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Posts Tagged ‘God’s promise’


Deuteronomy 11: Wonders

Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Love the Lord your God and always heed God’s charge.

The wonder of God’s love is so easily overlooked, so quickly put aside.

The land into which you are crossing drinks in rain from heaven.

We often think of rain as an obstacle for some activity we have planned, or as a spoiler of an otherwise beautiful day.  In this reading, we pause to remember that it is the rain that nourishes and sustains.

Take these words of mine into your heart and soul.  Bind them at your wrist as a sign, and let them be a pendant on your forehead. 

These are the words we hear echoed with the Shema of chapter 6 verses 4 to 9.

Teach them to your children, speaking of them at home and abroad, whether you are busy or at rest. 

These are concepts we speak to ourselves but that we hesitate to speak to others, especially when we are rushed or tired.

You are about to cross the Jordan to enter and occupy the land which the Lord, your God, is giving you. 

We have been assured a fertile place in which to flourish, a land of promise and goodness.

We have been guaranteed a love far greater than any we can imagine, a love that forgives always, a love that never diminishes or loses interest.

We have been asked to keep these words close and to repeat them to those who follow.

We have been asked to hold God close, to follow God’s way, and to call others to likewise follow.

This request is not a great one when what we receive in exchange is the gift of eternal life, of eternal nourishment, of eternal love, of eternal wonder at the goodness of our God.


Click on the image above to learn more about the Shema, or visit: https://www.learnreligions.com/what-is-aishes-chayil-p4-2077021

A Favorite from Monday, April 26, 2010.

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Matthew 28:11-15: The Report

Annibale Carracci: The Dead Christ

Annibale Carracci: The Dead Christ

Thursday, March 24, 2015

While they were going . . . We are eager to hear the resurrection story again. We anticipate the revelation of Christ’s powerful restoration message. What seemed lost is found. What was empty is now full. Jesus’ faithful followers go to Galilee to meet with Jesus. What must they have been imagining? What do we imagine as we set off each day to do God’s work in an often hostile world?

Some of the guard assembled with the elders and took counsel; then they gave a large sum of money to the soldiers . . . We dislike the corruption and deceit that surrounds the resurrection story. We are saddened by the darkness that clouds this beautiful exemplar. What is light is threatened by the darkness. What is holy is stalked by evil. Jesus’ enemies cannot abide the truth that stares them down. How do they think they can silence the very hope they themselves have sought? How do we avoid the truths that stare at us each day?

ontheshoreThe soldiers took the money and did as they were instructed. And this is the story that has circulated to the present day . . . We forswear duplicity and promise to cease all gossip. We are stunned by lies and shudder at the audacity of others to twist reality to their own vision. What is dead now lives forever. What is slandered is now exalted. What report of God’s love do these schemers present to the world with lies and deceit? What daily report of God’s love do we present to the world through our actions and words?

No principality or power can overcome the love that the Spirit bestows on us. No tempest or evil can undo the healing the Spirit brings to us. No strident denial, no manipulative tyrant can drown out the justice that Christ speaks through his actions. And this is our Lenten promise from God. We are rescued. We are healed. We are redeemed. We are loved beyond measure. The false report that ends Matthew’s Gospel continues for a time in its falsehood while the report of Good News has held through the ages and will hold until the end of time.

Tissot: Jesus Teaches the People by the Sea

Tissot: Jesus Teaches the People by the Sea

We are bearers of this wonderful news, so let us carry this Word forward in joy-filled hope.  We are children of God, so let us share this marvelous news with those who have ears to hear. We are sisters and brothers of Christ in the Spirit, let us determine to hold fast to the report brought to us through the power and love of God.

Yesterday we considered whose good opinions we seek, today we consider whose reports we believe, tomorrow we consider what fears we obey. 


The Carracci image from: http://www.bible-people.info/Mary-Magdalene-bible-text.htm

The fishing boats and fire image from: https://biblicaljoy.wordpress.com/page/3/

The Tissot image from: http://www.jesuswalk.com/luke/tissot-artwork-new-testament.htm

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joySunday, October 24, 2021

Deuteronomy 16

Joy and Feasts

From time to time we will visit scripture to look for stories about joy that will surprise us in a number of ways. If you wish to explore other stories in which joy astonishes 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 from the Book of Deuteronomy.

God of forgiveness, God of love, you teach us to celebrate with you; and yet, we forget your teaching.

God of hope, God of faith, you instill us with a model of your love; and yet, we put aside your inspiration.

God of promise, God of hope, you ask us to reverence you; and yet, we overlook your many miracles that grace our lives.

God of mercy, God of wisdom, you inspire us to worship you; and yet, we create vast deserts of days without thanking you.

God of feasts, God of joy, you offer us your merciful justice; and yet we hoard your compassion and neglect to share this gift so lovingly given by you.

Deuteronomy 16:15: Seven days you shall celebrate a feast to the Lord your God in the place which the Lord chooses, because the Lord your God will bless you in all your produce and in all the work of your hands, so that you will be altogether joyful.

Let us remember to thank God for the gift of our health, our gifts, our hearth, our goods, our home, family and friends by sharing joy gladly, by celebrating freely, and by thanking God often for the great gift of Feasts.


To read about the feasts of Passover, Weeks and Booths, read Deuteronomy 16. Also visit: http://biblehub.com/dictionary/p/passover.htm, http://biblehub.com/dictionary/w/weeks.htm and http://biblehub.com/dictionary/b/booths.htm 

To learn about the importance of Feasts in the Old and New Testaments, click on the image of Solomon’s Jerusalem below, or visit: http://www.keyway.ca/htm2012/20121001.htm 

solomon's jerusalemFor more about anxiety and joy, visit: http://riselikeair.wordpress.com/2014/01/09/anxiety-joy-a-journey/ 

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Monday, August 30, 2021

The Old Temple Housing the Old Covenant

The Old Temple Housing the Old Covenant

Jeremiah 31:21-40

Good News!

Watered gardens, priests with souls of abundance, shouts of joy, radiance at the generosity of the Lord, new wine and new oil, virgins dancing, old and young men rejoicing together, return from the land of the enemy. Surely all will rejoice with this good news!

Set up road marks, place guideposts, turn and return to God.

Days are coming when the Lord will write a new covenant on our hearts rather than on tablets of stone in the desert. I will be their God and they will be my people. There will be no need for instruction each to his neighbor for all will know the Lord.

Days are coming and indeed, they are already here. We have every reason to rejoice!

covenant_black+on+redThis is the Good News of the Return from Exile. It is the description of The Road we must travel. It is the reminder that there is An End to Our Mourning. It is The Summons Home. It is the Certainty of God’s Promise. And it is the prediction of the Rebuilding of Jerusalem.

We are a people in exile who yearn for the running water which flows through Jerusalem.

We are a pilgrim people who travel The Way laid out for us by Jesus, the Savior.

We are a chastened people who wish to cease mourning.

We are a hopeful people who respond to the Call to turn and return.

We are a faithful people who remember our Covenant with the Creator.

hands in hands

The New Covenant: Our hands in God’s hands . . . our hearts in God’s heart.

We are a loving and love-filled people who tremble with the anticipation of the Holy Spirit.

We are a holy people who witness, work and wait.

For the days are coming and, indeed . . . they are already here!


Adapted from a reflection written on October 24, 2007

Images from: http://poetrybydeborahann.wordpress.com/2013/12/28/if-god-is-the-potter/ and http://loudcry.org/sda/archives/4998 and http://www.journeythroughthestory.com/2014/08/ezekiel-3637.html

 

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Friday, August 27, 2021

Bedouin Tent in the Sahara

Bedouin Tent in the Sahara

Jeremiah 30

A Cry of Dismay

In this portion of Jeremiah’s prophecy, we have a reprise of oracles already spoken. Perhaps we need to hear this message once more. We have heard and read these words and yet, do we fully comprehend God’s promise?

The Old Testament God unleashes the storm upon those who have fallen away from the covenant. God guides, admonishes and protects. The New Testament God lives our trial with us. Jesus heals, restores and redeems. The Spirit comes to live within each of us to console, fortify and counsel.

Let us spend some time today with these verses so that we might more fully understand. Read the four Bible versions on the scripture link above, or choose others from the drop-down menus on the scripture site. Listen for God’s unique response to our own cry of dismay, and determine to rest in the peace that only God can give.

A cry of dismay we hear; fear reigns, not peace.

Be not dismayed. Behold, I will deliver you from the far-off land.

You shall again find rest, for I am with you.

“The outcast” they have called you, “with no avenger”.

See! I will restore the tents of Jacob.

When I summon you, you will approach me.

You shall be my people, and I will be your God.

See, the storm of the Lord!

When the time comes . . . you will fully understand.


To read a blog post on women in scripture dwelling in tents, click on the image above or go to: http://www.womeninthescriptures.com/2012/05/dwelling-in-tent.html

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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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Friday, March 26, 2021

Museum of Biblical Art, NY: The Return of the Prodigal Son - Artist unknown

Museum of Biblical Art, NY: The Return of the Prodigal Son – Artist unknown

Amos 9:8-15

Messianic Perspective

Amos brings us God’s Words; he shows us the world’s Woes; he paints for us his intense Visions. If we give in to despair we miss God’s message. If we walk away in pride we miss God’s promise. If we become impatient or irritable we miss God’s grace. If we practice greed we miss feeling God’s love. Today we have the opportunity to count ourselves among the pebbles God sifts from the debris of our selfishness. We are given another chance to rise up out of the ashes of our willfulness.  We are given another season to mend breaches and to rebuild foundations on the days of old.

Jesus tells us this story of the lost son who returns home to his father after having squandered all his father had given to him. So [the son] got up and went to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. The son said to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son”. But the father said to his servants, “Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again, he lost and now is found”.  So they began to celebrate. (Luke 15:20-24)

Let us also return to the creator who is running toward us with open arms, who is waiting for our word to begin the celebration.


For an interesting article from the National Catholic Reporter in June 2011, on how theologians re-visit the famous parable of the forgiving father,, and how we may be called to forgive church structures, click on the image above or go to: http://ncronline.org/news/peace-justice/theologians-revisit-prodigal-son 

For more on the image of God’s Sieve, go to the Mini-Noontime posted on September 26, 2013 at: https://thenoontimes.com/2020/09/23/the-sieve/ 

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Monday, February 8, 2021

3_letters_quph[1]Psalm 119:145-152

Qoph

I call with all my heart, O Lord . . . I call to you to save me . . . I rise before dawn and cry out . . . I put my hope in your words.  

In this eighteenth stanza of Psalm 119 we join our voice with the psalmist’s as we respond to the call God sends us at birth.

God says: It brings me joy to hear your response to the song I have been singing to you. Your call can arrive at any hour of any day or night. It can come to me from any place and I will come to you for I always know when and where you are. My words are true. My promise is authentic. You can place all your hope in me for I bring rejoicing out of disaster and joy out of sorrow. You have every reason to trust me explicitly and totally. For I am your God . . . and you are my people.

Rather than curse the darkness, let us hand over our worries to God. Rather than follow an easy, convenient, little god, let us respond to the call we receive from the one, the only, our compassionate God.

The eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had ordered them. When they saw him, they worshiped, but they doubted. Then Jesus approached and said to them, “All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  o, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the names of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age”.  (Matthew 28:16-20)

Following Christ is never easy for The Way is strewn with obstacles that bring us anxiety, doubt and frustration. But this same journey is also graced with the presence of Christ in every hour of every day and night. Let us bolster one another with courage as we finally respond to God’s call.

Tomorrow, Resh.


For more on how Qoph speaks to us of redemption and God’s loving, omniscient presence, go to: http://www.inner.org/hebleter/kuf.htm 

 

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Thursday, January 21, 2021

Psalm 119:49-56Zayin-sd_small[1]

Zayin

This is my comfort in affliction, your promise that gives me life. Your laws become my songs wherever I make my home. Even at night I remember your name . . . This is my good fortune.

The meaning of this letter is complex but the meaning of this stanza is not.

God says: Do you hear my voice blending with yours when you raise your hands and voice to me? Do you trust that I will fulfill the promise I first planted in you? Do you know that I consider you my own? Do you know that you are my good fortune?

We so often see ourselves as separate from God when in truth we live in union with God. In this seventh lesson of Psalm 119 we learn that our trust in God overcomes the arrogant who utterly scorn me, or the rage that seizes me.  When we begin and end each day in God we find comfort in affliction, and God’s song of love in our hearts.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. (2 Corinthians 1: 3-4)

Tomorrow, the letter Heth.


To learn more about the Hebrew letter Zayin, click on the word, or go to: http://gnosticteachings.org/courses/alphabet-of-kabbalah/725-zayin.html

 

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