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Posts Tagged ‘God’s love’


water jarMonday, August 2, 2021

Jeremiah 14

Empty Jars

The word of the Lord came to Jeremiah concerning the great drought: The nobles send their servants for water, but when they come to the cisterns they find no water and return with empty jars.

Jeremiah portrays the Lord as an avenging God in this chapter, one who exacts heavy consequences for lapses and recalcitrance. Yahweh laments those slain by the sword and those consumed by hunger. In Jeremiah’s day, pagan people believed they created positive circumstances in their lives by placating little gods, and Yahweh’s faithful also look at their relationship with God in this strictly dual manner: those who obey will prosper and flourish while those who disobey are punished.

Ashamed, despairing, they cover their heads because of the stricken soil; because there is no rain in the land the farmers are ashamed, they cover their heads.

And so the people rail against their creator, asking for help and intercession.

Why are you like a man dumbfounded, a champion who cannot save? You are in our midst, O Lord, your name we bear: do not forsake us!

God says: I have never forsaken you. I am with you still. Did I not call you into being? Do I not call to you each morning, noon and night? Do I not abide with you even during those times when I see that I am completely forgotten by you? I understand the appeal of the world for it is my creation. I understand your need to feel comfortable and safe when dreadful circumstances surround you. Put away this fear and allow me to surround you with my love. Allow me to fill your dry cisterns and your empty jars for when I fill them they will brim to overflowing. When I fill them, you will never perish of thirst. When I fill you there is no need of well or vessel. I am the alpha and the omega, the beginning and then end. I am the transformation and the resurrection. I am all you will ever need.

Spend a few minutes today giving thanks for . . .

The Living God who never abandons us even when we have turned away,

The Eternal God who sustains us even when we have gone astray,

The Wondrous God who loves us . . . beyond all measure and imagining.


To reflect again on how we might learn to trust that God in our midst, enter the words The Lord Surrounds Us into the blog search bar and explore.

To learn more about ancient water jars or hyriaiclick on the image above or go to: http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/gkhy/hd_gkhy.htm

 

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Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Unidentified Flemish painter: Rich and Poor, or War and Peace

Unidentified Flemish painter: Rich and Poor, or War and Peace

Jeremiah 8

Incomprehensible Conduct

When someone falls, does he not rise again? If he goes astray, does he not turn back? Why do these people rebel with obstinate persistence?

Jeremiah sees the coming calamity: the stubborn Israelites refuse to cease worshiping idols. The prophet knows that these are a stubborn, persistent people . . . and the prophet sees their conduct as incomprehensible.

We frequently hear and use the word persistence to indicate our perseverance in following Christ. Here the prophet Jeremiah reminds the people of Judah – and us today – that God grieves for us when we are persistent in our lack of repentance and our shameless conduct. Yet we know it is equally true that God’s loving Spirit will heal and cure us when we decide to turn away from our idols. We understand that the persistent love Christ lives out for us will redeem our unbelievable behavior. We live in the hope that God’s compassion for us will abide . . . even when our conduct is beyond comprehension.

In his letter to the Romans (12:14-21), Paul reminds the faithful of the depth, the breadth and the intensity of God’s love for us – and the persistence of this love in the face of our inexplicable reluctance to return God’s love. Bless your persecutors; never curse them, bless them. Rejoice with others when they rejoice and be sad with those in sorrow. Give the same consideration to all others alike. Pay no regard to social standing, but meet humble people on their own terms. Do not congratulate yourself on your own wisdom. Never try to get revenge: leave that, my dear friends, to the Retribution. As scripture says: “Vengeance is mine – I will pay them back”, the Lord promises. And more: If your enemy is hungry, give him something to eat, if thirsty, something to drink. By this you will be heaping red-hot coals on his head”. Do not be mastered by evil, but master evil with good.

When human conduct is incomprehensible in its darkness and evil, rather than attempting to convert these souls on our own, we must turn to God, the source of healing and redemption. We must intercede for these lost ones and ask that God call them into the light from their shadowy places. And we must ask that the Light of the world, the Christ, enter into them to cure and redeem them. In this way their conduct may become comprehensible. In this way we demonstrate our eagerness to seek the perfection of Christ in all we say and think and do.


Adapted from a reflection written on June 26, 2010.

For a reflection on Jeremiah 8, click on the image above or go to: https://www.workingpreacher.org/preaching.aspx?commentary_id=1771

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Monday, July 5, 2021

John 13:20-21

intimacy with God

Intimacy

“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who receives whomever I send receives me; and he who receives me receives him who sent me”. When Jesus had said this, he became troubled in spirit, and testified and said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, that one of you will betray me”.

