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jeremiah5Friday, September 24, 2021

Jeremiah 45

Anguish of the Heart

“Issues of messianic hope, centering on the Davidic dynasty and the Temple, were highlighted much more in the prophetic school of Isaiah. Other prophets like Amos and Micah felt more keenly about social justice. The touch of Jeremiah shows up rather in compassion and prayer as well as in fidelity to a covenant inscribed upon the heart”. (Senior RG 314-315)

Notes from The Catholic Study Bible focus on four themes found in this prophecy.

The New Covenant: “Jeremiah’s covenant was ‘new’ only to the extent that it newly emphasized what the people were neglecting. Jeremiah was not eliminating teachers and preachers . . . but it was rejecting authoritarian styles of leadership”. (Senior RG 315)

God says: In your homes and in your workplaces, take care to deal with one another in a collegial and open manner. Include all. Exclude none. Listen to the voices you may not want to hear. They bring you a “new” truth.

Sin and Atonement: “The prophet declares realistically that sin inevitably brings its own sorrow. If the people ‘went after empty idols, [then they] became empty themselves . . . In this movement from sin to suffering, Jeremiah was never far removed from the suffering of the people . . . Hope is always stirring with the barren earth”. (Senior RG 316)

God says: When you have erred, it is best to ask forgiveness. If you have not erred and still you suffer, it is best that you bring this pain to me. Joy is always a possible result of sorrow. Hope is always present for I am always with you. Particularly when your days are dark.  

Faith and Prayer: “Jeremiah is constantly laying bare the anguish of his heart . . . God never answers Jeremiah’s question but rather expects his faith to become even sturdier. Symbolically Jeremiah is admitting that things must get worse before they get better. He will still plunge ahead”. (Senior RG 316-317)

God says: Once you ask for my help I will deliver it. This is always my promise. The difficulty arises when circumstances worsen before they improve. It is impossible for you to see what I see, hear what I hear, and know what I know. My plan takes all peoples and all times into account. You must trust me when the night darkens before the dawn. Pray with me as I pray with you. Prayer is a gift we give to one another. 

heart-cloud-2True and False Prophecy: “Jeremiah defies all pat answers for determining the credentials of an authentic prophet . . . In calling the priests and temple prophets adulterers, Jeremiah is speaking metaphorically; in their ministry they have betrayed the supreme and intimate love of God. To justify their own halfhearted and wicked ways”. (Senior RG 317)

God says: Remember to test the Spirit to see from where it comes. Remember to rely on me when doubt visits you. Remember to remain constant to the covenant promise we have gifted to one another. Each obstacle you hurdle brings you closer to me. Each burden you hand over to me brings you my compassion. Each sorrow you willingly offer to me brings you hope. Listen to my prophet. And listen to your own prophetic voice that I have planted in you. Speak and share. Act and commit. You are mine and I love you still. Do not be afraid to live in me . . . for when you live in me, you give to me all the anguish of your heart.

Tomorrow . . . oracles against the nations.


For a Jeremiah study guide, click on the image above or go to: http://www.webquestdirect.com.au/prophets/process_activity3_group3.htm

 

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give_thanks_with_a_grateful_heartWednesday, September 22, 2021

Psalm 138

Hymn of a Grateful Heart

I thank you, Lord, with all my heart. I bow low toward your holy temple; I praise you name for your fidelity and love.

God says: I know that you are grateful but it is good of you to tell me. Keep in mind that you are my temple so remember to care for yourself even as you care for others in my name.

You have exalted over all your name and your promise. When I cried out, you answered; you strengthen my spirit.

God says: I am always with you although you may not sense it. I smooth many obstacles for you each day and when you meet the obstacles that frighten you, know that I am with you. You cannot fail. There is nothing to fear.

The Lord is on high, but cares for the lowly and knows the proud from afar.

God says: My prophet Jeremiah tried to tell the leaders of my flock that they had erred. They did not listen. You are prophets in your own day and you warn of danger; yet you are also ignored. I see your exhaustion but I am telling you that you need not expend yourself totally. Do what is right. Listen to my word and share it. When darkness arrives I am with you. My light will pierce that darkness and all truth will be revealed.

Though I walk in the midst of dangers, you guard my life when my enemies rage. You stretch out your hand; your right hand saves me.

happy grateful peopleGod says: I know that you are grateful and it is good of you to tell me. My promise is genuine. My compassion is complete. My hope is eternal. My love is trustworthy. You are made in my image and so I look for the truth and integrity I planted in you in the moment I first thought of you.  

The Lord is with me to the end. Lord, your love endures forever. Never forsake the work of your hands!

God says: There really is no end for you are eternal. Rest in me today and allow these words to seep into your sinews. Relax with me today and let the words and hope of my prophet Jeremiah console you. Abide with me today and reflect on this prayer. I am with you always and everywhere. You are the work of my hands. I cannot forget you. I will not abandon you. I will always guide and protect you. Of this you may be sure.


