Who am I praising?

In Psalms 65 I read about giving praise to God.

I wondered, do I give praise to God? Or to a recipe?

Do I praise Spirit, or rituals?

Do I give praise to divine Mind, or human minds?

Verses 1 through 4 of Psalms 65 reads as follows:

Praise is due to you, O God, in Zion,
    and to you shall vows be performed.
O you who hear prayer,
    to you shall all flesh come.
When iniquities prevail against me,
    you atone for our transgressions.
Blessed is the one you choose and bring near,
    to dwell in your courts!
We shall be satisfied with the goodness of your house,
    the holiness of your temple!

I keep reading and discover promises of wonderful results when praising God:

By awesome deeds you answer us with righteousness,
    O God of our salvation,
the hope of all the ends of the earth
    and of the farthest seas;
the one who by his strength established the mountains,
    being girded with might;
who stills the roaring of the seas,
    the roaring of their waves,
    the tumult of the peoples,
so that those who dwell at the ends of the earth are in awe at your signs.
You make the going out of the morning and the evening to shout for joy.

 

 

Dressing up in gladness

With freezing cold temperatures, I wear warm clothes. It can be a bit bothersome to bundle up. So, it was fun to read Psalms 30 and be reminded that God clothes us with gladness. I’ll post verses 11 and 12:

“You have turned for me my mourning into dancing;
you have loosed my sackcloth
and clothed me with gladness,
12 that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent.
O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever!

2014-snow-at-entrancesmall

Dropped thirty degrees in half hour

By mid-morning, Saturday, it was sixty degrees Fahrenheit outside. The weather report predicted snow Sunday, so I busily set about planting cold season herb seeds.

I raked back a layer of leaves, revealing delicious dirt. After tossing seeds over the soil, the dirt was raked again to cover the precious seeds.

Walking to the neighbors, I collected pine needles to use as ground cover over the seeds. All work was done by noon.

After lunch the temperature began dropping as a torrent of rain fell. Puddles turned into mini-lakes out in the pasture. I could visualize the seeds being washed away, though I tried to remain optimistic.

Rain turned into sleet and snow. By 3 p.m. it was a winter wonderland here.

The beauty of the outdoors overshadowed the feelings of despair over my mornings work, surely wasted.

It’s still winter wonderland outside. I won’t know if any seeds come up until spring.

I decided to go with God, who gave me patience and the ability to plant more seeds.

 

Uninterrupted love

Divine love can’t be interrupted.

The continuity of God’s love persists through time and change.

Here is an example:

Yesterday, I spoke on the phone with a friend I hadn’t talked to in two years. We both are busy in life, yet we think of one another often with thoughts of joy and compassion. Those memories and expectations are what keep love continuous.

The second we connected on the phone, our conversation was serious and happy. There was no discussion about weather, politics, or trivial tidbits. She told me about her niece, who is living with her and her husband now because the niece’s mother just never adapted to motherhood and moved to Mexico.

The niece had fallen back two grades before moving in with my friend and her husband. She is in sixth grade now and doing well in school. And playing the flute in band.

Love is magnified with gratitude.

Even though we don’t talk with one another often, our love stays uninterrupted, unbroken, and only gets stronger and clearer.

 

What to eat on Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is the second busiest holiday for restaurants, after Mother’s Day. The optimist in me sees happy couples lingering in the candlelight of love. The realist in me sees people eating. Love may make life worthwhile, but we eat food to survive.

And, the farmer in me knows that food doesn’t come from the grocery store.

Let’s take a quick look at fruit.

Fruit trees are planted. The trees require 5–8-years of growth before a commercial crop is produced. All the while, the trees and soil require care. Then, to harvest successfully, the fruit must be picked at a specific time of maturity, before being taken out of the field to be washed, packaged, and shipped to grocery stores.

Furthermore, if we expect to eat fruit in the winter, the produce is preserved either by means of canning or freezing.

Basically, a colossal amount of work, time, and thought goes into food availability. The elements of weather and the market are accounted for. And it’s the same for love.

When needing, or even wanting, love, I remind myself there is more to it than romance and eating chocolate. Many attributes and elements are involved.

To find elements associated with love, I plodded through the Bible and read this verse from Galatians, “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.”

