Archive for the ‘Belief’ Category

Relationships   1 comment


Image provided by www.bjmgz.org

Image provided by http://www.bjmgz.org

This week I watched a TED Talk by Robert Waldinger entitled, “What makes a good life?  Lessons from the longest study on happiness”.  He was sharing what has been learned from a study which began over 75 years ago by a researcher from Harvard University.  I encourage all of you to take the twelve minutes to watch this video yourselves.  SPOILER ALERT…..  What the study has determined is that relationships are the key to a happy life.

As I listened to Dr. Waldinger, I had a mixed response.  On one hand, the conclusions which he shared did not surprise me.  Yet, there was a part of me that was surprised the simplicity and truth of these results.  I have contended for much time, based on other’s research, that we were born to be in relationship.  As a believer, I know that God created me (and everyone else) because God desired to be in relationship.  I also know that God intended us to be in relationship with others.

The core of Scripture and all of Jesus’ teachings is relationship.  Specifically, relationship in the context of love.  God created us to live in love.  Love can only be expressed and experienced in relationship.  So we are creatures who crave relationship because we crave love.  This has also been expressed through a song made famous in the musical, Moulin Rouge.  In the song, Nature Boy, we hear the great line, “The greatest thing, you’ll ever learn, is to just to love, and be loved in return.”  Only in relationship can this be a reality.

So today, I encourage you all to consider the relationships in your life.

Energized   Leave a comment


Image provided by pureheart.org

Image provided by pureheart.org

Have you participated in an event which causes you to feel energized by the end?  Recently I have been attending worship at a local church where this feeling occurs every time.  I enjoy the worship experience and find a great connection with the Spirit each time I attend.  There is a genuine sense of love and a high level of energy.  People of all ages gather and truly worship because they feel a connection.  The focus is on worshiping the Lord.

Another truly wonderful aspect is that I look forward to going to worship.  I know that no matter how challenging my week has been, I have an opportunity to focus on my faith and find fellowship.  The people whom I am with provide energy for me.  They share with one another and support one another in an uplifting manner.

Unfortunately, I am sure all of us have been in situations within the church where the opposite occurs.  I have attended worship in some churches where I walk away feeling drained.  The atmosphere, the worship style, and the people’s attitude extracts energy.  This has nothing to do with the style of music, the volume of music, the pastor’s style, or how liturgical the worship.  It is all about the feeling and attitude of those who are worshiping.

My hope for all of you are that you have the opportunity to participate in an event that provides energy to you.  I know that I am grateful to find this church and this worship experience.

Holding On to Hope   Leave a comment


Image provided by postcardepiphanies.blogspot.com

Image provided by postcardepiphanies.blogspot.com

There are times in life when the challenges can appear overwhelming.  The list of concerns becomes longer.  The uncertainty seems to be more than those things which are certain.  During these times, a person can easily become bogged down and weary.  Each day becomes a struggle.  Focus and determination can appear elusive. It is during such times that reminding one’s self that there is hope becomes vital.  Having individual(s) who will support and restore hope is critical.

I consider myself extremely fortunate.  I have a strong faith in my Lord.  I have people in my life who provide me more support and hope than many.  I must wonder what it would be like if I did not have these two elements in my life.  Each day I read in the newspaper or see on television situations that are truly devastating.  When I am made of aware of these situations, I quickly wonder how the people impacted by them are able to move forward.  Do they have a faith in a Lord who is far greater than any situation on earth?  Do they have a strong support system of friends and family?  I confess that I truly cannot see how anyone can go through difficulties without those two elements.

So I want to remind all of you, hold on to the hope that you have.  Each day is a new beginning with new possibilities.  Make sure that you invite people into your life that can restore your hope when events tear it down.  Have some type of faith which will help you to remember that there is someone greater than anything in this world.  Hold on to hope!

Thank You   Leave a comment


Sometimes we forget to stop and to say thank you.  Sometimes we forget that what we do impacts others.  So today I want to share an older song that reminds us of both of these things.

Thank you to everyone who has given and touched my life.  Some of you know and some of you have no idea that you made such an impact.  THANK YOU!

Reason to Celebrate   Leave a comment


Image provided by clipartzebraz.com

Image provided by clipartzebraz.com

Nineteen years ago this morning, I was in a hospital welcoming my second son into this world.  Saying that it was a pretty eventful day is putting it mildly.  He had decided to come much earlier than he was supposed to, in fact almost two months earlier, and he was very tiny.  The medical staff had done a great job of holding him off for about a week but he was determined to arrive anyway.  There was a medical issue which prompted his early arrival.

