Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

I’ve been talking about the Beatitudes for the purpose living life as a peacemaker. The Message translation says, “You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s Family.” (Matthew 5:9) My life has been dedicated to this cause and I have considered myself blessed for it. That does not mean that I do not face situations that challenge my beliefs. It is not always easy to pursue peace with all men especially when you have been triggered by someone or simply find yourself in a situation where you unintentionally trigger someone with your words or actions.

A couple of weeks ago, I was driving down the road when another driver started to sway into my lane. I noticed he was talking on his cell phone and I quickly decided to tap my horn. I was thinking it might be safe to get his attention. Little did I know that my actions would become his trigger. My impression of his response was that he lost his mind. He yelled at me, swerved his car as if he was going to side swipe me then sped up to get in front of me and hit his breaks. I quickly got into the next lane over to avoid him. It’s difficult to explain the remaining sequence of events but due to traffic, I managed to get into a slower lane and avoid further interaction with him.The maneuvering lasted for another mile and I had ample time to think of how I wanted to handle things.

If necessary, I prepared myself to ram him if he got out of the car. I considered what weapons I had at my disposal. Would I keep my windows rolled up or would I try to calm him down if he caught me at a red light. I have to tell you, the adrenaline began to rush as I considered my response. Would I fight, flight or freeze?

I decided it wasn’t worth the possible consequences of a face to face standoff so I hit a left turn to go into a neighborhood to avoid further interaction. As he was still in front of me, I did not know if the driver would hit a turn at the next block to search me out as he was definitely trying to engage with me further.

As I drove my new route to get to my destination, I continued to be on guard, considering my next steps. Fortunately I never saw him again but I was still shaken up and thought of what I needed to do to keep myself safe. I even thought, I should have had a gun on me.

I’ve shared my thoughts because I find it interesting that even a person like me, who seeks peace and have a career teaching people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight, could find myself in a situation where I would have considered using a gun if it was at my disposal. I thought how quickly things escalate to violence. While I’m still not convinced that I would not own a gun for protection, I’m overwhelmed with sadness to think how fast life can be lost and the ultimate effect of it on society.

While I’m sure a conversation could go many ways, I want to go back to Jesus’ teaching where the King James translation says, “Blessed are the peacemakers; for they shall be called the children of God.” I don’t think any translation says, “Blessed are the Safe”.

While I’ve spent my life trying to develop safe communities, we have not been promised that. We live in a violent world and we have to be prepared to meet our maker at any time. I’m believing for long life but more importantly, I want to live a life of obedience to my creator. All of the Beatitudes  are about living according to God’s Kingdom which does not operate according to the ways of this world.

As I close, I want you to consider Jesus’s words that came immediately before He instructed us to be peacemakers. He said, “You’re blessed when you get your inside world — your mind and heart– put right . Then you can see God in the outside world.” (The Message)

Sometimes our commitment to God’s way does not coincide with the “Safe way” and we must draw on His strength to pursue peace with all men. (Meditate on that and let those words take you where they will.)

Peace,

Alan (Little Rock) Delery

 

Blessed are the Merciful: Part II

Posted: September 26, 2016 in Uncategorized

I’ve recently been doing a study on the Beatitudes taught by Jesus in His Sermon on the Mount. He declares blessings are upon individuals who practice specific traits. I am currently on mercy which has proven to be the most difficult to teach on. One of the main questions that I wanted to address was who do you show mercy to. We are prone to have an easier time showing compassion and forgiveness to those closest to us or those who are most like us, especially those who think like us. The further away we perceive others to be  from our “likeness”,  the more rigid we often become in our tolerance of their offense or shortcoming. Social media is a prime example. We have become polarized and hardened our attitudes and become less compassionate toward those who we think are different.

Please do not get me wrong. We need honest public dialogue to deal with some major issues that are affecting peace in our society. Action must be taken to see the changes that produce a just society. I am simply concentrating on the merciful and compassionate side of humanity that I believe can change individuals when the law and judgment cannot.

We have our stories of hate, anger and frustration but I believe we need to make room for stories of mercy and grace in the midst of the fire.

It’s easy to find differences in others, even a reason to dislike them but I believe love is the strategy that Jesus taught and practiced. Let’s be committed to tearing down walls of division rather than building them up. You’re in a blessed state when you can be merciful towards others in need especially when they are not in your circle.

May God’s Grace and Mercy be upon us all so that His light might shine through us.

Blessed are the Merciful

Posted: September 6, 2016 in Uncategorized

70Are you in a situation where someone has done you wrong? Have they wronged you multiple times? How are you handling it? I pray that you have the grace to show them mercy? I know that is not always an easy thing to do. When we have been harmed by a person’s actions, it’s natural to want to lash out at them or have them pay us back for what they may have taken.  It is reasonable for a person to be held accountable to make things right. The challenge is when the debt is so great that it puts an impossible burden on the person to pay back all that is due.

Have you ever had such a heavy debt to pay that you didn’t know what to do? Do you remember the stress you were under? If you were relieved of your debt, do you remember how that felt and how you were changed? If so, you understand the idiom, “I have a new lease on life.”

