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Posts Tagged ‘God’s goodness’


prophet_jonah__image_10_sjpg2463Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Joy and Jonah

Reluctance

The prophets warn, threaten, exhort, and promise us that God is always present, even though we may not recognize this presence. The Old Testament prophecies foreshadow the good news of the New Testament, and they remind us that no matter our circumstance God’s joy rescues us from sure destruction, Christ’s joy redeems us from our recklessness, and the Spirit’s joy heals us despite the gravity of our wounds.  Today we may or may not identify with Jonah’s story. If we do, we understand that we are loved despite our reluctance to respond to God’s goodness. If we do not, we have all the more reason to rejoice in the presence of the Lord.

“This book is a didactic story with an important theological message. It concerns a disobedient prophet who attempted to run away from his divine commission, was cast overboard and swallowed by a great fish, rescued in a marvelous manner, and sent on his way to Nineveh, the traditional enemy of Israel . . . From this partly humorous story, a very sublime lesson may be drawn. Jonah stands for a narrow and vindictive mentality, all too common among the Jews of that period . . . [This prophecy] has prepared the way for the gospel with its message of redemption for all”. (Senior 1137)

Jonah 2:3: Out of my distress I called to the Lord, and he answered me; from the midst of the netherworld I cried for help, and you heard my voice . . . In the maelstrom God is always present.

Jonah 2:6: The waters swirled around me, threatening my life; the abyss enveloped me; seaweed hung about my heard. Down I went to the roots of the mountains; . . . but you brought up my life from the pit . . . In the storms of life God’s promise prevails.

Matthew 12:39-41: [Jesus] answered, “A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a miraculous sign! But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. j   For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. The men of Nineveh will stand up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and now one greater than Jonah is here”.

joyJonah tells us that despite his reluctance and fear, he finds a reason to rejoice.

Jesus tells us that despite the storm that rages, he is always with us.

If can find the time to spend with this short prophecy, we will be well rewarded. And we may find the strength and joy to celebrate an end to our own reluctance.


Senior, Donald, ed. THE CATHOLIC STUDY BIBLE. New York, Oxford University Press, 1990. 1137. Print.

If this week’s Noontimes call you to search for more ways to encounter Joy or urges you to investigate the New Testament, click on the word Joy in the categories cloud in the blog’s right-hand sidebar and choose a reflection, or enter those words in the blog search bar.

Image from: http://thepropheticbooksofbible.org/

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p_shout_11Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Joy and the Psalms

Shout!

The Book of Psalms calls us to praise God and during this first week of Advent we will focus on the power of the psalms in a number of ways: to connect us with God as sisters and brothers in Christ, to give us a healing pathway on which to carry our lament to the Spirit, to call us together as we praise and honor the creator God, and to offer us more examples of how God’s joy calls forth a great shout.

Click on the scripture links and explore other versions of these verses. Share an idea about the surprise of joy in the dark places and times in our lives with a loved one, a neighbor or friend. And allow the surprise of joy to brighten each day as we move forward in the season of hope-filled waiting for the arrival of the Christ.

Psalm 51 verse 8: Let me hear the sounds of joy and gladness; and though you have crushed me and broken me, I will be happy once again. Do we acknowledge that God’s joy calls goodness out of harm?

joyPsalm 65 verses 8-13: You have always been my help, Lord. In the shadow of your wings I sing for joy. You show your care for the land by sending rain; you make it rich and fertile. You fill the streams with water; you provide the earth with crops. The pastures are filled with flocks; the hillsides are full of joy. Everything shouts and sings for joy.  Are we willing to see all of creation as God’s shouts of joy?

Psalm 66  verse 1: Praise God with shouts of joy, all people!  Do we share the good news of God’s fidelity, hope, love and joy?

Psalm 68 verse 3: But the righteous are glad and rejoice in his presence; they are happy and shout for joy. Do we willingly come together as community to share the news of God’s goodness?


Image from: http://www.joyfulshouts.com/shout.html

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joyTuesday, November 2, 2021

Matthew 5

A Prayer for Joy

We move further into scripture looking for stories of joy that continue to surprise us. To explore other stories, 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 pause to pray in gratitude for Joy.

We most often associate joy with positive feelings of happiness; yet God dwells most fully with the broken-hearted. Today, whether we are content or sad, we open our hearts to God’s mercy and goodness.

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

We frequently ask for joy in the darkest of moments; and Christ walks with us most passionately when we are lost or abandoned. Today, whether we are alone or with loved ones, we open our hearts to Christ’s power and transformation.

Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

We regularly forget joy when we are suffering or in pain; yet the Spirit dwells within us most completely when we experience sorrow and loss. Today, whether we feel God’s presence or not, we open our hearts to the Spirit’s consolation and peace.

Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Joy is present in our lives even when the horizon is dark and our circumstances grime. Although we sometimes feel as though our woe outweighs our joy, we find that God surprises us in the most unusual of times, places and ways.

beatitudes and heartsLoving God, we thank you for your gift of surprise today.

Healing Christ, we thank you for the gift of your presence today.

Healing Spirit, we thank you for your gift of hope today. Amen.


To reflect further on Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, visit Matthew 5. Or visit Luke 6 for Jesus’s Sermon on the Plain. Spend time with these verses today. Consider the blessings and woes we find each day and how we find God in all of these experiences.

If there is time, enter the word joy into a Bible online concordance and allow God to surprise you. Explore www.biblegateway.com or use your web browser to find a concordance that appeals to you . . . and prepare for the gifts of joy and surprise.

https://www.biblegateway.com/quicksearch/?quicksearch=joy&qs_version=NRSVCE

Image from: http://www.blulogan.org/tag/matthew-chapter-5

For more about anxiety and joy, click on the image above or visit: http://riselikeair.wordpress.com/2014/01/09/anxiety-joy-a-journey/

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joyFriday, October 29, 2021

1 Chronicles

Joy and the LORD

We move forward in our journey as we visit with scripture looking for stories about joy that will amaze us in a number of ways. To explore other stories in which joy surprises us, 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 our stories are from 1 Chronicles.

In the books of Chronicles we find an historical perspective of all that we read in the previous books of the Old Testament and when we search these chapters and verses for references to joy we are not surprised to find stories like these . . .

Chapter 12: Warriors join David in Hebron, many of them banished by Saul in his angry jealousy over David’s talent and popularity. When we think of escaping a wretched leader, or when we think of breaking long and enduring relationships we may be surprised to find joy as a possibility in such dark scenarios . . . yet here it is. As always, resting in the presence of the LORD who is always abiding with the broken-hearted.

Philistines_cow_pulling_arkChapter 16: David and his warriors arrive in Jerusalem bearing the Ark of the Covenant, the ancient chest containing the Mosaic commandment tablets, Aaron’s blossoming rod, and manna from the desert. This physical presence of the LORD among them, brings the faithful great joy. When we think of celebrating our good fortune and happiness we might be surprised to discover that God is just as joyful as we are . . . yet, here God is. As always, rejoicing in goodness and blessing.

Chapter 29: David and his followers amass gifts to build a new temple in which to house the presence of the LORD. When we think of preparing a temple for the indwelling of the Spirit we may reflect more on what is lacking rather than what is present, what is imperfect rather than what is perfect . . . yet here the Spirit is. As always, joyfully healing and sustaining us with God’s abundant grace.

arkVisit 1 Chronicles to read more and look for the stories above in 12:40, 16:27, 16:33, 29:17 and 29:22. Visit the scripture link above and compare the different versions of these verses found in the drop down menus. Explore these events and reflect on the surprise of God’s joy in our own lives.


For a fun audio version of what happened to the Ark when captured by the Philistines, and how the Ark finally came to Jerusalem, click on the image of the oxen pulling the cart above or visit: http://psalmbird.net/pages/DavidandArk.htm

For more about anxiety and joy, click on the image above or visit: http://riselikeair.wordpress.com/2014/01/09/anxiety-joy-a-journey/ 

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joyThursday, October 28, 2021

1 Kings 8

Joy and Goodness

We continue our journey as we visit with scripture looking for stories about joy that will surprise us in a number of ways. To explore other stories in which joy astounds us, 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 our story is again from the Book of Kings.

