It is not karma…

July 11, 2021

Pastor Freed used this quote recently in his blog, Jack’s Winning Words“We have no right to ask when sorrow comes, ‘Why did this happen to me?’ unless we ask the same question for every moment of happiness that comes our way.”  (Unknown)

There is a concept that many people believe in called “karma”. The thought is that people get what they deserve to get. Similar thoughts lead to sayings like “things come around that go around” or “He/she had it coming to them.” Karma.

But, today’s quote actually begs a different response or point of view. It may be couched in religious terms by changing it to read, “We have no right to ask God, ‘Why did you let this happen to me?’ when bd things happen unless we also thank God for every moment of happiness that comes our way.” It is not karma, it’s God’s will.

For the longest time in my life I was one of those who only turned to God in the bad times, the times that I needed His help. I seldom thanked God for the good things that happened in my life or even recognize the things that didn’t happen because He is with me. It did occur to me to be thankful for the bigger things, perhaps the things that I had prayed fort help with, but the little things, especially the little things that didn’t happen just escaped my notice or thanks.

I don’t recall exactly when I became more aware of those little things, aware enough to thank God for once again saving my bacon, but I do now think more often about the events of the day and how something (karma or God) went right or didn’t happen, when it easily could have gone the other way. I chose to believe that God was with me and watching over me during those events or non-events.

We were told in the Bible – “I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go…” (Genesis 28:15) We were also given free will, which allows us to do both good and evil things. The devil often throws temptation in our path and many succumb to those temptations and wander away from God. But God is always with us, living the back of our minds in what we call our conscience. That small voice that tells us what is right from what is wrong is the voice of God quietly providing guidance.

So, it is really not karma that got us through the events of the day – good or bad – but rather God watching over us. That is why I now look back over each day and see the times when God was there to make something good happen or to save me from something bad by making it not happen. I spend as much time thanking Him for the good as praying for His help with the bad.

What about you? Do you thank God for the good things that happen in your life or the bad things that He saved you from? Do you wait until you are in trouble and need His help? Do you get what you deserve? It is not karma.

The mirror to our soul…

June 26, 2021

A quote that I saved some time back appealed to me this morning – “Let us be grateful to the mirror for revealing to us our appearance only.” ― Samuel Butler

Indeed, the mirror that we may gaze admiringly in only shows us what others see of us – our external, physical appearance. Imagine if there was a magic mirror in which we could “see” our soul and view all of our character flaws, prejudices and mistakes in judgement as blemishes upon that person that you see the normal mirror. Would that be a pretty reflection or an ugly one?

Perhaps there is such a mirror. Our conscience is supposed to be that mirror to our soul. For some looking into their conscience is a delusion or at best a contorted view. For them fact and fantasy become confused, and they “see” what they want to see, rather than what is really there. For others that mirror is a dark and foreboding place in which to peer, a place of self-loathing and despair. What do you see when you examine your conscience in that mirror?

It is said that our consciences were given to us by God so that we could tell the difference between right and wrong. Many call the conscience the voice of God in the back of our mind. If that is true, it is also true that we must listen for that voice, for it is often tiny and soft in the background.

The world we live in is fast and loud, full of shiny and tempting things. Sometimes life comes at us as if we are swept up in a storm. We receive inputs and demands from all directions and would be well-served to remember the advice of Craig D. Lounsbough – “I have both the violent turbulence of the storm and the quiet promises of God in the storm. And what I must work to remember is that something is not necessarily stronger simply because it’s louder.”

That makes it all the more important to take the advice that I wrote about some time ago that I saw on a gift store plaque – Make time for the quiet moments as God whispers and the world is loud. Those are times of quiet prayer…times to listen for the voice of God speaking through your conscience.

Take time each day in prayer to shut out the loudness of the world and look deeply into the mirror of your soul – your conscience. Do you like what you see there? Listen in those moments for the whispers of God and heed his words. Then, when you look into your soul, you can watch those blemishes fade away…your conscience will clear.

Having a clear conscience allows us a view of ourselves in the mirror of our soul without distortions and blemishes. I think you’ll like what you see there then.

Listen to that tiny voice…

January 27, 2021

In today’s post to his blog, Jack’s Winning Words, Pastor Freed used this quote – “The Church is not called to be the master or servant of the state, but to be the conscience of the state.”   (MLK Jr)

He went on to talk about people like MLK and Billy Graham serving in that role at different times n our countries history. He also asked the question – “Who will be the conscience today?”

Perhaps we heard that conscience in the words of inauguration poet Amanda Gorman.

I think the role that MLK was talking about for the church (and the people of the church) is one of giving voice to the messages of Jesus as a guide for our collective conscience. Jesus did not come to live among us only for the experience of being human and thus better understanding humans; but, rather to show us what being human could be if we followed His example.

Jesus was called rabbi (teacher) for a reason. He was trying to direct and shape our conscience – to show us what our lives could be like if we lived in love and harmony. He became that tiny voice in the back of our heads that tells us what is right and distinguishes it from what is wrong. We need to listen to that tiny voice for we are told many times in scripture that the world is loud and God speaks to us in a whisper.

God’s whisper is causing actions all around us, but we often fail to see it. It can be found in a kind gesture or a helping hand. Sometimes it takes the stage in the spotlight, like Amanda did at the Presidential Inauguration event. However, most of the time it takes place in the background, in the unseen acts of kindness and help, like packing food for the hungry or delivering that food. It is the ttiny voice that causes us to rach for our wallet hen we see the red Salvation Army kettle. It is the tiny voice that reminds us to put on a face covering in public, because that is the right thing to do.

The real answer to Jack’s question – “Who will be the conscience today? “  – is that you will be. So, listen for that tiny voice in the back of your head. Stop and think about what it is trying to tell you and let it guide your actions.

God is whispering to you. Listen