amazing grace

“MY CHAINS ARE GONE – I’VE BEEN SET FREE”

Many of us in recovery from addiction tearfully and prayerfully remember our brothers and sisters who have died or are still suffering and we quietly say, “But, for the grace of God, there go I.”

We believe it was grace, not luck nor will power, that brought us to our knees in humility seeking a better way, a return to sanity, a reason to continue on our journeys as participants in life. It was grace that set us free from the hell of alcoholism and drug addiction. It is still today that amazing grace which keeps us clean and serene. We praise the power whom we address as Lord and Savior as we thankfully remember the many others along the way who have knelt with us, cried with us and prayed with us.

“If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.”

John 8:36

Beggar in the presence of a king

If your life is perfect, if you have no problems, if your faith is strong as an ox, then this post is probably not for you.  On the other hand, if you are like me, a man who questions everything, doubts everything as the disciple Thomas did, reels between ecstasy and bewilderment when considering the things of faith, then we can appreciate the title of Matthew West’s song, BROKEN THINGS.

“If it’s true you use broken things – then here I am Lord, I’m all yours.”

People don’t like broken things – they throw away cracked dishes, broken vacuum cleaners, flickering lamps, worn clothing.  I remember my grandfather who took his shoes to a cobbler to be re-soled rather than buy new shoes.  Thinking he could not afford new shoes, I bought him a pair for Christmas.  Graciously he thanked me but continued wearing those old shoes.  That new pair was still in its box when Grandpa died.

Rather than repairing broken relationships, husbands and wives will find good divorce lawyers.  Fathers and sons remain estranged for many years after a disagreement, not remembering what the argument was about, but too stubborn to reconcile.  For many of us, broken relationships are not worth repairing.

I was the last to admit that I was broken.  My life had spiraled head first into a vast darkness which applauded my efforts to be strong, to be better than others, to stand out from the crowd, to chart my own destiny no matter what the cost.  I swam in that sea of darkness believing it was my strength of character and independence that kept me afloat.  I did it entirely on my own personal will power.  I drove myself to be a self-made man, independent of anyone – especially God.

Some of us are sicker than others.  Thankfully, God knows this; he has a special room in His heart for the sickest of the sick.  Patiently, steadfastly, lovingly He guided me to a place where I could take an honest assessment of me – on my knees.  We talked, we cried, we screamed out in pain and then we entered the wide gate into the Kingdom of grace.

I am still a broken vessel today.  I like it that way because my Lord can use broken things to fix the brokenness which He sees in his human family.  Patch me, glue me, bind me together.  Like that pair of Grandpa’s worn-out shoes, I can always be re-souled.  “I am just a beggar in the presence of a King.”

“Grace is a Kingdom with gates open wide.”

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COURTESY OF lum3n.com

 

Feast of St. Francis

Many churches in the United States celebrate the Feast of St Francis of Assisi on October 4 each year. The feast commemorates the life of St Francis, who was born in the 12th century and is the Catholic Church’s patron saint of animals and the environment. It is a popular day for pets to be “blessed”.

Does one need to be Catholic or a professor of any faith walk to appreciate the life of St. Francis of Assisi? Francis grew up privileged in a wealthy family, enjoyed partying with his young friends, got in trouble as revilers will, decided to prove his manhood by enlisting in the efforts of the Crusades, apparently met his God while riding off to battle and returned to follow a life of supplication and poverty. His dedication to the plight of the disadvantaged, his embrace of simplicity and his love for the environment are highlights of many historical accounts. Our contemporary Franciscan order replicates the lives of Francis and Clare of Assisi.

Fast forward to 2020 and the chaos facing Americans in choosing a President. On one hand we have President Trump, apparently bolstered by numerous religious leaders proclaiming he has been sent by God to save America, holding a bible in front of St. John’s Church threatening to use military troops against protesters . Counter that with the image of Joe Biden, a practicing Catholic, paying respects to Justice Ginsburg lying in state at the Capitol. Among many Christian denominations, crossing one’s self while quietly repeating, “In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost”, is indicative of that person’s belief in the Holy Trinity. Joe Biden bowed his head, crossed himself and moved on with wife Jill at his side.

Which scenario gives us comfort? Which visual image fortifies our trust in the faith walk of the man who will become President on November 3rd? To those naysayers who would comment that religion and politics should not mix, I must agree. But, a person’s declaration of faith is of ultimate importance. A man who promotes violence and discord cannot be a man of Christian values. Holding up a Bible while urging the military to move in on civil protest would not be the course of action Jesus emphasized.

So, if you profess Christianity, if you proclaim to be a follower of Jesus, which are you – a Jesus follower or a fake Christian? This is another reason I will vote the Biden/ Harris ticket on November 3rd. It has nothing to do with my religion or God beliefs. It is all about the one who attempts to deceive us.

You love me anyway🙏

I find it difficult today to feel loved because my heart is not one of empathy or sympathy surrounding the health crisis enveloping the Administration.   This post was written 5 months ago, a reader put a like on it today and I had to review it to remember my words.  THANK YOU readers for making blogging more heart work than brain work.

Have I denied,
have I abandoned,
have I blasphemed,
have I lied,
have I been the prodigal,
have I been Judas,
have I been Peter,
have I driven the nails,
have I been the mocking crowd?

YES, BUT YOU LOVE ME ANYWAY

I am the thorn in Your crown
But You love me anyway
I am the sweat from Your brow
But You love me anyway
I am the nail in Your wrist
But You love me anyway
I am Judas’ kiss
But You love me anyway

lyrics from SIDEWALK PROPHETS

PROTECT YOURSELF…..and me

Proven, effective protection. Listen to Gabby

GABBY GRAYWHISKERS

Remember when mom or dad scolded you for touching the hot burner on the stove after they had repeatedly warned about the resulting burn? Guys, remember when dad advised you about easy, unprotected back seat sex and Dr. Wilson had to prescribe penicillin? Sure, we’ve all been there and done that.

But, we learned our lessons, didn’t we? Our discomfort and need for medical intervention made us wiser and better prepared for our next adventure in immaturity. We also learned to heed the advice of those who loved us enough to guide us in paths of conventional wisdom.

So, with today’s revelations that the POTUS and FLOTUS have tested positive for covid-19, should we smile and gloat, should we pray on bended knees for speedy recoveries, should we apply political ramifications to their unfortunate situation?

No, we should be learning another lesson. The scientists have been telling us for months…

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OLD DOGS

A wonderful update by WordPress

GABBY GRAYWHISKERS

Well, here it goes folks. WP is forcing an old dog to learn new tricks. Trust me, Gabby doesn’t adapt well, he growls when unhappy and bites when angry.

I tried to link to YouTube videos explaining how easy this new feature is, but, in the process lost my religion and scared the cats. So, today there will not be links to YouTube. And if the paragraph alignment makes no sense……don’t blame me.

So, I am going to curl up in bed and take a nap. Grrrrrrrrr!!!

Photo by Burst on Pexels.com

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Sarah Young – “Jesus Calling”

disconnect

Welcome to my little get-away.  Do you like it?  Before we settle in let’s toss some of the excess baggage.  There’s no room for those resentments about the past nor worries about tomorrow.  Get rid of that backpack of responsibilities weighing you down.  Settle in under my palm tree and let’s look just beyond the horizon.  It’s calling us, isn’t it?  Rest for the soul. 

A daily morning read is “JESUS CALLING” by SARAH YOUNG. From her inspiration come these words:

“I delight in your enjoyment of everything that is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable. Think on these things, and My Light in you will shine brighter day by day.”

Jesus is telling us to enjoy our lives living in words and behaviors that are noble and good. How often do we think about personal nobility and truth? We were designed to be God’s Light shining here on this world’s darkness. Are we doing that or do we, with our words and actions, add to the darkness?

St. Paul, in his letter to the Philippians, wrote: “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me – put it into practice. And the peace of God will be with you.” chapter 4: 8-9

Today’s tumultuous times need God’s peace to guide us and keep us on an even keel. The wisdom of the ancient mystics shares with us how to do that. What will I dwell upon today? Where will I allow my thoughts to go? Whom will I entrust with my inherent nobility and truth?

