The Human Machine

Hold hands and stick togetherThe Body is a unit, though it is made up many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body.
So it is with Christ. 
– 1 Corinthians 12:12

A well oiled machine, running with precision, fulfilling its purpose to perfection, is a beautiful thing. With regular tune ups, giving it the right fluids and using it as it was designed, the machine can operate productively for many years.  A machine, with each part working perfectly in sync, is sometimes used as an analogy for the Body of Christ, the Church.  Unfortunately, the Church is not made up of quality inspected, mass manufactured parts, but people – all too humanly flawed, positively imperfect, people.  Even if we are in tune with the Word, filled with the Holy Spirit, and dedicated to the Will of God – we are all still uniquely hand made and instilled with individual will.

This living organism is held together, not by bolts and steal, but by each one’s daily decision to hold hands, to repair the breaches, and to invite other perfectly imperfect people to take hold. We must offer our whole selves, moment by moment, to the beautiful, delicate, powerful, unparalleled, Body of Christ.

Sue Breland, Worship for One©

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Be Still and Know

Be still, and know that I am God.  -Psalm 46:10

O Lord Jesus, your words to your Father were born out of your silence. Lead me into this silence, so that my words may be spoken in your name and thus be fruitful. It is so hard to be silent, silent with my mouth, but even more, silent with my heart. There is so much talking going on within me. It seems that I am always involved in inner debates with myself, my friends, my enemies, my supporters, my opponents, my colleagues, and my rivals. But this inner debate reveals how far my heart is from you.

If I were to simply rest at your feet and realize that I belong to you and you alone, I would easily stop arguing with all the real and imagined people around me. These arguments show my insecurity, my fear, my apprehensions, and my need for being recognized and receiving attention. You, O Lord, will give me all the attention I need if I would simply stop talking and start listening to you. I know that in the silence of my heart you will speak to me and show me your love. Give me, O Lord, that silence. Let me be patient and grow slowly into this silence in which I can be with you.  Amen.

— From A Cry for Mercy by Henri J. M. Nouwen

(Reprinted from the Friday Connection: An E-Newsletter of Christian Women Connection)

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Get Moving!

Finally they said to one another, “We shouldn’t be doing this! This is a day of good news and we’re making it into a private party! If we wait around until morning we’ll get caught and punished. Come on! Let’s go tell the news…   -2 Kings 7:9

Four lepers of Samaria got moving.  They decided not to just sit at the gate until they died of hunger, but to take a chance and hit the road, regardless of the consequences.

When their leap of faith led them to real treasure, they knew they couldn’t keep it to themselves.  Good news gathers fellow travelers and the journey of moving on is better when shared.  Don’t keep your treasure to yourself.  Stretch your faith and get moving!

Sue Breland, Worship for One©

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Do You Get It?

So the people went off to feast, eating and drinking and including the poor in a great celebration. Now they got it; they understood the reading that had been given to them.  – Nehemiah 8:12, The Message

Do you get it? The Bible is really a book of joy, of “do’s” more than “don’ts,” of giving not taking, of abundant living not deprivation. We can hear the words, even know them well, but until we understand the message – we cannot truly live the joyful life nor be equipped to share it with others.

If you “get it” you will have to give it away.

Sue Breland, Worship for One©

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Read a Bible Today?

holy-bible.jpgThen Nehemiah… said to all the people, “This day is holy to the Lord your God; do not mourn or weep.” For all the people were weeping when they heard the words of the law. Then he said to them, “Go, eat of the fat, drink of the sweet, and send portions to him who has nothing prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”   -Nehemiah 8:9-10

The Hebrew people had lost their past, their heritage, the Words of God especially for them.  When Nehemiah returned to rebuild Jerusalem, the Book of Moses was found and read out loud to everyone.  It was as if a treasure had been revealed – their past rediscovered – their faith reignited. They listened with reverence, they received the words into their hearts and minds, and it changed their lives.

