23 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.
Category Archives: Religion
The Virtues of a Woman/Mother
An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels.
The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain.
She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life.
She seeks wool and flax, and works with willing hands.
She is like the ships of the merchant; she brings her food from afar.
She rises while it is yet night and provides food for her household and portions for her maidens.
She considers a field and buys it; with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.
She dresses herself with strength and makes her arms strong.
She perceives that her merchandise is profitable. Her lamp does not go out at night.
She puts her hands to the distaff, and her hands hold the spindle.
She opens her hand to the poor and reaches out her hands to the needy.
She is not afraid of snow for her household, for all her household are clothed in scarlet.
She makes bed coverings for herself; her clothing is fine linen and purple.
Her husband is known in the gates when he sits among the elders of the land.
She makes linen garments and sells them; she delivers sashes to the merchant.
Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come.
She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.
Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her:
“Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.”
Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.
Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates.
Proverbs 31: 10-31
I hope that we all think of our mothers today. I love my mama, but like all mothers, she drives me crazy sometimes. She has been in a long period of depression since she found out I was gay, but that was relieved somewhat by the birth of my niece, so she now has the grand-baby she always wanted. She is still convinced I am going to hell, but she doesn’t say it as much anymore. As long as it is a “don’t ask, don’t tell, don’t discuss” situation, we get along great.
So even if your mother drives you crazy, I hope that you still have a good relationship with her and tell her how much you love her today.
I love you, Mama.
(She would surely die if she ever saw this blog, but I did choose a picture of sunflowers because they are her favorite.)
Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.
1 John 3:18
Save those who persevere and do good works. For them is forgiveness and a great reward.
Turn yourself not away from three best things: Good Thoughts, Good Words and Good Deeds.
If I am not for myself, who will be for me? But if I am only for myself, who am I? If not now, when?
Hillel the Elder, Pirke Avot 1:14
These four passages speak volumes. Let’s look at each one. In 1 John, we are told not to love only throughout words, but to love truly and in what we do. So many people claim to love their fellow man, but they don’t do anything about it. They don’t show their love and it is not a love in truth. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son.” God loved the world and he did something about it, he brought us a Savior to wash away our sins and to make us one with God. If we are to emulate God, then we must show our love in deed and truth in the same way he showed us. Sometimes that means we must sacrifice something of ourselves to make the world a better more loving place.
Likewise, the Qur’an says that if we persevere and do good works, then we shall have great rewards. That reward is forgiveness; forgiveness of our sins, because we need God’s forgiveness to have eternal life. Remember, God gave his only Son so that we may have that eternal life so forgiveness is the greatest gift he can give us. It is why I begin all prayers with “Lord, forgive me of my sins and help me to be a better person.” It should be first and foremost in our thoughts and deeds. Not only should we ask God for forgiveness but we should also forgive our fellow man for his transgressions. We must show forgiveness in order to attain forgiveness.
Zoroastrianism can be summed up in this phrase, “Good Thoughts, Good Words, and Good Deeds.” God tells us if we think of a sin, seriously contemplate it, then it is just as sinful as doing it. We must have good thoughts, not only for ourselves but for other. We must speak good words for if we are truthful in our speech then we can make a difference if we only speak good words. And of course, none of this is worth anything if we don’t also do good deeds to back up our good thoughts and good words.
The last quote if from the Pirke Avot translates to English as Chapters of the Fathers. It is a compilation of the ethical teaching and maxims of the first period of Rabbinic writings. It says that we must be our own advocates because you cannot count on others to advocate for you. In turn, you cannot only advocate for yourself but for others as well, because if you do not advocate for others then you will lose who you are. In the last part of this quote, it tells us we must do this now, for if not now when will we have the chance.
These four scriptures/quotes tell us that we must love truthfully and with all our heart, not just showing that in words but also in deeds. They tell us if we do this and do good works then our reward is forgiveness and eternal life. The best things in life are good thoughts, good words, and good deeds. Also, we must not only advocate for ourselves but for others as well. These four quotes came from a book I am reading about a woman who worked to get an Iranian woman off death row for stabbing a man who tried to rape her. Her actions are summed up in these four quotes as she was an advocate for others, and showed love in truth and deed through good works. Good Thoughts, Good Words, Good Deeds.
Come now, you rich, weep and howl for the miseries that are coming upon you. Your riches have rotted and your garments are moth-eaten. Your gold and silver have corroded, and their corrosion will be evidence against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have laid up treasure in the last days. Behold, the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, are crying out against you, and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts. You have lived on the earth in luxury and in self-indulgence. You have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter. You have condemned and murdered the righteous person. He does not resist you.James 5:1-6
Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”-yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.James 4:13-17
What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”? But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?James 4:1-12
John: 1 John 2:15-17 – Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.Paul: Ephesians 2:1-3 – And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.
“…do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God…. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good.” Romans 12:2, 9
- Does this activity, thing, pursuit take my heart away from God?
- Does it sabotage my communion with God and my walk in the Spirit?
- Does it undermine or seek to displace my relationship to Christ as the power of my life?
- Does it attempt (is it designed) to do so?
- Does it feed the self-centered, appetite-driven, God-hating part of me called the flesh?
- Does it inflame my desire to disobey God’s commands?
- Does it produce pride, contention, immorality, or any other behavior contrary to the love of God and the love of others?
- Does it lure me into obsession with what is earthbound and temporal versus what is heavenly and eternal?
Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body. If we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well. Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things.How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water? Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water.James 3:1-12
What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe-and shudder! Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”-and he was called a friend of God. You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. And in the same way was not also Rahab the prostitute justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.James 2:14-26
My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory. For if a man wearing a gold ring and fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in, and if you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, “You sit here in a good place,” while you say to the poor man, “You stand over there,” or, “Sit down at my feet,” have you not then made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? Listen, my beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him? But you have dishonored the poor man. Are not the rich the ones who oppress you, and the ones who drag you into court? Are they not the ones who blaspheme the honorable name by which you were called?If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well. But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors. For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it. For he who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not murder.” If you do not commit adultery but do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. So speak and so act as those who are to be judged under the law of liberty. For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.James 2:1-13
“It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare. All day long we are, in some degree, helping each other to one or other of these destinations. It is in the light of these overwhelming possibilities, it is with the awe and the circumspection proper to them, that we should conduct all our dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics. There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal… It is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit—immortal horrors or everlasting splendors.