Thursday, May 30, 2013

May 30th Reflection by Bill Lynch

Luke 7:1-10
1 After Jesus had finished all his sayings in the hearing of the people, he entered Capernaum. 2 A centurion there had a slave whom he valued highly, and who was ill and close to death. 3 When he heard about Jesus, he sent some Jewish elders to him, asking him to come and heal his slave. 4 When they came to Jesus, they appealed to him earnestly, saying, "He is worthy of having you do this for him, 5 for he loves our people, and it is he who built our synagogue for us." 6 And Jesus went with them, but when he was not far from the house, the centurion sent friends to say to him, "Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you come under my roof; 7 therefore I did not presume to come to you. But only speak the word, and let my servant be healed. 8 For I also am a man set under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to one, "Go,' and he goes, and to another, "Come,' and he comes, and to my slave, "Do this,' and the slave does it." 9 When Jesus heard this he was amazed at him, and turning to the crowd that followed him, he said, "I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith." 10 When those who had been sent returned to the house, they found the slave in good health.

It's important to note that the centurion was a Gentile. The centurion cared for his slave and valued the slave highly. Since the centurion was a Gentile, he sent some Jewish elders to talk to Jesus. The centurion not only cared about his slave but he cared about Jesus. You begin to form a view that this centurion was really a good man that appealed to the people. It seems the Jewish elders thought highly of the centurion and that this centurion cared about people and his relationships with the people that God had given him. And on top of all this, the centurion had faith in Jesus. He had faith that Jesus could heal with a word.

The faith and love of the centurion stands as an example of how we should live in relationship with God and with one another. First off, we can have faith in God. We can turn to God in prayer and make our requests known to him. We can stop the worry and by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving let our requests be made known to God. And the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4).

Secondly we can turn to God and turn to one another in love. We can begin to treat each other out of a love that is patient and kind, a love that is not envious, boastful, arrogant or rude, a love that does not insist upon it's own way, a love that is not irritable or resentful, a love that does not rejoice in wrongdoing but rejoices in truth. We can treat each other with a love that bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things and a love that endures all things (1 Corinthians 13).

Finally we can treat one another with respect and honor. A respect that cares for the other person. A respect that doesn't seek to be served but rather to serve. Jesus showed this respect to us in that he came not to be served, but to serve and give his life a ransom for many (Mark 10).

Yes, the centurion treated people in these ways. Good qualities that I fall short of in many ways. But as I go through life I seek the qualities of the centurion and the will of God. Qualities that are not instant, at least for me, by any stretch. Qualities that one could live life with. Qualities that gain the attention of Jesus. Qualities that emulate the faith to have in Jesus my Savior.

Lord, teach me the way that you would have me be. Build in me the faith and the qualities of character that you wish for me to have with you and with those you give to me... today... tomorrow... and forever. --- Amen

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

May 29th Reflection by Bill Lynch

Galatians 1:1-12
1 Paul an apostle—sent neither by human commission nor from human authorities, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead— 2 and all the members of God's family who are with me, To the churches of Galatia: 3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, 4 who gave himself for our sins to set us free from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, 5 to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen. 6 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7 not that there is another gospel, but there are some who are confusing you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should proclaim to you a gospel contrary to what we proclaimed to you, let that one be accursed! 9 As we have said before, so now I repeat, if anyone proclaims to you a gospel contrary to what you received, let that one be accursed! 10 Am I now seeking human approval, or God's approval? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still pleasing people, I would not be a servant of Christ. 11 For I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that the gospel that was proclaimed by me is not of human origin; 12 for I did not receive it from a human source, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ.

How does Jesus reveal himself to you? How do you know that any of Jesus' message is true? Why do you believe?

Think of Paul, Jesus revealed himself to Paul on the road to Damascus. Jesus revealed himself with a question. Why do you persecute me Saul? Get up and go, Saul, I'll tell you what to do. Jesus revealed himself to Saul in the midst of his sinfulness. Saul was persecuting the Christians and Jesus came to him to use him in mighty ways. Jesus changed Saul's life and now he would be called Paul. The scales fell from Saul's eyes and he saw the world in a different way. Paul was now convinced that Jesus' message was true. Paul now believed.

How does Jesus reveal himself today? Paul, greets the Galatians with grace and peace. Today in the same way we are greeted by Jesus with grace and peace. Jesus grants us his grace. Jesus life, ministry, healing, crucifixion, death, resurrection and ascension, is the very gift of grace that we have been given. A love that saves our lives from the eternal damnation and hell that we deserve for our sinfulness. Jesus came to the world over 2000 years ago and granted salvation that lasts from before time began to after time is recorded. God sent Jesus in flesh and grace to give us life and to bring us out of death into that great Light of Christ.

In this grace we live in the peace of the knowledge and hope only God could give. As we live this life in health or in illness, in conflict or out of conflict, as we live the ups and downs of the emotions of this life; we live it in the hope and peace that God has taken care of all of our needs and wants and has prepared a place for us to live with him in heaven. Jesus was the first of the resurrection and promises that all believers will follow him. Grace and peace to you!

Jesus also reveals himself to us in the Holy Scripture. In the Bible, in the Gospels, Jesus reveals himself. Read it! Jesus is there in the Old Testament, in the New Testament, in the Psalms, in the letters and in the prophets. Jesus is there and revealed in Scripture for all to see. Jesus reveals himself to us in the Holy Scriptures.

Jesus reveals himself in creation. Look around, you will see Jesus hand, his touch of life. Jesus reveals himself in those in need, in the hungry in the poor in the rich. Look and notice the blessings of Jesus that surround you day after day. Look and think about it! You will see Jesus.

And Jesus reveals himself to us in the Sacraments. God comes to us as Father, Son and Spirit in the waters of baptism. God comes to us in the bread and the wine as Jesus body and blood in Holy Communion. God comes to us in the confession of sins and forgives us and restores us to new life.

Now it's up to you. Do you believe? Do you know the message of Christ is true? Why do you believe?

The message is the same one. It's not a message from Paul or me or anyone else. You must discover the source on your own. Jesus is ready for you. The source of the Gospel is Jesus. The source of life is Jesus. The source of love is Jesus. God alone comes to you now. See, listen, feel, believe!

