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Posts Tagged ‘trust God’


faith as mustard seedWednesday, July 7, 2021

Matthew 17:14-20

The Mustard Seed

The mustard seed was the smallest seed known to farmers in Galilee in Jesus’ day, yet once planted in fertile soil, the tiny seed grew into a bush as high as ten feet. An amazing change for something so small – and an apt metaphor for the change that can occur in any one of us – once we believe in the Word of God and the abundant possibilities that God opens to each of us.

In today’s Noontime we read about a boy whose demon proves stronger than the faith of Jesus’ disciples, and so the child’s father takes him to the Master in order that the demon be driven out. This same story can be read in Mark 9:14-29 where we find a slightly longer, slightly different version; however, in both cases we see the themes of faith and prayer brought into focus by our trust in God.

Like the father in today’s story, we are to bring our petitions to Jesus. Like the boy himself, we are to give ourselves over to the possibility of being healed, even when we suffer from birth, even when our plight seems permanent. Like the apostles who cannot affect a cure, we are to stay close to Christ as we tend to the mission we have been given.

Platitudes are ineffective when we experience or witness great suffering. Wise sayings affirm our beliefs. Acts of love, of kindness, of hope and of faith are our outward signs of our relationship with God. Our prayer, our fasting, our almsgiving, our constancy in attending to our interior temple are our inward maintenance of this relationship.

We are here on earth to complete our mission, to experience the true potential God has placed in us. We are here to bring soft and open hearts to a hard and suffering world. We are here to offer yielding necks to an excessive and difficult society. We are here to witness and to live lives of compassion and justice. We are here to be healers and to be healed.

We are here to be mustard seed, to yield plenty from the smallest grain, to give as we have been given, to transform as we have been transformed, to love as we are loved.


A Favorite Noontime from July 17, 2008.

Visit Mark 4:30-34 and Luke 13:18-21 and 17:1-10 to hear more of Jesus’ words about faith as the Mustard Seed.

Photo credit: beaconfallscongregational.org from Karina’s Thought at WordPress: http://karinasussanto.wordpress.com/2013/09/02/faith-as-small-as-a-mustard-seed/

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imagesCAYBROG0Sunday, June 6, 2021

1 John 5:1-5

Victory Over the World

We study John’s first letter and we see the logic in believing that our faith will help us to move away from the easy commandment the world gives us of taking care of self.

Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is begotten by God . . .

We also feel the tug of faith based on Christ, the certainty of hope placed in God and the serenity of love found in the Spirit.

Everyone who loves the father also loves the one begotten by God . . .

Yet still we may struggle with how it is that this victory that John describes – and the victory we want to experience – takes place in us.

In this way we know that we love the children of God when we love God and obey God’s commandments . . .

We might look for certain answers to our many questions and ask for more solid information, but this negates the process that John describes of coming to know Christ through faith.

For the love of God is this, that we keep God’s commandments. God’s commandments are not burdensome . . .

If we fight against loving our enemies we must remember that the more we practice interceding for those who harm us the more we find ourselves awaking to God’s Law of Love.

For whoever is begotten by God conquers the world . . .

We need not struggle against exterior forces of darkness; rather, we struggle with our own reluctance to trust God . . . even a reluctance which seems to be founded on logic and prudence.

And the victory that conquers the world is our faith . . .

We need not look to others to find happiness and even serenity; rather, we need look only to ourselves and our willingness to love God in everyone we meet, even those who wish us harm.

Who indeed is the victor over the world but the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?

When we believe that we can find no victory in this world . . . perhaps we might reconsider what kind of victory we seek . . . and if our victory finds it foundation in Christ himself.


Enter the word victory into the blog search bar and consider what victory looks like to those who trust God.

Image from: http://www.pinterest.com/alannadueck/christian-quotes/

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God's love language stewardshipMonday, May 31, 2021

1 John 3

True Children

“The greatest sign of God’s love is the gift of his Son (Jn 3, 16) that has made Christians true children of God. This relationship is a present reality and also part of the life to come; true knowledge of God will ultimately be gained, and Christians prepare themselves now by virtuous lives in imitation of the Son . . . Love, even to the point of self-sacrifice, is the point of the commandment [verses 11-18]. The story of Cain and Abel . . . presents the rivalry of two brothers, in a contrast of evil and righteousness, where envy led to murder. For Christians, proof of deliverance is love toward others, after the example of Christ. This includes concrete acts of charity, out of our material gain . . . Living a life of faith in Jesus and of Christian love assures us of abiding in God no matter what our feelings may at times tell us. Our obedience gives us confidence in prayer and trust in God’s judgment. This obedience includes our belief in Christ and love for one another”. (Senior 390-391)

Daniele_Crespi_-_Cain_Killing_Abel_-_WGA5743

Daniele Crespi: Cain Killing Abel

Knowledge of God leading to virtuous lives. Concrete acts of charity from our material gain. A life of faith in Christ. Confidence in prayer and trust in God. We have spent several days with the third chapter of John’s first letter and we might pause today to consider . . . what have we learned? What might we have changed in our relationships?

