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A Little Child Shall Lead Them

And a Little Child Shall Lead them

Each Sunday, I invite worshippers to share personal celebrations or concerns, so that we might pray with and for them as a family of faith. Yesterday, I was struck when one woman began “Because we’re a praying church, I asked my friend if I could mention her name.” This identifying characteristic has been developing over the past year and, with the help of two beautiful children, we’ve been catapulted forward.

At prayer time, Carrie, age 5, courageously raised her hand and said, “I have a dentist appointment sometime this week.” When asked how she would like us to pray for her, she responded, “Well, I’m a little scared.” If the expressions across the sanctuary are any indication, her honesty and witness spoke volumes. After several adults shared, Carrie’s cousin Olivia, age 4, followed suit. “Pray for Mimi,” she said. And, just like that, in a matter of minutes, blessings overflowed.

Through Carrie and Olivia’s innocent, sincere expressions of faith, we experienced true community. You see, when we worship, keeping Jesus at the center of our focus, and when we ask for help, the Spirit gives us the courage to be honest, transparent, and vulnerable with each other. By the same Holy Spirit that descended upon the disciples on the Day of Pentecost a couple thousand years ago, we still get to be part of the “ripple effect “of God’s love. Through the way the Holy Spirit encourages and empowers us to love, serve, and journey alongside others, we share God’s transforming love. What a sacred honor and privilege!

While preparing to observe the Sacrament of Holy Communion, blatantly aware of the blessings gleaned as a family of faith, I shared my belief that our kitchen tables often become altar tables when we acknowledge the presence of the Spirit of the Risen Christ. It’s often around kitchen tables that we share in conversation, connection, and comfort, as well as the human experiences of chaos, conflict, and pain. Likewise, when we remember the Holy Spirit’s presence, through God’s grace, our altar table becomes a kitchen table of sorts, where we are seen, heard, loved, and reminded that we are not alone. How insightful of Jesus to use bread and wine- ordinary staples of the traditional Jewish meal- to help us experience His extraordinary love, mercy, forgiveness, and grace, and thus increase our awareness of the needs of those around us. “Every time you eat this bread, every time you drink this cup, remember Me,” Jesus said.
Our kitchen table has repeatedly become an altar table, thanks to the leadership of our 5-year-old granddaughter Harper Rae. Our schedules don’t always match, but we are grateful to dine together around the table as often as possible. Harper often leads us in what has become a sacred ritual of sorts: “How was your day, Pops?” “How was your day, Mommy?” “JoJo, how was your day?” After we answer, I have the pleasure of asking her the same question, 
“Harper, how was your day?” Yet another example of a little child leading us in sacred companionship and connection.

Friends, I am convinced that the Spirit of the One who came to us a little child continually leads us into deeper relationship with God and with one another. Pay attention to the children around you this week and let them lead, for we have much to learn from them!

Follow me. Just dance …

Follow me. Just dance …

Come to Me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
Matthew 11: 28-30

"Christ Dancing on the Sea of Galilee" by Heimo Christian Haikala - 1999

Periodically, the Holy Spirit brings a precious encounter with Jesus to my memory. This morning, it happened again, and I’d like to share:

Years ago, I was experiencing an extremely challenging season in ministry and was seeking God’s direction. On a sunny Saturday afternoon, while on a Discipleship and Ministry trip in Brazil, our group went to an exquisitely beautiful place known as “The Rock.” We gathered on an incredible ledge and outcropping, overlooking the water. There, we had our Bible study. Afterwards Pastor Rick, our gifted leader, following the prompting of the Holy Spirit, gave me some very challenging counsel and direction. I was stunned by his words and remember Adam, my dear brother in Christ, sitting next to me on the bus ride back to the mission, trying to help me make sense of the spoken charge. That night, I couldn’t sleep. I was in an emotional and spiritual place of dis-ease; very unsettled, restless, in a tizzy. I prayed- or tried to- as I listened to worship music but felt very conflicted.

