Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘deliverance’


Sunday, October 18, 2020

120578004.0sKwzibJ[1]Psalm 32:6-7

Songs of Deliverance

Each of your servants prays to you in time of trouble; even if floods come rushing down, they will never reach him. You are a hiding place for me, you guard me when in trouble, you surround me with songs of deliverance.

The dry wadis flood when sudden rains come upon the unsuspecting traveler.  The psalmist uses an apt metaphor for the troubles that spring on us when we are living ordinary lives in ordinary ways. During these times God becomes a hiding place, a sanctuary, a refuge from sudden, overwhelming storms. God guards and protects, encourages and saves. God calls to us out of the storm, intoning the words of hymns of liberation. What are these words that are meant to calm crushed spirits, to sooth distraught minds and bring weary bones to new life?

God says: I hear you when you pray to me out of the maelstrom that strikes you – as the storms of life always do – and I long to save you from all that threatens you. Call out to me as the flood waters rise.  Sing out my name when you feel that you are lost. Ask me for help and I will make a way for you. When I rebuke the rushing waters that threaten to pull you down into darkness, they will settle at once into a refreshing oasis where you can rest and renew yourself. Do not fear the swirling waters of life, for I am with you always.  When you call, I will answer.

Jewish_National_Fund_trees_in_The_Negev[1]From Matthew 8:23-27: When He got into the boat, His disciples followed Him.  And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being covered with the waves; but Jesus Himself was asleep. And they came to him and woke him, saying, “Save us, Lord; we are perishing!” He said to them, “Why are you afraid, oh you of little faith?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the sea, and it became perfectly calm. The men were amazed, and said, “What kind of a man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him?”

When we are surprised by the sudden changes that spring on us, let us call on one whom even the winds and sea obey. And let us listen for the songs of deliverance that overcome the storm.

Enter the word maelstrom or storm into the blog search bar and reflect on how God saves and liberates us when we ask for help.


For more images of the Hatta Wadi Floods, click on the image above, or go to: http://www.pbase.com/bigrig/image/120578004

Oasis image from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oasis

Read Full Post »

Acts 12:1-19: Suddenly


Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Acts 12:1-19: Suddenly

Suddenly the angel of the Lord stood by him and a light shone in the cell.

Murillo: The Liberation of St. Peter

Murillo: The Liberation of St. Peter

We linger over the story of Peter’s deliverance from the prison cell where he awaited Herod’s will.  We imagine a winged warrior who goes into combat with such peaceful ease.  We wonder if we are dreaming or if God is somehow delivering us from certain condemnation and death.

Get up quickly.

We do as the apparition commands.  Half-asleep we struggle to find our balance; we tax our senses, asking for instant and accurate input.  Is this a dream?

Put on your belt and your sandals.

The voice is real yet all is strange.  There is an urgency and yet somehow we are not frightened.   We grapple for the things of the world that we know well.  They bring us comfort although we know they do not protect us in any way.

Put on your cloak and follow me.

Moving forward we convince ourselves that in a fleeting moment we will fully awaken to find ourselves in the well-known prison of our fear.  We touch familiar objects as if to reassure ourselves . . . knowing that they hold no help for us, understanding that full and lasting assurance lies only in this lovely and dreamy apparition that leads us forward.

They passed the first guard and then the second.

The light breeze ruffles against our sleep-wrinkled cheeks.  All seems real enough yet how is it that we slip so easily past the chains that fettered us so well and for so long?

They emerged and made their way down an alley.

It is true.  Freedom has been gained.  And with such slight effort!  Who would have thought the battle might be so easily won?

Suddenly the angel left him. 

And just as quickly as this powerful apparition appears it now evaporates; yet this new harmony lingers; fear does not pierce our newly-found armor.  This winged hand of God has brought us to a peaceful place with ease and grace.

Then he recovered his senses.

Fully awake, we realize that disaster has been averted.  Prayers have been answered.  The miracle has taken place.  We allow ourselves to dwell for a brief time in this new feeling of gift.  A wave of gratitude surges up from our feet and wings through our body.  Suddenly we want to fly to those we love to deliver the Lord’s message of freedom.

He went to the house and knocked on the gateway door.  A maid answered and was overjoyed.  She ran to tell the others of his deliverance.  They told her, “You are out of your mind”.

A detail from Murillo's Liberation of St. Peter

Detail: Murillo’s “Liberation of St. Peter”

Our news falls on disbelieving ears and yet we persist.

He continued to knock and when they opened the door they saw him and were astounded.

We fall into waiting arms as we announce the Good News for suddenly we fully know that what we have been told is true.

He is risen.  He saves.  He conquers all. He has returned for us. 

We are loved.  Amen.


