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Posts Tagged ‘the wicked’


Psalm 112: Rising in the Darkness

Monday, February 13, 2017candles

Whether we know it or, once we commit to loving God as we see God in others, we begin to generate light in the darkness.

Those who love the LORD rise in the darkness as a light for the upright; they are gracious, merciful, and righteous.

We may be unaware that others are watching us but they are. When we say that are committed to Christ, do our actions betray or support our words?

It is well with those who deal generously and lend, who conduct their affairs with justice.

If we hope to make a mark in human history, all we need do is follow Christ. In this way we will find ourselves in the story of hope and generosity rather than the story of fear and exclusion.

For the righteous will never be moved; they will be remembered forever.

Once we begin to think and move in Christ, all fear falls away for we know that we are not in charge and that the long arc of human history is moving toward the light of Christ.

They are not afraid of evil tidings; their hearts are firm, secure in the Lord.

lightWhen we feel ourselves moving in that great tide of humanity that yearns for universal justice, impartial freedom and eternal peace, we will know that all is well.

Their hearts are steady, they will not be afraid; in the end they will look in triumph on their foes.

The honor we seek is not the reward of this life; it is the quiet, humble, everlasting honor that Christ bestows when we follow after him.

They have distributed freely, they have given to the poor; their righteousness endures forever; they are exalted in honor.

We cannot think that our progress is smooth for the way of discipleship is difficult in the best of circumstances.

The wicked see it and are angry; they gnash their teeth and melt away; the desire of the wicked comes to nothing.

And we must remember that in our gladness of living and loving in Christ, we are called to invite all those who weary from their journey of opposition, mistrust, and manipulation to join in this great generation of life and light and love.

Those who love the LORD rise in the darkness as a light for the upright; they are gracious, merciful, and righteous.

candles-burningWe give thanks for the times when are the light. We ask forgiveness for the times we have brought darkness to others and ourselves. And we remember to look for the face of Christ in every soul that passes our way.

When we spend time with various translations of this psalm, we find that our hearts are lighter, our path more easily seen and trod, and our journey more full of peace.

 

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Wisdom 1: The Key to Lifekey of life

March 10, 2015

Love justice . . . seek the Lord with integrity of heart . . .

Perverse counsels separate a man from God . . .

The holy spirit of discipline flees deceit and withdraws from senseless counsels . . .

When injustice occurs it is rebuked . . .

God is the witness of the inmost self and the sure observer of the heart . . .

The spirit of the Lord fills the world, is all-embracing, and knows what each one says.

No one who utters wicked things can go unnoticed . . .

A jealous ear hearkens to everything . . .

Discordant grumblings are no secret . . .

Guard against profitless grumbling, and from calumny withhold your tongues . . .

A stealthy utterance does not go unpunished . . .

A lying mouth slays the soul . . .

Justice is undying.

God says: These words of wisdom are sent to you through my servant who recorded these thoughts for you centuries ago. They are ancient words yet they hold modern meaning. In this season of Lent as you anticipate the miracle of Easter, open your arms, widen your horizon, unbend your stiff neck and renew your heart. Separation from me does not occur like a thunder clap or an explosion; rather, it begins by tiny steps away from me, away from the light that breaks through all darkness and calls forth all healing. If you wish to hold the keys to life, remain in me as I remain in you. I will give you rest and mercy and peace. 

Use the scripture link to explore different versions of these verses, and allow them to reveal the wisdom of God’s words.  

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Ezekiel 33:14-16: We Shall Surely Live

Simon Peter answered him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life".  (John 6:68)

Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life”. (John 6:68)

March 4, 2015

Though I say to the wicked man that he shall surely die, if he turns away from his sin and does what is right and just, giving back pledges, restoring stolen goods, living by the statutes that bring life, and doing no wrong, he shall surely live, he shall not die. None of the sins committed shall be held against him; he has done what is right and just, he shall surely live.

Just when we believe that there is no redemption we read these verses. The wicked may also survive to live eternally once they repent. If there are enemies among, let us pray as Jesus asks us to pray.

From Fr. Richard Rohr, O.F.M.: “A prophet is one who keeps God free for people and who keeps people free for God. It is a two-sided task. He or she is committed to the covenant love between humanity and the Divine–at all costs–and keeping God totally free for people. That is a very hard thing to do, because at least in the Bible the priestly class invariably makes God less accessible instead of more so: ‘Neither entering yourselves nor letting others enter in’ as Jesus boldly puts it (Matthew 23:13). For our own job-security, the priestly mentality tends to say, ‘You can only come to God through us, by doing the right rituals and obeying the rules.’ Formal ministers are too often good at teaching people ‘learned helplessness.’ That’s why the prophets spend so much time destroying and dismissing these barriers to create ‘a straight highway to God’ (Matthew 3:3) as John the Baptist tries to do, and Jesus does with such determination and partial success. But now you know why they were both killed”.

