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Posts Tagged ‘Children of God’


Friday, February 5, 2021

the-letter-sadhe[1]Psalm 119:137-144

Sadhe

I am consumed by rage, because my foes forget your words . . . Your decrees are forever just; give me discernment that I may live.

We become indignant when we believe that others do not understand the message of the Gospel; others become indignant with us when we behave in a narrow way.

God says: I really do understand how anger and frustration might consume you; but I ask that you take this negative energy and hand it to me. Together we will transform the ugliness and pettiness and cruelty you see in the world . . . to beautiful truth, inspiring authenticity and salvific love. Together we will bring goodness out of harm. Together we will build a kingdom so that all might live eternally.

Once we allow ourselves to pardon enemies we experience love as God does. We find a new tranquility and balance. And we discover that the evil around us melts into nothingness. This new serenity begins when we can bring ourselves to love our enemies as Jesus does.

Jesus says: You have heard that it was said, “You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy”. But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your heavenly father . . . For if you love those who love you, what recompense will you have? Do not the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brothers only, what is unusual about that? Do not the pagans do the same? (Matthew 5:43-47)

In this newest lesson presented to us in Psalm 119 we find the greatest – and perhaps the most difficult and certainly the most important – lesson of all. We find our divinity by fully and completely turning our most basic human instincts over to God. We find the kingdom that lies before us by interceding for all of. We find discernment by turning all of our rage into love. And all of this brings us serenity.


For more on how Sadhe speaks to us of faith that is found in the righteous, go to: http://www.inner.org/hebleter/tzadik.htm

For a quick view of the Hebrew letters, click on the image above and then click through the alphabet to the left, or go to: http://www.heb4you.com/hebrew-alephbet/18th-letter-of-the-hebrew-alphabet.html

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Thursday, February 4, 2021

Psalm 119:129-136

Pe

The revelation of your words sheds light,
gives understanding to the simple. Steady my feet in accord with your promise
. . .

God is revealed to us in the person of Christ, in the written word of
inspired scripture, and in us, God’s creatures fashioned in God’s own image.

God says: You struggle so much to find me and
yet I am with you always. You wear yourselves out seeking my wisdom and yet you
are filled with my Spirit of counsel and understanding. You work so hard at
imitating me yet all you must do is read my word each day to allow it to become
part of your sinew and bone. You ask for stability, predictability and
authenticity yet each of you carries within my promise fulfilled. So plant your
feet on the rock of my promise, armor yourselves with the truth of my word, and
restore yourselves with the renewal found in my promise that I have planted in
each of you.

Once we give ourselves over into God’s capable hands we experience a sense
of relief. Once we surrender to God’s great plan and time we have a sensation
of belonging. Once we allow ourselves to believe in God’s promise we find our
proper role as Children of God  . . . and we find that God has revealed
himself to us most honestly and generously.

Jesus says: I give you praise, Father, Lord
of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise
and learned you have revealed them to the childlike.  Yes, Father, such
has been your gracious will.
  (Luke 10:21)

Tomorrow, Sadhe.


For more on how Pe speaks to us of God’s word to us, go to: http://www.inner.org/hebleter/pei.htm

 

 

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Sunday, January 10, 2021

The Baptism of the Lord

Today, as we recall Jesus’ willingness to submerge himself in the goodness of the Spirit, we mark the end of the liturgical celebration of Christmas. As we begin to plan the life we will lead once we can safely emerge from our pandemic lockdown, let us consider how we will let the gift of God’s testimony wash over us. How will we allow this heavy cleansing to renew us? How will we once again greet estranged sisters and brothers? How will we continue to live as Christmas people who bring light to a darkened world?

We do well to consider the Lord’s own testimony to us about God’s love of all creation. 

1 John 5:11-12

Gerrit van Honthorst: Adoration of the Shepherds

God’s Testimony

And this is the testimony: God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever possesses the Son has life; whoever does not possess the Son does not have life. 

There is really no mystery about what God thinks of us. We are gifted with God’s presence in the child Jesus who grows into a man to sacrifice all for us. Jesus lives according to the Mosaic Law and then institutes a new law, the Law of Love. Through his living out for us this new law and through his sacrificial dying, Jesus brings us God’s testimony: life eternal.

