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Archive for April, 2015


Matthew 6:25-34: Dependence on Godmy child I have this

April 30, 2015

This is the most basic lesson we have to learn as followers of Christ; and it is the lesson with which we struggle most frequently: Do not worry about your life . . . Are you not more important than [the birds in the sky]?  Yet we allow our fears about our survival to color what we do rather than allowing God to be the ultimate guide of our actions.

Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life span?  We are powerless when it comes to time and space and yet we allow magical thinking to convince us that we can control the clock, that we can control our physical space.

If God so clothes the grass of the fields . . . will he not much more provide for you, O you of little faith?  Yet we store up and hoard our resources without sharing, thinking that this will keep us safe from disaster.

All of these things [worry about food and clothes] the pagans seek . . . But seek first the kingdom [of God] . . . and all of these things will be given you besides.   We delude ourselves when we give credit to ourselves for the home in which we live, the clothes we wear and the vehicle we drive.  We forget that if we did not have the brain power and sense of aesthetics given us by God, our redemption given us by Christ and the good counsel given us by the Spirit . . . our circumstances would certainly be different.  Too much stress keeps us from seeing that we are already given more than what we seek.

living in god's care - handsDo not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself.  We lend ourselves to prideful thinking when we take credit for all we have and do.  We must allow God to be our sole guide in all matters of the heart, mind and soul.

Sufficient for a day is its own evil.  Allowing anxiety to take us over is a sign that we do not believe that God will care for us . . . and this self-sufficiency can separate us from God.

Just yesterday evening at a gathering of friends, as an acquaintance was voicing her fears for the present and future, another member of the group said:  Well, now you have the opportunity to learn the most important lesson of all . . . trusting God.  The first woman replied:  I thought I had already learned that one.  Several of us – those who have been guided by the suffering we have experienced – smiled and nodded.

matthew_6_25_34_by_hopedreamer17-d2yj65tAnd so we reflect . . . We want to avoid suffering at all cost – not realizing that it is the suffering that brings us best to God. 

And so we pray . . . These are hard sayings . . . these are the lessons of Christ’s disciples . . . these are the gifts of a life lived hard and well . . . a life lived in Christ.  Amen. 

A Favorite from June 16, 2010.

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Matthew 6:19-24: Treasure, Hearts, and Godfollow-gods-heart-545x408

April 29, 2015

Store up treasures in heaven, where neither moth no decay destroy, nor thieves break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be . . . 

If your eye is sound, your whole body will be filled with light . . . 

No one can serve two masters . . .

We have reflected frequently on the concept of storing treasure in our Noontimes journey and today, as we move through Jesus’ teachings as recorded in Matthew we have another opportunity to pause again to consider . . . what it is we value and store . . . where we place our hopes . . . and how we expend our energies.

In Easter celebration we remember that, despite the evil that looms too closely, God is light to the world and that we are called to be part of that light.

In Easter thanksgiving we remember that, despite what the world may tell us, God is the only master we need serve.

In Easter beatitude we remember that, despite our disappointments and struggles, God is the only treasure that we need store in our hearts.

Use the scripture link to examine different versions of these verses. Enter the word treasure in the blog search bar and explore. For more devotionals on following God’s heart, click on the image above or visit: http://www.devotionaldiva.com/2013/04/follow-gods-heart/

Tomorrow, dependence on God.

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Matthew 6:16-18: True Fasting . . . True Hopewhats-the-point-of-fasting

April 28, 2015

The prophet Isaiah (58) describes the hope that arrives when we practice fasting as Jesus describes it.  When we fast, our physical hunger not only unites us with those who are marginalized, it will also – if we so allow – remind us of the hunger we feel as we seek God, immortality, serenity, joy and peace.  These are the gifts we are already given by God yet we so often do not see them.  We feel alone as so beautifully expressed in verse 3: Why do we fast and you do not see it?  Afflict ourselves and you take no note of it?  Why this aloneness?  Because we have forgotten to turn and return. God is present and waiting, it is we who forget to turn to God.  We have forgotten the simple law of love brought to us by the Christ.  Isaiah himself explains our estrangement in chapter 59: we have erected barriers, isolated ourselves, made little groups and cliques of exclusion.  The peace we eagerly seek can be found only in unity, in remaining open rather than closed, in remaining ready for union rather than separation, in remaining ready for the broad and all-encompassing hope of Christ rather than our own small dreams.

