With Every Breath…

This morning the sun was a small red circle in the dark, smoky sky. My lungs tightened and I gasped for air. With every breath, I am reminded.

I am reminded of the many thousands of people displaced by the horrific fires in California. I’m reminded of those who have lost their lives, their homes, their businesses and employment. I am reminded that thousands of people with little to their name are surviving in tent cities in Walmart parking lots, churches and overflowing shelters.

The temptation is to believe I can’t do anything about any of the above. The truth is, I can and I will. With every breath…

  • I will remember those who are struggling and ask God to use me to ease their pain in whatever way I can.
  • I will help at least one person or give one donation (or more) each day.
  • I will offer an experience of God through an act of kindness, generosity of giving and love.
  • I will look for a stranger in my midst and offer a welcome through a compliment, a smile or an offer to listen and pray with them.
  •  I will choose one beautiful thing (this morning it was a rose) to remind myself that God is STILL good and that good is more powerful than evil and love is more powerful than hate.
  • I will create one thing to remind myself that something comes from nothing…that God is still the Creator and will continue to create and restore.
  • I will do one normal thing each day to remind myself that life continues. Today I will feed the hummingbirds.

And with every breath, I will remember to encourage those who are discouraged to do the same.

Each of us can do at least one thing to multiply hope and love and by doing so, with every breath we share the light of God that is never dulled by darkness.

And with every breath, we will each bring heaven to earth.

So let it be done.

Posted in The Power of One, Spiritual Life, As a Christian... | 2 Comments

De-cluttering My Life

Every once in a while, I feel like I’m losing site of the priorities of life. I tend to get caught up in the news…other people’s news…news about news. I could go on, but I think you get my point. It is time to de-clutter. My external life has become too frenetic. The news, other people’s news, the chatter, the nonsense and the minutia of life in general, feels overwhelming at times.

I’m an extreme introvert. Any disturbance in my external life, greatly affects my internal life. It’s time for a change. It is time to de-clutter. Let me be clear. I’m not talking about closets or that extra dresser with all the “stuff” stuffed inside. I’m talking about my mind, soul and spirit. That is where I need the de-cluttering! I call it redeeming the time. I want to redeem and reclaim the priorities of life. I want more balance and less frenetic activity.

The image I have of my life right now, is the scene in the movie “Forrest Gump.” You might remember that scene. It’s the one where Forrest is running and running and running and then all of a sudden, he just stops! Then he simply turns around and walks in the other direction. That is the image I see right now. That is how my life shift is going to take place. What would it look like for me to just stop, turn around and simply walk the other way?
Repentance.
Repentance literally means to turn around and go a new direction. I’m turning around and admitting that part of the frenetic pace of my life is the “stuff” that I get caught up in on social media. I need to clean house as it were, to let go of the attachment. I need to admit to the idol of the cell-phone.

As most standards go, I’m not glued to my phone because of “apps.” In fact, I am laughed at when I tell people I have one app on my phone. I don’t need to be pushed and pulled in all directions. I don’t need apps to tell me what to do, how to do it, where to do it, and then an app to analyze the app. Nope! I am determined to live life with as few apps as possible.

I want to spend more time with God, write more, learn how to paint, play with grandchildren, enjoy my family and care for friends who are struggling or just do good and share kindness where it is needed. I want to simplify again.

I think people today are longing for a time when they weren’t so pushed and pulled by outside sources. Whether we admit it or not, I believe our society is in great need of rest and renewal. How about you? Are you longing for a simpler time? What have you made your god? Is it time to stop…turn around and walk in the other direction? If so, it may be time to de-clutter your mind, soul and spirit.