Image from: http://www.wikipaintings.org/en/bartolome-esteban-murillo/liberation-of-st-peter-1667

To read more about Peter’s Deliverance, visit the Expect Miracles page on this blog at: https://thenoontimes.com/miracles/expect-miracles/

Read Full Post »


Esther 10: Learning from Esther

Jean-François Portaels: Esther

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

It is interesting that at the close of this story, we see Xerxes and Mordecai as heroes, while Esther – for whom the book is named – slips into the background. This is, of course, indicative of the ancient world in which society regarded women as possessions rather than full persons. We might then determine that the more important message is this: God loves the faithful so well and so endlessly, that salvation arrives in a time if crisis. In our contemporary era of unease, we hear this message gladly. This is good news for those who are beleaguered in physical, emotional and spiritual ways. This is redemption for those who work at transformation. This is deliverance for those who suffer.

Living in exile, Esther keeps her Jewish heritage secret. As a woman with little influence in her own life, Esther moves quietly through Xerxes’ court, maintaining a low profile. Mordecai’s petition for her assistance pulls Esther out of anonymity and moves her into a life that requires courage, patience and wisdom; and we watch as she relies on God for these qualities.

We have much to learn from this young woman who allowed herself to be led by the source that created and called her. When do we speak up? Why do we remain silent? We have much to explore in her story of quiet obedience and patient trust. When do we question? Why do we follow? We have much to share about the wisdom of this brave young woman.  When do we celebrate? Why do we rejoice? 

Today we ask . . . what have we learned from Esther?

Tomorrow, Mordecai’s dream . . . Esther is the river.  

For more on Esther, visit the Jewish Women’s Archive at: https://jwa.org/encyclopedia/article/esther-bible 

Read Full Post »


Psalm 30: Thanksgiving – Part VII

Sunday, October 2, 2016 giving-thanks-for-your-life

Adapted from a Favorite written at the beginning of a new year, January 3, 2009.

Thanksgiving for Deliverance

When we are in the valleys of life it is difficult to feel the hope of regeneration; so when we feel the sense of relief after delivery we will want to dwell in that sensation of rebirth for a while . . . and we will want to give thanks.

When days are dark we try to remember that liberation from anxiety and a sense of uselessness too often overtakes us, and then we remember that release is what the Savior comes to give us with an open and eager heart.

When days are bright and we revel in the ease with which challenges are met and overcome, we might focus on a keen awareness of those moments, taking into our consciousness the swell and ebb of those feelings. In this way we will know how to petition God when the sky grows dark.

We do not want to become complacent.

We concentrate on verses 7 to 11 and we know that we have lived too many days of assumed ease.  We have put our heads on pillows too many nights without saying Thank you, I love you.  We have forgotten to fully appreciate the one who always saves.  We know this now; and so we will make a conscious effort to put all things into perspective before falling to sleep . . . no matter the worry or crush of the day. Verses 12 and 13:

You changed my mourning into dancing;

          you took off my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness.

With my whole being I sing endless praise to you.

          O Lord, my God, forever will I give you thanks.

Amen.

This might be our bedtime prayer for the year . . . and perhaps for years to come.

 

Read Full Post »


Jeremiah 1:19: God Will Prevailheart-on-fire-for-god

March 2, 2015

They will fight against you, but not prevail over you, for I am with you to deliver you, says the Lord.

Fr. Richard Rohr, O.F.M., tells us that prophets are an essential element of a society that hopes to improve and progress. He writes: “The Hebrew prophets were free to love their tradition and to criticize it at the same time, which is a very rare art form . . . The presumption for anyone with a dualistic mind is that if you criticize something, you don’t love it. Wise people like the prophets would say the opposite”. Prophets are afire with the understanding that keeping silence is worse than suffering for speaking up. Prophets understand that . . .

They will fight against you, but not prevail over you, for I am with you to deliver you, says the Lord.

Rohr knows the human spirit well when he writes, “We don’t want people who point out our shadow side or our dark side. It is no accident that the prophets and the priests are usually in opposition to one another”. Power structures abhor critiques of any kind. They use the power of silence to control thinking; and yet . . .

They will fight against you, but not prevail over you, for I am with you to deliver you, says the Lord.

Rohr also suggests that “Human consciousness does not emerge at any depth except through struggling with [our] shadow”. In other words, we cannot really grow except when we tussle with life and those we encounter each day. We cannot grow without a passionate desire to experience God’s ways; and so . . .

They will fight against you, but not prevail over you, for I am with you to deliver you, says the Lord.

The prophet Jeremiah sees the corruption and hypocrisy in his society. He speaks up and speaks out, knowing that in so doing he endangers his life. Jeremiah, afire with a deep passion for God’s word and God’s way, confronts the power structure and ultimately prevails because he knows that . . .

They will fight against you, but not prevail over you, for I am with you to deliver you, says the Lord.

Richard Rohr citations in this post are from “Self-Critical Thinking,” Richard Rohr’s Daily Meditation for Monday, February 15, 2015. http://myemail.constantcontact.com/Richard-Rohr-s-Meditation–Self-Critical-Thinking.html?soid=1103098668616&aid=rnft6vyUO0Q

Read Full Post »


joyTuesday, November 25, 2014

Esther 9

Joy and Killing

Much like the Book of Judith, the story of Esther is another that is full of danger and violence but this time counterpointed by trust in God . . . and great rejoicing. Today and tomorrow we discover that despite palace intrigue, envy and anger, joy is present. If today’s story calls you to search for more surprises, click on the word Joy in the categories cloud in the blog’s right hand sidebar and choose a reflection, or enter the word Joy in the blog search bar. You may also want to visit the Joy for the Journey blog at www.joyforthee.blogspot.com to see how joy surprises you there. Today we find joy in times of massacre and war.

