Sunday, October 31, 2010

October 31st - Reflection

Reformation Day
John 8:31-36 (NRSV)

Then Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, "If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free." They answered him, "We are descendants of Abraham and have never been slaves to anyone. What do you mean by saying, 'You will be made free'?"
Jesus answered them, "Very truly, I tell you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin. The slave does not have a permanent place in the household; the son has a place there forever. So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.

We are captured in sin. Only one who is free can release us from sin. Jesus is free. The Devil is in bondage. Only Jesus can free us. The Devil will only capture us. Therefore our only hope is that Jesus make us free. If Jesus makes us free, we will be free indeed.

Thanks be to God!

Lord, I confess my bondage to sin. I turn to you to free me from sin. My life depends on you alone. --- Amen

Saturday, October 30, 2010

October 30th - Reflection

John 8:39-47 (NRSV)
True children of Abraham

They answered him, "Abraham is our father." Jesus said to them, "If you were Abraham's children, you would be doing what Abraham did, but now you are trying to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. This is not what Abraham did. You are indeed doing what your father does." They said to him, "We are not illegitimate children; we have one father, God himself." Jesus said to them, "If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and now I am here. I did not come on my own, but he sent me. Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot accept my word. You are from your father the devil, and you choose to do your father's desires. He was a murderer from the beginning and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies. But because I tell the truth, you do not believe me. Which of you convicts me of sin? If I tell the truth, why do you not believe me? Whoever is from God hears the words of God. The reason you do not hear them is that you are not from God."

Truth and Lie...

We all have fallen to the trap of tempation from Lie.
We have been deceived, manipulated, and used in the trap of temptation from Lie.
We have even followed Lie and been rewarded.

But then we became aware of Truth.
Truth sent from God.
Truth who opened our eyes to God.

Lie told us how God wasn't.
Truth showed us how God is.
Lie came to us physically.
Truth came to us as logos.
Lie only revealed words.
Truth revealed action and love.

Accept the words of Truth.
Deny the acts of Lie.
Live the acts of Truth.
Run from the word of Lie.

Hear the word of Truth.
Beleive the love of Truth.
Live as children of God.

Thanks be to God!

Lord, show me, teach me, lead me to be a true child of faith...a true child of Abraham...a true child of God. --- Amen

Friday, October 29, 2010

October 29th - Reflection

2 Peter 1:1-11 (NRSV)
Participants of the divine nature

Simeon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ,

To those who have received a faith as precious as ours through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ:

May grace and peace be yours in abundance in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.

His divine power has given us everything needed for life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Thus he has given us, through these things, his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may escape from the corruption that is in the world because of lust, and may become participants of the divine nature. For this very reason, you must make every effort to support your faith with goodness, and goodness with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with endurance, and endurance with godliness, and godliness with mutual affection, and mutual affection with love. For if these things are yours and are increasing among you, they keep you from being ineffective and unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For anyone who lacks these things is nearsighted and blind, and is forgetful of the cleansing of past sins. Therefore, brothers and sisters, be all the more eager to confirm your call and election, for if you do this, you will never stumble. For in this way, entry into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be richly provided for you.

Reminds me of a building plan. A plan that is the basis for everything needed for life. The base that radiates throughout the entire structure is the divine power of Jesus.

Love-the crown of life
Mutual Affection-Fruit of new birth in Christ
Endurance-hold fast to Christ
Self-control-result of knowing Jesus has saved us
Knowledge-only through Jesus can we be saved
Goodness-Result of faith in God
God's promises-Faith at work in life
Knowledge of the call-Close relationship with Jesus
TheDivine Power of Jesus-Grace of God's Love through Jesus
So it seems that God moves with us through a cycle that develops into a service of love to all people. A service, not as a means to achieve reward, but rather a service that is a result of the reward that Jesus has already won for us.
Since it starts with the Divine Power of Jesus and his grace, those further along the plan are of no "higher" rank than those anywhere else in the plan. God chooses us and develops each one as he sees fit. We are needed in his Kingdom, active and in relationship with Jesus along each step of the journey to that crown of life, the Love active in this world, to and for all people.

"For God so love the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him." -- John 3:16-17

Thanks be to God!

Lord, develop me into the man you wish for me to be. --- Amen

Thursday, October 28, 2010

October 28th - Reflection

Simon and Jude, Apostles
1 John 4:1-6 (NRSV)

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God; for many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. And this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming; and now it is already in the world. Little children, you are from God, and have conquered them; for the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. They are from the world; therefore what they say is from the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us, and whoever is not from God does not listen to us. From this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.

It's always so hard to figure out a direction to take in life. Sometimes decisions are easy snap decisions, but other times there are those decisions that change everything. There are, at time, many factors that play into a decision. And when the decision involves people, which they usually do, it's even more complicated.

When decision must come quickly, such as in an emergency, quickly pray for the Holy Spirit to lead and guide your actions and go! Go quickly, decide now and save lives. But when the decision isn't in an emergency, slow down. Reflect on the written Word. Listen to the Word spoken through friends. Seek advice, and throughout all pray, pray, pray. Wrestle with God on the decision. Wrestle hard and mighty. And then listen. Listen carefully. Test the spirits and see if Jesus is present.

We know Jesus is present in the Word, the Bible. We know Jesus speaks through people, but test those words. And test the words that come through you. God is closer than you think. You will reach that time when you know that the One within you, that you listen to, is greater than the one who is in the world. Listen, and reflect, and trust the One who is with you and in you. God is closer than you think. Thanks be to God!

Lord, speed me up and slow me down. Help me with the decisions I need to make in life. As I open your Word and reflect on what you speak; help me to apply your direction and your will to my life. In love I come to you. Make my actions a demonstration of your love as I move into the world with you. --- Amen

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

October 27th - Reflection

Psalm 84:8-12 (NRSV)
A doorkeeper in God's house

O Lord God of hosts, hear my prayer;
give ear, O God of Jacob!
Behold our shield, O God;
look on the face of your anointed.

For a day in your courts is better
than a thousand elsewhere.
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God
than live in the tents of wickedness.
For the Lord God is a sun and shield;
he bestows favor and honor.
No good thing does the Lord withhold
from those who walk uprightly.
O Lord of hosts,
happy is everyone who trusts in you.

Anybody home? It's all about who's home. And this home is all about who's home. The one home here is a sun and shield. The one home here bestows favor and honor. The one home here doesn't withhold good. The one home here makes everyone happy who trusts in them. Who wouldn't want to come home to such a one? A day in the presence of this one is better than a thousand elsewhere.

Anybody home? For sure. God is closer than you think. God is home with you and with me. Come home to God in prayer and gaze on God. For in God is all your protection and strength.

I'm home now! Thanks be to God!

