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Revelation 8:3-4: The Mystery of Angelsangel-angelinvesting-shutterstock-ubj-304

Thursday, June 30, 2022

Some of us are wary of those who believe in the attendance and work of angels in our lives.

Some of us see angels as compassionate humans, family, friends or strangers who come to us at times of trouble.

Some of us believe in the very real essence and interaction of angels, God’s messengers and presence in our daily living.

And some of us do not believe in angels in any form or manner at all.

Whatever our belief, there is always time and room for exploration. Today we consider the existence of angels . . . and the mystery they present. Whether or not we believe that these special spirits are harbingers of God’s word and action, the question of their existence calls us to think about our own status in the great plan and mystery of God’s creation.

God says: Do not be afraid when you feel the shimmer of my messengers as they tend to your needs. These special beings bring my word to you when you are too distraught to hear it on your own. They intervene for you in unseen ways when you are exhausted or overwhelmed. They deliver hope and grace to you when you are too tired to listen for my words of freedom and deliverance. Yes, you have guardian angels who travel with you always and everywhere. Yes, there are archangels who do my bidding for all of humanity. Yes, my angels can defend, heal, and deliver my word. Some of my angels went their wayward way and insist that they are more important than all of my creation, including me. But I notice that these dark ones come to me amidst the gleaming ranks of the enlightened. I see that what really motivates them is envy and egotism. I also see that they frighten you, but I give you this promise: you need never fear the demons that hope to catch you unaware for I and my messengers are with you. We never leave you alone, never deceive you, never pledge you empty words. I am infinitely patient with you even when you decide that you do not or cannot believe that my angels exist. Despite this disbelief, my angels and I continue to serve and protect you. And this is the mystery of angels. They express my love for you that will never waver and never fade . . . despite the unbelief that enwraps the world. They express my care for you that will always transform and always heal . . . despite the evil that stalks the universe. And at the end of this world that is passing away, you will live in peace with me and my angels. Of this mystery and promise you can be certain.


Explore the way in which the Old and New Testaments tell us about angels at: https://www.biblegateway.com/quicksearch/?quicksearch=angels&version=NABRE&resultspp=25

Enter the word angel into the blog search bar; listen and watch for the angels that deliver God’s word; and celebrate the presence and gift of these very special beings.

Image from: https://www.guideposts.org/inspiration/angels/a-sign-in-the-sky

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denarius

The Roman Denarius

Mark 12:13-17: The Mystery of Rendering

Saturday, June 18, 2022

Repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God.

These words seem oh so simple . . . and yet they contain such a depth of wisdom that a lifetime of reflection will not uncover all that Jesus wishes to tell us.

God says: When you are perplexed by the world, remember that your confusion comes from believing that there are two worlds you want to reconcile. There is only one world and one life. That world and life are me. Render your confusion to me. You will reap clarity and wisdom. When you are disappointed in the relationships you have forged, remember that no one’s opinion but mine matters. Others who pose and cajole you are speaking only on their own behalf. Truth comes from love and love comes from me. Render your lives to me. You will reap life eternal. When you are hurt and damaged by the hypocrisy around you, remember that integrity is the hallmark of my discipleship. I will deal with the lies and deceptions. Stay away from deceit and it will not ensnare you. Render your fidelity, hope and love to me. You will reap peace and serenity.

Spend time with these verses today. Use the scripture link to compare differing phrases and lexicon. Determine what it is that Jesus is saying when he answers a question with his own question. Decide what it is that Jesus is asking us to give over. And then consider what it is we gain by this rendering.


 Image from http://www.beastcoins.com/RomanImperial/RIC.htm

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2 Corinthians 12:9-10: The Mystery of Powerplant in crack

Thursday, June 17, 2022

The Lord said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness”. I will rather boast most gladly of my weaknesses, in order that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and constraints, for the sake of Christ; for when I am weak, then I am strong.

How many of us can say that we are content with the obstacles and restrictions that curb our will? How often have we been content to live out God’s plan rather than our own? And how open are we to the power and mystery of grace in our lives?

God says: I know that you want to please me and this desire fills me with joy. I delight in your willingness to follow and believe that I have your own joy in mind every moment of each day and night. So often you see my love as a restriction or punishment and this is not so. My love wants to liberate you from all fear and foreboding. My grace is a gift that fills you with the ability to trust me. It is a gift you cannot earn, a mystery you cannot understand; but this does not worry me . . . and it ought not worry you. My love is able to bring joy from grief, gladness from anxiety and goodness from harm. All I ask is your fidelity and love. All you need is my strength in your weakness. Think about this inversion today and see if you can come to a full understanding of this upside-down view of the world.

And so we pray:

When we look for signs of God’s grace in our weakness we become strong.

