The Gift of Grace

Let the unconditional love of God…set you free.

(Listen to my song “Come to Jesus” on YouTube by clicking HERE)

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Psalm 32:5

Then I declared my sin to you; my guilt I did not hide. I said, “I confess my transgression to the LORD,” and you took away the guilt of my sin.

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Guilt is a heavy load.

We tend to beat ourselves up over things that we’ve done…holding ourselves to some image of perfection that was never required.

God loves us unconditionally.

It has nothing to do with merit or worthiness.

I know that’s hard to grasp due to the quid pro quo mindset which we’ve been conditioned to follow.

Our culture basically preaches a conditional love. I’ll love you as long as you do this or that. Or I won’t love you if you do this or that.

This makes it all about what I get in return.

Jesus teaches us that God loves all people regardless of their responses.

“But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your heavenly Father, for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust” (Matthew 5:44-45).

That doesn’t mean that God is okay with us doing mean things. Far from it.

God loves us this way so that we are transformed and will then share that love.

If you are feeling unworthy because of something you did or said…bring it to the God of Love.

And watch your guilt dissolve.

“Who is a God like you, who removes guilt and pardons sin for the remnant of his inheritance; Who does not persist in anger forever, but instead delights in mercy, and will again have compassion on us, treading underfoot our iniquities? You will cast into the depths of the sea all our sins” (Micah 7:18-19).

Amen. Alleluia!

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Listen to the song of the day “Come to Jesus” on the Live to Love album by clicking HERE.

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

Remember…God loves you!

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Lesson in Life

Be present to all in awe, wonder and gratefulness.

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

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Psalm 128:1

Blessed are all who fear the LORD, and who walk in his ways.

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My translation of today’s scripture would be: “Happy and fulfilled are all those who are full of awe when contemplating God, and who walk in God’s ways.”

The word “fear” is a poor translation.

Stop being afraid of God!

Jesus often told his followers to not be afraid.

Jesus described God as a loving Father: “Look at the birds in the sky; they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are not you more important than they?” (Matthew 6:26).

Another scripture I often quote is, “God is love” (1 John 4:8).

And further along in that passage it states, “There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear because fear has to do with punishment, and so one who fears is not yet perfect in love. We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:18-19).

So fear not!

Then walk in the ways of Jesus who personified God in all he said and did.

And first and foremostlove God and your neighbor as yourself.

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Listen to the song of the day “How Wonderful to Me” on the Live to Love album by clicking HERE.

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

Remember…God loves you!

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Cycle of Love

When we let go…we open ourselves to new life.

(Listen to my song “Seasons” on YouTube by clicking HERE)

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Psalm 104:29-30

When you take away their breath, they perish and return to the dust. When you send forth your spirit, they are created and you renew the face of the earth.

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We are part of a grand cycle of dying and rising.

It’s been happening since the universe began with the big bang…estimated around 14 billion years ago.

We have no idea what was before that!

We see this cycle at work in all things: birth, growth, decline and death.

It happens throughout the cosmos.

Life somehow is animatedsparked into being.

We believe the Animator…the Giver of Life…is God…Who is Love itself (1 John 4:8).

Each of us has a part in this cycle and God is intimately involved in all of it.

St. Paul described our interconnectedness with God in this way: “In him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28).

Jesus showed us that life is an exercise in letting godying before dying.

When we die to our egos’ self-centered desires…our true selves rise.

We are called to do what Jesus did, “Who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God something to be grasped. Rather, he emptied himself” (Philippians 2:6-7).

God empties God-self into us and all things, and then we and all things empty ourselves back into God.

And Jesus also showed us that death is not the end…but the beginning of new life that is eternal.

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Listen to the song of the day “Seasons” on the Listen to Your Heart album by clicking HERE.

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

Remember…God loves you!

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Higher Purpose

Before acting or speaking…let love be your motivation.

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

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Mark 7:8-9

“You disregard God’s commandment but cling to human tradition.” He went on to say, “How well you have set aside the commandment of God in order to uphold your tradition!”

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Jesus made it clear that love is the most important thing…when he was asked to specify the greatest commandment.

This is what he said: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these” (Mark 12:30-31).

If you look at the various Christian denominations today…there are a mountain of rules, doctrines, dogmas, rituals and beliefs.

