Patience is a Virtue

Okay it’s day eight and I have written five hundred words each day of Lent so far. Can I make it to forty? I don’t know, but I am going to try. I know today’s post is going to be a struggle. I’m just not in the writing mood today. I suppose I could just copy Psalm 119 but then that would be cheating.

Let’s talk about patience today. This is one of the first things I learned during my journey back, to be patient. this is one of the twelve fruits of the Holy Spirit and I certainly believe it was the Holy Spirit that sent it my way. It was just a little over a year ago that I knew I needed to make a change in my life. Things were not going well and I needed to make some hard decisions. I prayed for answers and they were given to me. At the same time I also learned that I needed to be patient and in time the changes would come.

We had to get out of the house we were in, it needed more work than we could afford to put into it. However we had outstanding debt and no credit so it was going to take a lot of hard work to change things. We were going to have to cut our spending, make some hard choices, including not paying off some of the money we owed people, making them wait a little longer, In other words we ticked some people off. But I knew we could and would bo it. We would get caught up. get our credit score up and be able to move. I knew God had my back, I trusted Him and believed we would do it.

My better half didn’t believe. It took her awhille to see we were making progress and that it would happen. Even for several months after we moved she still had a hard time beleiving we would be okay. But we were and are. I would tell her to have faith, that I was praying, and God was there for us. It was actually kind of funny becasue she would ask me why I needed to read the Bible all the time or go to church every week. I would smile and say “Because it is helping us.” Now she sees. Now she believes. that good things truly do happen when you pray and have the patience to for Him to act. He may not give you what you want or what you ask for, but He will give you the answers. God knows whats best for us.

In my case I asked God, not to send us a pile of money, only to guide meand show me the way. I asked Him to show me the way out of this mess and He did. I have the next four days off and I will go through my Bible and look at the notes I have made to pick out the ones that helped me. The ones that brought me to the point where I finally trusted in God. The point when I got to the top of the mountain and wasn’t afraid to go down the other side

Another Day Another Answer

Isn’t it funny how God just seems to know the answers to your questions? I can hardly count the times over the last six or seven years that God has sent me some kind of sign when I have asked him about what I should do. The latest was last night when I asked Him how to deal with my work situation. (See yesterday’s post)

I try to read either some scripture or other religious reading, and last night something told me to open my bible to 1 Peter 3:13 – 22. Okay something told me to open to 1 Peter, but when I read it I came to this chapter 3 and these passages.

Now who is going to harm you if you are enthusiastic for what is good?

Who indeed? Without sounding cocky or full of pride, I know what is right and what is wrong. I know how to treat people (Treat others as you wish to be treated). As long as I am doing what is right and good I need not worry about the consequences.

But even if you should suffer because of righteousness, blessed are you. Do not be afraid or terrified with fear of them, but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts. Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope, but do it with gentleness and reverence, keeping your conscience clear, so that, when you are maligned, those who defame your good conduct in Christ may themselves be put to shame.

If I am somehow persecuted for doing what is right, for speaking my mind, then so be it. Of course, giving an explanation with gentleness and reverence may not be an easy thing for me to do. I have been known to lose my temper when I see something that is just plain wrong. This is where God needs to give me patience. It is never good to counter anger with anger.

For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that be the will of God, than for doing evil

Unlike so many others in these times, I am not afraid of doing what is right, I follow God’s law. Others do what is right for them, I do what is right for God. I like to call it living with the end in mind. When I’m dead, I am going to be dead for a long, long time. Therefore I want to do everything I can to increase my chances of living with Jesus for eternity. How can I do this? By doing what is right, what is good. I can’t be afraid to do what is right.

For Christ also suffered for sins once, the righteous for the sake of the unrighteous, that he might lead you to God. Put to death in the flesh, he was brought to life in the spirit.

Jesus suffered for me more than I can ever suffer for him. A short while ago I was having some serious back pain and every night I would look at the crucifix by my bed and think no matter how bad my pain gets it will never be as bad as what Jesus went through for us. Thinking of that every night, and offering up my pain to him to ease his suffering, made my pain bearable. This offering must have worked since my back has improved significantly.

I know I will get through this, I know I only need to do what is right in God’s eyes, no one else. If I do that, I can do know wrong.

