You have come to me to bring my sin to remembrance… 1 Kings 17:1-24 The widow had done everything the man of God (Elijah) asked her to do. For this her son dies? What at first thought to be a blessing (the presence of God), now appears to be lost hope. As a widow, the son represents life. Her hope being that in his maturity, he would care for her in her old age. Certainly now her obedience would not be diminished! Like so many things in life what happened to the widow happens to all of us. We blame our selves for situations beyond our control. Yet, the challenge put before God I believe can only come from our confidence in knowing who God is. Elijah knew what to do. Perhaps in part, the reason God sent him there; specifically to the widow in the first place. God has no desire to conjure up past sins but rather to redeem and reconcile those who in obedience, call upon his name. As surely as he restored the life of the widow through the life of the son, we too shall be restored.
Remember your word to your servant; because you have given me hope. This is my comfort in trouble, that your promise gives me life Psalm 119:49-72
Six months’ wages would not buy enough bread for each of them to get a little.’ One of his disciples,… said to him, ‘There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish. John 6:1-15 When you focus on what you don’t have, it is difficult to see what you do have. Our relationship with the world must die in order to leave room for all the possibilities of God. Walk with the divine and in time all things possible will be revealed. Don’t let your dismay cause you to lose your faith. Faith in God’s love for us is greater than our strongest emotion.
…so they sat down, about five thousand in all. Then Jesus took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated; so also the fish, as much as they wanted.
…he went and begged him to come down and heal his son, for he was at the point of death. Then Jesus said to him, ‘Unless you see signs and wonders you will not believe.’ John 4:46-54 Anxiety – a feeling of worry, nervousness or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome. Generally, I don’t make New Years resolutions but this year I felt called to make a spiritual one; to let go of the anxiety. Belief and anxiety don’t co-exist well together. It’s part of the reason our life is filled with ebb and flow. For certain, things don’t always go the way we think or expect them to go. However, we have to accept that in the same way that our life decisions will put us in places we expected they also put us in places we did not expect. Additionally, we have to accept that there are things in life we can control and things we cannot control. The good news is that Christ came in to the world that we might believe (John 3:16). The hour indeed has come. We only have to wait our turn. So we can let go of the anxieties because what appears as signs and wonders for us is an every day occurrence for God.
Lent: Day 30 – There are times in our lives when things are really bad. Feelings of fear, oppression, disappointment, frustration and loss have become overwhelming. Absolutely nothing could be worse, than the way things are right now. Then one day you find the strength through God’s word to make a move in a different direction towards something that is both plausible and doable. However, instead of things getting better they get worse. Every ounce of strength and faith we have in God’s word, will be tested by those who refuse to see what we see and refuse to know what we know within your heart, through Christ. During the time of struggle, whatever time we take to understand God’s presence in our lives will be lifted up as Christ himself was lifted up. However, as we draw closer to God in the spiritual, the powers (depression, fear, jealously, pride, anger etc.) that belong to the physical realm begin to fight back. We don’t have a Moses per se, someone in the physical who can respond for us. What we do have is Christ within us by whom we respond in faith. Our faith becomes your shield in the face of those who put a stumbling block before us. What others intended to be a nightmare for us, has now become their nightmare because faith is like fire to those who do not believe. God who is faithful, will lift us up and continue to move us in the direction he intended us to be, in reconciliation with him. Believe and Live!
Exodus 5:1-6:1 ‘You shall no longer give the people straw to make bricks, as before; let them go and gather straw for themselves. But you shall require of them the same quantity of bricks as they have made previously; do not diminish it,…Then Moses turned again to the Lord and said, ‘O Lord, why have you mistreated this people? Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Now you shall see what I will do to Pharaoh: Indeed, by a mighty hand he will let them go; by a mighty hand he will drive them out of his land.’
Mark 9:42-50 ‘If any of you put a stumbling-block before one of these little ones who believe in me, it would be better for you if a great millstone were hung around your neck and you were thrown into the sea…‘For everyone will be salted with fire. Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another.’
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.
Lent: Day 19 – We often think of idols as individuals or perhaps tangible things like food, clothing, or jewelry. In fact an idol can also include intangible entities. I believe, in fact, it is the intangible for which most of us have an unaware affinity. Why exactly do we do the some of the things we do if not for the fulfillment of some personal need or gratification? There is no harm in this of course except when our own personal need or gratification supersedes our love and faith in God’s precepts. Is it perhaps out of genuine concern or fear that Pharaoh keeps Joseph very close and charges all of Joseph’s family to leave the land God promised to Israel in Canaan, to give them “the best of the land of Egypt? Although King Herod feared John the Baptist and thought him to be a righteous and holy man, does he not choose to kill John the Baptist to protect his own image? Today, does not Paul caution against foolishly using our knowledge and liberty through Christ to feed our own egos to the detriment of others coming to the same knowledge of Christ? I believe that even the knowledge we now have is but a fraction of what we can fully understand about God. Is it not through Christ whom all things exist? Therefore, let us not elevate our selves, or the things of this world, over God’s knowledge and relationship with us, and remember that physically we too, are but dust.
Genesis 45:16-28 “Do this: load your animals and go back to the land of Canaan. Take your father and your households and come to me, so that I may give you the best of the land of Egypt, and you may enjoy the fat of the land.”
Mark 6:13-29 The king (Herod) was deeply grieved; yet out of regard for his oaths and for the guests, he did not want to refuse her.
1 Corinthians 8:1-13 Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up… when you thus sin against members of your family, and wound their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ.
Psalm 82 I say, ‘You are gods, children of the Most High, all of you; nevertheless, you shall die like mortals, and fall like any prince.’ Rise up, O God, judge the earth; for all the nations belong to you!
Lent: Day 10 – Jesus brought people to true healing. If the Pharisees did not want to believe that Jesus was the Messiah, what and why did they care so much about the good works that he did on the Sabbath or any other day? If the Pharisees truly believed in God, why did they not trust that God would discredit Jesus’ actions? Why did they not put their faith in God’s judgment and authority? Why did they put themselves in place of God and subsequently transfer that authority over to the Roman officials? When we feel threatened, we often want to take matters into our own hands. Sometimes we even try to transfer those feelings on to someone else so that we don’t look like the “bad guy”. Any authority we have in addition to the authority and power we already have through scripture alone, is a gift and blessing from God. If we abuse the authority of our position, it can be taken away. The good news is that, like Paul, what we always have left is the authority and power of the Word. In times of struggle and confusion, we should lean on God’s authority and not our own. Don’t put your trust in those things that can be taken away, but only in those things that have and give eternal life.
Mark 2:23-3:6 ‘Look, why are they doing what is not lawful on the Sabbath?’…The Pharisees went out and immediately conspired with the Herodians against him, how to destroy him.
1 Corinthians 4:1-7 It is the Lord who judges me. Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart.
Getting Pass The Obvious
When you look at me what do you see? I want you to see the color of my skin. I want you to see the red hues that emanate as a result of my Cherokee heritage on my father’s side and the lightness in my eyes from the German ancestry on my mother’s side. I want you to see the dryness of my crinkly locks and yet feel the fineness of its touch. I want you to see the fullness in my lips and the roundness of my hips, it’s the way you created me. I had nothing to do with it.
When I look at you, I see everything as an expression of my love and a vehicle for my glory. Everything I create is a variation of the same theme like a symphony of life that plays over and over again. Purposely, the color, texture and depth change, but the rhythm remains the same forever connected to its composer. Each phrase is uniquely different. Each phrase is uniquely beautiful. Each phrase is uniquely mine, all culminating to its highest level of authority, greatness and power.
When God looks at each of us he sees pass the obvious.
John 9:1-3 As he walked along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned; he was born blind so that God’s works might be revealed in him.
Mark 1:40-41 A leper came to him begging him, and kneeling he said to him, ‘If you choose, you can make me clean.’ Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, and said to him, ‘I do choose.
John 8:1-11 The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery; and making her stand before all of them, they said to him, …what do you say? When they kept on questioning him, he said to them, ‘Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.
Lent: Day 6 – To those who claim to know a little bit about everything, does that include your knowledge of Christ? If so, where does that really place you in the larger scheme of things, among the foolish or the wise? Consider the eleven sons of Israel (Jacob), who thought they knew God’s plan for their lives, without realizing their devious participation in their own destiny. Ponder the first four disciples Jesus called to follow him. They were fisherman, who as Mark tells us, left the one thing they knew in depth, to pursue the one thing they knew only as a promise through scripture. However great or small, what ever we know about God through Christ, must take precedence over everything we think we know in this world. God’s word not only has power, it has ultimate authority. Our knowledge is challenged everyday. Do we have the courage to accept what we know about God in Christ, great or small, and allow that knowledge to lead in every situation of our lives? Do we have the courage to believe that surely God’s plan for our life throughout this journey is far greater than anything we could foolishly or wisely design for our selves? Perhaps, now is the time to increase that knowledge of Him, for no plan is greater than God’s plan.
Genesis 37:12-24 So when Joseph came to his brothers, they stripped him of his robe, …and they took him and threw him into a pit.
Mark 1:14-28 And immediately they left their nets and followed him.
1 Corinthians 1:20-31 Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? ‘Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.’
Psalm 47 For the Lord, the Most High, is awesome, a great king over all the earth.
I believe God’s authority reigns over all. All other authority has no power except that which we give it. However it is not okay to break the laws put in place for a civilized society. By doing so we can expect a consequence. When the scribes and the Pharisees, approached Jesus concerning a woman caught in adultery, Jesus does not question their application of the law, but rather their desire to judge her character and condemn her to death. He reaches the heart of the matter in that they seem to forget in their own history, God’s desire to show compassion and mercy. Jesus never said that what the woman did was not unlawful; he merely helped the authorities to see that they too were not without sin, effectively separating legal authority from human authority. We have the authority to show compassion and mercy where the law does not. Since all have sinned, the mercy and compassion we show one another will be the mercy and compassion God shows with us.
God’s authority; Man’s authority; The law; Compassion & Mercy;