April 2018, Word from the WORD

Forgiveness by Latangela Fay

Our ‘Word of the Word’ Forgiveness

By LaTangela Fay

It comes from the tips of our tongues, but how do we know when it truly comes from the heart?

I’ve wrestled with my pen and pad while searching for what I felt would be the perfect article on “forgiveness.” After hundreds of crumpled sheets of paper and do-overs, I prayed a little harder and asked God to help me encourage you to let go of that burden that is weighing you down: hurt, anger, neglect, abuse, betrayal… any and all rush of emotions you are feeling because you are holding on to a disappointment that has shifted your gears.

We need the level of forgiveness that will allow us to see the lesson that was attached to that string of misfortune, the one that left us with a grief. It takes a prayerful heart and a level of spiritual maturity to reach the level of forgiveness that will allow us to find peace even in the midst of that particular storm.

Sometimes, it is easier to identify that grudge we are holding against someone else, but when was the last time you used the power of forgiveness towards yourself? There comes a time when occurrences become more familiar than not, and we find that we are drawing the same energy, patterns and results because we refuse to allow ourselves to eliminate the common denominator that very well may be holding us back: the guilt we hold against ourselves. Let it go. It is a new day and the stronghold that held you yesterday should hold less power over your life today.

Ephesians 4:31, 32:

Verse 31: “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.”

32) “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”

Forgiveness is the ultimate gift. Not only to others, but to yourself … and from God to us. If our heavenly Father sees fit to render forgiveness, let us follow closer to His teachings and strive to be more like Him day by day.

 

Latangela Fay is an award winning radio and media personality, author, songwriter, and production director at Cumulous Media. She is also a consultant and contributor to Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine. 

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March 2018, Word from the WORD

Reflections

Reflections by Sharon Furrate Bailey

Sharon Furrate Bailey has worked in the fields of marketing, sales and public relations since 1996.  She is a gifted artist who earned a B. A. in English Literature from LSU.  She attends Our Lady of Mercy Catholic Church.

BRCL Sharon Furrate Bailey

Have you ever wondered why there are so many books on yoga, meditation, and finding your Zen? Maybe this market has exploded lately because of the stress in our lives and the voices in our heads that say things like, “Did you go to the bank; register your son for soccer; fold the laundry, blow out the candles; brush your teeth, answer the 80-plus emails you have waiting in your inbox for a response … and the voices go on and on. Have you ever felt like you are too accessible due to social media and cell phones? Have you ever felt a tinge of guilt if a text message or phone call isn’t returned within five minutes. We have allowed the noise to invade our lives, which disrupts our thoughts and hinders us from time to unwind or relax from the day. There is no time for reflection unless we make time.

What does it mean to reflect? At its simplest, reflection is about careful thought — a time when one looks inwardly and considers one’s actions and beliefs for the primary purpose of learning. Reflection requires us to be still, to retreat to a quiet place, to examine our hearts, to pray and to listen. God may be trying to reach us, but the noise around us is too loud. And honestly, it may even be a bit scary to sit in silence and reflect on our lives because we may not like what we see or what we have done, but Christ makes all things new. (2 Corinthians 5:17)

Jesus is a wonderful example of what it means to reflect. There are several accounts in Scripture of times that Jesus walked away from the crowd to be with God. In the Book of James (5:16) it says, But the news about Jesus spread all the more, and great crowds came to hear Him and to be healed of their sicknesses. Yet He frequently withdrew to the wilderness to pray.” Another good reminder of Jesus’ time alone with God is found in the Gospel of Mark. “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus withdrew to a solitary place to be alone with God and pray.” (Mark 1:35)

Jesus sought time to be alone with God the Father. Can you imagine being alone in the wilderness for 40 days and 40 nights? Yikes, right?  During this season, Jesus had no contact with a human being except for the presence of Satan who tormented him. And yet, the angels strengthened him during this time. It was during this alone time, that Jesus overcame Satan and sin.

Imagine what you might overcome if you learn to reflect on God’s Word in silence and truly think about the words you are reading. You may receive answers to questions you have had lingering in your mind.

Reflection, as you can see, is much deeper than merely looking in a mirror at ourselves. It goes beyond the outward appearance, and it touches upon our hearts, minds and souls if we make time to walk away to be alone. Mother Angelica, an American Franciscan nun who had a television ministry for many years, said, “I am a mirror to my neighbor, and in that mirror, he must see a reflection of Jesus. If that mirror is cloudy or distorted, Jesus’ reflection will be so vague it will hardly be seen.”

What do you wish to reflect to those you around you?

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