Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘God’s wisdom’


Ezekiel 33:7-9: Warning to All

Sunday, September 17, 2017

We have read this message before. We have heard this call. Today we have the opportunity to respond to the warning, and to pass it along to others.

From last Sunday’s MAGNIFICAT mini-reflection in the Morning Prayer: The greatest demand love makes on us is that we help one another into the kingdom of God. Sometimes love requires us to speak a painful word of truth to awaken someone blinded by sin, recognizing that we ourselves are also sinners. Let us do for one another what we would have others do for us. (Cameron 130)

Of course, there are days when our ego wants to do precisely what we like without regard for anyone or anything. The child in us wants to have our way. There are other days when we want to take splinters our of our neighbors eyes without tending to the beams in our own. And there are days when we take credit for all that goes well while throwing blame on others for all that goes wrong. Ezekiel tells us that God warns the sentinels among us, and he tells us that we must listen for the word of warning from them and from God.

Yesterday we spent time reflecting on true wisdom – what it is and where it is found. Today we further explore that wisdom as we hear it when we listen to the sentinel warning, and when we experience it as we gather together in Jesus’ name.

Other readings from last Sunday that accompany Ezekiel’s warning bring us further wisdom when we spend time with them. Psalm 95 . . . If today you hear God’s voice, harden not your hearts. Romans 13:8-10 . . . You shall love your neighbor as yourself. Love does no evil to the neighbor; hence, love is the fulfillment of the law. And in Matthew 18:15-20 Jesus gives us a tiered process to rebuke or warn another. If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have won over your brother. If he does not listen, take one or two others along with you . . . If he refuses to listen to them, tell the church. If he refuses to listen even to the church, then treat him as you would a Gentile or a tax collector.

Giving voice to warnings, rebuking one another in love, these are hallmarks of a disciple and we need true wisdom from God in order to follow the process Jesus describes for us. And so we reflect today.

Do we listen for or listen to the warnings we hear? Do we rebuke one another with compassion? Do we listen when others rebuke us? Do we witness with kindness? Do we gossip about others because we cannot summon up the courage to go to another in mercy? How do we react to gossip spread about us? How do we rebuke gossip when we hear it? And what do we do when scandal hits our church, our group of loved ones who gather in Christ’s name?

We must heed the warnings we hear. We must interact with others with patience, care and wisdom. We must seek true sentinels rather than false prophets. And we must always be certain that our actions bear fruit that is goodness and that bring goodness out of harm.

We must take time to reflect today, for we never know at what hour God’s warnings arrive. And we must prepare ourselves, for we will need all the wisdom and love God gifts to disciples.

When we compare varying translation of these verses, we open ourselves to God’s warning, we better learn how to rebuke another, and we better learn how to receive a rebuke from another. 

For more reflections on false and true prophets, for sentinels who hear and pass along warnings, and for ways to rebuke and be rebuked, use the blog search bar and explore.

Cameron, Peter John. “Prayer for the Morning.” MAGNIFICAT. 10.9 (2017): 129-130. Print.

 

Read Full Post »


Proverbs: Sharing God’s Wisdom, Building God’s Kingdom

Saturday, August 26, 2017

“The book of Proverbs is a collection of collections, all on the subject of wisdom. There are several major compilations in the book, including ‘the provers of Solomon son of David, king of Israel’ (Pr 1-24), “more proverbs of Solomon, copied by the men of Hezekiah king of Judah’ (chs. 25-29), ‘the sayings of Agur son of Jakah” (ch 30) and ‘the sayings of King Lemuel – an oracle his mother taught him’ (ch. 31)”. There are also a few sub-collections (chps. 22:17-24:22, 24:23-23), a prologue (1:1-7) and an epilogue (31:10-31 that were likely added later. (Zondervan 957)

These verses brought to the people of Israel – and they bring to us – a methodology for the inclusion of divine wisdom into everyday living. These words give us a window into the mind of God, a preview of Christ as the Incarnate Word, and a taste of the Spirit present in each of us.