Lord, I come home and you greet me. Let's sit down and talk about the day. I've got a few things to confess and need to hear your opinion. --- Amen

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

October 26th - Reflection

Daniel 5:1-12 (NRSV)
A hand writing on the wall

King Belshazzar made a great festival for a thousand of his lords, and he was drinking wine in the presence of the thousand.

Under the influence of the wine, Belshazzar commanded that they bring in the vessels of gold and silver that his father Nebuchadnezzar had taken out of the temple in Jerusalem, so that the king and his lords, his wives, and his concubines might drink from them. So they brought in the vessels of gold and silver that had been taken out of the temple, the house of God in Jerusalem, and the king and his lords, his wives, and his concubines drank from them. They drank the wine and praised the gods of gold and silver, bronze, iron, wood, and stone.

Immediately the fingers of a human hand appeared and began writing on the plaster of the wall of the royal palace, next to the lampstand. The king was watching the hand as it wrote. Then the king's face turned pale, and his thoughts terrified him. His limbs gave way, and his knees knocked together. The king cried aloud to bring in the enchanters, the Chaldeans, and the diviners; and the king said to the wise men of Babylon, "Whoever can read this writing and tell me its interpretation shall be clothed in purple, have a chain of gold around his neck, and rank third in the kingdom." Then all the king's wise men came in, but they could not read the writing or tell the king the interpretation. Then King Belshazzar became greatly terrified and his face turned pale, and his lords were perplexed.

The queen, when she heard the discussion of the king and his lords, came into the banqueting hall. The queen said, "O king, live forever! Do not let your thoughts terrify you or your face grow pale. There is a man in your kingdom who is endowed with a spirit of the holy gods. In the days of your father he was found to have enlightenment, understanding, and wisdom like the wisdom of the gods. Your father, King Nebuchadnezzar, made him chief of the magicians, enchanters, Chaldeans, and diviners, because an excellent spirit, knowledge, and understanding to interpret dreams, explain riddles, and solve problems were found in this Daniel, whom the king named Belteshazzar. Now let Daniel be called, and he will give the interpretation."

Doesn't sound so odd to me. You get drunk and somebody is probably going to give you the finger.

These guys were kind of putting it in God's face. Using the vessels from the temple that were stolen to have a party with, and praising the gods of material things instead of God. So God gives them the finger. But God does this in a much more powerful and appropriate way.

A message is sent to the king and written next to the lamp stand. The light illuminates the message.

We have received a message as well. The Word came to dwell with us and the Light illuminates the message. God loves this world so much that his Son saves this world and brings to you the gift of salvation. A gift to free us from sin, death and the devil. A gift that makes us children of God. A gift that calls us to give up our life and follow Jesus. A gift that continues to work in and through each one of us day after day. A gift that will be fulfilled and brings hope and faith and love for one another and love for God.

The hand writing is one the wall. Will you accept the gift? Will you partake of it? Will you give your life?

It's a message for sure. A message so much better than getting the finger. Thanks be to God!

Lord, give me pause to stop, look and listen for your messages this day. May I pay heed to what you say. May I change where you want me to change. May I grow where you want me to grow. Teach me this day I pray. --- Amen

Monday, October 25, 2010

October 25th - Reflection

1 Samuel 2:1-10 (NRSV)
Hannah's song

Hannah prayed and said,
"My heart exults in the Lord;
my strength is exalted in my God.
My mouth derides my enemies,
because I rejoice in my victory.

"There is no Holy One like the Lord,
no one besides you;
there is no Rock like our God.
Talk no more so very proudly,
let not arrogance come from your mouth;
for the Lord is a God of knowledge,
and by him actions are weighed.
The bows of the mighty are broken,
but the feeble gird on strength.
Those who were full have hired themselves out for bread,
but those who were hungry are fat with spoil.
The barren has borne seven,
but she who has many children is forlorn.
The Lord kills and brings to life;
he brings down to Sheol and raises up.
The Lord makes poor and makes rich;
he brings low, he also exalts.
He raises up the poor from the dust;
he lifts the needy from the ash heap,
to make them sit with princes
and inherit a seat of honor.
For the pillars of the earth are the Lord's,
and on them he has set the world.

"He will guard the feet of his faithful ones,
but the wicked shall be cut off in darkness;
for not by might does one prevail.
The Lord! His adversaries shall be shattered;
the Most High will thunder in heaven.
The Lord will judge the ends of the earth;
he will give strength to his king,
and exalt the power of his anointed."

I have a friend who began one of our maintenance meetings by introducing topsy turvey day. He took all of the maintenance assignments, and who they were usually assigned to, and the locations in which they were assigned, and turned them all topsy turvey. It was amazing how upset people were getting. Men had to move from one building to another and work on equipment they were unsure of, knowing that another person that was assigned to that building and possessed the skills to repair the equipment easily, had been likewise moved to a yet different building, to work on unfamiliar equipment to him. The entire group was in an uproar, until my friend declared..."April fools!" It has April 1st that day and everyone, including myself were taken by surprise.

God seems to turn so many things topsy turvey also. Who would expect God to take on flesh and die for us. Who would expect a virgin to have child. Who would expect so many births to occur from barren women. Or even the calling of so many prophets and just normal people that took on earthly power. People died that you would expect to live. Some were persecuted that you would expect would have had happy lives. The story goes on and on.

Thanks be to God for topsy turvey, though, for without it, we all would die in our sin. We would not be given the privilege of a call from God and a changed life that results in the action of Jesus in our lives. Thanks be to God for topsy turvey and the actions we are called to do that bring hope and surprise to the poor, sick, mourning and lost. Thanks be to God that God cares for the children beyond any earthly evaluation but using an evaluation of the Father. Topsy turver...Thanks be to God!

Lord, take me topsy turvey once again this day. As we run in the Kingdom, lead me down another one of your wild paths. You make life exciting! Thanks! --- Amen

Sunday, October 24, 2010

October 24th - Reflection

Time after Pentecost - Lectionary 30
Luke 18:9-14 (NRSV)
A Pharisee and tax collector pray

He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and regarded others with contempt: "Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, was praying thus, 'God, I thank you that I am not like other people: thieves, rogues, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give a tenth of all my income.' But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even look up to heaven, but was beating his breast and saying, 'God, be merciful to me, a sinner!' I tell you, this man went down to his home justified rather than the other; for all who exalt themselves will be humbled, but all who humble themselves will be exalted."

Sounds like the Pharisee was not only standing by himself, but he was praying to himself also.

In prayer we come to God, creatures created by God. We are children of God. We are not God. Sometimes we need to remind ourselves of this.

Sometimes, it's easy to pray and expect God to grant this or that just because we asked and feel it is our right to get what we want when we want it. But, what kind of relationship is this?

We are in relationship with God and come to God to talk it out. We come to God for guidance and thanks and praise. We come to God to ask for what we need and humbly wait on God's answer. We even cry out to God in argument and pain.

But once we pray to God as a display for others, we are no longer praying to God, we are praying to ourselves. Look at me! I'm favored over you. Cut it out! Get over yourself!

Seek God and the relationship with God. God is ready to receive the unrighteous, but when the proud call out, God closes his ears because these think they are self-sufficient.

God, be merciful to me, a sinner!

Lord, I come to you this day, seeking forgiveness, renewal, direction, and relationship with you. I listen for that knock on the door to go out into your Kingdom and do your will, today...tomorrow...and forever. Let's talk along the way! --- Amen

Saturday, October 23, 2010

October 23rd - Reflection

Luke 1:46-55 (NRSV)
Mary's song

And Mary said,
"My soul magnifies the Lord,
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant.
Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
for the Mighty One has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
His mercy is for those who fear him
from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with his arm;
he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.
He has brought down the powerful from their thrones,
and lifted up the lowly;
he has filled the hungry with good things,
and sent the rich away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel,
in remembrance of his mercy,
according to the promise he made to our ancestors,
to Abraham and to his descendants forever."

"He has...he has..." "He has...he has..." "He has...he made..." God has acted in our lives, God does act in our lives and God made a promise he will keep. God is faithful to his people, even when his people are not faithful to him. God sent his Son into this world and fulfilled a promise he made to his people. God shows mercy to his people in the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus. Mercy that is beyond what we could ever imagine. Mercy that takes us beyond the physical and includes the spiritual. God shows mercy in the recreation of life that we chose to destroy.

Through sin, we decided to destroy the life God had created. God brought that life to a new life and a new creation in the life of Jesus. God took on what we destroyed in sin and created new and eternal life. An eternal life for those who fear him from generation to generation without end. Eternal salvation and eternal life in the life of Jesus.

What more do we need to show our thanks and praise to God. As our hearts sing out in thanksgiving, we live descendants of Abraham and the promise forever. Thanks be to God!

As I come before you this day, Lord, hear my song of praise and thanksgiving. In my humble heart, I'm awed that you would choose to let me call you friend, Lord and Savior. Thanks! For you have acted and will act forever!--- Amen

Friday, October 22, 2010

October 22nd - Reflection

2 Timothy 3:10-15 (NRSV)
The persecution of the godly

Now you have observed my teaching, my conduct, my aim in life, my faith, my patience, my love, my steadfastness, my persecutions and suffering the things that happened to me in Antioch, Iconium, and Lystra. What persecutions I endured! Yet the Lord rescued me from all of them. Indeed, all who want to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. But wicked people and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving others and being deceived. But as for you, continue in what you have learned and firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it, and how from childhood you have known the sacred writings that are able to instruct you for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.

Paul is telling Timothy what to expect. As we grow in faith, we learn to endure hardship because we know of a rescue that will take place through Christ Jesus. We aren't free from persecution, but, knowing of the sure rescue of Christ, we look forward and live these persecutions as one in training feels the pain of exercise. We know that our spirit is being build up and our faith is being strengthened by the Creator of the Universe. And this knowledge gives birth to learning, instruction, a closeness with God that brings salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. Thanks be to God!

Lord, I cling daily to that hope and truth only you carry in the salvation you offer to all. Thanks! --- Amen

Thursday, October 21, 2010

October 21st - Reflection

2 Timothy 3:1-9 (NRSV)

You must understand this, that in the last days distressing times will come. For people will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, inhuman, implacable, slanderers, profligates, brutes, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to the outward form of godliness but denying its power. Avoid them! For among them are those who make their way into households and captivate silly women, overwhelmed by their sins and swayed by all kinds of desires, who are always being instructed and can never arrive at a knowledge of the truth. As Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these people, of corrupt mind and counterfeit faith, also oppose the truth. But they will not make much progress, because, as in the case of those two men, their folly will become plain to everyone.

We've all fallen to one or more of these sinful qualities listed in the above passage. It makes one wonder if I have been judged to be the person to avoid? You certainly can be overcome by your sins, but to what extent do we place this person in the category of avoidance?

But this passage isn't about avoiding people. It is about selecting bishops and deacons of the church. I think we welcome people with these characteristics, knowing that Christ has changed us and can change all people. But in the selection of the leaders of the church; these disciples are more mature in the faith. Their road to change has begun and they have traveled down this road in some degree. Christ has graciously given them many redeeming qualities. They have been down the road of the young believer and having begun in the sin as mentioned above, have found that trust and hope in Christ are the only means to living the life God chooses for us to live. Yes, the deacon and bishop will continue to sin, however, they also have been surrounded by a loving family of children of God who will boldly hold them accountable for their sin to drive them towards repentance, healing and reconciliation in the Church, and in Christ.

And that's the avoidance. Don't press an immature child of God into the role of bishop or deacon. Let them mature and be taught by Christ first. Let them understand the trap of sin and it's hold that it can have. Let them grow from milk, to soft food first. Then as their life in Christ begins to mature to solid food, consider the call to bishop, deacon, or leader in the church.

In this passage we drive the behavior of all disciples. A behavior of caring for one another as we live in sin. Acts of love abound and we all grow in the faith God gives us through the Holy Spirit and the witness of Jesus. In this scripture God lives and is manifested in his Church. Thanks be to God!

Lord, as I mature, lead me to help others mature in the faith. As we come to the baptismal waters, freely pour forth your instruction and lead us to the cross and the blood and body that we all partake of making us one with you. --- Amen

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

October 20th - Reflection

Psalm 57 (NRSV)
Vindication from God

Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me,
for in you my soul takes refuge;
in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge,
until the destroying storms pass by.
I cry to God Most High,
to God who fulfills his purpose for me.
He will send from heaven and save me,
he will put to shame those who trample on me.
God will send forth his steadfast love and his faithfulness.

I lie down among lions
that greedily devour human prey;
their teeth are spears and arrows,
their tongues sharp swords.
Be exalted, O God, above the heavens.
Let your glory be over all the earth.

They set a net for my steps;
my soul was bowed down.
They dug a pit in my path,
but they have fallen into it themselves.
My heart is steadfast, O God,
my heart is steadfast.
I will sing and make melody.
Awake, my soul!
Awake, O harp and lyre!
I will awake the dawn.
I will give thanks to you, O Lord, among the peoples;
I will sing praises to you among the nations.
For your steadfast love is as high as the heavens;
your faithfulness extends to the clouds.

Be exalted, O God, above the heavens.
Let your glory be over all the earth.

Just as when I would run to my mother's apron when frightened, and just as when I would cling close to my dad's leg when scared; so we run to God for protection when life throws twists and turns our way that we can't understand.

We depend on God as a child depends on parents to take care, protect, feed, and clean us up when needed. We can't take care of ourselves so we turn to God. And God as our loving parent responds. God sends forth his steadfast love and faithfulness. When we sin, God is disappointed, but we are still loved. When we are good children, Go rejoices in our strength and learning. When we are ill, God hurts right along with us, and seeks to give us the best care.

