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Posts Tagged ‘God’s goodness’


Luke 12:22-34: Allfarming for hunger

Saturday, March 26, 2022

If we learn nothing more about ourselves in this Lenten journey, let us pray that we understand how much easier life when we learn the simple lesson Jesus teaches us daily: Where your treasure lies, there also will your heart be.

Where do we place our priorities each morning? Do we jump into our day or do we pause to spend time orienting ourselves to God’s agenda rather than our own?

Where do we place all our energies each afternoon? Do we make plans for vacations, parties, and reunions as frequently as we plan to spend time in prayer and fellowship with others?

Where do we place our petitions each evening as we tumble into sleep? Do we give thanks for the good we have received as much as we worry about all that did not go well?

Jesus is quite clear. Where we focus our attention and anxiety, this is the place we are storing up the essence of ourselves. Where we spend our time in kingdom building, this is the place we are calling our home for all eternity.

farming 4 hungerWhere do we choose to deposit all that we do and are? In our wealth and power? In our influence and possessions? How much better it is to place all we are and all we do in the ample heart of God.


Spend some time with Luke 12:22-34 today and compare biblical texts. How will we change our hearts as we move toward the closing days of Lent?

Visit http://www.farming4hunger.com/, or click on the image to the left, to see how one man’s determination to store up goodness has changed his life and his world. Consider sending some of your Lenten alms to a kingdom-building organization that gives its all to enact God’s goodness and mercy.

Special thanks to a Noontime friend for sharing the good news about Farming 4 Hunger. 

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The Four Gospels: Theophilusbible-1

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

In the next days of our Lenten pilgrimage as we near the celebration of the Easter miracle, we will focus on the New Testament with its words of joy that call us to newness. Today we take time to compare varying versions of verses as we listen for the voice that speaks within. If possible, we will look for a quiet place and time in which we can look at the opening verses of each Gospel.  And we will listen for God’s wisdom, ask for God’s grace, and rest in God’s mercy.

Matthew 1 begins with: The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham. When we consider why Matthew was calling his largely Jewish audience to Jesus’ lineage, we may begin to understand the importance of our own heritage, the influence of our tribe and its traditions, and the opportunities for division that unity in Christ might bridge.

Mark 1 begins in this way. The beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Thinking about this story that was written quite close to the resurrection event, we may begin to comprehend the fear and awe that gripped these first followers of Christ, the same fear and awe that take hold of us today, and the prospect that Christ heals all wounds when we open ourselves to his care.

Luke 1 begins in another manner: Since many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the vents that have been fulfilled among us, just as those who were eyewitnesses from the beginning and ministers of the word handed down to them to us, I too have decided after investigating everything accurately anew, to write it down in an orderly sequence for you, most excellent Theophilus, so you may realize the certainty of the teachings you have received. Contemplating these words, we might also consider how our own story of our life in Christ might begin, how it might play out, and how it might conclude. We might also consider how we live out Christ’s message each day as we play and work and pray.

John 1 begins with its soaring, beautiful language that carries us on a journey we cannot forget or put aside: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. Meditating on these concepts, we might allow ourselves to be called into newness, to be open to restoration and to forgive others as we are forgiven.

Today we think, we contemplate, we consider and we meditate on the story of Jesus. Let us also act in Christ’s name to heal a world that longs for peace and mercy. When we click on the scripture links we open a world of hope where before there was no possibility. We enter into a world of fidelity where before there was only betrayal. And we allow Christ to create goodness and light out of harm where before there was only darkness and evil. Let us, like Theophilus, enter into our relationship as a beloved friend of God. And let us allow God to bring us the Easter promise in a full and meaningful way so that we might realize the certainty of the teachings we have received, so that we might pass on the goodness that God has in store for each of us.


For more information on ideas for Luke’s use of the name Theophilus, visit: http://biblehub.com/topical/t/theophilus.htm

Image from: https://defeatingthedragons.wordpress.com/

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Psalm 103: What is Oursenvy

Third Sunday of Lent

March 20, 2022

“It is easy to look on the gifts of others as a threat.  We often want what we don’t have and in doing so forget the good that God has given us. But wanting what is not rightfully ours is the root of many serious sins. Let us instead look how generous God has been to us and rejoice in his generosity to others. For this is the way to justice and happiness”. (MAGNIFICAT Evening Prayer for Friday, March 13, 2009).

