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Posts Tagged ‘God’s strength’


Wisdom 13:1-9: The Wisdom of God’s Creation

Monday, November 21, 2022Gods-creation

Anyone who does not know God is simply foolish.

When we look at the beauty of the planet, we see God’s goodness.

Such people look at the good things around them and still fail to see the living God.

When we share earth’s resources, we experience God’s generosity.

They have studied the things God made, but they have not recognized the one who made them.

When we bring together science, reason and spirituality, we experience God’s wisdom.

Instead, they suppose that the gods who rule the world are fire or wind or storm or the circling stars or rushing water or the heavenly bodies.

When we see the elements as God’s gifts to us, we see God’s trust in us.

tree in handsPeople were so delighted with the beauty of these things that they thought they must be gods, but they should have realized that these things have a master and that the master is much greater than all of them, for God is the creator of beauty, and God created them.

When we pause to reflect on the beauty of God’s creation, we see God’s hope for us.

Since people are amazed at the power of these things, and how they behave, they ought to learn from them that their maker is far more powerful.

When we witness to the resiliency in God’s creation, we begin to understand God’s strength.

When we realize how vast and beautiful the creation is, we are learning about the Creator at the same time.

creationWhen we witness to the complexity of God’s creation, we begin to understand God.

If the foolish had enough intelligence to speculate about the nature of the universe, why did they never find the Lord of all things?

Today we have the opportunity to discover if we are wise or foolish about God’s creation. We can read about the United Nations COP29 conference at: https://cop27.eg/#/ 


Images from: https://blog.greatnonprofits.org/save-the-planet-for-earth-day-with-nonprofits-that-care/ and https://newscenter.baruch.cuny.edu/news/baruchs-climate-scholars-program-expands-to-four-cuny-schools/ and https://www.nasa.gov/content/sunrise-from-the-international-space-station

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James 5:8: Steady and Strong

Wednesday, November 9, 2022

Andreas Achenbach: Ships in a Storm on the Dutch Coast

Andreas Achenbach: Ships in a Storm on the Dutch Coast

Wait for your valuable crops to mature as farmers do, patiently letting the rain do its slow but sure work. Be patient like that. Stay steady and strong. The Master could arrive at any time.

God says: I am always steadily at your back to protect you. I am always watching your path and leading you. I lend you my strength when you weary. I carry you on my shoulders when you cannot walk. I lead you beside still waters and I rescue you from overwhelming storms. I have given you gifts that I ask you to watch over and husband. You need not struggle and fight. You need not gather weapons or seek revenge. All you need do is remain steady and strong in me. I will do the rest. Strengthen your hearts for I am already with you.

ship tossedWe might use the scripture link to reflect on other versions of these verses and consider what gifts God has given us, to reflect on how we might be patient as we wait for our gifts to mature, and to remember that we need not fight . . . we need only remain steady and strong in God as the storms of roll over us.


Images from: https://www.art-prints-on-demand.com/a/achenbach-andreas/ships-in-a-storm-on-the-d.html and https://www.istockphoto.com/search/2/image?mediatype=illustration&phrase=ocean+storm

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Joshua 1:9: Wherever You Go  

joshua1Monday, February 21, 2022

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.

We need not doubt that the Lord our God abides in and with us. Throughout human history we hear the constant message of God’s fidelity and love.

That night the LORD appeared to him and said, “I am the God of your father Abraham. Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bless you and will increase the number of your descendants for the sake of my servant Abraham”. (Genesis 25:24)

In our darkest hours on our darkest days God is with us. God wants to bolster us when we falter. God wants to bring us blessings greater than we can imagine.

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:10)

Not only does the Spirit abide in us, she brings us strength and courage and stamina to live in God’s word.

“Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the LORD.  (Jeremiah 1:8) Then Haggai, the LORD’S messenger, gave this message of the LORD to the people: “I am with you,” declares the LORD. (Haggai 1:13)

God’s prophets are keenly aware of God’s presence. Let us remain in God as these prophets remain, despite any fear or anxiety.

Jesus said to his disciples, “Surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20)

God sends the Living Word to live among us as one of us. So great is God’s love hat he sacrifices himself that we might be rescued.

One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision: “Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent. For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people in this city.” (Acts 18:9-10)

The resurrected Christ continues to walk with us as we work and play and pray. When we reflect on these verses we are reminded of God’s fidelity and strength and love. Let us give thanks for God’s presence as we continue our Lenten journey.

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.

Use the scripture links above to compare various versions of these verses; and let us listen . . .


Image from: http://book.joshway.com/2012/10/01/episode-11-joshua-and-judges/

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ancient_prison_by_p_h_o_t_o_n1Monday, October 4, 2021

Jeremiah 52:31-34

The End – Part III: Hope

In the last verses of this prophecy we read an addendum that at first glance we might toss away as another confusing story from scripture. We see before us the tale of the last two kings of Judah: Jehoiachin who surrendered himself and his family to Nebuchadnezzar to live in exile, and Zedekiah, who plotted against Nebuchadnezzar with the Egyptians, later fled during the Babylonian siege, was captured, blinded and was also sent to Babylon. Years later Evil-merodach brings Jehoiachin from his prison cell to give him a life-time stipend and a place of relative honor in the foreign court; Zedekiah does not appear again in this saga of violence and turmoil.  What is their end? We have few details. How could they have avoided capture and destruction? We have few answers. What might we learn from this dire account? That is our reflection for today.

Jeremiah’s prophecy is well spoken but ignored. Are we the prophet who speaks against the wind? Are we those who might be saved by the prophet’s warning? In either case, the fear of capture and destruction has already overwhelmed us. We have no other place to rest but in God’s hope and compassion.

Jeremiah’s life is a foreshadowing of the suffering and death of Jesus the Nazorean. Are we the people of Judah who hear his words and are transformed? Are we those who scoff and persecute him? In either scenario, the tumult of life has already entangled us. We have no other place to turn but to God’s strength and mercy.

Jeremiah’s words resonate in our world today. Are we those who hide from the reality of famine, civil strife, epidemics and enormous natural disaster because they do not touch us personally? Are we those who work against catastrophe and injustice wherever and however we can? In either event, we are already involved and connected. We may not recognize that a calamity’s one last flickering ember of hope lies in us. We have no other place to rest but in God’s presence and love.

Cataclysm is part of the human experience as is God’s hope. Catastrophe haunts our daily living while God’s providence serves as guide. Disaster can never be avoided, nor can God’s call to love.

Pergamom Museum, Berlin: Jehoiachin Ration Tablet

Pergamom Museum, Berlin: Jehoiachin Ration Tablet

Jehoiachin and Zedekiah share a place in the Babylonian court although from different vantage points. At any time in their life journey God grants them the opportunity to live in hope, in a manner worthy of God’s call. From the darkness of his blinded vision, Zedekiah has only to seek and accept God’s forgiveness. Perhaps he does. We shall never know. From the shame of surrender and captivity, Jehoiachin has only to ask for God’s hope and receive it. Perhaps he does. We shall never know. From the place where we stand in our life’s journey we have only to look for God’s presence and accept it. Perhaps we do. If so, then we will always know that God is with us from the beginning to the end. God abides through capture and dwells within during destruction. Whether our fate is in the hands of our own Nebuchadnezzar or his son Evil-merodach, there is never an end without hope, for there is never an end without God.

Tomorrow, Part IV . . . In a Manner Worthy


To read about the excavation of Jehoiachin’s ration tablets in Irag, click on images above or visit: http://forourlearning.wordpress.com/  OR http://www.livius.org/ne-nn/nebuchadnezzar/anet308.html 

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crossroads1Thursday, August 5, 2021

Jeremiah 16

Walking in Hardness

We have all experienced the neighbor who has nothing good to say about anyone or any circumstance; they are old before their time; they believe themselves expert on all aspects of life and death. We all have acquaintances who refuse to see reality; they reject information about local or global events; they see themselves as isolated entities unaffected by the world’s happenings. Perhaps we are the curmudgeons who scowl across back yard fences; or perhaps we are work colleagues who refuse to accept reality. Whether we see the world as bleak or promising, we each must assess our pathway in it. We must evaluate where we walk in hardness or in Christ.

Jeremiah today describes his condition and it is not a happy one. He suffers greatly at the hands of those who, instead of blaming, ought to be thanking him. He speaks truth and yet is accused of lying. As he delivers God’s words, he confronts both naysayers and Pollyannas and knows that he is seen as a fool. This message came to me, he begins; and rather than ask to hear the words of truth that will bring them into The Way, his audience prefers the way of hard hearts and stiff necks. Fortunately for us, the Lord says: I will bring them back to the land which I gave their fathers. God always welcomes us home. Fortunately for us, Jeremiah persists in his fidelity to God. He persists in delivering his message. Fortunately for us, the prophet is faithful in conveying God’s words that ask where and how and why we walk.

Let us spend some time today looking in a quiet, spiritual mirror to reflect on our own hardness of heart and our openness to God, for we all try to spend a time in both those paths. Let us think about our commitment to knowing God well and responding to God’s call to soften ourselves. And let us examine our response to these words: O Lord, my strength, my fortress, my city in the day of distress!

Where do we go in our day of distress? Where and how and why do we walk? Is it in the way of hardness, or is in The Way of Christ?

Which path do we choose?


Enter the words The Way into the blog search bar and examine where and why and how we walk. Or examine the four scripture versions of Jeremiah 16 by clicking on the scripture link, choose different versions of this prophecy and listen to God’s word in a new way. 

For a reflection on Jeremiah’s celibacy and some thoughts on suffering and joy as seen through this prophet, enter the words The Source of Life into the blog search bar and explore. 

Image from: https://djastinconfessions.wordpress.com/2012/09/04/crossing-paths/

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Friday, March 19, 2021

no diving from bridgeAmos 7:4-6

Vision of Fire

A persistent drought burns up the land. Crops wither, ancient orchards fade. Dry wadis remain where rivulets once danced among rocks. Children perish. The remnant struggles to survive. Perhaps we need to turn to God in hope and say: Cease, O Lord God! How can we stand?  We are so small!

And surely God will answer: This also shall not be.

When we focus on our weakness we forget to look for answers in our most precious resource, the indestructible strength that comes to us through our relationship with God. Again we miss the opportunity to draw goodness from harm just as God does. As part of our Lenten promise to change for the better, let us commit to turning to God when we feel weak and vulnerable; and let us share the good news of God’s saving power.

When we ask God to strengthen us, we show the creator our understanding that we are Children of God. We show Christ our willingness to lean on him when we experience trouble. And we show the Spirit our desire to find courage in the abiding, forgiving presence of the Lord. As part of our Lenten journey, let us determine to always turn to God in hope.

Tomorrow, Vision of the Plummet.


Image from: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/05/us/05drought.html?_r=0

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Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Gray-Red-Broken-heart-broken-hearts-21417978-300-300[1]Psalms 19:15

Words and Thoughts

Let the words of my mouth meet with your favor, keep the thoughts of my heart before you, O Lord, my strength and my redeemer.

We speak an immeasurable number of words in our lifetimes yet how many of these words are exchanged with God? We ponder infinite chains of ideas; yet how many of these thoughts are intertwined with the word of God? With God as our source and God as our daily sustenance, all that we think and all that we do will spring from God’s goodness.

God says: I understand how easy it is to be caught up in gossip and in the minutiae of life; and this is why I ask you to begin and end each day with me. When we share time together the small and petty problems melt away. I also understand that complicated and overwhelming issues crowd your television screens, fill newspapers and leap out of radios to frighten you; and that is why I ask you to pause during each day even if only for a moment to let me know your worries and anxieties. I want to give you strength. I want to carry you above the danger. I want to give you peace of heart and mind and soul. Let us begin with simple words exchanged between us. Your worries come to me; my peace comes to you.

We cannot resolve all of the huge and complex problems of our world . . . but we can raise our petitions to God. We cannot fix the many niggling worries that plague us . . . but we can bring these troubles to God. We cannot reconcile all damaged relationships . . . but we can ask God to mend our broken ways and broken hearts. We cannot ease all troubled minds . . . but we can make our distress known to God.

Let us call on God’s mercy and goodness. Let us keep our words and thoughts focused on God. And let us keep our hearts and minds centered in God. For in God lies our strength and our redemption.

Tomorrow, we begin a journey with Wisdom.


A re-post from August 26, 2013.

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Luke 1:46-55: The Inverted Kingdom – Part XI

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Raphael: Madonna della Sedia

Raphael: Madonna della Sedia

Today, when thousands of women converge on the U.S. capital, we explore Mary’s Prayer. A link for more information on the gathering follows this post. 

In days of political and civil turmoil, Mary the Mother of God reminds us how to pray

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God my savior.

In times of family strife and confusion, Mary the Mother of God gives us words we might repeat.

For God has looked with favor on his lowly servant.

In the hour when friends become enemies and colleagues become strangers, Mary the Mother of God shows us the mind of God.

The Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is God’s name.

Mary the Mother of God reminds us that God is more loving than we can imagine, more patient and compassionate than all of humanity gathered together.

The LORD has mercy on those who love God in every generation.

magnificatMary the Mother of God tells us that we have nothing to fear.

The LORD has shown the strength of God’s arm.

Mary the Mother of God asks us to put aside our pride to take up love.

God has scattered the proud in their conceit.

Mary the Mother of God shows us that power and might are as nothing.

The LORD has cast down the mighty from their thrones, and has lifted up the lowly.

Mary the Mother of God tells us that God alone sustains for an eternity.

The LORD has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich God has sent away empty.

Mary the Mother of God reminds us that God is persistent, God is faithful, and God is hope.

The LORD has come to the rescue of God’s servant, for God has remembered the promise of mercy, the promise made to Abraham and his children forever.

madona-morenaMary the Mother of God reminds us how to enter into and act in the world. Mary calls us to goodness, endurance, and love. In times, days, and hours when the world fails us, we might return to Mary’s MAGNIFICAT to amplify our love of God as we pray with her these words.

When we explore varying translations of these verses, we open ourselves to the healing power of Mary’s joy and thanksgiving.

In the Liturgy of the Hours, the Church’s great communal prayer, the MAGNIFICAT is part of Vespers, or Evensong. For more information on this prayer and how it parallel’s the prayer of Hannah, visit: http://www.desiringgod.org/messages/meditation-on-the-magnificat

For more on the Liturgy of the Hours and how each of us might join our voices with millions of others by pausing briefly a few times a day, visit The Liturgy of the Hours page on this blog.

For more on Raphael’s image of the Madonna and Child, click on the image above, or visit: http://www.everypainterpaintshimself.com/article/raphaels_madonna_della_sedia_1513-14 

Women gather in Washington, D.C. in solidarity for the protection of their rights, safety, health, and families, they recognize that vibrant and diverse communities are the strength of their country. https://www.womensmarch.com/ and https://www.eventbrite.com/e/womens-march-on-washington-official-tickets-29428287801 https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/21/us/womens-march.html?_r=0

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