Posted in Life, Spiritual Life | 2 Comments

Spiritual Weed Pulling

The weather channel said it was supposed to be 106 degrees today so, I was out weeding in the yard very early. I admit my yard had more weeds than I would like, but I was determined to get rid of them. Fortunately, I have discovered a “spiritual practice” while working in the yard. Weeding helps me converse with God about the things I need to get rid of in my life. I am speaking primarily about the distractions that keep me from focusing on my relationship with God. I am daily distracted by the world and can lose my focus much too easily. Maybe you can relate. Today, God and I had a talk about the many things that keep me from growing and focusing on my Lord…aka, all the “spiritual weeds” in my life.

There are many things in our world today that get in the way of putting God first. Facebook can be a real time waster for me. I am in a writing group online via Facebook and I’ve become more intentional about checking in with the group and then logging out of Facebook as soon as I have done that. I also don’t need the daily toxic political news either. My blood pressure is up and according to my doctor, there is no reason for that, other than the current political climate perhaps. I also don’t need to respond to every post my friends share. That’s an easy habit to get into. So, that is one more weed I will be pulling in my spiritual life.

In addition, responding to emails while in the middle of writing or other work assignments is another distraction. We are each called to work as if for the Lord, and being distracted and disorganized is not helpful in that endeavor. Sadly, we as a society have put our “phones” above one-to-one conversation and that is another weed we all may need to pull. I will put my phone away during meals or while in conversation. I will not be available to check messages or calls while I am present to the person I am with. I think you get my point.

What “spiritual weeds” is Holy Spirit asking you to pull? What keeps your focus away from our Lord and on the world? By the way, if you are interested in weeding while you meditate on the topic of spiritual weeds in your life, I still have a few more pesky weeds in my front yard. You are welcome to join me if you would like. Then again, I could finish re-reading Tom Sawyer while you pull the weeds. <wink>

Peace, Cindy

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Let Freedom Ring

It’s not too late to change the game,

Just one vote, there is no shame.

Now it’s time to make amends

Change your mind-our land you’ll mend

 

Do not bow to “the man” alone

or you will reap what you have sown

God is watching and He cares

with whom His loyalty is shared.

 

For “the man” alone  you sing?

Christian right does not mean clean

Not too late to turn around

Make the turn

Save America’s Ground!

 

Turn around and go a new way.

Save our country from his raids

Turn around and make amends

Ask God again, did He really send

“the man” who says, “worship ME!

To ME be loyal…It’s all about ME?”

 

He cares not for your neighbor or thee

He wants to take from you what’s free

Destruction, hate and filth he spews

We hear it daily on the news.

 

So you voted one mistake

It’s not too late to tell “the man” WAIT!

Wait and see as you’re on your knees

Christian right or wrong ? We’ll see.

 

Let God heal your scaled eyes

God will expose “the man’s” hate and lies

Turn around, make amends

Worship God not Satan’s friends.

 

Turn around just in time

For God knows what “the man” will find

It’s all plastic, it’s all fake

not the news…the pedestal he makes

 

To GOD alone let us ALL sing

In OUR land…

Let FREEDOM ring!

 

© C.L. Burger 2018

 

Posted in Spiritual Life, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

The Gaping Wound in America’s Heart

 

I never thought I would see leaders of our country kidnap children and hold them hostage to get their legislation passed.  I never thought we would have a president bent on the destruction of democracy, making deals with world dictators all while abolishing civil rights for our own citizens. It would seem that we’ve gone mad!

The not so good news is that America has a gaping hole in its heart. For example, this morning I received a rather nasty verbal assault from a republican who believes Trump is God’s gift to the world. Sadly, this man has sucked up the lies, approved of the abusive treatment of women, children, minorities and the vulnerable elderly. “Kick em While They Are Down” may very well be the 2020 mantra on that red baseball cap he wears.

The guy who came after me this morning was a sad, angry man. At least that is what I was seeing. I even invited him to private message me so his vitriol wouldn’t spill all over a relative’s Facebook page. He didn’t realize my relative had blocked him from a previous post, and his audience wasn’t as big as his ego thought it was. Sound familiar? He kept up his abusive talk and I figured he was just following his leader and since he didn’t want to talk about the real problem (his own wounds) I ended up blocking him too.

