has gained national prominence.
Males marry males, females marry females, and bisexuals marry bisexuals
Many of these individuals are from different faith traditions or may be non-believers

Believers might ask the question, “Why is it that life is manifesting itself this way?”
But the truth is that all of life manifests itself in “predictable and unpredictable ways.”
The Universal Spirit is at work when “males marry females” and “believers marry non-believers.”

“Supreme Spirit, God, or gods, grant us the insight to understand the diversity of your manifestations.  Let us see that ‘positives don’t always attract negatives’ and vice versa.  But in your mercy you have shown us that believers marry because of their compatibility.”

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Therapy Pet

A Therapy Pet
A therapy pet can be one of a number of animals –
Dogs, cats, llamas, miniature pigs, mini-horses, or birds
But many people choose dogs.
Dogs could be emotional support dogs,
Therapy dogs, and certified service dogs

But why are these dogs necessary?
Many people attest to the benefits of having such pets.
Because they lift their mood, relieve stress,
And help them recover from health problems
While in hospitals and mental institutions

Classrooms are also a good place for such dogs
Students benefit during physical exercise
Interactions with such dogs lower blood pressure
And having dogs around are stimulating
For they also assist patients and students with pain management.

But there’s a difference between a “therapy dog” and “service dog.”
A therapy dogs helps their clients physically and emotionally,
While a service dog helps people perform tasks
That they are unable to do themselves.

God, help us to use the pets of your creation in beneficial ways.  Teach us the best ways to use such animals as a service to mankind.  And help us to treat these pets with love and compassion for the work they do for us.”

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

The Triumphant Church

The Triumphant Church

The triumphant church is glorious, and offers holiness for all to enjoy.  It’s a blessed and glorious company of Christians that celebrate sacredness.  These believers come to know and experience what dwelling in the Creator’s presence really means.  Many are saints in glory who know God’s exceeding greatness and grace.  To them the fire of Pentecost still burns brightly.  Saint Basil (330379 AD), bishop of Caesarea said, “A tree is known by its fruit; a man by his deeds.  A good deed is never lost; he who sows courtesy reaps friendship, and he who plants kindness gathers love.”  In fellowship believers interact and touch each other’s hearts giving wings to love.

Heavenly Inhabitants

In Christianity angels are blessed spirits and are a crucial part of the Universal Church.  Believers are rejuvenated when they rest on the Sabbath from their labors.  They seek spiritual companionship not only on Sundays when worshiping, but throughout the week serving their fellowmen and women.  By so doing, they show to the world a spirit as evangelists of the faith.  As heavenly inhabitants believers are blessed with the spirit of harmony.  Jim Sturgess (b. 1978), an English actor and song-writer wrote, “Love is such a powerful subject matter because it comes in so many different shapes and sizes.  It’s about timing, fate, failure, redemption.”  Sturgess shared with us love in all its dimensions that all are free to have through God’s goodness.  This kind of love radically transforms people’s lives.

Praising God

Christians always praise God for his benevolence and merciful ways.  He’s known for glorious works that dominate our lives and the environment.  They praise God’s goodness to mankind, and with a contemplative spirit give thanks for their blessings.  Anointed with generosity in the spirit  words of praise flow forth from them.  These words express how they feel about God.  Their spiritual experiences are lofty, and might well be coming from angels who perpetually praise God.

Charles E. Wilson (18901961), the tenth president of General Motors said, “For more than 150 years free men in our countries have had the opportunities to educate themselves, choose their own religions, select their own occupations, accumulate capital and invent better ways of doing things.”  A better way is also to pray to God when seeking guidance.

Pure Holiness

Visions of pure holiness are spectacular.  To humans, these are lovely and give their hearts an exalted feeling.  This is when believers reach for the Son of righteousness for what is infinitely pure, lovely, and beautiful.  Here, such people are blessed with spiritual mercies, and food for Enlightenment.  Once capturing such gifts they become enlivened like the spirit of an apostle.

Suze Orman (b. 1951), an author, financial adviser, and motivational speaker wrote, “True generosity is an offering; give freely and out of pure love.  No string attached.  No expectations.  Time and love are the most valuable possessions you can share.”  In the Church triumphant it’s all about love.  It’s for believers to pursue ways of changing people’s lives.  It’s the goal to set a trail in motion of such goodness, kindness, and caring that impact lives for the better.