The Ampersand, “&,” symbolizing and, serves to connect our thoughts, our communication, our language—and spills over as an integral part of our culture.
Metaphorically, all those ands add up. Take the “To Do” lists we make for ourselves. You know how long those lists can be! I number mine (you might do the same). Between each item is the connecting “and” between each. If long, the list can hardly seem doable.
My list is typically lengthy. It’s one thing to put down the necessary things; however, I often find myself adding on extra items due to my own insecurities or wants. It becomes a “Me List” instead of one that is Spiritually led.
Jesus probably had his own “To-Do” list, but I’m certain his actions were related to following the Will of His Father in Heaven—not due to his own wants or needs.
I've decided that I'd like to pray each morning about the things I add to my list, so it will not be a “Me List,” but instead a “We List”—one that the Lord helps me with. Then, maybe those “and’s” will be the things that will be the most beneficial ones—and that will also serve others.
My prayer is that you, too, may find your “To-Do” list to be a manageable one—with God’s help!
If you look closely, there is one thing you'll see on the back of every U.S. dollar bill and every coin. And what could that be? The answer is: the motto of our country, “In God We Trust.”
The original motto, “E. Pluribus Unum,” Latin for “out of many, one,” was changed to “In God We Trust” and adopted as our official national motto by Congress in 1956.
We are a nation founded on trust in the Creator. The first line of the Declaration of Independence includes the phrase, “Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God.” Other references: people “are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights…,” that they have “a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence,” and, “…we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.”
The Constitution does not refer to religion; however, it includes the words “the year of our Lord” in Article VII.
In 1954 Congress passed a law amending the Pledge of Allegiance, which now includes the words, “One Nation Under God.”
We are fortunate to be a free nation, and the inclusion of the First Amendment gives us the right to practice the religion of our choice—or not to practice.
The choice is ours—to believe or not believe.
For believers, may we be reminded of “In God we Trust” each time we hold a dollar bill or coins in our hands.
As a nation, may we have the faith to do as our founding fathers did—to trust in God.
Happy 4th of July!
Immorality. It can make even the most humble angry. That's what happened before Passover when Jesus went to Jerusalem. As he entered the Temple Courts, the sight of what he saw angered him: people selling cattle, sheep, and doves, and moneychangers who had set up tables to do business.
Making a whip from cords, Jesus drove out the buyers and sellers and turned over the tables of the moneychangers. According to Scripture (John 2:13-17), he said, "Get these out of here! Stop turning my Father's house into a market!"
Jesus took radical action against the sinful behavior of the people by clearing the Temple Courts. The sacred place was meant for worshiping God--and not to be used otherwise.
Sometimes we also need to turn the tables by taking radical action against things that do not honor God. We can overturn things that are not good, and that includes the things that may plague our daily lives, such as worry, anxiety, fear, depression, or other maladies.
But we don't have to do this alone, for the Lord's desire is for us to surrender such things to Him at the foot of the cross.
Jesus' death and resurrection turned the tables of worldly sin on its head. Jesus. Radical. Revolutionary. Loving Savior and Shepherd. Giver of Salvation. Believe. In. Him. Amen.
It was the beginning of a perfect day, basking in the warmth of the sun. There's nothing quite like feeling as if you are completely immersed in the beauty of your surroundings on the lake, with stately pines and green foliage, cotton-white clouds reflecting in the smooth, glassy water, and the gentle lilting of the boat that brings a smile to your face and a sleepy, easy feeling to your soul.
But, suddenly, you are jolted awake as a violent windstorm descends. The gale pushes against your boat as waves crash upon the deck. You brace for safety and prayerfully cry out for help.
(Okay, truth be told. Maybe you're on a paddleboard at a mountain lake, but the wind is strong enough to prevent you from returning to the dock. However, you are able to make it to shore safely and are not in any imminent danger).
But what if you were in a perilous situation? Imagine if you were in the boat with Jesus and His Disciples. Scripture tells us the plan was to cross to the other side of the lake. However, after setting sail, Jesus falls asleep and a violent windstorm hits. Everyone is filled with fear for their lives, as Jesus remains asleep. You cry out for help. Jesus awakens. He is aware of your fear. You watch in awe as he rebukes the wind and the waves (Luke 8:22-25; Matthew 8:23-27) and calms the waters. And He says to all, "Where is your faith?"
It is in our nature to fear when our lives feel threatened, just like the situation the Disciples faced. Yet the Lord's instruction is to not fear and to trust in Him. It was a lesson for the Disciples--and it is a lesson for us, too.
May we turn to Him when the storms arise--whether it's a violent windstorm that threatens our safety--or if it's just being out on a paddleboard in the lake when the wind is too strong for us.
A perfect day--and a perfect storm--make for a perfect time to build up our faith in God.
Of all the thoughts you had today, there is one that might have been a conscious one--but maybe not. Have you thought about your breathing today?
If you practice yoga or meditation, you are probably aware of your breathing as you do those practices. Likewise, if you participate in a sport or do exercise, you would be aware of your breathing. Or, even bending down to take in the sweet scent of a flower.
I haven't recently engaged in activity that makes me think of my breathing, although I did run to the mailbox the other day to catch the postman before the mail went out. Other than that, lately the only other time I think about taking in a deep breath is when I yawn. Sigh. Yep. I know. Poor excuse for not exercising!
Most of the time, unless we are engaged in activities that remind us to take in more air than normal, we are usually unaware that our body's autonomic nervous system is working 24/7.
Ironic, isn't it, that the processes that keep our bodies in sync are ones we rarely think about? Imagine if you had to think about how every system in your body worked, then had to manage those processes on your own. You'd be in big trouble and so would I!
Be in charge of the firing of millions of neurons? Regulate your brain function, respiration, digestion, kidneys, bladder function, skin temperature, taste, smell, swallowing, eyesight, hearing, speech, sense of balance, and the ability to move your limbs, walk or run? Manage your memory banks, regulate your endocrine system, enable the release of emotions, use language, engage with others, perform work, participate in hobbies, or make decisions? There are a million other things you could add to this list. Whew. The thought of being "in charge" of all of these things would be incomprehensible.
I'm so glad that God created our bodies to function without our having to be in charge of all of these systems! I am thankful that He created you and me--and that He gave us the gift of the breath of life.
So, just breathe, and may you be comforted in knowing that the One Above created you in a special and unique way!
"The Lord formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and the man became a living being." - Genesis 2:7
Through God's Word!"
Find inner peace through Positive Thought, through Faith in God and through God's Word.