Archive | November, 2014

The Christmas Gift

28 Nov

I look at the fallen snow laying across the fields like a warm blanket of white covering the ground in a quiet serene peace.

I stand there in quiet prayer as I prepare for my journey into the canyon for three days of solitude at the Angel Grotto a few miles inside the Grand Canyon. If you have never been to the Grand Canyon in the winter time, you have never realized the real beauty of the gift God has given us.

Grandfather comes up beside me and asks “Graywolf can you tell me what the first Christmas gift was?” I turn and look up at him and smile saying I think that would be love. He responds that I should ponder on that during my retreat and give him an answer when I return in three days.

As I begin my journey I think more about what Grandfather had said. When I told him that would be love he just smiled at me. So was the first gift of Christmas love?

Father, I laid my head upon Your chest
Your arms encircled me,
It was as if we were
What You meant us to be,

I closed my eyes and heard Your heart
Your soft smile in my hair,
I’d never felt so whole and safe
Our hearts beating as a pair,

You found my eyes and told me of
A love for me undying,
You kissed my face and I knew right then
It was in Heaven we were lying.

Yes, Father, You were there,
To warm and comfort me in my despair.
It was Your glory that I sought,
It was Your love that You brought.

Certainly love is the greatest gift from God and it must have been the first Christmas gift. but wait, what about Joy, what about peace?

May the light be with you.
May your life be filled with joy and abundance in all areas of life.
May the light shine in your hearts so that love may be expressed.
May love and peace fill your life.

Christmas is all about love, joy, peace and hope. One is not more important then the other for they are all needed to complete our life. It was in this revelation that I discovered the first Christmas gift, it’s Jesus.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
John 3:16

When I returned to the reservation I looked Grandfather in the eye and gave him my answer. He responded “God’s greatest gift!”

That was exactly 59 years ago today, November 28, 1955, a few weeks before I turned 12 years old. I had just completed my intense training to become a Shaman. This retreat was my final lesson and I was to spend three days in seclusion to examined myself and present my being to God.

Today, I think people are so wrapped up in what is under the tree that they overlook the real meaning of Christmas. Let us all take time to thank God for everything He has given us and remind ourselves of the real reason He has blessed us.

With all my love,

Ed

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What Defines You?

23 Nov

If you were able to see what others see when they look at you, what would you say defines you? We all have our own definition of what we think defines us, but in reality people define us a lot differently than we do ourselves because they look at us in an unbiased way and see what we are by what we say, wear and act. Actually we are being judged everyday by our actions and words, something most people don’t even think about.

Grandfather used to tell me that actions speak louder than words and all the sweet talk in the world could not hide the real me if my actions don’t match my words. Then he added “Be the true person you seek, everyone should see the same person.”

Pondering on that phrase – To be the same person to everyone you meet. I like to observe and listen to people, I guess from my psychology background, and I find it surprising just how some people present themselves differently depending on who they are talking to. I guess it’s because they want to present a good image of themselves. However, because of what they show to one person over what they show to another and then how their actions reflect a totally different image I don’t think they realize that most people can see through the facade they are pushing.

Being the true person you seek requires you to be completely honest with yourself, something I see as being hard for some people. When Grandfather first told me that I said “How can I do that, I don’t even know who I am yet?” He responded “You are who you are so if you don’t know you best find out.” Well after many months of training, with Grandfather, I finally realized who I was and what I wanted in life.

I love life, animals, people and just about everything else in the world, and I have no qualms about telling someone I love you. I am the same person to everyone and I hope that is what people see in me. The bible teaches us to love our neighbor as we love ourselves, to take care of the animals and care for the earth. For all these things are gifts from God, who has given them to us in love for us to cherish and care for. God does not define our neighbors as those who are like us, rather He defines them as everyone else in the world.

Is that what defines me? I don’t know, but hope so. The animals seem to know, for they will let me approach them as if they have known me all their life. They seem to trust me and will let me help them when they are hurt or just need a little love. People seem to open up to me and want to talk about everything, so I guess they read something that says I can be trusted. Based on this I think love defines me and with that I say I am blessed. Nothing done in love is ever wasted.

What defines you? Can you open yourself up and take a close, honest look? The results could very well surprise you. Is this what people see in you? If it is not what you thought, then you should consider making some changes in your life.

Comments are welcome, so please do comment.

Love,

Ed

On Faith Part 2

19 Nov

I received the following comment on my last post “On Faith” which you can find here:

https://efchristi.com/2014/11/09/on-faith/

I’m having to think about this one, Ed.  I’m
trying to really sort out the distinctions between belief and faith for myself.  I guess that different religions have their own beliefs that ultimately all lead to faith in one supreme being.  Would personal beliefs be the components we need as individuals to support our faith?  Or is there a difference between beliefs and believing?  -Sally  

The question brought a lot to the surface – mainly how do you determine faith? After some thought I responded with the following and at Sally’s suggestion am using it as part 2:

Let me try to put it in perspective, sort of an equation:

Belief – An opinion or judgment in which a person is fully persuaded.

Faith = ( Belief + Action + Confidence )

Confidence – Trust that is based on knowledge or past experience

When we believe the truth with enough confidence to take action we exercise faith. And it doesn’t take much of that faith to see huge things happen, even miraculous things.

But our problem is really with unbelief, not a lack of faith.

The good news is that we can change our unbelief into belief. It’s really a fairly simple, straight forward process. We just need to become more fully persuaded of the truth instead of the misconceptions and lies that we are currently holding on to.

The more we expose our minds to the truth, the more we become persuaded and convinced of that truth.

And the best way to expose our minds to the truth is to study the Bible. The more time we spend exploring the truth of the Bible, the more our minds become convinced of that truth.

The more firmly convinced of the truth we become, the more confident we’ll grow.

Then it won’t be long before we find ourselves doing things differently, acting in more faith.

Do you want more faith? Then invest more time reading, studying, and thinking about the Bible. You’ll find your faith will just grow as a result because you will change your beliefs.

That’s pretty simple, don’t you think?

To answer your question, they go hand in hand.

I am always looking for comments on my posts. It allows me to see things in a different perspective from how I grew up. I welcome all responses and where possible I will answer any question.

What we do with love is never lost. Something worth remembering.

Love,

Ed

Attitude

19 Nov

Do we complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses?

Put into perspective – it is how we look at things in life that determine the path we follow. If we choose to be upset rather than letting things go we also choose to allow these things to control our future. If we choose to turn the other cheek we allow ourselves to grow and learn the meaning of love. This is the beauty of life, we have the choice to determine what and how we feel about just about anything in life. This is how we develop and build our life.

Remember, the only thing you have complete control over is your attitude. You alone are responsible for making yourself happy. Do not depend on others to keep you smiling and positive. Choose to be optimistic. Avoid complaining, especially when the things you are complaining about can’t be avoided or changed.

When I was growing up I was taught many sayings about attitude and feelings. One of my favorite is: It doesn’t matter how many times you stumble, what matters is how many times you pick yourself up and continue forward.

Life is full of bumps and obstacles, it is how we handle these bumps and obstacles that form our mindset and attitude. Choosing to take each one as a growing experience shows strength and courage on your part. I find the most happy people I meet bounce back from disappointment, while most negative people I meet are always complaining about something. It is an amazing contrast on how they look at life, how they love their fellow man and achieve their personal goals. One lives in darkness, complaining there is no way out while the other looks at the little light at the end of the tunnel and focuses on reaching it. There is always a light that will lead us out of our darkness, it is called love.

Live your life with love for all you meet and you will find happiness everywhere.

What we do with love is never lost.

What do you think? I always welcome comments and look for ideas to post. Please feel free to ask questions or to comment. I will do my best to give you an answer.

Love,

Ed

On Faith

9 Nov

Grandfather once told me If you see ten troubles coming down the road, you can be sure that nine will run into the ditch before they reach you. Just stay on your path and walk with the faith that all will be well.

Faith is believing in what is true. Faith has two elements: 1) being convinced of the truth, being certain of reality, having evidence of unseen things, and 2) believing, hoping in, embracing, seizing the truth.

Heb 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen..

While faith requires being convinced that what we believe in is true, just knowing the truth is only half of faith. God’s word must be hoped for, embraced, seized! Luke 17:5 The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” He replied, “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you.”

Believing is not exactly the same as faith. For belief to be faith, it must light on what is certainly true. Yet Scripture gives examples of situations where belief alone is required, even commanded. There’s no time for evidence collection, to wait, to hear, for certainty. Just believe. Like Peter walking on the water–don’t think, act! God even requires us to believe in Him when, temporarily, the evidence looks bad: to trust. God requires belief and trust in moments of human weakness, but faith is what makes us strong. Faith is the state of being convinced about what we hope for.

Contrary to popular teaching, faith is not mental delusion, presumption or self-deception, but a work of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God. Rom 10:17 Faith comes by hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.