How strange…when Jesus did not emphasize rules.

As a matter of fact…he made a practice of breaking them when love demanded it.

Love and healing seemed to be his main concerns.

Rules and doctrines do have their place in giving us structure and a framework for discussion.

But they have unfortunately been used too often as instruments to punish, ostracize and inflict pain.

Sometimes it seems we have lost the most important, foundational teaching: to love.

Since God is love (1 John 4:8)…we are called to channel that love.

Your church should be doing the same.

Does yours?

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

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

Remember…God loves you!

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Love Abounds

All creation is connected in the flow of life.

(Listen to my song “How Magnificent, Wondrous and Glorious” on YouTube by clicking HERE)

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Psalm 104:24

How varied are your works, LORD! In wisdom you have made them all; the earth is full of your creatures.

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We are surrounded by magnificence.

There is glory everywhere.

Look at the beauty of nature and all the various creatures in their purity…undefiled by the pollution we humans have created.

Yes…we, too, are part of the Creator’s magnificent creation…and we have been given the awesome duty of being stewards of it all.

Human blindness and ignorance in this responsibility has not served us well…or God’s creation.

As Pope Francis stated in his encyclical Laudato Si, “Because all creatures are connected, each must be cherished with love and respect, for all of us as living creatures are dependent on one another” (Paragraph 42).

May we awaken to our connectedness with everyone and everything.

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Listen to the song of the day “How Magnificent, Wondrous and Glorious” on the Mercy Reigns album by clicking HERE.

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

Remember…God loves you!

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Solidarity

We are called to erase lines of division.

(Listen to my song “All Are One” on YouTube by clicking HERE)

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Hebrews 13:1-3

Let mutual love continue. Do not neglect hospitality, for through it some have unknowingly entertained angels. Be mindful of prisoners as if sharing their imprisonment, and of the ill-treated as of yourselves, for you also are in the body.

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Jesus said that whatever you did for the least of these…you did for him.

When you see someone who is poor or homeless, when you see an immigrant seeking a better life, do you see Jesus?

Love should not discriminate.

Love is meant to be shared with everyone…and especially with those who cannot repay you.

One time when I took a group of teens to serve at a soup kitchen, an apparently homeless man called out to me and said, “Are you one of them?”

I asked what he meant and he said, “One of the brothers?” as he pointed behind me. There was one Franciscan brother behind me in his brown robe.

I told him that I was not…and he replied, “Oh, you look like one of them.”

I can’t tell you what a gift that was to me…as I was completely engrossed in simply serving at the time and have a great love for St. Francis.

Many of those we served each Wednesday would return each week…but that was the first and only time I saw that man.

I sometimes wonder if he was an angel with a special message for me.

Today’s scripture tells us to be mindful of prisoners as if sharing their imprisonment. In other words…we share in their humanity.

We are all one in the body of Christ.

If I had been less fortunate in the circumstances of my life…I could very well be that prisoner or that homeless person…or that person who is ill-treated.

May we all awaken to our oneness in God…in whom 
we “live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28).

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Listen to the song of the day “All Are One” on the Mercy Reigns album by clicking HERE.

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

Remember…God loves you!

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Be Free

What do you need to let go of…so you can truly live?

(Listen to my song “Breathe On Me” on YouTube by clicking HERE)

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Mark 6:7-8

Jesus summoned the Twelve and began to send them out two by two and gave them authority over unclean spirits. He instructed them to take nothing for the journey but a walking stick—no food, no sack, no money in their belts.

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How reckless to send people out on a journey with nothing!

Actually, this is an example of radical trust.

It’s ridding yourself of all attachments so that you can focus on the one thing.

Yes…this is radical. But Jesus is making a point.

Do you, as a follower of Jesus, trust in the care of God?

As Jesus put it later in this same gospel passage, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat [or drink], or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds in the sky; they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are not you more important than they?” (Matthew 6:25-26)

So why not let go of all that clutter…all that stuff that is distracting you from the one thing: being present to the Divine Presence.

This is the only way to be open to receiving and channeling the love of God in each moment in the unique circumstances of your life.

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Listen to the song of the day “Breathe On Me” on the Listen to Your Heart album by clicking HERE.

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

Remember…God loves you!

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