Come Lord Jesus, come, that all may see and believe... today... tomorrow... and forever. --- Amen

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

May 28th Reflection by Bill Lynch

Psalm 96:1-9
1 O sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth. 2 Sing to the Lord, bless his name; tell of his salvation from day to day. 3 Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples. 4 For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; he is to be revered above all gods. 5 For all the gods of the peoples are idols, but the Lord made the heavens. 6 Honor and majesty are before him; strength and beauty are in his sanctuary. 7 Ascribe to the Lord, O families of the peoples, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength. 8 Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; bring an offering, and come into his courts. 9 Worship the Lord in holy splendor; tremble before him, all the earth.

We are all called to praise God. All of us are called to sing to the Lord and bless his name. It seems when we sing there is a deeper connection. We not only connect with the song in the words but our hearts connect with the song in the tune. And in a congregation we connect with one another in spirit through the words and the tune. We connect with each other and in this Psalm we hear that we connect with God as well.

Once we connect with God, we see how great and majestic God is. All other things that try to take priority in our lives fall way way below God's priority in all things and in all places. God is and becomes the center of our reason for being.

Finally we connect and hear the call to all people to offer praise, prayer and come into full discipleship with our God, Creator, Redeemer, Spirit. We bring the offering of our lives to God and give ourselves and all our ways to God.

Connections... to God and to one another. We are all called to praise God. "Worship the Lord in holy splendor; tremble before him, all the earth."

Lord, thank you for including everyone on this connection with you, but thank you for coming to me and offering me your gracious hand. I'm undeserving of you, yet you come to me anyway and call me. Hear my song of joy and thanksgiving as I stand in awe of your glorious love... today... tomorrow... and forever. --- Amen

Monday, May 27, 2013

May 27th Reflection by Bill Lynch

1 Kings 8:22-23, 41-43
22 Then Solomon stood before the altar of the Lord in the presence of all the assembly of Israel, and spread out his hands to heaven. 23 He said, "O Lord, God of Israel, there is no God like you in heaven above or on earth beneath, keeping covenant and steadfast love for your servants who walk before you with all their heart,
41 "Likewise when a foreigner, who is not of your people Israel, comes from a distant land because of your name 42 —for they shall hear of your great name, your mighty hand, and your outstretched arm—when a foreigner comes and prays toward this house, 43 then hear in heaven your dwelling place, and do according to all that the foreigner calls to you, so that all the peoples of the earth may know your name and fear you, as do your people Israel, and so that they may know that your name has been invoked on this house that I have built.

Solomon was standing before God. Standing as before the King. Yes, Solomon was an earthly king, and he would have people stand in his presence as he sit upon the throne, but here Solomon is of no compare to God the Father and King of all the universe. So, Solomon was standing in prayer before God. Standing before a God that keeps his Word. Standing before a God that is Love. We stand in the presence of God and willingly, lovingly seek to do the will that he would have us do that would please him.

I come as an alien. I'm not privileged nor worthy to be in God's presence. But God stretches out his arms through time and space and folds me into his care. I come before God because of what I have heard. I come in faith and hope of the salvation that he has offered in Jesus.  I come before God in prayer. And in my coming to God I receive the hug of my life.

Lord, hear my prayer, as I stand before you today. Forgive me and fill me full of your love. Send me in that love to love those you give to me today... tomorrow... and forever. --- Amen

Friday, May 24, 2013

May 24th Reflection by Bill Lynch

John 16:12-15
12 "I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. 14 He will glorify me, because he will take what is mine and declare it to you. 15 All that the Father has is mine. For this reason I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.

Just like that he said it. And once he said it, I went to work. Waving along into space from my source. Waving along from one point to some endless point that I would never know. He had formed a rather short, yet unique waveform in me that was now eternal.

I was short. Later on I would learn that I was recorded in only four verses of Scripture from the New Testament book of John. Yes, I was short and to the point. Jesus mentioned the Father and the Spirit all in this one passage. That was the beginning of me. I came from Jesus and he brought me into being with him. Jesus told about the Father and showed how the Father and he were one. Now Jesus told about the Spirit of truth that will glorify Jesus and take what is Jesus and declare it.

So here I am for all eternity. I travel through space and time for any or all to hear. To hear the Word spoken of a God that loves his creation so much that he came to die for the sin of the people and save them from eternal damnation and hell. God gave freely through the gracious. loving act of himself in the Savior, Jesus Christ his own life for the life of the condemned in order to grant new life. Now, the Spirit moves and declares the Truth. The Truth of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit... God. All God, all the time and beyond.

So what now? All that Jesus has is for the Children of God. They have what Jesus has. They have unity with God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. That's Truth.

And that's where I come from. I come from the voice box of the Savior. I move from the source of life and declare what God has done, forever and ever.

Lord, you alone are Truth. Fill me with your Truth that I may declare your glory to all the world, forever and ever... today... tomorrow... and forever. --- Amen

Thursday, May 23, 2013

May 23rd Reflection by Bill Lynch

John 16:12-15
New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

“I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, because he will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine. For this reason I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.

God's work is not done here. We are here to be vessels that draw nearer to the completion the work that God has planned in this world in the time frame God has set. But, God doesn't leave us alone to figure all of the work we are to being doing, he sends the Holy Spirit to lead and guide us.

The Spirit guides us toward the truth because the Spirit is truth. Truth which glorifies the actions of God in Jesus in the salvation of all people. And so the Children of God are wrapped into the communion of the Church. All that Jesus and the Spirit have is ours.

God's work is not done here and now. But, thanks be to God we have the Holy Spirit to lead and guide us towards that truth of God.

Father, send your Holy Spirit and guide me in your truth that the words that I say and the things that I do may glorify you... today... tomorrow... and forever. --- Amen

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

May 22nd Reflection by Bill Lynch

Romans 5:1-5 (New Revised Standard)
Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand; and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God. And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.

It's more than just a feeling. This relationship we have with God the Father, Son and Spirit, is more than just a feeling or emotion, it's a fact. This relationship that is true, isn't based on something we have earned. We didn't earn the right to a medal of honor in order to go into God's presence. Think of some of the Old Testament accounts of people going before the king. It was a rare occasion and sometime could even be dangerous to subject yourself to the whims of the king by going in front of him. Recall the times that the one going before the king was either to be judged or had done something that the king desired to honor with a gift or a decree. Usually they earned their presence before the king with either good or bad actions.

