What A Week It Was

I hope we are finishing it like we started singing praises, though this week did take some unexpected dark turns. Yet together along our shared path we can always find the light that defeats darkness.

We’ll take a look back at the week that was on this edition of “Becoming Today”.

I hope you are enjoying a safe and blessed weekend. Here in the US, many consider it the unofficial official start of Summer. While we still have a few weeks before the seasons actually change, many traditionally travel over what has become the Memorial Day Weekend.

Just how many will with record gas prices and an uptick in COVID cases remains to be seen. In the meantime I hope you will take some time to remember the actual intention of the holiday – a day on which those who died in active military service are remembered.

Too many have made the supreme sacrifice to get us to this point in history and too often the symbols meant to represent their purity, valor and vigilance are co-opted by those seeking only to profit personally.

My prayers are with those who have perished in defense of their constitutional oaths and their families whose lives were also forever changed. 

Our week began with a discussion of “Psalm Day This Is!”.

Intending to start things off on a positive note we extolled the virtues of praise and gratitude.

While I could go on for a whole month on this topic, for the purposes of our discussion today I’m limiting myself to eight. These are ones that seem to me, to be foundational as well as reflective of our needs at this present time.

Let’s begin with an oft quoted anthem – Psalm 118:24,

“This is the very day of the Lord that brings gladness and joy, filling our hearts with glee”.

It is indeed  a day that the Lord has made, so why not rejoice and be glad in it? Gleefully celebrating rather than trudging our way through a monotony of tasks is certainly a better way to begin another week along our shared path we call “Becoming Today”.

Notice we have a choice to make here. We can either choose to rejoice or decide to let others or circumstances rob us of our joy.

If you’re leaning towards the latter option, then let me suggest Psalm 27:1,

“Yahweh is my revelation-light and the source of my salvation.

I fear no one! I’ll never turn back and run, for you, Yahweh, surround and protect me”.

Written by David and ascribed as his poetic praise to God before he was anointed king, it teaches and reminds us that no matter what challenge you may be facing, or if you’re feeling dragged down, there is hope readily available.

If you believe that the Lord is your light and salvation, then what do you have to fear? Some translations proclaim that if you are in accord with the Lord, then what can mere mortals do to you?

f you have a favorite Psalm, it doesn’t matter what version of the Bible you’re familiar with or prefer, go ahead and share it with us. In your comment also include why it’s helpful and encouraging for you. 

That way we can all continue to grow and learn together, here on this shared path.

On Toosday, I confessed the idea of being content but not fulfilled or satisfied is one that for many years somewhat baffled me. How can I be content yet desire so much more? 

In accepting contentment am I denying myself the possibility for further or enriched satisfaction?

Those are some of the thoughts we explored together in “Contented While Expecting More”.

It’s something that I had to learn. For quite a while I believed that if I accepted feeling content that I was becoming complacent. I was settling and not achieving the possibilities of full potential. 

How wrong I was. 

To realize that,  I had to transform my understanding of what living in the moment was. First clue it’s not living just for this moment. 

Music has always been important for me. It’s a blessing. A refuge. A solace. A place where I am free to feel. Free to be. Free to express myself. However in this case initially it was music that played the wrong note in my search for knowledge.

When I heard and contemplated the term, “living in the moment” I initially would hear in  my head, “sha la la la”. Then I would hear “live for today, tomorrow doesn’t matter. I was mishearing the song, accepting a misinterpretation of a lyric, leading me to falsely believing  it was preaching to do whatever makes you feel good now and don’t even be concerned about any possible repercussions.

That’s not at all what the song was about.

As performed by The Grass Roots a folk group that went psychedelic, the lyrics do say:

“And don’t worry ’bout tomorrow hey, hey, hey

Shah-la, la-la-la-la live for today

Live for today…” 

However when considered in the proper context they are talking about being content in the moment. Not shutting down or becoming a slacker, but being accepting of the circumstance without worry, without fear and allowing tomorrow to come as it will.

This is a lot like the words of Jesus:

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 

Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 

Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?”

-MATTHEW 6:25-27 (NIV)

Well “shah-la, la-la-la-la live for today…”!

Wednesday is when we renew our weekly objective, by taking part in our search and rescue mission for wisdom. In “Searching For Wisdom Today”, we studied  Proverbs 10.

In today’s reading we began to learn about some of Solomon’s personal experiences and the common sense values that can serve us so well today.

Like in verse two, “Gaining wealth through dishonesty is no gain at all. But honesty brings you a lasting happiness.”

Brief, to the point, direct and impactful.

As were several other of the examples shared today. Verse eight teaches, “The heart of the wise will easily accept instruction. But those who do all the talking are too busy to listen and learn. They’ll just keep stumbling ahead into the mess they created”.

You are never too old to learn, we should always be seeking to embrace something new everyday. Wisdom is found in listening and sometimes it’s impact is even greater when you truly hear what some are trying to sell you and discern for yourselves, that you need to run, not walk away.

Reminded in the next segment of the text of the fact that Integrity Is Integral

“The one who walks in integrity  will experience a fearless confidence in life, but the one who is devious will eventually be exposed”.

And then in verse ten, we are reminded to take our vetting of ideas to higher levels as we read, “The troublemaker always has a clever plan and won’t look you in the eye, but the one who speaks correction honestly can be trusted to make peace”. 

Thursday we wrapped up our examination of the 8 Points of Light. After taking one a week for the prior 8 weeks, we recapped offering a reminder of the different forms of illumination that we can expect to see shine in our lives.