In other words, I read, don’t try to cultivate only love. The fruit of Spirit isn’t only love, but love, joy, peace, patience, yadda yadda.

Seemed acceptable. I couldn’t argue with the fact that the attributes on that list were things that I, well, like to experience. So, they all must be important.

However, I got a bit stymied by the word “Spirit.” I mean come on, what is Spirit? It’s unseen, indescribable, immeasurable, pretty complicated.

Added to the complication is bad timing. Just like on the farm, if fruit was picked before it ripened, it was sour. And, if we waited too long to pick, the fruit was rotten.

Sour or rotten love, is the pits.

Screeeeeech, that is where I applied the mental brakes to stop myself from going in circles around only love.

I broadened my diet, so to speak. I made, and still make, efforts to eat up joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.

For example, while negotiating today’s societal culture of women working outside the home and men working inside the home, I exercised faithfulness and stayed married after telling my husband, “Please don’t ever wash my blouse in the same laundry load with the mudroom rugs ever again. Stuff doesn’t just come out of the machine, clean. The mud from the rugs got in my blouse and ruined it.”

Okay, I confess to selective memory and probably told my husband, “Start helping around the house better or we’re getting a divorce,” but we’re still happily together after 33-years.

As for the element of patience, this is very interesting.

For certain: I am not a source of patience.

And because of my bossy gene, I can’t help but admit that the source of my husband’s patience with me must be infinite.

The source of patience must be unending, why not call it Spirit.

I may not be able to see or measure Spirit, but I can know Spirit. I can know Spirit as source. The fruit source. Said in another way, when I stop believing and acting as though other people, or I, am a source of love, I’m in line to reap success in love.

We can reap success in love because love isn’t dependent on dinner or a personal relationship. Love is internalized along with peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control, all of which we can get our teeth into this Valentine’s Day, or now.

 

Bio: Cheryl Petersen lives in Delhi. Her books are: “from science & religion to God,” and, “Zen Kitty: and other meows”, available on Amazon.com

Winter reading

I bumped into a book that I’d like to recommend. It was an easy read about why human beings have religion. It wasn’t offensive and I didn’t feel any attempt to convert me toward, or away from religion.

The book:

A Little History of Religion

By: Richard Holloway, former Bishop of Edinburgh

Number of Pages: 288

Holloway brings up some good points about human nature opposing new and useful changes. But the author also shines light on the fact that we do progress, we do change for the better.

 

Our eternal strength

Reading about Samson, the Nazirite with long curls, I got to thinking he wasn’t very smart. He kept hanging with people who wanted to find his weakness. Samson point blank finally revealed that if his long curly hair was cut, he’d be weak.

As read about in Judges 16, Samson’s hair was secretly cut and his enemies then bound him after jabbing out his eyes.

Once his hair grew back, Samson did turn to God for strength and killed a lot of Philistines.

This hints that although hair wasn’t really his strength, he didn’t have to get rid of it. It’s like know money isn’t our strength, or possessions aren’t are strength, or job position isn’t our strength, and keeping God important in our life.

Moreover, we know that it’s the thinking that we’re dealing with.

Bounding or killing off people has never killed off hate, fear, and even disease.

Because those negatives make life miserable, it’s natural for humanity to strive to break the negative thinking apart and turn to infinite Mind. God is infinite Mind and our source of strength.

From 21st Century Science and Health:

“Fear, sin, and our neglect of spirituality is what brings on and feeds all sickness. Disease is always induced by a false sense mentally entertained, not destroyed. Disease is an image of thought externalized. The mental state is called a physical state. Whatever is cherished in human mind as the physical condition is imaged forth on the body.

“Omnipotent and infinite Mind made all and includes all. This Mind does not make mistakes and subsequently correct them. God does not cause us to sin, to be sick, or to die.

“Infinite Mind is the creator, and creation is the infinite image or idea emanating from this Mind. If Mind is within and without all things, then all is Mind, and this definition is demonstrable.

“Through spiritual perception we can discern the heart of divinity and thereby begin to understand the generic term person. Our spirituality is not absorbed in God. We do not become isolated or trapped in a vacuum. Our individuality goes on and on reflecting Life eternal. We each represent the totality of infinite Mind’s substance.”

 

 

 

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