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Cheryl Mendoza

How He speaks to me…..Or… can't He just call my cell when He wants to talk?

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faith

Believe=Live

DSC_0132“I gotta live how I say I believe.”  It doesn’t roll off the tongue very easily, but t’s something I’ve been saying a lot lately.  It’s mainly due to my children and their struggles or downright danger they put themselves into.  Ok, honestly? Some of it just has to do with me and my response to the world around me.

I was reading this morning and came across the story about the friends who bring a crippled man to Jesus.  These guys did everything they could to get their friend into the room where Jesus was teaching.   They let nothing get in their way, not even someone else’s roof. I’ve told this story and heard it many times, but something about it hit me differently today.  When I tell the story to kids, we always used the word “friends” when describing the men who carried the guy in.  I even used the word friend when I started writing this, but the bible never uses the word friend?  It always says men.

images-2What’s the difference?  Well, it seems to me that it’s all about perspective.  If I see these men bringing in their friend, that makes sense to me.  I can “help” my friend see who Jesus is in my life and maybe they will be like “cool….tell me more”.   Sounds great! But I checked out 5 or 6 different translations and they all just said MEN not friend.

So what might the story really have looked like? There’s a couple of guys, and they’re hurrying off to see this teacher they’ve heard about.  He says the craziest things, but what they’ve heard has them thinking.  I know….four men thinking…. Who would have thunk it?  So either they know each other or better yet….maybe they don’t?  Probably at least 2 did and they were walking together. Maybe then third and fourth are just walking that way too and they all converge at this intersection that is just down the street from the house.  It is so close they can see it.  They are intent on getting there before too many more people show up.  Picture Disneyland when they first open in the morning. Some are walking enjoying Main Street, some are doing that funny walk/run and some are downright sprinting to be first in line at Indiana Jones.  Well as these guys get to the intersection, they are greeted by someone who can’t walk.

Maybe he is calling out to Jesus because he has heard the scuttlebutt.  Or maybe this guy is calling out for money? For whatever reason, they choose to do something. They see that he is laying on a blanket and they grab the corners and go.  They walk for just a bit but stop.  It is really hard with just the two of them and they put him down.  They’re panting, thinking “this is harder than the WOD,” and as they catch their breath a shadow falls across them.  Two more men have stopped.  They all look at each other and without another word they each grab a corner of the blanket, mat, whatever the guy was on and well you know the end of the story.  Jesus, forgiveness and healing.  The end seems to point to the conclusion that maybe they don’t know each other.  When the man is healed, he just gets up and just walks out.  Maybe these guys go and have some goats milk together at the local whatever was back then, or just maybe after listening to Jesus they go their separate ways.

IMG_0143It seems to me this is kind of how life works.  We are all in need of healing and could use a little Jesus to do that.  Along the way people can come beside us and take a corner to help us get to where we need to be.  If we see this story only through the lens of helping a “friend” then we might miss out on all of the other opportunities to help people we don’t know see Jesus.

Sometimes it takes a long time for someone to make that complete journey to forgiveness and healing.   And every day is a new opportunity to pick up the mat of those around you.  Whether they are technically a friend or not.

So how does this relate to “I gotta live how I say I believe?”  Well if I believe that everyone around me is someone I can “bring” to Jesus, it should really influence how I treat everyone.  Right?  And that means in every situation.  School, work, grocery store, politics, baseball field, FREEWAY and even in church.  Sometimes it takes a long time for someone to make the complete journey, and everyone I meet is another opportunity.  A new chance for me to pick up the mat and help them on their way.

16939225_10211261381504215_4523643083069843847_nThat is the plan, and it is way harder to do than it sounds.  But you know… gotta live how you say you believe!

Of Billy and influence….

thSo the day finally came, and my first reaction was sadness, then I pondered and then I laughed.   I was sad because I know that at the loss of Billy Graham, his family and friends will be going through a grieving process.  The first moments of separation are the worst.  I was also sad because it seems that these are the days that we need a Billy Graham.

But that didn’t sound right.  As I started to ponder the thought, I realized that what we really needed are “men and women like Billy Graham.” Continue reading “Of Billy and influence….”

What’s the fuel to your fire?