Our relationship with God however, is not based on our actions. We can't earn the trip before God by any action we may take. We come before God in the presence and through the actions of what Jesus has done for us in our stead. It is by Jesus actions alone that we are made right before God and can be in God's presence. God came to us in Jesus. So now Jesus has made us righteous and able to stand before the Father.

What a joy this brings to us. A joy so tremendous that pain and suffering are twisted into character building blessings. God abundantly pours his Holy Spirit into our lives and blesses us even in the tough times. God pours to overflowing his love into our lives through the Holy Spirit as we live our lives in testament to all that God has done.

It's more than just a feeling. It's a fact! God loves us, claims us and we believe and faith grows.

Lord, pour out your love into my heart and the hearts of all believers that we may stand in the pain and with those who suffer to let your love flow freely through us... today... tomorrow... and forever. --- Amen

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

May 21st Reflection by Bill Lynch

Psalm 8

O Lord, our Sovereign, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens.
Out of the mouths of babes and infants you have founded a bulwark because of your foes, to silence the enemy and the avenger.

When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars that you have established;
what are human beings that you are mindful of them, mortals that you care for them?
Yet you have made them a little lower than God, and crowned them with glory and honor.
You have given them dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under their feet,
all sheep and oxen, and also the beasts of the field,
the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea, whatever passes along the paths of the seas.

O Lord, our Sovereign, how majestic is your name in all the earth!

Lord, you are above everything!
You empower the weak to humble the strong.
You come as a baby and save all people
Lord, your love is amazing!

Lord, you are above everything!
Observe the ants, how delicate.
They live and they work in multitudes.
You detailed all creation.

Lord, you are above everything!
Stare at the stars at night.
How small they seem, yet, large they are.
You give life to all things.

Lord, you are above everything!
Creation sings out in praise to you.
Great and small praise your name.
For you have given us Jesus.

Lord, your love is amazing!
You detailed all creation.
You give life to all things.
For you have given Jesus.

Lord, how majestic you are! How majestic is you name in all the earth... today... tomorrow... and forever. --- Amen

Monday, May 20, 2013

May 20th Reflection by Bill Lynch

Proverbs 8:1-4, 22-31

Does not wisdom call,
and does not understanding raise her voice?
On the heights, beside the way,
at the crossroads she takes her stand;
beside the gates in front of the town,
at the entrance of the portals she cries out:
“To you, O people, I call,
and my cry is to all that live.

The Lord created me at the beginning of his work,
the first of his acts of long ago.
Ages ago I was set up,
at the first, before the beginning of the earth.
When there were no depths I was brought forth,
when there were no springs abounding with water.
Before the mountains had been shaped,
before the hills, I was brought forth—
when he had not yet made earth and fields,
or the world’s first bits of soil.
When he established the heavens, I was there,
when he drew a circle on the face of the deep,
when he made firm the skies above,
when he established the fountains of the deep,
when he assigned to the sea its limit,
so that the waters might not transgress his command,
when he marked out the foundations of the earth, then I was beside him, like a master worker;
and I was daily his delight,
rejoicing before him always,
rejoicing in his inhabited world
and delighting in the human race.

Was this wisdom and this understanding to take on flesh? Were they created or did they proceed from God? These are questions we must ask. These are questions that we could wrap ourselves into and cause ourselves to miss the wonder of creation.

God's Spirit moved over the chaotic waters and brought life out of darkness and void. This "Wisdom" being created before the beginning. God thought past the end before the beginning. It's something far too wonderful for me to fathom or even imagine. But I can see the truth of this in Jesus and in the pouring of the Spirit on the Church and all God's people. God created and brought to life this wisdom that brings love into the created world. God brings love through wisdom and breathes life into that love in the form of Jesus.

God moves in this creation and moves through this creation and hovers all over this creation. In this world. God is present. In his Church God resides, in you and in me God moves and love is active. In God there is love, wisdom, understanding and a passionate action to create.

Lord, as you rejoice, let us rejoice in praise and thanksgiving for all life, love, wisdom and understanding that flows from your Spirit... today... tomorrow... and forever. --- Amen

Friday, May 17, 2013

May 17th Reflection by Bill Lynch

John 14:8–17, 25–27

Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own; but the Father who dwells in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; but if you do not, then believe me because of the works themselves.

Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father. I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If in my name you ask me for anything, I will do it.

”If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever. This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you.

”I have said these things to you while I am still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.

Jesus tells us something clearly and plainly. The Father is revealed in him. No longer is God hidden behind a curtain or in a cloud by day or a pillar of fire by night or on a mountain or in a light. God is revealed and made obvious to us through Jesus Christ. Jesus, human flesh that can be seen, heard, smelled, touched; is God! It's as clear and plain as could be.

But, boy do the words seem to go around and around when Jesus explains this! OK  Jesus, I know I'm dense in understanding. I also know that I can't come to you and believe in you from my own strength or understanding. And yes, here comes my catechism learning, I now believe that because of this, the Holy Spirit calls me through the Gospel and enlightens me with his gifts and sanctifies me and keeps me in true faith. (Luther's Small Catechism explanation to the Third Article of the Apostles Creed).

From this thinking comes the Church. The real Church. The BIG Church with a big C. God's Church, not just one congregation someplace, not just one denomination, not the Roman Catholic church, but the Church of God, the universal Church. This is a Church united with Jesus Christ. Sure, we like to think all of our churches are this way. But really each is only this way in part. But together with so many other churches that are united in Jesus comes the Christian church, through which the Holy Spirit exists, forgiving the sins of all believers. The Church is so much bigger than we think. The whole Christian church of which on the last day Jesus will raise the dead and give eternal life to all believers IN Christ.

So here we are again. With this word IN. Jesus is IN the Father, the Father is IN Jesus, and guess what? We are IN Jesus and Jesus is IN us. So, while were at it, let's throw IN the Holy Spirit just for good measure! I wonder if Jesus was thinking, "Do you get it now?"

