Generosity: There is Enough. I am Enough.

fear of missing out fomo mojo brene brownPsalm 23:5 (NRSV)
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.

It is good to remember that a part of you has always loved God. There is a part of you that has always said yes. There is a part of you that is Love itself, and that is what we must fall into. It is already there. Once you move your identity to that level of deep inner contentment, you will realize you are drawing upon a Life that is much larger than your own and from a deeper abundance. Once you learn this, why would you ever again settle for scarcity in your life? “I’m not enough! This is not enough! I do not have enough!” I am afraid this is the way culture trains you to think. It is a kind of learned helplessness. The Gospel message is just the opposite— inherent power.
– Richard Rohr

John 10:9-10 NRSV
Jesus said, “I am the gate. Whoever enters by me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”

There’s enough for everyone’s need but not enough for everyone’s greed.
– Ghandi

Jesus taught us that if we share, if we combine our resources with trust in God, there is enough — the abundance mentality. This perception that there is enough connects directly to our willingness to share compassionately. It flows naturally from being detached from our possessions; when we want less, we have enough.
– Christopher Maricle, The Jesus Priorities

Mark 12:41-44 NRSV
Jesus sat down opposite the treasury, and watched the crowd putting money into the treasury. Many rich people put in large sums. A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which are worth a penny. Then he called his disciples and said to them, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the treasury. For all of them have contributed out of their abundance; but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.”

True poverty and riches are in our hearts,
not our pockets.

Fear is the only prison that prevents us
from loving deeply,
from giving freely,
from living richly.

Generosity is the power that sets us free.
It melts the prison bars.
It fills the coffers of our hearts.

In generosity, regardless of circumstances,
even the penniless are not poor,
even the destitute are not alone,
even the flat broke are not afraid.

Give everything you have,
all you have to live on,
and you will be free
and unafraid.
Generosity by Steve Garnaas Holmes

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For more information on the art, scripture translation and the use of this post in other settings, please refer to the copyright information page.

Two Pockets: Healthy, Faithful Perspective

A well respected and beloved Polish Rabbi named Simcha Bunim used to say,
“Every person should have two pockets.
In one, there should be a note that says ‘for my sake was the world created.’
In the second, there should be a note that says, ‘I am dust and ashes.’”

Rabbi Bunim went on to say one must know how to use the notes, each one in its proper place and at the right time.

He knows us well

When misused, we hunker down in one pocket and make a home
We use a note to justify, judge, and deflect self examination

For my sake the world was created- I’m all that and a bag of chips
I am dust and ashes- Eeyore is my best buddy

But, when we open to the wisdom of the notes, we accept we are not one or the other. We realize we are both notes. Both pockets. We see the wisdom of the notes in the wisdom of God’s Word which goes back and forth, naming us and reminding us who we are- beloved and dust. We are both and we need both.

I am dust and ashesWhen we are too proud, too entitled, too full of ourselves, too self-sufficient, we reach in a pocket and remember anokhi afar va’efer, I am dust and ashes
I am small
I am worthless
I am mortal
I am unclean
I miss the mark, I stray from the path- that’s what the word sin literally means in Greek
I am like everyone else who has ever lived and who will live
I need a savior

Psalm 90:3 NRS
You turn us back to dust, and say, “Turn back, you mortals.”

Ecclesiastes 3:20b NIV
All come from dust, and to dust all return.

Luke 9:41 NRSV
“O unbelieving and perverse generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you and put up with you?”

In Luke 3, John the Baptist is right to remind us we are a “brood of vipers” and of our need of repentance, to turn back to God’s path, not just with our words but our actions.

for my sake was the world createdThen, when we are discouraged, overwhelmed and losing faith (when we feel like dirt) we reach in the other pocket and remember bishvili nivra ha’olam, for my sake was the world created.
I am a unique and beloved child of the King of kings
Christ loved me enough to die for me and raise me to new life
I am fearfully and wonderfully made
I am called
I am gifted
I am empowered by the Holy Spirit to do great things for God
God is using me in the salvation and transformation of the world

Psalm 8:4-8 NRSV
What are human beings that you are mindful of them, mortals that you care for them? Yet you have made them a little lower than God, and crowned them with glory and honor. You have given them dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under their feet, all sheep and oxen, and also the beasts of the field, the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea, whatever passes along the paths of the seas.