We were not meant to be rattled every morning by the world’s headlines, to be shaken by humanity’s cowardice and bitterness, to be sent into our dark corners by fear and hatred. Rather, we were created to shine forth with God’s goodness and mercy in purity and nobility. The challenge of the One we call Lord is set before us.

another 72 hours

unshackled-2So many of us have lived our lives placing unmerited value on the opinions of others while discrediting our personal truth and reality.  Breaking the shackles of people-pleasing requires honest self-appraisal, a healthy dose of self-esteem, and an enormous commitment to self-realization.  

pride8

….as near as the destination may be, it’s still the journey that matters….

Well, how was your weekend?  Did you get all those chores accomplished?  Maybe an afternoon family BBQ by the pool?  Did you maintain sober-living for the past 72 hours?  Not just alcohol free, but truly sobriety-appreciating behavior?

If today finds you sober and serene, give yourself and your Higher Power a hand.  If not, tomorrow is another day to start your adventure through sobriety.sober emoji

Leonard Cohen

unshackled-2So many of us have lived our lives placing unmerited value on the opinions of others while discrediting our personal truth and reality.  Breaking the shackles of people-pleasing requires honest self-appraisal, a healthy dose of self-esteem, and an enormous commitment to self-realization.  

pride8

….as near as the destination may be, it’s still the journey that matters….

“For the millions in a prison
That wealth has set apart—
For the Christ who has not risen,
From the caverns of the heart

For the innermost decision
That we cannot but obey
For what’s left of our religion,
I lift my voice and pray;
May the lights in the land of Plenty
Shine on the truth someday.”

—Leonard Cohen

“pig in the python”

 

 

“sharp statistical increase represented as a bulge in an otherwise level pattern.”

young, mature, old

Picture a python that has just eaten a pig.  We are the bulge in that python’s belly.  We are the baby boomers.  Born between 1946 and 1964, we were part of the phenomenal birth rate increase following the end of WWII.  Life in the USA was good.  It was a time of jobs, prosperity, security, enforced peace, a resumption of  families supported by dads returning from the sacrifices of war time.

We grew up with the images of “Ozzie & Harriet”, “Leave it to Beaver”, “Father Knows Best” teaching us how life should be.  Beginning in 1959 we watched 14 seasons of the Cartwrights on “Bonanza” showing us how ‘real men’ lived.  Back then the “Nightly News” was a reporting of factual events rather than an attempt to entertain or politicize.

Our parents intended for us to have it all, a better life than they had.  Job security was the norm enabling dad to spend his entire career with one employer.  Mom stayed at home keeping house, prepared great home-cooked meals for her loved ones, chaired the local PTA, drank socially with her Wednesday afternoon card club.  Junior and Sis went to segregated schools, attended sock hops on Saturday night, dreamed of being the prom King and Queen, prepared for college and an independent life with families of their own.

Remember those days?  Me neither.  Here’s how it really was.  Bobby’s dad was escaping to the city on ‘business trips’ to meet the young, hot secretary from the office for a few hours of sex.  Betty’s mom was sneaking martinis every afternoon before the kids came home from school.  Junior was getting high with his friends and Sis was given to bobbing in the back seat of her boy friend’s car.

And we became emancipated.  Woodstock, the Beatles, the Doors, Janis Joplin, Joni Mitchell, the Civil Rights movement, the Vietnam war protesters, the political corruption all met within the 1960s to create a generation of young people unwilling to accept the status quo.  We were called radical and degenerate for rejecting ‘Ozzie & Harriet’ and the ‘Cartwrights’, following, instead, a desperate departure from our parents’ dreams.  Much of that idealism was relinquished with the passing years, and most of us settled into responsible adult relationships and behaviors just like mom and dad.  But, a few of us became ‘forever dropouts’.

My name is Larry and I am a baby boomer.  Today marks my 73rd birthday.  Still haven’t figured out if I’m still a dropout or just an anti-social senior citizen.

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