Yesterday I had the day all to myself. I had a few projects I needed to work on for some loved ones so I took a little time to get creative. Both projects are for young teenage girls who are either going to college or are already there. It seems that the mentality of teenagers changes almost as much as technology does through the generations. Its not easy to reach the youth of the times. So I looked through books and magazines for inspiration and images to collage. The words "be true to yourself" kept appearing in my mind so I decided to paint them. I've had these paints in my possession since the spring began and its only the second time I put them to use. Its all still a work in progress but painting the words on paper felt like they came to life.
From what I remember being a teenager meant I had to keep my parents happy, my friends happy, my teachers happy, and just about everyone else around me. Somehow in the midst of all that, its really hard to be true to oneself..especially when we ourselves are barely getting to know who we really are. In my 20's I began to get a glimpse of who I really was and all that I can be. At 30 years old I am still getting to know myself, yet feel more grounded, and have become an advocate for myself and my time. I've learned that if I don't stand up for myself no one else will. I've also learned how important it is to listen to my intuition. I believe all of these are part of being true to ones self. It is all a work in progress...
Sunday, July 24, 2011
Yesterday morning I started my day reading scripture. I often long to be able to read and share the scripture with others so that we can discuss one another's thoughts and inspirations on the Word. But I also know that as I am reading scripture and meditating on it the Holy Spirit of Truth is working in me. It's not easy to meditate, to just be still and listen to the whispers of your heart. For a long time I have been keeping journal pages which makes me feel like I am somehow sharing my thoughts with others. I am grateful to God for pen and paper among so many other things.
Yesterday's scripture was about the vine and the branches. Its really deep and meaningful how we must bear fruit and the only way to do so is to remain in Christ and Christ will remain in us. The line that really stood out for me is where Jesus says:
"No one has greater love than this, to lay down one's life for one's friends." (John 15:13)
The bible commentary mentions how this can also be interpreted as "for those whom one loves." This scripture really touches my heart especially when I think of those whom I love in my life. Specifically when I think of friendship I believe its something very special and unique aside from the family we are born into. To me, friendship is the fruit that we bear throughout our lives. We encounter people everyday but there are only a few who really stick around and we build confidence and loyalty with. To be open to friendship is to be open to love and share our lives with one another. In many ways I feel that Jesus talks to us about the vine and the branches as a parable about friendship. Sometimes people come into our lives who do not bear fruit in our lives and may not be good for us so the friendship dwindles away. The scripture says:
"He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit, and everyone that does, He prunes so that it bears more fruit. (John 15:2)
Those He prunes are of course those friendships we've been able to cultivate for a long time, through thick and thin, our love is always available to one another even from afar. The bible commentary also talks about how the words for love are related to the Greek agapao (agape). It also mentions the word philos. I have looked both of these up and the connection to scripture is very powerful we often go through different periods of connections with others and some friendships will evolve into a higher form of love while others will eventually dwindle away which takes us back to the message of the vine and the branches.
BOTTOM LINE: To be able to call someone a friend should not be taken lightly. Jesus Christ gave up His life for us-He is the prime example of love and friendship. One of his greatest commandments in John 15:12 is to "love one another as I love you."
There are many stories in the bible on how Jesus valued friendship, some are His friendship with Lazarus and his sisters Martha and Mary (John 11), and the washing of the disciples feet (John 13).
Sunday, July 10, 2011
When reading the parable of the sower (Matthew 13:1-23) there were some lines that really stood out for me, for instance:
8~But some seed fell on rich soil, and produced fruit, a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold.
9~ Whoever has ears ought to hear.
The sower having his many seeds did not just sow them in one place. He sowed them in different places to test where he would be able to
bear fruit. Though he may have "lost" those seeds that did not fall on the rich soil (because they did not bear fruit), he gained in abundance
from just the few that fell upon rich soil.
I wonder how can we be sure which is the soil that will bear fruit if we are not trying in different places. Often we get comfortable and want to take an "easy" route because it feels "safer". We end up putting all our eggs in one basket and if that basket just happens not to be rich soil we lose all that we have. We often do no want to take risks in life..we don't want to invest our time in getting to know others, we end up just sticking to the people we feel comfortable around. We do not want to invest money we've earned because we feel we have worked so hard for it that we do not want to take any chances by investing into something that is unknown to us. Even with our thoughts we are "careful" as as not to "offend" anyone so no one gets to hear how we really feel and the valuable insight that lies within every one of us goes unexpressed.
12~to anyone who has, more will be given and he will grow rich; from anyone who has not, even what he has will be taken away. 13~ this is why I speak to them in parables, because 'they look but do not see and hear but not listen or understand.
How many of us go through our "phases" with God. I know I sure do. Sometimes we feel close to Him and sometimes we don't. Sometimes we "question" the word of God and some days we feel strong in Faith. How many of us often become distracted by sin (anything that takes our focus from God)-we begin to compare ourselves to others-we start to let other people's opinions and comments get the best of us-we start feeling like we are not where we supposed to be-we start blaming others for the way that we feel, even God. Basically, we lose sight of God's will-of the plans He has for us. We lost focus of all the goodness in our lives. We reach a point where we don't even know what happened to us. Where did we go wrong? What happened to the joy we were feeling in our hearts while it was at one with God? I have found myself there many times and still struggle with it.
19~The seed sown on the path is the one who hears the word of the kingdom without understanding it, and the evil one comes and steals away what was sown in his heart.
Spanish translation: 19~Si no escucha la palabra del Reino sin entenderla, viene el maligno y roba lo sembrado en su corazon.
It is a privilege to be a disciple of God.
16~But blessed are your eyes, because they see, and your ears, because they hear. Amen, I say to you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.
Since a parable is figurative speech that demands reflection for understanding, only those who are prepared to explore its meaning can come to know it. To understand is a gift from God, granted to the disciples but not the crowds.
Saturday, July 9, 2011
Just yesterday I was praying for God to help me invest a very nominal amount of savings I have been able to gather up to have it grow somehow. I am very proud of myself as I have never been able to save any money in the past. Considering all the changes that are coming up in my life I don't know how long I will be able to keep my savings.
This morning I woke up at the same time I wake up everyday, yet I stayed in bed doing a little thinking, reading, and playing this silly game of brickbreaker on my phone. Anyhow, I finally got up out of bed and sat at my desk to navigate the web. I've spent over an hour doing research on finances and feel really good about all the information I've gathered. This is not what I planned to do at all this morning but I see that I allowed the Holy Spirit to guide me through.
God answered my prayer of which I am forever grateful for.
Now I just have to pray for the courage to take the necessary steps to make things happen.