Thursday, August 27, 2020

Unlikely Friendships

 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners. Purify your hearts, you double minded. James 4:8 NASB 




In the book entitled Unlikely Friendships by Jennifer Holland, writer for National Geographic magazine, there are nearly 50 stories of animals who become unlikely friends. From an African elephant and a sheep to the owlet and a greyhound, accounts of varied animal species demonstrating unexpected compassion and friendship spill across the pages, not to mention beautiful photography. One story included of a baby hippo and a 130 year old tortoise made the rounds on Facebook a few years ago! They actually have their own book, Owen and Mzee, A True Story of a Remarkable Friendship. In her observations, Barbara King, animal behaviorist, describes Owen's and Mzee's mutual communication as sophisticated, "It's a dynamic dance between two species with no present program on how to deal with each other. And it can't just be instinct, because one was shaping its behavior to the other."

That a Holy God would choose to have a relationship with me, a broken sinner, simply boggles my imagination. This Amazing Grace pours over the dark and ugly parts of my nature making me a new creation in Him. Christ wraps me in a robe of righteousness inviting me to sit at His Table. Jesus says, "As the Father has loved Me, so have I loved you. Remain in My love." Responding, I confess my inability to be good or to love apart from Christ. A spiritual dance begins between ancient holiness and growing faith. My heart desires to be more like Christ; His love teaching me to love completely, His grace influencing me to live abundantly. The Savior and a sinner ~ this is truly an unlikely friendshipone shaping its behavior to the other. dho

**previously posted on Breathing Room For My Soul/DonnaOswalt

Thursday, August 13, 2020

LORD, Help Us Believe!

LEADER: We've been in hiding for too long.

Men: Perhaps we should open the doors of our lives to welcome whatever comes.

LEADER: But suppose that destruction, fear, and death arrive at our door?

WomenJesus always said to us, "Do not be afraid, I am with you."

ALL: LORD, help us believe.

LEADER: Why is it so difficult to believe?

Men: We have been disappointed so many times.

LEADER: Do we dare trust that this time will be different?

Women: Everything is different when we trust in Jesus Christ.

ALL: LORD, help us believe!

LEADER: What will we do if we actually see the risen Lord?

Men: Our fears will be banished, and we will live in the truth of Christ.

LEADER: What is the truth of Christ?

Women: Christ has overcome the bonds of death. He is risen and goes before us.

ALL: LORD, we believe; help our unbelief. Amen.

~Call to Worship, St. Luke UMC

This Call to Worship presents uniquely in that the responses come from men and women individually and then collectively in unity. Why do we distance ourselves from one another, from the community? Disappointment and fear, disease and financial crisis, death and failure create disconnect and doubt within the soul. We cry out, LORD, help us to believe! Trusting in Christ renews the soul and refurbishes the heart. Christ brings joy into the suffering, faith into the doubt, love into the fear, and healing into the loss. We cry out, LORD, help us to believe!

Spiritual struggle knows no boundaries, does not recognize gender, race or age. We ALL struggle! Christ is the Truth that conquers the world with all its rage and wickedness. Christ calls us into relationship with Him and others. Confidence in Christ allows us to fail and start again, weep and find laughter, doubt and believe again. Let my soul reply, I believe; help my unbelief! ~dho

*previously published on Breathingroomformysoul.com in 2014

Thursday, August 06, 2020

Delight

If GOD hadn't been there for me,
I never would have made it.
The minute I said, "I'm slipping, I'm falling,"
Your love, GOD, took hold and held me fast.
When I was upset and beside myself,
You calmed me down and cheered me up.

Psalm 94:17-1The Message

almond blossom

When times of chaos and contradiction take control, the Christian has resources that non-believers do not. In fact, the believer finds the greatest solace in the goodness of God. Despite the fickle offerings of the world ~ hopelessness, doubt, bitterness, defeat, those who claim Christ as Lord can always know the everlasting gifts of peace and comfort. In His arms, in His Grace, we find a goodness in this Holy Love that exceeds the difficult, that soothes the ache, that calms the anxious thought. This is The Source that will always delight my soul. ~dho

When my anxious thoughts multiply within me, Your consolations delight my soul. Psalm 94:19 NASB