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Posts Tagged ‘trust God’


Proverbs 17: A Whack on the Head 

Sunday, August 6, 2017

A friend of mine once spoke of her belief that God has to get louder when we persist in ignoring the voice that calls us. God may have to hit us over the head, she once observed, if that is the only way we will listen. This Chapter of Proverbs seems to affirm that belief. In THE MESSAGE translation of verses 1-16, we find the subtitle, A Whack on the Head. The verses we find there are nuggets of gold in present societies around the world.

Whitewashing bad people and throwing mud on good people
    are equally abhorrent to God.

Too many political, social and religious leaders step forward with the hope that their followers will make excuses for serious conflicts of interest and lack of expertise. Too many followers are happy to oblige.

What’s this? Fools out shopping for wisdom!
    They wouldn’t recognize it if they saw it!

So many hopeful leaders put aside the school of life and ignore the lessons life brings them. So many followers look for information that affirms their already-established views rather than winnowing through too much information and then making sound decisions.

Verses 17-28 of this Chapter carry the subtitle, One Who Knows Much Says Little. How wise we might be if we took the advice we find here. We spend a great deal of time, energy, and funds looking for wisdom when it is so often close at hand. We travel great distances searching for gurus and sages. We spend large amounts of our physical, fiscal and mental resources looking for quick fixes when the simple strategy of trusting God is always at hand.

The perceptive find wisdom in their own front yard;
    fools look for it everywhere but right here.

We avoid conflict or bull our way through tumult rather than allowing God to carry us in Christ’s open and generous arms. We put aside our relationship with the Spirit in order to spend more time with the world. This Chapter of proverbs has advice that is well worth our time and energy.

Even dunces who keep quiet are thought to be wise;
    as long as they keep their mouths shut, they’re smart.

Today, let us consider the words we think and say, and the actions we do and do not complete. And let us determine to live always by trusting the wisdom of God more than we trust our own.

When we compare varying translations of these verses, we allow them to awaken us as if they were a whack on the head.

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Proverbs 3:1-12: Knowing It All

Friday, July 21, 2017

The writer of the opening Chapters of Proverbs treats us as a close associate.

Good friend, don’t forget all I’ve taught you;
    take to heart my commands.
They’ll help you live a long, long time,
    a long life lived full and well.

We are warned to keep our feet on the ground and our hearts open.

Don’t lose your grip on Love and Loyalty.
    Tie them around your neck; carve their initials on your heart.
Earn a reputation for living well
    in God’s eyes and the eyes of the people.

A close relationship with God is paramount for one who wants to be eternally at peace.

Trust God from the bottom of your heart;
    don’t try to figure out everything on your own.
Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go;
    God’s the one who will keep you on track.

Humility is a trait we will want to nurture.

Don’t assume that you know it all.
    Run to God! Run from evil!
Your body will glow with health,
    your very bones will vibrate with life!

The rewards of a trusting relationship with God go beyond our spiritual health.

Honor God with everything you own;
    give him the first and the best.
Your barns will burst,
    your wine vats will brim over.

The rewards of practicing fidelity are greater and more powerful than we have imagined.

But don’t, dear friend, resent God’s discipline;
    don’t sulk under God’s loving correction.
It’s the child God loves that God corrects;
    a parent’s delight is behind all this.

God’s loving presence in our lives may at times be difficult . . . but it will also be gratifying, enlightening, and transforming. When we consider these words, we recognize that in truth we have much to learn. No matter our status, power or wealth, we do not know all.

When we spend time with other translations of these verses, we gain understand the power of humility, fidelity and love.

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Psalms 26 and 27: Prayer of an Innocent Person

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

We share these reflections from Holy Week of 2007 while I am away from electronics. Keeping all of you in prayer at noon each day.

Trust in God is the only action left when we are at the bottom of the pit. When we hit that bottom, there is nothing left but God – but God alone is enough. We have realized that there is no point in protesting or struggling. We have only to rest in God.

Jesus tells us that he is with us in every circumstance, in every moment, in every place, and so we share sorrow and joy with one another as we become one in Christ.