Narrow Paths and New Beginnings

For the past few months, I have been undergoing some transitions in my life. Since about January I have been preparing to move from the house we have lived in for the past 15 years, and the house that could be considered an ancestral home of sorts as it has been in the family for about 100 years, and moving to a new place back where it all began. (You can read more about that here if you would like)

We are settled into the new place now and I am trying to make a decision on whether I want to change parishes. I have been regularly attending St. Anne’s Parish in Sturbridge since returning to church and have been a member there since first moving to Sturbridge in 1980 something. But now I am living in the place that I have always considered to be my hometown, Southbridge, and am closer to my old parish, Saint John Paul II Parish, formerly known as Notre Dame Parish, the parish in which I received all the sacraments in (except the last one as I think I am still alive) and have been gravitating back to this one.

I guess if I rejoin this parish, I will be a new member of my old parish? Or would I be an old member of my new parish? Although, since technically it isn’t the old parish, but a new parish, would I be a new member of a new parish?

I have always had a problem with feeling like I belonged anywhere, whether it was at school, in church, in the community, which is why even after moving from here to there, I always felt like this was still my hometown. I think this all goes back to an incident in my youth when I was left tied under a porch while the rest of the family went to frolick and play up at the same place I just moved from. But that is a blog post for another time. I have always had a difficult time making friends and fitting in with others in the past and am not sure going to a new parish will make any difference.

But alas, enough of that. What I really want to talk about is this: I have been able to turn my life around in the last few years, ever since the day I fell off the back of that tow truck. I can see the difference that trusting in the Lord has made in my life. I have had some pretty low times in the past years, and it wasn’t until I finally gave in and said “Lord, my life is in your hands now” that things really began to turn around for me. I stopped worrying about what happened yesterday, and I stopped worrying about what will happen tomorrow and I began to take my life one day at a time.

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat [or drink], or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds in the sky; they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are not you more important than they? Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life-span? Why are you anxious about clothes? Learn from the way the wild flowers grow. They do not work or spin. But I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was clothed like one of them If God so clothes the grass of the field, which grows today and is thrown into the oven tomorrow, will he not much more provide for you, O you of little faith? So do not worry and say, ‘What are we to eat?’ or ‘What are we to drink?’ or ‘What are we to wear?’ All these things the pagans seek. Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom [of God] and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides. Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself. Sufficient for a day is its own evil. – Mt. 6:25 – 34

I truly believe that once I followed this advice from Jesus, that my life has changed. I know that it could change tomorrow, it could go bad at any time, but I also know that God will take care of me as long as I continue to stay on that narrow path. I stopped worrying about “things” and worried about what comes after this life and it has made all the difference in my life.

It’s been a long road, and I have come a long way, and I know I have a long way to go, but with Jesus having my back, I’ll make it.

Dream a little dream


With all this time on my hands now, I have a whole bunch of it to think about all kinds of things. The latest is dreams,more accurately whether or not dreams come from anywhere, specifically from God. Obviously we know God has spoken to people through dreams, there are plenty of examples throughout the Bible, but what about to us not so saintly ones? Does God speak to us through dreams?

Everyone has dreams, and I know I certainly have my share of them. Some I know come from maybe having had one beer to many before going to bed, and some might come from something I ate, but then there are others I really wonder about, especially the ones that repeat themselves.

We all have dreams and in doing some research I have learned there seems to be two different schools of thought on whether they mean anything or not. Freud believed that all dreams were the result of some secret wish. When he first started discussing dreams he claimed they all had to do with sex, however after his book The Interpretation of Dreams: The Complete and Definitive Text came out, he did modify this some. Others believe that certain dreams mean certain things, symbolism. or example if you dream about oranges it means you will have good health. There is even something out there called the Dreamer’s Dictionary which will help you interpret them. So who do you believe? Like it seems is true with everything these days, there is no right answer, it all depends on your interpretation of what is written.

I can only go with my experience with dreams. As I began this post, I have all this free time to analyze everything, including my dreams and I have found some interesting patterns. One thing I have noticed, in fact I noticed this many years ago, is that I have dreams that constantly repeat themselves. They are not always the same, sometimes there are varying details, but 99% of the time they are similar enough to say they are the same. I believe these dreams are trying to send me a message. I will discuss why I believe some of these dreams come from God in a minute. I have also noticed that when I determine what the message is supposed to be, I no longer have the same dream. I had one recurring dream that started about 1984 and finally about two years ago I figured out what it was about, what it was telling me. When I took care of business, I stopped having the dream. Interestingly enough, my father had once told me he had pretty much the same dream.