Sunday morning, we worshipped in the old mission church. Pastor Rick called me to sit up front next to the Pastor- a place of honor- looking out at the small congregation. I resented that placement, because I certainly didn’t feel like much of an honored leader at the time. The Lord of the Dance had a different message for me, however. During the service, we Americans were instructed to pair with Brazilians and pray together. As a member of the band and I finished praying on the small stage, I stood there silently pleading with God, referring to the counsel I was given the previous day. “Just how am I supposed to do that,” I cried. At that moment, I looked through my tears out into the small congregation, and saw Adam praying with an elderly woman, holding her hands in a gentle dance position. Their cheeks touching, I watched him lovingly whisper in her ear, their bodies slowly swaying together to the music. Their faces exuded a divine, peaceful beauty- so otherworldly that it took my breath away. All I could do was stare, with my hand over my heart, as tears flowed. It was then that I heard Jesus speak into my spirit, “Follow Me. Just dance.” My question was answered.

Friends, today I am reminded once again to let Jesus lead in the dance of life, gently flowing through the ups and downs-together. Be encouraged! Know that He is leading you through the power and presence of His Holy Spirit. Feel Him near you, holding you, guiding and directing you, lovingly whispering words of love. You don’t have to have it all figured out! You don’t have to lead! Choose to follow Jesus, allowing Him to be the Lord of your dance.

“Dance, then, wherever you may be; I am the Lord of the Dance, said He. And I’ll lead you all wherever you may be, and I’ll lead you all in the dance, said He.”
Lord of the Dance
Words by Sydney Carter, 1963

Lessons from a Honeybee

The Voice of the Garden

April showers bring May flowers … and bees. Some folks are fussy at bees, but farmers know how much we need humming little bees to pollinate crops and more. Consider the honeybee! A royal beekeeper to King Charles I said, “A bee is an exquisite chemist.” He’s referring to the production of honey and beeswax, of course! 

“The bee is more honored than other animals, not because she labors, but because she labors for others.”
Saint John Chrysostom, Archbishop of Constantinople in the years 347-407.

And such labor! One beehive will make 500 million visits to flowers in the course of a year! Their labor results in a healthy ecosystem of strong flowering plants, oxygen production, and food for the rest of the animal world. A tiny bee figures so prominently in God’s plan for the world.

“Bees and honey are mentioned widely in the Bible and clearly have significance in Judaism and Christianity. In Judaism, their symbolic role can, for example, be seen in the celebration of Rosh Hashana. On the eve of the holiday it is customary to eat symbolic foods which may include dipping challah (leavened bread) and an apple into honey. This can symbolise the hopes for a happy and healthy new year. In Christianity, the bee has historically been seen as a symbol of Jesus Christ’s attributes. The honey reflecting His sweet and gentle character, whilst the sting pertaining to justice and the cross.” Source: DrBeekeeper.com

There are many references to honey in the Bible — too many to count. Most of these relate to the description of “a land that flows with milk and honey”– a place of well-being or utopia, perhaps. Besides Judaism and Christianity, there are symbols and references to bees and honey in the teachings of Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism.

Spring is a time for growing.
Nature blooms with just the right combination of sunlight and water (and bees)! For our own spiritual growth, we rely on the right combination of time with God in His word and time with other Christians in fellowship.

Inspiration from the Bee

“It is not good to eat much honey, nor is it glorious to seek one’s own glory.” Proverbs 25:27
“Do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with God.” Micah 6:8
The words of Jesus: “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Acts 20:35

This post contributed to Pastor Kinrade’s blog by a little worker bee who seeks no glory.

The Day After

The Day After

Here we are, the day after Easter, when Christians celebrate Christ’s resurrection from the dead and the new life that we have in Him. But what do we do when life is still hard; when everything didn’t “come up roses?” I’m sure you could tabulate your own list, but this is only a glimpse of what people shared with me this past week:

  • Battling chronic disease and received another new diagnosis
  • Still hurting in their marriage relationship
  • Estranged from their children and grandchildren
  • The love of their life just died
  • Struggling with anxiety, fear, and depression
  • Needing affordable housing/don’t have enough money to get by or food to feed their families
  • Growing older and bodies not doing what they want them to
  • Family members don’t know what they’re going to do after High School or College, or at age 30, 40, 50, 60 …
  • Facing the hurt caused by church people — in the Name of Jesus
  • Continued horror in Ukraine and in many other countries, where the news stories seem like “old news” to some

Many of us, like Mary Magdalene, are carrying the wounds and scars of the past- things that we have done or things that have been done to us and may be asking, “So, what now?”

