Posts Tagged ‘God brings good out of evil’

John 18:37: Testifying to the Truth

Ivan Glazunov: Jesus Before Pilate

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Jesus said to Pilate: For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.” Pilate asked him, “What is truth?”

We might also ask the same question.

God says: You argue and struggle with one another, scuttling back and forth to determine the truth about circumstances that surround and affect you. You lie and deceive, plotting with and against one another to create falsehoods that bring division. You speak up and witness to untruth. You support and rejoice in the light and life of Christ, celebrating his essence as the foundation on which to stand.

These are the scenarios we see before us, bringing us choice and – perhaps – confusion. After cautious consideration, we ask ourselves: Do we believe that we are born to testify to the truth? When we listen, do we tune our ears to discern reality? When we speak, do we rely on God for the words we will use? When we act, do we personify authenticity? Do we operate in the dark or the light? Do we exclude or include? Do we allow God to convert all harm to good? Do we work in joyful hope for the goodness of God’s kingdom?

God says: You know how to discern Christ’s truth. You know how to act in the truth. You are to do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with your God. (Micah 6:8) If Pilate were to ask you today what truth is, would you tell him? If Jesus stands before you today, will you walk with him? If I speak to you when you are lost in the darkness, will you pause to hear my Word so that you might live in the truth? And might you share this wonderful truth with others? 

Image from: https://stjohnscathedral.ca/2013/03/28/worship-for-holy-week/jesus-before-pilate-glazunov/ 


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2 Timothy 3:10-17: Seek Wholeness – Truth

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

But don’t let [the state of the world] faze you. Stick with what you learned and believed, sure of the integrity of your teachers—why, you took in the sacred Scriptures with your mother’s milk! There’s nothing like the written Word of God for showing you the way to salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 

God says: You do not need to worry about my plan. It has been well laid out since before you were on the earth and it moves into a future that has no end. I understand that when you look at the years you have allotted to you, you see war, anger, and rage. But when you seek wholeness in me, my truth reveals itself to you. Suddenly you see with my giant eyes. You hear what I hear. And you act as I act. Rather than focus on the all that is going badly, open yourself to the million small stories that accompany the painful events surrounding you. When war rages, my faithful buoy one another up. When injustice prevails, the remnant senses the power of my long arms. You can believe my promise that all will be well. You can trust my action that brings goodness out of harm. You can trust my love that conquers all anger, cruelty, and hate.

When we compare varying versions of these verses, we stumble upon the wholeness of God’s truth.

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Psalm 67: Harvest Thanksgiving

Monday, November 23, 2015harvest-thanks-giving_260429

This prayer is an appropriate psalm for this time of year . . . but we might sing it often for all the good God has brought to us . . . for the good God has wrought from harm.

We are givers and receivers of hurt.  Initially, apologies and reparations are difficult to make and they are sometimes difficult to receive.  Yet give and receive them we must for we all err, we may all seek forgiveness, and we are all forgiven.  We may or may not be forgiven by those we injure, even when the injury is unintentional.

From this morning’s MAGNIFICAT intercessions:

Forgive us our pride.

Forgive us our stubbornness of heart.

Forgive us our anger against one another.

Forgive us our greed in all forms.

Forgive us our mercilessness.

Forgive us the harm we have done.

God always waits patiently for our return and while he waits he continues to sustain us, to offer us his garden where we might bring in his harvest.

At this time of harvest, we might gather ourselves as well to offer our acts and our words back to our creator.  We might join in this psalm of thanksgiving and remember that . . .

God is gracious always.

God blesses us constantly.

God saves us faithfully.

And God’s face shines upon us all days.

In the darkest of nights and the brightest of days, let us remember this . . . and be thankful.

Cameron, Peter John. “Prayer for the Morning.” MAGNIFICAT. 3.10 (2008). Print.  

A favorite from October 3, 2008.



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Numbers 14:1-4: Back to Egypt

Jozef Molnar: Moses Leading the Israelites Out of Egypt

Jozef Molnar: Moses Leading the Israelites Out of Egypt

February 24, 2015

Then all the congregation raised a loud cry, and the people wept that night. And all the Israelites complained against Moses and Aaron; the whole congregation said to them, “Would that we had died in the land of Egypt! Or would that we had died in this wilderness! Why is the Lord bringing us into this land to fall by the sword? Our wives and our little ones will become booty; would it not be better for us to go back to Egypt?” So they said to one another, “Let us choose a captain, and go back to Egypt.”