Okay, so are dreams, whether all or some, messages from God? Does God try to send us messages, warnings, or prophecy? Again there are two schools of thought here as well, depending on whether you believe in God or your don’t. Obviously I do believe in God, so I do believe He speaks to us. Obviously in the Bible there are references to God speaking to people in dreams, and I believe he still does. However, we need to be very careful on this, because just like God can speak to us through dreams, so can Satan.

How can you tell the difference? Simply by reviewing the dream, the whole dream and nothing but the dream to see what the true message is. This isn’t always easy to do, like with the dream I mentioned above. If the message of the dream follows what God and Jesus teach us, then it is from God, if it contradicts what they teach us, then it isn’t from God, but from someone else.

I had another recurring dream, nightmare really, where I would enter into a deserted building and would be attacked by some unseen evil (Satan?). I would wake up feeling like I was suffocating and screaming for help, usually waking the dog, the cats and even once in awhile Tonya. I had this dream several times over several years. I finally realized after I fell off of that darn truck, that it was from God and He was sending me a very clear message. The very night I realized what He was trying to tell me, I had the dream, I made a conscious choice in the dream to not go into that building, indeed I walked down a completely different street. Not only did I not wake up in fear, I have not had the dream since.

Do I think every dream I have comes from above? No, only the ones that repeat themselves, and that I can’t seem to forget throughout the day. I believe God speaks to us in many ways. I know I didn’t always realize it, nor did I listen, but I think He is always speaking to us. Whether it is from God directly or from your guardian angel (another concept I have been pondering lately) He does guide us. So dream on and take the time to look at your dreams, you don’t need books or help from others, just think about the dream, what it might mean and go from there. Maybe it is God Calling.

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The Log in Your Eye

It seems my last post has created quite a stir around here. I have heard through the grapevine that my ex may have taken offense to my remarks about one of the causes for our divorce.

First, I will say that I am surprised, but also happy she reads what I write. Of course I am surprised and happy when anyone reads what I write. Second, I said nothing in the post about our marriage which I haven’t said before to her or my children. Third, if she has read all my posts she would know I have never, nor did I in this post say our divorce was all her fault, and I have asked her for forgiveness as well.

Maybe I could have written the post differently than I did, I certainly had no intention of making it sound like it was all her fault, if we are honest it was both our faults, no one is perfect. No one knows better than I about the bad choices I made, the things I did wrong and the reasons for the things I did. I can come up with all kinds of justifications and excuses for them, but that won’t change anything, except maybe to make me feel better, although I know it won’t, what is wrong is wrong, bad choices are bad choices no matter why we make them.

We tend to see things from only one side, from one perspective, especially when something doesn’t particularly go our way. It’s a normal reaction, we all do it. We try to take the speck out of another’s eye without removing the log from our own. (Luke 6:42) But when we sit down and really think about things, when we are truly honest about things, we will see the truth. I have done this, I have accepted my share of the responsibility, I have asked for forgiveness, especially from God, and now, contrary to what others may think I am happier and better for it. I haven’t hidden from the truth of the things I have done, nor will I.

My family, like many others I am sure, has a habit of keeping things inside, not being honest with each other, instead only sharing the things each of us wants the other side to hear. I am guilty of this, as are all of us. Maybe some of us forget certain things or only see them one way, I don’t know. I do know that I accept responsibility for the things I have done, others should as well.

I’ll end by saying this: read what I have written, take the time to really, honestly, think about it, even pray about it, then come to your own conclusion.

And that is all I will say about that.

Here are two selections for contemplation, and in which I believe.

42 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the log that is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brother’s eye. – Luke 6:42 (RSVCE)

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you shall eat or what you shall drink, nor about your body, what you shall put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And which of you by being anxious can add one cubit to his span of life? 28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin; 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O men of little faith? 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek all these things; and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well.34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Let the day’s own trouble be sufficient for the day. Matthew 6: 25 – 34 (RSVCE)