God says: Betrayal does not lurk within the bounds of intimacy with me as it too often does in human relationships. Intimacy with me is constant, honest, predictable, and safe. It is a refuge from the duplicity too frequently found in the world. Betrayal cuts deepest when it comes from those we love best. Of this I am well aware, and so this is why I tell you that my love for you is far greater than any pain the world brings you. My love for you is greater than any hate, betrayal, loss or death. My love for you knows no bounds, and when you are one in me you too, are boundless.

Enter the word intimacy into the blog search bar and consider the role it plays in our lives.


Image from: http://www.bennyhinn.org/intimacy-with-god/

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Wednesday, June 9, 2021

pentecostActs 1:8

To the Ends of the Earth

You will receive the power of the Holy Spirit coming upon you, and you will be my witnesses, even to the ends of the earth, alleluia.

The Apostle John has told us all that we need to know about Jesus.

The Apostle John has written to us, God’s little children, to remind us that we are well loved.

The Apostle John experienced the power of the Spirit and he passes all of this on to us.

How do choose to receive this Word? How do we choose to witness God’s love? How do we choose to pass along the story of God’s overwhelming love for us?

Let us spend a bit of time today with the first Chapter of the Acts of the Apostles, and let us consider how we enact God’s Spirit not in overt, grandiose ways, but in the smallest, the most mundane and the most ordinary acts of our lives.

And let us pray: Holy and generous God, we come to you as both weed and wheat. Help us to be patient with ourselves and one another. We find ourselves before you struggling with  the real and ideal in our lives. Show us how to reconcile our nights and days of grief and joy. We ask for wisdom as we work to understand your Word and how we are to testify in our own right the amazing story of your love. Teach us how we are to know you among all the false gods in our lives. We make liars of ourselves too often and too easily. Give us the energy, patience and strength to walk in faith with you as we experience victory over all that draws us away from you. And grant us the power of your Spirit so that we might witness authentically, even to the ends of the earth. We ask this in Jesus’ name and in union with the Holy Spirit. Amen.


This post was written on Pentecost Sunday 2014 and is posted today as a conclusion to our reflections on John’s first letter. 

Image from: http://www.daughtersofwisdom.org.uk/19-may-pentecost-sunday/

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trustMonday, June 7, 2021

1 John 5:6-12

Making Liars of Ourselves

As we near the end of John’s first letter we might be shocked to hear what the apostle has to say to us. Let us encourage one another to hear God’s word and send it on.

Whoever does not believe God has made himself a liar by not believing the testimony God has given about his Son.

As we consider the testimony John gives to us we might be amazed to hear that God loves each of us. Let us encourage one another to enact God’s word and send it on.

And this is the testimony: God gave us eternal life, and this life is in the Son.

As we begin to understand the breadth and depth and height of God’s love we might be humbled to realize that God comes among us as the human Christ to suffer as we suffer, to rejoice as we rejoice. Let us encourage one another to love God’s word and send it on.

Whoever possesses the Son has life; whoever dos not possess the Son of God does not have life.

As we begin to fully take in all that John has related to us we might be amazed to understand that God loves us always, even when our actions do not reflect our words. Let us encourage one another to speak truth by living authentically rather than making liars of ourselves with all the great and little actions in our lives.

authenticityEnter the word authenticity in to the blog search bar and consider how easy it is to cease making liars of ourselves.


Image from: http://www.pammarketingnut.com/2011/05/are-authentic-social-relationships-over-rated/

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imagesCAYBROG0Sunday, June 6, 2021

1 John 5:1-5

Victory Over the World

We study John’s first letter and we see the logic in believing that our faith will help us to move away from the easy commandment the world gives us of taking care of self.

Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is begotten by God . . .

We also feel the tug of faith based on Christ, the certainty of hope placed in God and the serenity of love found in the Spirit.

Everyone who loves the father also loves the one begotten by God . . .

Yet still we may struggle with how it is that this victory that John describes – and the victory we want to experience – takes place in us.

In this way we know that we love the children of God when we love God and obey God’s commandments . . .

We might look for certain answers to our many questions and ask for more solid information, but this negates the process that John describes of coming to know Christ through faith.

For the love of God is this, that we keep God’s commandments. God’s commandments are not burdensome . . .

If we fight against loving our enemies we must remember that the more we practice interceding for those who harm us the more we find ourselves awaking to God’s Law of Love.

For whoever is begotten by God conquers the world . . .

We need not struggle against exterior forces of darkness; rather, we struggle with our own reluctance to trust God . . . even a reluctance which seems to be founded on logic and prudence.

And the victory that conquers the world is our faith . . .

We need not look to others to find happiness and even serenity; rather, we need look only to ourselves and our willingness to love God in everyone we meet, even those who wish us harm.

Who indeed is the victor over the world but the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?

When we believe that we can find no victory in this world . . . perhaps we might reconsider what kind of victory we seek . . . and if our victory finds it foundation in Christ himself.


Enter the word victory into the blog search bar and consider what victory looks like to those who trust God.

Image from: http://www.pinterest.com/alannadueck/christian-quotes/

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land of nod

Land of Nod

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

  Genesis 4

Considering Cain and Abel

How do we see the story of Cain and Abel through the lens of Johannine thought? The keeper of flocks contrasted with the tiller of soil. The favored first-born versus the overlooked second. The key to the story, as we are constantly told, lies in verse 3: Through the course of time Cain brought an offering to the Lord from the fruit of the soil, while Abel, for his part, brought one of the firstlings of his flock.

Cain, the eldest and sower of crops, is described as crestfallen and greatly resentful when God favors the loving offering brought by Abel but God does not leave Cain alone with his anger, fear and envy. God asks Cain why he feels these negative emotions. No reply is recorded from Cain but further words from God are: If you do well, you can hold up your head. God warns Cain of sin and describes it as a demon lurking at the door: his urge is toward you, yet you can be his master. As we read this story we hope that Cain can resist the power of envy because we want to resist this green devil ourselves; yet we know the story too well. Cain goes out to speak with Abel and unable to resist the skills of the demon, he kills his brother. Several verses later Cain asks God to allow him to be killed as he wanders the earth but God refuses this request. So Cain finally settles east of Eden in the land of nomads, Nod.

When we consider this story through the perspective of the writings of the Apostle John, we might spend time today considering three points.

God is honest with both Cain and Abel, acknowledging Abel’s true love of God and Cain’s more egocentric self. God does not pamper us by avoiding the truth. We see this same honesty in Jesus as John tells the story of the woman caught in adultery. (John 8:1-11)

God does not abandon Cain in his sadness and grief. He abides with him, yet continues to present him with truth. God allows Cain the freedom to choose his own path. We see this same fidelity in Jesus when John retells his words about the Good Shepherd. (John 10:1-21)

God does not create an easy exit for Cain but rather allows him to experience the consequence of listening to the demon who lurks at the door. God offers Cain transformation through suffering. We see this same love in Jesus with every story John tells of the Resurrected Christ. (John 20 and 21)

And we also experience this same love from Jesus each day of our lives when, as true children of God, we take our cares and worries, our joys and delights to God.

Tomorrow, considering holiness and a prayer for true children.


Image from: http://thesestonewalls.com/gordon-macrae/in-the-land-of-nod-east-of-eden/

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john3Wednesday, May 19, 2021

1 John 1:1-4

A Prayer to Love

The Apostle John tells us today . . .

What we have seen from the beginning . . .

What we have heard . . .

What we have seen with our eyes . . .

What we looked upon . . .

What we touched with our hands . . .

Was visible . . .

Is still visible . . .

And we proclaim to you now . . .

We are writing this so that your joy may be complete . . .

This is our anthem of love . . .

Sing it often . . .

Proclaim it aloud . . .

So that others may know this joy. Amen.

Spend some time today with the opening of John’s first letter of love to us by clicking on the scripture link above or here in this paragraph. Explore the four versions of these verses that have been selected. Choose another version by using the drop-down menus and examine the meaning of love in your life and where it is present in an unusual way. Say the prayer above or write your own prayer. Consider sending your Prayer to Love to another . . .


For an interesting prayer to St. John from The Feast Day Cookbook by Katherine Burton and Helmut Ripperger, David McKay Company, Inc., New York, 1951, click on the image above or go to: http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/liturgicalyear/prayers/view.cfm?id=965

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Tuesday, May 18, 2021

1 John 1

come and seeWhat Love Is

If ever we lie awake on a painful night, if ever we begin to think that the story of the Christ is amazing but untrue, if ever we find ourselves alone in a crowd of people, we might turn to this anthem of love. For this is how much we are loved.

If ever we lose strength, if ever we falter a bit or lose heart, we return to this song of certainty in a world full of doubt. This is how one who walked with the Christ attempts to set down the story for those of us who follow centuries later.

If ever we see too much darkness around us, too much to overcome, too much to survive, we look for God in these images of light and truth and hope and certainty. This is how much Jesus stirred those whom he touched. And this is how much he loves us still.

We can still share a meal with him as we break Eucharist and take from the Cup.

We can still feel his human presence in every face we meet every day.

We can still feel his reassuring hand when a fellow pilgrim touches us in an authentic gesture of love.

In this world full of downs and ups, sorrow and joy, darkness and light, the darkness touches us not because he is with us in every solitary day, at any lonely moment. We are not alone. We have only to turn to John’s words to read them carefully . . . to look into the face that saves the world.

Tomorrow, a prayer to love.


Adapted from a reflection written on August 3, 2008.

Image from: https://www.holytextures.com/2011/12/john-1-43-51-year-b-epiphany-2-january-14-january-20-sermon.html

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