Psalm 139:14 NRSV
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; that I know very well.

We stand with Jesus in our baptism, water washed, anointed with the fiery dove of the Holy Spirit, named and claimed by God as beloved children.

Jesus stepped into the water not out of his need but of ours
To remind us of our great need- I am dust and ashes
To remind us who we are in Him- For my sake the world was created

Prayer for Perspective
Eternal and Beautiful God,
The One who births us and names us
Grant us perspective
A holy centering
of truth, humility and our belovedness

Not too high that we fall away from you
our need of you
our need of others

Not too low that we fail to trust
to reach out for you
to reach out with you

In you, with you, for you we are
humble and powerful
unique and alike
common and regal
priceless and dust

Grant us perspective, Merciful One
A holy centering
Let no voice be too loud
Or too soft
So we may persevere in faith
in hope
in following
in becoming
Amen

*********************
I am indebted to Rabbi Jack Moline for a blog post which provided much of the information and inspiration for this reflection.

Two Pocket Devotion and Prayer for Perspective © 2014 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
You are very welcome to use this in a worship or group setting with proper attribution.

For more information on the art, scripture translation and the use of this post in other settings, please refer to the copyright information page.

Poem: With You (Matthew 1:18-25)

walking with god2014 Bible Reading Plan for Christmas
Day 11 Reading: Matthew 1:18-25
God With Us

The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son,
and they will call him Immanuel– which means, “God with us.”
– Isaiah 7:14 and Matthew 1:23

Jesus said, “And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
– Matthew 28:20

Poem: With You
With you there is safety
With you there is peace
With you I am never alone
With you there’s a light for the long journey home
With you there is healing and hope

With you I can slumber
With you I can stand
With you I can run and play
With you I can walk through the valley some day
With you there is healing and hope

With you I see sickness
With you I see need
With you I see souls to embrace
With you I can meet every wrong face to face
With you there is healing and hope

With you there is purpose
With you there is life
With you there is courage and truth
I’m finally me because I am with you
With you there is healing and hope

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Click here for an interesting post by Steve Garnaas Holmes where he explores why God chose to be incarnate human rather than another member of creation.

This post is part of the 2014 Bible Reading Plan for Christmas. Click here for more information, including a list of all the readings.

Poem: With You  © 2010 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
You are welcome to use this work in a worship setting with proper attribution.
Please contact Lisa for information and permission to publish this work in any form.

Prayer: Fully Me, Fully Us (Ephesians 3:14-21)

Ephesians-3-17-19
God keeps bringing Ephesians 3:14-21 before me- in my devotions, in the writing of others. Repetition means pay attention, so it continues to drive my prayers. – Lisa <><

Steadfast and Faithful One,
Your Holy Spirit is at work in all things, even me
Thank you for your persistent, pursuing grace

This is my desire- to trust you more than I trust myself
what I know and what I know how to do
This is my desire- to be full of you
no longer this shallow shadow of me
but me, fully me, in the light of Christ

The power to be fully me is from you alone
What I am when I am at home with myself in the home of your love
Dwell in my very heart
Dwell in my desiring
Dwell in the depth of my soul
that I may grasp the depth of your love
Infinite
Extending in every direction
Surrounding every person and need
A flood of grace
Flood our being
That we may know that we know that we know
We are completely known by you and loved by you

Your love surpasses every plan
Every logic
Every statistic
Every theory and theorem
Every fix and solution and discovery
It is above all we can ask or imagine or know

Your love covers all and conquers all
It makes us us
It makes us your people, your church
Fill us with this love
This power
Fill us with you
Amen

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For another post based on this passage entitled Extending Blessing, click here.

Today’s graphic was found on Deborah “Annie” Ruge’s blog, theOnething1721. Be sure to check out her terrific art, graphics, and up-cycling projects.

Fully Me, Fully Us © 2014 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
You are welcome to use this work in a worship setting with proper attribution.
Please contact Lisa for information and permission to publish this work in any form.

#LukeActs2014: Rejoice Wisely (Luke 10:1-24)

rejoice-romans 5 2Based on Luke 10:1-24, Jesus sending the seventy two,
especially Luke 10:19-20 NIV

Jesus said, “I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”

Jesus
You entrust us with your greatness
Lips to proclaim your peace
Your Kingdom drawing all, drawing near
Hands to heal
Freedom of simplicity
Authority over evil
Power over the enemy

It’s so easy to lose you among the wonders and signs
In thinking your attention, your affection
Only offered for results (Look Jesus!)
In celebrating ourselves instead of you (Look what we did!)

