Posts Tagged ‘be prepared’

1 John 2:15-17: Get Set for Eternity

Saturday, December 3, 2016

NASA and European Space Agency: Carina Nebula

NASA and European Space Agency: Carina Nebula

Don’t love the world’s ways. Don’t love the world’s goods. Love of the world squeezes out love for the Father. Practically everything that goes on in the world – wanting your own way, wanting everything for yourself, wanting to appear important – has nothing to do with the Father. It just isolates you from him. The world and all its wanting, wanting, wanting is on the way out – but whoever does what God wants is set for eternity. (MSG)

We may welcome this news from John the Beloved with eager ears, or we may want to ignore his counsel. In either case, do we not all want to welcome eternity?

The world and everything in it that people desire is passing away; but those who do the will of God live forever. (GNT)

We many want to accuse others of living too much in this world, or we may see ourselves as responding to the lure of quick but temporal satisfaction. In either case, do we not all want to participate in the unending feast?

The world is passing away, along with its desires. But whoever does God’s will remain forever. (CJB)

We may want to declare that the perfection of the kingdom is an impossible dream, or we may be one who testifies to the fact that with God all things are possible. In either case, do we not all want to share eternity with our loved ones?

This world is fading away, and these evil, forbidden things will go with it, but whoever keeps doing the will of God will live forever. (TLB)

We may want to quietly persist on our personal path with Jesus, or we may shy away from inviting others to join us. In either case, do we not all want to prepare for the gift of eternal peace?

When we compare varying translations of these verses, we find The Way to eternal life that John the Beloved assures for us.

The Hubble image above is a 50-light-year-wide panorama of the center of the Carina Nebula, and it shows a region of rapid star birth and death. (NASA and European Space Agency) For more images, visit: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2015/04/23/science/space/unforgettable-hubble-space-telescope-photos.html?_r=0

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Ephesians 6:14-20: A Prayer for Spiritual Warfare

Wednesday, September 7, 201632643-15133-armor-of-god.1200w.tn

Patience and perseverance. These are the qualities we know will open us to God’s nourishing goodness as we wade into daily spiritual warfare. Prayer and thanksgiving. These are the actions we need take as we look to Paul’s words in his letter to the Ephesians.

Be prepared. You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it’s all over but the shouting you’ll still be on your feet. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You’ll need them throughout your life. God’s Word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out. (THE MESSAGE)

When we compare another version of these verses, we open ourselves to the strength that only God can provide.

So stand ready, with truth as a belt tight around your waist, with righteousness as your breastplate, and as your shoes the readiness to announce the Good News of peace. At all times carry faith as a shield; for with it you will be able to put out all the burning arrows shot by the Evil One. And accept salvation as a helmet, and the word of God as the sword which the Spirit gives you. Do all this in prayer, asking for God’s help. Pray on every occasion, as the Spirit leads. For this reason keep alert and never give up; pray always for all God’s people. And pray also for me, that God will give me a message when I am ready to speak, so that I may speak boldly and make known the gospel’s secret. For the sake of this gospel I am an ambassador, though now I am in prison. Pray that I may be bold in speaking about the gospel as I should. (THE GOOD NEWS TRANSLATION)

And so we pray.

When we meet circumstances that overwhelm us, we remember that our fidelity to The Word and our readiness to share God’s promise and hope are the strongest armor we might employ. Resilient God, lend us your strength.

When we stumble over obstacles that threaten our peace and security, we remember that our joy in The Word and our delight in Jesus’ story are the enduring armor we might put on. Confident God, lend us your hope.

When we falter with doubt and anxiety crushes us, we remember that our prayers always rise directly to you. Authentic God, lend us your love.

In Jesus’ name we wait patiently in you. In the Spirit’s power we persist always in you. In God’s name we give thanks always for you. Amen.




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The Fourth Sunday of Advent, December 23, 2012

Psalm 84  – God’s Court

Nesting Barn Swallows

Nesting Barn Swallows

Better one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere. 

In this brief last week of Advent we have little time to reflect on the coming nativity of one who is the keystone of our existence.  Tomorrow is Christmas Eve, La Nochebuena or “The Good Night” as it is called in Spanish.  This year we can experience – if we allow ourselves – the quickness that is our lives in this brief one-day week that brings us to the celebration of Christmas.  If we have a mere twenty-four hours to prepare for this Good Night rather than the one hundred sixty-eight of a normal week, where do we spend that day?  How do we decide what to do and where to go?  How do we choose our companions?  And why does any of this matter?

Better one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere. 

One of the messages we hear continually in the Gospel parables is the need to be prepared.  Jesus is forever reminding us of the importance of being good stewards of gifts God has given to us.  We are repeatedly asked to be prepared for our own exodus.  We are constantly told of the great value of the kingdom we are called to build with others.  We are always asked to remain close to God no matter the circumstance.  We might wonder why Jesus repeats this message so often and if so we need not look long for an answer.

As a sparrow finds a home and the swallow a nest to settle her young, my home is by your altars, Lord of hosts, my King and my God!  Happy are those who dwell in your house!  They never cease to praise you.

We have no way of knowing our future no matter how hard we work at knowing.  We have no eyes to see images of our lives a generation forward.  We can only rely on God and God’s goodness to preserve and protect those who flock to him. 

As a sparrow finds a home and the swallow a nest to settle her young, my home is by your altars . . .

Chipping Sparrow Nest with Eggs

Chipping Sparrow Nest with Eggs

It is impossible to live the past again even if we want to right wrongs we have committed, even if we hope to heal wounds or change our crooked ways.  We can only trust God and God’s mercy in forgiving all wrongs and transforming all transgressors.

As a sparrow finds a home and the swallow a nest to settle her young, my home is by your altars . . .

We do not control our own destiny; we only control our reaction to the world and the circumstances in which we find ourselves.  We can only step forward as we answer the call we hear from God in our hearts.  We can only prepare a place for God’s presence in our lives.  We can only build our nest under the plinth of God’s altar and settle our young in the safe haven of God’s court. 

Better one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere. 

As Advent draws so quickly to a close, we might feel the crush of time to complete hundreds of worldly tasks but rather than spend our time fussing with the details of a life that is fleeting, let us rather decide to build our permanent home in a place that is eternally protected.  Let us choose to spend our time with The Living One who transcends all time and all wrongdoing.  Let us fix on a site for our nest under God’s altar.  Let us pledge to spend our last days of Advent preparing our minds and our hearts for the coming of The Christ Child.  And let us spend our last day in God’s court . . . rather than spend a thousand elsewhere.    

To learn more about swallows and where and how they nest, click on the image above or go to: http://www.petcaregt.com/blog/varieties-of-nest-sites-and-nests-in-swallows.html

To learn more about sparrows and where and how they nest, click on the image above or go to: http://smartisans.com/personal/ccam_6-1-2000_4-03pm.htm

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