We cannot know or understand God’s plan but we can trust God’s wisdom and love.  We cannot calculate the complication of ways in which God’s plan will be fulfilled with or without our participation, but we can believe that God’s plan will arrive as best for all.  The problem with God’s apparent silence is not God.  It is ourselves.  The Lord has called diverse people to himself, and in the approach we shuffle and bump against one another.  Sometimes we find ourselves walking alongside people who do not share our views or our understanding of The Word, and in our crowded lives we think we are alone. Yet, God is always abiding.  We have only to open our eyes and ears.  We have only to seek intercession for those who obstruct our way.  We have only to trust.  We have only to reflect, to meditate, to fast and to pray.  We have only to open ourselves to the newness of life, to new possibilities for more Easter miracles, to the acceptance of gifts already given.  We have only to empty self and receive this knowing, this sublime gift, this Jesus Christ.  As we make our hearts ready to receive the gift of resurrection and redemption offered by Christ, let us acknowledge that in Christ, the time of fulfillment of dreams is here.  The time for  outrageous hope is already upon us.  The time for newness is now.

Adapted from a favorite February 10, 2008.

Tomorrow, our treasure, our hearts, our God.

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Matthew 6:5-15: Living Stonesjerusalem-stones-ad-70_dsc03928lmauldin

April 27, 2015

We are to each be living stones in the living temple of the Christ’s risen body. We are here to work on whatever we need to tend to in order that we may become better stones. We are to speak with God each day through our clear and simple prayer life.

When you pray, do not be like hypocrites, who love to stand and pray in their house of worship or on the street corner so that others may see them.

Posing like actors does not bring us solace or reward.

Go to your inner room, close the door, pray to the creator in secret.

Avoiding prayer because we are too preoccupied or busy leaves us at the mercy of the world.

Do not babble like the pagans, who think they will be heard because of their many words. The creator knows what is best for you before you ask.

Prattling before pagan desires will only bring us a hollow and shallow life.

Our Father, who art in heaven . . .

Jesus teaches us this most perfect of prayers.

Let us spend time with these verses today to look at differing versions and, after examining our own prayer life, let us determine to make whatever change is necessary so that we are living stones in the temple of God’s presence. Let us determine to draw ever closer to God’s dream and hope for us.

Click on the image above for a reflection on Jesus’ interaction with his church hierarchy. 

Tomorrow, Jesus’ teaching on fasting.

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Acts 2: Dialog with GodChild-Praying-300x246

Fourth Sunday of Easter, April 26, 2015

In the turmoil of the world, it may be difficult to feel God’s presence; yet surely God is near.

To my words give ear, O Lord, give heed to my groaning, attend to the sound of my cries. (Psalm 5)

In the cacophony of the world, it may be difficult to hear God’s voice; yet surely God speaks.

A voice I did not know said to me: “I freed your shoulder from the burden; your hands are freed from the load. You call in distress and I saved you. (Psalm 81)

In the strife of the world, it may be difficult to believe in God’s peace; yet surely God offers us this gift.

I will hear what the Lord God had to say, a voice that speaks of peace, peace for his people and his friends and those who turn to them in their hearts. (Psalm 85)

In this time and place of the Easter miracle, it may be difficult to witness to our defender God, our redeemer Christ and our healer Spirit, and yet we must. On this fourth Sunday of Easter, let us spend time with God’s word and listen for the word of God that calls us to witness to the enormity of the Easter gift of beatitude.

Spend time today with these verses, use the scripture links to reflect with varying versions, and enter into dialog with God.

Tomorrow, Jesus’ teaching on prayer.

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Acts 4:32-37: One Heart and Mindheart

April 25, 2015

In Easter gratitude we remember that Jesus has a vision and message for each of us. In Easter beatitude we offer back to the risen Christ our witness, our actions, our hearts and our minds.

The community of believers was of one heart and mind, and no one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they had everything in common.

This is the community that lives the vision Jesus brings to us when he appears to the Apostles after his resurrection: He opened their minds to understand Scriptures. (Luke 24:45) Jesus calls us today to bring this kingdom into fullness through him.

With great power the Apostles bore witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great favor was accorded them all.

This is the living message Jesus brings to us that Peter brings to the people who long for healing and peace. The author of life you put to death, but God raised him from the dead; of this we are witnesses. (Acts 3:14-15) Jesus asks us today to pass on the good news that the Spirit lives in us eternally.

There was no needy person among them, for those who owned property or houses would sell them, bring the proceeds of the sale, and put them at the feet of the Apostles, and they were distributed to each according to need.

