September No More

Another day, another week and yes another month is here already. Welcome to October as we prepare to look ahead to some new revelations this month. First we need to revisit the week that was here on “Becoming Today”.

On Monday our talk centered around the idea of becoming, “Faithful and Delivered”. 

As I noted, unforeseen events are taking place to ultimately lead us to what is for our best good. Being Faithful in those moments will bring us to a place where we too, can become Delivered. 

Things rarely ever happen in accordance with our vision of time. Yet if we remain true to our beliefs we can learn that often those delays are designed to bring us closer in line with our desires.Life is less about what happens to you, and more centered upon how you choose to respond to it.

In order to seek happiness we must decide to do so.

When you are feeling less than joyful, it’s a conscious decision for you to take the necessary action to foster the growth of Joy inside you. That’s where it resides. It’s not a destination, it’s more than an attitude. Joy is  power, a strength and a reward that exists within each of us. It’s our individual responsibility to nurture it , co-create it and share it.

It is through how we choose to react to obstacles, circumstances and life in general as to how we do or do not experience joy. No one can truly take it away from you. Only you can prevent yourself from experiencing it.

Joy is extremely important to overcoming tests and trials as well as on our path of “Becoming” as it is through joy that we lead ourselves out of the darkness, to aid us in finding our answers, solutions, authentic lives and to “Becoming” our destiny.

Living expectantly, being expectant of things that can happen quickly, soon, now. It is all part of our shared path. It is another tool we can use to to ensure we are focusing on remaining Faithful and as a result will find ourselves Delivered.

The “Gifts That Keep On Giving”, and no we’re not talking about that! Rather our conversation on Tuesday examined the gifts that you may not be making use of or even realize you have. 

Recently we discussed how you really do not always need to know all the details. Not needing to know is freeing and healing. 

I have come to learn that often what we call worry is a sign from God. A warning that we may be approaching a  situation we are not yet ready for or have diverted off our path. Gently accepting his nudge of correction I can then ease the tensions by remaining faithful, staying steadfast, being forbearant, living joyfully and expectantly while I wait for God to lead me forward.

So how can you learn to more easily determine which situations, events, circumstances truly need our attention? That’s where these gifts I mentioned come in.

The gifts of the Spirit manifest themselves for the common good and are readily available if you accept them and choose to make use of these resources within. 

Picking up The Passion Translation of the Bible we find a good explanation of just exactly who can receive these gifts. And spoiler alert it’s all of us, if we choose wisely.

In 1 Corinthians 12:11, we read, “Remember, it is the same Holy Spirit who distributes, activates, and operates these different gifts as he chooses for each believer”. The footnote simplifies the language as “Spiritual gifts are given by the Holy Spirit at any time to anyone, he chooses”.

So at any moment, including possibly this one you can be selected. However you need to be in it, to win it. In order to be qualified for this drawing of course you need to register in advance. However there are no forms to fill out, or is a valid email required, you enter into this process by believing.

Your belief in God, your faith in His promises and your trust in the process ensures all things work for the ultimate good, including your ability to receive the gifts of the Spirit.

Going back a few verses in 1 Corinthians 12, they are listed beginning in verse eight:

“… The Spirit gives to one the gift of the word of wisdom.

To another, the same Spirit gives the gift of the word of revelation knowledge.

9 And to another, the same Spirit gives the gift of faith.

    And to another, the same Spirit gives gifts of healing.

10 And to another the power to work miracles.

    And to another the gift of prophecy.

    And to another the gift to discern what the Spirit is speaking.

    And to another the gift of speaking different kinds of tongues.    And to another the gift of interpretation of tongues.”

There they are seemingly simple, but while basic by design they are so much more. And can serve us in more ways than we probably imagine.

Wednesday was the continuation of our extended odyssey of searching and trying to rescue wisdom. “Foolish Lazy Gossip”, was not an invitation for you to become one.

In fact foolish lazy gossips need not apply as we delved into how these behaviors are contrary to not only our ongoing search for wisdom, but also to our overall shared path here on “Becoming Today”. 

Our shared study of Proverbs 26, noted the reading is divided into three sections, each with their own distinct message. You just might have received some insights into what those are, by reading today’s headline. We’ll delve into those in a few moments, but first let’s read this chapter together, beginning with this wise instruction: “Don’t Be A Fool”. 

As verses 18 through 20 will remind us, honesty is the best policy, so do not intentionally attempt to deceive and be careful not to inadvertently pass along misinformation:

The one who is caught lying to his friend, who says, “I didn’t mean it, I was only joking,”can be compared to a madman  randomly shooting off deadly weapons.

