In Christ

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“We’ve learned to fly the air as birds, we’ve learned to swim the seas as fish, yet we haven’t learned to walk the Earth as brothers and sisters.” – Martin Luther King Jr

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Listen to my song “I Stand in the Light” on YouTube by clicking HERE.

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Ephesians 4:1-4

I, then, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to live in a manner worthy of the call you have received, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another through love, striving to preserve the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace: one body and one Spirit, as you were also called to the one hope of your call.

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This is a timeless message from St. Paul to all the followers of Christ.

He wrote it while imprisoned for preaching this type of message about the oneness of all.

He went on to say that we are all here to build up the body of Christ (Ephesians 4:12).

We are all part of one body and one Spirit.

Hear his message again: with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another through love, we are to strive to preserve the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace.

This is my call.

This is your call.

Bear with one another through love!

We simply must take this to heart as we deal with all the issues of our day.

It is what is expected of us.

When we go before God one day, this truly will be all that mattered: Did we live in a manner worthy of the call we have received?

Let us stop dividing; let us stop hating and ridiculing.

Despite our differences, let us come together as one body.

Each of us is being called!

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Listen to the song of the day “I Stand in the Light” on the Mercy Reigns album by clicking HERE.

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

Purchase my books, “Listen to Your Heart: A Daily Devotional of Calling, Purpose and New Life” on Amazon by clicking HERE

Or “Mercy Reigns: A Daily Devotional of Compassion, Comfort and Healing” on Amazon by clicking HERE.

Remember: God loves you!

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My Second Book Is Published…

Available on Amazon. Click HERE to view and/or purchase. Thanks!

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Action Required

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“The more I get to know Jesus, the more trouble he seems to get me into.” – Shane Claiborne, The Irresistible Revolution: Living as an Ordinary Radical

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Listen to my song “I Want to Follow You” on YouTube by clicking HERE.

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Luke 8:1-3

Afterward Jesus journeyed from one town and village to another, preaching and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. Accompanying him were the Twelve and some women who had been cured of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary, called Magdalene, from who seven demons had gone out, Joanna, the wife of Herod’s steward Chuza, Susanna, and many others who provided for them out of their resources.

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Can you imagine the gossip generated by this rag-tag group of characters traveling from town to town?

A traveling preacher with a bunch of fishermen, a tax collector, and a bunch of women cured of evil spirits and demons – whatever that might actually mean!

Can you imagine the scandal?

Jesus was not some straight-laced, pious, regular guy.

But despite the irregular appearance, we can be sure that Jesus had the utmost integrity and highest morals.

He obviously didn’t care what people thought.

He and his entourage were on a mission to proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God, a state of existence where all know they are loved unconditionally by God and are treated as such.

This was a team-effort involving all types of people including women who, at the time, were seen as property.

Several of these women were prominent enough in the Jesus movement that the gospel writers actually named them.

God was clearly doing something new and radical in that it was through action that was always non-violent.

Sometimes that is exactly what is needed to proclaim the kingdom of God in times corrupted by greed, power, and hate.

Times like now, perhaps?

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Listen to the song of the day “I Want to Follow You” on the Listen to Your Heart album by clicking HERE.

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

Purchase my book “Mercy Reigns: A Daily Devotional of Compassion, Comfort and Healing on Amazon by clicking HERE.

Remember: God loves you!

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Unearned Blessing

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“Every breath we draw is a gift of God’s love; every moment of existence is a grace.” – Thomas Merton

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Listen to my song “Changed” on YouTube by clicking HERE.

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1 Corinthians 15:9-10

For I am the least of the apostles, not fit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me has not been ineffective.

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St. Paul is a profound example of what God’s grace can do.

He was the ultimate persecutor of the first Christians, literally responsible for dragging them off in chains to their imprisonment and even deaths.

And what did the risen Christ do as a reprisal to Paul?

He selected him to be a very special Christian evangelist.

This is a prime example of God’s restorative justice instead of retributive justice.

Paul’s mystical encounter with Christ on the road to Damascus resulted in an instant awareness that he had been horribly wrong.

Paul was taken under the care and tutelage of the early Christian disciples and within a few years, he was one of the most zealous preachers of the gospel!

Paul knew his conversion was not by any merit or good work of his own, but by the total grace of God.

Have you experienced God’s grace?

I have experienced it numerous times.

It’s when you receive something good when you did nothing to deserve it.

As a matter of fact, you may have deserved something quite opposite.

Don’t get me wrong, punishment is required sometimes in this world of laws and rules.

But hearts and lives are rarely transformed by punishment.

There must be some form of compassion, some measure of grace given, or many people will remain bitter and angry.

We need more people who want to channel God’s grace into this world.

How else will God’s kingdom come to life in this time and place?