When we use the scripture link and commentary to explore these two psalms, we find verses that speak to us.

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Judges 21: The Breach

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Bridges are to be built over the abysses that separate us.  This is the lesson we learn if we read today’s story carefully.  At first glance it seems as though violence is condoned; God appears to be the castigating all-powerful one; but when we take time to read closely and carefully, and if we use footnotes and commentary, we see something different. Much like the message in Lamentations, we see and hear that in the life of the Kingdom we must learn patience, for the lesson will always arrive.  And so frequently the lesson is the reverse of what we initially thought it might be.  What appears to be forbidden is actually blessed.  What seems to be lost is wonderfully found.  And what we believe to be total chaos settles beautifully into God’s plan.

In today’s Morning Prayer, the psalmist exclaims: O Lord, I will trust in you! (Psalm 55:24 Isaiah pronounces:  It was I who stirred up one for the triumph of justice; all his ways I make level.  He shall rebuild my city and let my exiles go free without price or ransom, says the Lord of hosts.  (Isaiah 45:13)  And in Leviticus 26:13 God reminds us that . . . It is I, the Lord, who brought you out of the land of the Egyptians and freed you from their slavery, breaking the yoke they had laid upon you and letting you walk erect. 

Today’s first reading at Mass is one that I love. (Acts 5:17-26)  It is the beginning of the story of how the Apostles respond to God’s word as they have been called to do.  They are jailed – and they are freed by angels and miracles.  It is a story that reminds us we have nothing to fear.  It is a story that tells us that we survive best by depending on God alone.  And it is a story that shows us how easily the breaches in our lives might be mended if we lived in and for God rather than in and for ourselves.

The people had compassion because the Lord had made a breach . . .

When things look darkest, there is space to find the light.

When life seems horrifying, there is always healing.

When we feel twisted and tortured, there is life anew wrought by transformation.

When breaches appear, let us be patient, let us listen, and let us attend.  Good news always arrives.

The people had compassion because the Lord had made a breach . . .

Cameron, Peter John. “Prayer for the Morning.” MAGNIFICAT. 4.5 (2011). Print.  

A Favorite from May 4, 2011.

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Judges 14 and 15: Marrying the Philistine

Sunday, June 25, 2017

José Echenagusía: Samson and Delilah

The Philistines were a war-like tribe of people who came out of the Aegean area as part of the movement of Sea Peoples to end the Hittite rule and to settle along the Mediterranean in the area of Gaza today.  In the Book of Joshua and early in the Book of Judges, we read that Yahweh allows this people to survive so that they might test the Israelites.  Through time, the nation of Israel will have to learn how to co-exist; rather than convert or kill off, this strong-willed pagan people. Some say that the modern Middle Eastern conflict dates back to these early skirmishes, and we can never know this for certain; but here is what we can and do know. This conflict and this story about a man dedicated to God from birth has many surprising twists and turns that all lead to one lesson: We must rely on God alone, no matter the circumstance, no matter the condition. 

From the notes in La Biblia de América we learn the following. Believing that they will obtain the power to decipher Samson’s riddle and somehow control his strength, the Philistines plot to bring him down. But when we examine this story closely, we see that sometimes we too, must marry the Philistine because we never know if this has been brought about by the Lord, who is providing an opportunity against the unholy in our lives who have dominion over our sacred places. 

We might learn something about our fear of failure and rejection when we listen to Jia Jiang’s Ted Talk: What I learned from 100 Days of Rejection at: https://www.ted.com/talks/jia_jiang_what_i_learned_from_100_days_of_rejection

We might also explore Jia Jiang’s book: REJECTION PROOF: HOW I BEAT FEAR AND BECAME INVINCIBLE THROUGH 100 DAYS OF REJECTION: Harmony Books, N.Y.  

LA BIBLIA DE LA AMÉRICA. 8th. Madrid: La Casa de la Biblia, 1994. Print.

For more about the Philistine people, visit: http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/the-philistines 

Adapted from a reflection written on May 8, 2009. 