Chapter 9 of Esther’s story describes the origin of the Purim festival, a celebration of the Jewish nation’s deliverance. We know that after a plot against these faithful was thwarted and as too often happens when power changes hands, wide-scale killing takes place. Old feuds rise and are settled. Grudges surface and are acted upon. Personal agendas take over.

Andrea del Castagna: Queen Esther (detail)

Andrea del Castagna: Queen Esther (detail)

We humans have not moved much past these ancient rituals of slaughtering the conquered. Despite the fact that in many cultures leaders are elected by free and fair elections, too many peoples suffer at the hands of those who see instability as a time to take over, to amass power, and to use corruption as a governing tool rather than social justice or the rule of law. And we need not look to the evening news to find examples of how we repress one another in the hope of currying favor or gaining control. Our workplaces, neighborhoods and even our homes sometimes serve as microcosms of the problems we see on a more global scale.

Today we may be horrified at the acts of revenge we read in the Book of Esther. And today we might also be surprised at the elation that sweeps through these people who thought themselves dead. Today we remember that we witness many small killings too frequently in our lives, the killing of the spirit, the killing of the heart, mind and soul, the killing of ideas, hopes and dreams. The killing of innocence. And then . . . let us reflect on how we might find joy in times when insanity reigns and reason disappears.

Verses 9:17-23: This was on the thirteenth day of Adar. On the next day, the fourteenth, there was no more killing, and they made it a joyful day of feasting. The Jews of Susa, however, made the fifteenth a holiday, since they had slaughtered their enemies on the thirteenth and fourteenth and then stopped on the fifteenth. This is why Jews who live in small towns observe the fourteenth day of the month of Adar as a joyous holiday, a time for feasting and giving gifts of food to one another. Mordecai had these events written down and sent letters to all the Jews, near and far, throughout the Persian Empire, telling them to observe the fourteenth and fifteenth days of Adar as holidays every year. These were the days on which the Jews had rid themselves of their enemies; this was a month that had been turned from a time of grief and despair into a time of joy and happiness. They were told to observe these days with feasts and parties, giving gifts of food to one another and to the poor. So the Jews followed Mordecai’s instructions, and the celebration became an annual custom.

Let us pause and consider how we might refrain from seeking revenge when we have been wronged. Let us mediate on the meaning of interceding for our enemies. And let us celebrate deliverance from evil and killing we too often find in our own lives.

For more information about the feast of Purim, click on the image of Queen Esther above, or visit: http://www.chabad.org/holidays/purim/article_cdo/aid/645309/jewish/What-Is-Purim.htm and http://www.mythicmaps.net/Festival_calendar/March/Purim.htm

For more Noontime reflections about this woman’s story, enter the word Esther into the blog search bar and explore.

Read the rest of this story in Esther 9-10.

For more information about anxiety and joy, visit: http://riselikeair.wordpress.com/2014/01/09/anxiety-joy-a-journey/

 

Read Full Post »


Sunday, September 28, 2014

psalm 32Psalm 32

Time of Need

I kept it secret and my frame was wasted.

I groaned all the day long for night and day your hand was heavy upon me.

Indeed my strength was dried up by the summer’s heat.

We do not know but we can imagine that the prophet Jeremiah prayed the psalms from his prison cell or from the bottom of the miry cistern. Chains alone did not stop him from speaking. Scorn and mockery could not hold back the words he knew he must deliver and the actions he knew he must take. If he intoned Psalm 32 it may have been bitterly for he could not put an end to his punishment by acknowledging his sin or by recanting an evil act; or it may have been joyfully for he also knew that God was his only place of safety. Jeremiah, the innocent, bemoaned his reality as he suffered at the hands of corrupt and unjust leaders; but Jeremiah, the prophet, understood the message of hope in this prayer.

So let every good man pray to you in the time of need.

The floods of water may reach high but him they shall not reach.

You are my hiding place, O Lord; you save me from distress.

You surround me with cries of deliverance.

In our moment of stress, God replies through the voice of the psalmist.

I will instruct you and show you the way you should walk, give you counsel and watch over you.

Do not be senseless like horses or mules; with bit and bridle their temper is curbed, else they will not come to you.

In our time of need, God speaks to us today.

Many are the sorrows of the wicked, but love surrounds those who trust in the Lord.

Be glad in the Lord and rejoice, you just; exult all you upright of heart.

When the weight of the world is too much to balance, let us give our burden of despair to God, and be glad in the hope, and grace and love of the Lord.

Visit the Overwhelmed By Grace post on this blog at: https://thenoontimes.com/2013/10/20/overwhelmed-by-grace/

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: