… God will maintain with you the covenant loyalty… As I began to read this passage in Deuteronomy ( 7:12-16), I thought about the many promises we make to one another and the times we’re not always able to keep them. We find ourselves beholden to things and or people that keep us from living into the fullness of life that is promised by God. The fullness however is not about the things or the people. Fullness, I believe, is about the peace of knowing God which surpasses all understanding of anything else we claim to know and the willing action of the encompassing energy of God’s love for God’s creation. Precious Lord, guide our actions that they may become aligned with your Love and allow us to experience the fullness of your Glory.
When we see something of great value we want it as quickly as we can get it. Usually however, we don’t consider something to be of value until we’ve had some positive experience with it. What would make the disciples drop everything immediately and follow Jesus without having had some experience with him? What would make a person with an unclean spirit speak against Jesus’ teaching in the synagogue? Three words come to mind; change, difference and circumstance. First, nobody really likes change. We like the comfort of familiarity until of course it becomes uncomfortable. Yet anything connected to God is constantly changing. Second, God created difference. Our gifts are many and varied, designed to be used for the good of the community of believers. Third, our circumstances have a lot to do with how we respond to change and difference. If we remember that God’s love is greater than our circumstances, we can learn to value the change and accept the difference in every moment of our lives, as we drop those unhealthy spirits and follow the Spirit in the promise of God’s Word.
May God give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation as you come to know him, so that, with the eyes of your heart enlightened, you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance among the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power for us who believe, according to the working of his great power (Ephesians 1:15-23).
Yeast; a micro-organism consisting of single oval cells that reproduce by budding. As fungi go, through the process of fermentation, it’s quite useful as the active ingredient in making various other products such as wine, beer, yogurt and bread to name a few. Fermentation is a natural process that has been used long before any one understood how it worked. We are far from knowing every scientific action and reaction that occurs in life. Of the things we do know, I believe God intends us to use that knowledge for the benefit of God’s creation. Otherwise we risk our love for God becoming like yeast that takes what is sweet and pleasurable and turns it into something addicting and toxic. Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees. Nothing is covered up that will not be uncovered, and nothing secret that will not become known (Luke 11:53-12:12).
and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised. Matthew 27:45-54 I Sing A Song Of The Saints of God, hymn 293 of the 1982 Hymnal (Episcopal Church), a rather perky little song usually sung on “All Saints” Day which falls on the first of November. It speaks to those willing to do the work of God in all capacities of life, both lay and ordained ministry. The recent events concerning the Ukraine controversy, attacks in the Gaza strip and Israel, backlash against innocent children from Mexico seeking a better life, the 200 young Nigerian girls abducted from school, and various other social and political struggles in this country and around the world, is certainly cause for each of us to rise up in some way, large or small. Mother Theresa said: It’s not about how much you do, but how much love you put into what you do that counts. The work of God comes from the passion of heart. The work of God comes out of love, Everyday should be All Saints Day. Lord help each of us to be one daily so even when the smallest of opportunities comes we will know what to do.
…the law…can never make perfect those who approach. Hebrews 10:1-10 It is interesting so see how throughout generations fashion claims to take on “new images” when in reality it’s simply taken on a new name. I remember the first time I heard my niece call a pair of jeans I was wearing “flairs.” She was attracted to the styling, and why wouldn’t she be? When I was her age I was attracted to them as well. Back then we called them bell bottoms. I suppose in another generation they will take on another name but in the end it really is simple. They are an attractive style of jeans. Whomever designed it first, created an everlasting fashion that continues to appeal. I believe the same could be said about Gods Love. Yet God’s Love unlike jeans is not a fashion statement that comes and goes, even though we sometimes treat it as if it is, and refuse to accept God’s love for ourselves and therefore have difficulty with healthy expressions of love for others. Throughout the generations of time humanity has added and taken things away from God’s love expressed in scripture form. It’s through Christ I understand that God’s love is always in style. Our love for one another should be as well. While God’s love gave us the law to help guide us, we can never be perfect by the law, and I believe only by God’s Love we are continually saved.
…a prong collar that pinches you completely around the neck when you move in directions outside of where Gods love desires you to be. We are not dogs. However, we are in fact thinking, reasoning human beings who sometimes do things we know we shouldn’t do – not out of instinct but rather because at the time it seemed perfectly rational to do. That is until we get “pinched,” occasionally more than once. God loves us in spite of the number of times it takes us to knowingly walk safely in his care and guidance. Stop being pinched! Whatever it is, there is no reason to hold on for dear life. In other words life is not necessarily about struggling and suffering. Rather it’s about learning to stay connected for dear Love; of God, self and others.
Psalm 37: 3-7
3 Put your trust in the LORD and do good; *
dwell in the land and feed on its riches.
4 Take delight in the LORD, *
and he shall give you your heart’s desire.
5 Commit your way to the LORD and put your trust in him, *
and he will bring it to pass.
6 He will make your righteousness as clear as the light *
and your just dealing as the noonday.
7 Be still before the LORD *
Do not let the foot of the arrogant tread on me, or the hand of the wicked drive me away. Psalm 36:5-11 The “leaders” did everything they could to keep Jesus from making his triumphal entry into Jerusalem. Bu his entry wasn’t about being a fearless leader of the people of Israel. It was about being undeterred in God’s will and purpose for a people he loved. Our triumph is in moving forward in the journey – physically and spiritually, with the confidence in knowing that God’s love is greater than our fears and that like Christ, we are moving from death to life.
For if the blood of goats and bulls, with the sprinkling of the ashes of a heifer, sanctifies those who have been defiled so that their flesh is purified, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to worship the living God! Hebrews 9:11-15
—beware of the yeast of the Pharisees…’ Mark 8:11-26 Every time I drink wine I get indigestion. These days it’s pretty much the only taste of alcohol I enjoy, but I am very careful about drinking it simply because I don’t like the way it makes me feel. What’s interesting about yeast, in addition to it’s fermentation properties, is that it’s a small single-cell fungus which reproduces by fission (splitting) or budding. These “buds” often remain attached to the parent cell. In and of itself sugar turned into alcohol isn’t a bad thing, but our abuse of it can be far more destructive before we realize it. Jesus warns his disciples to beware of the yeast of the Pharisee not the Pharisee himself. What some of the Pharisees were offering in the Law, which was given by God for the good use of Israel, had been distorted and abused for their own self-preservation. As long as they could convince others to remain attached to their distorted view of the Law, the people never become free to believe in God’s redemption through faith in Christ. That which is given by God is intended to grow our faith and attach us to God’s Love. We have to beware of the yeast of distortion and abuse that longs to win us over and attach us to the burdens of guilt and unworthiness.
Gold! Of all the precious metals gold is the most malleable and ductile, able to be hammered and stretched under extreme stress without being fractured. How else is true love measured? Only God’s love for us passes the test.
“…one’s life does not consist in the abundance of possessions.” Luke 12 13-31 Growing up as a child my mother used to say that she never knew she was poor. She could not remember when she did not have food to eat, a place to stay and white gloves on Sunday. She accomplished many things in her life and yet she would tell you that her greatest possession was God’s love for her, her love for God, and the love she had for her family, exactly in that order. Wealth by the world’s standards consists of many possessions. But blessed by God’s grace and mercy it is for us to look past the world’s standards, seek Wisdom and live according to God’s truth; according to God’s love.
Luke 12:13-31 For it is the nations of the world that strive after all these things, and your Father knows that you need them. Instead, strive for his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.
Happy are those who find wisdom,
and those who get understanding,
for her income is better than silver,
and her revenue better than gold.
She is more precious than jewels,
and nothing you desire can compare with her.
Long life is in her right hand;
in her left hand are riches and honour.
Her ways are ways of pleasantness,
and all her paths are peace.
She is a tree of life to those who lay hold of her;
those who hold her fast are called happy.