R.I.D.E. the Spirit!

 

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In today’s culture we don’t have to be alcoholics to say:

“I’m glad that job’s done, let’s have a glass of wine to celebrate.”

I’ve had a terrible day. Let’s have a drink before dinner to relax.”

Society tells us that a simple drink of alcohol will lift us up out of the doldrums, increase our joy, give us courage. In books, television, movies, stars have a glass of wine etc. when they are particularly happy with each other or with whatever has happened In their lives. They confidently take a ride on the spirit called alcohol.

Today I offer you a different spirit – God’s Spirit. Flying on God’s Spirit is a fabulous adrenalin rush. Whether I’m hugging my granddaughter, bringing a casserole to a sick friend, storytelling or dancing with Tom, I fly on God’s Spirit. Over the years I’ve also learned to flow with God’s Spirit. Through prayer, and favorite scriptures, God’s peace flows through me being bringing peace. When I read Psalm 23 (commonly called, “The Lord Is My shepherd”) I literally feel God’s Spirit settle down upon me, like a warm cloak around my shoulders. Peace permeates my body.

Although I too succumb occasionally to the cultural belief that alcohol will help me fly, or rest, I know in my heart that God’s Spirit is what I need. For sure, I love to feel the special wine glass in my hand but what’s in it is not really important. A bubbly juice or sparkling water in a crystal wine glass satisfies my need for something special and to join in with everyone else. Then, I ask for God’s Spirit to rise up within me. I soak in God’s energy and peace.

This year I suggest you try flying on God’s Spirit. You’ll be amazed at the joy you receive. AND you’ll greet the neighbourhood R.I.D.E. program with peace.

 “But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31)

 

 

Choose Wisdom

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We all know the importance of seeing the goodness in others. We also know there is wisdom in being realistic but not judgmental. The line between realistic and judgmental can be very fine. I’ve made appreciation of others and their efforts part of the way I greet the world. Still I hope that I live that appreciation with wisdom. It is essential and valuable to expect goodness in others and ourselves. It is also essential and valuable to remember that none of us are perfect.

We lock our cars and cover our packages and valuables that are inside. We do that, not because we think everyone is a thief, but because we don’t want to tempt anyone to steal our stuff. Even the most honest person has to struggle with temptation when you leave your packages in plain view in your unlocked car.

We don’t buy sweets or chips or whatever food entices us to overeat, when our weight is out of control. If it’s in the fridge or cupboard the temptation can overwhelm us.

We make the decision to live, to party without alcohol. We don’t have one glass of wine or beer when we accept the fact that we cannot say “no” to two or three more. Alcoholics and drug addicts know the overwhelming struggle that comes when they face temptation.

The abused person does not have to give up their love for the abuser, but they do need to use wisdom to distance themselves, to walk or run away to a safe place, to report the abuse to the authorities. Sometimes the most loving thing we can do is to seek help in stepping out of the abusive situation, loving not just for self, but for the abuser too.

It’s valuable to teach our children that human beings are basically good. It’s also valuable to teach them loving wisdom.

“Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you.” (Proverbs 4:6)

 

 

What Three Words Will Guide Your Life in 2016?

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I love the feeling of a New Year beginning. Just think about it, 365 days – no 2016 is a leap year. We have an extra day, 366 days, 8784 hours. We can begin a new life. What a wonderful opportunity! Regardless of the mistakes or successes that surrounded us last year, this year we begin again. That’s why we make New Year’s resolutions. That’s why we celebrate. Oh yes, sometimes the consequences of last year’s mistakes follow us into the New Year, but we don’t have to repeat those mistakes in 2016. Sometimes, illness and grief follow us into the New Year, but we can change the way we respond. We’re not chained to last year. We have a fresh new start at living. Just the fact that we’re alive is significant.

Instead of resolutions to identify all the things I’d like to do in this New Year, I have chosen three words to live by. I’ve written them on post-it notes. There’s one on my bedroom mirror, one on the bathroom mirror, one on the fridge, one on my front door and one on the dashboard of my car. My hope, my dream for 2016, is that seeing these words every day, will lead me to live them. The words are:

  1. Gratitude  2. Appreciation        3. Forgiveness

I know these are just words. But over the years, I have learned that the words we think, we see, we use every day gradually become a part of who we are.  This year I have consciously chosen to surround myself with the words –  gratitude, appreciation, forgiveness. I want them to become, not just a choice for me, as they are now, but rather a reflex response to living. I challenge you to choose your three words of life and do the same.

St. Paul said: “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things…put (them) into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” (Philippians 4:8-9)