Verse 1: Then Solomon assembled the elders of Israel and all the heads of the tribes, the leaders of the ancestral houses of the Israelites, before King Solomon in Jerusalem, to bring up the ark of the covenant of the Lord out of the city of David, which is Zion.

King Solomon, known for his desire to know God’s wisdom, builds the great temple to house the Ark of the Covenant. Later in the New Testament Jesus declares that this Temple will fall and be raised in three days.

Verses 14-17: Then the king turned around and blessed all the assembly of Israel, while all the assembly of Israel stood. He said, “Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, who with his hand has fulfilled what he promised with his mouth to my father David, saying, ‘Since the day that I brought my people Israel out of Egypt, I have not chosen a city from any of the tribes of Israel in which to build a house, that my name might be there; but I chose David to be over my people Israel.’ 

King Solomon blesses the people and thanks Yahweh for the fulfillment of promises. In Jesus, we find God’s ultimate promise: healing, transformation, resurrection.

King Solomon

King Solomon

Verses 22 & 23: Then Solomon stood before the altar of the Lord in the presence of all the assembly of Israel, and spread out his hands to heaven. He said, “O Lord, God of Israel, there is no God like you in heaven above or on earth beneath, keeping covenant and steadfast love for your servants who walk before you with all their heart . . .”

King Solomon dedicates both the Temple and the people to Yahweh. In Jesus, we find God’s ultimate manifestation: compassion, justice, deep and abiding love.

Verses 62: Then the king, and all Israel with him, offered sacrifice before the Lord. 

King Solomon offers sacrifices in the name of the people. Jesus offers himself as sacrifice to bring the faithful to eternal life.

Verses 65 & 66: So Solomon held the festival at that time, and all Israel with him—a great assembly, people from Lebo-hamath to the Wadi of Egypt—before the Lord our God, seven days.  On the eighth day he sent the people away; and they blessed the king, and went to their tents, joyful and in good spirits because of all the goodness that the Lord had shown to his servant David and to his people Israel.

King Solomon delights in celebrating with the people and in sending them rejoicing to their tents. Jesus delights in celebrating with and within us, in rejoicing in our willingness to open our hearts to him, and in rejoicing in the goodness of God in each of us.

Visit 1 Kings to read more of this story. Visit the scripture link above and compare the different versions found in the drop down menus. Explore this story and reflect on the joy of God’s goodness in our own lives as he visits our tents and our hearts.


For more about anxiety and joy, click on the image above or visit: http://riselikeair.wordpress.com/2014/01/09/anxiety-joy-a-journey/ 

Image from: https://www.quora.com/How-old-was-Solomon-when-he-became-a-king

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god listensThursday, October 21, 2021

Psalm 66

Praise of Goodness

But truly God has listened . . .

There are so many times when we feel as though we are abandoned or that our petitions go unattended; yet we cannot know or understand the mind of God.  This psalm is divided into two distinct sections: thanks for God’s power that has saved the nation, and an individual vow to thank God in a liturgical rite.  The entire psalm focuses us on the necessity of thanking God properly because he has arrived as our savior – a foreshadowing of Jesus’ human presence among us.  Footnotes connect us with Paul’s letter to the Romans 12:1 and 6:5-8 in which we read that we are to present ourselves as living sacrifices before God, just as Christ has done for us.  (THE PSALMS 165)  The psalmist here does not complain of the difficulties suffered; rather, he sees them as part of a required rite of passage, as a stage in his discipleship, as a badge of honor.

But truly God has listened . . .

Giving thanks – even for the difficulties we have just undergone – is our appropriate stance in all things.  Paul reminds us through the Thessalonians, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Jesus Christ.  Do not put out the spirit’s fire; do not treat prophecies with contempt.  Test everything.  Hold onto the good.  Avoid every kind of evil.  May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through.  May your whole spirit, soul and body kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.  The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it.  (1 Thessalonians 5:18-24)

It is not until a storm has been safely weathered that we can see where we have arrived.  It is not until we have lost what we thought was ours that we understand what we fully have.  It is not until we suffer that we become wholly understanding of the force of goodness; and it is not until we experience evil that we altogether understand the necessity for and the magnitude of God’s goodness in the world.  While we are undergoing trial we can barely breathe and we can think of nothing but survival; but after crisis mode, we must always re-set our markers and look carefully at our new surroundings . . . otherwise we might miss the fact that truly God has listened . . .


