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Posts Tagged ‘praise God’


Psalm 13:3: Singing to God

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

When we know that we are safe in the refuge of God’s power, do we praise God enough?

I sing to God, the Praise-Lofty,
    and find myself safe and saved. (GNT)

When we know that we have a healing shelter in God’s hope, do we acclaim God enough?

Adonai is my Rock, my fortress and deliverer,
my God, my Rock, in whom I find shelter,
my shield, the power that saves me,
my stronghold. (CJB)

When we know that God pardons our errors, do we celebrate God enough?

I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised,
    so I shall be saved from my enemies. (NRSV)

When we know that God looks for the abandoned and lost, do we tell the world of God’s goodness enough?

I call to the Lord,
    and he saves me from my enemies.
Praise the Lord! (GNT)

When we know that God loves us beyond all imaginings, do we rejoice God’s presence enough?

When we compare varying versions of this verse, we have the opportunity to sing joyfully in God’s presence, power and love.

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Psalm 22: Spiritual Warfare – Part I

Tuesday, October 25, 2016spiritual-warfare_edited-1

This Favorite was written on November 11, 2008.

Today, the day on which we celebrate the end of war in many parts of the world, we pause to think about the spiritual warfare in which we are all daily engaged.

My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?

While still on the cross, Christ appealed to the father with this prayer that generations of his people have used while addressing God in times of stress.  In the NAB the psalm bears the title Prayer of an Innocent Person.  Jesus, the unblemished lamb, dies in innocence, in the act of bringing healing to peoples crying for relief.  But Christ knew, as Paul tells us in Ephesians: Our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens.  Paul describes the armor of God we must wear as we enter into the warfare each day: the breastplate of righteousness, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of GodOur feet must be shod in readiness for the Gospel of peace.  (Ephesians 6)

Many bulls surround me; fierce bulls of Bashan encircle me.

Bashan – a land east of the Jordan noted for the size of its animals – provides fierce opposition to the life of a Christian.  Again, Paul reminds us in his letter to Titus how to be consistent with sound doctrine, namely, that . . . [we] be temperate, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, love and endurance, reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not addicted to drink, teaching what is good, so that they may train [others].  (Titus 2) Paul also calls women to a role subordinate to men which was appropriate for the day – and which we now recognize as outmoded in its effect.  The point here is that combat as we witness need not be fierce.  It need only be faithful, prayer-filled, and consistent with the Gospel.

Then I will proclaim your name to the assembly; in the community I will praise you.

Tomorrow, when we are lost we are found.

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Ezekiel 12: Ridicule

Friday, August 19, 2016

Fake Dictionary, definition of the word bullying.

In Acts 26 we see that the people of Caesarea listening to Paul think him mad from too much learning!  Today we see that the prophet wars exacted a toll on those who spoke on God’s behalf.  The HARPER COLLINS COMMENTARY tells us that in chaotic times such as those in the days of the exile, prophets often gave “conflicting messages concerning the way people should react and by predicting different courses for future events.  In times of prophetic conflict, people are likely to question prophetic authority, and prophets often respond to this situation by undergirding their own authority in various ways and by undermining the authority of their prophetic rivals”.  We see the conflict in Ezekiel 12 with false visions or deceitful divinations within the house of Israel.  This calls us to think about the false prophesies or divinations we may have witnessed or passed on.  How do we know a false prophet when we see one?

If we have never placed our faith in those who betray our trust, we might thank God. If we have suffered betrayal, we may become more circumspect in our interactions with others, and we may even discover that our actions become too cautious, too prudent. We must guard against giving in to any temptation to strike back, or to submitting to fear or paranoia. We must be willing to move forward in hope, ignoring any ridicule we suffer, doing the work we are meant to do.

Ridicule is a weapon used expertly by mean girls and bullies.  A recent survey gave us an interesting statistic: upwards of 68% of people who dislike their work do not dislike the actual task they have chosen or been given . . . they dislike the work place . . . because of bullying. We may naïvely believe that most people in most work places have equipped themselves with the necessary tools to defend themselves from haranguing and harassment.