There is really no struggle in finding union with God for God loves us dearly and constantly and already dwells in us. All we need do is acknowledge this presence. All we need do is allow ourselves to be children of God. All we need do is live this new Law of Love.

And so, we pray . . . Good and gracious God, we hear your testimony and still we doubt. Remind us that you are as gentle as the small child and as strong as the man who dies for all. Remind us that you dwell in each of us although we forget this too often. Remind us that with the birth of the child Jesus you offer us your testimony of light and love. Remind us that with your act of submission to baptism in the Spirit, you offer each of us the humility of this Jordan experience. Remind us that as we move closer to you we free ourselves to take up the invitation to become your Christmas people. Amen.  


Spend time with a study Bible and 1 John 5:5-13.  Read the commentary and decide how God’s Testimony calls us to be Christmas people.

Image from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Gerard_van_Honthorst_001.jpg

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Epiphany Sunday, January 3, 2021

Traditional observance of the arrival of the Three Magi, or Wise Ones, who bring gifts to the Christ Child is the sixth of January. This year the church celebrates today, the third. In many parts of the world, this is the time when families exchange gifts to observe this Feast of the Three Kings who bear gifts of frankincense, gold, and myrrh. For another reflection, or for more about this special day when we are surprised by God’s goodness and abundance, visit the “Who Are the Three Magi” or the “Background Image” pages on this blog.

The Tenth Day of Christmas

1 John 3:1-2

childrenOfGod[1]Now

See what love the Father has bestowed on us that we may be called the children of God. Yet so we are.  The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now . . .

We cannot earn God’s love for it is a gift freely given. We are misunderstood by many for we live in a world that does not know God. We need not fear any one or any thing for we are children of God.  We are never alone or abandoned for we are loved now . . .

On this tenth day of Christmas, enter the words Children of God into the blog search bar and consider how we are Christmas children now . . .


Image from: http://www.spiritualquestionshelpline.com/all-about-god/children-of-god/

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Friday, January 1, 2021

The Eighth Day of Christmas

Jean Baptiste Marie Pierre: Nativity

Jean Baptiste Marie Pierre: Nativity

Galatians 4:4-7

Proof

When the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to ransom those under the law, so that we might receive adoption. As proof that you are children, God sent the spirit of his Son into your hearts crying out, “Abba, Father!” So you are no longer a slave but a child, and if a child than also an heir, through God.

We struggle to realize a kind of independence from any being – natural or supernatural. We strive to gain control of our own destiny – earthly or spiritual. We tussle with time and attempt to govern the passing of minutes, hours and years – looking back into the past and forward into the future while neglecting the precious present. We have need of none of these desires and indeed we expend our energy and creativity uselessly on these false battles . . . for we already have all that we could hope for. We are rescued from darkness. We are ransomed through the love of God. And we are already heirs of a kingdom and fortune too vast to be measured or counted. We have our proof in this small, tiny child.

On this eighth day of Christmas as we stand at the threshold of a new day that marks a new year, let us live in this prized gift of the present that the Father has given to us.  Let us give thanks to the Father for all that we have and all that we are.  On this day when we begin a new year that we so eagerly await, let us cease our search for the proof of God’s love and let us be convinced – as Christmas people – that what we seek we already possess.


Image from: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Jean-Baptiste_Marie_Pierre_-_Nativity_-_WGA17676.jpg

Enter the words Children of God into the blog search bar and spend some time reflecting on what it means to greet Christ as a brother.

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Monday, December 7, 2020

Luke 2:1-3images[1]

Each to His Own Town

So all went to be enrolled, each to his own town.

A universal enrollment of those living in the Roman Empire is unknown outside the New Testament, and there are further difficulties in pegging the year of Christ’s birth to a specific year; yet this lack of tidy detail has not hampered the story of the Christ Child. Scholars tell us that “It is not by chance that Luke relates the birth of Jesus to the time of Caesar Augustus: the real savior (11) and peace-bearer (14; see also 19, 38) is the child born in Bethlehem. The great emperor is simply God’s agent (like the Persian king Cyrus in Is 44, 28-45, 1) who provides the occasion for God’s purpose to be accomplished”.  (Senior 101) The story of this child born in obscure beginnings still reverberates throughout the world today.

