Centering Prayer

Saturday’s Meditation: Psalm 90:1-4,12 – God’s Eternity and Human Frailty

Lord, you have been our dwelling-place
     in all generations.
Before the mountains were brought forth,
     or the land and the earth were born,
     from age to age you are God.

You turn us back to dust,
     and say, ‘Turn back, you mortals.’
For a thousand years in your sight
     are like yesterday when it is past,
     or like a watch in the night.

So teach us to number our days
     that we may apply our hearts to wisdom.

 

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Don’t Take It Personal

 

…and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on rock.  Matthew 7:22-27  Any ministry, ordained or lay sometimes requires difficult decisions; weighing benefit vs. loss, constructive vs. destructive, and humility vs. pride. The first two are generally easy because they usually don’t involve personal relationship. As some would say, “It’s just business.” On the other hand humility and pride is always personal. As we engage one another and reach out to do what we believe God is calling us to do, without thinking about it (and if only for a moment), we influence change or positively impact someone’s life. We all know however that our good intentions don’t always insure positive response. We all can have bad days, but when someone takes their bad day out on us, it’s a painful and humiliating experience. The pride we had in doing what we do is shaken to our very core. Yet, what we find at the core makes the difference in what we do next. Don’t take it personal. We are not driven by loss, destruction or pride, but by the grace of God’s love and kindness. Know the bad days don’t last but God’s Love endures forever.

For we are what he has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life.  Ephesians 2:1-10

Image Credit – Google images

Ascension

Please let me inherit a double share of your spirit.  2 Kings 2:1-15  I woke up late this morning. Whenever that happens I always seem to find my self behind and it takes a while to feel like I am able to rise up to whatever occasion the day brings. As I struggle to get ahead throughout the day, I remember it’s the 40th day of Easter – Ascension, the celebration of Jesus ascent into heaven after having resurrected and appearing before his disciples.  Feeling like I could sure use that double share of spirit, I remembered my praise. Ascension – some days, it feels just like that.

I lift up my eyes to the hills—
   from where will my help come?
My help comes from the Lord,
   who made heaven and earth.  Psalm 121:1-2

Old School

“I bet I’ll knock you in to next week!” This of course a highly improbable scenario short of being put in to a coma and waking up a week later, but that’s an entirely different (and quite serious) issue. No doubt, today we raise our children differently. However, hearing these words as a child I knew that this extreme threat meant that whatever it is I was suppose to be doing needed to get done. I may not be knocked into next week, but I might just be picking myself up off of the floor. I suppose “old school” discipline involved fear of all sorts of extreme improbable threats by a parent and yet by the same breath of life, also came extreme acts of love; encouragement, support and sacrifice. The language of God in Leviticus is perhaps harsh and extreme and yet it is the same God who expressed extreme love through Jesus Christ. There is a consequence when we don’t always do what we are supposed to do. How gracious is it that we serve a God whose acts of Love are far more extreme than our disobedience?

…if then their uncircumcised heart is humbled and they make amends for their iniquity, then will I remember my covenant with Jacob; …with Isaac and …with Abraham, and I will remember the land.  Leviticus 26:27-42

Image Credit : Google Image –www.blackbluedog.com

Making Way For The New

Discern what is sown for the Lord. Have faith in God’s promises and know that in time, good soil not only bears good fruit, it bears fruit abundantly and with purpose.

I am the Lord. If you follow my statutes and keep my commandments and observe them faithfully, I will give you your rains in their season, and the land shall yield its produce, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit. Your threshing shall overtake the vintage, and the vintage shall overtake the sowing; you shall eat your bread to the full…  I will look with favor upon you and make you fruitful and multiply you; and I will maintain my covenant with you. You shall eat old grain long stored, and you shall have to clear out the old to make way for the new. I will place my dwelling in your midst, and I shall not abhor you. And I will walk among you, and will be your God, and you shall be my people. I am the Lord your God …  Leviticus 26:1-20

Image Credit: Google Image

 

 

Nurtured By Love

Listen! A sower went out to sow… Matthew 13:1-16  This is a parable in which I’ve heard so many interpretations. However questions from a young couple seeking a spiritual home helped give rise to yet another; how we experience the soil (environment) in which the seed (Word of God) falls. The environment of the Church was intended to be good soil. More often many are experiencing it merely as either a pathway for baptism and burial rights; rocky ground where the gospel is preached but not lived out; or a thorny patch where the Word is used as severe judgment rather than encouragement for spiritual growth. Thus, many who are seeking knowledge of God, struggle to find “good soil.” Even the earliest churches struggled with understanding faith as they cultivated their soil according to God’s Law (instructions for living) and nurtured their soil according to God’s Love. While today we are all too willing to share the inheritance of the Law, let us not forget that the Law is to be nurtured by Love.

Centering Prayer

Saturday’s Meditation:  Psalm 27:3, 13-14  – A Triumphant Song of Confidence

Though an army encamp against me,
   my heart shall not fear;
though war rise up against me,
   yet I will be confident.

I believe that I shall see the goodness of the Lord
   in the land of the living.
Wait for the Lord;
   be strong, and let your heart take courage;
   wait for the Lord!

Who Am I?

Judge not, lest you be judged.  Matthew 7:1-12  We often see judgment as negative thing, when in reality it is simply an opinion or conclusion about something or someone. We make judgments all the time. Unfortunately, we sometimes make judgments without full consideration and knowledge of a situation. I was recently asked to participate in a group that is charged with assisting the discernment of individuals who believe they are called to ordained ministry. My initial response to the invitation was “Who am I?” I was concerned that I might play some part in “weeding out.” I began to think about my own process and experiences that lead to my own ordination and subsequently to where I am today. What initially was a scary thought I now see as a gift. Every day we sit at a table of discernment or judgment, primarily for our selves. God has given us a brain, a heart and some “art” (preaching, teaching, mending, etc.) to use for the encouragement of every good work of the Gospel. In our own discernment and judgment, our practice should be to listen to the voice of God, the Spirit of Christ. On the occasion that we are called to overtly discern or judge someone or something other than our selves our first response will be to remember that “God has so graciously heard my voice. Who am I not to listen?”

Life Happens

Today’s trouble is enough for today.  Matthew 6:25-34  Part of life is that we are encouraged to plan, yet with planning comes expectation. Expectation is a strong belief that something will happen or occur in the future. However, we can’t really know with absolute certainty that what we plan to happen will actually occur. In between the planning and the future end result, life happens one moment at a time. We make decisions based on what we expect to happen and planning is always a good thing. Yet let us first take action based on what is right and necessary for today, as we allow God’s Word to purpose our steps.

Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me.  Psalm 119:133

Healthy Eyes

The eye is the lamp… If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness.  Matthew 6:19-24  The image of light is commonly used as a metaphor for wisdom, or universal symbol for understanding, much like in a cartoon where the character is drawn with a highlighted lightbulb. When grasping a concept, many cultures use the language “see.” When they’ve finally arrived at some knowledge we say “I see.” But what’s going on within us up until we get to that point? When we are not “seeing” are we blind and simply in darkness? That certainly can’t be healthy. Mendy Herson writes:

… darkness doesn’t necessarily mean evil; it means the absence of light. Darkness equals confusion. When life’s meaning seems inscrutable, when I’m running from task to task oblivious to the need for meaning, that’s called darkness. I may even be having fun, and convincing myself that pleasure equals light, but my soul – my life’s purpose – is obscured from my mind’s eye. And that’s darkness.

Stop running and slow down. Today, let us choose to see God, and walk in the comfort of his light. For It is you who light my lamp; the Lord, my God, lights up my darkness (Psalm 18:28).