In the U.S. this spring and summer we have seen bold examples of rude behavior and name-calling used to overpower others. This meanness is often described later as “a joke gone bad,” sarcasm or frank speech that is meant to counteract political correctness.

We might look for solutions to bullying but no matter the action we decide to take it is always good to remember to communicate our fears to God. If we do not know where to begin, we might find Psalm 42 helpful: Like the deer that yearns for running streams, so my soul is yearning for you, my God.  My soul is thirsting for God, the God of my life; when can I enter and see the face of my God? . . . Deep is calling on deep, in the roar of the waters: your torrents and all your waves swept over me . . . With cries that pierce me to the heart, my enemies revile me, saying to me all day long “Where is your God?”  Why are you cast down, my soul, why groan within me?  Hope in God: I will praise him still, my savior and my God.

Where is your God?  Hope in God. We will praise God still.

Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?  Whom are you looking for?  . . .  Go to my brothers and your brothers and tell them, “I am going to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God”.  (John 20:15)

Where is your God?  Hope in God. We will praise God still.

When bullies approach, as they surely will, we must hope in God to defend us from ridicule. We must rely on God to show us the way to go. And we must praise God still.

Mays, James L., ed.  HARPERCOLLINS BIBLE COMMENTARY. New York, New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1988. Print.

Adapted from a reflection written on March 25, 2008.

When we compare varying translations of these verses, we open our eyes and ears to God’s wisdom as God shows us how we might confront the ridicule we meet.

For a parent guide to combat bullying, click on the image above or visit: http://wpri.com/parent-resource-guide/bullying-prevention/ 

For an interesting article on workplace bullying, visit the Society for Human Resource Management at: https://www.shrm.org/hr-today/news/hr-magazine/pages/1014-viewpoint-workplace-bullying.aspx

 

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Isaiah 43:20-25: Already Given

Friday, May 27, 2016gift

We ask for good health, security, predictability, fidelity. We look for mercy, wisdom, hope and love. We anticipate salvation, healing, transformation and resurrection. But these gifts we believe we need to acquire have already been generously given.

The beasts of the field will glorify me, the jackals and the ostriches, because I have given waters in the wilderness and rivers in the desert, to give drink to my chosen people.

When we feel as though the world has let us down, we come to understand that all that we need . . . we already hold.

The people whom I formed for myself will declare my praise.

All that is required of us is that we remain faithful in our gratitude.

I, even I, am the one who wipes out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins.

All that we need remember is that God wants to forgive and heal. All that is confusion and mystery becomes peace-filled and comforting. All that we seek we already have in abundance. So let us give thanks, for once we begin to practice thankfulness, we also begin to fully experience what the Lord has freely and wonderfully already given.

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Matthew 20:17-28: The Chalice

Wednesday, February 24, 2016communion-cup_bread

Salome, the mother of James and John, the Zebedee brothers, asks Jesus to give her sons places of honor in the new kingdom; yet she does not fully understand . . . and so Jesus explains the terrible and beautiful importance of this special cup of blessing.

From Psalm 116 (verses 12-18)

What can I give back to God
    for the blessings the LORD poured out on me?

We are accustomed to asking God for favors. Do we think about giving thanks for our cup of salvation?

I’ll lift high the cup of salvation—a toast to God!

We are accustomed to thanking God quietly and privately. Do we think to join our voices with others in praise of God’s goodness?

I’ll pray in the name of God;
I’ll complete what I promised God I’d do,
    and I’ll do it together with God’s people.

We are accustomed to joining in Sabbath prayer and song. Do we think about giving testimony to a broader circle about God’s mercy?

When they arrive at the gates of death,
    God welcomes those who love the LORD.
Oh, God, here I am, your servant,
    your faithful servant: set me free for your service!

bread cupWe are accustomed to approaching each day’s obstacles. Do we think about serving God by tending to the barriers we meet as Jesus does? Do we think about the cup we have asked to take as curse or blessing? Are we prepared to accept the cup that passes before us?