But, I'm a slow learner. I try to get it, but it's beyond me. Why? God shows me a love so far out, that I can't get it. I can't understand a love like this. But, I see it! I believe it! So, I accept this love of God IN Christ Jesus. I accept it and run with it even if I don't understand it. So, Jesus gives me and you and the Church, the Holy Spirit to lead and guide us. The Holy Spirit to give us spiritual gifts to use in the everlasting Kingdom of God. Gifts and faith that combines INto the Church IN the Father, IN the Son, and IN the Holy Spirit and IN the Church and IN you and IN me. Wow! How great thou art!

No, I still don't get it. But I'm glad to accept it! Thanks be to God!

Father, thanks for your son Jesus. Thanks for filling your Church full to the fullest and overflowing into the world with the Holy Spirit. Thanks for the depth of the Love only you could give. Use me this day so that your Spirit may overflow in me and spread the wondrous Love you have given through Jesus to all those you give to me... today... tomorrow... and forever. --- Amen

Thursday, May 16, 2013

May 16th Reflection by Bill Lynch

Romans 8:14–17

For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption. When we cry, “Abba! Father!” it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God,

and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ—if, in fact, we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him.

Daddy, Daddy, Daddy! Mama, Mama, Mama! Gamaw, Gamaw, Gamaw! Pepaw, Pepaw, Pepaw! We cry out for attention. We are excited to tell something new that we learned or we want the attention of someone, so we persistently cry out. When we cry out, we witness to the one we cry. We witness that we belong to that person. We mostly witness that the person we cry out to is ours and we belong to them. We have accepted that person as a person that loves us and accepts us as we are.

We feel and know the love of God in Christ Jesus. We know that love and now that the curtain has been torn open to the Holy of Holies by Jesus death on the cross, God comes to us. God rushes to us. The wind of God overtakes us and involves us in God's mission and plan of salvation. We are saved and are part of this very same reason that Jesus came to this world. God is close. So now we know to cry out to our Heavenly Father boldly and lovingly when we want God's attention. We feel the love of God and love God when we cry out to him, "Abba!, Father!" Mommy! Daddy! Gamaw! Pepaw!

Through Jesus death, we are Children of God and we believe it! Yes, we believe that God is our hope and salvation. We believe it and we act it out boldly as a child seeks the parent. We now are convinced by what God has done and we believe in God firmly enough to cry Abba!

Through Jesus, our adoption to God the Father is complete. And God seals that adoption by pouring out the Spirit upon us in such great amounts that it fills our hearts, our minds and our spirit. God fills us to overflowing on purpose. We spill out into the world and witness to the love of God through Jesus and through our adoption as a Child of God!

Oh how the waters of baptism pour freely and abundantly, day after day, as we rise to new life in God. Even though we sin and fall short, we are fulfilled in the forgiveness of that sin through Jesus and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon us that we are free from the bondage of sin. We are no longer held back by sin, but we are free to live a life dedicated to God. We live our lives free for God's purpose and plan. We live our lives in praise to all that God has done. We live our lives telling about our adoption.

And the life we live is obvious to all the world. We are God's! Dada! Dada! Dada! Guess what happened today? You won't believe it!

Dada! I come to you knowing that you love me. I love you too!... today... tomorrow... and forever. --- Amen

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

May 15th Reflection by Bill Lynch

Psalm 104:24–34, 35b

O Lord, how manifold are your works! In wisdom you have made them all; the earth is full of your creatures.
Yonder is the sea, great and wide, creeping things innumerable are there, living things both small and great.
There go the ships, and Leviathan that you formed to sport in it.

These all look to you to give them their food in due season;
when you give to them, they gather it up; when you open your hand, they are filled with good things.
When you hide your face, they are dismayed; when you take away their breath, they die and return to their dust.
When you send forth your spirit, they are created; and you renew the face of the ground.

May the glory of the Lord endure forever; may the Lord rejoice in his works—
who looks on the earth and it trembles, who touches the mountains and they smoke.

I will sing to the Lord as long as I live; I will sing praise to my God while I have being.
May my meditation be pleasing to him, for I rejoice in the Lord.

Bless the Lord, O my soul. Praise the Lord!

Lord, I pause and wonder at your creation.
I see the ocean which is endless to the horizon.
Waters that move and foam as far as I can see.
You formed all of this with your Word.

Look at the various kinds of life in the sea!
Creatures of every sort and every shape.
Fish large and small live under the water.
You formed all of this with your Word.

Yet look! Everything depends on the food you give.
They live together and are renewed through time.
Oh how the Spirit moves!
You formed all of this with your Word.

Are you, Lord, happy with your creation?
Do we bring delight to you each day?
For I have sinned and disgusted you.
I need your life giving Spirit.

I will praise you all my life.
For you pour out your Spirit upon me.
You grant new life and forgiveness.
I need your life giving Love.

Glory to the Father!
Praise to the Son!
Praise to the Holy Spirit!
You are the Holy One!

Lord, you are Creator. You are Creator of flesh and spirit. All life depends on you. So, I come in need. I come in need of your food. I need your food that sustains my flesh and your food that renews my spirit. Send now your Holy Spirit upon me. Give me new life in you. I praise and honor you and you alone, in this place and in this time to all people... today... tomorrow... and forever. --- Amen

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

May 14th Reflection by Bill Lynch

Genesis 11:1–9

Now the whole earth had one language and the same words. And as they migrated from the east, they came upon a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there. And they said to one another, “Come, let us make bricks, and burn them thoroughly.” And they had brick for stone, and bitumen for mortar. Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves; otherwise we shall be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.”

The Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which mortals had built. And the Lord said, “Look, they are one people, and they have all one language; and this is only the beginning of what they will do; nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them. Come, let us go down, and confuse their language there, so that they will not understand one another’s speech.” So the Lord scattered them abroad from there over the face of all the earth, and they left off building the city. Therefore it was called Babel, because there the Lord confused the language of all the earth; and from there the Lord scattered them abroad over the face of all the earth.

How arrogant we can be? To think that we can build a human temple to God. To think that we are so great to come together and unite and build a temple in a city that will make a name for ourselves. So arrogant that God has to "come down" to see this temple that we built to heaven.