A new lease on life means a fresh start; renewed vigor and good health. [What a wonderful feeling.] Many times you were at the end of your rope when you received mercy. Forgiveness can be transformative. When we have had that type of experience, we often say, “I won’t let that happen again.”

When we forgive someone through the grace of God, we can believe that His transformative power is released into their life and they can become better than what they were before. We can believe that they will learn from their mistakes. In some situations, a person’s actions are a part of a well established habit and may take multiple times to unlearn. Sometimes I wonder if that is why Jesus told Peter that he should forgive not only once or even seven times but seventy times seven. Now that takes some serious grace but when you are the recipient of this level of mercy then you understand that someone loves you and wants you to succeed even at their expense.

I’m thankful for God’s grace and mercy in my life. Both the one forgiven and the one doing the forgiving demonstrate God’s love. He loves me enough to forgive me but He also loves me enough to let me see the potential in someone that seems to be unlovely.

Mercy says, “You have messed things up but I can see potential in you and don’t want to stand in the way of God. Therefore, I forgive you.”

Jesus taught us that blessed are the merciful; for they shall obtain mercy.

May grace and mercy reign in your life.

Word of the Day: Focus

Posted: August 9, 2016 in Uncategorized

Look away from whatever is trying to draw your attention away from doing what you believe God has told you. It’s actually quite simple. This applies to anyone reading my post. It doesn’t matter if you are at the top of your game or at the end of your rope. Get a vision from God and stay focused.

Don’t turn to the left or the right. If you already took a detour, get back on the road.

It’s as simple as that.

Any questions?

 

Apple Harvest

As I was on one of my Inspiration Bike Rides, on the River, I was enlightened with today’s word. I kind of chuckled to myself when I thought how elementary it was. I think I first learned it on Sesame Street, when I was a child. That word is Cooperation.

Now you say it out loud to yourself. “COOPERATION!”

On Sesame Street, we learned how working together helped make task, like cleaning up, more manageable. The beauty of this practice is that it also creates a special bond between those who cooperate. We can all think of close bonds we have with people that we have worked closely together with. Some of my greatest memories are with those who I worked closely with in rebuilding New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Cooperation is a powerful word when you think about what it means and what it can accomplish.

Out of curiosity, I looked up antonyms of cooperation. A few of them are: hindrance, hurt, injury, delay, discord and disagreement. I have some, not so fond, memories of others who have been a hindrance in my life or who caused discord and hurt.

While we are very familiar with destructive practices on our environment, I thought how much better it is to cooperate with nature rather than against it. In Genesis we read that the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose see was in itself, after his kind: and God saw it was good. (Genesis 1:12)

We were all put on this earth to work as One.

When we cooperate with God’s creation, we are at one with it. An incredible bond is formed with God when we learn to cooperate with Him rather than against Him. This can be our cooperation with nature or any of His ways.

In closing, I was reminded of a prayer that I learned many years ago. While I don’t know if it was actually written by the Eighteenth Century folk legend known as Johnny Appleseed, I think it is a beautiful prayer for all who have learned to cooperate with God. May we all be blessed with this perspective.

The Lord is good to me

And so I thank the Lord

For giving me the things I need
The sun and rain and an apple seed
Yes, he’s been good to me

I owe the Lord so much
For everything I see
I’m certain if it weren’t for Him
There’d be no apples on this limb
He’s been good to me

Oh, here am I ‘neath the blue, blue sky a-doin’ as I please
Singin’ with my feathered friends, hummin’ with the bees

I wake up every day as happy as can be
Because I know that with His care
My apple trees, they will still be there
Oh, the Lord is good to me.

Let’s Talk About Love

Posted: November 16, 2015 in Uncategorized

If all we see is hatred, anger, division, and fear and never talk about love then we will never see the world change.

Giving and Receiving

Posted: May 17, 2014 in Uncategorized

Homeless Service ProjectOn April 15, members of Positive Impact completed our first quarter service project. In the beginning of the year “Homelessness” was selected as the first quarter focus. After discussing issues around homelessness it was decided to prepare “Care Packages” to distribute to the homeless. Research was done on appropriate items to include in the packages.

The decision making process was quite interesting as the group debated the items to include, that balanced essential needs and manage the cost per package. In the end we produced bags at a cost of 14.00/Care Package.

The decision was made to hand the packages directly to individuals under the bridge, near the New Orleans Mission, rather than directly to the Mission. This gave us an opportunity to talk with people receiving the items. It was quite an experience as we heard their stories. In the end, the recipients of the packages were blessed but were a blessing to us as well.

As we reflected on the experience, some shared that they would like to do it again and encourage others to get involved. One youth said, “I’d like to keep bags like this in my car at all times so that I can give it to people wherever I am stopped at a light near a homeless person.”

While I don’t know that we would do it the same way again, it is my position that sharing life with others, with different situations than our own, broadens our understanding of humanity. We are all in this world together and we have to figure out ways to bless one another. We never know when we might be in need of a hand from a stranger.