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Posts Tagged ‘God’s plans’


Sunday, September 5, 2021

Tibetan Nomads

Tibetan Nomads

Jeremiah 35

Wayfarers

Build no house and sow no seed; neither plant nor own a vineyard. You shall dwell in tents all your life, so that you may live long on the earth where you are wayfarers.

Many of us in the developed world live a life of storing up and putting away, of saving for an emergency or the unexpected event. When we read today’s Noontime verses we have the opportunity to assess our level of trust in the creator who knows every detail about us, of our willingness to follow Christ who knows each strength and weakness within us, of our openness to the Spirit who dwells in the heart of each of us to cure, to heal and to console.

We might take this opportunity today to examine our readiness to trust God more than possessions or status. We might also open our minds to the possibility that in many ways we are called to be wayfarers.

God says: I do not ask that you free yourself of your shelter and your stores; rather, I ask that you share them with those who have nothing. I do not ask that you rely on others to provide for your welfare when I have given you gifts with which you might care for yourself and those who live on the margins of your busy life. I ask that you consider your relationships with others in your life as valuable pearls of great price. You are created a social creature and I ask that even your smallest interactions and the briefest of encounters be held as sacred moments in which you meet me. I do not ask that you live as nomads with no purpose or mission; rather, I ask that you put down willing roots into the soil of my kingdom. For there you will flourish and bear fruit in my name. There you will journey with me to experience the mystery and gift and surprise of new life in me. And you will discover the plans for peace that I have in mind for you. You will celebrate with timbrel and dance and tambourine. You will sing and cry and laugh with me. And you will realize just how great my love is for you.

As we reflect on Jeremiah and the Rechabites, let us consider what we store up, what we share, and what we love. Let us consider our life as a wayfarer in God’s kingdom.


To learn about Tibetan nomads, click on the image above or visit: http://www.traveladventures.org/continents/asia/tibetan-nomads.html

For more on Jeremiah 35, enter the words Taking Correction into the blog search bar and explore.

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Thursday, August 26, 2021

jeremiah 29-11Jeremiah 29

A Message to Exiles

Jeremiah is clear: the future prosperity of those going into exile depends upon settling in and making the most of a long captivity. Hananiah and his followers have miscalculated, and have lost their lives in the bargain; the exile will not be a short one. Jeremiah and his supporters have proved correct; Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonian empire is not a passing force; it will hold a central position in the region for quite a long time. (Mays 567)

At first glance we find a bleak situation – there is no remedy, no rescuer, and no plan in place to put injustice right. And yet, Jeremiah offers hope with some of the most beautiful verses in all of sacred scripture. He brings hope to a desolate and despairing people; he brings us words from the Living God that will sustain us when nothing else will.

When nights are endless and days are wearying, we remember . . .

Thus says the Lord: I know well the plans I have in mind for you, plans for your welfare, not for woe!  plans to give you a future full of hope.

When human resources are gone and we know we are empty . . .

When you call me, when you go to pray for me, you will find me.

When we see nothing but obstacles before us . . .

Jeremiah 29.13Yes, when you seek me with all your heart, you will find me with you, and I will change your lot.

When we believe we can no longer survive . . .

I will gather you together from all the nations.

When we yearn for a time past when we understood more and were confused less . . .

I will bring you back to the place from which I exiled you.

When we consider the periods of exile we experience even in the midst of our lives busy with families, neighbors and colleagues, we might turn to Jeremiah who harbingers the promise of God’s outrageous hope, the promise of Christ’s redemption, and the promise of the Spirit’s in-dwelling. This is his message to the exiles and to us: God has plans for you . . . plans for your joy . . . and not for woe . . . plans to bring you back . . . to the place you have been promised.


Images from: http://lauragoins.blogspot.com/2011/01/jeremiah-2911.html and http://creativeconfetti.blogspot.com/2012/07/jeremiah-2913.html

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be strongSunday, June 13, 2021

1 Chronicles 28:9-10

Setting to Work

We have determined to praise God’s gifts to the ends of the earth. Let us consider how David sets an example for us to proclaim God’s goodness to future generations.

As for you, my children, know the God of your father and serve God with a perfect heart and a willing soul, for the Lord searches all hearts and understands all the mind’s thoughts.

We know that David sets aside his plans to build a holy place for the Ark of the Covenant; but he sets these plans aside when he understands that God has greater plans than those that he has created. Let us also make certain that the plans of our hearts are mindful of the plans of God’s heart.

If you seek God, God will let himself be found by you. But if you abandon him, he will cast you off forever.

Jesus comes to tell us the story of the Forgiving Father (Luke 15:11-31) and the Lost Son. Let us consider this parable as a roadmap of God’s plan for each of us.

See then! The Lord has chosen you to build a house as his sanctuary.

Jesus comes to tell us that we need not build temples to extol God; rather, we need create a dwelling place for the in-dwelling of the Spirit. Let us consider how and what and why we prepare ourselves for God’s Spirit. (John 2:19)

Take courage and set to work.

David reminds us that we need not worry about the plans that we have made for ourselves but rather we must tend to the plans God has in mind.

David sets aside his own desires and wishes to do as God asks; and he encourages his progeny to also follow God.

Christ reminds us that the temples we construct to ourselves do not last, but rather we are to prepare our hearts as God’s own dwelling place.

Christ shows us how to abandon ourselves in order to prepare our hearts as God’s own temple, he reminds us that we are constantly and forever loved by God; and he encourages us set to work at once. (Matthew 15:13)

And so as we set to work each day in our perfect persistence as kingdom builders, let us also remind our children of God’s fidelity. As we offer our hopes each day as willing participants in God’s plan, let us also remind our children of God’s outrageous expectation for our serenity. And as we offer our love to others each day, let us also remind our children of the power of God the creator, the compassion of God the Rescuer, and the peace of God the In-dweller . . . this awesome God who searches all hearts and understands all the mind’s thoughts.


Image from: http://www.mymothermode.com/2014/02/free-valentines-day-heart-printable/

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Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Ghirlandaio: Annunciation of John the Baptist to Zechariah

Domenico Ghirlandaio: Annunciation of John the Baptist to Zechariah

Luke 1:20-25

Speechless

But now you will be speechless and unable to talk until the days these things take place. 

We cavil against God’s plan; we complain about God’s time; we fuss with the details of God’s space and time. And this despite the evidence of God’s love and care that stand boldly and honestly before us. We persist in worrying and hoping to control.

God says: The story of Zechariah may seem a harsh one but when you look more closely you will see another layer. In all those days that Zechariah could not speak he drew nearer to me than he had at any other time in his life. And out of this great restraint and learning comes the beautiful fruit of his knowing my love.

We too frequently see the details of God’s plan as stumbling blocks rather than stepping stones. We too seldom trust that God’s infinite plan brings compassion to all.

The Lord God will wipe away the tears from all faces; the reproach of God’s people the Lord will remove from the whole earth.  (Isaiah 25:8)

Listen to the words of the song Speechless by Steven Curtis Chapman and imagine what we might learn when we cease talking and begin to listen.  Imagine the strength of God’s love that leaves us speechless.

Visit the Benedictus page on this blog to reflect on Zechariah’s response to God when his speech returns.


Image from: https://www.artbible.info/art/large/585.html

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James 1:9-10: A Balanced View

Wednesday, September 30, 2015NR_Nearby_Wildflowers_125577329_stock_EdmundLowe

James encourages a balanced view of the signs and symbols in our world. He reminds us that wealth, power and fame are fleeting. From THE MESSAGE edition of The Bible.

When down-and-outers get a break, cheer!

And when the arrogant rich are brought down to size, cheer!

Prosperity is as short-lived as a wildflower, so don’t ever count on it.

You know that as soon as the sun rises, pouring down its scorching heat, the flower withers.

Its petals wilt and, before you know it, that beautiful face is a barren stem.

Well, that’s a picture of the “prosperous life.” At the very moment everyone is looking on in admiration, it fades away to nothing.

And so we pray,

Steadfast and generous God, we are reminded that our plans are best when they are your plans. Help us through our trials. Speak clearly to us through our temptations. Remind us that we are sustained by you alone and that you share your heavenly perspective with us in the varied gifts you ask us to share. May we continue to return to you the fruit of our own lives as we struggle for balance in you. Amen.

 

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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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Sunday, February 8, 2015heart

Jeremiah 3:12-16

Prayer for Return

Return, rebel, and I will not remain angry with you . . .

Thus says the Lord, and so might we also say to our enemies.

For I am merciful, I will not continue my wrath forever . . .

So says the Lord, and so might we also say to those who bring us anger.

Only know your guilt; how you rebelled against the Lord, your God . . .

Thus acts the Lord, and so might we also act with ourselves and others.

How you ran hither and yon to strangers and would not listen to my voice . . .

Just so does the Lord call us to forgive and listen.

Return . . . I will take you, one from the city, two from a clan . . .

Just so does the Lord gather us up, as we might gather up those who are scattered.

I will appoint over you shepherds after my own heart who will shepherd you wisely and prudently . . .

The Lord our God has made plans to guide and protect us, plans that bring us into God’s heart.

When you multiply and become fruitful . . .

The Lord our God has made plans for all that will bring us joy.

Kailash Satyarthi: One of two Nobel Peace Prize 2014 Winners

Kailash Satyarthi: One of two Nobel Peace Prize 2014 Winners

Explore the Nobel site at: http://www.nobelprize.org/

Read about last year’s Nobel Peace Prize winners and consider how they have brought Jeremiah’s prayer to life. http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/peace/

Explore Kailash Satyarthi’s profile on the BBC News at: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-29568634  

For a reflection on Jeremiah 3, go to the Sincere and Insincere Conversion page on this blog at: https://thenoontimes.com/2014/08/04/sincere-and-insincere-conversion/

 

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