Spiritual Reflections for Holy Week 2019

 

“Rise & Shine”

by Mack Hagar

 

Rise & Shine from the Inside Out,

Rise & Shine through the fear and the Doubt.

Rise from the muck of the miry clay.

Rise to the dawning of a brand new day.

Shine through the Fog and let there be light,

Shine with a heavenly brightness that will brighten the darkest night.

Rise up when you’re weary & down,

Shine like the King of Heaven who wears a well deserved Crown.

 

 

 

“To Hunger & Thirst”

by Mack Hagar

Let us hunger for the Sacred Bread of Life,

To free us from an existence of Strife.

Let us hunger for the Holy Ghost,

the one true friend we need the most.

Let us hunger for His guidance and touch,

for the wisdom that we need so much.

Let us thirst for His wisdom and truth,

for our elders and our growing youth.

Let us thirst for the new Holy Wine,

to refresh us as we come to dine.

Let us look forward to the marriage feast of the Lamb of God,

and as we enter in we kneel and nod.

May He Bless us gratefulness for all He supplies.

 

He Keeps Me Well

by Mack Hagar

When I am low and lonely,

filled with grief and sorrow,

He keeps me and holds me.

When I feel useless and unwanted,

and I cry out for attention and love,

He keeps me and lifts me up.

When I feel used and hurt and angry,

and lose my temper and lash out at others,

He keeps me and corrects me.

When I feel joy and love from others,

and my heart is overwhelmed, and I weep,

He keeps me and gives me peace.

When I go astray and walk down the wrong path,

and do and say wrong and hurtful things,

He keeps me, and turns me around and

sets me back in the right direction.

When I feel lost and have no direction,

like a bumper car, bouncing into everything,

He keeps me and sets me back on the solid Rock.

Thank You Lord for setting your seal

upon me, and that nothing and no one can

snatch me from your hand!!!

 

 

Sprititual Reflections

by R M Rivera

 

Note from author:  Most of my writings are from my journal. I find these thoughts in times of solitude and in reflection of circumstances and situations in life.  Sometimes, the Holy Spirit is my inspiration.

My contributions consist of an array of different types of writings, some of which are inspired by the Holy Spirit, and others by recognizing the work of God in my life and the lives of others.   I have learned to recognize his work as situations unfold, and that all things come together for a higher purpose.

 I have found it is through the most difficult challenges we face that God is working the hardest on us. Through these times when we may feel defeated, he is drawing us closer to him and the plan he has for our lives.

 My journey is no more or less difficult than yours.  But it becomes easier to move through these times when we have the faith and knowledge that God is in control. If you can come to terms with that reality, you will find a sense of peace and comfort knowing that he is with you every step of the way.

Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

 

 

Realization                                      

2016 was a year of great change in my life. It was preceded by life altering situations and circumstances in 2015, that started me on a journey I wouldn’t have guessed would be mine. But God, in his infinite wisdom, knows all things and uses them for his higher purpose.

As I moved forward in 2016, God did, indeed, lay the groundwork, and opened some doors as others were closed.

I moved through the year trying to find the direction I was supposed to be moving in. My faith grew deeper, although I didn’t feel emotionally grounded. I leaned on God and he did not fail me. 

Philippians 4:6-7 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

 In 2017 I was challenged with “blooming where I was planted”…and trying to surrender to what I considered God was showing me… Simplicity. By the end of the year, I realized that although I was intentional with my faith, my prayers, and my devotional reading and listening, something was amiss within me.

It wasn’t until December, as I was setting up the Altar for Communion, that I found the answer to my struggle.

 Due to changes in my circumstances, I had gone from attending services on Wednesday evening, Sunday morning, and all Bible studies….to attending one service a week. Father Steve presented the opportunity for me to serve as a LEM at an additional service incorporated in our worship schedule. This service is at 7 am Sunday mornings. It is a quiet and reverent service.  I was not consistently attending the 9 am service, as I had obligations that I felt I needed to attend to. The 7 am service gave me the liberty to tend to these obligations.

Going into December, I attended both services, to respectfully fulfill my obligation to my responsibilities on the Altar. The second week into it, I noticed I was feeling more grounded and at peace. That was when I had the “aha” moment…. that we do indeed, in our Christian journey, need to be faithful to our commitment, to be fed by the Word of God, to surround ourselves with like-minded people at a place of worship, and be lifted by our church congregation.

 I suddenly realized that my obligations that I had gotten into a schedule with could be managed differently, and that attending the worship service with the music, the children, and the sermon, is indeed what I was missing. I also realized those moments that I went to the church to prepare the altar were very peaceful and personal time with God in his house. Sometimes working 6 days a week, then having to go to the Church on a Saturday afternoon after work, I found myself thinking of all the things I needed to get done. But I learned to look forward to that time. Those times renew my spirit.  I get fed by being in Gods house. I have come to embrace those times of solitude upon the Altar, preparing for the most important time of the week. Being fed with the Body and Blood of Christ.

 I share this as a testimony to all those who are faith driven , but don’t think consistent attendance in church is important.

As much as we think we love God and are faithful to our spiritual commitment…..the lack of attendance worship service in his house does have a negative impact on us and  on our spirit, which has an impact on how we walk through our lives. 

I hope to move through 2018 more intentional with my faith journey, asking God to guide me through another year.  I am trusting him to plant me where he needs me, serving those he wants me to serve, and to be his vessel to do what his call for me is. My desire is to serve him to the best of my ability, and to use the gifts he has given me to his greater glory. And to always…. always come to him with a thankful heart…

~Gratitude in All things~   God is good. All the time.

 

 

Grace

The undeserved presence of Gods favor in our lives.

R M Rivera

We all have those people in our lives that we struggle in relationship with. 

Whether it is a personality conflict, or just something that doesn’t work between you. Two people, in a shared space can become a source of contention. Something said with no hidden agenda can be misconstrued and trigger a negative reaction because of misperception.  Something so simple can turn a good day into a bad day.  

This relationship has been an ongoing battle in my life. I am consistently lifting this relationship up in prayer and asking God to help me. It seems to take on cycles of good and bad days.  Every time I react, I feel like I have failed in an area I am trying to work on.  I am thankful for every day I wake up and have the opportunity to “get it right”.

Not so long ago, I had that kind of a day. It was on a Saturday and my work week consisted of 6 days. That day my schedule was 8:30 until 1:30, leaving work to go to the Church and set up the Altar for communion, then going home to pick up my dogs and take them to be groomed.  It was a tight timeline for me.  The travel distance was all over the place, from one end of town going in every direction to get to the destination.  I had to reroute my traveling due to road work. This extended the travel time.

Work was busy, and my coworker and I didn’t get off to a great start.

I tried to ride it out without reacting to her, and we got back on track. 

By the end of the day, we were back on that path again, and I ended up reacting instead of responding to her.  I left work feeling disappointed in myself once again.

As I was traveling to the church, my phone rang.  It was our Senior Warden.  She was calling to let me know that she was at the church and would set up the altar, so I didn’t have to do it.   I was so happy that my schedule was freed up with that time.

I hung up the phone, and my first thought was “Really, God?  After the way I just acted, you do this for me?  I don’t deserve this.” And then it occurred to me. 

 Grace.   One simple word.  My moment of clarity. 

 Gods undeserved grace in my life.  Exactly what we, as Christians, are called to do for others. 

That moment has changed my perception and my mindset when I walk through those doors every day at work.   When I feel that moment when things could go in a negative direction, and my instinct is to react, that one word comes to my mind.  Grace.  That simple thought shuts me down and I am reminded that it is not important.

Corinthians 12:10 Therefore, I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.

 I move through those moment easier now.  My coworker, for whatever is going on in those moments, is deserving of the same Grace that my God has shown me every day of my life. I am waiting for the day to come that I don’t have to think about it, and those triggers will no longer exist, because the Holy Spirit within me is convicting me.

Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast

There are many things on any given day that are evidence of God’s grace.  The left hand turn out of a busy street, when you are on a time schedule when there is no traffic and you don’t have to wait to turn.  The filled parking lot with that one convenient space opening just as you pull in.  The call to work on Gods Altar in the moments of your life that you feel so undeserving, because you had a failed marriage.  The unexpected check from an overpayment of a bill, that comes at a time when you have an unexpected expense and it is the exact amount you need.

That accident you missed because you had to go back home to get something you forgot.   That meal that a neighbor brings over after you have had a long day at work and don’t feel like cooking.  That cup of coffee a stranger bought you   after you just mumbled not so nice words to that driver who cut in front of you on your way to work. 

2nd Corinthians 12:9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

Grace: The presence of Gods undeserving favor in our lives

Amazing Grace: 

   Philosophy: With every act of grace the world gains a touch more love. 

~Gratitude in All things ~

 

 

Random Acts of Kindness

Make our World a Better Place.

April 15, 2019

R M Rivera

 

I chose the above title that for this journal from a Calling Card that I have made.  I am an advocate for random acts of kindness.  Whenever or wherever I try to drop an act of kindness along the journey, I leave a calling card or two behind to plant the seed.  It is usually done without the recipient knowing who I am.

There are certain establishments that I visit that know this about me. There are times when I go back, they will share a story of reactions of recipients. Sometimes if this takes place at a food drive in, it triggers a chain reaction that affects recipients behind them. It is a beautiful way to make the world a better place and for one moment, be the sunshine in someone’s cloudy day.

Hopelessness is terrible.It touches my heart so deeply to look into a person’s eyes and see pain and hopelessness.With God all things are possible. With God there is hope.God can heal anybody. He can reach down into the depths of the pit you are in, if you will only reach up and take his hand.

Surround yourself with positive influences, with people who will lift you up, who will feed you positive and not negative and most of all who will pray with you. Gravitate towards those who will support you when you are struggling, who will listen when you are confused, or angry.

Choose those who will comfort you when you are hurting, who will reach out and hold your hand and walk beside you in your struggles, remember…but for the Grace of God….that broken person could be you. Be that person who encourages someone else.

 

John 13:34
A new commandment I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so also you must love one another.

Go out into the world each day with a heart of compassion and showing, kindness. Have an awareness that at any given time, you could be that homeless person, that person who is in emotional pain, that person who is ill, that person that is without a job, or lonely without a partner, or has no family. Be the one that maybe, for one moment in the day, can make the hurting smile. Perhaps in that one act of kindness, you will have put a warm feeling in their heart…and given them hope.

 

 Matthew 25: 34-37

 34 Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35 for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; 36 was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’ 37 “Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? 38 When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? 39 Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ 40 And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did itto one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.

Have gratitude.  Show gratitude.  In those moments of doubt and despair, trust that God has a higher purpose and is working in your purpose in the lives of others.

Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

Sometimes your judgement andthought process can be clouded during turmoil and turbulence in your life. Out of these times comes growth and healing. Use the lessons that come out of those experiences as a tool to help others

Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.

I am trusting for more healing in the lives of those around me. I see Gods work in my life and the lives of those around me every day. All in Gods perfect timing.

 

What we think we need,and what God knows we need are usually two different things.

.

1 John 3:10
By this the children of God are distinguished from the children of the devil: Anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is anyone who does not love his brother.

Go out into the world and make the world a better place, one random act of kindness at a time.

 

~Gratitude in All Things~