We may scoff at the simple wisdom of Proverbs because these words describe a well-defined path of knowledge leading to an ideal world in which most are comfortable and few struggle. As we explore these verses, we allow ourselves to remain open not to any prophetic value they hold, but to the simple orderly, stable, reliable guidance they impart, and to the description of God’s kingdom we are called to build. We do well to seek Lady Wisdom among these words.

When we choose a favorite chapter to explore in depth, we have an opportunity to acquire – and to share – the tools we need as builders of the Kingdom. 

A final note on Proverbs, modern scholars believe that while there were many compilations of sayings of and for the wise in ancient times, it is unlikely that Solomon had any connection these particular sayings. Most likely composed after the Babylonian exile, the 30 sayings in chapters 22-24 are quite similar to an Egyptian collection written before Solomon’s era.

ARCHAEOLOGICAL STUDY BIBLE (NIV). Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 2005. 957. Print.

Senior, Donald, ed. THE CATHOLIC STUDY BIBLE. New York, Oxford University Press, 1990. RG 263-264. Print.

Read Full Post »


Proverbs 29: Seeing What We Are Doing

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

NASA: The Americas at night

We have moved through Proverbs absorbing the wisdom God reveals to us; but have we allowed ourselves to open to the mystery of transformation? What have we learned? Do we fully acknowledge that God sees that all we are doing?

Stubbornness versus discipline, obfuscation versus clarity, stasis and status quo versus dynamism and change. These are dichotomies God opens for us to explore. Do we take advantage of God’s carefully laid lesson plan?

For people who hate discipline
    and only get more stubborn,
There’ll come a day when life tumbles in and they break,
    but by then it’ll be too late to help them.

When we balk at the notion that God is in charge, we might remember that every obstacle is an opportunity to hone skills, and every closed door is an invitation to newness. We must ask ourselves to explore the unfamiliar and new rather than remain in the comfort of what we know. For God sees all that we are doing.

NASA: Asia at night

Today’s verses point out the value of honest friends versus the danger of flattering neighbors, and again we hear the warning against scheming, remembering that those who plot become the victims of their own plans. We recall God’s familiar call to soften our hearts and unstiffen our necks. Through all of this, do we remember that God sees all we are doing?

Evil people fall into their own traps;
    good people run the other way, glad to escape.

The good-hearted understand what it’s like to be poor;
    the hardhearted haven’t the faintest idea.

Sage versus cynic, cooperation versus sarcasm, gossip versus respect, and the irony of goodness against evil. In a black-and-white world of duality, we want simple answers but we also know the difficulty of seeing what we are doing.

Good people can’t stand the sight of deliberate evil;
    the wicked can’t stand the sight of well-chosen goodness.

NASA: Planet Earth

The world surrounding us is full of complex circumstances that challenge us to look for complex solutions. When we consider the mystery of God’s wisdom, we remember God’s loving providence. With time and study, we open ourselves to God’s compassionate correction. With time and care, we begin to welcome the knowing that God sees all we are doing. With time and love, we grow in our capacity to see for ourselves all that we are doing . . . while giving thanks that God sees all as well.

When we explore varying translations of these verses, we open the mystery of how we might see what we ourselves are doing.

For more NASA shots of earth, click on the images above and explore, or visit: https://www.nasa.gov/topics/earth/earthday/gall_earth_night.html 

 

Read Full Post »


Proverbs 26: Recycling Silliness

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Don’t respond to the stupidity of a fool;
you’ll only look foolish yourself. (MSG)

We may draw others into our own foolishness, or we may be drawn in by the foolishness of others. Whatever the circumstances, the proverbs remind us that putting new glaze on cracked pottery solves nothing. Jesus tells us that new wine will break old wineskins. The Holy Spirit wants to renew us in Christ so that we might be one.