This is the community Jesus describes and asks us to build, one in which we find a way to be of one heart and one mind in Christ. My children, I am writing this to you so that you may not commit sin . . . Those who say, “I know him”. But do not keep his commandments are liars, and the truth is not in them. But whoever keeps his word, the love of God is truly perfected in him. (1 John 2:1-5) Jesus speaks to us today, calling us to testify to his presence in all space and all time. Let us witness to the Easter miracle by imitating the Apostles as best we can. Let us look for the paths that bring us together in one heart and one mind in Christ.

Click on the image above for another reflection on acting of one heart and mind.

Tomorrow, listening for the voice that calls . . . 

 

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Matthew 6:1-4: Teaching on Almsgivinggivinghands

April 24, 2015

From the June 20, 2007 MAGNIFICAT reflection, an excerpt from the writings on Hans Urs von Balthasar, a Swiss theologian: “God is no trainer of souls bent on attaining extravagant record performances. He is a Lover who wants nothing but great love and who accepts with a smile everything such love invents to offer him. But he declines everything man uses – no matter how subtly – to put on airs before him.”

God says: The world draws you to extol yourself, to outdo your neighbors, to store up goods for yourself, to regard yourself as the creator of your world. I ask you to aside all prizes and titles except for those I give to you each day. I give you my love unconditionally. I give you myself ceaselessly. I give you life eternally. I call you my children. I call you sisters and brother of Jesus. I call you salt and light for the world. Does not this outweigh all that the world has to offer? All that I offer must – surely – be enough. When you give alms you demonstrate that you understand this relationship with me and my kingdom. When you practice humility you prepare yourself to receive me in my Way. You prepare yourself to travel with me in this eternal path.

Read more about Hans Urs von Balthasar and consider what lessons his life has to offer us as we struggle with our own search for genuine humility. Visit: http://www.ignatiusinsight.com/authors/vonbalthasar.asp

Tomorrow, bringing hearts and minds together in Beatitude. 

Cameron, Peter John. “Meditation of the Day.” MAGNIFICAT. 20.6.12 (2007). Print.  

 

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Matthew 5:43-48: Teaching on Love of Enemiesloveyourenemies1

April 23, 2015

You have heard it said: You shall love your friend and hate your enemy . . .

This is the law that pulls the weed away from the wheat. This is the law that sees no potential but sees only hopelessness. This is the law that refuses to believe in hope.

But I say to you: Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you . . .

This is the Law of Love that allows the darnel to grow among the wheat and that allows God to make the harvest. This is the Law Jesus enacts for us. This is the Law the Spirit plants in our hearts. This is the Law we celebrate as we remember God’s gift of the Easter miracle.

God says: I fully understand how difficult this Law of Love is for you and it is for this reason that I come to walk among you each day and night. It is for this reason that I have explained to you how I fulfill the words of my prophets. It is for this reason that my Spirit speaks with and for you when you find yourselves among your enemies. It is for this reason that I protect and guide you as you work to build my kingdom. It is for this reason that I sacrifice all for you . . . so that you might rest in my love forever. When you are anxious, worried, frightened or even terrified, call on me, and remember this teaching. It will not come upon you suddenly . . . you must begin to practice it each day in small ways. Begin with a small gesture, a small prayer, and small petition in favor of your enemy. And rely on me. I will never fail . . . and therefore neither will you.

Enter the words darnel or enemies in to the blog search bar and explore. Reflect on how God harvests when reading the Gathering In Noontime written on July 25, 2014 at: https://thenoontimes.com/2014/07/25/the-gleaning/

Click on the image above for a sermon about Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Jesus’s words as recorded in Matthew.

Let us determine to include our enemies in our daily petitions. Let us continue to ask God to speak for and with us when we are in the presence of evil. And let us consider how and why we harvest as we continue our Eastertide abiding in the Easter miracle.

Tomorrow, Jesus’ teaching on almsgiving.

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Matthew 5:38-42: Teaching about Retaliationlove heart afire

April 22, 2015

We humans often reject Jesus’ teaching about revenge. Whether we practice this teaching or struggle to understand it, this Eastertide is the season to open ourselves to God’s word anew.

To better understand the Law of Love as Jesus describes it, read different versions of these verses using the scripture link above, spend time with the Vengeance Noontime posted on June 20, 2013 at: https://thenoontimes.com/2013/06/20/vengeance/ Enter the word Revenge into the blog search bar and explore. Read the opening to Paul’s second letter to Timothy and consider how we might be bold with God’s gifts.

retaliationAnd consider how we might bring the Law of Love to our daily prayers, thoughts and actions.

Tomorrow, Jesus’ describes how we might love our enemies.

 

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