We so frequently look at our circumstances and assume that conditions cannot get worse; yet the story of our lives proves that most of the devils we dread do not manifest themselves as we suspected. We too often over-react to what we experience and underplay God’s capacity and willingness to bring good out of harm.

We so frequently demand signs and assume that if God does not reply in the manner and time we have laid out that we are misunderstood; yet the story of our lives proves that God’s plans are far better than any we might devise. We too often over-look the many small miracles that crowd our days and underplay God’s generosity and love.

The Pharisees and Sadducees came up, and testing Jesus, they asked Him to show them a sign from heaven. But He replied to them, “When it is evening, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.’ And in the morning, ‘There will be a storm today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ Do you know how to discern the appearance of the sky, but cannot discern the signs of the times?(Matthew 16:1-4)

When we use the scripture links to read various versions of these verses, we allow God’s mercy and fidelity to sink into our bones. We may discover that we do not, after all, want to return to Egypt . . . and we have ample signs of God’s love before us.

For an interesting post on how we might stop complaining, click on the Molnar image above or visit: http://thewellnesswife.com/stop-complaining-gods-got-you-covered/

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Saturday, July 19, 2014

god heals2 Chronicles 11

A Prayer for Returning Home – A Reprise

This week we have looked closely at the process and power in asking for and giving forgiveness, in seeking and receiving healing, in pursuing and relying on God. We cry out against injustice and ask God’s intervention. We lament terror, horror, falsehood and betrayal; and we ask God to bring goodness out of all harm. Today we consider the power of returning home. And so we consider how we might move from loss to gain, from hate to love, from death to life.

The Healing

Anger, betrayal, loss death.

Silence, stillness, a numbing, penetrating chill.

Eyes slowly opening to see old light in a new way. The ringing din eases into two harmonious tones. We are not alone.

Joy, celebration, gift, life.

Song of consolation, warmth.

A radiating energy moves upward from toe tips.

All encompassing. All-knowing. Never-ending. Life.

Why cling to what cannot be changed if we forfeit all that is changeless?

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Saturday, December 17, 2011 – Sirach 36:1-17 – The Ends of the Earth

The New American Bible labels this portion of Sirach as A Prayer for God’s People; it seems to be an invocation against enemies; it is a cry for help.  I am uncomfortable with verses that ask God to rain down violence on those who harm us.  Perhaps I have begun to let Jesus’ words filter into my bone and marrow.  Maybe, just maybe, I am beginning to live the words I have listened to for so long: But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get?   Are not even the tax collectors doing that?  And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?  Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect. (Matthew 5:45-48)

But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.   If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back.Do to others as you would have them do to you. If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you?Even “sinners” love those who love them.  And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even “sinners” do that.  And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you?   Even “sinners” lend to “sinners,” expecting to be repaid in full.  But love your enemies, do good to them,and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High,because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.  Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.  (Luke 6:27-35)

Jesus warns us that our enemies will be members of our own household (Matthew 10:36).  Our enemies will build bulwarks against us and do all they can to destroy us.  They will encircle us and hem us in on every side.  (Luke 19:43)  Yet we need not plan an attack against them.  All we need to is stand in and with God . . . and in God’s time and in God’s way, the enemies of the faithful will come to know that God is great and God is good. 

With these words, Sirach counsels us that we keep ourselves safe from destruction not by building parapets against battalions of evils; rather, we survive pain and sorrow by turning to God in hope.

With these verses, Sirach advises us that we keep ourselves secure from annihilation not by preempting evil or by attempting to outrun wickedness; rather, we endure pain and suffering by holding firm in our faith that God turns all evil to good.

With this prayer of the people, Sirach encourages us to turn to God in prayer for all things; and in this way God’s graciousness, compassion and glory will be known to the very ends of the earth.

And so we pray . . .

Good and gentle God, you have told us so many times that you will keep us from harm; yet we forget in our anxiety.

Good and kind God, you have accompanied us through heartache and loss; yet we forget in our grief.

Good and knowing God, you always offer a new opportunity to know you; yet we forget in our shame.

Good and gracious God, you remind us that love conquers evil; yet we forget in our anger.

Keep us with you.  Keep us true to you.  Remind us of the lessons you teach in the stories of the Good News so that thus it will be ever known to the ends of the earth that you are the eternal God.  Amen. 

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