Let’s consider what “new life” might look like for us when our circumstances haven’t changed.

New life in Christ is full of hope- in the already and not yet. Being Easter People means moving forward with faith and trust, even in the not knowing…even when the reality of life/our circumstances hasn’t changed. Being Easter people means embracing the mystery of our faith- Christ has died. Christ has risen. Christ will come again.

A new life in Christ helps us to embrace God’s promise to all of us through the prophet Isaiah:
Fear not, for I have redeemed you, I have called you by name, you are mine.… Behold, I am doing a new thing, now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert…to give drink to my people. (From Isaiah 42-44)

Oh, my friends, are you willing to see it? God wants to make all things new, through Jesus Christ our Lord. That doesn’t mean that everything will magically be “rainbows and unicorns,” but it does mean that we are not alone as we experience challenges in the wildernesses and dry desert seasons of our lives.

Inspiration in Hard Times

This week, a colleague sent me an image of her latest creation, a vintage art form called “slow stitch” or “meditative stitchery.” It is exquisite! She explained: “One uses up the smallest scraps and leftover threads and bits of material to create. It is artwork from a time when things were so hard. When folks had nothing, but women wanted to somehow celebrate the beauty of their world. The entire project put me in mind of folks who are in a lot worse place than me.”

She continued, “It is signed Lucy, giving the honor of creating to my great granny who was/is a huge inspiration for me. A cowgirl. A rancher. Lucy Fagan was severely beaten by her cowboy husband. She kicked him off her land and went all the way to the Texas State Legislature in 1898 for a divorce. The Catholic Church shunned her, but she raised her two girls in the faith anyway. She ranched about 4,ooo acres on the San Antonio River on her own until the girls married. She had true grit.”

Lucy Fagan’s life is an example for all of us. She was literally and figuratively beaten and knocked down — carrying emotional and physical scars in her body, yet she chose to activate her faith, to embrace hope and bring God’s love and beauty into the world in ways that she could make a difference — in ranching the land, raising her kids in the faith, and still finding beauty in the world around her.

And then, there’s Mary Magdelene: There she was at the tomb — in the throes of grief and loss; her sorrow over her friend and Savior’s death must have been immense, compounded by the horror of finding his body missing. When she sees Jesus, she doesn’t recognize Him, but oh, she does when He speaks her name! “MARY.” What a holy moment that must have been!

Jan Richardson, in her book, In Wisdom’s Path says:
“Standing before Jesus, Mary Magdalene is a wounded woman. Marked by her loss and grief, she still carries the scars of the wounds that Jesus had healed long ago. Yet Jesus knows it is time for Mary to let go, to allow the form of their relationship to change, and to tell the story of what she has seen.

In choosing to leave the garden and proclaim what has happened, Mary begins to walk out her wounds. Many of us carry injuries we bear no responsibility for receiving. We carry wounds, too, that bear the mark of our own hand, whether intentional or unintentional. Regardless of the source of the wounds, we do have a responsibility to seek their healing. Our wounds may long plague us, but God beckons us to cease to cling to them. There comes a time when we must choose whether to remain weeping at the tomb or let go and tell what we have seen.”

When we name our grief, loss, sorrow, and pain- when we acknowledge the pain and do the work, we keep moving forward in faith. We don’t hold on to our wounds and identify as Victim. Instead, we continue to allow Jesus to heal us as we move forward in hope. That’s what I believe it means to “walk out our wounds;” new life in Christ, through the ways we allow the Lord to create beauty out of our own scraps.

Some questions to ponder this week:
What wounds from the past are weighing you down?
Take some time to name them. How is Jesus encouraging you to let go of them- putting your trust more deeply in HIM? (Sometimes that is quite a lengthy process- but with His help, you can do the hard work)!

How can you live into the love and light of Christ–to nurture your relationship with Him–in your own way?
Healing, and a transformed, new life comes through Jesus; getting to know Him more personally and growing in our dependence on HIM. (That too takes work and intentionality).

How is God calling you to truly see the death and dying in your own lives, your community, and our world?
(That may mean naming the scraps—admitting what you need His help with in the torn and beaten places in our lives, and then like Mary, to be a witness for how Jesus has gotten you through/what Jesus has done in your life).

