I hope your weekend is off to a great start, I’m still singing today as Steve Miller has gotten stuck in my head.
“Time keeps on slippin’, slippin’, slippin’ Into the future”
And wanting to soar like that eagle, it’s our time to take a bird’s eye view of the week that was along this shared path we call, “Becoming Today”.
Our week together began with “Two Simple Words”.
By themselves just kind of ordinary. However when you place them side by side they are very powerful, life altering and affirming.
Therefore I guess it is “So Ordered” that we begin our discussion today.
“So”, by itself is such a simple word, yet is responsible for a wide range of expressions in our daily lives. Just two letters, it almost at times seems like more a syllable or a sound than words. Yet even when it just muttered it can add a lot to a conversation.
So can be used to transition our time, as in ‘so, let’s move on with…” It can also encompass a wide range of emotions as in, “say it ain’t so, Joe”.
And with just a simple shift in pronunciation these same two letters, when expressed , as soooooo, adds an entirely different depth to it’s usage. “Like, okay then, um, soooooooo?”
Let’s advance to the second word, “ordered”.
Again a seemingly easily understood idiom, yet when placed in different contexts can have a wide array of meanings. To begin with it can be a direction, a request or an arrangement.
Nine letters placed in a specific order and its potential is exponential.
Straight forward. Pretty simple. Easy to understand yet so complex and diverse with what it both adds and takes away from my life, that there may not truly be enough words to fully explain my emotions surrounding it.
I am so thankful for it. As it has also so ordered my continued “Becoming Today”.
Two words that some might even describe as random expressions typed side by side, that have empowered me to continue my momentum of moving both forward and upward. Are allowing me to experience new levels of living. Plus are granting me more opportunities to share with you.
Is there something that you;ve been “so ordered” to do? To start? To “Become”?
If so, order your process and get busy. It doesn’t need to drag on endlessly. Seize the power of two simple words and uplift your life, consider yourself, “so ordered” to do so.
On Toosday, we came to an understanding that this day too, could become fruitful.
In “Daily Recommended Fruits”, we discussed the Fruits of the Spirit.
Let’s first take a bite out of what is meant by a “fruit”.
From the early Scriptural languages of Aramic, Greek and Hebrew there are multiple words for these fruits. Some vary by the usage in a sentence and by the intended context of the speaker.
Remember much of what is considered scriptural writing came from oral traditions and others writing down what they heard from accepted prophets, speakers, teachers and witnesses.
So a fruit can range from being productive or fruitful to the consequences of the physical, intellectual, emotional or spiritual actions (PIES) we choose to act upon. That includes a range of harvesting abundance to reaping what you have sown.
Understanding these differences may help enlighten some of the concepts for you. It adds to our common understanding and aids our ability to speak to one another.
The most widely taught lessons instruct about the nine Fruits of the Spirit as listed in Galatians 5:22-23. Though older translations and the present day Catholic teaching include 12, while some newer perspectives shorten the list to seven.
Beginning with the nine they are:
We explored each at length in the original post, so you can visit it for an in-depth look.
As I mentioned many teach the nine, however what I’ll call the unabridged edition includes three more, which I think you’ll see are not only of benefit for us, work along with the others though the last one can be a challenge.
The first is Charity.
Yes I know we discussed Generosity, however charity is a bit different. That’s because as part of the dictionary definition explains, charity involves “kindness and tolerance in judging others”, it also includes kindness and treating those you share with, with C.D.R.
That’s an acronym I’ve taught for years. It came about as I blurted out the basic concept in an argument with some very inconsiderate and pretentious psychiatrists who were not treating a patient with any of the three letters.
It doesn’t matter who you are, where you come from, what you have or have not been through, these three are constants in life. They are three common things every person on this earth wants, and deserves to be treated with.
The tough part for some is that they do not understand that in order to receive them, you must give them freely, at all times. That’s where being charitable comes in.
Charity is more than an act of giving, it is an attitude of being loving, sympathetic and helpful. It is indeed a virtue and one I find to definitely be “fruit” worthy.
The next concept is Modesty. The quality or state of being unassuming or moderate in the estimation of one’s abilities. It is the opposite of boastfulness, involving not being prideful, instead embracing a reserved nature of gentleness, meekness and unpretentiousness.
