Rejoice

sunrise_lake

Take courage because God is Love and cannot be defeated.

(Listen to my song “How Wonderful to Me” by clicking HERE)

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Psalm 136:1

Praise the Lord, who is so good; God’s love endures forever.

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We can sometimes be overwhelmed by the hateful and violent actions that are funneled to us non-stop through the media.

It can seem like there is no hope.

That is a very myopic view.

There are myriads and myriads of good works going on each day…compassionate responses that are transforming tragedies to points of light.

There are thousands of random acts of kindness that go unreported by the news that are slowly bringing about the kingdom of God.

Jesus compared such good works to yeast in dough: “It is like yeast that a woman took and mixed [in] with three measures of wheat flour until the whole batch of dough was leavened” (Luke 13:21).

We must be like that woman…and be mixers of acts of compassion and justice in the dough of every-day-life.

Stop and take a few minutes to consider the blessings in your life, all the unmerited gifts of God’s love poured out to us in family, friends, loved ones, pets, nature, art, music, compassion, mercy and forgiveness.

Each breath is another gift of God…each one saying, “I love you.”

God has been unconditionally loving for a very, very, very long time. That’s what God does because that’s who God is: Love (1 John 4:8).

Love cannot be defeated.

So take courage, take action…and rejoice!

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Listen to the song of the day “How Wonderful to Me” by clicking HERE.

Sample and/or purchase my songs on iTunes by clicking HERE.

CD’s available for purchase at BillTonnisMusic.com by clicking HERE.

Remember…God loves you!

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Unchained

unchained_free_sun

A forgiving heart is free.

(Listen to my song “God’s Love Is All You Need” by clicking HERE)

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Matthew 18:21-22

Then Peter approaching asked him, “Lord, if my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus answered, “I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times.”

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Peter no doubt thought he was being generous in his offer to forgive “as many as seven times.”

However, Jesus said that there is no limit on how many times we are expected to forgive.

Does God not do the same for us

How many times have we “missed the mark” in our attempt to follow Jesus?

How many times have we screwed-up, hurt someone and basically chose to be selfish and self-centered?

Yet God always forgives us

Is there one person who has hurt you that you have never forgiven?

That is the person whom you are expected to forgive.

You don’t have to like that person or even hang around that person if that person is doing you harm. But you do need to forgive.

Ask God for the grace to do it.

Speak from your heart and say, “I forgive you.”

Do it…and break the chains that are binding you.

You will feel God’s loving Grace flowing freely through you again!

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Listen to the song of the day “God’s Love Is All You Need” by clicking HERE.

Sample and/or purchase my songs on iTunes by clicking HERE.

CD’s available for purchase at BillTonnisMusic.com by clicking HERE.

Remember…God loves you!

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Come Together

earth_planet_one

Working for unity is hard but eternally important.

(Listen to my song “All Are Welcome” by clicking HERE)

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Matthew 18:20

“For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”

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Private prayer, taking quiet time to be with God, is crucial in the spiritual journey.

But Jesus makes it clear that it’s not just about “me and Jesus.”

He makes it clear that we are called to reach out to others and make communal connections.

This is one reason why many gather at church on Sunday. We are also called to gather in small groups of friends to pray or form communities of support.

But each of us is also called to get outside our comfort zones and form relationships with people who don’t share the same views or look the same.

When we do this…Jesus promised that he’d be there, too.

There is a very palpable, powerful vibe when we gather for a loving purpose.

Be courageous…and try it.

It’s not easy when others espouse hateful ideologies. You don’t have to agree with those whose beliefs you find morally repugnant…but you do have to realize that God is in them as well.

How else will there ever be positive change in them or in you…if we live in separation and the delusion that all are not one in God?

As St. Paul put it, “For ‘In him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28).

Jesus said to “love your enemies” (Matthew 5:44; Luke 6:27).

So even with our enemies…especially with our enemies…we are called to make an effort to come together.

This is very difficult…but necessary training to enter the kingdom of God…both now and forever.

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Listen to the song of the day “All Are Welcome” by clicking HERE

Sample and/or purchase my songs on iTunes by clicking HERE.

CD’s available for purchase at BillTonnisMusic.com by clicking HERE.

Remember…God loves you!

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Listen

lake_sunrise_dock

The voice of Love speaks in the silence of our hearts.

(Listen to my song “Turn Off the Noise” by clicking HERE)

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Luke 1:45

“Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.”

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Mary, the mother of Jesus, gave us a perfect model of saying yes to God’s plans and no to her own plans.

She put her trust in God…no matter how crazy the message may have seemed.

What plan does God have for you?

The plan is not one narrow, make-or-break plan that you have to exactly figure out.

God’s plan for you is open-ended. It involves co-creating with you.

This will require much listening.

How else would you be able to believe “that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled”?

Practice simply waiting in the silenceletting go of your agenda so that something new might germinate.

Perhaps you can’t “hear” God’s silent voice in your heart…because you aren’t taking time to sit in the silence and listen.

Out of the silence…you just may find yourself led to new interests…or perhaps old interests from childhood that you set aside or were not encouraged to pursue.