We have so much more today at our very fingertips; not only God’s revelations in the Old Testament, but also the recorded words of our New Testament Savior. It is available nearly everywhere – bookstores, hotels, and even the internet.  There are many people around the world who are dying to access this forbidden book, yet how many of us simply do not avail ourselves of its wisdom, comfort, encouragement and transformational message.  The Bible can still change lives today,  but we must receive it and allow its words to live in us, leading us to an unending source of strength and joy.

Sue Breland, Worship for One©

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Pressing Forward

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.   -Philippians 3:12-14

Everything that lives changes –nothing ever stays the same.  We can try to hold still, but everything around us will keep moving on, leaving us behind.  No matter how bad, or how good, the past seemed to be, it is gone.

It’s time to move forward, keeping your eye on the prize.  Get ready to train, to change your diet, to extend your love, to accept the smooth roads along with the challenges all along the way.  With Christ in your life, what lay ahead is always better and worth the effort, with no looking back.

Sue Breland, Worship for One©

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Working Off a Clean Slate

Without these qualities you can’t see what’s right before you, oblivious that your old sinful life has been wiped off the books.  – 2 Peter 1:9

When we “keep our nose to the grindstone” we focus on getting the work done and the debt paid off. But what of life? When we are so concerned with having things and then working feverishly to relieve ourselves of the burden they bring, what value have we actually purchased?

Keeping our heads up – looking toward investing in qualities that will actually enrich our lives – these things will open our eyes to a life worth living where the debts of our past cannot blind us to what God has in store.

Sue Breland, Worship for One©

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Happy New Year!

…but I focus on this one thing: forgetting the past…  -Philippians 3:12a

Christmas is over. Gifts have been given and received. Now, it’s a brand New Year, a clean slate, an opportunity for starting over and making resolutions for a better you. Unfortunately, real transformation for the future can’t exist with baggage of the past.

Can we “forgive and forget” – really putting the past out of heart and mind? It is not so easy. Even Christians, forgiven by the personal touch of the Savior, may not be able to forgive themselves – ourselves – for painful mistakes, accidental offenses, or intentional hurts. Perhaps there are others that will not let us forget, but remember those that the Son has set free are free indeed. It’s not too late to give yourself the gift of forgiveness this year.  It is the only way to truly start the New Year as a new creature in Christ.

Sue Breland, Worship For One ©

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Our Hope is The Rock of Our Salvation

..written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. -2 Corinthians 3:3 (NKJV)

Jesus was born, not into an organization or hierarchy, but into a little family that would love Him.  This was important to God’s plan. A teenage mother who would hold Him tightly, not at arms-length, but as if she would never let Him go.  A young man, Joseph, who would have to “stand in” for God Himself to cradle, protect and guide a little boy that would never really be His own.  As Jesus would grow to be the Cornerstone for all mankind, Joseph would have to be the rock solid foundation for this heaven-made family on earth through turbulent and uncertain days.

In the same way, all believers are held tightly in the soft embrace of a family assembled by birth or by choice, surrounded by a fortress of Hope built by the Rock of our Salvation. In a hard world, we can be like living stones – standing firm against pressure, while being made smooth by constant friction on all sides. The human heart is a fragile muscle of flesh, yet nothing is stronger than a heart filled with the hope that was born with a Baby who was laid in both a manger chiseled from rock and a tomb of stone.  Neither would hold Him for long, but He will make His steadfast home in our hearts forever if we let Him.

Sue Breland, Worship for One©

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Living Stone

As you come to Him, the living Stone—rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to Him— you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. – 1 Peter 2:4-8 (NIV)

There are street performers who stand for hours as “statues” only to startle unsuspecting passersby when they break from their frozen poses into life. The best of these actors have spent hours in practice, disciplining their muscles, honing their craft, and masking themselves in the appearance of stone.  If it was easy, everyone would do it.

Similarly, being chiseled into the likeness of Christ is challenging. The discipline of discipleship builds the heart muscle for greater loving and empowers the arms for reaching out and the legs for going wherever we are sent.  We will not harden our hearts, but instead offer the strength of our spirits, the sacrifice of our iron will, to bring His love to life in a hard world.

Sue Breland, Worship for One©

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