What To Do?

“I have written this to make you realize
that you possess eternal life…”

1 John 5:13

While considering my commitment to hold onto Christmas and to bring peace to this world of ours, I wondered what I might add to my agenda to accomplish this. Though the first full week of the new year usually provides a bit of breathing room before my routines fully return to normal, this hasn’t been the case this year. I asked myself how I can add another item to my already full schedule. Still, my commitment gnawed at me…

After some reflection, I realize that I must practice what I preach and write! How often have I used this space to insist that we do our best by simply making the most of the moment at hand? How often have I written that God has placed each one of us precisely where we’re meant to be? With that, I see that there is nothing to add to my agenda. All that is needed is to polish up and refine my delivery. When I acknowledge that God has assigned me a very specific mission every moment of every day, everything becomes worth my best effort!

While I continue to pour over the scriptures and my own life experiences to fill this space, I will also pour over the moments which lie ahead to fill the world around me with peace.

Loving God, please continue to nudge us along as we do our best for you.

©2017 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

Advertisements

Change?

A time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to tear down, and a time to build.

Ecclesiastes 3:3

Change is difficult for me. Though my established routines usually prove to be helpful to those concerned, this doesn’t seem to be the case these days. I often ask myself, “Why change what is working?” Today, however, I’d like to pose that question to a few others in my vicinity.

It’s not that I’m so stuck in my ways that I can’t deal with adjustments and replacements and revamping and alterations of the status quo. The problem is that I’d like these changes to be made with thought and with consideration for those involved and for those who will be impacted by them. Is something positive actually being accomplished?

Yes, change is difficult for me, not so much because of me, but because of its impact upon others who are very important to me. Perhaps it’s time to kill my inactivity and to do what I can to heal those around me. Perhaps it’s time to tear down the walls which hinder communication and to build relationships that thrive on openness. Perhaps the changes around me won’t be so difficult after all.

Loving God, help me to find the tools to transform the changes around me into opportunities for joy and productivity.

©2017 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

J… Joy, Joy to the World

The Lord has sent me to bring
glad tidings to the poor,
to proclaim liberty to captives,
recovery of sight to the blind
and release to prisoners…

Luke 4:18

J is for Joy, a sometimes elusive state of mind, body and soul. Recently, I found myself aching over an old wound. Because I tend to let go of hurtful events from my past, this recollection surprised me. I distracted myself by perusing the newspaper which only increased my melancholy. I set it aside and grabbed the remote. As I surfed the channels, a news report caught my eye. This update confirmed that recent violence was accomplished to honor God’s name. I sank into my recliner and asked, “Dear God, what are we doing?”

We humans have been hurting one another in God’s name since the beginning of time. Still… Before I could repeat my question, a strong gust scattered glitter-like snow across the frozen ground. Almost on cue, several birds fluttered about, ensuring that those sparkling bits of ice remained afloat. When the birds congregated at their favorite feeder, another gust swirled the silver-white specks yet higher. That gust lifted my heart as well. “Thank you, Lord!” I said aloud.

That glistening snow didn’t change the subzero temperature outdoors. Still, it warmed my heart with winter’s beauty. Though those flitting flakes will eventually settle and melt, God’s handiwork always surrounds me. As long as some of us continue to appreciate the joy within us and around us, there will be joy in this world of ours. Rather than allowing ourselves to be overwhelmed by wounds old and new, we must revel in joy and share that joy at every opportunity.

Joyful God, you fill every moment and every one of us with the potential for joy. Help us to unearth this gift at every opportunity!

©2017 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

Make the Most of It All!

“I have written this to make you realize
that you possess eternal life…”

1 John 5:13

While considering my commitment to hold onto Christmas and to bring peace to this world of ours, I wondered what I might add to my agenda to accomplish this. Though the first full week of the new year usually provides a bit of breathing room before my routines fully return to normal, this has not been the case this year. I asked myself how I can add another item to my already full schedule. Still, my commitment gnawed at me…

After some reflection, I realize that I must practice what I preach and write! How often have I used this space to insist that we do our best by simply making the most of all that we say and do? How often have I written that God has placed each one of us precisely where we are meant to be? With that, I see that there is nothing to add to my agenda. All that is needed is to polish up and refine my delivery. When I acknowledge that God has assigned me a very specific mission every moment of every day, everything becomes worth my best effort.

While I continue to pour over the scriptures and my own life experiences to fill this space, I will also pour over the moments which lie ahead and use them to fill the world around me with peace.

Loving God, please continue to nudge us along as we do our best for you.

©2017 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

Love First

Jesus said to him, “Rise, take up your mat and walk.”
Immediately the man became well, took up his mat, and walked.

John 5:8-9

The scriptures make it quite clear that Jesus couldn’t resist a troubled soul. On the occasion cited above, Jesus assisted a man confined to a mat on the ground. Though the man somehow found his way to the healing waters of Bethesda, he could find no one to help him into the pool. Every time he seemed close, someone else went in before him. Jesus noted the poor man’s predicament and offered him far more than could be found in the pool. The man accepted Jesus’ gesture with absolute faith.

Jesus’ good deed drew the attention of the Pharisees because it occurred on the Sabbath. When Jesus cured the man and then instructed him to pick up his mat and walk, he violated the Sabbath by causing the man to carry his mat. When the Pharisees saw the man doing this, they chastised him. When they discovered that Jesus was responsible, the Pharisees began to plot against this troublemaker who seemed oblivious of The Law. Jesus responded to the Pharisees in kind, pointing out their error in placing The Law above the basic needs of God’s people.

I admit that my greatest frustration with the Church and organized religion in general is our propensity to confine God, God’s goodness and God’s blessings to our limited understanding. When in doubt, it seems to me that the best we can do is to make love and the well-being of others our top priorities.

Patient God, thank you for our capacity to love. When we’re motivated by love, we always get things right.

©2016 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

So Grateful!

One of them, realizing that he had been cured,
came back praising God in a loud voice.

Luke 17:15

A recent email exchange between my eldest niece and me reminded me that she will celebrate a milestone birthday this year. I was shocked by this reminder as I clearly recall the day my sister told me she was expecting her first bundle of joy. My sister’s joy was tangible in spite of her previous experience with rearing little ones.

Poor Rita is the eldest of us six siblings. She was only fifteen when our dad passed away. The rest of us were 14, 8, 6, 5 and 3. Since our mom had to go to work to support us, Rita assumed a good deal of responsibility for the rest of us. Looking back, I realize that this changed what might have been my sister’s carefree teens into a much more difficult experience. Much to her credit, Rita did not share only our mom’s workload. She also shared in our mom’s efforts to keep our family’s “special occasions” special. Rita helped our mom to select and wrap our Christmas gifts. She also pitched in for our birthdays and Easter. As soon as she could, Rita began to use the few dollars she earned each week at her job to supplement our mom’s gifts to us.

The scripture passage I selected above is an excerpt from Luke’s account of the healing of the ten lepers. Though all were made whole, only one took the time to return to Jesus to thank him. In an effort not to repeat the mistake of the other nine lepers, I need to do the same. Thank you, Rita, for all you did for us!

Loving God, thank you for empowering us to enrich this life with our kindness and gratitude toward one another.

©2016 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved