Saturday’s Meditation – Psalm 116:17-19
I will offer to you a thanksgiving sacrifice
and call on the name of the Lord.
I will pay my vows to the Lord
in the presence of all his people,
in the courts of the house of the Lord,
in your midst, O Jerusalem.
Praise the Lord!
Those who choose another god… Psalm 16 There was a segment on a morning show where the personalities attempted to give up addictive indulgences. It wasn’t until they made the choice to give them up did they realize how much the indulgence had become a significant part of their everyday living. However, the liberty of giving something up is entirely different than having something forcefully taken away. If we draw all of our energy from people or things, it won’t matter who we say God is. Eventually the people or things will take the lead, rather than the Spirit of God within us.
Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment. John 7:14-36 Signs are indicators that don’t always point to the whole truth. Laws are guidelines that are often bent and broken. We aren’t called to trust every sign that we see or respond to every call for civil disobedience. However, above the signs and the laws we are called to trust God. Yet these days I struggle. For every black male the signs are dismal and the laws are too often severely broken. Everyday more and more stories are revealed concerning the unjust application of laws based on appearances. All the signs indicate that it’s okay to look at a black male and first assume the absolute worst then freely disregard civil rights. The new Pharisees of the day are blind, and the ignored frustration of a people continue to go unheard or misjudged. What conspiracy is this that exists solely to hinder generations of a certain posterity from being? I thought once my sons were old enough, I believed their common sense to know and do the right thing would allow them to fully participate in a “free society”, pursue their dreams and achieve their goals. I still trust God for that. The question remaining; “Will they live love enough?”
What God has made clean, you must not call profane. Acts 10:1-16 I am often reminded of the things I said I would never do like going back to school. As we grow and mature we change our minds about a lot of things when we realize our resistance hinders our own growth. What we make sacred and what God makes sacred are often entirely different. If we can subject our heart and mind to be led by what God makes sacred, through us, we make way for God’s faith and love to grow as well.
This teaching is difficult, who can accept it? John 6:60-71 My husband who taught at all levels, always said that he enjoyed elementary students best. For the most part, they have less external stimuli drawing their attention away from learning. Because we have the capability of true self-actualization, humans are the highest level of animal in creation. We have the conscious ability for deliberate and intentional thought and actions. However, it doesn’t necessarily mean that we allow our selves at all times to be led by the spirit of our faith in God. External stimuli; i.e work, family and friend environments, regularly draws our consciousness within us away from seeking the consciousness that is above. When we find our selves having difficulty seeking God, the highest level of our self-actualization, consider the external stimuli. Pause and remember the elemental aspects of our faith and who we are as disciples of the Most High God. The only thing higher than the creation is the Creator. Although it’s not always so easy, in our consciousness and ability to praise the Creator, we can achieve our fullest potential towards eternal life.
Is not this the man who made havoc…? Acts 9:19b-31 It was a curious turn of events indeed. The disciples in Damascus just couldn’t believe it. How is it possible that one who openly disdained “the way” could now be it’s biggest defender of the gospel? I’m sure we all know someone (including our selves) from the past, doing something today we never thought we’d see them doing. God at work has no respect of person, shows no favors and wills to take hold of the heart of whomever the Spirit chooses. The fact that the Spirit moves the way it does, is I believe a good thing, otherwise it might not choose any one of us. God knows the heart even as the head has not yet figured it out. The only people we limit with our mis-perceptions is our selves. Thankfully, it’s not possible to limit God and people like Paul, you and I are lifted to do the work of the Gospel in spite of what others perceive of us – what we perceive of others – or what we perceive of our selves.
Saturday’s Meditation: Psalm 144: 12-14
Praying for Peace Deliverance and Security in Ferguson Missouri
May our sons in their youth
be like plants full grown,
our daughters like corner pillars,
cut for the building of a palace.
May our barns be filled
with produce of every kind;
may our sheep increase by thousands,
by tens of thousands in our fields,
and may our cattle be heavy with young.
May there be no breach in the walls, no exile,
and no cry of distress in our streets.
…though his eyes were open he could see nothing. Acts: 9:1-9 I recently saw a competition for kids ages 10-13, who like to cook. One of their challenges was to identify foods by taste while blindfolded. It was quite impressive particularly since they were told that what they would be tasting were creepy crawlers and slimy things. However, their experience with food enabled a few to perfectly identify the food by incorporating smell, texture and flavor. To see or hear something from a distance leaves great room for misjudgment. Not until we are willing to “taste” are we able to begin to understand realities for what they truly are. If we limit our perceptions of life, (whether our own or someone else) to sight alone, ninety-nine percent of the time we will miss something. To miss anything of what we perceive means we never have the full story. While we may never have the full story – together we can learn to value and experience the use of all our senses (physical, intellectual and spiritual) in order that we are ever striving to understand rather than continue to misjudge. Perhaps then, we can move forward with our “eyes” truly open.
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.