Given the state of our culture today I feel this is one that needs to be emphasized, highlighted and taught far more often.
And the final in the extended 12 “Fruits of the Spirit” is another that requires a forbearance attitude, remaining steadfast, patient and truly being able to love love as it was intended. It’s also the one you may not want to talk about.
It has been a challenge at times in my life so I certainly understand that. This is the fruit of “Chastity”.
This involves giving us the ability to overcome the flesh. It is the submission of physical desire subjugating it to one’s spiritual nature. Chastity means indulging our physical desires only within the appropriate contexts.
We are given the strength and knowledge to choose right, it just gets back to those pesky decisions to opt to select the option that is for our ultimate good, rather than in the what of the moment.
Whether you opt for the list of nine, the 12 or for some reason want to shorten your list, the Fruits of the Spirit should instill a sense of victory.
They are evidence that we can overcome, that we can all continue along our own walks on the shared path.
Remember what they are intended to be. The benefits of gifts received. They are to be accepted, embraced, shared and treasured. In choosing to do so, this moment just got so much better for all of
Midweek we refocus on our extended odyssey. Our search and rescue mission for wisdom.
This week in “Searching For Fools”, I shared as we undertook a study of Proverbs 9, to take note that Solomon is teaching us that those who are wise and righteous are capable of taking instruction. That then causes them to always be “Becoming” even wiser.
An analogy here is that wisdom sustains our spirit just as food and water supports physical life.
To further our common understanding we should note that the Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary defines wisdom as “knowledge, and the capacity to make due use of it.” So it’s not just what you know, it’s how you put it to use.
Decide not to make use of it and you are waiting for a precious gift. Act upon knowledge with a malicious intent and any perceived rewards are not lasting.
In today’s reading Solomon describes Lady Wisdom as opening her home to us. She has prepared a magnificent feast. An R S V P to this event allows for us to move forward on a path to a joy filled life and success.
As it was written in verses four through six,
“Whoever wants to know me and receive my wisdom, come and dine at my table and drink of my wine. Lay aside your simple thoughts and leave your paths behind. Agree with my ways, live in my truth, and you will find righteousness.”
Then the chapter points out what can happen to those who don’t want to celebrate with Wisdom and her many “Becoming” attributes.
Verse seven notes:
“If you try to correct an arrogant cynic, expect an angry insult in return. And if you try to confront an evil man don’t be surprised if all you get is a slap in the face!”
And while further cautioning us, verse eight returns to a point of accentuating the positive:
“So don’t even bother to correct a mocker, for he’ll only hate you for it. But go ahead and correct the wise; they’ll love you even more”.
Then the final six verses look at the shadow side of wisdom. A distorted twisted view. Here we meet “Folly”. A folly by definition is “lack of good sense; foolishness; in other words the fool we referred to in today’s headline.
Verse 13 describes her this way, “There is a spirit named Foolish, who is boisterous and brash; she’s seductive and restless”.
Rather than encouraging us to seek godliness, and remain devout to the ideas and attitudes of righteous living, Folly lies to us. She falsely claims that illicit pleasures of the flesh are better than God’s creations
By the time Thursday arrived we were radiating Grace.
We’ve come to a magical moment in our ongoing series of conversations about the 8 Points of Light. So far we’ve discussed Compassion, Dignity, Respect , Peace, Love ,Mercy and Forgiveness.
That’s seven of the eight, so it’s time for our final reveal, last but certainly not least is the concept of Grace.
So the question for many is, what exactly is Grace?
A simple definition is that Grace is a gift from God.
Building from there we need to add that it is a gift in the purest sense. One we do not deserve and is not earned. We simply are eligible to receive it because of God’s unconditional love for us.
Grace involves love and mercy given to others even when it is undeserved. This applies to both the Grace we receive from our Heavenly Father and the grace we need to have and share with one another.
It does not require grand actions. Bestowing grace upon someone else can be as simple as a random act of kindness, doing something for someone without expecting anything in return.
Grace is quite easily understood and yet wonderfully perfect in its complexity; defined in our purposes as “the love and mercy given to us by God because God desires us to have it, not necessarily because of anything we have done to earn it”.
