building up.

“Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand.”

Matthew 12:25

Do you remember a moment when you realized you just couldn’t do it on your own?

I am learning how, in these moments, it is important to become vulnerable, fall on my knees & have my Prayer Team on speed-dial!

American culture has historically encouraged us to be independent.

This freedom of choice is a gift, and yet it can also lead to us feeling as though we are the masters of our own destiny. Even now, as independent as the modern life may be, we are still part of many social structures.

This means that at some point, you will need to rely on others. This is why it is better to learn how to live in harmony with others than to see your community, workplace, church, or home become divided. If you are in a situation now where you are starting to see division, don’t become part of the problem. Taking sides will only cause more fractures. And we have seen enough of these during the past few months. Choosing to ‘not take sides’ does not mean we agree with the opposing opinion or should not champion to make positive change – it simply means we are called to unity through building up vs tearing down, because this is what makes us all stronger and better people.

And the greatest unifier is prayer!

Jesus tells us in Scripture how to honor our ‘side’ without condemning or judging the other.

“Jesus said to his disciples: You have heard that it was said, You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Heavenly Father, for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what recompense will you have? Do not the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brothers only, what is unusual about that? Do not the pagans do the same? So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

Matthew 5:43-48

This commandment to “love one another as I have loved you” does not say only love one another if you have the same opinion, only love one another if you have the same skin color, only love one another if you are in the same socio-economic class, only love one another if you are in the same political party, only love one another if your worship space was founded by the same One, only love one another if you are on the same side as me.

We weren’t meant to be on the same side all the time!

We were not designed this way.

BUT

He did design all of us to love!

Moreover, the really good news is…

Our eternal kingdom will never be divided and will never end!

And most days I just don’t understand,

Why can’t we aim for the same in our earthly world too?”

Even if we can’t stand on the same side of the line as the other

we can always cross over the divide with folded hands, invoking prayers for unity.

Building up.

Instead of tearing down.

Will you join me in prayer?

hugs n’ blessings to all those who are seeking ways toward building up unity!

Which will it be?

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Photo courtesy of Funnypics.

I enjoy Instagram.  I enjoy the quick little reminders and updates from those who I am following. I especially love the many #hashtag combinations created!

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Photo Courtesy of Pinterest.

Mostly because the hashtags remind me of the many road trips our family would take to visit family in New Jersey and the ‘license plate’ games my sister and I would play in the back-seat of the car. (How many States can you find? Double numbers? Double letters?) But I especially  found it to be so much fun deciphering the unique number/letter combinations that drivers would inscribe on their license-plates to create a message! Some seemed so perfect in description that you felt as if you were finding out a piece of information (from the inscription,) regarding who was contained within the vehicle!  While others simply left you giggling and wondering about the mystery behind the message.

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I suppose both a #hash&license ‘tag’ could be compared to the tag-lines on our blog sites too!  Just a few little words to describe what you can expect to find at our sites.

Here at Hugs n’ Blessings (both) are Given Freely!

These tags, hashes, and license messages, in a way, leave you with clues to what is contained behind the photo, driver, message, & blog-writer.  And the added fun is sometimes the discovery of what these tags inspire in each of us!

Laughter? Motivation? Contemplation? Introspection? Discovery?

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Today I saw an insightful Instagram post from Proverbs Daily that has left me pondering myself and categorizing others.  (Not in a judgmental way but rather in Awe, Wonder, and Recognition!)

And that’s when it hit me!!! What a great Weekend Thought to ponder:

Which of the following below would be TAG(s) for you??

  Successful People:

Read Every Day, Talk About Ideas, Compliment, Embrace Change, Forgive Others, Learn Constantly, Accept Responsibility for their Failures,They want Others to Succeed, They have a Sense of Gratitude.

Unsuccessful People:

Watch TV Every Day, Talk About People, Complain & Criticize, Fear Change, Hold Grudges, Are Know-It-Alls, Blame Others For Their Failures, Secretly Want Others to Fail, Have a Sense of Entitlement. 

(Are you pink or blue?)

Just like the #hashtags, tag lines, and license plate doodles,

I pray your noodle

has lots of fun

discovering (any) message behind the Weekend Thoughts

I leave you with today!

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hugs n’ weekend blessings!

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show me the money!

Number one on my bucket list: To Reach Heaven!

And like every good marathon participant, I’m in training!

(I promise I don't even like Rum.)
Photo Courtesy of Themetapicture.com

Ready, Set, Go (towards the goal!)

To reach this goal one might strive, as a part of their training ‘exercises,’ to become Holy or Perfect but,

what does it mean to be holy or perfect?

“There are two classical concepts of perfection, one Greek and the other Hebrew.  In the Greek ideal, to be perfect is to have no deficiencies, no faults, no flaws.  Perfection, to the Greek mind, means to measure up to some ideal standard, to be completely whole, true, good and beautiful.  To be perfect is never to sin.

The Hebrew ideal of perfection is quite different.  In this mindset, to be perfect simply means to walk with God, despite our flaws.  Perfection here means being in the divine presence, in spite of the fact that we are not perfectly whole, good, true, and beautiful.

Our concept of holiness in the West has been, both for good and bad, very much shaped by the Greek ideal of perfection.  Hence, holiness has been understood as a question of measuring up to a certain benchmark.  In such a view of things, a view with which many of us were raised, sanctity is understood as achieving and maintaining something – namely, moral goodness and integrity.

Such a view is not without its merits.  It is a perpetual challenge against mediocrity, laziness, giving in to the line of least resistance, and settling for what is second best.  Such a view of perfection (and the spirituality it engenders) keeps the ideal squarely in view.  The flag is always held high, ahead of us, beckoning us, calling us beyond the limits of our present tiredness.  We are always invited to something higher.  This can be very healthy, especially in a culture that is cynical and despairing of ideals.

BUT such a concept of perfection also has a nasty underside.  NOBODY MEASURES UP! In the end, we all fall short, which leads to a whole series of spiritual pitfalls.  First of all, we beat ourselves up with the false expectation that we can somehow, all on our own, through sheer will power, fix all that is wrong with us.  Will power, as we now know, is powerless in the face of our addictions.  Because we dont’ recognize this, we often grow discouraged and simply quit trying to break some bad habit.  WHy try when the result is always the same?  The temptation then is to do what we in fact so often do, namely, split off holiness and project it onto a “Mother Teresa” type of figure.  We let her carry holiness for us because we believe we are unable to become holy ourselves.

Hence, despite the positives that are contained in the Greek concept of perfection, we might well profit from incorporating into our lives more of the Hebrew ideal.  Perfection here means walking with God, despite imperfection.

All on our own, we can never measure up!  We can never be perfect in the Greek sense.   But that is not what God is asking of us.  What God is asking is that we bring our helplessness, weaknesses, imperfections, and sin constantly to him, that we walk with him, and that we never hide from him.  God is a good parent.  He understands that we will make mistakes and disappoint Him and ourselves.

What God asks is simply that we come home, that we share our lives with him, that we let HIM help us in those ways in which we are powerless to help ourselves.”    PRAYER, Our Deepest Longing by Ronald Rolheiser

And suddenly…it’s as if God & I just had a Rod Tidwell/Jerry McGuire training exercise together!

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hugs n’ blessings to those registered in this same Marathon with me!

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