Compare different versions of Psalm 138 through the scripture link above. Choose other versions with the drop down menus and spend some quiet time with God. Allow God’s word to seep into your bones. Give all of your fears, anxieties and worries to God. And offer up a hymn of thanksgiving from a grateful heart.

To see and hear the Westminster Abbey Choir sing Psalm 138, go to YouTube at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iNqvpM2MFYM 

Image from: http://pastorfergus.wordpress.com/2013/10/11/this-sunday-were-giving-thanks-at-st-pauls-together-for-gifts-to-share/ 

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Wadi-Ferian-Bedowin-women-hTuesday, September 21, 2021

Jeremiah 43

The Insolent

You lie, it is not the Lord, our God, who sent you . . .

Many of us have been in family circumstances in which a loved one accuses us of carrying lies. Perhaps our workplaces or neighborhoods have become places of discomfort rather than sanctuaries from the difficult wider world. If this is the case, we are not alone. Jeremiah refuses to be carried away to Babylon and also refuses to flee to Egypt, knowing that what appears to be a move into safety is, in fact, a desperate, hopeless plan. And for speaking words of truth, Jeremiah is branded a liar, and the people decide to leave Judah. Against the advice God delivers through Jeremiah, they move south to Egypt, taking the prophet with them to a place called Tahpanhes. There the Lord continues to speak . . . and Nebuchadnezzar’s campaign against Egypt in 568 B.C.E. is predicted.

egypt02God says: There are many occasions when I ask you to trust me and do as I ask. There are many circumstances in which you suffer anxiety and fear because of me. But there are also many times in which you rejoice in my saving love. If you are carried off to Tahpanhes do not fear, I am with you. You may be forced to dwell for a time in a place where all those around you worship pagan gods and pagan ways but do not be afraid, I will not abandon you. No matter your place or your time, I abide with you for I am endless. No matter your worry or your joy, I live with you for I am everywhere and in everything. No matter the gravity of your loss I speak to you . . . just as I spoke to Jeremiah even when he was taken off by insolent men and carried into Egypt, even though he came to find himself in Tahpanhes.

When we doubt that we are living God’s word, we only need ask for affirmation and counsel, even though we find ourselves surrounded by the insolent, even though we find ourselves in Tahpanhes.


For more on Jeremiah 43, click on the camel and pyramid image above or visit: http://precepts.wordpress.com/2010/01/05/jeremiah-in-egypt/ 

Explore the Egyptian journey of Pastor Al Sandalow by clicking on the other images or by visiting: http://fpeb.blogspot.com/2007_03_01_archive.html Scroll down through his posts to read the amazing story of St. Catherine’s and some of his other experiences.St-Cathrines-wide-view-web

 

 

 

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Moses TentMonday, September 20 , 2021

Psalm 15

Refusing Panic

Who may dwell in the Lord’s tent or upon the Lord’s holy mountain?

Jeremiah has spoken to God’s people just as God has asked, and for his fidelity and suffering, he is abused and mocked.  The remnant remain and believe. The faithful know that sooner or later, Jeremiah will be silenced, but God’s word, spoken honestly and carefully, will never die. God’s truth lives forever and cannot be extinguished.

Jesus comes to live among us to heal and redeem, and for his compassion and mercy he is rejected and crucified. The remnant remain watchful and hopeful. The faithful know that here and now Christ continues to walk and live among us. God may be placed out of mind but God is present and cannot be denied. The Spirit is indwelling and cannot be extinguished.

A number of months ago we visited with Psalm 15 and we return today as we prepare for Jeremiah’s journey to Egypt – a place where the Hebrew people once sought refuge and became chained by slavery. A place from which the Twelve Tribes made their exodus with Moses to be delivered in their promised land. A place that served as refuge for the Christ family following Herod’s plot to murder the infant Jesus. Today we reflect on Psalm 15 and remind ourselves that when we stand steadfast in Christ, we must be prepared to reject anxiety. We must be ready to shun our fear. We must be willing to refuse any sense of panic.

Who may dwell in the Lord’s tent or upon the Lord’s holy mountain?

God says: I am well aware of the sacrifices you make for me. I see that you put your desires and sometimes your needs to the side as you take up my cause and deliver my words. Like my prophet Jeremiah you even place yourself at risk when you speak and act as I have asked. Know that I see all of your big and small losses. Understand that I see how you suffer. Believe that I place my hope in you and that you may place all your hope in me. I am goodness and goodness never fails. I am compassion and compassion always heals. I am love and love never abandons. Love always accompanies, always saves, always redeems, always transforms, always brings home. If you must be carried off to Egypt, know that I go with you. And know that I will also bring you home.