Psalm 103, often given the name Praise of Divine Goodness, brings us an opportunity to consider how willing we are to consider what is ours and what is not. It asks us to reflect on who has given us all that we have. It is an opening into our own psyche to think about who and what we covet, and why.

Today’s readings bring us new windows on our own lives.

It was out of envy that they handed Christ over. Matthew 27:18

Love is patient.  Love is kind.  It is not jealous. 1 Corinthians 13:4

It is now the hour for you to awake from sleep . . . The night is advanced, the day is at hand. Let us then throw off the works of darkness [and] put on the armor of light; let us conduct ourselves properly as in the day, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in promiscuity and licentiousness, not in rivalry and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ . . . Romans 13:11-14

Wanting what is not ours only brings pain to ourselves and others. This we know and we are quick to realize the damage we suffer when we covet the possessions of others; but how often do we unknowingly covet the intangibles of life? We may wish we possessed others’ friends, others’ jobs, others’ good looks and easy manner. Do we wish we had the closeness others have with God? Are there relationships others might have in work and in play that we wish were ours?

When we want what is not ours, we open ourselves to that which grows in the dark. When we give thanks for the gifts freely given us by God, we open ourselves to the light. When we use our feelings of jealousy as opportunities to thank God, we regard each sensation of envy as an opportunity to rejoice in God’s merciful kindness.

Bless the Lord, oh my soul, do not forget all the gifts of God . . . he delivers your life from the pit, surrounds you with love and compassion, fills your days with good things . . .

Tomorrow, The Forgotten Son.


To read about women and envy at the PSYCHOLOGY TODAY site, click on the image above or visit: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-couch/201307/why-women-fear-envy-and-why-we-dont-need

Cameron, Peter John. “Prayer for the Evening.” MAGNIFICAT. 14.4 (2009). Print.

Adapted from a reflection written on March 14, 2009.

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Sunday, February 13, 2022

Dark Sky Association: Hovenweep National Monument

Dark Sky Association: Hovenweep National Monument

Psalm 147:1-7

Calling the Stars by Name

Praise the Lord for God is good; sing to the Lord for God is loving; to God is all our praise due . . .

We may know and understand that God accompanies us as we stumble over and through the obstacles in our lives, but how do we demonstrate our belief that God is good and loving? How do we give to God the praise that is due?

The Lord brings back and builds up, heals the broken-hearted and binds up all their wounds . . .

Each time we help someone in need without complaining, each time we extend ourselves when we ourselves are spent, each time we reach out to heal and soothe, these are the times when we bring God’s goodness to light.

The Lord fixes the number of stars and calls each one by name . . .

Each time we see ourselves in proper perspective with the rest of the universe, each time we honor God’s creation by conserving nature, each time we teach others to reverence the world, these are the times when we bring God’s merciful power to fullness.

Our Lord is great and almighty; God’s wisdom can never be measured . . .

Each time we spend an hour with scripture to understand its deeper meaning, each time we meditate to listen for the word of God, each time we bring God’s wisdom to another, these are the times when we bring God’s insight to the world.

The Lord raises up the lowly and humbles the wicked to the dust . . .

Each time we humble ourselves and allow others to go forward, each time we pray for the wicked who harm us, each time we speak for those who have no voice, these are the times when we bring the Beatitudes to life.

O sing to the Lord and give thanks; sing psalms to our God with the harp . . .

When we consider the panoply of stars in the darkness of the heavens, each time we consider the enormity of the multiverse, each time we allow God to take us into the vision and plan God has in mind . . . these are the times when we too, in unison with God, call each of the stars by name.


To find out if we can really name stars after loved ones, watch a short video or read the article when you visit: http://www.universetoday.com/104134/can-you-really-name-a-star/  Also on this site: images of the Northern Lights, and a link to a YouTube time-lapse stargazing video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=grAz87CdefI&feature=youtu.be

For a preview of an article on The Multiverse, visit: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/does-the-multiverse-really-exist/ 

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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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