I think what we are seeing from people who still support this president, in spite of his horrific abuse of humanity, is the majority of them are wounded in some way. I wonder what happened in their life that caused them to relate so profoundly with this wounded president. Trump puffs out his chest with bravado, while quaking in fear on the inside. Or maybe THAT’S it. Are these Americans relating to the fear? Regardless, they are waking the true conscious of America. They are rousing the previously complacent and complicit (someone explain that last word to Ivanka please.) which will ultimately save our country from democratic demise.

The majority of Americans care about humanity, care about children, care about civil rights and protection for the vulnerable. There is more GOOD in the majority of Americans than not. Perhaps the people who actually care about others, have had their wounds transformed into compassion? Perhaps they have done the personal growth work of an adult and left the pain behind and healed the wounds? I’m not sure. Either way, we are called to reach out and offer to “listen” and let them “talk through” their wounds and accept healing. I tried. I offered. Instead the angry man on the other end of the post chose to verbally assault me.

Jesus offered the invitation of healing to others and instructed his disciples to do likewise.  But He also said (Luke 10: 4-6) “Whatever house you enter, stay there until you leave that town. If people do not welcome you, leave their town and shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.” Interestingly, the next verse says,  6 “So they set out and went from village to village, proclaiming the good news and healing people everywhere.”

The good news is, healing is possible. So, when another trump supporter wants to abuse me or lash out at me from the gaping hole in their heart, I’ll offer the invitation again. If they accept it, we will engage in conversation and perhaps wounds will be healed. If not…they will be left in the dust as I move on.

Jesus is the door to healing…not the doormat. I’m grateful the majority of American’s are beginning to figure that out!

 

©

 

 

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The Call of the Dove

It was still dark outside when I heard it. The gentle cooing of the dove woke me from my sleep. I turned over and hoped the bird would fly away, but then…it cooed again. In that instant, God reminded me of my childhood friend. I listened, breath held, waiting for the coo again. I couldn’t go back to sleep, so I got up and stumbled to the kitchen to make coffee.

My very first friend, Alyssa, was a little girl who lived across the street from me. Her front yard was overgrown with trees and shrubs and her house was set far back from the road. Alyssa first appeared at the edge of her property one Saturday many years ago. She didn’t say a word and shyly waved at me and before I could say hell-o, she disappeared into the overgrown shrubs and massive trees in her yard, which I always referred to as “the secret garden.”

Then, she showed up again the next Saturday. She was holding a garden hose and we both realized we were doing the same chore! Our Saturday chore was watering the trees in our front yards. We giggled when we held up our respective hoses and shrugged our shoulders in that “woe is me” kind of way of most children who are required to complete their weekly chores.

Alyssa was loving, kind and gentle and I considered her my first friend after I arrived at the house we lived in. I had come from a foster home setting and I really didn’t trust very many people. Alyssa was different but we seemed to have a common bond that went beyond watering trees!

She reminded me of a deer, with her big brown eyes. The children at school often teased her because of the clothes she wore. She never said anything, but I recognized her hurt feelings, just by looking into her big doe-like eyes. I decided it was my job, as her friend, to defend her when she was picked on or teased.

There was a deep sorrow or perhaps it was shame, that Alyssa carried.  It wasn’t until much later in her life that I discovered the secret garden with the house in the shadow of the large trees, was where shame was hiding. One day, she told me her mother drank a lot and fell down on the floor because she always had a bottle in her hand and her mom “got mean” when she drank. I told her before I went into a foster home, my mother had been mean too, and she drank a lot too. Alyssa looked at me with hope in her eyes for the very first time. After that, we were inseparable! We were first friends AND best friends!