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Listen to the song of the day “Changed” on the Give Praise and Thanks album by clicking HERE.

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

Purchase my book “Mercy Reigns: A Daily Devotional of Compassion, Comfort and Healing” on Amazon by clicking HERE.

Remember: God loves you!

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Main Motivation

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“Love is our true destiny. We do not find the meaning of life by ourselves alone – we find it with another.” – Thomas Merton

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

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1 Corinthians 13:1-2

If I speak in human and angelic tongues but do not have love, I am a resounding gong or a clashing cymbal. And if I have the gift of prophecy and comprehend all mysteries and all knowledge; if I have all faith so as to move mountains but do not have love, I am nothing.

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These words remind me of what almost all the people who have had Near Death Experiences say in giving their accounts: Love is the whole reason for our earthly experience.

We are here specifically to experience love and then to express that love.

Love is the bottom line.

This is what St. Paul is stating in today’s scripture verses.

It’s also what Jesus said when he told us the two greatest commandments were to love God with all of your heart, soul, and mind and to love your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22:36-39).

And then he took it to another level: “Love your enemies” (Matthew 5:44).

It makes me wonder about all the endeavors we dedicate our lives to.

I find it very helpful to stop and assess from time to time what my motivations and objectives are.

Is love my top priority?

Are my words and actions motivated by love…or my ego?

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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 Amazon Music by clicking HERE.

Purchase my book “Mercy Reigns: A Daily Devotional of Compassion, Comfort and Healing” on Amazon by clicking HERE.

Remember: God loves you!

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Communion

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“Our ability to reach unity in diversity will be the beauty and the test of our civilization.” – Mahatma Gandhi

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Listen to my song “All Are Welcome” on YouTube by clicking HERE.

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1 Corinthians 12:12, 27

As a body is one though it has many parts, and all the parts of the body, though many, are one body, so also Christ. Now you are Christ’s body, and individually parts of it.

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St. Paul is trying to explain the profound unity we share in.

Though it appears we are separate, as we see ourselves in our physical bodies, we are in reality part of one mystical body that he calls “Christ.”

This is clearly not the exact same thing as “Jesus of Nazareth.”

It’s the larger Christ, the resurrected, universal Christ.

Paul knows that we are all part of a larger whole, the body of Christ, although we retain our individuality.

In the Christian tradition, the Eucharist is Jesus’s body given to us for the life of the world.

When we receive it, we are to become his body and give ourselves over for the life of the world.

What we must do is see beyond the delusion that we are not of one body.

When we look at someone who looks different than us, acts different than us, or believes different things than us, we are called to see beyond these surface differences to the true unity in the depths of our being.

This is how Jesus can command us to love our enemies (Matthew 5:44) – because we truly are one.

God wants us to come together, to work for unity.

The only way to do this is by leaving our comfort zones, connecting with those we’d rather not, listening to the “other” and forging new relationships.

This is what Christ calls us to do.

It requires courage, action and humility.

Each of us needs to ask ourselves: How am I doing with this?

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Listen to the song of the day “All Are Welcome” on the Give Praise and Thanks album by clicking HERE.

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

Purchase my book “Mercy Reigns: A Daily Devotional of Compassion, Comfort and Healing” on Amazon by clicking HERE.

Remember: God loves you!

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Death to Life

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“The wings of transformation are born of patience and struggle.” – Janet S. Dickens

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Listen to my song “The Way You Are” on YouTube by clicking HERE.

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Book of Numbers 21:9

Accordingly Moses made a bronze serpent and mounted it on a pole, and whenever the serpent bit someone, the person looked at the bronze serpent and recovered.

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This speaks to a profound truth that we discover as we grow older.

That which wounded us becomes our salvation.

The very thing that was our worst experience, embarrassment, or defeat, epic struggle, turns into the very thing that energizes our transformation and gives us new life.

As a child, I struggled with self-esteem and feeling that I wasn’t “good enough.”

I felt I was always striving to be accepted into the “in” crowd.  

I stopped playing my guitar during my teens because I just didn’t think I measured up.

Then after a successful career in radio news, I became more and more miserable.

At my lowest point I heard a gentle whisper in my heart to pick up my guitar again.

A year later I suffered a ruptured appendix.

And while very sick in the hospital, I had a sudden and overwhelming experience of God’s unconditional love.

I knew in that instant that I didn’t have to prove myself or earn this love.

It was freely given to me and everyone!

Those years of feeling “not good enough” became the source of my desire to tell others that they were unconditionally loved by God.

I wrote songs to share that love with others.

It resulted in four albums of original music.

This old wound became my source of inspiration.

And in playing and singing my songs, I knew all the glory went to a Higher Power.

Now I play my guitar and sing my songs in ministering to the sick and to those in jail.