The simplest definition I have ever embraced on this topic is “God’s unmerited favor”.
Sounds wonderful, and when you have received God’s gift of Grace in your life, believe me as I testify, it feels even better.
Pastor Rick Warren also notes, “The Bible gives an easy, three-word answer for how you receive the grace of God: “by trusting Christ”.
Easy right? Powerful? Abundantly and amazingly so.
So how do you receive the grace of God? Accept it. Acknowledge it. Live it.
Always remember that grace is a gift. You can’t earn it, but you get a lot of it. It’s free and abundant. When you go to God in heartfelt prayer, He will always give you what you need. Forget about worrying about getting what you deserve. Grace is getting much more than you deserve.
Yesterday rather than focusing on a single topic, as I do on Fridays, I take the day to share somewhat random thoughts on things that pop up and stick in my head.
In the examination of this wacky world we spoke a bit about the ridiculous and tried to shine some light on efforts intended for good.
First the absurd that portends warning.
From the always read the fine print file, a post has gone viral after a young woman dealing with a chronic condition found an usual charge on her doctor’s bill.
She was charged $40 for crying.
Dealing with pain as well as the emotions surrounding her not getting answers to help ease her pain she notes she did have visible tears, but was not in a breakdown, nor did she receive any kind of care for her emotions.
Yet since the doctor wrote it down someone believes she needs to pay for it. Her story also illuminated other medical malfeasance.
Another woman shared that she only learned of having a test performed after an unrelated procedure.
She tweeted about her experience, “ When I got surgery this past June to remove a tumor, I asked them what “Women’s services’ ‘ was for. It was for the pregnancy test they administered. $1,902 to pee and for them to dip a stick into it”.
There seems to be quite a markup on that service….
Now before you say well with inflation, let’s look at this through a lens of common sense.
Yes pregnancy tests, available over the counter have gone up in costs. They are no longer one-dollar as they were a year ago, today you can buy one for the increased price of one dollar and 25 cents.
Yet in a hospital setting similar technology is being “sold” for nearly $2,000 dollars .
Using a simple free online calculator, that is a markup of around 160-thousand percent. That is a one followed by a six and then four zeros.
Yes it’s legal. Due in part to legislation and regulations that were written in part by insurance company lobbyists and Congress approved them in your best interest.
While politicians note our pain with the current rate of inflation, which as of my writing this is 8 point 3 percent, how can they feel justified in allowing you to be ruled by a system that inflates prices by hundreds of thousands of percent?
Now here’s some fine print that also shouldn’t go unnoticed. Though this one is because more people should be adopting these attitudes.
According to INC, Tesla has a 10-word rule every employee has to follow.
“Tesla aspires to be a ‘do the right thing’ company.”
A major corporation with international reach publicly stating a desire to achieve more than record profits. A company that accepts responsibility and realizes they are made of people, and no one is perfect. That they should combine their focus to grow and develop together for the overall good.
Some very “Becoming” qualities…
Also of note, as the Associated Press reported, De-Arching: McDonald’s to sell Russia business, exit country, the company is not only ceasing all operations in Russia, it is also taking care of their employees.
In response to the Russian invasion and atrocities in Ukraine, the iconic Chicago based company is selling its 850 restaurants in Russia and is seeking a buyer who will employ its 62,000 workers there.
With the doors already closed, in addition McDonald’s is continuing to pay those workers and will do so until the deal closes.
McDonald’s President and CEO Chris Kempczinski in a letter to employees noted this is the first time thee company has ever “de-arched,” or exited a major market, however they decided to do so because “it is impossible to ignore the humanitarian crisis caused by the war in Ukraine.”
Adding that “providing access to food and continuing to employ tens of thousands of ordinary citizens, is surely the right thing to do”.
While there are far more headlines decrying corporate greed and malfeasance there are some examples that need to be spotlighted when private enterprise is doing more to lead than those who are sworn to, as well as claim to desire to serve and protect their people.
That’s a look back at the week that was here along our shared path. I hope you are enjoying the journey. I pray each of you has a safe and blessed weekend and that come Monday, you’ll join us again for our next edition of “Becoming Today”.