I hate when I get stuck on the hook.  I mean really…. I am human!  So… I might not have
been totally awake yesterday as I was sitting in church.  In my defense, I had just gotten out of a Sunday school class with 26 pre-schoolers that morning, so I was exhausted!  As I was listening, the pastor brought up the words we use and how they can affect people.  Since I am all about words, both written and spoken (a lot of them according to Mike) I make an effort to pay attention when the subject is brought up.  Well he noted the verse:

It only takes a spark, remember, to set off a forest fire.  A careless or wrongly placed word out of your mouth can do that.  James 3:5 Continue reading “What’s the fuel to your fire?”

To Love and Mourn…Together

So I am going to try and be concise….not too wordy.  No promises though!

Unknown 8.24.28 PMThis year was kind of funny because Lent started on Valentine’s day.  Not coming from a liturgical background, I have only started following this tradition.  (In my own made up way)  So a couple days ago, I was reading a blog written by a young Catholic woman, and she made the connection between Valentines day, the whole “love” thing, and Lent which prepares us for the remembrance of the greatest act of love ever.  I thought that was kinda cool.  Up to that point, the only connection I had made about the coincidence was to tease my friend that she may need to celebrate Valentines on Tuesday.  Continue reading “To Love and Mourn…Together”

A question of loyalty…

For a while, I have had a love/hate relationship with living in the Central Valley.  It may be because I bought into what people were saying….there is nothing to do!

IMG_6894Well, this isn’t the bay area, where there are plenty of museums, venues, and events, but that doesn’t mean that there is nothing to do!

Case in point, the Kingsburg Historical Park is hosting an interesting exhibit on the Japanese internment experience.  While it may be small, it provides some perspectives and spurs questions that are applicable even today.

The few things that really stood out to me….. Continue reading “A question of loyalty…”

Of Beauty and pain…

IMG_6847I think it is going to be an interesting year.  There are things that I am looking forward to, but I also feel a little concerned.  Why?  Well it all comes down to themes.  When I read or see things, sometimes themes appear.  So far this year, I have seen this thread of beauty through pain, and it has caught my attention.

It was reflected in the conversation of mother who is watching the cancer spread through her daughter’s body, but showed such strength, love and hope in that same conversation.  Continue reading “Of Beauty and pain…”

A time to hate?

So I am finding it hard to write.  Why?  Mostly because I seem to be…..how can I say this?  Wordy.

thSo today, since I am not feeling well (still feeling the effects of the flu) I am going to try and make these observations short.  These are just some things that have stood out to me the past few days, and they seemed appropriate to think about on this day we remember the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

I read the following verse this morning…… Jeremiah 22:13  And woe to you, King Jehoiakim, for you are building your great palace with forced labor. By not paying wages you are building injustice into its walls and oppression into its doorframes and ceilings.  Continue reading “A time to hate?”

How you look at it…..

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It is all about your view.  The first two pictures were taken during the summer inYosemite, by Mirror Lake.  There is a whole area where people have stacked rocks. (Much to many people’s irritation….but that is a story for a different time)

 

 

 

 

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The third was a stack that was done by the Merced River in the park. (Ok…I did that one)  I liked how much bigger it looked when I snapped a picture from a low angle.  It made the rocks look only slightly shorter than the trees.   I was pretty impressed with all those piles of rocks, as they seemed like a memorial of some sort, put there to remind someone of something.   That was of course until our last visit this week.

 

 

 

Continue reading “How you look at it…..”

Change of perspective….

Attached are photos from both Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks.  At this time of year, the beauty of these parks are a bit muted.  You see a few trees that are wearing their fall “glory,” but fall in the Sierra’s isn’t astounding.  What you do see a “pop of color” here and there that I just happen to love!  Both parks were pretty quiet when we went, and that made it even more special.  It was a time (at least for me) to remember not only how small my problems are, but how big God is.

I love the picture of the path with the granite rocks dotting the way.  I had to watch eachIMG_6695 step carefully as I walked, making sure to navigate around the bumps and place my feet on flat ground.  Why?  Because I am such a clutz!  Now there was plenty of good ground to step on, but I had to pay attention to make sure that is where I was walking.  I took the picture because that is really how I am feeling right now.  My life’s path feels a bit bumpy, so I am taking it slow trying to make it through.  The picture gives me hope, as the path does eventually smooth out, and I know my life’s path will too.  It is only a matter of time…..

Until then, I am thankful that I live so close to these beautiful places where I can breathe in fresh air, see blue sky and get a change of perspective!

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