It takes fuel to have a fire—a fire dies down when you run out of fuel. So quarrels disappear when the gossip ends.

Words have power. We have the ability to create or destroy based upon the choices we make when expressing ourselves. Choose wisely. 

As we recently discussed in Proverbs 18:21, “Your words are so powerful that they will kill or give life, and the talkative person will reap the consequences”.

Everyday it seems we find more and more people who need to consider verse two of today’s reading. “Senseless people find no pleasure in acquiring true wisdom, for all they want to do is impress you with what they know.”

Constantly we are bombarded with messages from self-proclaimed experts who want to fill our heads with their so-called beliefs, whether or not they actually believe them. 

As proverbs 18:2 is translated in the N I V, “Fools find no pleasure in understanding but delight in airing their own opinions”.

Too often the talking heads are just spouting off for a ratings point, a click, another faceless follower or a random thumbs up regardless of what the potential impacts of their rants may be. 

It’s our responsibility to be aware of that and remain vigilant. To guard our minds and hearts from their manipulative, divisive chatter and focus on true enlightening wisdom. It’s our choice what we choose to accept or not.

To gossip or not is a choice. One we have free will and the self discipline to avoid “Becoming” involved in “Today” or any other time. 

On Thursday I asked, “Are You Getting Enough Fruit? “. In our discussion we harvested the Fruits of the Spirit, by first taking 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.

For the purposes of our conversation, I’ll discuss the nine, and then add the additional three which some theologians and self identified Bible scholars contend are virtues rather than fruits.

But aren’t virtues in themselves a reward? 

I’d say the results of virtuous living are extremely beneficial. 

Beginning with the nine they are:

Love

Joy

Peace

Patience

Kindness

Goodness

Faithfulness

Gentleness

Self-Control

As I mentioned many teach the nine we’ve listed so far, 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.

C… Compassion

D… Dignity

R… Respect.

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.

Yesterday we took a look at the ideas of “Readiness, Resilience, and Recovery”. 

Asking you to remain steadfast and re-clarify your  life’s mission. Ask God to help you recognize what it is that He has uniquely created you for? Take some time for review. Resurrect your vision for your revival?

We’ll reveal how “Readiness, Resilience, and Recovery” require our recognition on this road regarding our “Becoming Today”.

Readiness allows for us to be ready for change. To have the tools accessible to use to put that willingness into action. The eagerness, the ability, the skills to see ourselves “Becoming” who or what it is we desire, along with the understanding of the immediacy that we need to step forward and build our individual momentum. The first step in exercising our readiness is to commit to resolving our questions and having the resilience to initiate the first step.

Resilience, therefore, is the next aspect we need to examine.

noun: resilience

  1. the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness.
  2. the ability of a substance or object to spring back into shape; elasticity.

synonyms: flexibility, pliability, suppleness, plasticity, elasticity, springiness, spring, give, durability, ability to last, strength, sturdiness, toughness, strength of character, hardiness, adaptability, buoyancy, bouncebackability.

Once we have entered the state of readiness we need to strengthen our commitment by stepping up our resilience. We need to have the flexibility to change to become. We need to have the strength and the resolve to continue through obstacles, strengthening our character through both our success and our missteps. 

This adaptability and willingness to learn and grow is essential to our combined journeys along this path of “Becoming”. 

Being prepared and ready , armed with resilience and ability to overcome, we can then take on the next step of “recovery”.

noun: recovery

  1. a return to a normal state of health, mind, or strength.

synonyms: recuperation, convalescence, return to health, process of getting better, rehabilitation, healing, rallying, improvement, picking up, betterment, amelioration, rally, upturn, upswing, comeback, revival, renewal, a turn for the better

  1. the action or process of regaining possession or control of something stolen or lost.

synonyms: retrieval, regaining, repossession, getting back, recapture, reclamation, recouping, retaking, redemption, replevin, recoupment, recuperation

First I’ll raise an objection with the dictionary folks here with the first inclination to be expressing recovery as “ a return to a normal state”.  Since normalcy o a belief of what is supposedly normal is highly subjective, I don’t feel it adds to a shared understanding. In fact a recent study found use of the word normal was perceived by many to be limiting, restrictive and if  something was referred to as normal it made them feel as if they were being excluded.

Keeping that in mind,  for our communal purposes then let’s consider recovery as an ongoing process of reinvigorating renewal. The ability to rebound, reclaim and respect ourselves and our goals.  Perspectives that are very much an essential part of the essence of our “Becoming”.

That’s the week that was. What lies ahead here along our shared path?. Find out come Monday when you choose to join us again, for our next edition of “Becoming Today”. 

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