When we discover signs of God’s hope in our fears we become courageous.

When we find compassion in God’s plan we become merciful.

When we nurture seeds of humility in our pride we become loving.

When we discern opportunities for transformation in our suffering we become wise.

When we treasure your justice in the deepest of grievances in our pain we become your presence to the world.

Give us your strength in our weakness today and all days. Amen.


Image from: http://www.conversiondiary.com/2010/12/weakness-strength-and-the-end-of-self.html

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Ephesians 4:3-6: The Mystery of the Spiritwhat_is_the_holy_spirit_cover

Thursday, June 16, 2022

Strive to preserve the mystery of the spirit through the bond of peace: one body and one Spirit, as you were also called to the one hope of your call; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and father of all, who is over all and through and in all.

In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul explains that the pagan gods of the Greek and Roman societies are indifferent, distant, and selfish; and they operate in a manner that runs counter to the Law of Love that Jesus describes for us.

God says: With these verses, my servant delivers a plea for unity. In your disparate lives you will too often move away from one another and away from yourselves for it is in the encounter with others that you best discover yourself. This is the mystery of my Spirit. She dwells within each of you, whispering words of comfort, healing physical and psychological pain. Yet she also dwells as a binding, calling voice to all of you. No one is left aside. No one is abandoned or left alone. All are welcome. All are loved. This is the great mystery of my love and of your life. Do not struggle against it; rather, lean into it. This love that wants to heal and transform is all you need to save you from turmoil and sorrow. When you live in me, you will constantly be surprised by my presence in unusual places. When you live through me you will consistently find the strength you will need as you work for me. My Spirit is in each. My Spirit is in all. My Spirit cannot be extinguished. My Spirit cannot be resisted. Allow the miracle and mystery of my love to live in and through you. Bring my presence to the world.

When we believe that one small action on the part of one person cannot make a difference, we have separated ourselves from the mystery and possibility of God’s love. Explore the work of the National Alliance to End Homelessness, an organization that works with the homeless to bring to fruition in a surprising way the healing and unifying work of the Spirit. We may also want to explore organizations that bring the most hope to those with homes who may experience hopelessness. Visit: https://impactful.ninja/best-charities-for-helping-homeless-people/


Image from: http://lifehopeandtruth.com/god/holy-spirit/

 

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Ephesians 3:8-11: The Mystery of ChristJesus_07_MysteryFiles

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

With humility, Paul tells us that although he does not understand why he is chosen to pass along God’s word, he does understand that we can never fully understand the mystery of God’s love for us. Nor can we plumb the depths of Christ’s impassioned love for us as God’s children.

God says: I do not expect that you will comprehend all that I do for you each moment of your existence. I do not ask that you understand the breadth or depth of my plan, my mind or my heart. Nor do I ask that you fend off the “principalities and authorities” that my servant Paul names. But what I do ask of you is simply this: that you follow the Way laid out by Jesus, and that you prepare a place for my Spirit to dwell within you. Jesus comes to you as your brother to take your hand and lead you into the narrow path that leads to peace. My Spirit flutters about you with a desire to heal and transform. You need not grasp my intention for you with full knowledge; only trust that I have plans for your joy and not your woe. All that is required is that you remain open and willing to my Spirit, open and hopeful in Christ, open and determined in the Creator. All that is required is love, my love for you . . . and your love for me. This is the great mystery of Christ that you need not understand but from which you nonetheless benefit. I come to you as Christ your brother who willingly gives over a life so that you may live.

God knows that we cannot take in the height and depth and breadth of Jesus’ love for us, and God does not ask that we understand this mystery before we partake of its benefit. All that God asks is our dedication and fidelity.

jaw-dropping-views-from-the-hubbEnter the word Fidelity into the blog search bar and explore this quality. Consider how we might better show our understanding of the mystery we find in Jesus, and how we might return own faithful love for and to Christ.

Use a web browser to search for Hubble images and reflect on how they might represent the mystery of Christ as the incarnation of the God among us. 

Click on the image from Hubble above to visit: https://hubblesite.org/resource-gallery/images 

To explore National Geographic Mystery episodes, click on the image of Jesus above or go to: https://www.natgeotv.com/za/shows/natgeo/the-jesus-mysteries

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Zechariah 8:15-17: LessonsIf-You-Tell-The-Truth

Wednesday, June 1, 2022

Scripture gives us clear instruction on how we are to act and what we are to say. Our free will allows us to choose this disciple path or reject it for the road of comfort that is wide but that has many pitfalls. The narrow path appears more dangerous and has fewer travelers; but it leads to the narrow gate that opens for us eternal life.

The prophet Zechariah reminds of God’s word: Do not fear! These then are the things you should do: Speak the truth to one another; let there be honesty and peace in the judgments at your gates, and let none of you plot evil against another in his heart, nor love a false oath. For all these things I hate.

