you’re invited

Just another traveler on life’s highway hanging out in the slow lane.  It’s quiet.  It’s peaceful.  Beyond the horizon is rest calling my name.  Green pastures, still waters, my cup overflows.

rainbow-solidarity

I use the multi-colored message shown above to convey the basic truth that none of us are excluded from the love of God, from the table which Jesus has set to feed the entirety of mankind with his bread and his wine, his body and blood.  Do not allow anyone to tell you that your race, your creed, your sex, your orientation, or your past disqualifies you from sitting with Jesus.  No earthly being has the authority to deny you a seat.  Jesus’ invitation is eternal, unconditional, and it specifically has your name on it.

In the world of evangelists, Billy Graham’s legacy continues to command the respect and admiration of a great many people, believers and non-believers.  He shared on his blog site in 2012  THE THREE INVITATIONS OF CHRIST

“Come to me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”  Matthew 11:28 

Jesus said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men.”  Mark 1:17

Jesus said, “Abide in me and I in you.”  John 15:4

These invitations are an ongoing process.  I have no qualms accepting that I don’t have all the pieces to the God puzzle.  Sometimes I don’t even know what the questions should be.  GOD IS A MYSTERY.  And I believe that is a good thing for a doubter and skeptic like me.  Keep me guessing so that I continue searching.  Just when I believe I’ve reached that “Aha” moment or a fascinating revelation, another doubt and question arises.

But, the process doesn’t change, does it?  Run to Him when life gets heavy and overwhelming, learn of his ways and take his yoke upon me.  Determine what my ego wants versus what Jesus says in his words and teachings.  It all comes down to surrender.  Do I want to continue in my burdensome ways or will I turn it over to the Master, the problem-solver?

Learn and then share with others what has been discovered.  Those of us in addiction recovery programs know the necessity of service to others.  We share our war stories and then extend our experience, strength and hope.  Alcoholics and addicts are invited just as they are to the tables of the meeting rooms.  The beauty and success of AA, CR, and other recovery programs depends on the fellowship putting others before personal interests.  Those questioning, new arrivals are invited to share our repurposed lives, to sit at the table of miracles.  We become fishers of men.

Finally, Jesus invites us to abide with the God of our understanding in a peace that surpasses anything which the world has to offer.  To me this means building and cherishing the most intimate relationship which I could ever know. When I am willing to surrender, when I am willing to pull my head out of self-serving ways, when I am willing to be still and know, then we can be as one walking this path through the joys and travails of an earthly life.  God dwells in me and I in Him.  That is the solidarity of  “I am You, You are me, and we are One.”

Believe me, it is not always where my head and heart dwell.  This challenge which is called the human condition tries to detour me, lie to me, and steal me away.  But, running to my Lord is no longer the option of last resort.  I have learned to go there as quickly as possible.

He said, “Come unto me and learn of me, my yoke is easy and I will give you rest.”

He has invited you, too.  What’s holding you back?

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self-will run riot

When all the arguments are vented, when all the opinions are expressed, when all the chatter is expended, then is when I look at myself questioningly wondering what all that hullabaloo was about.  Why was so much energy necessary attempting to prove that my version of all things holy is more accurate than yours?  God needs my defense.  I have more insight than you do.  I am more level-headed, more sincere, more open-minded, more knowledgable,  more socially aware than you.  I, I, I,….me, me, me.  It’s like a broken record from the golden oldies.  Only difference today is that the old me does not control my life.  It merely stops by to visit sometimes like a recurring bad dream.

The old me shone brilliantly in the delusions of self-importance relating to religion, politics, society, and philosophy.  The old me sat high atop that bar stool explaining to whomever was unfortunately sitting nearby the theories of a drunk man trying to make himself feel like he truly mattered in the worldly realm.  The old me convinced himself that all the personal problems, the brokenness, the failed relationships, the financial chaos, the self-loathing were the results of friends and family who did not understand me or appreciate me.  The old me drank alcoholically because he was a weary and broken vessel in need of a spiritual fix.  The old me was ‘self-will run riot’.  Then, by the grace of a loving and compassionate Higher Power, the old me found the humility to surrender to a better way, a new way of living.

“Made a decision to turn my will and my life over to the care of God as I understood God.”  Alcoholics Anonymous – step 3CANDLE

“I tell you the truth, no one can see the Kingdom of God unless he is born again.”  John 3:3

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”  Matthew 11:28

Jesus went to his cross a broken and weary man having surrendered to the will of his Father.  The ultimate reality of his sacrifice is that I also must sacrifice, have the willingness to be crucified to the ways of this world in order to realize  a new existence resting in the truth of the One who assumed my weariness and my burdens.  My life today is not measured by worldly victories.  I don’t need to win the arguments anymore because I know that I am a simple messenger carrying the greatest, most important message to mankind.smiley 3