It’s so easy to lose you in the crush of refusal
In the lack of fruit though the sewing was faithful
In the grumbling, the apathy
The sand sticks to our sandals
and our souls

It’s so easy to lose you
Our worthiness tied to the work

Remind us again and again, Son of Righteousness
Rejoice only in The Relationship
Your name written on the Family Tree
On the palm of God’s hand

Teach us, Jesus
A hallelujah in every season
For we are yours

******************
Rejoice Wisely © 2014 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
You are very welcome to use this in a worship or group setting with proper attribution.

Reading for the week of March 9: Luke 10
Click Here for more information on the #LukeActs2014 Reading Plan

For more information on the art, scripture translation and the use of this post in other settings, please refer to the copyright information page.

Two Pockets: Healthy, Faithful Perspective

A well respected and beloved Polish Rabbi named Simcha Bunim used to say,
“Every person should have two pockets.
In one, there should be a note that says ‘for my sake was the world created.’
In the second, there should be a note that says, ‘I am dust and ashes.’”

Rabbi Bunim went on to say one must know how to use the notes, each one in its proper place and at the right time.

He knows us well

When misused, we hunker down in one pocket and make a home
We use a note to justify, judge, and deflect self examination

For my sake the world was created- I’m all that and a bag of chips
I am dust and ashes- Eeyore is my best buddy

But, when we open to the wisdom of the notes, we accept we are not one or the other. We realize we are both notes. Both pockets. We see the wisdom of the notes in the wisdom of God’s Word which goes back and forth, naming us and reminding us who we are- beloved and dust. We are both and we need both.

I am dust and ashesWhen we are too proud, too entitled, too full of ourselves, too self-sufficient, we reach in a pocket and remember anokhi afar va’efer, I am dust and ashes
I am small
I am worthless
I am mortal
I am unclean
I miss the mark, I stray from the path- that’s what the word sin literally means in Greek
I am like everyone else who has ever lived and who will live
I need a savior

Psalm 90:3 NRS
You turn us back to dust, and say, “Turn back, you mortals.”

Ecclesiastes 3:20b NIV
All come from dust, and to dust all return.

Luke 9:41 NRSV
“O unbelieving and perverse generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you and put up with you?”

In Luke 3, John the Baptist is right to remind us we are a “brood of vipers” and of our need of repentance, to turn back to God’s path, not just with our words but our actions.

for my sake was the world createdThen, when we are discouraged, overwhelmed and losing faith (when we feel like dirt) we reach in the other pocket and remember bishvili nivra ha’olam, for my sake was the world created.
I am a unique and beloved child of the King of kings
Christ loved me enough to die for me and raise me to new life
I am fearfully and wonderfully made
I am called
I am gifted
I am empowered by the Holy Spirit to do great things for God
God is using me in the salvation and transformation of the world

Psalm 8:4-8 NRSV
What are human beings that you are mindful of them, mortals that you care for them? Yet you have made them a little lower than God, and crowned them with glory and honor. You have given them dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under their feet, all sheep and oxen, and also the beasts of the field, the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea, whatever passes along the paths of the seas.

Psalm 139:14 NRSV
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; that I know very well.

We stand with Jesus in our baptism, water washed, anointed with the fiery dove of the Holy Spirit, named and claimed by God as beloved children.

Jesus stepped into the water not out of his need but of ours
To remind us of our great need- I am dust and ashes
To remind us who we are in Him- For my sake the world was created

Prayer for Perspective
Eternal and Beautiful God,
The One who births us and names us
Grant us perspective
A holy centering
of truth, humility and our belovedness

Not to high that we fall away from you
our need of you
our need of others

Not to low that we fail to trust
to reach out for you
to reach out with you

In you, with you, for you we are
humble and powerful
unique and alike
common and regal
priceless and dust

Grant us perspective, Merciful One
A holy centering
Let no voice be too loud
Or too soft
So we may persevere in faith
in hope
in following
in becoming
Amen

*********************
I am indebted to Rabbi Jack Moline for a blog post which provided much of the information and inspiration for this reflection.

Two Pocket Perspective and Prayer for Perspective © 2014 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
You are very welcome to use this in a worship or group setting with proper attribution.