God had to come down? I thought we were so great that the temple would rise to heaven? If so, why did God need to come down? Shouldn't God be able to just step in?

So we are confused. Our speech is confused. We can't communicate with one another in the spirit of God if we believe that we can attain heaven through the work of our hands, minds and will. We can't get to heaven like this!

Something greater takes place here. Humans are stalled in their own will to be one with God. We can't become one with God through our own efforts or understanding. We can only become one with God through God. God came down in Jesus to walk in our lives and to become our sin and with that sin to die on the cross as our sin. But God didn't end in death. Jesus rose again to eternal life. A gracious gift to you to to me. A gift of God coming down. But then, after Jesus ascension into heaven, God came down once again. But this time God came down as Spirit. A Spirit that draws all flesh together as one. We are in unity with God through Jesus and the Spirit. In this coming down, God gives us one voice. A voice that is united in the coming down of God in both the flesh of Jesus and the spirit of the Holy Spirit.

It's not us or our will that unites us in Christ Jesus. It is God coming down that unites us with one voice and one heart and one spirit. What a wonderful temple God has created. Not a temple that reaches heaven, but rather a temple that reaches earth... from heaven... through Jesus... and through the Holy Spirit. It's something that only God could do. It's something that only God could imagine. It's not a temple constructed by human hands of brick and mortar and human work, it's a temple built on the Love of God for his people.

Come, Lord Jesus come! Come, Holy Spirit, come! Thank you Father for coming to us to save us and connecting yourself with us throughout eternity. As your love connects with me may it also connect with those you give to me this day that I may be one with you through you... today... tomorrow... and forever. --- Amen

Monday, May 13, 2013

May 13th Reflection by Bill Lynch

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.

Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each. Amazed and astonished, they asked, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language? Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs—in our own languages we hear them speaking about God’s deeds of power.” All were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” But others sneered and said, “They are filled with new wine.”

But Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed them, “Men of Judea and all who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and listen to what I say. Indeed, these are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only nine o’clock in the morning. No, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel: ‘In the last days it will be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams. Even upon my slaves, both men and women, in those days I will pour out my Spirit; and they shall prophesy. And I will show portents in the heaven above and signs on the earth below, blood, and fire, and smoky mist. The sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon to blood, before the coming of the Lord’s great and glorious day. Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.’

A community of believers gathered together in one place. Then it took place! God came to earth once again! God made himself known in a different form than of flesh. God came in the might and the power and the wonder of Spirit. A rush of mighty wind and fire that inspired and uplifted and gifted and took possession of each and all. This Spirit was the promised gift that Jesus spoke of! This gift from God had come to earth!
God is here! Alleluia!

This was the week that Jews would gather from all over to remember and celebrate the giving of the law at Sinai. In one respect the voice of God in the Law was heard. The Jews gathered and listened. They heard God's voice coming through the tongues of people. They heard and some thought these people speaking to be drunk.

Peter spoke... they aren't drunk, they are filled by the Spirit, just as the prophet Joel had said. Yes, here it is, that wondrous passage... "Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved." We need Jesus! We can't save ourselves, not through the Law or anything else. We need Jesus! This gift from God had come to earth, in flesh and now in spirit! We need God and God comes! God has come to us and to me and to you, so that all may be filled with the Spirit of God and profess, "We need Jesus!" and "God has come!"

Lord, how I need you! I need you every moment of every day. I ask that your Spirit set me on fire that I may live the love that you gave to all the world... today... tomorrow... and forever. --- Amen

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mother's Day

On Mother's Day I recalled this tribute to my Mom that I wrote last year. It still speaks of an eternal joy for the life of my Mom.

Happy Mother's Day Mom!

June 22 2012
Happy Birthday!

It's my birthday today! A day 56 years ago that a new life was brought into this world. A new life born through the struggle and pain of childbirth. A new life that also would live the struggle between carnal desires and spiritual freedom. I was born before the rise of the sun around 4:00 a.m. The day had yet to begin.

The new summer season was fresh within a day. A season of full life. Nature at the height of it's glory and in full bloom. Green grass, flowers everywhere, why even the insects are hard at work during this time of the year. The time of vacations that relax and vacations that exercise the mind, body and soul. Summer is a time full of life and activity.

Summer is also a time when the heat cranks up and people come out and crime increases. Humans seem to be at their best and their worst during the summer season. Summer is a time of contrast. Good and evil side by side in the usual struggle. We become hungry yet don't feel like eating when it's too hot. Motorcyclists desire the danger of speed to feel open and powerful. Traffic accidents increase, yet leisurely walks with the dogs become habitual. Summer is a time of contrasts; sometimes contrasts in extremes.

Yes I was born 56 years ago this day before sunrise. By contrast 56 years later my Mom died on this day after sunset around 11:30 p.m. A day when faith was expressed in love. Christ expressed love in life through a personal relationship with each one of us. In relationship we learn of faith and love. Mom expressed, throughout her life, a relationship of faith and love. As 56 years ago Mom began to teach me the expression of faith and love through relationships with those God gives to me each day, she exhibited her own faith and love for the moment, this day, through relationships with Jesus and each person that crossed her path.

My Mom displayed in her daily life with the Holy Spirit, this expression of faith and love. One of my favorite memories of Mom was seeing her read that Bible on the coffee table, by herself each day. This act displayed her relationship with God to me. This act demonstrated the importance of God active in the here and the now. What does God have to say for me at the beginning of this day? The question would intrigue me to daily reading of the Word for my lifetime also. Mom demonstrated the importance of relationships and the living of the moment.

We live life in this world of contrasts. We live in this world of plans and priority lists, yet we must always live this life in the moment in relationship with God and each other. It's not the plans that matter, it's the relationship of the moment that takes priority over everything else. This moment will only last a moment and then will be lost forever. It's this moment and relationship that matters in the now. Plans can always be made but not at the sacrifice of the moment and the relationship with God and one another.