Over the years, I have found, faith to be a personal thing and that almost everyone has their own way of defining and measuring it. To have faith is to defy logic. It takes faith to think positively. It takes faith to believe that there is a loving God who cares deeply about our pain. To believe in life, the universe, or yourself after numerous failures is to have courage. Faith is an act of courage. It is choosing to get up in the morning and face our fears and believe that God will help us. Faith is choosing to believe that even though we may have failed one hundred times before that we can succeed the next time.

Grandfather once told me a story about the bird:

On the ground sits a bird
that’s too afraid to fly.
Beautiful wings could make it soar,
but the pain of past failure is it’s lonesome cry.

God has said unto this bird,
“Trust and have faith in me,
for I will carry you in your flight.
The miracle of life is waiting for you to see.”

The bird said to God, “But I can’t fly.
I am weak. I will fall and feel pain
It’s happened before when I tried to fly.
I’m afraid of being hurt again.”

His voice soft and reassuring, God said to the bird, I created you, and I will protect you. Your lonesome cry I have heard.
Have faith in me. That’s all you need to do.

So, stand up, bird, and spread your wings.
The wings I lovingly created to let you fly.
If you fall I’ll pick you up, and lift you back into the sky.

With trembling legs and unsure wings
the bird finally looked to the sky.
It took a deep breath, and took the chance.
The bird began to fly.

“Thank you, God, for believing in me.
Thank you for giving me wings.
Thank you for your protecting hands.
Your glory I will now sing.”

God smiled unto the bird
in its majestic flight.
“Little bird, I’ll always be with you,
and will protect you with all my might.

You may stumble. You may fall.
That doesn’t mean that I don’t care.
I will watch over you, in case you need help,
and then I’ll be right there.”

The little bird, once so scared,
learned to soar to new heights.
The occasional fall no longer scared the bird, choosing to have faith in Gods flight.

I also know just how rough the road can be so let me finish with this:

When things go wrong, as they sometimes will, when the road you’re trudging seems all uphill, when funds are low and the debts are high, and you want to smile but you have to sigh, when care is pressing you down a bit, rest if you must, but don’t you quit.

Life is queer with its twists and turns, as every one of us sometimes learns, and many a failure turns about, when he might have won if he’d stuck it out. Don’t give up, though the pace seems slow – you may succeed with another blow.

Faith is failure turned inside out – the silver tint of the clouds of doubt, and you never can tell how close you are – It may be near when it seems afar; so stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit – it’s when things seem worst that you must not quit.

How do you measure faith? I would really like to hear your story.

Walk daily with God at your side!

Love you,

Ed

Two Eyes – Two Ears – One Mouth

4 Nov

Sally, one of my favorite people, responded to my post “On Prayer” with: “I wonder if a person’s prayer life is a reflection of their relationships with other people. I find that listening is a skill that often has to be taught. People want to be heard so much that they ignore the most important aspect of communicating–listening. I have said to people, you will never hear your answer unless you are still and quiet.”

It reminded me of something my Grandfather told me as I was learning the Prayer / Medicine Wheel. He would say “God has blessed you with two eyes to observe all that is going on around you, two ears so that you can hear what the spirits are telling you and one mouth to say thank you Lord!”

There is no doubt in my mind we talk too much, don’t listen enough and fail to notice what is happening all around us. One of the biggest challenges I have had was teaching my wife to see what is going on around her, observing people instead of not seeing them.

In my life, on the reservation, the one lesson I learned was we don’t die, we pass on to the spirit world and like the medicine wheel we continue in our never ending circle. As a healer I was taught to listen to the spirits and to use their strength to increase my knowledge to serve others. We are taught to use our eyes to see what nature is giving us, through the animals and plants, to help heal the inflicted and calm the storm. We use our mouth to thank God for all the blessings He has given us in strength and knowledge.

We are given two ears so that we listen twice as much as we talk, two eyes to see all the blessings we are given, even though we don’t deserve them and only one mouth to express our thanks for everything. Listening is not something we should be taught, but I think Sally is right, people are so intent on being heard, they forget the most important aspect in communication – listening. If you can’t listen you will never learn or get your answer.

That may just be the reason most people think their prayers aren’t being answered, because they are blind to the fact that you must listen to hear His response and look with your eyes when He is showing you the answer.

Two eyes, two ears and only one mouth – God knew what He was doing, let’s pay attention!

Walk daily with God at your side!

I Love You,

Ed