For more information on the art, scripture translation and the use of this post in other settings, please refer to the copyright information page.

Identity

Life Story by Nick Gentry

Isaiah 43:1 NRSV
But now thus says the Lord,
he who created you, O Jacob,
he who formed you, O Israel:
Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name, you are mine.

Who you are is not about you.
You are God’s, that’s who you are.
You are what results
when God cannot contain joy.
You can let go of everything,
your sorrows and joys, your suffering and triumphs,
your personality, your self-made self,
and just be God’s.
You are God’s, that’s who you are.
Steve Garnaas-Holmes, selection from the reflection Who You Are

The biggest and most common misunderstanding regarding Christianity is to see it as all about being good. All too often people think Christianity’s first (or only) proclamation is: “Be good.” This emphasis (which is not unknown even within Christian circles) implies that the practice of Christianity centers on will — on doing, and more specifically, doing “good.” In fact, though, the gospel primarily declares something entirely different. Christianity at its pulsating core proclaims: “Be loved.”
– Gregory S. Clapper, Living Your Heart’s Desire

Not because of who I am, but because of what You’ve done
Not because of what I’ve done, but because of who You are
I am a flower quickly fading, here today and gone tomorrow
A wave tossed in the ocean, a vapor in the wind
Still You hear me when I’m calling
Lord, You catch me when I’m falling
You told me who I am, I am Yours
– selection from I am Yours by Casting Crowns

The fallen world says, “You are what you do.”  Adopting that value system immerses us in a performance-orientation where achievements, possessions, and appearances define us.  What others think of us (image) is what we work on all the time, in a kind of “never let them see you sweat” approach. The Gospel-oriented world says, “You do what you are.” Giving ourselves to this way puts us into a grace-orientation where relationships, servanthood, and integrity define us.  What God thinks of us (agape) is what we concentrate on all the time, in a kind of “always let them see you care” approach. In his classic poem “As Kingfishers Catch Fire,” Gerard Manley Hopkins described this Gospel-oriented life in these few words: ‘What I do is me, for that I came.’
– Steve Harper, Gospel Orientation

I imagine a series of concentric circles where everyone else sits at the epicenter and I roam the outer rim, struggling with an ongoing desire for entrance to the inside. When I fight my way in to the next stage of concentric circles, I find it wanting, and when I find it wanting, I’m forced back into a lesson that I’ll learn and relearn over a lifetime: my sense of identity and self worth have to derive not from some illusory inner circle but from the more enduring inner sanctum of faith.
Andrea Palpant Dilley, Be Thou My Vision

We do not believe in ourselves until someone reveals that deep inside us something is valuable, worth listening to, worthy of our trust, sacred to our touch. – e.e. cummings

Ego is to the true self what a flashlight is to a spotlight. – John Bradshaw

It goes against the grain of our modern way of thinking, but one of the holiest responses we can make to life is, “I don’t know”—with the “I” meaning the knowledge perpetrated on us by the ego.  The “I” does not know, and even if it does, it doesn’t care. [about anything but self] – Steve Harper, Sapeintial Theology

Humility is the firm foundation upon which our spiritual life is built. Humility is not underestimating our worth or allowing ourselves to be defined by another. …
Humility invites us to say “no thank you” to being the center of our own universe. Humility is recognizing that we are God’s creation and allowing ourselves to be grounded in that truth. – Kathleen R. Flood

Colonialism is about power and conformity to a set of beliefs.
Gospel is about love and giving away power.
The Spirit affirms our uniqueness and giftings.
Empire conforms us into a particular image.
– Randy Woodley, Ask and Indigenous Theologian

1 Peter 2:9-10 (NRSV)
You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

Beneath the world’s frantic cries,
the word persists.
“I love you. You are mine.”
– from the poem News by Steve Garnaas-Holmes

You are God – not me, not us;
help me to remember this simple fact each day.
You are the Center of creation – not me, not us;
help me to recognize my place within the orbit of your grace.
You are the Source of all life – not me, not us;
let me find in you my kinship with all creation.
–Sam Hamilton-Poore, Earth Gospel

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For an original hymn text on this topic entitled Be Still, Remember, click here

Click here for more of Nick Gentry’s incredible artwork.

For more information on the art, scripture translations and the use of this post in other settings, please refer to the copyright information page.