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Posts Tagged ‘pagan gods’


Matthew 7:15-20: Receiving and Bearing Fruitapple-tree-300x224

May 7, 2015

Pagan gods demand to be carried while Yahweh carries his people. When we do the Lord’s work we are carried by God. We need not struggle for our daily shelter and bread. They will appear as a tent in the desert and as manna on trees’ branches and the ground. These are the fruits of God’s love for us. What fruits do we bear to God?

God says: I do not ask for holocausts or burnt offerings. I do not want to punish or frighten you. Rather, I want nothing more than your peaceful days and serene nights. My goodness and kindness will carry you if you make your heart open to me. My strength and persistence will sustain you if you allow me to wash your feet. My hope and love will heal you if you come to me with willing hands and mind. I give you the gift of life each day when you rise. All I ask is that you share that gift with others. The pruning you experience at my hand may dishearten you but when you trust the wisdom of my Way this discouragement will vanish. The pruning you undergo only brings forth more abundant and more beautiful fruit than you will have imagined. Trust me. Do not be afraid. Rise and receive the gifts I bring you. Then turn and share them as best you are able.

Enter the word pruning into the blog search bar and consider how and why life prunes us each day.

From a reflection written on June 27, 2007.

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Saturday, March 8, 2014

Cows of Bashan and Mount Hermon

Cows of Bashan and Mount Hermon

Amos 4

Second Word

Amos delivers God’s word to the priests in Bethel for a year and when he is rejected he returns to his shepherding work. He speaks to the Israel nation about their lack of fidelity. And he reminds us of how we can turn back to God and the covenant once we discover that we have again fallen under the spell of the pagan gods of fame, money, influence and power. Amos reminds us that there is always redemption. Restoration is always possible.

God says: In this time of Lent I call you to examine your conscience and you perform this scrutiny well. You are aware of all that you do when you allow yourself to be honest.  You know where and how to return to me when you allow yourself a bit of quiet and a dose of truth.  So put your worries and fears aside for your renovation already lies within you.  Your recovery from all that plagues you is already in your body, mind and soul.  All that needs happen is that you note what you do, that you put aside your pagan gods, and that you turn and return to me.  Uprightness lives in you through me.  Do what you must to nourish the integrity that dwells in you.  This is the Second Word that comes from me through my prophet Amos.

In our modern society we are not much different from our ancient ancestors despite our science and technology; the very real temptation to become Cows of Bashan is as keen and alluring today as it was millennia ago; yet we know that life is more than we see before us.  And so we still yearn for union.  We still seek wisdom and peace.  We are still vessels of the Spirit that creates us. God still dwells within . . . waiting to transform and rescue us.

Tomorrow, Third Word.

For information about Bashan, click on the image above or go to: http://www.bibleplaces.com/golanheights.htm

For a Noontime reflection on Amos 4:1-2 and The Cows of Bashan see the September 20, 2013 post on this blog at: https://thenoontimes.com/2013/09/20/cows-of-bashan/

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Sunday, November 3, 2013

daniel-3-furnace[1]Daniel 1-3

Reality

This one prophecy teaches us much: it tells us how to recognize God in the midst of horror, it reminds us that only God saves in an infinite way, and it exhorts us to witness without actually fighting . . . for the fighting must be left to God.  If you can make time today . . . spend awhile with Daniel.

In the first two chapters we read of two important lessons: that all divine dominion comes from the God of Israel, and that false, pagan gods offer nothing.  In Daniel 3 we watch as Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego are tossed into the fiery furnace.  Not only do they survive, but a fourth figure appears to accompany them in song: an angel of this marvelous God.  This is how much God loves each of us.  God is so mindful of us that when we are in distress, God sends word to us and God even protects us from the fire of destruction.

There are many instances in our lives in which our perception is that God has let us down or has turned a deaf ear to our petitions.  This thinking comes from our ego rather than from our Spirit.  All that we see, touch, taste, smell, and hear is a chimera.  All that we perceive, sense, know, intuit, and feel in God . . . this is reality.  This is truth.

In a world where so many pagan voices call us to fame, fortune, outward perfection, celebrity, science, power, comfort and self-absorption, we find it difficult to hear the one voice of truth which speaks softly of union, dynamism, mystery, discomfort, humility, change, transformation and inner peace.  What Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego know and witness to is the lesson which this prophecy drives home so well when we are able sit to read the entire story . . . the faithful do not need to fight . . . they only must refuse to do anything which separates them from God . . . they must not fear . . . they only need to rest in God . . . and they need not worry about God’s plan . . . they need only to find their place in it.

What we know is this . . . that when we begin with simple tasks such as the food test we read about in Daniel 1 . . . we are being eased into following God in many small ways because these little ways will train our neural connections to focus on God rather than the other world that lures us by calling itself real.

What we also know is this . . . that once we set our feet upon the path of God in all of these little ways our union with God will be stronger than any fiery furnace we must endure.  And this is a reality that lasts forever.

This prophecy puts into words the mystery of our faith.  This prophecy assures us that the more we let go to fall into God’s trust, the less we will fear.  This prophecy reminds us that the more we lose self to let the Spirit enter our souls, the less we struggle.  This prophecy promises us that the more we follow Christ rather than our own little plans, the less we stumble.  This prophecy is a reality we will want to trust.

Adapted from a reflection written on April 1, 2009.

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Saturday, June 29, 2013

eph-3_18-web[1]Marking God’s Presence

Psalm 121:3-8

God will not permit your foot to stumble; God who guards you will not fall asleep.  Indeed, the one who guards Israel never slumbers, never sleeps.  The Lord serves as your guardian.  God is at your right hand to serve as your shade.  The sun will not strike you during the day, nor the moon during the night.  The Lord will protect you against all evil; God will watch over your life.  The Lord will watch over your coming and your going both now and forevermore. 

We know that the pagan gods sleep.  Our God does not.  We know that the pagan gods mock and deceive humankind.  Our God does not.  We know that the pagan gods care more about themselves than they do the mortals whose lives they control.  Our God does not.

God says: I love you more than you can imagine.  My heart aches when you are sad.  I grieve when you suffer in any way.  I rejoice when you laugh.  When the deserts of life wear you down I want to shelter you in my shade.  When evil prowls its earthly domain I am ever alert to warn and protect you.  I mark your lying down and your rising.  I mark your going out and coming in.  I mark your tears and your laughter.  I mark all . . . because you are all to me.

It is too easy to forget that God is constantly with us.  We too quickly plan our day and leave God out of our activities.  We too often act as if we must protect and save ourselves.  When we mark our days with little “God appointments” . . . we also mark God’s presence . . . and we remember that to God, we are all.

To explore how to best mark God’s presence in our lives, type God Time in the blog search bar and examine your day in a new way.

Tomorrow, retreating from the world for a little time . . .

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