Spend time with these verses from Ezekiel and Matthew today and reflect on their meaning along with the words from Richard Rohr and consider . . . as we go through our days, do we liberate more than we bind, do we heal more than we hurt, do we love more than we judge, do we live more than we die?

Richard Rohr citation in this post is from “Prophets as Liberators,” Richard Rohr’s Daily Meditation for Monday, February 20, 2015. http://myemail.constantcontact.com/Richard-Rohr-s-Meditation–Prophets-as-Liberators.html?soid=1103098668616&aid=O17vFLcGtV4  

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Friday, February 13, 2015

A Watch Tower in Cadiz, Spain

A Watch Tower in Cadiz, Spain

Ezekiel 3:17-27

The Prophet as Watchman: Gratitude for our Stumbling Blocks

I have appointed you as sentinel; whenever you hear a word from my mouth, warn my people from me.

God says: Do not be surprised that I have appointed you as sentinel to my people for you have been faithful in great and in little things. When I speak, send on my word, live my word.

When I say to the wicked, “You will surely die,” and you do not warn them or speak out to warn them, the wicked shall die in their iniquity, but their blood I will require at your hand.

God says: Do not be afraid to deliver news that others perceive as negative or ugly. Send on my word with mercy and justice. Be compassionate always, but deliver my message nonetheless for it is as important for you to speak as it is for others to hear.

If you have warned the wicked and they do not turn from their wickedness or from their wicked way, they shall die in his iniquity; but you have delivered yourself.

God says: Do not worry if my word returns to you empty. I do not expect you to transform hard hearts and unbend stiff necks; but I expect that you will send my word on.

When I speak to you, I will open your mouth and you will say to them, “Thus says the Lord God”. The one who hears, hear; and the one who refuses, let that one refuse; for they are a rebellious house.

God says: Speak in my name and in that alone is your reward. When you do this although it is outside of your comfort zone, you set the same example as does my son Jesus. When you speak the words that lie in the quiet of other hearts, you demonstrate your fidelity. When you act as Jesus acts you show me the heart I have planted in you. Act in me as I act in you . . . and this will be enough. Give thanks that I am with you. Give thanks that you are not alone. Give thanks that my love dwells within you . . . and that I find it great enough to share. This has been the gift of your stumbling block. It is the gift of the watch tower. It is the gift of my eternal life in you.

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main_joy_0Monday

December 15, 2014

Joy and 

Ecclesiastes 8:14-15

Compensation

We continue our reflection on joy in the Books of Wisdom and for the next few days we spend time with Ecclesiastes, verses that focus on the purpose and value of human life. Joy in merit, material wealth, pleasure of every kind evades the human race when chased. The mystery is that truly fulfilling and lasting joy comes upon us when we least expect it – and when we find ourselves in the most trying of circumstances. If this week’s Noontimes call you to search for more ways to encounter joy, 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. Or visit the Joy for the Journey blog at www.joyforthee.blogspot.com. Today we wonder why joy appears to accompany the wicked rather than the just.

It is so very difficult to be joy-filled when our world is falling apart. When cataclysm strikes, the faithful bend forward into the Lord, relying on God’s strength, wisdom, courage and stamina. And yet, the wisdom imparted to us today says precisely that when we cannot understand the complexities of our universe, we move forward as best we can . . . and we rely on God’s joy that somehow arrives even in the darkness. This is the message of this third week in Advent: when it is darkest, God is nearest.

joyVerse 8:15: Therefore I praised joy, because there is nothing better for mortals under the sun than to eat and to drink and to be joyful; this will accompany them in their toil through the limited days of life God gives them under the sun.

Compare the MESSAGE version of this passage at the scripture link above that includes verse 14: Here’s something that happens all the time and makes no sense at all: Good people get what’s coming to the wicked, and bad people get what’s coming to the good. I tell you, this makes no sense. It’s smoke. So, I’m all for just going ahead and having a good time – the best possible. The only earthly good men and women can look forward to is to eat and drink well and have a good time – compensation for the struggle for survival these few years God gives us on earth.

God says: This advice sounds like the hedonistic refrain to “Eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow you die!” But it is not. Read these verses in the context of the whole and you will find that they speak to the human condition. It is true that many times it appears that the wicked receive the gifts meant for the faithful. It is also true that dreadful things happen to good people. What is also true is that the plan of the universe is quite complex. And it is also true that I know every step you take, every wakeful moment of the night that you pass, every injustice you suffer. Remember that I am with you in those dark times just as I am in the happy ones, and that joy accompanies you always although you may not discern it.

Spend some time today remembering the times when you have been treated unfairly. Jot down a few words on a piece of paper that describe the dark feelings you experienced. This may be a simple list like: alone, betrayed, misunderstood, attacked, and so on. On the reverse side of this paper, write the word JOY. In this way we ask God to convert our sorrow into joy. Seek professional help for feelings of depression or suicide. Gather friends around you who will treat you with the care God wants to lavish on you. Place your JOY petition in your Bible, in a prayer-book, or in a special prayer basket set aside as a cradle for your sorrow. Imagine the Christ child arriving to sleep in this crib . . . and give all your anxiety to him.

At noon each day, the petitions of The Noontimes readers are remembered in prayer. May God’s serenity guide you, may the Christ child’s humility sustain you, and may the peace of the Spirit dwell within you at this very special time of year. Amen.

For interesting ways to handle stress, to find a balance in life, to maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle, and to find joy in living, click on the image above, or go to the Complete Health News site at: http://www.completehealthnews.com/interesting-ways-to-find-joy-life/

For more information about anxiety and joy, visit: http://riselikeair.wordpress.com/2014/01/09/anxiety-joy-a-journey/

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proverbs 12-20Monday, December 8, 2014

Joy and Proverbs

Deceit

The Book of Proverbs is more than mere adages we repeat in moments of confusion or stress. They are universal metaphors that serve as anchors in a bewildering and sometimes tumultuous world. Many resources are available to understand these maxims and during this second week of Advent we will focus on the surprising power of the proverbs to reveal God’s truth to us.  If this week’s exploration of Proverbs calls you to search for more ways to encounter joy, 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 we find joy even in deceit.

Each of us has experienced a time when joy has been difficult to find. It is sometimes difficult to imagine that the wickedness and deceit we see around us will ever dissipate; peace and serenity seem powerless against the forces of corruption and treachery. Betrayal, envy, slander, gossip, plots against the innocent and vulnerable, schemes against the marginalized and voiceless seem far more powerful than the power of humility, serenity and peace. But then we might be thinking that we must generate goodness from our own resources . . . and we will have forgotten that God alone can penetrate stony hearts, Christ alone is the path to resurrection, the Spirit alone abides through hate and calumny and fear

Verse 10:28: The hope of the just brings joy, but the expectation of the wicked perishes.

joyGod says: What is the justice I ask you to bring to the world? Is it a gargantuan task that saps every bit of energy you possess? Is it a complex plot with an infinite number of people and parts? No . . . the justice I ask you to bring is you witnessing. Stand with the marginalized and the innocent. The justice I ask you to enact is your voice. Speak when the Spirit asks you to speak. The justice I ask you to nurture is your outrageous hope that all things are possible in and through me for the hope of the just brings joy.

Verse 12:20: Deceit is in the heart of those who plot evil, but those who counsel peace have joy.

God says: When you experience every kind of deceit, you need not hide or cower in the shadows. Step into the light of my goodness and live as you know you are called to live. When plots unfold before you, allow my peace to fill you. When schemes unravel around you, allow my serenity to guide you. When intrigue and conspiracy reign, step into my quiet stillness and know that I am with you. In this way you will experience joy . . . even in the cruelest of circumstances.

During this second week in Advent we will continue to share simple verses from Proverbs that bring joy to our hearts. Tomorrow, God’s joy is present even in the midst of evil.

For more information about anxiety and joy, visit: http://riselikeair.wordpress.com/2014/01/09/anxiety-joy-a-journey/

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Sunday, September 14, 2014

hands childressEzekiel 33:7-9

Saving Souls

We turn to the words of the prophet Ezekiel as we react to Jeremiah’s indictment of evil in the world. Yesterday we reflected on how God calls each of us to kingdom-building. Today we reflect on how this kingdom might come about.

If I tell the wicked, “O wicked one, you shall surely die”, and you do not speak out to dissuade the wicked one from his way, the wicked shall die for his guilt, but I will hold you responsible for his death. But if you warn the wicked, trying to turn him from his way, he shall die for his guilt, but you shall save yourself.

Saint James tells us: If anyone among you should stray from the truth and someone bring him back, he should know that whoever brings back a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death. (James 5:19-20)

Saint Paul reminds the Romans and us: Love does no evil to the neighbor. (Romans 13:10)

God says: I see many of you undermining the kingdom; yet I see many more of you working to build it up. I want each of you to find her way, or his way to work for and with me. For many of you it is to speak aloud the words I send to you. For others it is to quietly and persistently implement the simple words of my Law of Love. For still others it is to make a loud and banging noise about injustice. And for yet others it is to untiringly appear wherever the wicked tear down vineyard walls to plant new vines again. This is not complicated. It is, in fact, simple. What is complicated is bringing all that you are and all that you have to bear on this one point: there is no greater kingdom than mine; there is no greater love than mine; there is no greater joy than mine . . . in you. Again I invite you to the tireless but rewarding work of the kingdom, for when you join me, you save your soul . . . and those of countless others.