We conspired together and decided that instead of doing our weekly chore, we would play instead! One Saturday I went to her yard and the next, she would cross the road and come into my yard. We even had a secret code to contact each other when it was time to play. We called out with the coo of a dove and if the other one responded with the same  signal, then it was time to play! I knew my best friend would be there when I heard the call of the dove.  It was time to meet my friend on the edge of the yard so we could giggle and laugh and tease each other until we laughed so hard we fell over. Sometimes, we tried to spray each other with the hose on those hot summer days. I loved getting together with my best friend!

The aroma of coffee filled my kitchen as the sun peeked over the horizon. Fresh cup poured, cream added…time to read my morning devotional. And then, I heard it again, the gentle coo of a dove. It was time to whisper and share the secrets of my heart with Jesus. I smiled as I sensed him calling me to the couch as He said, “Let’s spend time together today, we can laugh and play and know that we will always be best friends!”

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The Walking Wounded

I was on my way to work this morning and noticed a man coming toward me on the sidewalk. He walked with a slow gate and was limping a bit. As I looked closer, I saw a brace on his left leg. It seems he had a knee injury. As we greeted one another, I was reminded of the number of (what I call) the “walking wounded” in our churches today. Those who are grieving or hungry or unemployed or divorced or have been chastised by some well meaning Christian…or…or…well…you get my point.

I couldn’t help but wonder how many people in our church today are also limping through life, in a spiritual sense.  So many people attend church and carry deep hurts and wounds and yet they feel they need to put on that happy perky Christian face so they appear to have (as they have been told by the church)  “enough faith” or “a confident trust” or “true depth of Spirit.”

What a disservice we do as Christians when we ask how someone is (in church) and they respond with a curt “fine.” Yet, we never pay attention to how the Holy Spirit (the Spirit of Christ who is supposed to reside in Christians) may be prompting us to use our gift of mercy, or encouragement or discernment or better yet…the gift of healing!

Now some folks reading my comments here might think it’s time to buy me one of those white jackets with the sleeves that tie in the back. But quite frankly, I’m serious.

If Jesus is our model (if you are a professed Christian) then why is it that we have fallen so short in the church today, of following His ways? Why is it that we put on a happy, perky Christian “face” (façade) when the truth is…we may not be so happy? Why is it that so many of our fellow church members are willing to settle for woundedness? (ours AND perhaps theirs!) Is it because they don’t know how to deal with the wounds? Is it because they are trying to be politically correct and mind their own business? Is it because self pride tells them they don’t need God and they can handle their problems on their own?

Who knows?

My point is, if we are truly following the way of Christ and developing as disciples of Christ, then we should be using our gifts to help others. If we have been given (by God) the gift of mercy, shouldn’t we be giving a cup of coffee to a homeless person in our neighborhood ourselves instead of writing a check to a long distant mission a safe 6,000 miles away? (aka sanitized giving) If we have been given the gift of discernment and a heart for justice shouldn’t we be able to tell when corporations are cheating their investors and say something about it? Or are we so convinced that the little guy (or gal) can’t do anything about the BIG guy (corporate America) (The story of David and Goliath might be a good read right about now!) that we have somehow lost our courage to speak up when we see our own employers cheating or telling a lie?

I debated about quoting scripture in only my second blog entry, but the point is valid. Revelations 3:15 in reference to the Church in Laodicea says. “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm-neither hot nor cold-I am about to spit you out of my mouth.”

God’s point here is that He is not impressed with the lukewarm church…the church that doesn’t take a commitment to Christ seriously. What are we (each) willing to give up for the sake of Christ? There will come a time in the future, when we are asked to give up far more than we may realize for the sake of our faith. Are we ready for that task? Are we up for the challenge? Trust me, lukewarm won’t cut it during such times.

The Message Bible reference to this scripture states the point a bit more simply: “I know you inside and out, and find little to my liking. You’re not cold, you’re not hot-far better to be either cold or hot! You’re stagnant.”

