Job arose, tore his robe, shaved his head, and fell on the ground and worshiped. Job 1:1-22 In one day Job lost everything (except his life). By one act (worshiping God) he defined who he was. Of course that’s not the whole of the story. Over time he suffered self loathing, questioned and yelled at God, endured and resisted his “friends” twisted advise. Though Job’s calamities were not by his own hand, he was who God knew him to be. In the end God prevailed. Perhaps not blameless like Job, we must not forget that we are whom God knows us to be. Rabbi Baruch S. Davidson writes: Regardless of where you’ve fallen, …your soul can wrestle free and recommit to serve G‑d with sincerity and passion. The axe of earnest remorse can bring down any wall, whether preexisting or created by your actions, clearing the way for you to come home to your true self.
…when Simon saw …the Spirit was given through the laying on of …hands, he offered them money… Acts 8:14-25 I remember years ago during the course of an Oprah Winfrey interview with Bernie Mac, while re-hashing some of his life Oprah commented on his appearance and stated, “Bernie Mac, money made you.” Being the comedian that he was, he seemed to laugh it off and commented about her rise and said, “Money made you too.” Money certainly enables us to make a lot of changes in our lives. Yet, it is the gift given by the Spirit of God (and they both certainly had gifts) and how we use those gifts for God’s glory that enables us to be who God has intended us to be.
How can you believe when you accept glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the one who alone is God. John 5:30-47 It is very difficult at times to not think about pleasing other people in order that they might find favor with us. Everybody wants to be liked and every body wants to be chosen for that special place of honor (whatever/wherever that is) in this world. Newsflash! – Not everyone is going to find us to be that person. What greater honor is there than from a God who chooses us first. We must do what we do best for God’s glory alone, whose pleasure to honor the faithful surpasses those even in the highest of earthly places.
…the hour is coming and is now here… John 5:19-29 I recently had a unique gospel experience in the midst of a sermon. The good thing is that I was certain God had given me the words. The scary thing is that in that moment, God was allowing me to live out the words! God allowed me to encounter the reality of woman who was crying out in the world saying “Lord Help Me!” She was not looking at the sky. She was looking at me! If we cover our eyes and ears to the world we cover our eyes and ears to what God wants us to see and hear, and the gifts he gives us to serve one another, won’t mean a thing. The hour is coming and is now hear. We must not forget that every new day God gifts to us is an opportunity to look (see), to listen (hear), to love (act).
Saturday’s Meditation Psalm 107:35-38
He turns a desert into pools of water,
a parched land into springs of water.
And there he lets the hungry live,
and they establish a town to live in;
they sow fields, and plant vineyards,
and get a fruitful yield.
By his blessing they multiply greatly,
and he does not let their cattle decrease.
…the man believed …and started on his way. John 4:43-54 It was at least a days walk before returning to Capernaum where the official’s son lay close to death. It’s often difficult to walk away and trust that everything will be alright and yet by the time the official reached home, his son was healed. As we ourselves suffer or watch our loved ones sometimes succumb to various illnesses, how do we envision signs and wonders today? Are signs and wonders the essential part of our faith – or is our faith the substance of signs and wonders? Every journey we begin in faith is our confidence that as we believe and continue on our way “home”, the place where God has called us, in time we realize that by God’s grace, unseen signs and wonders have already gone before us.
…one sows another reaps… John 4:27-42 One of the most frustrating things is to sow and watch someone else reap from your hard work. We like to think that we will get some benefit out of our sowing. For who sows without expectation of some reaping? If nothing comes from the sowing we are disappointed, but somehow not as frustrated as seeing someone else benefit. It often works out that we too reap where we did not sow. We must have faith that if everyone called by God sows, then everyone who is called will also reap, either by the work of our own hands or the hands of another. Jesus spoke, that all may hear and believe. We are called to speak the Gospel and as faith comes by hearing, it is God who opens the ears. So as we speak in spirit and truth, we sow. We are testimony that we have reaped from hearing someone else who has spoken and sown in spirit and truth.
… true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such as these to worship him… John 4:1-26 The lane of God’s purpose involves increasing the faith. That lane of faith can take many directions without diminishing it’s power. Culture, tradition and various other physical attributes separate and define us in the flesh, but human origin shares in one important commonality. The one and only spirit of the whole of creation, which gives us life, is the one foundation in the heart of those who believe. Though our free will allows us to engage in our cultures and traditions. Glory be to God that it does not hinder God’s desire to reach the foundation of our hearts in order that our own faith may be increased and what we see as a separation and difference becomes far less important. Our journey is not about what makes us many but rather about what makes us one body, one faith, one baptism. From the one body, faith and baptism we become like springs for many.
….consider carefully what you propose to do… Acts 5:27-42 Some emotions such as doubt, anger, or jealously can be rooted to some form of confusion. Our desire to do what is right is based on how we understand our situation. Clarity of action and response comes with careful consideration of experiences, outcomes, and knowing who we are and the gifts given to us for God’s purpose in our lives. If in faith we are staying in the lane of God’s purpose, God’s plan will not be overthrown. If by human origin a plan intercedes (either self-imposed or externally influenced) by grace, God’s purpose will subdue it. As God increases, we must decrease.
But when I called you (men of Ephraim)… you did not deliver me from their hand. Judges 12:1-7 Asking for help isn’t the easiest of tasks. For some it can be rather challenging and there are times when we find the courage to ask, help does not come. It is particularly painful when those we thought would help, fall short of our expectations. Like Jephthah, trusting God, we must always be ready to move in this journey, lest our feet become planted in unhealthy soil. Instead of growing our dreams wither away. God did not create us to wither away. As God’s mercies are renewed every morning, so shall we be ready to receive God’s blessings. If it is God who calls us towards some action, we can expect that it will be God who not only guides the work of our hands and the direction of our steps, but also fulfills our accomplishments and completes our victories.