Know that you are loved just as you are.

Allow whatever wound you received to be healed by this Unconditional Love.

Then allow that healing to send you forth as a light to others.

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Listen to my song “The Way You Are” on the Mercy Reigns album by clicking HERE.

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

Purchase my book “Mercy Reigns: A Daily Devotional of Compassion, Comfort and Healing” on Amazon by clicking HERE.

Remember: God loves you!

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Big Picture

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“Judging others makes us blind, whereas love is illuminating.” – Dietrich Bonhoeffer

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

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Luke 6:41

“Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own?”

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Jesus asks each of us an insightful question.

It’s easy to find fault with others.

If you’re looking for fault…you’ll likely find it.

But our finding comes through the filter of our own minds.

What if our minds don’t have the full picture?

What if our minds don’t have all the information?

Almost certainly they don’t!

The truth is, we have no idea what another person might be going through or what experiences they may have had in their lives.

Plus, our lack of experience from their point of view could leave us with a prejudicial viewpoint…kind of like having a wooden beam in your eye.

There have been times in my life when I thought I had something all figured out, like a time I remember years ago when I truly thought it was time to move on and stop talking about racism.

I thought that ugly time in history was all behind us.

Of course, this was from my white world perspective.

I looked back at that time recently and ashamedly realized it was the exact time when atrocities were going on in Alabama that resulted in the recent movie and book titled Just Mercy.

I had no idea what was happening to people of color.

None.

I had a wooden beam in my eye.

Today, I realize we are far from finished in making racial equality a reality.

It’s time to listen with an open mind and open heart.

After all, we are one body of Christ.

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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 Amazon Music by clicking HERE.

Purchase my book “Mercy Reigns: A Daily Devotional of Compassion, Comfort and Healing” on Amazon by clicking HERE.

Remember: God loves you!

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Compassionate Power

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“At the center of non-violence stands the principle of love.” – Martin Luther King

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Listen to my song “Mercy Reigns” on YouTube.

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Luke 6:27-29

“To you who hear I say, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. To the person who strikes you on one cheek, offer the other one as well, and from the person who takes your cloak, do not withhold even your tunic.”

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I love this teaching of Jesus because it confounds the human mind.

People seem to be hardwired to divide people into the good and the bad.

Then it seems okay to be harsh to the ones who are bad as determined, of course, by the person judging themselves to be good!

You also practically never hear anyone cite this scripture verse because we have such a hard time dealing with it.

Most would rather ignore it.

People love to quote scriptures to defend their positions on issues but they tend to forget that, for Christians, Jesus is the bottom line.

In Matthew’s version of today’s passage, Jesus begins by specifically nullifying the Old Testament’s “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.”

But Jesus is not telling you to cower or run away.

He’s advocating standing up to the oppressor non-violently.

A Roman soldier was permitted to strike you once with the back of his hand, but if you then turned your other cheek to him, you would be forcing him to do what he is not permitted to do: strike you with his open hand.

A Roman oppressor was also permitted to take your cloak.

But if you then turned over your tunic, it would be a public embarrassment for that oppressor.

Jesus always called his followers to take action on behalf of the least of these (Matthew 25:40), but he also called us to love first and foremost (Matthew 22:36-39).

Loving your enemies would force you to look for ways other than violence in dealing with differences.

In every circumstance, no matter how difficult, what if we asked ourselves before acting: “What is the most loving response?”

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

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

Purchase my book “Mercy Reigns: A Daily Devotional of Compassion, Comfort and Healing” on Amazon by clicking HERE.

Remember: God loves you!

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Happily Empty

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“Attachment is the source of all suffering.” Buddha

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

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Luke 6:20

And raising his eyes toward his disciples Jesus said: “Blessed are you who are poor, for the kingdom of God is yours.”

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This comment throws the philosophy of the world upside down.

Who aspires to be poor?

For Jesus, it was all about being present to God.

Presence requires openness.

You can’t be present to God if you have allowed possessions, power or prestige to be attachments.

If you attach your identity to any of the three “p’s” – you will close yourself off to the action of the Spirit.

It’s not the possessions, the power or the prestige in and of themselves that are bad.

It’s your attachment to them.

You must not cling to anything.

You must be willing to let go of all of those things.

Then, in the poverty of your emptiness, God is able to direct you and lead you to experiences of love, mercy, and compassion that you would never have experienced if you had remained chained to your worldly wealth.

Blessed will you be – unattached from material things and human-made constructs which will one day dissolve.

For the kingdom of God, the state of peace and harmony, will be yours.

It is as close to you now as your very breath.

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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 Amazon Music by clicking HERE.

Purchase my book “Mercy Reigns: A Daily Devotional of Compassion, Comfort and Healing” on Amazon by clicking HERE.

Remember: God loves you!

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