Because Jesus was the Incarnation of God- Emmanuel, God with us- the embodiment of God’s Love in the flesh- and because God raised Jesus from the dead, we have access to new life—full of love, light, and hope- even in the midst of pain and suffering, grief, and loss. That, my friends, feels like good news on this Day After.

If anyone is in Christ, they are a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.
2 Corinthians 5: 17-19 (ESV)

Holy Week

The Colours of Holy Week

Yet again, we make the trek to the cross with Jesus; heeding a call to remembrance and self-reflection as each event unfolds. Intentionality will lead us to deep inner work and even transformation through the presence of God’s loving Spirit if we are willing. May we not rush ahead to Easter but make the slow and deliberate journey to the cross, as we make room for the chaos and confusion, the quest for power, the betrayal, the suffering, lament, grief, and sorrow, all the while taking in the beauty of new life that surrounds us.

It’s no coincidence that, during this season, God has hand painted the earth with inspiration for us to be faithful. The beauty of God’s creation astounds us, allowing us to acknowledge the “both/and” of life in each moment: hosanna/horror, blessing/burden, joy/sorrow, tears/laughter, life/death.

This week, may we allow the beauty of God’s artistic canvas to draw us into deeper meditation and prayerful reflection. Perhaps daily prayer walks or a few minutes of solitude and silence by a stream are in order. The birds’ songs may provide just the worship music we need to facilitate a personal openness to God’s Spirit. How might God be revealing God’s deep love for all of humanity through this beautiful canvas? How carefully God asks us to hold the tension of suffering, disappointment, grief and loss with beauty, new life, and the hope of resurrection.

God’s Artwork

We discovered the most marvelous artwork at the Getty Center’s exhibit called Sacred Landscapes: Nature in Renaissance Manuscripts “How does nature deepen our connection to the Sacred?” (Visit their site). Painted with careful attention to every detail, readers are reminded or challenged to appreciate and respect the wonder of creation.

Hellebore Orientalis
Called the Lenten Rose

Crimson Rose
The Blood of Christ

Dianthus Pinks
Nails on the Cross

Purple Iris
Passion of Christ and the Resurrection

Purity of Mary. Flower of sadness.

Heartsease (Pansy)
The Holy Trinity

All of creation leads us to deeper connection with God. May we have penetrable hearts, willing to be molded and shaped by the Creator Artist this week, as we journey to the cross. May we stay vigilant and awakened, so that our eyes see more clearly and our ears hear more profoundly — the story of God’s incredible love for us.

From “Gethsemane,” a poem by Mary Oliver:
The grass never sleeps.
Or the roses.
Nor does the lily have a secret eye that shuts until morning.
Jesus said, wait with me. But the disciples slept.
The cricket has such splendid fringe on its feet,
And it sings, have you noticed, with its whole body,
And heaven knows if it ever sleeps.

Ambassadors of Love

Ambassadors of Love

When Jesus died on the cross, He proved God’s love for the world, for every single one of us. Not counting our mistakes and our sins against us, He has reconciled us to God, with love and compassion. He entrusts us. He believes in us. He sees potential in us to make a difference; to be His light and life in this world.

Scripture reminds us that we are ambassadors or representatives of Christ, following His way of love that transforms lives with humility, generosity, kindness, love, and service. We are image-bearers, reflecting His love.

I was deeply touched by an article I came across recently, during a random, unrelated Google search. A group of children’s responses to the question “What is Love?” may just give us some ideas on how to be Ambassadors of Love.

“When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different. You just know that your name is safe in their mouth.”

“Love is what’s in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen.”

“If you want to learn to love better, you should start with a friend you hate.”

“Love is like a little old woman and a little old man who are still friends even after they know each other so well.”

“You really shouldn’t say ‘I love you’ unless you mean it, but if you mean it, you should say it a lot because people forget.”

Author and Lecturer Leo Buscaglia once shared about a contest he was asked to judge, where he was to identify the most caring child in a classroom. The winner was a 4-year-old boy whose elderly next-door neighbor’s wife had recently died. After seeing the man out in his yard crying, the little boy went over to see his neighbor who was sitting on the porch. The little boy climbed onto the man’s lap and just sat there. Later, when his mom asked him what he had said to their neighbor, the little boy said, “Nothing. I just helped him cry.”

