Finding your God

Eckhart Tolle in his book, ‘The Power of Now’, tells us that the word ‘God’ has become “empty of meaning through thousands of years of misuse”.

When you think about it, everyone’s idea of God is different. Today, many people, amazed or excited by something, will often blurt out ‘Oh my God’!  The phrase has also been shortened for texting messages. One has to question whether these people are really calling on their God for assistance?

People of different faiths all have different ideas about who or what their God is, and in what form their God takes. For many, God is often referred to as having a male or female gender. One wonders whether an almighty being would have a gender at all?

The question we might ask ourselves is whether our God is distant, or permanently in the clouds above us, or can we look for and find our God here on earth, in nature, or maybe even within ourselves? Is our God seen as ‘Enlightenment’; ‘A Father figure’; ‘A Being’; a Spirit, or maybe just ‘Peace and Love’.

A well-known Budda saying is that “Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without”. The Bible tells its followers to “go to your inner room, close the door and pray to your Father in secret”.

It seems possible that individually each one of us can seek our God, from within our own selves. Eckart Tolle calls this experience, finding a “oneness with Being”.

When seeking our God, I believe the Dalai Llama got it right when he said, “People take different roads seeking fulfilment and happiness. Just because they are not on your road doesn’t mean they have got lost”.

I’m Peter Mack and that’s faith.

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A Hole in One

Back in 1997 there was a certain young man whose name was on every golfer’s lips. He had spent his childhood and youth being trained by his father and when it was considered he was ready, he then entered into the public life of the professional golfing circuit.

As the winner of that year’s prestigious American Open, he broke numerous records and people bowed down before him as he approached the eighteenth green to play his final putt on the last Sunday of the tournament. He was awarded the trophy and dressed in the coveted green winner’s jacket. His name – Tiger Woods.

On Palm Sunday many years ago, the same type of adulation given to Tiger Woods was given to another man who was also approaching the last hole in his round. He had performed miracles and healed many sick people along his journey to the extent that those in authority were fearful he might upset their control and power. He was duly disposed of. His final hole contained a cross. As he died, the man turned the fear of the thief beside him into love, which was typical of the man’s whole approach to life.

The Nike Company, with their well recognised “Tick” logo, claims to be one of the largest manufacturers of sporting footwear and clothing in the world. I can recall seeing one of their TV advertisements where a lot of young children were hitting golf balls. When asked who the person was they would most like to be. “Tiger Woods”, they each declared.

I wonder how many of us who carry the Spirit of the world’s greatest hero in our hearts would be proud enough, if asked the same question, to declare, “I would like most to be Jesus Christ”.

Sporting heroes come and go and ticks on logos will disappear with the clock of time. However, the Spirit of Jesus will be with us forever. Maybe it’s time we allowed the love of our God to drive away our fears so we might willingly step out on the course we are taking in life and get on with the job of helping God’s kingdom come.

I’m Peter Mack and that’s faith.

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Wind

While the wind can be a nuisance at times, it does help us in so many ways.

It clears the smog from our atmosphere; it dries our clothes and can be a cooling experience on a hot day.

Just as the wind blew the first white settlers to this country, so it blows all Australians today, calling us to check our course and ensure we are sailing in the right direction.

The Apostles reacted to the wind of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.  They accepted their responsibility as Christians, left the security of their hiding place and went out to take the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the whole world.

Maybe today the wind of the Holy Spirit is quietly whispering to us to do the same. Let’s be brave and courageous and with the power of the holy Spirit behind us, let’s become worthy Christians.

I’m Peter Mack and that’s faith.

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Wedding Day

The professional photographer was watching the image on the rear of his digital camera. The young couple were seemingly oblivious to the photographer’s intrusion during this private moment together in the midst of a busy and exciting wedding day.

The photographer wondered what they were saying to each other as he clicked off a shot, then moved to reposition himself so the sun formed a halo behind the heads of the couple.

Over the years he had heard many different conversations between brides and grooms in the period between ceremony and celebration.

For many this day is planned in the finest detail and can involve considerable expense and worry. So finely tuned are the strategic plans for their special day that the weather, arguments with relations, or even a veil that refuses to sit right, are sometimes seen as major upsets that can affect the whole wedding day,

The photographer can tell when a couple are moved by the significance of the promises they have made to each other.  The lens can easily capture the beauty and simplicity of a serious commitment. However, the photographer often requires a number of poses and retakes when the major concern of the couple is for the day and the success of the event, rather than the significance of what the day represents.

Jesus must have thought marriage was important. It was at a wedding He chose to perform His first public miracle.

A wedding day should be seen as the beginning of a lifetime of commitment and unconditional love. Let’s make sure we get the picture right.

I’m Peter Mack and that’s faith.

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War

Oh my God why do you let war happen? Some people even say it is your will.  But then we are the ones who create war, not you.

I don’t believe it is your will to see thousands of people, who you have created, go through the suffering and death associated with war.  I cannot imagine it would be your will to see so many people from so many countries around the world plagued by war and political unrest.

We forget so soon that you showed yourself to us with bleeding palms outstretched, praying forgiveness for your executioners.