But we are living this life in the midst of sin, pain, and death and temptation. God is aware of all of this. And God chooses to be by our side. We don't get a free pass out of jail. But we do get a loving warden that chose to send his Son with steadfast love as high as the heavens to live, suffer, die and pay the ultimate price in our stead for each one of us.

God loves us so much that, in the end, if we have faith in Jesus, we have a way to eternal life.

Let the waters flow in baptism, let the faith grow in you that you may come to the realization of what God has done for you. That you may realize the precious gift you have been given. That you may gather in the strength of the Holy Spirit with Children of God to continue on in the calling, the gifting, the going out to proclaim to all the world what God has done for you, for me, and for those you gather in the Holy Spirit with.

For our God is exalted above the heavens and his glory has filled the earth! Thanks be to God!

Lord, your love is awesome and deep and mysterious. I give you thanks that you chose to love me. I give you thanks that you chose to love all. I give you thanks for the creation and the life of Jesus. I give you thanks for giving me new life and giving all a chance at this same new life. Lead me, teach me, fill me, and send me to proclaim your love to all you give to me this day. --- Amen

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

October 19th - Reflection

1 Samuel 25:23-35 (NRSV)
Abigail pleads for life

When Abigail saw David, she hurried and alighted from the donkey, fell before David on her face, bowing to the ground. She fell at his feet and said, "Upon me alone, my lord, be the guilt; please let your servant speak in your ears, and hear the words of your servant. My lord, do not take seriously this ill-natured fellow, Nabal; for as his name is, so is he; Nabal is his name, and folly is with him; but I, your servant, did not see the young men of my lord, whom you sent.

Now then, my lord, as the Lord lives, and as you yourself live, since the Lord has restrained you from bloodguilt and from taking vengeance with your own hand, now let your enemies and those who seek to do evil to my lord be like Nabal. And now let this present that your servant has brought to my lord be given to the young men who follow my lord. Please forgive the trespass of your servant; for the Lord will certainly make my lord a sure house, because my lord is fighting the battles of the Lord; and evil shall not be found in you so long as you live. If anyone should rise up to pursue you and to seek your life, the life of my lord shall be bound in the bundle of the living under the care of the Lord your God; but the lives of your enemies he shall sling out as from the hollow of a sling. When the Lord has done to my lord according to all the good that he has spoken concerning you, and has appointed you prince over Israel, my lord shall have no cause of grief, or pangs of conscience, for having shed blood without cause or for having saved himself. And when the Lord has dealt well with my lord, then remember your servant."

David said to Abigail, "Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, who sent you to meet me today! Blessed be your good sense, and blessed be you, who have kept me today from bloodguilt and from avenging myself by my own hand! For as surely as the Lord the God of Israel lives, who has restrained me from hurting you, unless you had hurried and come to meet me, truly by morning there would not have been left to Nabal so much as one male." Then David received from her hand what she had brought him; he said to her, "Go up to your house in peace; see, I have heeded your voice, and I have granted your petition."

I wonder how many times Jesus had to go before the Father to plead for me, to save me from my own foolishness? Jesus pleads to the Father for life, for your life and for mine. Jesus offers, as a sacrifice for our lives his own life. How wonderful is this act that Abigail took for her people. Out of a love for others, Abigail took a chance and went to the King to plead for life.

Jesus pleads for our life. Have I learned to plead for the lives of others? Do I act in compassion and love to and for the poor, those in prison, the lonely, the ill and all those that God shows to me each day? This is the acts of Abigail and the acts of Jesus. Thanks be to God for the lessons taught by Abigail. And thanks be to God for the actions taken by Jesus on our behalf.

Lord, when I see you in those people who come to me in need this day, guide me in the wise compassion and love that I need to have. Keep me from foolishness and selfishness and make me willing to take action on behalf of what is the just action to take in your name. For you gave your life for me. May I give my life and take the stand for the ones you give to me. In your name I pray. --- Amen

Monday, October 18, 2010

October 18th - Reflection

Luke, Evangelist
2 Timothy 4:5-11 (NRSV)

As for you, always be sober, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, carry out your ministry fully.
As for me, I am already being poured out as a libation, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. From now on there is reserved for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will give me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have longed for his appearing.
Do your best to come to me soon, for Demas, in love with this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica; Crescens has gone to Galatia, Titus to Dalmatia. Only Luke is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is useful in my ministry.

"Keep the faith." How do we keep the faith? What do we do to encourage each other to keep the faith? I think we keep the faith by continuing our walk with Jesus day after day. Jesus comes to us each day and we keep the faith by following, listening, and serving Jesus and neighbor. Faith is a gift from God. A gift that builds in trust and produces hope and love and service to God and others.

We encourage others to keep the faith when we gather together in the unity of the Holy Spirit. We gather and celebrate how God is active in our lives. We gather and serve as God is active in our lives. We gather and demonstrate the love that Jesus has taught us to live. We encourage by gathering in prayer and unity.

So "Keep the faith." Live the love and walk with Jesus this day.

Lord, teach me to encourage others to keep the faith and show the love that you show. --- Amen

Sunday, October 17, 2010

October 17th - Reflection

Time after Pentecost - Lectionary 29
Luke 18:1-8 (NRSV)
A widow begs for justice

Then Jesus told them a parable about their need to pray always and not to lose heart. He said, "In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor had respect for people. In that city there was a widow who kept coming to him and saying, 'Grant me justice against my opponent.' For a while he refused; but later he said to himself, 'Though I have no fear of God and no respect for anyone, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will grant her justice, so that she may not wear me out by continually coming.'" And the Lord said, "Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God grant justice to his chosen ones who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long in helping them? I tell you, he will quickly grant justice to them. And yet, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?"

Have you ever thought of how many people Jesus saved through his birth, life, suffering death and resurrection? Have you ever thought of how many people Jesus healed and continues to heal? Have you ever thought about how many lives Jesus' teachings have changed? Have you ever thought of how many times Jesus came to your defense? Have you ever thought about how many times Jesus has granted forgiveness of sins?

Have faith! Jesus did all this for you, when you and I were undeserving. What does that say about justice? Thanks be to God!

Thank you Jesus for making me just, even when I'm not. Thank you Jesus! --- Amen

Saturday, October 16, 2010

October 16th - Reflection

Mark 10:46-52 (NRSV)
A man who would not be silenced

They came to Jericho. As he and his disciples and a large crowd were leaving Jericho, Bartimaeus son of Timaeus, a blind beggar, was sitting by the roadside. When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout out and say, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!" Many sternly ordered him to be quiet, but he cried out even more loudly, "Son of David, have mercy on me!" Jesus stood still and said, "Call him here." And they called the blind man, saying to him, "Take heart; get up, he is calling you." So throwing off his cloak, he sprang up and came to Jesus. Then Jesus said to him, "What do you want me to do for you?" The blind man said to him, "My teacher, let me see again." Jesus said to him, "Go; your faith has made you well." Immediately he regained his sight and followed him on the way.