As we think about God’s beautiful and challenging cup of salvation, we remember our Lenten practice. Rather than thinking: “Let us make three tents to contain the joy of God’s wisdom,” let us think instead, “Let us share the joy of God’s great gift of love”.

Tomorrow, the rich man and Lazarus.

 

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James 3:3-7: Apples and Berries

Thursday, October 15, 2015red-apples-on-tree-11294511627z6e

My friends, this can’t go on. A spring doesn’t gush fresh water one day and brackish the next, does it? Apple trees don’t bear strawberries, do they? Raspberry bushes don’t bear apples, do they? You’re not going to dip into a polluted mud hole and get a cup of clear, cool water, are you?

James continues to be clear about his meaning . . . with Jesus, pretense is impossible. God sees and understands all. Apples grow on trees. Strawberries grow on vines. We cannot pretend otherwise.

In the Spirit, fruit is borne from the work of the one who seeks union with God, God who makes the impossible possible. When we live in union with God we refrain from gossip and slander, and we also witness to this message by calling others to goodness. Apples grow on trees. Strawberries grow on vines. We cannot pretend otherwise.

Matthew reminds us that: It’s your heart, not the dictionary, that gives meaning to your words. A good person produces good deeds and words season after season. An evil person is a blight on the orchard. Let me tell you something: Every one of these careless words is going to come back to haunt you. (Matthew 12:34) Apples grow on trees. Strawberries grow on vines. We cannot pretend otherwise.

strawberriesPaul tells the Philippians and us: Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies. (Philippians 4:8). Apples grow on trees. Strawberries grow on vines. We cannot pretend otherwise.

Tomorrow, living well.

Use the scripture links to explore varying versions of these verses and reflect on the choice before us to praise or to curse.

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Sunday, February 16, 2014

Projectjanetsuecarole 008[1]Sirach 39:13-16

A Prayer of Thanksgiving for All of God’s Works

The works of God are all of them good.

Let me thank you, Lord, for bringing me the strength to re-think my words before I said something foolish.

The works of God are all of them good.

Let me thank you, God, for sending me wisdom to avoid offending someone with my opinion.

The works of God are all of them good.

Let me thank you, Jesus, for encouraging me when I received terrible news the other day.

The works of God are all of them good.

Let me thank you, Holy Spirit, for pulling me up when I was at the end of my resources.

The works of God are all of them good.

Let me thank you, Mary, Mother of God, for your gentle, nurturing presence in my life.

The works of God are all of them good.

imagesCAU5R5A8Let me thank you, Lord, for world in which I find myself, for the people in my life, and for the many times you have protected and lead me on my journey.

The works of God are all of them good.

Let me thank you for your gifts of salvation and redemption, for your Word of promise that I treasure and share.

Let me put down roots, let me open up my petals, let me praise you, let me bless you . . . let me thank you, Lord.  For all of your works are exceedingly good.  Amen.

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Sunday, November 10, 2013

661v-at150[1]Psalm 50

A Prayer for Sacrifice

“Just as physical hunger is an indication of a living, healthy organism, so spiritual hunger is a sign of a robust spirit, one that is active and continually developing.  The soul which feels no hunger for God, no need to seek him and to find him, and which does not vibrate or suffer with anxiety in its search, does not bear within itself the signs of the Resurrection.  It is a dead soul, or at least one which has been weakened and rendered insensible by lukewarm-ness”.

MAGNIFICAT Meditation, Fr. Gabriel of St Mary Magdalene, O.C.D.

What do we do when we feel that God is not listening?  We might turn away, become angry or depressed; we might even curse God in the belief that we have been deceived.  Yet these are the acts of petulant children.  So what must we do?  We must praise God still.

What do we do when we encounter God on our pilgrimage, even when we do not know at the time that it is God who works, plays, prays beside us?  We might explain away the miraculous touch of his visit.  We might take credit for God’s work in our lives by telling others that our good fortune is due to our own sweat and brains.  Yet these are the acts of spoiled children.  So what must we do? We must acclaim God still.