That, my friends, is what being an ambassador is all about! It’s often in the little things- the simple gestures of showing people we care- of taking time to look folks in the eye and letting them know that they matter, that their stories are important; that they are seen and heard.

Let it be so, dear Lord. Let it be so.

For the love of Christ controls us … If anyone is in Christ, they are new creations. The old has passed away; the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation. Therefore, we are Ambassadors for Christ.
(From 2 Corinthians 5)

God’s Loving-Kindness

God’s Loving-Kindness

Whether we’re experiencing disappointment, frustration, fear, anger, or not knowing what to do with the pain and suffering we see and hear, God invites us to bring everything to God as an act of worship. It’s crucial to name the reality of all that is going on and to acknowledge the emotions that we may be trying to hold at bay; to express our fears, worries and anxieties, as well as our hopes, dreams, and questions to God.

God’s loving-kindness or compassion (Hesed in Hebrew) is an essential part of God’s character. Not easily translated into English, hesed is used to describe God’s tender consideration, generosity, mercy, love, grace, and goodness, God’s covenant of faithfulness.
The gospel message of Jesus is rooted in God’s compassion and loving-kindness or God’s heart for all of humanity.

God’s compassion for all of us is an unearned gift—a grace-filled expression of God’s love for us and receiving the Lord’s compassion helps us to “sit in the dark with others” and to be more loving. But we often find it difficult to receive.

Recently, I was struck by a poignant story that singer and songwriter Michael Card shared. Let me put it in my own words: Michael was in the grocery store and had just a few items in his arms. A woman with an overflowing cart invited him to go on ahead of her in line. He told her, “No thanks. My mother taught me to always wait patiently, to wait my turn in line,” and “my mother taught be to be a gentleman and to always let a woman go in front of me.” The woman tried again, emphasizing the fact that he had only a few items, while she had a cart full. Again, he refused her offer. She turned and looked at him–and in my imagination, she lovingly touched him on the arm–and then asked, “Why won’t you let me be kind to you?

I believe that is often the question that God asks us. The truth is, we allow our own shame, guilt, or feelings of inadequacy or unworthiness to overshadow the fact that we are God’s Beloved children. God delights in us, sings over us, and desires us to come with all our thoughts and feelings. God wants to be kind to us- to lavish loving-kindness and compassion on us. God simply wants to love on us and spend time with us.

Christian writer and TV producer Lynette Kittle suggests, “When God sheds His kindness on us, it melts the hardest hearts, heals and restores the deepest brokenness, and makes anew the most shattered souls.”

God’s loving-kindness, then, goes far beyond the requirements of duty or what we “should do” as Christians. Hesed is not merely an emotion or feeling, but it involves practical action on behalf of someone who is in need. It comes from God’s heart and changes our hearts. The Holy Spirit aligns our hearts to God’s, inspiring us to be merciful as Christ is merciful–beginning with ourselves.

A Heart Condition

A Heart Condition

Several years ago, I stood before the congregation, and said, “I need to give you an update; I found out last month that I need heart surgery.”  There were audible and visible reactions.  After I paused for effect, I clarified that I needed spiritual heart surgery for a spiritual condition of my heart. This time, there were audible and visible signs of relief; relief that it was “only” a spiritual matter.

At the time of that sermon, I was experiencing great challenges as God lovingly led me to learn and grow in relationship with others. It was one of the most painful times of my life as I endured the arrows of things that were said and done against me. It was also a significant season of marked growth.

As we begin another Lenten season, God reminds me that I still have a heart condition and I will forever need God’s help to remove imperfections and the hardened and dead places, and to allow God’s hands to mold and shape my heart with more of God’s love for all people.

I’ve finally begun to understand that only God can change hearts.  I realize that, to continue this life journey of transformation, I must be willing to look within, and then to repent of and confess the ways I’ve gotten distracted, self-centered, and where I’ve taken personal offense. This is uncomfortable, messy, and awkward at times, but the good news is that God continues to lavish on me God’s never-ending grace — an unearned gift of favor — for God is slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. God’s love never ends!