I remember the previous night and the early morning very well.  My son’s arrival began late on the previous night.  Throughout the night things would progress and then seem to slow down.  Early in the morning however, the decision to move things along was made and we were prepared to go into a birthing room.  I donned some hospital scrubs, boots, and cap while we made the transition.  Then in a few short minutes after arriving in the room, my son was born.  I was able to see him briefly before he was taken to be prepped for a necessary surgery.

Well, here we are some nineteen years later.  After two months in the hospital, an emergency trip back to the hospital, and multiple surgeries, he survived it all.  For the last nineteen years, he has grown, had more surgeries for different reasons, had a broken bone, and done all the normal things a young man does as he grows up.  He currently is in his first year at college and learning both inside and out of the classroom more than I could ever have imagined.

I celebrate this day because while the beginning was scary and very tumultuous, the young man who I call my son continues to make me proud.  While he was young I had a nickname for him, my M & M, my Miracle Michael.  I have been blessed with two tremendous sons who I praise God for every day.  So I celebrate his birthday filled with so many reasons to celebrate!

Posted November 5, 2015 by thoughtfulbeliever in Belief, Experiences, Family, Life

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From A Seed   Leave a comment


Autumn tree with seeds.

Autumn tree with seeds.

One of the interesting things about autumn is seeing some trees prepare to drop their seeds.  Outside the window of my home office is a tree that has small berries or seeds on it.  Almost all of the leaves have fallen from the tree but these seeds hang on.  Wrapped by a soft, protective covering, I know there is a seed.  I also know that this seed will at some point fall to the ground just like the leaves of the tree.  When it falls, if it lands on soil that is accepting, the seed will be buried in the soil where it will sit over the upcoming winter.  Then if all the dynamics are correct, this seed will produce life when the warm sun of spring and the rains come.  From this new life will be the potential for a new tree to begin.  This occurs year after year with all forms of plants.  This whole process came into my mind when I looked out my window and saw the tree but it also caused me to think of its reality in human lives.

Much like the trees and plants which we see in creation, we also drop seeds throughout our lives.  Sometimes they are seeds of wisdom.  Sometimes they are seeds of values.  Sometimes they are seeds of behavior.  There are many types of seed but as we go through life and encounter others, we share our seeds with them.  Like the seed from the tree I mentioned, if the soil (the life of another) is accepting of our seed, our seed will bury itself where it may sit for some time only to be warmed and watered into new life within another person’s life.  The seed from the tree must lay somewhat dormant over the winter months and so it may be with the seed we offer to others, a period of dormancy may occur.  However, if all the dynamics are correct, it will produce new life.

This concept is symbolized in two very different ways which come to my mind today.  The first is through a song from long ago entitled The Rose which was made famous by Bette Midler.  The song speaks of a love between people.  One line from the song states, “Just remember in the winter far beneath the bitter snow, Lies the seed that with the sun’s love, in the spring becomes the rose.” The song writer wants to remind us that we can plant seeds of love which may take time before we ever see them blossom.

The other way that I have seen this concept symbolized is in the words of Jesus as he shares a parable regarding faith.  He speaks of different types of soil receiving seeds of faith.  The success of creating a healthy faith is found in what type of soil the seed lands.  You can read what Jesus says in Matthew 13:1-23.

So today I think about the patience of one who sows the seeds of life.  The sower must realize that she or he may never see if the seed takes root but must continue to sow and be patient.  I also think about being receptive to the seed which others may sow in my life.  What kind of soil am I going to be?

Something Bigger   Leave a comment


Image provided by halliesawyer.com

Image provided by halliesawyer.com

Sometimes in life it is easy to get caught up in the daily details of your life.  You get to worrying so much about those details that it seems they become huge.  Everyone has struggles and challenges.  Without even noticing it, you can become so worried about your details that you forget that you are not the only one in the world.  Unintentionally, your focus shifts to you and what is going on in your life without giving consideration to the challenges in the lives of other individuals.  This situation is something which Jesus referenced often in his teaching.  He continually questioned people about what is the central focus of their lives.

Then there are days when a person is given the opportunity to be awakened to the bigger aspects of life.  I find this type of day to be a great gift.  I am reminded that there is something bigger.  Without denying the situations occurring in my life, I am made aware of a much bigger life which includes the situations in the lives around me.  I also am given the reminder that there is someone bigger than myself who is much more capable of handling the various situations which create challenges in life.  Also, on days of awakening, I am able to see that there are more positives than negatives in life.

So today, I say thank you to the Lord for the days which awaken me to something bigger.  I say thank you to the Lord for being much bigger than myself and much more capable of handling my struggles and the struggles of my family, friends, neighbors, and those who I have not met yet.