Rather than hide in despair, we step into the light. Rather than wail in sorrow, we take up our task. Rather than gnash our teeth and beat our chests . . . we trust God, pray for those who need our intercession, and join all those whom God has called to the saving of souls.

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Saturday, September 13, 2014

PovertyPsalms 9:15-20

The Hope of the Poor

Jeremiah has given us so much to process; he lays out before us a reason for righteous anger . . . and he also proposes that a new order is coming.

The ungodly have fallen into the pit they dug, and in the snare they set is their own foot caught.

Our own life experience tells us that the innocent suffer and the ungodly hold the upper hand.

The Lord is known by acts of justice; the wicked are trapped in the works of their own hands.

And our spiritual life tells us that we must leave judging and condemnation to God.

The wicked shall be given over to the grave, and also all the peoples who forget God.

Rather than preoccupy ourselves with the sins of the ungodly, let us work together to bring all peoples to God.

For the needy shall not always be forgotten, and the hope of the poor shall not perish forever.

God sees even the smallest of us and it is our great work to join God in solidarity with the poor.

Rise up, O Lord, let not the ungodly have the upper hand; let them be judged before you.

God sees even the smallest of our actions to remedy the plight of the poor.

Put fear upon them, O Lord; let the ungodly know they are but mortal.

Rather than pray for the end of our enemies, let us pray for their great conversion of heart.

God says: I realize that you live in a world of injustice. I understand that you want me to remedy even unbalance, each inequality, all corruption and lack of integrity. And that is the great work to which I call each of you. Join me in kingdom-building, in forgiveness and reconciliation. Join me in the greatest and most important work of your lives. Feed the physically poor. Tend to the spiritually poor. Aide the mentally poor. It is in so doing that you will come to see the beauty and worth of my kingdom. It is in so doing that you will put aside your anger and fear. It is in so doing that you will discover the serenity and peace of the kingdom. This is my new covenant with you. Reconcile yourself to me and begin anew, for in this is the hope of the poor. 

And the people reply . . . The Lord is known by acts of justice. Let us join the Lord in the great work of The Kingdom. Let us become, with the Lord, the hope of the poor.

Enter the word kingdom-building into the blog search bar and explore what kingdom-building work God might have in mind for each of us.

For information about poverty and health in the USA, click on the image above or go to: http://blog.oup.com/2013/11/poverty-public-health-united-states/

For a world rural poverty map, visit: http://www.ruralpovertyportal.org/region 

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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The Desert Star grows in the Sonora Desert

The Desert Star grows in the Sonora Desert

Jeremiah 12

Why?

Why does the way of the godless prosper, why live all the treacherous in contentment? You planted them; they have taken root. They keep on growing and bearing fruit. You are upon their lips, but far from their inmost thoughts.

These questions are raised by each of us as we strive to do what we know to be merciful and right and good while we see the wicked prosper. Jeremiah records God’s Complaint: My beloved has turned on me like a lion in the jungle; because she roared against me . . . many shepherds have trodden my heritage underfoot; the portion that delighted me they have turned into a desert waste, desolate it lies before me . . . they have sown wheat and reaped thorns.

And so we too, question and wait for an answer that makes sense.

God says: This word of “why” is the one you raise to me most often; I know that injustice and darkness pain you as they pain me. If I were to focus on all that is wrong with the world I would have brought it to an end long ago and so I look for the faithful, the good, the merciful and patient. I wait for the persistent, the loving, and the hope-filled. And my watching and waiting is always rewarded. You who gather goodness into my great harvesting barn also gather joy into my immense heart. You who sow compassion and praise in the vineyards where you struggle also sow the tears of my goodness that salve and heal souls. You who wait patiently and keep me constantly in mind abide in my all-knowing mind and rest in my powerful arms. You are never without me. You need never be afraid. You need never wonder why. 

We are accustomed to instant news feeds and immediate search results. With the Lord we must be patient. In the Lord we must remain. For the Lord we must persist. Because the Lord is present . . . we need not wonder why.

For more on the Desert Star flower, click on the image above or go to: http://www.glamisdunes.com/invision/lofiversion/index.php?t133916.html 

To reflect more on Jeremiah 12, visit the Plots of Darkness on this blog at: https://thenoontimes.com/2013/06/13/plots-of-darkness/

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