Works and rites can become a stumbling block to the cross. If we focus continually on works, salvation ceases to be of grace. Works can bind up our spirit. By contrast grace frees our spirit to be in relationship with God in the moment. Jesus has freed us to live a life devoted to him, not through servant obedience for self justification, but through Jesus justification and the obedience of love forever. When Jesus frees us from the law we don't live lawlessly, but we live under Christ with charity and morality that gives up selfish control and comes to life in the sacrifice of our own will and way, to the will and way of God in Christ Jesus. It's no longer about our plans but about our life in the moment in love for God and one another. In Christ we live a life of relationship in the present because the past is done and the future is in God's hands. Our conduct is now controlled by the moment of Christ in our life. Our new freedom in Christ implies service to others.

It is here that we experience the presence of Christ. In the moment we sit at Jesus' feet. In the moment we discuss our sin at the well. In the moment we wash Jesus feet with our tears. In the moment we pour perfume on our Lord and Savior. In the moment we shed tears to Jesus' final words from the cross. In the moment we run from the tomb to shout glorious praise. We now live each moment in the presence of God. We live in the moment, knowing that the future has been lovingly cared for through the grace and love of Christ Jesus and knowing the comfort we have in the Spirit of God in and with and through all God's people.

We walk the day with the Spirit of God by our side. Walking in the moment with full trust for the future held in God's hands. For God has shown us a love beyond our human understanding. A love that is in the moment, before the moment, after the moment and forevermore. We are led by the Spirit through faith and love.

I recall as a small child, perhaps nine or ten, a moment that goes on in the Spirit that I had with Mom. Living on Sutphin Street in Middletown, at the kitchen table, Mom brought out a Bible, some paper, scissors and perhaps crayons, pens and pencils. The exact details blur a little but the act is what stands out in my mind. Mom read to me Galatians 5:22-24

Paul states:
"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires."

And with these verses in mind we cut out the shapes of various fruit and named them love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control and strung them together as if from the same tree. As each fruit was created Mom would relate the spiritual meaning.

Love-God's love revealed in Christ- not a selfish love desiring control but a love that gives away control
Joy- Happiness in relationship with God and our love for God
Peace- A peace with God that affects our relationship with others
Patience- forbearance with one another in relationship
Kindness- Regard for human personality and human need
Goodness- character that is not fake but real as God created each of us to be ourselves yet softened with love
Faithfulness- Faithful devotion to God and one another
Gentleness- we submit to the will of God and to consideration in relationship to one another
Self-control - curbing the fleshly desires

All words of relationship first with God our Creator, Savior, Redeemer and Spirit and words of relationship with those that God gives to us that we may give ourselves as Jesus has taught us. We live in the moment, remembering the past and trusting the future to God.

It's with this passage that I recall my life with Mom. As Mom, this day... 56 years ago... brought new life to me... prior to sunrise... in a wonderful world that Jesus walked... that I clasp Mom's hands and look into her eyes with  a smile as wide as could be... that after sundown... Mom breathed her final breath with the hands of my sister and I... that I witness to you a life filled with the fruit of the Spirit... in love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

Happy Birthday Mom!

What a wonderful gift you have given on this my birthday too.

Friday, May 10, 2013

May 10th Reflection by Bill Lynch

John 17:20-26

”I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given them, so that they may be one, as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.

Father, I desire that those also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory, which you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. “Righteous Father, the world does not know you, but I know you; and these know that you have sent me. I made your name known to them, and I will make it known, so that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.”

Being one doesn't mean that we are all the same. We aren't all the same. I'm as different from anyone else as they are different from another. This reminds me of the passage on the various parts of the body. We are all part of something bigger than ourselves. In this we come together to be one. But the one is something else.

In this "one" we have something in common. We are one with each other together as a whole. We come to God in Jesus as many parts with a common denominator... Jesus. We come to believe in Jesus and faith grows. We come from different personalities, different backgrounds and even different thinking and believe that we are saved through Jesus. We unite in the life, ministry, suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus for the sake of each of our lives and the lives of all people.

We are "one" through Jesus. And we are "one" in our love for each other. But there are some who refuse the love of another. There are some that are stubborn and insist upon their own way. There are some that are irritable and resentful. There are some that rejoice in the pain of another. There are some that are arrogant, boastful, envious and rude. And at sometime or another we are all party to some or all of these characteristics with each other. These that choose this are not "one." You can't recognize Jesus in this.

But, Jesus is there for these as well. Jesus is there to call and show the love given to him before the foundation of the world, so that we may believe in him. We need Jesus to be "one." Without Jesus and on our own we can't be "one." Without Jesus we try to be our own "one" and are lost in selfish pride and selfish righteousness..

People can come together, that's for sure. But the "one" is only through Jesus, our brother, our Savior, our flesh and blood, our God. In this "One" there is love.

Father, bring me together with Jesus with those you give to me this day that we may be "one." If we unite in the love of Jesus, may there be belief and unity in our commonality in the love of Jesus. If that person chooses not to unite in the love of Jesus, give me the strength and passion to continue to love them but also the fortitude to move on in your will and your way to unite with Jesus in another relationship. We are all different and unique in a wonderful way. May our differences draw us together as one in you as our God and Savior... today... tomorrow... and forever. --- Amen

Thursday, May 09, 2013

May 9th Reflection by Bill Lynch

John 17:20-26

”I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given them, so that they may be one, as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.

Father, I desire that those also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory, which you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. “Righteous Father, the world does not know you, but I know you; and these know that you have sent me. I made your name known to them, and I will make it known, so that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.”

Here we listen in on Jesus praying. Jesus praying to the Father for us. Do you ever stop to consider how God prays for us? I always think of myself or someone else praying to God for another person or myself, but I never think of God praying for me. Why not? The Bible is full of these examples of Jesus, who is God, praying for us. Jesus prays for us. He prays for you and for me. Jesus goes to the Father time after time in prayer for us. But listen in on what he prays for in this passage of scripture.

Jesus prays for the believers in him. He prays for our unity with and in one another and especially our unity to himself and the Father. Not only that we be united with God but that, in this unity the world may come to believe that Jesus was sent by God. Jesus sent by God into this world to save all people. Not to just save certain people of one race or place or time, but all people. God came in flesh in Jesus to save us and unite all people with him through a love that God has shown since before the foundation of the world.

This is a Love that has been present all, or rather even before, time. God's love for and the desire for unity with creation and the created. A Love that is to be made known in you and me as believers of Jesus. So, Jesus not only displayed the love of the Father, he is the love of the Father and unites us with God as we believe in him. So, in and through and with Jesus we know the love of God. A love that surpasses understanding. A love that guides our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus, our Lord and Savior.

Lord, as I believe in the One you sent, unite me with you that I may live out the love you give to me in the situations that you place me in... today... tomorrow... and forever. --- Amen

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

May 8th Reflection by Bill Lynch

Revelation 22:12-14, 16-17, 20-21

“See, I am coming soon; my reward is with me, to repay according to everyone’s work. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.” Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they will have the right to the tree of life and may enter the city by the gates. “It is I, Jesus, who sent my angel to you with this testimony for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.” The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” And let everyone who hears say, “Come.” And let everyone who is thirsty come. Let anyone who wishes take the water of life as a gift.

The one who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus! The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all the saints. Amen.

Jesus comes to us in flesh and spirit. He comes before and after time. Jesus comes to us before we thirst and after our thirst has been quenched. Jesus comes to us where and when we are. Jesus comes to us with the gift of the everlasting and ever-flowing water of life that only he can give.

Our response and our hope is with a firm Amen! Yes, it shall be so! Come, Lord Jesus, come.

This day dear Lord, you open our eyes, our hearts and our minds to your presence. We see your eternal presence and your glory in heaven and on earth. But this day you open our minds to Jesus for whom we long to see and glorify. We are so thirsty for you that we run to that stream of water and receive the gift of life only you could grant. Hear our songs of praise to you... today... tomorrow... and forever. --- Amen

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

May 7th Reflection by Bill Lynch

Psalm 97
The Lord is king! Let the earth rejoice; let the many coastlands be glad!
Clouds and thick darkness are all around him; righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne.
Fire goes before him, and consumes his adversaries on every side.
His lightnings light up the world; the earth sees and trembles.
The mountains melt like wax before the Lord, before the Lord of all the earth.

The heavens proclaim his righteousness; and all the peoples behold his glory.
All worshipers of images are put to shame, those who make their boast in worthless idols; all gods bow down before him.
Zion hears and is glad, and the towns of Judah rejoice, because of your judgments, O God.
For you, O Lord, are most high over all the earth; you are exalted far above all gods.

The Lord loves those who hate evil; he guards the lives of his faithful; he rescues them from the hand of the wicked.
Light dawns for the righteous, and joy for the upright in heart.
Rejoice in the Lord, O you righteous, and give thanks to his holy name!

Lord, in days ago you hid your full glory under cloud and under fire.
You gave all direction and commanded your will.
We couldn't see you face to face.
Your radiance was too much for people to behold.

But then you came to this earth in flesh.
We looked into your eyes and heard your voice.
You displayed righteousness and holiness in action.
We witnessed a love too much for people to understand.

Today, you remain with us in Spirit.
You gift us and call us and lead us.
We can't see you fully in this way.
We witness your love everywhere at all times.

How can we deal with this Love that surpasses understanding?
We run to you and sing praises of your glory.
We bow before you and seek your direction in our lives.
For now we know that you are One in and through us.

Your radiance was too much for people to behold.
We witnessed a love too much for people to understand.
We witness your love everywhere at all times.
For now we know that you are One in and through us.

Lord, this day, here my psalm of praise to you. Your rule is a sovereign rule. Your glory is everlasting and everywhere. You have made yourself known to all the people. And I give my full devotion to you... today... tomorrow... and forever. --- Amen

Monday, May 06, 2013

May 6th Reflection by Bill Lynch

Acts 16:16-34

One day, as we were going to the place of prayer, we met a slave girl who had a spirit of divination and brought her owners a great deal of money by fortune-telling. While she followed Paul and us, she would cry out, “These men are slaves of the Most High God, who proclaim to you a way of salvation.” She kept doing this for many days. But Paul, very much annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, “I order you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And it came out that very hour. But when her owners saw that their hope of making money was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace before the authorities. When they had brought them before the magistrates, they said, “These men are disturbing our city; they are Jews and are advocating customs that are not lawful for us as Romans to adopt or observe.” The crowd joined in attacking them, and the magistrates had them stripped of their clothing and ordered them to be beaten with rods. After they had given them a severe flogging, they threw them into prison and ordered the jailer to keep them securely. Following these instructions, he put them in the innermost cell and fastened their feet in the stocks.

About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was an earthquake, so violent that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were unfastened. When the jailer woke up and saw the prison doors wide open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, since he supposed that the prisoners had escaped. But Paul shouted in a loud voice, “Do not harm yourself, for we are all here.” The jailer called for lights, and rushing in, he fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. Then he brought them outside and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” They answered, “Believe on the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” They spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. At the same hour of the night he took them and washed their wounds; then he and his entire family were baptized without delay. He brought them up into the house and set food before them; and he and his entire household rejoiced that he had become a believer in God.

A slave girl with a "python-spirit" was following Paul. Salvation at this time, came through prayers to the Most High God. This was a time when gods were plural. Even the Roman rulers were gods. So, the proclamation of the girl who had a spirit of divination would rub Paul and his followers nerves.

The slave girl's owners were able to make money off of her because people believed in what she said about the gods of the day. They too were upset. They were upset when Paul cast the spirit out of the girl. The very spirit that showed the people of the day the way of salvation from the gods of the day. So...

Paul gets tossed into prison. Not only tossed but beaten as well. Paul and Silas are in prison singing. What a witness to following God's will and way in one's life. They don't even seem to feel the pain of prison, but take it and sing to God. And then on top of the prison sentence they are in an earthquake! This also is meant for good though.

God seems to take the bad times and turn them around. When we endure in faith and love, we can rest assured that God will bring us through the tough times one way or another. As believers, we know that God is with us in Jesus. We know that a place has been prepared for us. We can rest assured that whatever this earthly existence tosses our way, God has something better in store for us. So, like Paul and Silas, we can make it too, and sing praises to God along the way.

In this passage God uses prison and an earthquake to rescue and save the jailer and his family. The jailer was about to kill himself because of the events of the earthquake. All of the prisoners were free to go, but they didn't. God was using this as a way to save. A salvation much better than what the slave girl was proclaiming. This was a salvation freely given to the jailer and his family through God coming to him.

Our prayers won't save us. But God through Jesus coming to each one of us does. In this we can give up worry. By prayer and supplication with thanksgiving we bring our worries to God. And in this, the peace that surpasses all understanding will guide our hearts and our minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:6-7 my paraphrase). So... let's sing a song of praise to God this day, even in the midst of it all!

Lord, open my eyes to your saving grace in all situations. Open my eyes that I may sing praises and honor you in all times and places. Lord, open my eyes to what you would have me do when you would have me do it... today... tomorrow... and forever. --- Amen

Friday, May 03, 2013

May 3rd Reflection by Bill Lynch

John 5:1-9

After this there was a festival of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. Now in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate there is a pool, called in Hebrew Beth-zatha, which has five porticoes. In these lay many invalids—blind, lame, and paralyzed. One man was there who had been ill for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had been there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be made well?” The sick man answered him, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; and while I am making my way, someone else steps down ahead of me.” Jesus said to him, “Stand up, take your mat and walk.” At once the man was made well, and he took up his mat and began to walk. Now that day was a sabbath.

There were five porticoes after all. Five porticoes could hold a lot of people! It seems that many people could be ready to go into the healing waters. The man had been laying there a long time. How many times in the past thirty-eight years had this man come to this place only to be trampled on and by others greedy for healing?

Then Jesus asks the man, "Do you want to be made well?" Was Jesus the first to ask in thirty-eight years? Did Jesus ask the man in order to wake the man out of a daze? The man must have been fed up with human selfishness. For me, after thirty-eight years, I would be depressed about the situation.

But, Jesus tells the man to get up with his mat and walk. And the man does. And he does this on a sabbath. A new beginning for a desperate man after thirty-eight years of waiting. Who is this Jesus? He comes on a sabbath and heals. He grants a new life to a man who waited. Jesus, demonstrates a love that has not been seen.

There were five porticoes after all.

Lord, open my eyes at whatever time and whatever day to those in need. Help me to recognize and to show the love of Jesus... today... tomorrow... and forever. --- Amen

Thursday, May 02, 2013

May 2nd Reflection by Bill Lynch

John 14:23-29

Jesus answered him, “Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words; and the word that you hear is not mine, but is from the Father who sent me.

”I have said these things to you while I am still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.

You heard me say to you, ‘I am going away, and I am coming to you.’ If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father, because the Father is greater than I. And now I have told you this before it occurs, so that when it does occur, you may believe.

Do you want to see Jesus? Do you want Jesus? You must believe. You must believe in Jesus and what he brings. You must listen to his words and observe his actions and come to know his love. Jesus comes to those who believe. Jesus comes to all of us, but to those who believe, Jesus abides.

Jesus gives us the Advocate, the Holy Spirit to watch over us and remain with us and to gift us and to call us to action. In this, we have peace. This part of the passage is the Paraclete statement. The Holy Spirit helps us to recall, remember, understand and place into action the words and the love of Jesus.

In the peace that Jesus gives we receive a peace that is far different from any peace we think of in a worldly sense. The peace of Jesus has been tested by this world and proven out above any and all things. The peace of Jesus demonstrates a love and an acceptance that releases us from all worry. Jesus leaves us his peace in full but we only believe in part. We continue to worry because of our lack of faith. But, thanks be to God, Jesus leaves the Spirit to guide us in our faith and develop us to move towards that peace that Jesus mentions.

Do you want to see Jesus? Do you want Jesus? You must believe. Believe and trust and place all of your hope and love in God.

Lord, forgive me when I worry about so many things that often are simple. Lead me to your Word that I may hear your voice and know your presence and get up and do what you would have me do. In this there is peace. Abide with me... today... tomorrow... and forever. --- Amen

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

May 1st Reflection by Bill Lynch

Revelation 21:10, 22--22:5

And in the spirit he carried me away to a great, high mountain and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God.

I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God is its light, and its lamp is the Lamb. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it. Its gates will never be shut by day—and there will be no night there. People will bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations. But nothing unclean will enter it, nor anyone who practices abomination or falsehood, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life.

Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city. On either side of the river is the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, producing its fruit each month; and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. Nothing accursed will be found there any more. But the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him; they will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. And there will be no more night; they need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.

God takes care of it all for us. We believe and trust in God. God gives us all we need. God is our light in the darkness. God is our Light and the source of life. Even the waters that combine with the light all flow from God. God takes care of it all for us.

In this passage as in a passage from Ezekiel, heaven comes to earth. Heaven comes down to us here and in Jesus. Jesus was and is heaven on earth. In this heaven there is no need for a temple and the Holy of Holies, that place where God dwells. Jesus dwells on earth as well as now the Holy Spirit dwells on earth. A piece of heaven is with us now. The temple is not needed because God is with us here and now.

In this heaven on earth we witness the great creation of God. We look and stand today in awe of God's creation and the depth of it all along with the far reaching effects creation has on everything we see, touch and smell. But God in heaven will make the creation we observe today pale in comparison. God will be the source of all light. God will make all things grow. Jesus presence here on earth makes the creation look like nothing.

Oh the fountain of the water of life. The source of all life flowing from God. Water that brings healing. Sin is no more. All is life and creation, that feeds that wonderful tree of life. A tree that makes me think of the wood that Jesus was crucified upon. Jesus' tree was a tree of death by human standards, but by God's standards, that cross became a tree of life. A tree that Jesus hung upon to bring healing to the nations. A tree that was fed from Jesus blood and the water of Jesus eternal love for all the world.

From Jesus upon this tree fed by the water of God and highlighted by the Light of God we see heaven. We see a life free from curse. Jesus took upon himself our curse and came out the victor. And we see the face of Jesus. I remember a friend of mine when stating what he wanted to see when he got to heaven state boldly, "I want to see Jesus!" His words echo in my mind a like desire I have.

Yet, even today, I see Jesus. I see Jesus in the eyes and actions of many people acting out their faith and belief in God. I see Jesus demonstrated in the love of creation. But, to think, what I see next, in heaven will be clear and unmistakable, draws me into God. For on that heavenly day God will take care of it all.

Lord, in the words of a friend... "I want to see Jesus!"... today... tomorrow... and forever. --- Amen