Today, spend time with this short psalm, and consider not if we may dwell in the Lord’s tent or on God’s holy mountain, consider how we can dwell anywhere else.

Walk without blame, do what is right, speak truth from the heart, do not slander, defame, or harm your neighbor, disdain the wicked, honor those who love God, keep your promises at all cost, accept no bribe . . . for whoever acts like this shall never be shaken. 


For another reflection on Fearlessness, enter the word in tot he blog search bar and reflect on the importance of trusting God, of rejecting panic, and of remaining as remnant that is never shaken.

Image from: http://thepraiseandworshipconnection.blogspot.com/2013_08_01_archive.html

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Sunday, September 5, 2021

Tibetan Nomads

Tibetan Nomads

Jeremiah 35

Wayfarers

Build no house and sow no seed; neither plant nor own a vineyard. You shall dwell in tents all your life, so that you may live long on the earth where you are wayfarers.

Many of us in the developed world live a life of storing up and putting away, of saving for an emergency or the unexpected event. When we read today’s Noontime verses we have the opportunity to assess our level of trust in the creator who knows every detail about us, of our willingness to follow Christ who knows each strength and weakness within us, of our openness to the Spirit who dwells in the heart of each of us to cure, to heal and to console.

We might take this opportunity today to examine our readiness to trust God more than possessions or status. We might also open our minds to the possibility that in many ways we are called to be wayfarers.

God says: I do not ask that you free yourself of your shelter and your stores; rather, I ask that you share them with those who have nothing. I do not ask that you rely on others to provide for your welfare when I have given you gifts with which you might care for yourself and those who live on the margins of your busy life. I ask that you consider your relationships with others in your life as valuable pearls of great price. You are created a social creature and I ask that even your smallest interactions and the briefest of encounters be held as sacred moments in which you meet me. I do not ask that you live as nomads with no purpose or mission; rather, I ask that you put down willing roots into the soil of my kingdom. For there you will flourish and bear fruit in my name. There you will journey with me to experience the mystery and gift and surprise of new life in me. And you will discover the plans for peace that I have in mind for you. You will celebrate with timbrel and dance and tambourine. You will sing and cry and laugh with me. And you will realize just how great my love is for you.

As we reflect on Jeremiah and the Rechabites, let us consider what we store up, what we share, and what we love. Let us consider our life as a wayfarer in God’s kingdom.


To learn about Tibetan nomads, click on the image above or visit: http://www.traveladventures.org/continents/asia/tibetan-nomads.html

For more on Jeremiah 35, enter the words Taking Correction into the blog search bar and explore.

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Tuesday, August 31, 2021

PovertyPsalms 9:15-20

The Hope of the Poor

Jeremiah has given us so much to process; he lays out before us a reason for righteous anger . . . and he also proposes that a new order is coming.

The ungodly have fallen into the pit they dug, and in the snare they set is their own foot caught.

Our own life experience tells us that the innocent suffer and the ungodly hold the upper hand.

The Lord is known by acts of justice; the wicked are trapped in the works of their own hands.

And our spiritual life tells us that we must leave judging and condemnation to God.

The wicked shall be given over to the grave, and also all the peoples who forget God.

Rather than preoccupy ourselves with the sins of the ungodly, let us work together to bring all peoples to God.

For the needy shall not always be forgotten, and the hope of the poor shall not perish forever.

God sees even the smallest of us and it is our great work to join God in solidarity with the poor.

Rise up, O Lord, let not the ungodly have the upper hand; let them be judged before you.

God sees even the smallest of our actions to remedy the plight of the poor.

Put fear upon them, O Lord; let the ungodly know they are but mortal.

Rather than pray for the end of our enemies, let us pray for their great conversion of heart.

God says: I realize that you live in a world of injustice. I understand that you want me to remedy even unbalance, each inequality, all corruption and lack of integrity. And that is the great work to which I call each of you. Join me in kingdom-building, in forgiveness and reconciliation. Join me in the greatest and most important work of your lives. Feed the physically poor. Tend to the spiritually poor. Aide the mentally poor. It is in so doing that you will come to see the beauty and worth of my kingdom. It is in so doing that you will put aside your anger and fear. It is in so doing that you will discover the serenity and peace of the kingdom. This is my new covenant with you. Reconcile yourself to me and begin anew, for in this is the hope of the poor. 

And the people reply . . . The Lord is known by acts of justice. Let us join the Lord in the great work of The Kingdom. Let us become, with the Lord, the hope of the poor.


Enter the word kingdom-building into the blog search bar and explore what kingdom-building work God might have in mind for each of us.

