We are Works in Progress

09-27-2020Weekly Reflection©LPi

What prompts you to make the decisions you make? When confronted with a decision, whether one that is more trivial and mundane or one that is more significant and profound, we rely on guidance. That guidance can be the result of impulse and passion or the fruit of the interior voice of conscience. Decisions made on impulse and passion can be misguided and erroneous. Decisions based on conscience, or the moral voice within, will reflect the depth and maturity of our soul work. A more contemplative soul will make more contemplative decisions. A less developed conscience will make decisions based on the individual’s level of development.

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Is Your Love for God Real?

09-20-2020Weekly Reflection©LPi

If I work for five hours, I expect to get paid for five hours. If I work for two, I expect to get paid for two. What if we worked for a company that paid everyone the same amount regardless of how long they worked? How would we feel going home with the same pay for working eight hours as my co-worker did for working only two hours? Secular wisdom would have a huge problem with this and a visit to the Labor Board would quickly pursue. But this is God’s wisdom and God’s ways.

We sometimes think that if we pray more, better, or more fervently and go over and above with the practice of our faith, God will somehow reward us and present us with some kind of merit badge. We are so wrong. Spiritual practices have only one true purpose: to deepen our love for God. In deepening our love for God, we also increase our ability to see God’s presence around us, living life more purposefully and contemplatively. What if God chooses to treat someone who has come on the scene of faith later in life the same as someone who has devoted their whole lives to it? Does it really matter? If we have the merit badge notion of faith, we can find ourselves feeling a little arrogant and even jealous of folks who have not followed the same path that we have. We can even see ourselves as the privileged few who have a corner on the faith and fully possess it.

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Forgiveness is an Act of Freedom

09-13-2020Weekly Reflection©LPi

What right do we have to limit the amount and degree of forgiveness we show to others when we are so desperately in need of it ourselves? In not wanting someone who hurt us to downplay or forget the gravity of their wrong, we cling to anger, resentment, and wrath as a way of maintaining control. It is a way to acknowledge and express our deep hurt. We fail to realize that in doing so we hold ourselves hostage to these destructive feelings and actually become mired in the bondage of sin. All we gain is further alienation from ourselves, others, and especially God. We are no longer free but tethered to all of this unresolved negativity. Don’t we really want to let it go? The fact is that we need to.

A good self-reflective posture will quickly show us that when the shoe is on the other foot and we are the ones in need of forgiveness, we desire it above anything else. This is especially true with our relationship with God. It is hypocritical to want one thing for ourselves and something else for another. Yet, many act in precisely this way.

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Friendship are Wonderful Gifts

09-06-2020Weekly Reflection©LPi

It’s all about reconciliation and conversion, not punishment. Relationships are not static adventures but wonderful gifts that continue to develop, grow, change, and mature. We are meant to be social beings, so isolating ourselves from others is rarely helpful. But, because human beings are on the one hand tremendously gifted, talented, and blessed creations, they are on the other also flawed, broken, and sinful. We all need to humbly admit that we are works in progress and not only capable of enriching each other’s lives but causing deep hurts and wounds as well. Hence, we always need to be reconciled. We are always growing, changing, and expanding our knowledge of who we are and how we are meant to share life together.

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Keep Your Heart Centered

08-30-2020Weekly Reflection©LPi

Secular pursuits only bring a temporary amount of satisfaction and fulfillment. As much as we may think that achieving worldly success, economic security, personal well-being, and self-fulfillment are worthy goals to obtain, they all are dependent on external variables and can lead to emptiness. We are trained to be very pragmatic and productive. Unless we are able to check off all of the boxes or comply with specific measurable requirements, our value and worth becomes questionable. Corporations, educational institutions, systems, structures, and secular ideology rarely consider deeper, more spiritual, and human contributions a person can and needs to make.

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God Fixes What is Broken

08-16-2020Weekly Reflection©LPi

We are hardwired for wholeness and crave it. When something is broken, we want it fixed. If a part of our body is not working properly, we want it healed. How often do we find ourselves saying, “I’m tired of struggling with this cold, I can’t wait for my surgery to heal, or I want my treatments to make me better.” Wholeness and healing restore our relationships and make us free to love as we desire. We know very well how our limitations, imperfections, and brokenness really limit us. They can easily prevent us from being and doing what we want to do.

Our physical and emotional wounds and maladies are easier to identify. If my back hurts, I feel it and know what part of my body needs attention. If I am feeling intense anger, I can identify the emotion and take necessary steps to uncover its cause. Being persistent often brings greater and quicker results. But will pursuing and even achieving our physical and emotional healings really be enough? We forget that there is a deeper healing that we seek and desperately need. As we look around at humanity, there are some physical and emotional wounds and scars that cannot be made whole. They are limitations that must remain and, for one reason or another, cannot be rectified. Does this mean that the wholeness and healing that my being longs for is not possible for me? Must I settle with less than what God promises?

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My Soul is at Peace

08-09-2020Weekly Reflection©LPi

Be still and know that I am God. Silence is sacred. Silence speaks the language of the soul and is the foundation of all life and eternity itself. Silence takes us beyond the limits of our minds and allows us to seek and to love the essence of all love, perfect love, and being. In silence, we can be nonverbally present to things and to God in ways that words cannot accomplish. We can discover, encounter, and be present to truths that our minds struggle to conceive and then set aside the boxes we put around things when comprehending them is challenging. We can know the unknowable and touch eternity when we encounter the core silence in our souls.

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Thirsting for God's Love

08-02-2020Weekly Reflection©LPi

Many people in our world are hungry and thirsty. This hunger and thirst go well beyond physical needs for food, security, and shelter. Many are emotionally and spiritually parched, too. Behind every act of violence is a soul who hungers. People live with relationships that actually starve them. They are abused, exploited, disrespected, laughed at, and marginalized. There is a lot of confusion and inner pain that needs to be acknowledged and expressed. We all long to be understood and loved, even when our inner demons or who I am make it difficult to be. Do you live with inner confusion and pain? Folks often wander through life without any real direction or purpose and take their cues from what seems satisfying or popular at the moment. The deeper dots of our lives can easily remain unconnected, and we can find ourselves without grounding, purpose, or real happiness. Life becomes shallow and without real purpose as we hunger and thirst for an ultimate love.

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God Delights in You

07-26-2020Weekly Reflection© LPi

A single mother who has a child with special needs works two jobs and sacrifices much of her own pleasures in order to be available for her son. Being the best mother possible is important to her and brings her joy. We are willing to make great and often heroic sacrifices for those people and things that matter most to us. Unless there is something of obvious importance to us in our immediate path, we can easily approach life in a more haphazard and chaotic way. We jump from one thing to another, responding to whatever it is that is competing for our attention at that moment. When everything is important, nothing is important.

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Cultivate a Desire for God

07-19-2020Weekly Reflection©LPi

Grace and sin, belief and unbelief, good and evil all exist together. While we wrestle with these two dimensions of reality inwardly, they are also witnessed in the actions and words of others. Many, all too often, beat themselves up because of their sin. We are also all too quick to pass judgment on others whom we perceive to be in error and walking down a wrong path. God does not make rash judgments, nor should we. Patience is the order of the day as is an understanding that God is ultimately the caller of the shots.

Our faith tells us that while God allows the wheat and the weeds to coexist, the wheat will always triumph. As long as we can cultivate even a little faith and a small measure of desire for God, He can produce abundant blessings and good things. Even when the weeds seem to have triumphed, there still may be a small measure of faith remaining that can be cultivated and grown. It doesn’t take much! Unless a person totally allows the weeds to reign, there is always to be found at least a small measure of faith, good, light, and love. With even this small portion, God can produce abundant growth.

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Good Soil Grows Good Seed

07-12-2020Weekly Reflection

Using the best seeds doesn’t always guarantee the best plants. An older Italian gentleman straight from Italy gave me these amazing tomato seeds that he claimed produced the best tomatoes ever grown. Without doubt, the fruit he shared with me was a testament to that fact. These tomatoes were amazing! I couldn’t wait until the next growing season to plant these seeds and harvest my own tomatoes. The whole experiment ended up a failure. I did everything the gentleman said, but my fruit didn’t even come close. What happened? At first I was perplexed, then some years later the light dawned. The problem wasn’t the seeds, it was the soil!

You cannot sow seeds in any old place and in a haphazard way and expect them to be at their best. It doesn’t work that way. Planting the seeds is the easiest part. Preparing the soil is the challenge. Tilling, mulching, enriching, and building up the nutrients are all required for good fruit. Then after the seeds are planted, more care is required in order to maintain that healthy, nutrient rich environment for those seeds to sprout, grow, and flourish. God happily sows the seeds of his Word. What do we do with them?

READ MORE

God Delights in You

07-26-2020Weekly Reflection© LPi

A single mother who has a child with special needs works two jobs and sacrifices much of her own pleasures in order to be available for her son. Being the best mother possible is important to her and brings her joy. We are willing to make great and often heroic sacrifices for those people and things that matter most to us. Unless there is something of obvious importance to us in our immediate path, we can easily approach life in a more haphazard and chaotic way. We jump from one thing to another, responding to whatever it is that is competing for our attention at that moment. When everything is important, nothing is important.

READ MORE

Cultivate a Desire for God

07-19-2020Weekly Reflection©LPi

Grace and sin, belief and unbelief, good and evil all exist together. While we wrestle with these two dimensions of reality inwardly, they are also witnessed in the actions and words of others. Many, all too often, beat themselves up because of their sin. We are also all too quick to pass judgment on others whom we perceive to be in error and walking down a wrong path. God does not make rash judgments, nor should we. Patience is the order of the day as is an understanding that God is ultimately the caller of the shots.

Our faith tells us that while God allows the wheat and the weeds to coexist, the wheat will always triumph. As long as we can cultivate even a little faith and a small measure of desire for God, He can produce abundant blessings and good things. Even when the weeds seem to have triumphed, there still may be a small measure of faith remaining that can be cultivated and grown. It doesn’t take much! Unless a person totally allows the weeds to reign, there is always to be found at least a small measure of faith, good, light, and love. With even this small portion, God can produce abundant growth.

READ MORE

Good Soil Grows Good Seed

07-12-2020Weekly Reflection

Using the best seeds doesn’t always guarantee the best plants. An older Italian gentleman straight from Italy gave me these amazing tomato seeds that he claimed produced the best tomatoes ever grown. Without doubt, the fruit he shared with me was a testament to that fact. These tomatoes were amazing! I couldn’t wait until the next growing season to plant these seeds and harvest my own tomatoes. The whole experiment ended up a failure. I did everything the gentleman said, but my fruit didn’t even come close. What happened? At first I was perplexed, then some years later the light dawned. The problem wasn’t the seeds, it was the soil!

You cannot sow seeds in any old place and in a haphazard way and expect them to be at their best. It doesn’t work that way. Planting the seeds is the easiest part. Preparing the soil is the challenge. Tilling, mulching, enriching, and building up the nutrients are all required for good fruit. Then after the seeds are planted, more care is required in order to maintain that healthy, nutrient rich environment for those seeds to sprout, grow, and flourish. God happily sows the seeds of his Word. What do we do with them?

READ MORE