Posted in Current events & community, Environment, Future/stability/security, global, Life, Travel

Living in harmony with nature

The leaves of the trees are for the healing of the nations…Revelation 22:2

20181027_113319.jpg

Being in the forest and witnessing the awesome beauty of nature has inspiring and transforming effects. A recent newspaper article reports that spending time in nature has many health benefits including a release of stress and anxiety. I think many of us have felt the calming effect of taking a walk through the woods.

I certainly love my walks in the woods and I especially love autumn leaves. To me, autumn leaves are a little way God is saying “see how awesome and beautiful I am!” The beautiful skies and gentle breezes in the leaves are incredible. On my walks I always gain much needed inspiration and feel an affinity for the Creator and creation.

The earth is the Lord’s, and all its fullness, The world and those who dwell therein. Psalms 24:1

20181120_152021.jpgAll creation including the land, animals, and humans exist to show forth God’s awesomeness. Recognizing this enables us to appreciate each other and helps us find ways to live in harmony. How do we live in a way that enables every thing that has breath to praise the Lord? This was one of the questions posed by Dr. Barry Huff in his wonderful talk entitled “The Earth is the Lord’s…” (Ps 24:1): Biblical Inspiration for Sustainability.

God is love, and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. I John 4:16

When we dwell in love, we naturally express appreciation and respect for those around us including people, forests, and animals. Our prayers and actions can lead us to solutions for environmental challenges. When we broaden our sense of divine Love to include love and care for every living being, we see harmony, balance, and order restored to God’s beautiful creation.

Advertisements
Posted in Future/stability/security, Life, Time/stress

Inspiration for the future

One of my favorite Bible verses is Jeremiah 29:11.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (NIV)

What I love about this passage is in the original Hebrew language it uses the word “shalom” to describe God’s plan. Shalom is one of those words that is packed full of meaning. It means peace, welfare, goodness, prosperity, total and complete wellbeing all in a single word. Imagine that! God’s will for you is goodness, welfare, peace, prosperity, complete and entire wellbeing. “God’s will” is a verb — it’s an action word. So, God is enforcing goodness, health, and wellbeing in your life.

When Jeremiah, the prophet, spoke this message to the people of Judah who were exiled in Babylon, it was a much needed message of hope. After the tumultuous events of 587 BCE including the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem and the Babylonian conquest of Judah, God’s promise was that God would restore the land and abundance, God would return the people to their home and out of exile, and there would be joy and celebration. It didn’t look like there was peace, but this message assured them that that was indeed God’s plan and so it came true.

This message is true for you, too! One time when I was feeling anxious about the future, I remembered this passage and God’s promise. This reminded me that God is in charge and God’s will is only good. God didn’t cause me to feel anxiety or doubt about my future, and I could overcome these thoughts by trusting God’s presence and power. I felt such a sense of peace and an assurance that God, good, was with me.

So the next time you are tempted to doubt or despair, know that God is not out to get you. Instead trust and remember that God’s plan for you is shalom — goodness, joy, peace, health, prosperity, and wellbeing, and God is willing this in your life!

Posted in Current events & community, Future/stability/security, global, Women

Wonderful interfaith event

20180419_140242.jpg

I am grateful I had the privilege of being on the planning committee for this wonderful interfaith event. This was the 38th Annual Women’s Interfaith Conference in St. Louis, Missouri.

A beautiful group of women have been planning these wonderful conferences each year since the early 80’s. There is a new topic each year. The theme this year was “Holy Days – What, When, How”.

I loved learning about the diverse faith practices of each of the faith traditions represented. From Ramadan to Rosh Hashanah, Easter to Buddha’s Birthday, we had the opportunity to learn about each these diverse holy days and what they mean to these women of faith.

My favorite portion were these final questions: what do the holy days mean to you, what language do you pray in, and how can we carry the peace-building message of interfaith to the world.

There was such an atmosphere of peace, respect, and inclusion in the room. The qualities of kindness, thoughtfulness, and love were truly uplifting.

It is affirming to see what is possible in the example this diverse group of women sitting in the same room, listening to one another, and sharing their stories. It inspires hope!