Briefly recapping they are:

  1. Compassion

“Becoming compassionate is accepting the conscious process of showing kindness and sharing empathy with others, so that we may then decide to assist all those we can.”

  1. Dignity

“So in finding the true meaning of having a sense of dignity, we must comprehend that it starts with the qualities, values and beliefs which we hold and choose to share. Building a healthy sense of dignity is developed over time and requires patience. It is something that is easier said than done, though is quite achievable.”

  1. Respect

“Therefore let’s choose to agree that R-E-S-P-E-C-T means accepting somebody for who they are, even though they are different from you or you may not agree with them. Respect builds trust, safety, and fosters healthy attitudes, though these emotions don’t come naturally; they are something you must learn and then share. 

Respect also involves treating others the way you want to be treated. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Traditionally recalled as “The Golden Rule”, simply put it is always being considerate of others as well as honoring their feelings, opinions, and property.”

  1. Peace

“Being free from distractions, harassment, annoyances and chains that bind us to past realities and circumstances certainly creates in us the space to manifest a place for and an overall attitude of being peaceful.

Accepting this point of light we can receive peace as calm. Now coming from a place where you are more content, approaching all things, people, situations from a place of peace and remaining calm, it’s time to keep that momentum building… both forward and upward!”

  1. Love

“More than likely not only a bold word, Love is the strongest of all positive emotions. That’s why this  edition is an exploration of why love being directed towards yourself, another individual, a group of people, or even all humanity is of utmost importance.

Love is indeed patient and kind. In the scriptures, love is what unites people. Brings groups  together against hate and dishonesty.It is what enables forgiveness and restores confidence.”

  1. Mercy

“Mercy is a blessing. A gift of compassion in unfortunate circumstances or troubling times.”

It is something we’d each like to have for ourselves and just as with our other points we can only be granted this blessing if we are willing to and actively giving it to others.

Mercy matters because we all need forgiveness.

Plus it creates a common bond between us. Mercy begins by opening ourselves to those with whom we disagree. Starting with small acts of understanding, can lead to life-changing experiences of compassion, dignity.respect, peace and love.”

  1. Forgiveness

“Forgiveness is something that for many people is easier said than done. For me it was especially hard to learn how to forgive myself.

To fully forgive involves allowing ourselves to let go, To actively and consciously release the need to hold on to past baggage, old quarrels, unfinished business or the need to get even.

You can not create a state of “Becoming”, if you aren’t willing to let the former or current  realities go.This is a vital part of “Becoming”. Not only forgiving others for perceived wrongs, and asking for forgiveness from those you may have hurt but also forgiving yourself.

It is then, and only then, that you can let go of anger, guilt, shame, or any other feeling limiting your growth. Let it go. Face forward, look upward and then you can get busy moving on.”

  1. 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.”

Finally Friday my thoughts wandered a bit as I tweeted, “Government cheese, Josh Duggar, robots and somehow it makes sense. #BecomingToday”.

Well at least as much sense as we can of this unpredictable world. You can read the full post here, so let me just recap a few highlights.

Unfortunately this week we as a nation witnessed another senseless tragedy. One that we can not just ignore and as the President asked aloud on national TV, why do these things happen here more than anywhere else in the world?

It’s something we all need to consider. Not from a place of fear, rather from our hearts. How do we lovingly conquer these ills of our society?

As President Biden addressed the nation live, following the horror that befell a small Texas town, the remark that stood out the most to me was when he asked, 

“Where in God’s name is our backbone to stand up to these lobbyists?”

And for me this question extends well beyond anyone’s issue. Our elections and for far too long our leadership in this nation, on many levels has been bought and paid for. And in the end who truly pays for this manipulation, you and I.

Find the courage to stand for Truth. Examine your conscience as you muster your backbone remembering you have the strength, the ability and even the protection you need to do so.

“Put on God’s complete set of armor provided for us, so that you will be protected as you fight against the evil strategies of the accuser

Your hand-to-hand combat is not with human beings, but with the highest principalities and authorities operating in rebellion under the heavenly realms”. 

Ephesians 6 from The Passion Translation also continues, “In every battle, take faith as your wrap-around shield, for it is able to extinguish the blazing arrows coming at you…”

Stand up. Be counted. Step out. Be seen. Look forward and be heard. Your voice matters.

Then I also wondered about why there is more than a billion dollars worth of government cheese hidden in caves beneath Springfield, Missouri.

Really you can’t make stuff like that up.

So why? There is no talk of giveaways and apparently even after the government buys the surplus dairy and converts it to cheese it then winds up in the cheese caves and is owned in part by private enterprises.

If its intent is to battle inflation and help consumers, why is it just sitting there? 

Besides one of the pandemic side effects was the reversal of a three decades trend of lactose intolerant Americans suddenly buying more cheese. The increased demand  between April and June of 2020 caused prices of the commodity to increase by 160%. 

Now two years later demand remains high and yet production has slowed because of increased costs and an inability to ship the items to market, especially on the coasts.

Yet there is 1 point 4 billion pounds of it sitting underground in the middle of the country. Already produced that would seem to solve half the problem yet I don’t expect anytime soon to hear of a release of cheddar from the nation’s strategic reserves…

It has been an interesting week and while holding out for more positive notes next week should seek to inspire as well. Again I pray you and yours are enjoying a safe and blessed weekend. Then come Monday join us again as we’ll be decorating a bit on our next edition of “Becoming Today”.

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