Personally, I think it’s time for the church to move away from stagnant and seek the living water. It’s time for the church  to find refreshment by welcoming the Holy Spirit into worship. When we count the number of minutes our services are supposed to last, or we make sure we don’t choose the wrong hymn because the wealthy church going doctor might not put as much in the offering plate (because he hates that song!)…we’re doing it wrong! We have, as church, missed the mark. We are wallowing in stagnant waters.

It took courage for Jesus to turn over the tables of the moneychangers in the temple. It most likely took courage for Jesus to ask the Samaritan woman for a drink of water (since Jews were to avoid Samaritans like the plague!)

If Jesus is our true model, isn’t it time to ramp up on the courage? It takes courage today to expose our wounds, to welcome the stranger, the divorced, the homeless, the destitute into our pretty pristine church buildings. It takes courage to tell our boss no when s/he asks us to falsify the data on a report. It takes courage to speak up for children who are being abused. The bottom line is, it takes courage to be a TRUE Christian!

It takes courage to admit that some folks who have never set foot in a church really have a greater anointing and show deeper love than many “Christians” warming the pews on Sundays. I’ve known (and experienced) so called “Christians” (see me making air quotes as I type this!) who (for the sake of the law of Christ) have inflicted far more wounds than offered healings…and that my friends, is not okay!  (And yes, I include myself in this accusation as well.) I am grateful to be able to turn around and go a new direction (the definition of repent by the way)  and I pray the same for our churches.

It should be our purpose to HEAL those who come to church, not create more “walking wounded.”  As members of the TRUE Church, we should do what Jesus commanded us to do. “Love one another, as I have loved you.”

I really would like some fresh water in our churches. You know, that “living water” that Jesus told the Samaritan woman about.  I’m tired of the stagnant…politically correct, let’s not rock the boat, don’t stir the (stagnant) waters church.

I suppose saying all of this takes a little courage. It’s not much, but it’s a start for this reluctant prophet.

More courage and Living water to each of you!

Peace,

Cindy

Posted in Spiritual Life | 2 Comments

Church – No longer a Spectator Sport

Church leaders around the country are wringing their hands, wondering why so few people are showing up for Sunday services. Magazine articles abound on the topic of how American Christian church attendance is declining, especially among young people.

The Americanized Christian church has found itself in the position of serving as a “feel good ATM machine.” Leadership holds meeting after meeting to determine what worship songs might stir the people, or what light show might bring them to their feet in a frenzy. Or perhaps they entice them with a foaming latte and sweet roll from their in-house coffee shop. Maybe if their tummies are full and the music is loud and the room is filled with lights, smoke and mirrors, the people will stay long enough to drop an offering in the plate to help pay for the coffee, music, lights, smoke and mirrors  before they dash out into the parking lot to get on with their busy lives.

Unfortunately, the spectator sport church does little more than provide a place for people to show up for the “perks” and to be entertained for an hour or two. After that, people leave with a “feel good deposit” that might last a day or perhaps if they are lucky, into mid-week.

My Godson uses a phrase to start a conversation on a serious topic. He begins his profound sharing with,  “Here’s the REAL of it.” The “real of it,” is that church was never meant to be a spectator sport. Church was and IS for the purpose of honoring and glorifying God, allowing Holy Spirit to lead and direct what God is doing. It is meant to be a place where men and women gather, humble themselves before God and wait upon God to guide them in how “they” (the church…aka the people in the church) are being called to be the hands and feet of Christ today!

We are entering a time when the Kingdom of God will arrive in full measure. We will begin to see people who have God’s anointing actually “doing” the work of the church, using their spiritual gifts and serving as the hands and feet of Christ. They will actually “be” Christians for more than the purpose of a Sunday morning name tag, or a political lobby donation.

It is time for a change in the American church, a time for new ground. It is time to put the past (spectator sport church) behind us and actually “be” church. It’s time to wake up…time to raise the dead.