What do we do when we realize that God has just brushed by us, and we were so enmeshed with living that we did not take proper notice?  We might excuse ourselves saying that we have too much work to pause, too many worries to reflect, too many tasks on our list of chores.  Yet these would be the acts of self-centered children.  So what must we do?  We must applaud God still.

How might we behave when we feel as though God ignores us?  We consider that we thirst, we consider that we hunger and we translate this sense of loss into a pining for the Living God.  We consider that we are experiencing our own Resurrection and so we praise God.  We consider that God accepts our burnt offerings of the thousand little and big ways that we suffer daily for Christ and so we acclaim God.  We consider that we are experiencing spiritual hunger and for this we thank and applaud the Living God.  For it is this yearning, this desire, this hunger which awakens the soul . . . and saves it from any lukewarm-ness. 

And so we pray,

Generous and loving God, save us from our petulant selves and bring us close to you. 

Patient and gentle God, rescue us from our spoiled selves and keep us ever in your presence. 

Powerful and omniscient God, redeem us from our self-centered selves and remind us to give thanks to you.  

Eternal and serene God, transform us from our insensible selves so that we might always live and act in you.  Amen.

Adapted from a reflection written on March 26, 2008.

Cameron, Peter John. “Meditation of the Day.” MAGNIFICAT. 26.3 (2008). Print.

 For more information about the papyrus fragment of Psalm 50 above, click on the image above or go to the Duke Papyrus Archive at: http://library.duke.edu/rubenstein/scriptorium/papyrus/texts/homepage.html 

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Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Biliverti: The Archangel Raphael Refusing Tobias' Gift

Biliverti: The Archangel Raphael Refusing Tobias’ Gift

Tobit 12

Raphael Makes Himself Known

This beautiful story comes to us today to remind us that we need to make known the many small miracles we receive from God.  Each time God inverts a plot, we must share the story.  Each time God saves us from our own fears we must tell the good news.  Each time God heals a wounded heart we must make God’s goodness known.

We have read this story before but today we find something new.

Verse 6: Raphael called the two men aside privately and said to them: “Thank God! Give him the praise and glory.  Before all the living, acknowledge the many good things he has done for you, by blessing and extolling his name in song.  Honor and praise God’s deeds and do not be slack in praising him”.

The healing hand of God manifests itself frequently in our lives through strangers.  When Tobit and Tobias wish to give a monetary reward to Tobias’ traveling companion for all the healing he has done in their lives, the Archangel Raphael reveals himself . . . and rather than take payment, asks them to praise God who has answered their cry for help and has rescued them.

Verse 10: But those habitually guilty of sin are their own worst enemies.

We are reminded that when we sin, we are separating ourselves from God . . . and hurting ourselves.  The first step toward healing is recognizing that we are human and imperfect . . . and acknowledging that God is all . . . and that God alone is enough.

Verse 14: . . . and now the Lord has sent me to heal you.

We can heal one another . . . and in so doing also heal ourselves . . . and act as co-redeemers of the human race with Christ.  For we are adopted daughters and sons of God.

Verses 17 and 18: And Raphael said to them: “No need to fear.  You are safe.  Thank God now and forever.  As for me, when I came to you it was not out of any favor on my part, but because it was God’s will.  So continue to thank him every day; praise him with song”. 

Fear not . . . these are the same healing words which Jesus speaks.

Verse 22: They kept thanking God and singing his praises; and they continued to acknowledge these marvelous deeds which he had done when the angel of God appeared to them.

Let us publish all God’s wonderful works for God has sent angels to minister to us even though we might not see them.  Let us tell everyone we know the stories of our own healing for these are miracles performed for us by a loving God.  And let us remember to thank God for all that God does to heal us of all that limits us.

For more about Raphael, Tobit or Tobias, enter their names in the blog search bar and reflect on the gift of this story.

Adapted from a reflection written on January 2, 2008.

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