When I was a boy…I fantasized about being a songwriter who played guitar and sang uplifting songs. But due to low self-esteem, I more or less quit playing.

It wasn’t until many years later that misery led me to a surrendered silence one day…and I heard these words in my hear: “Get your guitar.”

I had not touched that guitar in years!

Today…I have four albums of original, inspirational songs that I share often in visits with the sick and those who are incarcerated.

When you enter into a relationship with your Creator…get ready for a wondrous adventure to begin.

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Listen to the song of the day “Turn Off the Noise” by clicking HERE.

Sample and/or purchase my songs on iTunes by clicking HERE.

CD’s available for purchase at BillTonnisMusic.com by clicking HERE.

Remember…God loves you!

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Pour Me Out

candle_smoke_heart

One act of love can extinguish a firestorm of hate.

(Listen to my song “Pour Me Out” by clicking HERE)

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Matthew 17:22-23

As they were gathering in Galilee, Jesus said to them, “The Son of Man is to be handed over to men, and they will kill him, and he will be raised on the third day.” And they were overwhelmed with grief.

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When you stand up for Love in the face of hate…sometimes you pay a heavy price.

Witness what just happened in Charlottesville.

All the non-violent protesters of the hateful extremists were examples of Jesus. He, too, stood up to injustice with non-violence…and it led to his crucifixion.

Jesus’ followers believed he would be the long-awaited military Messiah that would lead them to freedom.

How devastated they must have been to hear him say that he would be killed!

God’s ways are not our ways.

Jesus would instead be the suffering servant Messiah to demonstrate that while the path of Love leads to persecution…it also leads to waves of good works.

It ushers in the kingdom of God.

Jesus showed us that the way to God’s kingdom…to true life…is through dying to your own desires…your ego’s cravings…emptying yourself so that God’s desires could rise in you.

In letting go of your ego-created false self…you find your true self.

This is the same way that God’s kingdom can break into the present. It led Jesus to call on those who held the power and wealth to care for those on the margins…the sick and poor. He called for the end of divisions.

Jesus knew, of course, that this would not be accepted by those who held the power and wealth in government and religion. They wanted divisions.

He knew that eventually this path would lead him to the cross.

Every step of the way…Jesus showed us that it is only through self-emptying love…dying to our ego…that we experience new life whether in our daily struggles or at the end of our earthly lives

We begin to experience heaven…all the way to heaven.

When we surrender ourselves to God’s purposes…amazing things happen.

Love triumphs over hate and new life overwhelms death every time.

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Listen to the song of the day “Pour Me Out” by clicking HERE.

Sample and/or purchase my songs on iTunes by clicking HERE

CD’s available for purchase at BillTonnisMusic.com by clicking HERE.

Remember…God loves you!

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Take Flight

bird_overocean_bluesky

Letting go of stuff leads to a full life.

(Listen to my song “Take the Road Less Traveled” by clicking HERE)

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Matthew 16:24-26

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life?

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Many people don’t understand the life-transforming message of Jesus.

Unless you “deny yourself” – meaning let go of the false self that your ego has constructed – and “take up your cross” – meaning accept the hardships and struggles that come with following – you will not find the life that was meant for you.

You must shed the masks of your false self so that your true self can be unveiled.

That true self is not something you achieve or accomplish.

It’s your soul-self…your spiritual essence that was loved-into-existence by a Love that is unconditional and eternal.

You could actually gain much power, prestige and many possessions in following your ego’s desires…and never know your true self.

How sad that would be!

The more you uncover your true self…the more you will be living in the flow of God’s Presence.

This requires a regular practice of being present and listening.

It won’t be easy picking up your cross and following your heart, but paradoxically you will find inner satisfactionpeace and freedom.

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Listen to the song of the day “Take the Road Less Traveled” by clicking HERE.

Sample and/or purchase my songs on iTunes by clicking HERE.

CD’s available for purchase at BillTonnisMusic.com by clicking HERE.

Remember…God loves you!

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Be You

field_hill_path_tree

Service is the path that leads to your true self.

(Listen to my song “Shall We Sing” by clicking HERE)

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John 12:26

“Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there also will my servant be.”

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Do you have a way of life that is changing you for the better?

Such should be the Christian path.

Being a Christian involves far more than beliefs. It’s taking part in the same transformative journey Jesus took.

Jesus never asked us to worship him or simply believe in him…but to follow him.

That’s where the transformation occurs…in the following.

Jesus lived his life in the service of others.

In order to follow him…we must also live our lives in the service of others.

That will mean letting go of self-centered, egocentric desires and using our gifts and talents to help others.

This will feel like dying…but paradoxically it will lead to more life than you can imagine…as well as finding your true self.

As Jesus said, “Unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit” (John 12:24).

What “fruit” is your life meant to produce?

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Listen to the song of the day “Shall We Sing” by clicking HERE.

Sample and/or purchase my songs on iTunes by clicking HERE.

CD’s available for purchase at BillTonnisMusic.com by clicking HERE.

Remember…God loves you!

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