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Posts Tagged ‘confusion’


Proverbs 2:9-15: Knowing What to Do

Sunday, July 29, 2018

If you listen to me, you will know what is right, just, and fair. You will know what you should do.

This advice brings us comfort.

You will become wise, and your knowledge will give you pleasure. Your insight and understanding will protect you and prevent you from doing the wrong thing.

These words are ones we want to hear.

They will keep you away from people who stir up trouble by what they say—those who have abandoned a righteous life to live in the darkness of sin, those who find pleasure in doing wrong and who enjoy senseless evil, unreliable people who cannot be trusted.

In out tumultuous world, change permeates every facet of life. We look for places to stand when familiar foundations crumble. We ask for assurance. We know that we must put aside fear and replace it with trust in the Lord.

God says: Although the world seems a dangerous place, you must trust that I hold each of you in my hands. My servant Paul tells the Ephesians – and he tells you – that I chose you to be holy, with every spiritual blessing, before the foundation of the world. My son Jesus tells you that you ought not let your hearts be troubled. I tell you that despite the troubles surrounding you, my mercy and justice will lift you above the battles of your days and the uncertainties of your nights. Remain in me as I remain in you so that my peace and love will permeate your every fiber to bring you even closer to me.

When we move against injustice, we must allow God to guide us. When we speak up about hatred, we must allow Christ to show us the way. When we are betrayed by people and institutions we once thought just, we must allow the Spirit to heal and bless. And this allowing will show us clearly what we are to do.


Read Paul’s message in Ephesians 1:3-14. In John 14:1, Jesus calms our fears.

When we compare varying translations of these words, the light if understanding will lead us to Christ’s serenity. 

Click on the image to read an NPR Science opinion piece about how confusion con sometimes be helpful. Or visit: https://www.npr.org/sections/13.7/2015/12/14/459651340/sometimes-confusion-is-a-good-thing 

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Sirach 5: Precepts for Everyday Living

Friday, August 5, 2016SONY DSC

In this reading we see images of a merciful and sometimes wrathful God woven through practical pieces of advice.

Do not say, “His mercy is great, he will forgive the multitude of my sins,” for both mercy and wrath are with him, and his anger will rest on sinners . . . Do not winnow in every wind, or follow every path. Stand firm for what you know, and let your speech be consistent. Be quick to hear, but deliberate in answering. If you know what to say, answer your neighbor; but if not, put your hand over your mouth.

Sirach reminds us that God is patient, forgiving, and understanding of our innermost thoughts and desires, and after reading the instruction from ben Sirach, we will want to explore not only our words and actions but our motivations as well. Why do we do and say what we do and say? When and why are we silent? When and how do we speak? When and where do we act? What do we value and how do we use the gifts we are given? Sirach tells gives us simple precepts for our complicated days.

Do not rely on your wealth, or say, “I have enough.” Do not follow your inclination and strength in pursuing the desires of your heart.

sirach 5We live in a strange world of too many words and not enough clear information. In our search for clarity, we work to distill truth, measure honesty and reveal deceit. So often the advice of even the wisest among us is not enough so when we cannot see through the fog of abandoned promises, we must raise our eyes and hearts to the originator of our being. When we find ourselves on the knife’s edge of a demanding life, we place tired feet in the well-worn path of Jesus’ Way. And when we find ourselves falling into the depths of a dark and frightening well, we also find that we are falling not into nothingness but into the full and healing arms of the Spirit.

Sirach counsels us with his well-honed words. Jesus calls us with his proven Way. God leads us with a firm and guiding hand. And the Holy Spirit heals us as we move through wounding days. Despite all that frightens or wearies us, there is much to celebrate in our hearts and with others. Let us return to ancient advice that brings light to our darkness and joy to our hearts.

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Daniel 5:5-29The Spirit

Wednesday, August 19, 2015spirit-of-god-breathe-in-me

A Favorite from June 6, 2009.

I have heard that the spirit of God is in you, that you possess brilliant knowledge and extraordinary wisdom . . . I have heard that you can interpret dreams and solve difficulties.

These are the words of the pagan king Belshazzar, the son of Nebuchadnezzar, who recognizes the superiority of Daniel’s wisdom over the sorcery of his court magicians.  He sees that the power of this God of the Jewish nation far outstrips the magic of his astrologers.

Brilliant knowledge . . . extraordinary wisdom capable of solving difficulties and of solving enigmas . . . these are certainly great powers . . . and they are beyond price.  When the king offers to pay Daniel for his gift of interpretation,  Daniel replies: You may keep your gifts, or give your presents to someone else; but the writing I will read for you.  Daniel is the only one present who is capable of reading the famous writing on the wall from verses 5 and 6.  Daniel accepts no payment, knowing that he has not invented this wisdom on his own, knowing that God is the bringer of all wisdom.

The king was terrified; his face went ashen, and his lords were thrown into confusion.  There are many times when we read our own writing on the wall that foretells cataclysm.  There are many times when we are thrown into confusion by the events and people surrounding us.  We look for someone in whom the spirit of God rests, someone who has brilliant knowledge and god-like wisdom.

The human Christ dies to release us from our earth cares and our human prison.  The divine in us is thus rescued from oblivion.  If Jesus has not been human . . . if we are not divine . . . the wisdom we seek when we are confused by the world would not come to us.  If we were not co-creators and co-redeemers with Christ as his adopted sisters and brothers, this brilliant knowledge that interprets the mysteries of our lives would not be available to us.

The story of Daniel is a variegated one; it is full of stories that encourage us when we are at our lowest, when we feel our exile, when we fear the lions and the fiery furnace.  Daniel foretells the coming of the Son of Man, the title Jesus takes on as his own.  Daniel suffers calamitous events, yet rises above them on this great tide of God’s wisdom, God’s spirit, God’s love, God’s saving power.

When we are deeply troubled, when we see no way out, when we see the writing on the wall that rises just inches from our faces, it is time to sit with this story.  It is time to welcome in this Spirit of God that can interpret dreams and solve difficulties; and it is time to accept no payment from this world.  It is time to behave as this faithful exile far from home; it is time to turn to God, to pronounce truth, and to listen to the word that hums within.

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