When someone new joins our work or play community, do they see us as holy? If someone new arrives at our place of worship, do they see us as authentic and genuine? Do they see us as brothers and sisters who support one another rather than envy? Do our actions indicate that we know we have been released from bondage? Do our deeds say that we are grateful for all that we have and that we covet nothing, envy no one? Do others see us supporting one another out of our material gain and spiritual gifts? Do others hope to be one with us as children of the Living God and as building blocks of The Kingdom? Do they see us as true children of God?

Tomorrow, considering Cain and Abel.


Adapted from a reflection first written on July 20, 2010.

Senior, Donald, ed. THE CATHOLIC STUDY BIBLE. New York, Oxford University Press, 1990.390-391. Print.

Images from: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Daniele_Crespi_-_Cain_Killing_Abel_-_WGA5743.jpg and https://everythingiswhatyoumakeit.wordpress.com/2011/03/16/all-you-need-is-heart/book-pages-heart/

 

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little and big handsTrinity Sunday, May 30, 2021

1 John 3:19-24

Confidence Before God

Now this is how we shall know that we belong to the truth . . .

Now this is how we shall know that we walk in Christ’s footsteps . . . when we show confidence as we do God’s work.

God is greater than our hearts and knows everything . . .

This is how we know that God guides us . . . when we show confidence in God’s plan.

We have confidence in God . . . and we do what pleases God . . .

This is how we know that we live in God’s plan . . . when we find serenity.

We will believe in the name of God’s son, Jesus Christ . . .

This is how we bring serenity to others . . . when we give all to God.

We will love one another as Jesus asked us . . .

This is how we are able to love our enemies . . . when we rest in God’s Spirit.

Those who keep this commandment of love remain in Christ . . . and Christ in them . . .

This is how we find peace in turmoil . . . when we allow Jesus to make a way for us.

The way we know that Christ remains in us is from the Spirit that he gave us . . .

This is how we know we have confidence before God . . . when we fully and totally and faithfully trust God.


Read Luke 17:5-10 and consider Jesus’ words to us as he describes faith and the attitude of a servant.  For a reflection on this citation, click on the image above or go to: http://frvlad.blogspot.com/2013/10/trust-and-confidence-in-god.html

Using the scripture link above, study several versions of these verses and reflect on how or if or when we have confidence before God.

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artworks-000017516576-lw5fu1-cropTuesday, May 25, 2021

Psalm 19:2-4

Day and Night

The heavens proclaim the glory of God

And the firmament shows forth the work of God’s hands.

Day unto day takes up the story

And night unto night makes know the message.

No speech, no word, no voice is heard

Yet their span extends through all the earth,

Their words to the utmost bounds of the world.

This spring we have reflected on the importance of preaching God’s Word with every small and great act in our lives. We have pondered the Lesson of the Fig Tree and the worth of even the smallest of sparrows. We have spent time examining our experience of Christ and we have compared the ideal with the real. Today we arrive at understanding that each day and each night are filled with God’s grace even when we cannot see or feel it. We have arrived at believing that just as the firmament extols God’s goodness . . . so must we. No speech is necessary. No word need be uttered. We have only to spend each waking moment doing God’s work. We have only to put our slumber into God’s trustworthy hands for it is in this way that we enter into God’s eternal goodness.

Is this what the Apostle John has seen and heard? Is this the goodness we seek? Is this the gift we have already been freely given?

Tomorrow, a prayer for our days and nights.


Visit the scripture link above and read the versions of this citation that have been pre-selected. Choose another version and ponder how the firmament speaks without words. 

Image from: https://soundcloud.com/handbook/sunrise

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jesus-appears-to-the-disciples-after-resurrectionFriday, May 7, 2021

Mark 16:9-20

The Shorter Ending

The short version ending to Mark’s Gospel might leave us looking for more . . . Then they went out and fled from the tomb, seized with trembling and bewilderment. They said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid . . . And they reported all the instructions briefly to Peter’s companions. Afterwards, Jesus himself, through them, sent forth from east to west the sacred imperishable proclamation of eternal salvation. Amen.

This quick end is simple and direct; yet it leaves us with a number of questions. What instructions were so quickly repeated? Why this hasty summation? Who exactly were Peter’s companions? What does it mean that others were sent forth by Jesus through them? We believe we know the substance of the sacred, imperishable statement of everlasting redemption, but might we not have a bit more detail?

Fortunately, we can turn to the longer story which describes more fully the resurrection, the commissioning of the eleven, and finally Jesus’ ascension; but what the shorter ending gives us a sense of immediacy, an understanding of the fear these disciples experienced, and the knowledge that something quite remarkable has been passed to us through centuries.

Spend some time today with the shorter ending of Mark’s Gospel and decide . . . do we need the details we long for . . . or might we trust God to fill in all the blanks?  Is this merely a story to entertain or amaze us . . . or are we asked to do something more with the details we hope for?  Is the fear the followers of Jesus experience an emotion we observe and document . . . or do we allow our own fear to affirm for us the importance of this singular, sacred Easter story of salvation?


Image from: http://prayersofthepeople.blogspot.com/

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Thursday, January 21, 2021

Psalm 119:49-56Zayin-sd_small[1]

Zayin

This is my comfort in affliction, your promise that gives me life. Your laws become my songs wherever I make my home. Even at night I remember your name . . . This is my good fortune.

The meaning of this letter is complex but the meaning of this stanza is not.

God says: Do you hear my voice blending with yours when you raise your hands and voice to me? Do you trust that I will fulfill the promise I first planted in you? Do you know that I consider you my own? Do you know that you are my good fortune?

We so often see ourselves as separate from God when in truth we live in union with God. In this seventh lesson of Psalm 119 we learn that our trust in God overcomes the arrogant who utterly scorn me, or the rage that seizes me.  When we begin and end each day in God we find comfort in affliction, and God’s song of love in our hearts.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. (2 Corinthians 1: 3-4)

Tomorrow, the letter Heth.


To learn more about the Hebrew letter Zayin, click on the word, or go to: http://gnosticteachings.org/courses/alphabet-of-kabbalah/725-zayin.html

 

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Friday, January 15, 2021

Psalm 119:17-24

images[4]Gimel

I am a sojourner in the land; do not hide your commands from me.

Traveling, wandering, seeking, searching, always on the move.

We look for signs and indicators. We ask for affirmation and assurance.

God says: You are always asking for clarity and this is fine but I also want you to trust me. I know that my prophet Jeremiah gives you words with which to rebuke me: “You duped me, O Lord, and I let myself be duped”. (Jeremiah 20:7) But I never trick you; rather, I call. I do not deceive you; I ask that you trust me. I do not steer you wrongly; although at times you fear that I do. I hide nothing from you and I love you more than you imagine. You want a map of all that is to come and all that is to take place but this information is not as useful as you might believe. Rather than ask me for details, dates, times and places . . . ask me to accompany you. This I do out of sheer love for you. There is nothing we cannot do together. Of this you may be assured. In this you may be affirmed. This you may trust. Rely on me always.

We too often allow our fear of life’s enormity to overshadow our reliance on God’s love. We take ourselves too seriously and believe ourselves omnipotent and all-knowing. As we journey through life we need none of the artificial safety nets we scramble to assemble. All we need is an ear well-tuned to God.

Today we reflect on the third lesson in Psalm 119. It is God’s simple invitation to cease our search for life’s roadmap and to instead trust God’s providence and care. Tomorrow, Daleth.

How long, Lord?  Will you utterly forget me? (Psalm 13:1)

And God replies: I am here beside you where I have always been. 


To learn more about the importance of the third Hebrew letter Gimel, click on the word or the image above, or go to: http://houseofjoseph.net/alef-bet_download_page.htm and http://www.hebrewtoday.com/content/hebrew-alphabet-letter-gimel-%D7%92

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Sunday, November 1, 2020

Psalm-69-14[1]Psalm 69:2-3

Great Distress

Save me, O God, for the waters have reached my neck.  I have sunk into the mire of the deep, where there is no foothold. I have gone down to the watery depths; the flood overwhelms me.

Anyone who has stepped into murky waters at land’s edge will know the sensation of mud oozing between toes. It does not take much imagination to conjure up the feeling of water rising slowly to envelope us. Death by drowning overtakes the lungs, strangling any cry for help.

God says: The chaos and deception of the world have frightened you; but remember that I am always with you. The dragging darkness threatens you; but keep in mind that I guide and protect you. The feelings of loss and desperation weigh you down, robbing you of your natural buoyancy and positive outlook. Turn to me when the world sweeps over you. Rely on me when darkness becomes too heavy. Trust me when you are at your last ounce of energy and hope. When great distress paralyzes you and saps your very breath, allow me to breathe for you. I have plumbed the breadth and depths of the ocean; I know the boggy reed beds where you have lost your way. Lift your eyes and heart and hopes to me. And I will pull you out of your great distress. 

We recognize that we too often rely on self rather than God. Let us determine today that it will be God’s name we call upon when shadowy depths bring us great distress.


Image from: http://www.iwantcovers.com/psalm-6914/

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