God says: Why do you struggle to pin Jesus’ birth to a specific point in your calculation of time when he is eternal in my own time? These are details you need not chase but I understand that there are those among you who crave the feeling of comfort this exactness brings to you. Expand your horizon beyond your small place and strike out to enroll yourselves in your own town which is my own heart. As you journey, remember that the greatest among you are the least, and the least among you are the greatest. Has my own presence among you in the person of Jesus not told you so? Has my own Spirit not abided with you to comfort you and to remind you of my constant presence in your lives? Each of you is precious to me for each of you is my own sweet child.  Always remember . . .

I-give-you-my-heart-e1297118791257[1]The detail of life obscures and fogs our thinking. The big picture draws us away from the many tiny indicators of God’s presence. Somewhere between the large and small is where truth lies and the truth is this: Each of us is a child of God; each of us is precious to God; and each of us makes a pilgrimage to the place we hold as our own.  Let us pray that this place is God’s own heart.


To learn more about the difficulty in determining the exact year of Christ’s birth, go to: http://www.ncregister.com/blog/jimmy-akin/what-year-was-jesus-born-the-answer-may-surprise-you  or https://www.biblestudytools.com/bible-study/topical-studies/what-year-was-jesus-born.html

Senior, Donald, ed. THE CATHOLIC STUDY BIBLE. New York, Oxford University Press, 1990.101. Print.   

Image of Joseph and Mary from: http://incaelo.wordpress.com/2012/12/24/the-road-to-christmas/

Image of hands and heart from: http://www.meghmiller.com/is-gods-heart-good-a-reckoning/

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Monday, August 17, 2020

Isaiah 49

The Cup of the Lord

Hear me, O coastlands, listen, o distant peoples . . . Thus begins this chapter in which the prophet laments his role as servant of the Lord. The cup from which he must drink has become too bitter. He is exhausted from the repeated warnings he delivers to deaf ears. He believes that God has made him a sharped-edged sword and hidden him under his arm, a polished bow hidden in the quiver. He believes that he has toiled in vain and yet he knows that his reward is with the Lord. 

Although this servant of God suffers as he drinks this difficult cup of salvation, he knows that God has promised to make him a light to all nations and the chosen one of God. This servant understands that through him lies the liberation and restoration of many for God pities them and leads them and guides them besides springs of water. Still, the work of the prophet-servant is difficult, dangerous and heavy. It exhausts even those who come to the task full of vigor and strength. Yet despite this lament . . . God persists in calling.

Look about and see, they are gathering and coming to you . . . Those who hope in me shall never be disappointed. It is more difficult for the faithful servant to walk away from this important work than it is to persist. And so the prophet perseveres. All mankind shall know that I, the Lord, am your savior, your redeemer, the mighty one of Jacob. 

We know that Jesus comes to do God’s will, to restore and redeem, to defend and save. But do we think of ourselves as suffering servants alongside the tireless Jesus?

We know that Jesus is the Son of God. But do we know that we are God’s adopted children created in God’s image?

We know that we – like Isaiah – are now exhausted from the work we do in God’s name. But do we ask Jesus to shoulder the burden with us and to carry us on his own broad shoulders?

The suffering servant is Jesus who is the Messiah. We too will suffer as we serve. Yet we too will become the pathway of freedom and redemption for many. We too will gather many who want to come to God. We too are descendants of Jacob. We too are children of God.


Go to the online Bible dictionary at: http://bibledictionaries.com/ , enter the words suffering servant, and explore the concept of one who drinks from the Lord’s Cup.