God says: When my prophet tells you that I hate lies, insincerity and evil, he speaks to you in his dual way. I want you to understand that I call all liars to honesty. This is difficult for those who believe the stories they weave for they find it nearly impossible to live without the illusions they have conjured. I want you to understand that authenticity is essential in my kingdom. Integrity sets a standard that some of my children despise for it cannot be manipulated. I want you to love goodness. Genuine mercy can only come from a heart that loves and so if you find that it is challenging for you to love your enemy, ask me to help you with this problem. My compassion is infinite. My patience never-ending. My hope is outrageous. My fidelity is unmatchable. My love is wider, broader and deeper than you can understand . . . and it is within you now, looking for your willingness to be transformed. This is my instruction for you today. Allow these words to enter your bones. Allow me to heal your broken heart.


Use the scripture link to compare versions of these verses and listen for God’s instruction.

Enter the word Instruction in the blog search bar and explore other posts about God’s lesson plans for us.

Image from: http://love.catchsmile.com/if-you-tell-the-truth/

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John 15:18-20: Slaves and Masters

Tuesday, May 31, 2022

When we try to reconcile this world with the kingdom, we often find more misunderstanding than peace. Jesus gives us important information about how we might handle this difficulty.

Jesus says: If the world hates you, you know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you, “A slave is not greater than his master.” If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they kept my word, they will keep yours also.

God says: Spend time with these confusing words today until they begin to clarify. Spend time with me today until you better see how to be in the world and not of it. Spend time with me until you see that the world’s persecution is a quiet blessing. Spend time with me until you believe that you are made in my image and are called to enact my love in a world that cries out for compassion. Spend time with me until you understand that the slaves of this world are always masters in the next. Then go into the world that wants to enslave you and carry my Spirit within. You will find that you are master of far more than you had imagined. 

Scripture is always showing us the inversions of the kingdom and Jesus speaks to us directly today in the hope that we understand how our witness in his name will generally bring us scorn rather than praise. Enter the word inversion into the blog search bar and look for other ways that the kingdom turns the world on its head.


 Image from: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Dougga_cup-bearers_mosa%C3%AFc.jpg

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Matthew 9:32-34: Healing our Muteness

Click on this image to visit the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

Click on this image to visit the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

Friday, May 27, 2022

“Martin Niemöller (1892–1984) was a prominent Protestant pastor who emerged as an outspoken public foe of Adolf Hitler and spent the last seven years of Nazi rule in concentration camps, despite his ardent nationalism. Niemöller is perhaps best remembered for the quotation: “First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out…” (Holocaust Encyclopedia www.ushmn.org) Read Niemöller’s sermon, and then consider . . .

God says: The Pharisees accused my son of using the power of the prince of demons to heal muteness in one of my sheep. Do not allow your ears to be closed to my word in you. Do not allow your fear to cripple my voice in you. Speak when I ask you to tell my good news. Be still when I ask you to wait for my word to flow through you. Take courage. When you live in me you will never die. When you offer your voice in my name you are one with me. 

Martin Niemöller

Martin Niemöller

Visit the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum site and reflect on the power of human silence and human speech. http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10007391 Remember that there are those in our world who deny the fact that this human carnage took place . . . and then consider how and where and when we want to lend our voices to God’s cause.

To learn more about Martin Niemöller, click on his image to the left or visit:

http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/414633/Martin-Niemoller

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Matthew 9:27-31: Healing Blindness-A Reprise

Nicolas Columbel: Christ Healing the Blind

Thursday, May 26, 2022

Do you believe that I can do this?

We ask for help but too often doubt the hand that God offers.

Jesus says: Let it be done for you according to your faith.

God says: When my son says these words he is not threatening or punishing you for your waywardness; rather, he is calling you to union with him and with me. He is calling you to be one with us in the Spirit. He is saying that your blindness can involve more than your physical sight. Sometimes you are emotionally blind. You refuse to feel what others feel because it pains you too much. Sometimes you are mentally blind. You reject options and ideas that others offer because you are determined that your plan is better than any other. Allow my Spirit to live in you and your blindness will be healed. When you feel the pain and sorrow of others, you will also feel my joy in you when you help the least among you. When you panic because you may not be able to follow the plan that you have laid out for yourself, you will also celebrate the enormity of my love that comes to you when you make a way for others to join in your plans rather than dictating to them. Trust in me as I trust in you. Have faith in me even as I place my faith in you. Hope in my promise for it is true. I believe and know that you want to be one with me. Believe and know that I am in you this day and all days . . . healing your blindness.

Enter the word blindness into the blog search bar and examine the ways of human blindness.


Image from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Healing_the_man_blind_from_birth

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