Do not answer fools according to their folly,
    or you will be a fool yourself. (NRSV)

Paul tells the Corinthians – and he tells us – that for Christ’s sake we are fools; but you are wise in union with Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! We are despised, but you are honored! (1 Corinthians 4:10)

Don’t answer a fool in terms of his folly,
    or you will be descending to his level. (CJB)

Jesus reminds us that fools build houses on sand will find them washed away in rivers of rain, while the wise build on a rock foundation. (Matthew 7:24-27)

If you answer a silly question, you are just as silly as the person who asked it. (GNT)

All of creation tells us that our earthly wisdom is nothing when compared to the wisdom of God, for what seems to be God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and what seems to be God’s weakness is stronger than human strength. (1 Corinthians 1:25)

When we spend time with the verses of this chapter, we give ourselves tools to avoid recycling the foolishness of the world.

To compare varying versions of these verses, use the scripture links and the drop-down menus.

 

Read Full Post »


Proverbs 25: Further Sayings

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Gustave Doré: King Solomon Writing Proverbs

We continue our journey through Proverbs and we find more nuggets of gold.

God delights in concealing things;
    scientists delight in discovering things.

Perhaps our world today needs to appreciate the mystery of Christ more than we value our own powers to understand or our desire to control.

Remove impurities from the silver
    and the silversmith can craft a fine chalice;
Remove the wicked from leadership
    and authority will be credible and God-honoring.

Perhaps our world today needs to appreciate authenticity and honesty more than we value trickery and plotting.

Trusting a double-crosser when you’re in trouble
    is like biting down on an abscessed tooth.

Perhaps our societies today need to trust fidelity and hope more than we value wealth and fame.

If you see your enemy hungry, go buy him lunch;
    if he’s thirsty, bring him a drink.
Your generosity will surprise him with goodness,
    and God will look after you.

Perhaps our societies today need to trust the words of Christ to love out enemies more than we value revenge and power.

A north wind brings stormy weather,
    and a gossipy tongue stormy looks.

Perhaps we need to tend to the little moments in our lives rather than look for momentous ones.

Like a cool drink of water when you’re worn out and weary
    is a letter from a long-lost friend.

Perhaps we need to tend to those close to us rather than look for new friends when our old friends bring us the truth.

Perhaps we might learn a bit of wisdom from these further sayings.

When we explore other translations of these verses from THE MESSAGE, we open ourselves to more of God’s wisdom.

Read Full Post »


Proverbs 21: Motivation

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Good leadership is a channel of water controlled by God;
     God directs it to whatever ends God chooses.

We justify our actions by appearances;
    God examines our motives.

Over the last few weeks, we have examined twenty chapters of sound advice and we have discovered much to ponder and much to celebrate. Today we remind ourselves that even when we try to deceive ourselves with appearances or quick fixes, the God who created us knows our most secret desires and motivations. We do well today to explore God’s wisdom and love in these verses.

Clean living with God and justice between neighbors are traits of wise living while arrogance and pride describe the wicked. Besides being practical, careful planning brings us more exposure to wisdom than does a hurry-scurry life. Lying and cheating lead only to smoke and death. Doing our best and preparing for the worst, learning by listening rather than talking, tending to the poor, celebrating justice, and trusting God are all signs of a wise one. An addiction to thrills brings us to a congregation of ghosts, and the evil we plot will only boomerang on us, the plotters.

Watch your words and hold your tongues.

We can easily agree with this practical advice but the proposition posed today is this: what motivates us to life authentically and to avoid deceit?

The writers of Proverbs understand that we cannot fake fidelity. We cannot pretend that we have hope. And we are incapable of loving our enemies if this love does not come from the heart.

When we use the scripture link and drop-down menus, we have an opportunity to explore our motivation for practical living.

For a post on God’s valentine to us, click on the image above. 

Read Full Post »


Proverbs 19: Listening

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

What happens if we decide that God does not exist and we stop listening for the voice within that longs to serve and love us? The writers of Proverbs have anticipated that question, and they provide insight today.

Verses describing the poor and powerless versus the wealthy and influential ring as true today as they did when they were written. Practical advice about how to manager the differences between classes mixes with words to parents and others. Then the writer make a simple, clear suggestion about how to proceed.

Grow a wise heart—you’ll do yourself a favor;
    keep a clear head—you’ll find a good life.

A wise heart and a clear head . . .

We remember that God’s Wisdom comes with active listening and patience. We also know that struggling against evil and hoping to win is often more than we can endure. Our energy flames out like the sparks that rise from a bonfire. The writers advise us in verse 19.

Let angry people endure the backlash of their own anger;
    if you try to make it better, you’ll only make it worse.

So what then, do we do when confronted with evil and riddled with anxiety?

Once we pause to realize that we cannot combat the darkness on our own, we finally decide to relax into Christ’s open and willing arms. Once we recognize that the Spirit has more power than we do on our own, we are able to listen again for the voice that both guides and protects. Once we surrender to the Creator’s persistent hope and love, we decide that listening is the first step in open communication.

Toward the end of this Chapter, we find this bit of golden advice.

If you quit listening, dear child, and strike off on your own,
    you’ll soon be out of your depth.

Once we determine to listen patiently and carefully, we find the calm in the storm that we have been so ardently seeking.

When we compare varying versions of these verses, we find the strength and wisdom to listen once again.

Read Full Post »


Ephesians 2:8: God’s Handiwork

Thursday, June 8, 2017ephesians-2-10.jpg

This verse is so important that it deserves our reflection time. Let us remember God’s infinite fidelity.

For it is by God’s grace that you have been saved through faith. It is not the result of your own efforts, but God’s gift, so that no one can boast about it. (GNT)

This verse reminds us that we cannot earn God’s love because this love is already freely given. Let us remember God’s infinite compassion for us.

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God. (NRSV)

This verse recalls for us that we are all children of God. Let us remember God’s infinite mercy with us.

For you have been delivered by grace through trusting, and even this is not your accomplishment but God’s gift. (CJB)

This verse tells us that we are God’s handiwork. Let us remember God’s infinite hope in us.

For it’s by God’s grace that you have been saved. You receive it through faith. It was not our plan or our effort. It is God’s gift, pure and simple. You didn’t earn it, not one of us did, so don’t go around bragging that you must have done something amazing. (VOICE)

This verse is so important that it deserves our attention and time. Let us remember God’s infinite wisdom.

When we compare translations of this verse, we begin to understand the wonder of God’s marvelous work in us.

Read Full Post »


Isaiah 41:13: Your Right Hand

God’s left hand waits for our right hand . . .

Saturday, May 20, 2017

I am the Lord, your God, who gasp your right hand; it is I who say to you, “Fear not, I will help you”.

How often do we take our hands for granted? How much of our life do we hold in our hands?

I am the Lord your God;
I strengthen you and tell you,
“Do not be afraid; I will help you.” (GNT)

Do we believe that God’s hands manage the details of our lives? Do we see God’s hands at work in the broad horizon of our days and nights?

For I, Adonai, your God,
say to you, as I hold your right hand,
‘Have no fear; I will help you. (CJB)

Dylan Pierce: Child and Man

Can we say with hope that God brings all harm to good? Can we relinquish our fear and pride long enough to place ourselves in God’s hands?

I, your God,
have a firm grip on you and I’m not letting go.
I’m telling you, “Don’t panic.
I’m right here to help you.” (MSG)

Can we remain faithful to God’s goodness and rely on God’s wisdom? Can we open ourselves to God’s grace and follow where God leads as God takes us by our right hand?

When we compare varying versions of this verse, we open our hands to God, and give ourselves over to God’s goodness.

 

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: