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Daniel 10:12: Visions


Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Prayer[1]Daniel 10:12

Visions

Fear not.  From the first day you made up your mind to acquire understanding and humble yourself before God, your prayer was heard. 

The prophecy of Daniel is full of metaphor, symbolism and mystery and yet it is in this prophecy that we see the coming of the Son of Man predicted. (Daniel 7:13 and 8:17) Today we reprise the mysterious vision that presages so much fear and so much hope.

God says: I see that you are determined to follow me and this brings me joy.  I also see the pitfalls and obstacles in your way and this brings me sorrow.  I abide with you as always.  I accompany you through fire, pain and death.  I raise you up when you are fallen.  I restore you when are spent.  I rescue you when fire consumes you.  Did I not save my servant Daniel?  Are you not as important as he?  Read this story of Daniel and humble yourself as Daniel does.  Trust in me as this young man does.  Acquire knowledge of me as this young prophet does for you are destined to be as significant as any prophet of mine in the days of old.  Each of you is precious in my eyes.  Each of you has the potential to prophesy for me.  Each of you is welcome to take refuge in the limitless safety of my most sacred heart.  When you shelter with me your smallness expands to the boundless horizons of my mind.  When you remain in me your fears and anxieties become the sinews of my protective arms.  When you act in me your tears and sorrows dissolve into mists that nourish the dry nights of the soul.  Read about Daniel’s visions today, bring me requests, and give yourself hope for many tomorrows.  Know that I hear every prayer you utter in the turmoil of the day, in the shadows of night, in the company for friends or in the solitary stillness of your heart. 

To further explore the visions of Daniel, enter his name in the blog search bar and choose another reflection.


Image from: http://impactwithprayer.blogspot.com/2011/04/god-hears-our-prayers.html


As we continue to struggle with a world-wide pandemic, we consider what hatred and fear, union and love can do.

Monday, October 26, 2020

o-PEOPLE-YELLING-facebook[1]John 15:18

The World’s Hatred

If the world hates you, realize that it hated me first.

Jesus warns his disciples that hatred might be worn as a badge of honor in the divine world of inversion. The prophet Samuel heard the same words from Yahweh when the people clamored for a worldly king: Grant the people’s every request.  It is not you they reject, they are rejecting me as their king.  (1 Samuel 8:7)

God says: Sometimes you behave like small, spoiled children, asking for everything you see, wishing to control all situations so that you might feel powerful. When you behave in this way you are missing sight of the beautiful gift I give you: the freedom to do as you like, the freedom to be and do good. You sometimes ask for too much, for more than you really need, and so I do not like to grant those wishes. Sometimes you ask for something you think will be a boon to you when I see that it will actually be harmful, and so I do not like to send you those people or possessions. Sometimes you do not ask at all and this saddens me for I have much to share. My servant Samuel and my son Jesus point out to you a perspective you may have trouble seeing. When you bear my light into a darkened world there will be those who are jealous. Let me deal with their envy. When you speak my truth to a world in crisis there will be those who will shout you down. Let me whisper into your ear what it is you are to do and say. When you act in my name and perform miracles for my scattered and frightened sheep you will be abused and perhaps brought to your knees. Remain in me for I am with you most especially at these times. Allow me to turn the tide and calm the storm. The loathing and anger that strikes you when you act in my name is really aimed at me. Duck your head just a little, bow down just a bit . . . so that I might shelter you . . . and bear the full force of the world’s hatred.

Enter the word witness in the blog search bar and reflect on the many ways we witness for God in a turbulent and chaotic world.


For an interesting perspective by Roger Covin, Ph.D., about how we cannot be liked by everyone, click on the image above or go to: http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/roger-covin/scared-of-being-rejected_b_2753558.html


Sunday, October 25, 2020

Solomon's Temple

Solomon’s Temple

Nehemiah 12:44-47

Their Due Portion

The whole of Israel used to give the cantors and gatekeepers their due portion for each day.

Nehemiah describes not only the restoration of the Temple when the exiles return from their place of deportation; Nehemiah also explains that the rites and rituals were also restored. All those who officiate at liturgies are to receive their due portion. In return, the Levites, the sons of Aaron and all those who make liturgy possible are to perform their duties. Nehemiah not only rebuilt walls and external structures, he rebuilt internal structures as well.

The Second Temple

Nehemiah’s Temple

God says: Each of you deserves your due portion. When you insist on having less or more you upset your natural balance. When you take more than your share you deny others of the goodness I have in store for them. When you take less, you deny the gift you are to the world. When you corrupt yourself or others you corrupt the vessel that contains hope for the world. When you deny yourself or others you also deny me. Carry out the task shown to you. Fulfill the hope planted in you. Come to me with your questions and concerns. Rather than take more or less than is meant for you, rather than fill your barns to bursting or depleting your energies until you are fully spent . . . receive your due portion and remain in the truth. This is where your true treasure lies.

Jesus reminds us that the measure we measure with is measured out to us.  (Luke 6:38) He also reminds us that where our heart lies, there will be our treasure.  (Luke 12:34)


For more information on the duties of gatekeepers, go to: http://prepareforthelamb.wordpress.com/2012/05/15/gatekeepers-watchmen-you-are-to-speak-out-the-lord-has-called-you-out-to-be-bold-today/

Image of Solomon’s Temple from: https://www.crystalinks.com/solomonstemple.html

For more information on the Second Temple, click on the image of Nehemiah’s Temple or go to: http://michaelruark.wordpress.com/2013/01/10/there-is-enough-room-for-both/


Saturday, October 24, 2020

king solomon[1]

King Solomon

Last Instructions

This scene may be familiar to us since it is replicated on Palm Sunday when Jesus rides into Jerusalem as king and paschal sacrifice.  Jesus’ crowning by the marginalized people whom he cured and healed fulfills the hope which Solomon brings to the throne of Israel. David’s last instructions serve his son and his people. Solomon’s crowning bring his people hope for security and peace.  Jesus’ last instructions bring rescue and redemption that last an eternity.

1 Kings 2 begins with David’s death discourse and we find that it has a familiar ring. David hands on his kingdom to Solomon in 970 B.C.E. and several hundred years later, Jesus comes to fulfill David’s and Solomon’s hope.

What does Solomon’s crowning mean for us today? We see the foreshadowing of Jesus, the true king who “keep[s] the mandate of the Lord . . . following his ways and observing his statutes, commands, ordinances and decrees as they are written in the law of Moses, that you may succeed in whatever you do, wherever you turn.”

We so easily forget this when life offers us an easy road and we feel confident. Our small egos take over and tell us that we do not need God. Then trouble strikes and we turn back to God whom we have forgotten and we find that God is there waiting to accompany us through any tragedy or pain. David’s last instructions, a call to live in the Law of Moses, presage the Law of Love which Jesus brings.

Vicente Juan Macip: The Last Supper

Vicente Juan Macip: The Last Supper

The apostle John tells us of Jesus’ last words to his followers.  They are so simple and also so beautiful.  Do not let your hearts be troubled . . . I will not leave you orphans . . . I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower.  Remain in me as I remain in you . . . It was not you who chose me but I who chose you . . . I have more to tell you but you cannot bear it now . . . In the world you will have trouble, but take courage, I have conquered the world. These familiar words lay out the simple tenets of Jesus Law of Love which comes down to one lasting commandment: Love God, love one another.

This is such a simple instruction and yet so easily forgotten.

As David lies dying he gathers his last resources to leave final instructions to those he loves so well. Solomon is crowned and David’s words are passed on for generations.

As Jesus enters Jerusalem he gathers his strength for the harrowing road that lies ahead. He calls his apostles together, breaks bread and shares wine, and he leaves last instructions for those he loves so dearly. Do not let your hearts be troubled . . . Jesus’ words are passed down through an eternity.

As we confront any obstacle that falls to us in our journey, we might find wisdom and consolation in these last words which we so easily forget.  And so we ask God’s help and we pray . . .

Faithful and forgiving God, abide with us as we journey through life forgetting, or perhaps not believing, that you are with us.

Constant and faithful God, sustain us with the hope so often predicted and so lovingly brought to us by your son.

Healing and loving God, fill us with the consolation and peace of your Holy Spirit, remembering that we are your own dear creations who long to be with you.

For this we pray. Amen.


For Jesus’ Last Supper Discourses and Prayer, see John Chapters 14 through 17.

Adapted from a reflection written on June 6, 2007.


Friday, October 23, 2020

cc_jer29_11plant[1]Jeremiah 18:13-17

An Unnatural Apostasy

Therefore, thus says the Lord, “Ask among the nations – who has heard the like?”

God speaks to us of a behavior that has gone far away from the norm.

Truly horrible things has virgin Israel done!

We know this story – Israel has rejected her close relationship with God and has chosen to align herself with pagan gods.

Does the snow of Lebanon desert the rocky heights? Do the gushing waters dry up that flow fresh down the mountains? 

Israel’s actions are as unnatural as snow melting in freezing weather or rivers ceasing their journey through mountain valleys.

Yet my people have forgotten me: they burn incense to a thing that does not exist.

Israel abandons the covenant that has brought her out of Egypt and established her in fertile lands.

They stumble out of their ways, the paths of old, to travel on bypaths, not the beaten track. 

Israel goes against all advice and convention to insist on her own journey that is full of danger.

Their land shall be turned into a desert, an object of lasting ridicule: all passers-by will be amazed, will shake their heads. 

Those who do not remain faithful will find their lives arid; they will be embarrassed by their own actions once they have the opportunity to look back on what they have done.

Like the east wind, I will scatter them before their enemies; I will show them my back, not my face, in their day of disaster.

Old Testament thinking sees God as an angry, vengeful creator. New Testament experiences God through a messianic lens that perceives God as merciful and forgiving, beckoning and tending, guarding and guiding. New Testament thinking teaches us that we can trust the creator to care for us when we look for wisdom and peace. Messianic thinking places hope in the presence of the creator among us in human form. Messianic hope teaches us that no one is too lost, nothing is too disastrous and no obstacle is too impossible for our God who loves us dearly and well.

Jeremiah also brings us these words: For I know well the plans I have in mind for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare, not for woe! Plans to give you a future full of hope. (Jeremiah 29:11)

When we reflect on Israel’s unnatural turning away from so great a love, let us also consider our own relationship with God. Do we scatter before the east wind . . . or do we cleave to the source of all good and all hope? Do we bow to an unnatural apostasy . . . or do we remain as steady as the snows upon the high mountain tops . . . and rush down mountainsides with joy as we fall into God’s own hands?


Image from: http://www.crosscards.com/cards/scripture-cards/jeremiah-29-11-5.html


Thursday, October 22, 2020

new-heart[1]Psalm 32:11

Upright Hearts

Rejoice in Yahweh, exult, you virtuous, shout for joy, all upright hearts.

In Jewish tradition, the heart is the center of human spirit, thought and emotion.  It is the heart that gives rise to action. (PSALMS 31)

God says: When you live in me you will find yourself rejoicing no matter your circumstances for you will understand that I turn all harm to good, you will comprehend that the faithful need not fight because I fight for them, and you will know that I guide and protect you always. If you live in a world of denial, deceit and betrayal you will find it difficult to trust your loved ones. You will feel most comfortable inhabiting a world of forces that control and are controlled. You will seek others who prefer a lie to truth. The upright heart cannot bear the darkness. The honest heart seeks light and truth and good. Come to me, all you who shout continually for joy just knowing that I am with you. Come to me this day, no matter your circumstance. For we have much to do. We have much to celebrate.

For a week of days we have explored Psalm 32; we have scanned its verses and parsed its words as we look for the deeper meaning that remains with us once we close the pages of the Bible. We have allowed the Word to seep into our sinews, to strengthen our bones, and to bring new life to a tired spirit. Let us return to the first verse, and read again these treasured words of instruction that bring us remission, grace and wisdom. Let us take in these words that renew the spirit, and then let us rise in action.

Happy the one whose fault is forgiven . . .


THE PSALMS, NEW CATHOLIC VERSION. Saint Joseph Edition. New Jersey: Catholic Book Publishing Company, 2004. 31. Print.

Image from: http://www.pbwu.org/w/p/daily-encouraging-word-a-new-heart-and-a-new-spirit/


Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Bridle_bit_by_Fjallira[1]Psalm 32:9-10

Bit and Bridle

Do not be senseless like horses or mules; with bit and bridle their temper is curbed, else they will not come to you. Many are the sorrows of the wicked, but love surrounds those who trust in the Lord.

The Jerusalem Bible translation of these two verses gives us another, interesting perspective:  Do not be like senseless horse or mule that need bit and bridle to curb their spirit (to let you get near them). Many torments await the wicked, but grace enfolds the one who trusts in Yahweh.

The palmist reminds us that the message is clear. We have a simple choice to make: bit and bridle or grace and love. Those who choose the wide way that leads to destruction will be comfortable in the present time but ultimately experience much pain and grief. Those who choose the narrow way that Christ shows to us will suffer in the present time but quickly come to know full and timeless peace.

God says: To survive in the world you have developed habits and behaviors that shut others down, that close others out, or that frighten others away. This may protect you for a time but in the end you will be even more vulnerable and frightened than you were when you began to act this way. To survive eternity you must know the way of grace and love. You do not want to be hindered by bit or bridle. You do not want eternal torment but rather, you seek my enfolding arms, my loving protection, and my unending serenity. Put aside your anger and distrust. Put on your wedding garment of love and hope, and come to the feast today.

We can receive no invitation that is more simple or more clear. God creates us not for the bit and bridle but for the grace and light and love that is our true potential.

Click on the verse link above and explore how other translations report what the psalmist has to tell us.


Image from: http://comefillyourcup.wordpress.com/2011/10/04/bridle-that-tongue/


Tuesday, October 20, 2020

luke[1]Luke 22:35-38

Instructions

The instructions Jesus gave to the disciples he sent out into the world earlier in his ministry are simple. Take nothing with you except for the gifts God has given you. All will be provided as you do the work of God. Today’s Noontime reading is the slice of time between the prediction of Peter’s denial and Jesus’ agony in the garden of Gethsemane. We listen and watch as those closest to Jesus misunderstand the words of the instructions he has given them. They take them literally. We may likewise misunderstand today.

We are told so frequently what is important and yet we forget. We are asked: When I sent you forth without a money bag or a sack or sandals, were you in need of anything? 

And we reply: No, nothing. Yet do we truly trust God in time of crisis? Or do we rely on the sack, the sandals and the sword before all else? We believe in God’s presence and we rely on God when all is going well; but what do we do when a life sours and begins to devolve? Do we succumb to the temptation to second guess ourselves and our childlike placing of ourselves in God’s care? Do we begin to think ourselves foolish for having been so trusting and innocent? Do we think that kingdom building comes without a price? Do we take the words of Jesus literally, as the disciples do in today’s reading?

It is enough, Jesus says to his followers when they do not comprehend, and then he moves into the garden to begin his final agony, knowing all the while that he will be abandoned – has already been abandoned – by many. The disciples melt away when the pressure becomes too great or the fear too overwhelming; yet the Lord kneels in prayer for all of us, for each of us. It is enough.

When I sent you forth without a money bag or a sack or sandals, were you in need of anything? 

As we set out each day with Jesus on the road to Gethsemane and Calvary, let us try to remember our instructions for a time of crisis. And when calamity strikes, as it always does, we must remember that true discipleship is difficult . . . yet fulfilling. We find strength in acting in our belief that we are loved and provided for; and we find peace in hoping for the best outcome from horrific scenarios. The story of redemption and salvation begins with an all-encompassing love that is rejected, vilified, and even reviled. So when we find ourselves in crisis we do well to remember the instructions Jesus gives to all his disciples . . .

When I sent you forth without a money bag or a sack or sandals, were you in need of anything? 


First written on March 17, 2010 and posted today as a Favorite.

Image from: http://rodiagnusdei.wordpress.com/tag/luke/


Monday, October 19, 2020

6-6-hearing-web-gfx[1]Psalm 32:8

Hearing Instruction

I will instruct you, and teach you the way to go; I will watch over you and be your adviser.

We so often ask advice, and then we ignore it. We frequently seek counsel and wisdom, and argue against it. We regularly say that we seek wisdom and later reject it. We humans are independent creatures, created by love, for love and out of love and yet we go through our lives lamenting love lost, unrequited love, love betrayed and love abandoned. Let us reflect today on hearing instruction.

God says: I know that I repeat myself constantly but I do not mind.  I answer your repeated questions; I reassure troubled souls; I affirm nervous hearts and calm distressed minds. I see the pain and sorrow that you suffer and so I assure you that I will never abandon you; I repeat this reassurance as often as I must until my words sink into your consciousness. I repeat what I have told you many times: Love me, love yourselves, love one another. Hear my instruction and follow my voice.

Through Isaiah (30:19-21), God reminds us that when we are confused or troubled and know not which way to go, God always speaks so that . . . Your ears will hear a word behind you, “This is the way, walk in it,” whenever you turn to the right or to the left”. If we might settle ourselves even the smallest bit, we will begin to hear words of comfort and wisdom.

Enter the word voice into a Bible Concordance and see how often God speaks to us through scripture from the first book of Genesis to the last book of Revelation.


Image from: http://fox17online.com/2013/06/06/mayor-taking-hearing-test-to-promote-awareness/#axzz2hpgiiX00

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