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This blog is simply meant to bring God the glory; no more and no less. I'd love to hear from you! Comments, questions, conversation. rebecca.labriola@gmail.com

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Justice & Mercy. Wednesday, September 24. 2014.

Do justice. Love mercy. Walk humbly with your God.
Micah 6:8


How much of each?
Can they live in harmony?
Even though they are essentially opposites?
Is it a 50/50 type thing?
Do some cover the justice aspect?
And the others the mercy?

I’m good at the justice part.
A bit too good.
The mercy?
Not my strength.

God shows us the perfect harmonious relationship of justice and mercy.

We have a God who is all-just.
He plays fair.
We have been given free will.
When we decide to abuse that gift,
there is a just punishment.

We have a God who is all-merciful.
He feels.
We use our free will to sin.
His heart bleeds with compassion and forgiveness
for our sinful souls.

Most of us probably favor the merciful God.
But the just God is equally as important for our souls.

God will meet us where we are at.
We have a merciful God who so humbly stoops down to us.
It is one of the most refreshing and relieving truths ever.
I think it is also one of the most misused truths ever.

God will meet you down the dumps.
He will meet you amid the sin.
He will come to you in your failings.
He will venture into your mistakes.
The dirtiest,
most grimy,
most shameful parts of your life.

The God of the universe will meet you there.
Wherever ‘there’ might be for you.

There is such relief in that.
But that is only the beginning.

God loves you too much to hang out with you down in the dumps for too long.
That’s where the justice comes in.
Tough love.

Love isn’t staying with you in the dumps.
Love is challenging you to be better.
To leave the dumps behind.
To walk away from the past.
To not allow sin to have control.
To know that there is redemption
even in the most shameful parts. 

Love is not defined as tolerance.
It is defined as doing what is best for another.

God loves you.
He will meet you in the dumps.
God loves you.
He is not going to tolerate you sitting in the dumps.
God loves you.
He is going to so lovingly draw you to His heart; a better place.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Perspective. Wednesday, September 17. 2014.

Southern California is going through a slight heat wave right now.
Slight meaning the temperature is 15-20* higher than the average.

This morning I got up flung open my window and kitchen door.
I commented on how brisk it was outside.

The thermometer stared back at me.
It read 75*.
At 5am.
In Southern California.

Never did I think I would dub 75* as brisk.

It’s all about perspective.

I have a friend who has this perspective thing nailed down.
He will be hit by one thing after another
and he still keeps perspective at the heart of it all.

Things could be better,
But things could also be far worse.

Keeping perspective in mind is so much easier said than done.

Perspective is about deeming 75* cold
during a heat wave.

It’s about viewing life from a different angle.
About seeing the whole picture.

It involves humility-
maybe things aren’t so bad.

It requires trust that things will get better.
It demands hope that there is life worthy of experiencing down the line.

It needs faith.
Faith in better things,
things unseen.

It requires a relationship with One
more powerful,
more holy than the self.

It requires ditching the facades
and experiencing life truthfully and through a raw lens.

It means looking at the suffering of the Cross and realizing-
He did that,
for me.

Maybe life isn’t all that horrible.
Maybe life is still worth living.
Maybe there is more.
There might be better.

There could even be worse.

But right here,
right now,
there could always be better.

Our perspectives need adjustments.
They need to be adjusted to focus on Him.  

It feels like your life's crashing down all around you
Let me ask if it's really so bad
Look at the world in its suffering
Can you honestly tell me that no one else could understand
All of the hurting inside

Why can't you see that freedom is sometimes just simply another perspective away
Who could you be if your lens was changed for a moment,
Would you still be the same?

Yesterday, you really couldn't see
By changing your angle a new world would be
Revealed to your once blinded eyes by moving a few degrees


Thursday, September 11, 2014

Holding On. Thursday, September 11. 2014.

My students like to hold onto things.

Things like footballs and grudges.
Both of which make for interesting days.

When they hold onto their friendships or their faith,
the day runs much smoother. 

As we get older,
not much changes.

We are living in this world that we are not of.
It is a daily challenge to say the very least.
The world is there to constantly remind us
that we don’t belong.

As the world keeps shoving us away,
we cling tighter to the world.
We want to fit in.
We want to be a part.
We want to feel loved.

The Word Himself stands with open arms ready to show us
how we fit within His heart,
how we can play a part in His mission,
how deeply loved we are without even knowing it.

As much as I would like to say that I seek the Word more than the world,
it is a daily battle.
A back and forth,

Though exhausting,
it is a battle worth fighting.

Giving up will lead to defeat.

it’s easier to quit.
And it will probably lead to more earthly enjoyment.

But Mark challenges us-
What profit is there for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life?
Mark 8:36

What is the point in clinging to the world
if it puts our soul in eternal danger?

Christ died that we might have the opportunity for eternal life.
Is the world greater than His sacrifice?
Is the world more important than our souls?

Multiple times a day we have to ask ourselves these questions
and following,
we must answer them.

We are weak,
we need someone or something to cling to.

will it be the world
or the Word?

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Opposition. Wednesday, September 3. 2014.

“Don’t look so worried. He tried to frighten us. But it’s a very good sign.”
“It is?”
“It tells us that we must be doing something right if he throws that kind of ammunition into the battle. He is desperate.”
-Fr. Elijah

I took a big step in my life recently.
One that followed much prayer and discernment.
I have confidence in the step that I took
and truly believe that the Lord wants me right where I am.

That excites me.
I don’t always feel so certain.
But there is a lasting peace about the step I took.

Along with that peace comes opposition.

Multiple people have disagreed with me
or made rude comments in regards to the decision I made.

Often times,
they aren’t even aware that what they said is hurtful or rude.

This continuous opposition lends itself to feeling defeated.
It seems like every time I turn around someone else has hopped on the opposition bandwagon.

It made me doubt a little.
Sometimes a lot.
It made me question.

Did I really take the right step?
Is it possible I made the wrong decision?
Do people really see me that way?

The most recent negative comment really had me down.
I was reminded of this quote from the book Fr. Elijah.

The ‘he’ the characters are referring to is Satan.
The older priest comforts the younger one
with a reminder that opposition is a good thing.
We must be doing something right.

We are used to praise when we do something right.
Not opposition.
But we must remember this life is a spiritual battle.
The battle between Good and evil
fighting for our souls.

It’s a battle.
Things might not run smoothly.
Not everything will play out the way we wish.
We may be opposed on all sides.
Opposed by people who you think should support you.

But nevertheless,
fight on.

Pray about your decisions and choices.
Pray for guidance.
Pray to see things as they truly are.
Pray for strength against opposition.
Pray that you might not grow weary.
Pray that you might always have the courage to help fight in this battle.

Your soul is worth the fight.