Jesus have mercy on me! In times of great need we call and even cry out to Jesus, a prayer. Jesus have mercy on me! And Jesus responds with a call of his own. Jesus calls each of us. Take heart, you have a calling from Jesus too. Jesus calls us and we run to him responding in our need. We need Jesus mercy. All are sinful and in need. We are all suffering from the illness of sin, death and the devil. We depend on the call of Jesus.

Take heart, Jesus is calling. And Jesus is willing and ready to let us see again. Jesus let's us see the new life we live in and through him. We shed that old life of our sinfulness and selfishness to live the new life in Jesus as we see again. Thanks be to God!

Now, take heart; get up, he is calling you.

Jesus, as I run to you hearing your call, I see anew the life you have offered. Thanks! --- Amen

Friday, October 15, 2010

October 15th - Reflection

2 Timothy 2:14-26 (NRSV)
About the Christian life

Remind them of this, and warn them before God that they are to avoid wrangling over words, which does no good but only ruins those who are listening. Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved by him, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly explaining the word of truth. Avoid profane chatter, for it will lead people into more and more impiety, and their talk will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, who have swerved from the truth by claiming that the resurrection has already taken place. They are upsetting the faith of some. But God's firm foundation stands, bearing this inscription: "The Lord knows those who are his," and, "Let everyone who calls on the name of the Lord turn away from wickedness."

In a large house there are utensils not only of gold and silver but also of wood and clay, some for special use, some for ordinary. All who cleanse themselves of the things I have mentioned will become special utensils, dedicated and useful to the owner of the house, ready for every good work. Shun youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. Have nothing to do with stupid and senseless controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. And the Lord's servant must not be quarrelsome but kindly to everyone, an apt teacher, patient, correcting opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant that they will repent and come to know the truth, and that they may escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will.

We have been baptized children of God. We have been called to be disciples of Jesus. We have been gifted and fed by the Holy Spirit. God has given us new life. God has made us into something special, something unique. God has made us special utensils, dedicated and useful to the owner of the house, ready for every good work.

Now that God has made us ready; expect to be put to use. When called to use; you will be ready for every good work. In expectation and hopefulness, be prepared for that call to action. God has a purpose in mind for each one of us. God has a special adventure there for you and me. Thanks be to God!

Lord, some of us are in the midst of the call, others are being prepared; bless all those in your care as we respond to and forever. --- Amen

Thursday, October 14, 2010

October 14th - Reflection

Acts 17:22-34 (NRSV)
God has fixed a day of judgment

Then Paul stood in front of the Areopagus and said, "Athenians, I see how extremely religious you are in every way. For as I went through the city and looked carefully at the objects of your worship, I found among them an altar with the inscription, 'To an unknown god.' What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you. The God who made the world and everything in it, he who is Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in shrines made by human hands, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mortals life and breath and all things. From one ancestor he made all nations to inhabit the whole earth, and he allotted the times of their existence and the boundaries of the places where they would live, so that they would search for God and perhaps grope for him and find him - though indeed he is not far from each one of us. For 'In him we live and move and have our being'; as even some of your own poets have said, 'For we too are his offspring.' Since we are God's offspring, we ought not to think that the deity is like gold, or silver, or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of mortals. While God has overlooked the times of human ignorance, now he commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will have the world judged in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed, and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead."

When they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some scoffed; but others said, "We will hear you again about this." At that point Paul left them. But some of them joined him and became believers, including Dionysius the Areopagite and a woman named Damaris, and others with them.

Reach out; feel your way; grope for God, for God is not far from us. God is closer than you think. It's just that sometimes, in the midst of sin, we believe that we can do this thing on our own. We believe we don't need God to help. Yet we depend completely on God. God is our Father and all we have comes from him. In God we live and move and have our being. Away or outside from God we curl up and die to ourselves and others.

But, thanks be to God, he has chosen to overlook our ignorance, and has commanded all of us to repent. Repent and turn to God. Once again be free to live in God and move and have our being, for life is in God and from God.

Lord, you are closer than I could ever imagine. Even in my sin, you are there. In illness, you are there. In sorrow, joy, pain, mourning and laughter; you are there. Be with me this day. May we move together in unity and dance the dance you have called me to dance. --- Amen

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

October 13th - Reflection

Psalm 61 (NRSV)
Prayer for a long life

Hear my cry, O God;
listen to my prayer.
From the end of the earth I call to you,
when my heart is faint.

Lead me to the rock
that is higher than I;
for you are my refuge,
a strong tower against the enemy.

Let me abide in your tent forever,
find refuge under the shelter of your wings.
For you, O God, have heard my vows;
you have given me the heritage of those who fear your name.

Prolong the life of the king;
may his years endure to all generations!
May he be enthroned forever before God;
appoint steadfast love and faithfulness to watch over him!

So I will always sing praises to your name,
as I pay my vows day after day.

"Hear my cry..." That's appropriate to how I feel this day. To cry out when cry out when in cry out when disease has overcome. Yes, hear my cry. More importantly, is to cry out to God. We don't have all the answers. We can't will ourselves beyond some things. We come to the realization that we need God. Life can't exist without God. Sure there is pain and suffering and death results, but that is not the way of God. Sin, death and suffering is the way of "man."

God is about life and life abundant. So Jesus came into our world and our life. Jesus as God and as "man" knows all about life, death, pain, suffering and illness. Jesus is one of us and at the same time God. God is so about life that he sent his Son to see and understand this "death" that man walked into. Because of our sinful, pride filled "man" that we are; we think that we can exist and know what God knows. That's the whole story in Genesis. And we as "man" are all part of that story. We live that story day after day.

But through the gift of the Son Jesus from the Father, God has once again given us life. Life that goes beyond the death we experience. Life that leads beyond the weakness, the pain, the disease and the crying. God did hear my cry after all! And I too can look beyond and live through the weakness, the pain, the disease and the crying because of the hope given in the Life of Jesus. Thanks be to God!

