Stay Connected – Part 1

What would we do without cell phones, tablets, blackberries and bluetooth? They have become indispensable these days, yes? People are texting, tweeting, googling and emailing much of their day. Corporations and now even churches allow tweets in an attempt to engage people. Staying connected today is in some ways easier than its ever been. But what explains the fact that so many feel disconnected? Alone? Misunderstood? What explains the increasing rate of suicide among teens?

Today, a friend shared a story that illustrates a worst case scenario. She sent birthday wishes via Facebook to a friend she hadn’t seen in a few years. They had both been close due to similar health issues but then one moved out of state. After reading some of the comments, my friend came to the shocking realization that her friend had died – 3 years ago!

Now, I’m all for social media, please don’t misunderstand. But could it be that all this tweeting and texting is merely a façade? A cheap imitation of the real thing?

True connection takes time, thought, and energy. True connection is a meeting of the heart and soul of two people, not just the minds. You know when it happens. No, wait – you feel it when it happens. Your soul feels connected to another, understood at a deep level, cherished. You are totally and completely “in the moment”. Hours can pass and you suddenly look at your watch and exclaim:
“Where did all the time go?”

These are what I call God moments because when two souls connect, God is present. You realize time is not really all that important because, after all, time is a construct of the human mind. You come away feeling fulfilled, honored, loved. It is a precious gift we give to another. Just like choosing a special gift for that certain someone, true connection requires time, thought, and energy.

The soul craves connection: to others and to God. In this fast-paced “hurry up and get it done so I can move on to the next thing” world, what are we to do? For more on this topic, stay tuned for next week’s post. Do post a comment and let me know your thoughts on this and until then, keep looking up!

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Has Babylon Overtaken You?

Babylon represents all the glitz, glamour, and glory this world has to offer. In Babylon, everything was big. Their army was big and feared among the nations.

What is it you are facing today that seems insurmountable? What dream has yet to materialize? What illness yet to be resolved? Is it a financial worry or perhaps a relationship gone sour?

God has placed dreams in all of us. We dream of “the good life”, but what exactly is “the good life”? A bigger house? A fancier car? Taking that dream vacation or finding the love of our life? Some dream of reaching the top of the corporate ladder. Others reach for the pinnacle of success, stardom, and fame.

As I spent time in reflection this past Lenten season, I asked myself these questions:

1. Have I, too, strayed from the Holy One who alone can satisfy the desires of my heart?

2. Has my focus shifted to the wrong priorities?

3. Have I depended too long on my own strength and wisdom instead of the power of God?

4. Am I willing to endure “unfair” circumstances and what could be perceived as the “wrath” of God?

Sadly, I must confess the answer that came was yes and once again I was humbled at the foot of the cross. The verses of scripture I have memorized over the years filled my mind like pools of refreshment.

“My grace is sufficient unto thee,” (2 Cor 12::9)

“It is not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit sayeth the Lord” (Zech 4:6)

Despite my best efforts to downsize, declutter, and reprioritize, Jesus is still calling me to come unto Him. Matt 11:28 was my memory verse all last year. Jesus says to us these words in the New Testament: “Come to me all who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest.”

When our dreams go up in a puff of smoke, the illness yet undiagnosed, and the relationship we coveted lost, let the words of the Psalmist comfort you as they comfort me. “Be not downcast, oh my soul” ( Ps. 43:5). In times of difficulty we are to put our hope and our trust in God alone. He alone is our fortress and strong tower. The righteous run into it and they are saved.

No matter how many times we get off course, the Good Shepherd is faithful to rein us in like the lost sheep of Israel. He desires that none perish but that we all have life and have it to the full. Our God never keeps score. I serve a God of second, third, and fourth chances and for that I give him my life and my devotion.

Who are you serving these days, dear one? What god are you worshipping? “Lean not on your own understanding but in all ways acknowledge Him, and He shall make all your paths straight.” (prov. 3:5-6).  Whatever is off course, whatever is lost, whatever is still a mystery, trust God. He is faithful. He is merciful and He is still on our side.

Until next time, keep moving forward on your journey to faith and as always, keep looking up!

 

 

Take Me Out to the Ball Game

Baseball season is upon us and Baltimore is  once again full of hopeful excitement. Loyal Orioles fans pack the stadium sporting their orange and white jerseys, ready to watch the game and socialize with friends and loved ones. Kids hug their blue cotton candy and the smell of hotdogs activates our taste buds.

Imagine a runner rounding the bases at full speed. Excitement mounts as he heads toward home base. Sensing the urgency of the moment, he makes a courageous dive towards the plate, the fans hold their breath and then the umpire signals “You’re out!”

As I watched the game this past weekend, I was reminded that life is like baseball in more ways than one. Sometimes life throws us a curve ball. Other times we strike out a time or two.  It could be a broken relationship, the death of a loved one, an unresolved health issue, or a financial setback. It could even be a grand slam of all of the above. What to do then?

At such times, it is imperative that we pull out the secret weapon we all have deep within. The power of Faith is an amazing gift we have been given to help us cope with the curve balls of life. Some of us, for whatever reason, get thrown more curves than others, but we must trust that a power greater than ourselves has a plan a purpose for each time we strike out.

When we realize we have this great gift, despite the odds and the bad report, Faith gives us the ability to stay in the game. Yes, it takes courage and yes, it takes strength but when we activate our faith during the tough times of life, God gives us both of these. He equips and empowers us to do what we need to do even when the game seems all but lost.

So, next time life throws you a curve ball or you feel like you’ve struck out once again, remember every play can teach us something about ourselves, life, and God.

Until next time, stay in the game and keep your eye on the ball. You’re bound to hit a home run sooner or later!