Even then, there were those who wanted you to establish your kingdom by force. To come as a mighty warrior and sweep the Roman Empire aside. To do that, you would have had to follow the rules of those who worship strength and force. By your actions, you showed us we cannot change the world if we abide by these rules.

You showed us love and reconciliation as being your way for the world and yet we continue to believe we can trust our armies and our bombs more than you.

To some, these armaments have become their Gods, their hope and their security.  Yet they offer nothing but destruction, oppression and death.

Help us Lord to understand your way to peace and have the leaders in our world seek peace and harmony for their people. 

I’m Peter Mack and that’s faith.

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Valentine

At last it seems as though it is all having an effect. Our parents told us all about it, our teachers extolled its value, our Church leaders are always talking about it and we even find ourselves quoting it to others.

I am referring to those words of Jesus, “Love one another as I have loved you”.

Maybe all the effort is starting to bear fruit. During the week in which we had celebrated Valentine’s Day, I was convinced the love bug was present in epidemic proportions, with many around me already bitten.

Young blokes at work, whose major concerns in life revolve around their sport, fixing the car or going to the pub with the boys, altered their centre of attention from themselves to those  who usually didn’t rate more than a cursory glance.

The girls changed too. They seemed to pay more attention to their appearance. They would blush and seemed to become shy, even embarrassed as they wondered who the admirer was who sent them flowers and the unsigned card with the romantic verse.

A pervading atmosphere of peace settled over our workplace as males and females of all ages seemed to actually be enjoying working together.

It is such a pity Valentine’s Day only occurs once a year.

I’m Peter Mack and that’s faith.

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Triers

We are all disabled in some degree in different ways.  No one is perfect!  Although we might strive for perfection in our lives, it seems we all have our weaknesses.

St. Paul explained how it really is to be human when he said, “I do not do the good I want to do; instead, I do the evil that I do not want to do”.

Now here is a bloke who tried to do the right thing even though he admitted he failed from time to time.  I would think he ended up OK.  And so can we.

When our individual final siren sounds and we reach the gates of Heaven, I am sure our entry inside will be determined, not because of our perfection, but because we really tried to be the person God created us to be.

It’s a good idea, from time to time, to discuss with our God our efforts, our successes and our failures.

To try, doesn’t necessarily mean to succeed, but if we keep trying this can only mean that eventually, with God’s help, we will overcome our individual disabilities.

I’m Peter Mack and that’s faith.

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Time

In today’s busy world, there are so many things we say we would like to do, if only we had the time.

Yet even with all our labour and time-saving devices, it seems we still have difficulty managing our time effectively.

Maybe it frightens us a little to call a halt to our constant round of activities, in order to provide some quiet time for ourselves.

If we could only slow down the pace of our life occasionally, it might give God a chance to communicate with us.

Many might question how God can speak to us!  Why not give Him a chance, perhaps during the early morning, when all is quiet, or late at night, when we look back over our day?

Sometimes, God speaks to us through the words and actions of others or, as has happened in the past to many people, through the words of Scripture.

For a love affair to work effectively, there needs to be a two-way open communication.  Being content and at peace within ourselves will help us communicate with, and receive messages from, our loving God. But fortunately for us, He is open for communication 24/7, regardless of our situation.

I’m Peter Mack and that’s faith.

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The Souvenir

There was once a man who was nearing the end of his life.  His had been an interesting life and he’d made many friends.  But he was sad, for although he was prepared for his death, he wanted so much to still be with his friends.

He decided he would have to leave behind him a souvenir that would enable them to remember him as their friend and brother.

He sorted through his few possessions to find something that would be suitable, but what he had didn’t seem to have any lasting value.

He went into the city, hoping to find something appropriate at the souvenir shops where tourists buy the usual array of wipe up towels, drinking vessels and togas with the ‘been there, done that’ messages.

He went home empty handed in the evening, still determined that if he was to leave something behind, it must have some lasting significance.

That night sleep didn’t come easily.  However, by early morning he’d made up his mind exactly what he would do.

His friends loved to be together to celebrate their friendship, so he arranged a dinner, all at his expense, and invited just those whom he most wanted to remember him.

He explained to them during the course of the dinner how important they were to him and how he wanted so much to give them a souvenir or some gift that would keep him in their memory.

He then gave them Himself on Holy Thursday Night. this was the ultimate souvenir.

I’m Peter Mack and that’s faith.

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The Magi

The wise men from the East were ‘wise’ because they asked questions – important questions that concerned life.

They went in search of the newly born King who would give meaning and purpose to their lives.

But the three wise men went beyond just asking questions, they committed themselves to looking for the answers.

The wise men were guided by a star, by a beacon, a sign of hope.  They looked for answers in the ancient Scriptures and the stars, and they found their King.

What about us? – Maybe we should question who we should choose as our guides and who, or what, are the stars that we follow today.

Do we think of searching for the answers to our vital questions in the Scriptures?

The Bible may have the answers to guide us along the right pathway in this life.  It may also help us become the stars that will lead others on their journey to find the King.

To ensure we keep on the right track, it might be prudent to let the actions of those from our past who are considered wise, guide us on our individual journeys today.

I’m Peter Mack and that’s faith.

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