Lord, as I cry out to you, I see Jesus and his pain, suffering and death. But I also see the resurrection and the ascension and the calling and the blessings from the Holy Spirit. I see hope in Life. Thanks! --- Amen

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

October 12th - Reflection

2 Kings 5:19b-27 (NRSV)
Greed brings leprosy to Gehazi

But when Naaman had gone from him a short distance, Gehazi, the servant of Elisha the man of God, thought, "My master has let that Aramean Naaman off too lightly by not accepting from him what he offered. As the Lord lives, I will run after him and get something out of him." So Gehazi went after Naaman. When Naaman saw someone running after him, he jumped down from the chariot to meet him and said, "Is everything all right?" He replied, "Yes, but my master has sent me to say, 'Two members of a company of prophets have just come to me from the hill country of Ephraim; please give them a talent of silver and two changes of clothing.'" Naaman said, "Please accept two talents." He urged him, and tied up two talents of silver in two bags, with two changes of clothing, and gave them to two of his servants, who carried them in front of Gehazi. When he came to the citadel, he took the bags from them, and stored them inside; he dismissed the men, and they left.

He went in and stood before his master; and Elisha said to him, "Where have you been, Gehazi?" He answered, "Your servant has not gone anywhere at all." But he said to him, "Did I not go with you in spirit when someone left his chariot to meet you? Is this a time to accept money and to accept clothing, olive orchards and vineyards, sheep and oxen, and male and female slaves? Therefore the leprosy of Naaman shall cling to you, and to your descendants forever." So he left his presence leprous, as white as snow.

What are you doing Gehazi? What were you thinking? I know...I know...I'm sure I've sinned also.

Naaman was healed and thankful for what God had done. We always seem to try to pay back the grace we have received. But grace from God we cannot pay back. All we have is from God anyway. But we try to pay back just to make ourselves feel in control of a situation we didn't have any control over. But if we respond to grace...that's something different.

When we respond in kind to love God and another as God has shown us to love...that's grace in action. When we respond; we finally realize that there is nothing we can do to repay or even the score. But what we can do is act likewise to another we meet. But Gehazi?... what was he doing?

Gehazi was taking advantage of that moment in time that Naaman. in his human form, felt that he could pay back. Gehazi took advantage of the moment. And Gehazi was "found out" by Elisha. Now Gehazi was to learn the price of greed. Gehazi left leprous, as white as snow. Did Gehazi later get it? Did he come to see grace? Do you see grace? What will you do?

Lord, you show me grace day after day. Each day, you show up at my door. "Can Billy come out to play?" Lead me in that response to your and forever. --- Amen

Monday, October 11, 2010

October 11th - Reflection

2 Kings 5:15-19a (NRSV)
Naaman seeks to repay Elisha

Then he returned to the man of God, he and all his company; he came and stood before him and said, "Now I know that there is no God in all the earth except in Israel; please accept a present from your servant." But he said, "As the Lord lives, whom I serve, I will accept nothing!" He urged him to accept, but he refused. Then Naaman said, "If not, please let two mule-loads of earth be given to your servant; for your servant will no longer offer burnt offering or sacrifice to any god except the Lord. But may the Lord pardon your servant on one count: when my master goes into the house of Rimmon to worship there, leaning on my arm, and I bow down in the house of Rimmon, when I do bow down in the house of Rimmon, may the Lord pardon your servant on this one count." He said to him, "Go in peace."

I can't return the favor. I can't in any way return the favor of what God has done for me through Jesus Christ. What more could God do for me? Not only have I been healed from disease, sin and death...I have been give new life. I don't have what it takes to return the favor. And besides that...all I do have...has been given to me by God. So, I can't return the favor.

I can be eternally thankful though. I can praise God and give my life to God. I can listen to the call and respond willingly to what God has called me to do. I can let that same love shine through in this life of mine. I can treat my neighbor with that love. I can serve in the love of Christ. I can live in the changes that God makes in me and celebrate each new moment. I can be that child of God.

I can't return the favor...I can be eternally thankful

Thanks be to God!

Lord, I give thanks for life...for life in you...for the life you give to me...for the lives of those you give to me...I give thanks for Life. --- Amen

Sunday, October 10, 2010

October 10th - Reflection

Time after Pentecost - Lectionary 28
Luke 17:11-19 (NRSV)
One leper gives thanks to God

On the way to Jerusalem Jesus was going through the region between Samaria and Galilee. As he entered a village, ten lepers approached him. Keeping their distance, they called out, saying, "Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!" When he saw them, he said to them, "Go and show yourselves to the priests." And as they went, they were made clean. Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice. He prostrated himself at Jesus' feet and thanked him. And he was a Samaritan. Then Jesus asked, "Were not ten made clean? But the other nine, where are they? Was none of them found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?" Then he said to him, "Get up and go on your way; your faith has made you well."

Look at you! Just stop and take a look at yourself! You were baptized and became a child of God. You came to the realization of what God has done for you and affirmed that baptism publicly. You are growing into something new and great. That old skin of disease and death has fallen away and a new skin of life and salvation is beginning to replace the old with new. Look at you! You have been made clean! You have been blessed with new life. Look at you! Turn around and praise the One who made you new again. Turn around and count the blessings. Things have changed. You have changed! Look at you! Get up and go on your way; praise God continually; your faith has made you well. Look at you! Thanks be to God!

As I turn to you I see that you can make all things new...even me! Thanks! --- Amen

Saturday, October 09, 2010

October 9th - Reflection

Luke 5:12-16 (NRSV)
A leper healed

Once, when he was in one of the cities, there was a man covered with leprosy. When he saw Jesus, he bowed with his face to the ground and begged him, "Lord, if you choose, you can make me clean." Then Jesus stretched out his hand, touched him, and said, "I do choose. Be made clean." Immediately the leprosy left him. And he ordered him to tell no one. "Go," he said, "and show yourself to the priest, and, as Moses commanded, make an offering for your cleansing, for a testimony to them." But now more than ever the word about Jesus spread abroad; many crowds would gather to hear him and to be cured of their diseases. But he would withdraw to deserted places and pray.

Jesus chooses to cure us in the ultimate matter. Sometimes we come to Jesus with requests for healing. Jesus, heals us in ways we can't understand. Jesus chooses to heal us in a manner that makes us clean. We live a broken life in sin. And in that sin there is disease, and decay. When we come to Jesus we are freed from this disease of sin and decay in a life giving way. Jesus staked his very life to save us from death and give us new life. But this new life begins even in the midst of our disease of sin and decay. Our new life comes to fruition and is born in the depths of our sin and decay. As we turn to Jesus for healing, he welcomes us with open hands and arms to freely and graciously rescue us. For Jesus knows that his own life has been given to free us from this decay and death. What more could we ever want? Thanks be to God!

Lord, I'm reaching out...grasp my hand and give me that life that comes out of this decay I am trapped in. My life is yours to mold and change. --- Amen

Friday, October 08, 2010

October 8th - Reflection

2 Timothy 2:1-7 (NRSV)
Share in suffering

You then, my child, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus; and what you have heard from me through many witnesses entrust to faithful people who will be able to teach others as well. Share in suffering like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No one serving in the army gets entangled in everyday affairs; the soldier's aim is to please the enlisting officer. And in the case of an athlete, no one is crowned without competing according to the rules. It is the farmer who does the work who ought to have the first share of the crops. Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in all things.

