Looking Back

With so much happening in the coming days including the official start of Summer and for some of you a time to say ‘Happy Father’s Day’, first we need to pause.

Take a few moments together for a little looking back at the week that was here along this shared path we call “Becoming Today”. 

Correct me if I’m wrong, as I recall it our week began on Monday.

Well gee it usually does, however this Monday was cast in an amazing light, it offered us a “Golden Opportunity”. 

Recited, quoted, and repeated again; so well known for many centuries I fear at times the Golden Rule has become perceived as a cliche, rather than the substantive, universal truth we all need. Perhaps more now than ever before.

When I learned the Golden Rule as a child it was taught to me as, 

“Treat others as you would have them treat you.”

Simple, easy to remember and at the time I could not fathom the depth of it’s inspiration. 

That’s because it was used as a threat against me. Another tool by my abusive parents to reinforce that I was worthless, unwanted and would never amount to anything. So I better be extra good or God would punish me even more than they did. 

Fortunately I have learned they were confusing God with Santa Claus.

That merry old elf is the one that has the list and is checking it twice to see who’s naughty or nice. While my Heavenly Father will certainly one day hold me accountable for my choices to learn, grow and become, or not;  He is not sitting there shining a flashlight on me, saying there she goes again, another black mark.

I was a young adult before I first read Matthew 7:12 in the King James Version, 

Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.

Wait a second, Jesus said this? Now I know that means whatsoever ye would do, obviously must mean something good. So I began to realize this doing un, wasn’t about getting what’s yours before someone else grabs it and  certainty was not a threat to do it “their” way or else.

I mean if prophets followed this as a law it has to be important. Still it would be a number of years before I would encounter teachers who could more fully explain it. I the English Standard Version (translation of the bible, the Scripture reads as, 

“So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets”.

Jesus taught this in one of most descriptive lessons, the Sermon on the Mount. And the preceding line is, 

“So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask Him.” ( Matthew 7:11, from the New Living Translation)

Be good to others and goodness will be returned to you. A revolutionary concept to me at the time. I had no idea I would later as I do know accept this as a universal truth. A basis for all I am constantly Becoming. 

Toosday our conversation involved it becoming “A Banner Day”. 

 In the United States it was an often overlooked holiday: Flag Day

A mere 245 years ago, our forefathers worked together to officially recognize “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness,” be forever represented by a standard banner. 

While its description varies only slightly; as the field of stars has increased in girth as we have grown (but haven’t we all, lol), the concepts of this powerful symbol hold true.  “Resolved, That the flag of the thirteen United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation.”

Now this can also be a banner day in other ways. If we simply choose to make it an exceptional one. How? By sharing things that we all need, and if recent discourse proves anything, what we need more of right now is compassion. 

Compassion. Take a moment and think about what it means for you. 

It can be highly subjective. Did you answer being kind? Treating others with empathy? Or being respectful to others? All these answers are partially correct, yet not quite.

“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.”

A widely stated adage expresses, “a single act of compassion can change a person’s life forever”.

Making it a very Becoming quality. Sharing compassion allows us to feel and assist. It motivates us to transform suffering, pain or injustice into healing, growth and change. 

I have found that compassion can be one of the most powerful forces in the world. It allows for judgment to be replaced with acceptance thus creating an atmosphere in which we can embrace diversity and be welcoming towards all as equals regardless of any perceived distinctions.

I then shared Becoming Today’s 8 – Steps For Compassion, which you can see here.

Wednesdays we are dedicating towards a concentrated effort of seeking and finding. It’s our weekly search and rescue mission for wisdom. 

This week we focused on “Wise Living” as discussed in Proverbs 13.

Today’s passage begins with restating the need for wisdom. The rewards of enlightenment and living righteously. Then in verse 12, it delves into another important aspect of our shared journey; hope:

“When hope’s dream seems to drag on and on, the delay can be depressing. But when at last your dream comes true, life’s sweetness will satisfy your soul.”

We all desire what we want, when we want it yet should realize if it truly is something worth having it will come at the right time. It is these times of waiting that too often we can become discouraged or even depressed.