THE PSALMS, NEW CATHOLIC VERSION. Saint Joseph Edition. New Jersey: Catholic Book Publishing Company, 2004. 165. Print.

A Favorite written on October 30, 2009. 

Image from: http://christianmotivations.weebly.com/christian-motivations-blog/archives/01-2014/47

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James Tissot: Jesus Appears to the Holy Women

James Tissot: Jesus Appears to the Holy Women

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Mark 12:18-27

A Prayer for Resurrection

On this All Souls Day we remember those who have gone before us . . . as we listen and watch for the resurrection that we are promised.

On All Souls Day we celebrate those who are yet to come as we watch and wait for the resurrection that is freely given.

On All Souls Day we call forth the great cloud of witnesses as we wait and work in the resurrection kingdom.

On this All Souls Day we praise God’s goodness and mercy as we work and witness to the healing of the resurrection.

On this All Souls Day we rejoice with the faithful as we witness and we pray for the transformation of the resurrection, so that we may not be greatly mislead.

Amen.

In the northern hemisphere days shorten and nights lengthen. In less than a week we will move back to standard time and celebrate the feasts of All Saints and All Souls. As we watch, wait, work, and witness, we prepare for these feasts that anticipate the great feast of salvation that we will celebrate at Easter. 


Image from: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Brooklyn_Museum_-_Jesus_Appears_to_the_Holy_Women_(Apparition_de_J%C3%A9sus_aux_saintes_femmes)_-_James_Tissot.jpg

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Saturday, October 9, 2021

Jeremiah 15:10-21

The-Goodness-of-God-Blog-BannerPurposes for Good

Surely I will set you free for purposes of good . . .

Before we leave the prophecy of Jeremiah, let us remember his help when we feel separate or alone, exiled or forgotten.

Before we forget the words of Jeremiah, let us remember his hope when we are discouraged or overwhelmed, empty or lost.

Before we move into the tomorrow God promises, let us remember our potential for worth, the joy of our work, and the purpose of God’s goodness.

Before we step into the gift God plants in us, let us remember that God wants nothing more than our love, nothing more than our fidelity . . . and nothing less than eternal, intimate union with us.


Adapted from a reflection first written on April 17, 2007.

Image from: http://www.gregorydickowonline.com/the-promises-of-god/

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shepherdSaturday, August 14, 2021

Jeremiah 22 & 23

Ungodliness

Jeremiah presents us with a roll call of false leaders, Jehoahaz, Jehoiakim and Jeconiah.

Woe to him who builds his house on wrong; his terraces on injustice, who works his neighbor without pay, and gives him no wages.

Jeremiah also presents us with a messianic vision, the promise of a good and honest shepherd who fulfills the promise of bringing the faithful home.

I will raise up a righteous shoot to David; as king he shall reign and govern wisely, he shall do what is just and right in the land.

Jeremiah shows us the dichotomy of evil and goodness in which we live. He gives us mirror in which we might discover our own ungodliness.

God says: You need not tremble when you read about the terrible leaders who lead my faithful away from me and to the hungry, demanding little gods of Baal. You need not fear for your life if you live in me. You need not hide or bury yourself away when danger threatens. You need only rest in me. Allow my peace to give you a quiet place of rest. Let the freedom I give you prove the depth of my love, the strength of my fidelity, and the healing power of my hope.  

False and true leaders, false and true prophets, false and true shepherds. Jeremiah draws clear pictures of what we may see in ourselves and others as he warns us of the danger of ungodliness.


For information about Jehoahaz, Jehoiakim and Jeconiah, visit:

http://biblehub.com/dictionary/j/jehoahaz.htm

http://biblehub.com/dictionary/j/jehoiakim.htm

http://biblehub.com/dictionary/j/jeconiah.htm

To learn about Josiah, visit: http://biblehub.com/dictionary/j/josiah.htm

Image from: http://www.open-mike.ca/2013/08/13/day-225/

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