Be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. Certainly the grace we receive through Christ strengthens us. This grace draws us out of death and into life. As that life begins and grows, we as new children, should grow strong and bold in what God has done for us. God could do no more for us than what he has already done through Christ. What more could we ever need? So, be strong in the grace and share in suffering so that the people God gives to you can see the grace of God keeping you strong and likewise come to know the grace that is in Christ Jesus. Think about it...

Lord, this gift you give is beyond what I can gather in. Help me to grow strong in this grace that my life may be a reflection of that very grace to those you give to me in this forever. --- Amen

Thursday, October 07, 2010

October 7th - Reflection

2 Timothy 1:13-18 (NRSV)
Paul in prison

Hold to the standard of sound teaching that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. Guard the good treasure entrusted to you, with the help of the Holy Spirit living in us.

You are aware that all who are in Asia have turned away from me, including Phygelus and Hermogenes. May the Lord grant mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, because he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chain; when he arrived in Rome, he eagerly searched for me and found me - may the Lord grant that he will find mercy from the Lord on that day! And you know very well how much service he rendered in Ephesus.

The Holy Spirit is living in us. The Holy Spirit helps us to guard the treasure entrusted to us at baptism. The treasure of faith and love come to fruition through the Holy Spirit living in us. The "old man" is going away and a "new man" has come to life. As the Holy Spirit lives within us and faith and love mature and grow, we become new creations. Instead of the decay of sin, death and the devil; we begin a new life of growth in faith, hope and love. The Holy Spirit living in us.

Let the "old man" die and the Holy Spirit springs to life in you. Thanks be to God!

Take this life of mine and make it yours. Take away my sinfulness, selfishness, and pride and replace it with faith, hope and love this day. --- Amen

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

October 6th - Reflection

Psalm 3 (NRSV)
Deliverance comes from God

O Lord, how many are my foes!
Many are rising against me;
many are saying to me,
"There is no help for you in God."

But you, O Lord, are a shield around me,
my glory, and the one who lifts up my head.
I cry aloud to the Lord,
and he answers me from his holy hill.

I lie down and sleep;
I wake again, for the Lord sustains me.
I am not afraid of ten thousands of people
who have set themselves against me all around.

Rise up, O Lord!
Deliver me, O my God!
For you strike all my enemies on the cheek;
you break the teeth of the wicked.

Deliverance belongs to the Lord;
may your blessing be on your people!

Our Father always comes to take care of the children. He comes in love to defend, correct and sustain all of his children. This is our Father in heaven. Some earthly fathers make attempts at this and some are very good at loving and caring for children. But all earthly fathers will fail in one respect or another.

Our Father in heaven does not fail his children. Our Father in heaven delivers us from sin, death and the devil. This is something we can't expect out of our earthly fathers. This is something only our heavenly Father can do and has done.

Love and appreciate all the blessings that our earthly fathers have given us. Work with earthly fathers through the failures and pain that they live with. Honor your mother and father with love here on earth and in heaven as much as you can while you can. And stand with your mother and father as all of us marvel at the Love of our Heavenly Father. A love that gives the Son for our life. A Love that delivers. Thanks be to God!

Lord, as we stand with father and mother and show honor to each, may we show love, one for another and love for you, our Heavenly Father who delivers us all.  --- Amen

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

October 5th - Reflection

Habakkuk 2:5-11 (NRSV)
Those who heap up what is not theirs

Moreover, wealth is treacherous;
the arrogant do not endure.
They open their throats wide as Sheol;
like Death they never have enough.
They gather all nations for themselves,
and collect all peoples as their own.

Shall not everyone taunt such people and, with mocking riddles, say about them,
"Alas for you who heap up what is not your own!"
How long will you load yourselves with goods taken in pledge?
Will not your own creditors suddenly rise,
and those who make you tremble wake up?
Then you will be booty for them.
Because you have plundered many nations,
all that survive of the peoples shall plunder you -
because of human bloodshed, and violence to the earth,
to cities and all who live in them.

"Alas for you who get evil gain for your houses,
setting your nest on high
to be safe from the reach of harm!"
You have devised shame for your house
by cutting off many peoples;
you have forfeited your life.
The very stones will cry out from the wall,
and the plaster will respond from the woodwork.

This is a warning to the selfish people that hoard riches for themselves. If I examine my life, I would say that I don't hoard riches. However if I examine my life comparing my riches to the average riches of others in this world, I fail.

These passages give you pause to think about your blessings and how one can use what God has given to us for those in need. God has given me opportunities that I didn't earn to make money and live comfortably. There are other people in this world who have been given a different circumstance. People given a circumstance that creates in them the very same feeling that I am having.

God blesses us each day with daily bread. Daily Bread of all we need to survive. I think God intends for us to share that Bread with those we meet each day. Daily Bread includes not only food, but family, income, a job, health and all we need to live this life.

When we view our unique situations as Daily Bread blessings, we can freely give from where we are to those God sets before us. God will create opportunities to spread the blessings. We are to respond. Respond knowing that the Daily Bread that God freely gives is Christ himself. Jesus Christ, today, tomorrow and forever...never runs out! Thanks be to God!

Lord, give us this day our Daily Bread. Let me count the blessings and give that Bread away to those you give to me this day. --- Amen

Monday, October 04, 2010

October 4th - Reflection

Habakkuk 1:5-17 (NRSV)
The wicked swallow the righteous

Look at the nations, and see!
Be astonished! Be astounded!
For a work is being done in your days
that you would not believe if you were told.
For I am rousing the Chaldeans,
that fierce and impetuous nation,
who march through the breadth of the earth
to seize dwellings not their own.
Dread and fearsome are they;
their justice and dignity proceed from themselves.
Their horses are swifter than leopards,
more menacing than wolves at dusk;
their horses charge.
Their horsemen come from far away;
they fly like an eagle swift to devour.
They all come for violence,
with faces pressing forward;
they gather captives like sand.
At kings they scoff,
and of rulers they make sport.
They laugh at every fortress,
and heap up earth to take it.
Then they sweep by like the wind;
they transgress and become guilty;
their own might is their god!

Are you not from of old,
O Lord my God, my Holy One?
You shall not die.
O Lord, you have marked them for judgment;
and you, O Rock, have established them for punishment.
Your eyes are too pure to behold evil,
and you cannot look on wrongdoing;
why do you look on the treacherous,
and are silent when the wicked swallow
those more righteous than they?
You have made people like the fish of the sea,
like crawling things that have no ruler.

The enemy brings all of them up with a hook;
he drags them out with his net,
he gathers them in his seine;
so he rejoices and exults.
Therefore he sacrifices to his net
and makes offerings to his seine;
for by them his portion is lavish,
and his food is rich.
Is he then to keep on emptying his net,
and destroying nations without mercy?

