He deserves a second chance. Mo’ne Davis forgives the college baseball player who insults her with heinous language and responds with speaking truth to an action that outrages many of us who are authentic adults. How can we not be proud by her showing such maturity and grace even in the face of systemic bigotry and racism that rears its ugly head upon the innocence of a child who clearly understands the fundamental Christian right of forgiving and being forgiven. While it is difficult to put our feelings aside concerning yet another act of cyber-bullying, this one thing we know; God both forgives and hears the prayers of the righteous. So yes Mo’ne, everyone deserves a second chance and you have paved a way for him to receive it, but perhaps not today. Perhaps not before he has learned and fully understands that same maturity and grace that helped you to move beyond such ignorance and respond according to the values many out there claim to live but rarely display. Gracious God thank you for through the heart of a child we shall all be saved.
for we have heard for ourselves… John 4:27-42 I remember the first time I saw “The Omen.” It frightened me to the point of sleeplessness and stagnation. I wouldn’t pick up God’s word and when I did I stayed away from The Book of Revelation. It was silly but I was young and far too easily influenced by external interpretations. When we hear or see other people’s experiences we often want to experience them for ourselves and at some point I realized that I had not fully read Revelation for myself yet I was allowing a movie to affect my understanding. I decided that I needed to read Revelation from beginning to end. When I finished reading, the movie that had frightened me so much lost its power. Thank you God for salvation is truly found in the power of your Word.
I am the gate. Whoever enters…will come in and go out and find pasture. John 10:7-17 Both of my grandmothers, my Aunt Florence and Aunt Evelyn had an open door policy. If you were in the area, whether you were coming or going, it made a lot of sense to stop pass, sit down and chat. They were certain to feed you for your journey and the time was well spent in conversation that was always encouraging, and often funny. The gate that is our faith in God opens in both directions. Throughout this journey, we are free to come and go, sit a while and stay as long as we need to in order that we may strengthen ourselves for what he has called us to do. Truly in Christ the Word of God, is like green grass found on either side of the gate.
Go and learn what this means, “I desire mercy, not sacrifice.” Matthew 9:9-17 Jesus is sitting at the table with tax collectors and sinners, those marginalized by society, treated as unworthy and shamed for having done something “sinful.” When pressed by the Pharisees to justify himself, Jesus challenges them with a statement straight out of Hosea (6:6), the prophet commanded to marry a prostitute! Part of their challenge is understanding where they fit in the story. By sitting with tax collectors and sinners, Jesus demonstrates that no physical sacrifice takes the place of God’s mercy and grace for his people. Jesus, like Hosea joins himself with the lost and the marginalized. His purpose is first to heal, redeem and reconcile them back to God. If the Pharisees see themselves as the righteous and their knowledge of the law as a gift, the challenge is clear; they too are charged to show mercy. What are our gifts? Where do we fit in the story? I’ve come to understand that the gifts God has given us is not about us. It’s about God using us through those gifts, in order that everyone has the opportunity to sit with Christ at the table of mercy, receive healing, and be redeemed back into His fold; tax collectors, sinners and Pharisees alike.
You knew, did you, that I was a harsh man, taking what I did not deposit and reaping what I did not sow? Luke 19:11-27 I’ve always found the parable of the ten pounds a bit odd. The nobleman that no one likes is actually quite generous with his money and his trust in ten of his slaves, with the expectation that they will do right by the gift. One of them however is simply afraid and chooses to do nothing. He ultimately ends up paying a heavy price for what he believes to know about the nobleman based on what the other citizens of the country have said against the nobleman. So many times I have hindered myself with fear because of what I thought I knew based on what someone else believed. Many people speak against God when in fact he has been quite generous with the gift of his son Jesus Christ, redemption, salvation, forgiveness, everlasting love and the Gospel. These are the things we ultimately have to remember when other people are in our ear telling us what is contrary to the truth. Regardless of what other people may say, God has given each of us a gift that we can use for his glory. Even in fear he encourages us to be faithful; to love not hate, wish well and not begrudge, build up and not tear down.
Just finished watching “Jesus Christ Superstar” Awesome Musical based on the Rock Opera! Purposely told through the perceived eyes of Judas Iscariot, practically every fear known to man portrayed from every voice in this story of the Gospel and if truth is to be told within us we can find a bit of our selves in every voice. The musical begins with a frustrated Judas in red and just before Jesus is raised on the cross, Judas descends from above dressed in white yet with the same frustrations, still not understanding that to live one must die. Although we may suffer some of Judas’ frustrations we don’t have to live that way. Believe , Jesus has already paid the price. He has given us Pentecost (gift of the Holy Spirit) to help remind us. Let the Spirit of God sing out.
Acts 2:1-21 When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.
“Since the law has only a shadow of the good things to come and not the true form of these realities, it can never, …make perfect those who approach.” What then, does the law make us? By confession and repentance it makes us accountable. It also reminds us of our sin. However, Sanctification through Christ makes perfect all those who approach (1 John 4:17-21). By confession and repentance, we are also made accountable. Yet, rather than continuing to remind us of our sin, in all circumstances Sanctification through Christ continually forgives. Although in both ways we are made accountable, only in one way is salvation be revealed. Therefore seek always to do God’s will.
The suffering we face today began with disobedience. Thus, taking responsibility is after the fact. Therefore, what is more important for us today is first discerning the will of God. Because if we can discern the will of God and through baptism, make the decision to follow God, it stands to reason that we will make decisions that glorify God. Yet even today we don’t always make the right decision and furthermore make excuses for the wrong decisions that we make. Discernment is more involved than just understanding difference. It involves actively using our senses in relationship with how we experience God. It is important that we understand not only our relationship with God but also, God’s relationship with us. Paul, in his letter to the Hebrews reminds us of this relationship, for a little while made lower than the angels, crowned with glory and honor. Because of this we have an obligation to pay greater attention to who we are as God created us. Although it was a decision of disobedience by the first human beings that brought the suffering we face to this day, God in history has continued to deliver his people through obedience. If we suffer for choosing to do the right thing and go the way of the Lord, that being obedience to God’s will, then let it be so. For not only is history on our side, through Christ we know that our salvation is perfect through suffering. Who then can be against us? Who then will dare to ask who we are? Our discernment and decisions we choose will make it clear.