I’ll pour pure water over you and scrub you clean. I’ll give you a new heart, put a new spirit in you. I’ll remove the stone heart from your body and replace it with a heart that’s God-willed, not self-willed. I’ll put my Spirit in you and make it possible for you to do what I tell you and live by my commands. You’ll be my people! I’ll be your God!
Ezekiel 36: 25-27 (The Message)

Note: This quilt was made by Rosann York Gilbert in celebration of the lives of her son and daughter-in-law, Trey and Cara Caldwell, taken by Covid just weeks apart recently. “Holding their memories forever in my heart”, she wrote as she shared this photo. The Exploding Heart Quilt Pattern by Slice of PI Quilts, made from scraps of a mother’s quilting life.

It’s Not Fair!

Image posted by CcNet: Clergy Coaching Network

It’s Not Fair!

In His Sermon on the Plain in Luke 6, Jesus gives challenging instructions: Love your enemies. Do good without expecting anything in return. Bless and pray for those who hurt you. Do not retaliate. Be kind and generous. * Here, Jesus is talking about personal relationships. The unconditional love of Jesus is a love that’s not fair. In fact, it goes far beyond fairness, reciprocity, or an even exchange. The love of God through Christ Jesus is full of grace and mercy; it’s extravagant and is not at all self-centered. It’s unearned, compassionate, merciful, forgiving, and grace-filled. It’s not fair!

Author Bob Goff reminds us, “Jesus is challenging us to draw close to people we’re tempted to push away. Picking a fight is easy. Loving each other when we disagree is how we grow. Grab the ones who get under your skin and experience the kind of love Jesus talks about.”

Well, this week’s scripture challenge hasn’t been lost on me, as I repeatedly felt the Holy Spirit’s conviction. In fact, I experienced hands-on, in-the-trenches practice in loving the way Jesus loves- without expecting anything in return.

You see, there’s someone in our family that I find very difficult to love. That person is self-centered, negative, controlling and manipulative, often blaming others and not taking responsibility for actions, even lying sometimes to make himself look like a better person.

When I have my Pastor’s hat on, I can identify just how miserable and tormented this person has been all the years I’ve known him, but when I’m just JoAn, I must admit I become resentful, bitter, and judgmental. In fact, I just want to distance myself.

A recent visit was not warm and fuzzy. It was hard. Grueling. Some moments I handled better than others. Once, I just had to leave, walk down the hall and regroup.

But, do you know what I experienced on the way home as my husband and I debriefed? Compassion. I felt sadness for the man and his seemingly miserable existence. Our conversation ended by acknowledging a call to honor, love, and respect him- as a Child of God. It’s not fair, but it’s the right the thing to do. It’s what Jesus teaches.

Maybe the Holy Spirit is convicting you of a “heart condition” similar to mine- hardness, bitterness, resentment. Perhaps, you’re holding a grudge, or you’ve taken personal offense to something someone has said or done or not done.
Harboring those feelings is not healthy for any of us and is not God’s will for us.

Please consider: What personal relationship is Jesus asking you to pay attention to? How is Jesus asking you to practice loving others following His example?

Love one another just as I have loved you.
John 13: 34.

O Lord, with Your help, let it be so.

*Please understand that this scripture is not saying to stay in abusive situations. God’s true love acts to end abuse. I believe withdrawing to a safe place and holding abusers accountable for their actions are expressions of God’s love.

Words Matter

Words Matter

Following the Super Bowl halftime show, social media was full of reviews representing two ends of the opinion spectrum. I was disappointed and disgusted by the negativity and continue to acknowledge a personal rush to judgment and my own propensity to challenge another’s mindset. Today, the Holy Spirit is asking me to meditate on these words of scripture. I’m feeling drawn to quiet reflection and sensing God’s loving and merciful redirection. I am convicted and realize that I too, am at fault.

This week, may we all be intentional to choose life!

Death and life are in the power of the tongue,
And those who love it will eat its fruits.
Proverbs 18:21 (The Bible: English Standard Version)

Blessed are those
who walk hand in hand
with goodness,
who stand beside virtue,
who sit in the seat of truth;
For their delight is in the Spirit of Love,
And in Love’s heart they dwell
day and night.
They are like trees planted by
streams of water,
that yield fruit in due season,
and their leaves flourish;
And in all that they do, they give life.
Excerpt from Nan C. Merrill’s Psalm 1, from Psalms for Praying: An Invitation to Wholeness

Words kill,
Words give life,
They’re either poison or fruit–
You choose.
Proverbs 18: 21 (The Message)