In spite of it all, our history, traditions and reasoning, God seems confident that we, his creation are worth waiting for. Yet we make him wait for our affection, compassion, commitment and ultimately our love. Perhaps the gift of the Holy Spirit is not a risk at all, at least not on God’s part but rather a challenge. Dare we open our hearts as children, that we may receive it fully and completely so as not to allow the obstacles of the storms, fears and doubts, overwhelm our desire to travel this Christian journey in peace? The alternative of course is to do what many of us have done and receive it conditionally and with restriction in our lives, in that as long as we experience the good without disturbance we are all too eager to acknowledge it’s power and authority. Soon afterward mistakenly believing that it doesn’t matter what we do or whether we do anything at all the spirit is favorably guiding us. Subsequently, when the storms come (especially the the sudden ones) we tend to feel as if they are a personal attack specifically against us resulting in the all too well-known disparaging thoughts; “Why me? and Where is God in all of this?” While the Holy Spirit has no respect of person, the reality is that neither do the storms. Whether we walk into the storms willingly or whether they come upon us without warning, we are the ones who happen to be in its way. Either way the challenge is to hold fast to the power and authority of the Holy Spirit while in the midst of the storm, which historically and traditionally submits to that over which it ultimately has no authority or power.
…on division in the church
I remember a very foolish argument as a child that nearly caused the entire class to end up in detention. We argued over which radio station played the best R&B music; WHAT or WDAS. Somehow it became rather heated and intense which of course I had to take part. I immediately chimed into this seesaw affair as each side rose to scream out the call letters “HAT” – “DAS”. This playground event clearly inappropriate for the classroom went far too long as the teacher came in and interjected with a warning before starting the lesson. None of us were interested in having this debate after school. I was glad it was over, because if truth be told, I had no idea which of these stations played the better music because I didn’t listen to the radio. I didn’t even know what the call numbers were. If my wee circle of friends claimed “WHAT” than so did I. Fairly new to the city of Philadelphia, what did I know? I was a country girl from Maryland. As the year would go by I found that both stations played decent music, slightly different but still R&B and both enjoyable. God provides various vehicles (ministries) for us to reach him, to enjoy his presence, and build our relationships through his son Jesus Christ. And it really doesn’t matter how we hear him, as long as we take the time to listen for the one and only God, one faith and one baptism in Christ Jesus. Difference is okay but we must not lose sight of what brings us together and be careful not to raise the non-essential to the position of the essential.
1 Corinthians 2:14 – 3:15 What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you came to believe, as the Lord assigned to each.
2 Peter 1:20-21 First of all you must understand this, that no prophecy of scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, because no prophecy ever came by human will, but men and women moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.
Favoritism is an act of disobedience against God. When we show favoritism we don’t trust God’s purpose or authority for the impossible (David and Goliath; Mary’s Conception; water into wine). We believe that the person or persons with the most resources has the best opportunity to provide what is needed. On the contrary, who has greater resources than God who has chosen shepherds, women and carpenters to the glory of his name? Radical hospitality includes not only the entertainment of all of God’s people with food (physically and spiritually) or drink, but also the idea that God can and will choose any one of us to carry his message of the gospel, fight God’s causes, or provide for one another’s needs. We must be ready to receive from those we least expect it, lest we miss the blessing because we’ve ignored the possibility.
Luke 1:37 For nothing will be impossible with God.’
James 2:1-13 My brothers and sisters, do you with your acts of favoritism really believe in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ? So speak and so act as those who are to be judged by the law of liberty. For judgment will be without mercy to anyone who has shown no mercy; mercy triumphs over judgment.
Hebrews 13:1-3 Let mutual love continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it.
2 Chronicles 6:32-33 ‘Likewise when foreigners, who are not of your people Israel, come from a distant land because of your great name, and your mighty hand, and your outstretched arm, when they come and pray towards this house, may you hear from heaven your dwelling-place, and do whatever the foreigners ask of you, in order that all the peoples of the earth may know your name and fear you, as do your people Israel, and that they may know that your name has been invoked on this house that I have built.
To render, to help, to provide for, to work actively for, to pay homage to, to go through; are all forms of service. Like the parent who provides for the child, God renders, helps, provides for, works actively for, favors and goes through with us. Like the child, in return we worry, fight against (rebel), test the boundaries, dishonor (refuse to submit) and ignore (refuse to listen). By grace it is a relationship that grows into its fullness in due season, when we begin to understand that God sees our potential and knows our heart. Like Moses, David, Peter and Paul, God loves us unconditionally. This I believe is really one of the best parts of life in Christ, that God loves us unconditionally.
Luke 22: 24-30 … But I am among you as one who serves. ‘You are those who have stood by me in my trials; and I confer on you, just as my Father has conferred on me, a kingdom, so that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and you will sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
Psalm 91 Those who love me, I will deliver; I will protect those who know my name. When they call to me, I will answer them; I will be with them in trouble, I will rescue them and honor them. With long life I will satisfy them, and show them my salvation.
Psalm 139 O Lord, you have searched me and known me. You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from far away… Where can I go from your spirit? Or where can I flee from your presence?
Philippians 4:6,7 Do not worry (be anxious) about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Luke 12: 8 ‘And I tell you, everyone who acknowledges me before others, the Son of Man also will acknowledge before the angels of God…
Monday-July 25, 2011
Did James and John put her up to it? My sons would have been embarrassed particularly if I had asked for such favoritism in front of their friends. I believe James and John may have been a little embarrassed but nonetheless secretly wanted to sit at the right and left of the Lord. So what if the others got angry, first come, first serve. There are a ton of things to which I would like to be favored. However, favoritism isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, as it usually goes along with some great expectation or worse a favor in return. To some extent favoritism may even put you in a place for which you are not ready. As James and John would be asked and later find out; “Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink?” Eagerly they say yes without fully understanding what’s in the cup. Not one of the disciples hung around when Jesus was arrested and later crucified. Three days later they were hiding in upper rooms. As the saying goes be careful of what you ask for. Jesus’ prophetic response would however come true and in spite of the brothers’ shortcomings early on, Jesus knew the heart of his chosen and they did indeed drink of that same cup. The good news is that still today Christ knows the heart of his chosen. Blessed and favored, with our imperfections and mothers who feel they need to speak on our behalf; we too in due season can and will drink of that same cup.
Matthew 20:20-28 It will not be so among you; but whoever wishes to be great among you must be your servant, and who ever wishes to be first among you must be your slave.