However that is only possible if you choose to allow it. Now I’m not saying there are not medical reasons that cause depression, nor am I discounting the need for individuals to seek help if they are experiencing this, but we can help keep ourselves from falling prey to depressing thoughts.

We can choose to be uplifted and not wallow or dwell in the negative. This is achieved by remaining hopeful

Hope is far more than a wish. Real hope is a belief. A firmly held understanding and commitment to believe that things can and will get better, and “life’s sweetness will satisfy your soul.”

Hope is an action. It involves us accepting the responsibility to empower it daily. It is a sincere motivation to always be “Becoming” and live expectantly. 

This expectation involves our willingness to without reservation embrace the idea that something good is going to happen? When? Suddenly…. Quickly…. Soon… Now!

Hope times Faith equals success. As we successfully realize our efforts to seek wisdom, knowledge and enlightenment, hope and faith light our path of righteousness. 

That journey is one that as verse six explained, “Righteousness is like a shield of protection, guarding those who keep their integrity,…”.

Elsewhere in the Scriptures we are even urged to become “prisoners of hope”.  To surrender ourselves as described in Hebrews 6:19, for “hope is the anchor of the soul”.  In the book of Zechariah we learn that a prisoner of hope is someone who is so hope – full that no one can take it away from us.

Hope is far more than just having a positive mental attitude. It is a living, breathing thing that we must be vigilant to guard and nurture on a daily basis. No one can take it away from us without our consent. Do not allow that to happen.

I pray that each of you decide to be “Becoming Today”. To hang on to hope, cause it to blossom. To be full of hope and  ever expectant of good things and better days to come allowing for you to accept more joy to come into your lives. 

Thursdays we move the Epistles into the 21st Century. Over the past few weeks we have been traveling together down a new fork along our shared path.

It began with my introduction of the “21st Century Epistle ”, as I speculated about how the messages of the communiques edited together in the Bible might be disseminated if the Apostle Paul were here today.

As he often was, we find Paul doing time. Locked up for crimes he did and did not commit, still he was never truly imprisoned. His spirit was high, and he focused on doing his work from inside.

Now this week, my imagination shifted me to discussing a topic I have lived over and over again. As I can truly testify about the opportunities and possibilities of overcoming.

This conversation was based around a single verse, 1 Corinthians 10:13.

Commonly quoted as “God is faithful, He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear”, as I’ve been called to share from over the past few years I prefer The Passion Translation’s words:

“We all experience times of testing, which is normal for every human being. But God will be faithful to you. He will screen and filter the severity, nature, and timing of every test or trial you face so that you can bear it. And each test is an opportunity to trust him more, for along with every trial God has provided for you a way of escape that will bring you out of it victoriously.”

No matter which version speaks to you most, the concept is the same. Trust. Believe. Receive.

God is always faithful to His promises, not just back then or someday in the future. He is able to deliver us all in our due season, maybe even right now.

Fridays we divert from our normal path and look at some issues, happenings and quotes that I just can’t let go by without saying something. On this week’s “Five For Friday” I included a story about a young man, finding his way, seemingly with ease in professional sports.

He is someone you are more than likely not yet aware of. Ezekiel Duran is barely two-weeks into his Major League Baseball career. As the Texas Rangers have been challenged by the experiences involving injuries and illnesses including a resurgence of COVID, or what the rest of us call life, Duran has skipped steps in the process to become a catalyst for his new found team.

As his manager Chris Woodward said, ‘he has the slowest heartbeat of any person I’ve ever seen’, Duran has stepped forward under the lights and displayed a cool confidence that has been aiding in effecting change in his environment.

When asked how he does it? Through an interpreter he simply and without hesitation replied,

“I put it in God’s hands and come out everyday to do the best everyday”.

Good advice for all of us, no matter what “game” we may be playing.

I pray you all enjoy a safe and blessed weekend. Again Happy Father’s Day if it applies. 

Come Monday when you decide to join us again we’ll begin to approach a new season in life, on the next edition of “Becoming Today”. 

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