The enemy can sweep in on you with power and force when you least expect it. And, it seems, in some times, God allows this to happen. How will you react? Will you fight? Will you run? Will you ask for help?

When we turn from God, we attempt to take care of situations on our own. We use the power we have to fight the fight. But, our power alone isn't enough to fight off the forces of evil or temptation. We need God! It's as simple as that. We need to be willing to go to battle, but we need God. Turn to God in prayer. Seek direction. Stop and listen before taking action. God does not want to destroy you. But if you don't turn to God; you will be destroyed. Place your trust and faith in God and pray. Then go to work at the direction God leads. We need God!

Lord, hear my prayer, I need you...I need you day after day...walk with me and lead me, gift me and send me. I joy in working, honoring and praising you. I need you and want you. I want to do your will this day. I need you! --- Amen

Sunday, October 03, 2010

October 3rd - Reflection

Time after Pentecost - Lectionary 27
Luke 17:5-10 (NRSV)
Faith the size of a mustard seed

The apostles said to the Lord, "Increase our faith!" The Lord replied, "If you had faith the size of a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, 'Be uprooted and planted in the sea,' and it would obey you.

"Who among you would say to your slave who has just come in from plowing or tending sheep in the field, 'Come here at once and take your place at the table'? Would you not rather say to him, 'Prepare supper for me, put on your apron and serve me while I eat and drink; later you may eat and drink'? Do you thank the slave for doing what was commanded? So you also, when you have done all that you were ordered to do, say, 'We are worthless slaves; we have done only what we ought to have done!' "

It seems like the disciples are asking for such a good thing... Increase our faith! But Jesus, reply seems terse. How do you take that reply? I don't think I have enough faith to whisk a tree into the sea, and I haven't seen anyone able to do this either. So what to make of this passage?

There are times in my life and I'm sure there were times in the lives of the disciples when you just aren't sure if you can do this "Jesus" thing. The job looks too intimidating. Give your life? For Abraham, the call to get up and move... Or, Job having to suffer, yet cling to his hope and trust in God... Jeremiah called to speak out at a young age... Paul's conversion. The list goes on and on. Sometimes when I feel the call from God to take a stand, give a talk, lead a group or take any number of actions that are outside of my comfort zone; I feel inadequate.

But in this passage, Jesus encourages us that we can do it. We can make a huge change. We can move trees, mountains or whatever, when we respond to the call. God will provide the faith that we need for the task. God will provide the gifts needed. God will provide the "Daily Bread" for whatever God calls for us to do.

So step out boldly, with thanks, to serve. Faith will increase and the Spirit will move throughout you, me and many others that God's will is certainly done.

It's not a competition for who has the most faith. It's more like God moving his people with the faith that they need, when they need it, so that God's will be done. It's not about's all about God. Thanks be to God!

Lord, give me the faith I need to do your forever. --- Amen

Saturday, October 02, 2010

October 2nd - Reflection

Psalm 37:1-9 (NRSV)
Commit your way to the Lord

Do not fret because of the wicked;
do not be envious of wrongdoers,
for they will soon fade like the grass,
and wither like the green herb.

Trust in the Lord, and do good;
so you will live in the land, and enjoy security.
Take delight in the Lord,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Commit your way to the Lord;
trust in him, and he will act.
He will make your vindication shine like the light,
and the justice of your cause like the noonday.

Be still before the Lord, and wait patiently for him;
do not fret over those who prosper in their way,
over those who carry out evil devices.

Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath.
Do not fret - it leads only to evil.
For the wicked shall be cut off,
but those who wait for the Lord shall inherit the land.

I fall trap to a wrong perspective all the time. It's all about perspective... Instead of fretting over other people and other things... Instead of concern about how life occurs or what is fair or not... take your trust and vision off of these and place all your trust and vision on God.

Count the blessings God gives. See and constantly look for God's activity in your life and in this world and give thanks.

Stop for a moment all the worry about bills, money, and people and listen, look, taste, and hear God. Wait patiently for God and put all the other stuff away for now.

It's all about perspective...maintain that focus on the cross and follow Jesus. Thanks be to God!

Lord, lead me as your disciple, that I may emulate your teaching and instruction. All my ways focus on you. Pull me back when I stray to be still and wait. --- Amen 

Friday, October 01, 2010

October 1st - Reflection

Revelation 2:12-29 (NRSV)
Call to faithfulness

"And to the angel of the church in Pergamum write: These are the words of him who has the sharp two-edged sword:

"I know where you are living, where Satan's throne is. Yet you are holding fast to my name, and you did not deny your faith in me even in the days of Antipas my witness, my faithful one, who was killed among you, where Satan lives. But I have a few things against you: you have some there who hold to the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the people of Israel, so that they would eat food sacrificed to idols and practice fornication. So you also have some who hold to the teaching of the Nicolaitans. Repent then. If not, I will come to you soon and make war against them with the sword of my mouth. Let anyone who has an ear listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches. To everyone who conquers I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give a white stone, and on the white stone is written a new name that no one knows except the one who receives it.

"And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write: These are the words of the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and whose feet are like burnished bronze:

"I know your works - your love, faith, service, and patient endurance. I know that your last works are greater than the first. But I have this against you: you tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophet and is teaching and beguiling my servants to practice fornication and to eat food sacrificed to idols. I gave her time to repent, but she refuses to repent of her fornication. Beware, I am throwing her on a bed, and those who commit adultery with her I am throwing into great distress, unless they repent of her doings; and I will strike her children dead. And all the churches will know that I am the one who searches minds and hearts, and I will give to each of you as your works deserve. But to the rest of you in Thyatira, who do not hold this teaching, who have not learned what some call 'the deep things of Satan,' to you I say, I do not lay on you any other burden; only hold fast to what you have until I come. To everyone who conquers and continues to do my works to the end,
I will give authority over the nations;
to rule them with an iron rod,
as when clay pots are shattered -

even as I also received authority from my Father. To the one who conquers I will also give the morning star. Let anyone who has an ear listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches.

Listen carefully, hold fast, keep the faith and endure until Christ comes again. A message of hope over and over again in the midst of struggle and pain, God sends a message of hope in Christ.

That message holds today in many situations of life. Rejoice in the blessings, cling to faith, and hear the message of hope God provides. For God does provide daily bread. God gives to all people. God gives us everything we need. Food, clothing, shelter, work, education, the Church, family and friends. All we have comes from God. We are richly blessed.

So if we need endurance to make it, cling to this hope. Listen to what is said and keep focus. Thanks be to God!

Sometimes your message seems hidden in apocalyptic language, but it comes through clear...You are my only hope and I cling to you. You are salvation and life. You alone are my focus. Keep my ears and eyes open to listen and see you. Lead me this day and direct my steps that I may glorify you alone. --- Amen