For information about poverty and health in the USA, click on the image above or go to: http://blog.oup.com/2013/11/poverty-public-health-united-states/

For a world rural poverty map, visit: http://www.ruralpovertyportal.org/region 

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Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Jeremiah2Jeremiah 28

False Confidence

We grow accustomed to easy words that support a belief we hold dearly; we reject words that bring news we do not want to hear. We live secure in our possessions and good health; we spend too little time thinking of those who have little or even nothing. In our fear of change and upheaval, we place all of our confidence in those who cannot help us when calamity strikes – as it always does. In our worry about how we will maneuver around or over the obstacles in our lives, we build up false confidence in events and agencies that are fallible and finite. And we turn our backs on the Living God who creates, heals, restores and builds up. Today we hear the story of Hananiah, the false prophet who wrongly predicts a brief two-year period of exile, and who dies in the face of the false confidence he hoped to inspire.

Removing the wooden yoke from Jeremiah’s neck, Hananiah enters into a reality he creates in his mind. Jeremiah went away, verse 11 tells us, but then he returns, unable to keep silent. In verse 17 we hear that Hananiah dies in the seventh month of that year. Jeremiah lives on to continue his call to anyone who will listen.

God says: You do not need others to build you up. Do I not waken you every morning, feed you every noontime, and call you to rest each night? Do I not abide with you even when your anger or fear turn you away from me? Do I not continue to accompany you on the many roads you take to escape my gaze? Fear not, I am with you always. Even until the end of the age. I will heal you always, calling you home to me despite all that has gone wrong for you. I will restore you and set you back into your promised place, just as I have always done for Jeremiah and his faithful remnant.

As we struggle to obey Babylon in our place of exile, let us remember these two prophets Hananiah and Jeremiah, one speaking for self and his false leaders, and the other for God alone.

Enter the word confidence into the blog search bar and let us consider what or who inspire us to have confidence. Let us consider where our confidence lies. And let us determine if we might say that our confidence is false or just.

Or . . . return to the earlier blog posts from the beginning of Jeremiah’s prophecy and reflect on how God’s promise might offer hope and might balance the difficult periods in our lives. 

For a reflection on The Duel of the Prophets, click on the image above or go to: http://www.passionistjpic.org/2010/12/duel-of-the-prophets/ 

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Monday, August 16, 2021

Job 12:13

wisdomhelpBless the Lord

With God are wisdom and might; God’s are counsel and understanding.

We grapple with global and local events. Circumstances and people ruffle our calm or bring us peace. Nature frightens or entrances us. We live in a world of dichotomy. We find light not when we grasp at it . . . but when we hold our hearts and heads and hands open . . . ready to receive God’s wisdom, understanding, counsel and might.

God says: Do not worry about all that you cannot control. The experiences you want to govern are far greater than you imagine, far deeper than you dream. The repercussions of your words and deeds last an eternity as does my healing love for you. Put aside all that you cannot understand and rest in me. Manage the work you have before you and rely on me. Tend to the people given into your charge and ask me for guidance. You will always have my counsel. My wisdom is at your fingertips. With patience and with listening you will find me. When you act in me you are mighty. When you act for me you are understanding. When you act with me you are love.  

When we cease thinking that the world is a place of either or we come to a place that allows for both darkness and light, both ignorance and understanding, both violence and wisdom. When we give all that we have and all that we are into God’s capable hands, we learn how to sing the verses of Psalm 104 with a full and peace-filled heart.

As we break from Jeremiah’s prophecy, spend some time today with Psalm 104 and choose one or two verses that you might repeat when you encounter obstacles.

I will sing to the Lord all my life . . . I find my joy in the Lord . . . Bless the Lord, my soul.


Image from: http://www.arisetoshine.com/category/wisdom/

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Sunday, August 15, 2021

Romans 11:33-36

the-universeThe Depths of Riches

Oh the depths of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How inscrutable God’s judgments and how unsearchable God’s ways!

God says: I know that many of you do not worry about the details of your day, that you rely on me entirely, and that you rest in riches. I know that some of you are too frightened to rely on my wisdom and knowledge and that others of you want to understand every detail of every circumstance and challenge me to demonstrate my love for you in some tangible sign of your choosing.

For who has known the mind of the Lord or who has been God’s counselor? Or who has given the Lord anything that may be repaid?

God says: If I present to you the complexities of the universe and you struggle with that . . . how will you comprehend all the details you demand? If my prophet Jeremiah tires you . . . take heart. I am with you always. 

For from God and through God and for God are all things. To God be glory forever. Amen.

God says: I love more than all my riches, more than all my wisdom, more than all I know. If my ways are inscrutable to you, be patient. Once you have quieted your fear it will cease to control you. Once you have rested in me you will begin to feel my peace. Once you rely on me, you too will hold in your hands the depths of my riches.  


For more on God’s Wisdom, enter the words in the blog search bar and explore.

For a remarkable experience of our universe as we know it, click on the image above or go to: http://www.numbersleuth.org/universe/

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