If you are not being equipped and used by God in your church to make a difference in the world, you may want to ask, “Am I here to be entertained, or am I here to BE church, to use my God-given gifts to bcome the hands and feet of Christ in our hurting world today?

Sound a little crazy? Not really. It’s a paradigm shift.

Again, here’s the real of it. Will you be a spectator or an active participant in bringing in the Kingdom? If you are a church leader, are you entertaining the people or equipping them?

Food for thought. Sorry, no latte served with this one.

 

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Raising the Dead Church

 

Current world events may feel overwhelming. It might feel like you have nothing to offer, that you can’t make a difference in our country, our world. Not true! YOU CAN make a difference and God is calling each one of us to do just that!

It is time to set politics aside and do what is right for humanity! It is time to do what is right in the eyes of God!  It is time to get rid of the old and bring in the new. God is calling the church to pay attention…to listen…to act. God is shaking things up to raise the dead in the church. We can no longer sit back and do nothing. We can no longer avoid stepping into the realm of the “uncomfortable.” I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Holy Spirit comforts the disturbed and disturbs the comfortable. 

It’s time to wake up!  We can no longer do nothing. We can no longer be lukewarm (See Revelation 3:16) So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.

Will you risk? If so, how? Are you afraid to risk? Don’t be! God says, “I Am WITH YOU!” If you think being a Christian means showing up for church on Sunday and putting money in a plate and then going about your daily business as usual on Monday…think again!

Being CHURCH means, YOU make a difference. Being CHURCH means putting your body on the line. Yes, and often, being church means fighting for justice, whatever that looks like for you. Mine may not be marching in a protest. Mine may be through a keyboard and telephone. My making a difference won’t look like yours. But right now, right here, when you feel Holy Spirit calling you to ACT…to BE CHURCH, you will KNOW what that looks like for YOU!

Listen, Look, Learn, Ask, Pray!

 “What are you asking me to do Lord?”

Listen and then GO make a difference!

YOU can be part of RAISING the DEAD church.

Now GO!

Don’t be lukewarm!

Instead, Raise the Dead!

 

 

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 Permission to be the Bully

Perhaps part of the problem in America right now, is the resident of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. has given all the bullies in America permission to be a bully too.

Don’t like someone’s skin color?  Be the bully

Don’t like a woman who won’t tolerate sexual assault? Be the bully.

Don’t like people fleeing violence to save their families?  Be the bully.

Don’t like disabled people? Make fun of them…be the bully.

You probably see where I’m going with this. My father taught me many years ago when I was in elementary school, that if someone is a bully, they are really just a scared little kid on the inside. They can’t handle someone not liking them, or not doing what “they” want them to do, so they threaten out of their own fear and lack of self-esteem.

What is most disconcerting about all of this “bully behavior” from the White House, is that it clearly reflects a fascist agenda. Yep, I’m talking Hitler! Read your history book. The tweets from the White House could easily come straight out of any random Nazi handbook. Stephen Miller might agree. The president will deny that of course, maybe even call me a name or discount me in some way. No matter. His opinion of me is none of my business.

So what’s my point?

If you and I don’t stand up to this bully, this scared little kid who is out of control…only God knows what will happen next!

I’m standing up to this bully. Are you?

C.L. Burger

© 2018

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Real Christian?

Kids in cages
Make the call
Tell the White House
you are appalled
Make America great again?
I don’t think so,
looks more like sin!
Bring the little ones
unto Me. Are you
Christian?  Set them free!!
Singing hymns and
pretty cut flowers?
attending church for
just one hour?
Read the Gospels
That’s not all…
Take a risk or
we ALL fall
What will it take
to follow His call?
Write a letter
Stand at the wall?
Make America great again?
I don’t think so
Make amends!
Turn around!
Go a different way
It’s not the White House
Who runs the show
Take a stand and tell
them NO!
Christian are you?
We shall see.
Bow down low
Get on your knees
It’s not the White House
who will set them free
It’s REAL Christians
Like you and me!

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