Image from: https://www.crossroadsinitiative.com/media/articles/eucharist-our-sustenance-st-gaudentius/attachment/gaudentius-eucharist-our-sustenance/

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Thursday, February 6, 2020

Psalm 81: An Exhortation to Worship Worthily

open[1]Constant renewal of our covenant promises with God is so important because the world in which we live is so good at deceiving us, luring us, easing us into betraying ourselves . . . and then encouraging us to betray others.  We swim in a sea of messages that tell us that we are in control, we are self-sufficient, we need only rely on our own powers, talents and schemes; we are told that we are God.  And that is the irony . . . we are God . . . when we give ourselves over to God, trust God, become vulnerable to God.  That is the irony of the words whispered to Eve and to Adam in the Garden of Eden.  Satan lures them, telling them that they too, can be like gods who know what is good and what is bad.  (Genesis 3:5).  This irony is that we are God.  We are the adopted daughters and sons of God, the sisters and brothers of Christ, the children of the Holy Spirit; yet we so often forget that we demonstrate our understanding of this by trusting God, believing God, loving God.  And we do this best as Jesus did, by being The Word to all and to everything.  We are God when we carry Jesus to all, when we hope and petition for the impossible, when we love our enemies just as we love ourselves and our friends.

Today’s Psalm is a reminder that we must constantly renew the Covenant agreement we have with our creator, we constantly renew our God Contract.  Renewal was the purpose of the Feast of the Tabernacles referred to in verse 4; and renewal is what we must always be about.  Each morning when we rise, each evening when we put our heads upon pillows we must trust God and bring God into our open hearts.  In the last verses of this Psalm, we see how to best sustain ourselves on this trip we are making . . . this earthly pilgrimage.  What are we to eat?  What are we to drink?  What are we to wear?  It is the Eucharist which renews us . . . give us this day our daily bread . . . it is the blood of Christ that redeems us . . . Can you drink the cup I am going to drink? . . . it is Christ whom we wear for protection when we wade into the world . . . take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God . . . it is The Word which sustains, nourishes, renews and brings true life to us.

And so we pray:

Good and everlasting God,

Renew us in your Spirit.

Refresh us for the journey.

Restore us to our promise.

Repair us in Christ’s love.

Replenish our weakened resources.

Remind us we are God’s.

Call us to worship you . . . worthily.

Amen.


Image from: http://scripture-for-today.blogspot.com/2011/03/psalm-81-open-your-mouth-wide.html

First written on April 10, 2008.  Re-written and posted today as a Favorite.

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Hebrews 1:5-14: They will perish but you will remain . . .

Sunday, December 1, 2019

These are welcome words; they bring us union when we feel disconnected from all that surrounds us.

This is a heartening verse; it tells of our salvation when we feel that all is lost or useless.

This is an important message; it assures us of our own divinity when the world tells us that we are mere humans.

The message of this letter is the Good News that we are free from the petty chains we believe bind us, and that we are divine.  When we read this letter we realize that we have much to be grateful for . . . if only we might open our eyes to see and our ears to hear.

Rather than seeing Christ as a distant perfection we cannot attain, let us instead see ourselves as God does . . . as sisters and brothers of Christ, God’s adopted children.

Rather than bowing to slander, innuendo or social pressure, let us instead revere The Law of Love . . . as sisters and brothers of Christ, Jesus’ adopted siblings.

Rather than spend our energy wishing to be angels and gods, let us instead focus on refining our relationship with God . . .  as sisters and brothers of Jesus, one in the Spirit.

The opening portion of this letter holds reminders we read today but will want to hold forever . . .

To which of the angels did God ever say, “You are my son; this day I have begotten you”?

The angels are made wind and ministers a fiery flame . . .

They will perish, but you will remain . . .

God loves justice and scorns wickedness . . .

The wicked will perish, but you will remain . . .

God anoints Christ with the oil of gladness . . .

They will perish, but you will remain . . .

The earth and the heavens are works of God’s hands . . .

They will perish, but you will remain . . .

To which of the angels has God said, “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies your footstool”?

They will perish, but you will remain . . .

There are seasons in our lives when we doubt and stumble.  There are times when our grief overwhelms us and overshadows all happiness.  There are people and events that challenge us beyond our strength.  There are obstacle courses that call us to the last ounce of our stamina. Yet, the trials and sorrow will perish . . . and we will remain for we are Children of God. The roadblocks and turmoil will come to nothing . . . and we will remain for we are the Beloved of God.  The storms and turmoil of our days will evaporate . . . and we will remain . . . for we are called to inherit salvation.

We have much to be grateful for . . . if only we might open our eyes to see and our ears to hear.


A re-post from November 10, 2012.

For more about this letter, read the Hebrews – Motivation page on this blog.

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