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Acts 13:44-52: Wild with Jealousy

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Johann Heisse: Paul and Barnabas in Lystra

We have visited this reading before and we do well to visit it again. The themes are vitally important to us.

Some of the Jews, seeing the crowds, went wild with jealousy and tore into Paul, contradicting everything he was saying, making an ugly scene.

Whether we are the Jews, the Christians or the Gentiles . . . we must guard against jealousy and the ugly scenes this negative emotion brings.

But Paul and Barnabas didn’t back down. Standing their ground they spoke.

Like Paul and Barnabas . . . we must remain in Christ, trust God, and live in the Spirit so that we might share the healing message of the Good News.

All who were marked out for real life put their trust in God—they honored God’s Word by receiving that life. 

Like those who heard the good news of salvation . . . we must open our hearts and minds to God’s movement in our lives.

Some of the Jews convinced the most respected women and leading men of the town that their precious way of life was about to be destroyed. Alarmed, they turned on Paul and Barnabas and forced them to leave.

Like the most respected women and leading men in our town . . . we must remain in Christ and the surety of Christ’s promise.

Paul and Barnabas shrugged their shoulders and went on to the next town, Iconium, brimming with joy and the Holy Spirit, two happy disciples.

Like Paul and Barnabas . . . we must shrug our shoulders, move on to the next town, allowing the joy of the Spirit to overflow our hearts.

For other reflections on Paul and Barnabas, enter the apostles’ names in the blog search bar and explore.

For more on Iconium, visit: http://bibleatlas.org/iconium.htm

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Jeremiah 17:7-8: God is in Control

Tuesday, March 7, 2017god-is-in-control

From the MAGNIFICAT Morning Prayer on Sunday, February 26, 2017: It may not always be visible from our vantage point, but God is in control of all things, careful to provide for us despite our sins and those of others around us. Would the One who created us out of sheer love leave us to push through our struggles on our own? Even when we can’t see signs of [God’s] grace, – especially then – no action is more appropriate than to worship [God].

We can never hear this reminder too often

Blessed are those who trust in the Lord,
    whose trust is the Lord.

They shall be like a tree planted by water,
    sending out its roots by the stream.
It shall not fear when heat comes,
    and its leaves shall stay green;
in the year of drought it is not anxious,
    and it does not cease to bear fruit. (NRSV)

God says: I know that the world is quite successful in deceiving you. It gives you the impression that I have abandoned my creation and it asks you, “Where is your God?” I know how much you struggle with doubt and fear, but I am with you always and everywhere. I know how anxiety and depression fogs your senses, but I see, and hear, and live with you. My prophet Jeremiah reminds you of this. Listen to his words.

But blessed is the man who trusts me, God,
    the woman who sticks with God.
They’re like trees replanted in Eden,
    putting down roots near the rivers—
Never a worry through the hottest of summers,
    never dropping a leaf,
Serene and calm through droughts,
    bearing fresh fruit every season. (MSG)

When we look at other versions of these verses and allow their meaning to sink in, we begin to understand that we are not alone, we are not abandoned, and we are well and greatly loved.

 Cameron, Peter John. “Prayer for the Morning.” MAGNIFICAT. 26.2 (2011): 368. Print.  

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2 Samuel 11 and 12: Conversion – Part II

Friday, February 3, 2017

Jean Restout: Ananias Restoring the Sight of St. Paul

Jean Restout: Ananias Restoring the Sight of St. Paul

Two interesting readings from Acts tell the story of Saul/Paul’s conversion: 9:1-22 and 22:3-16.  Again, we see the figure who serves as an instrument of God in the surprising kind of turnabout that can happen when we trust God enough to place ourselves in his hands.  This man, like Nathan in the story of David, communes regularly with God so that when he finds himself in a situation that rightfully causes fear, he has the resources to step into the waiting hand of God . . . to go beyond the fear . . . and into his own conversion of vocation.

Nathan, Ananais, and countless other harvesters in God’s vineyard hear and answer this call by trusting in God.  In the Acts readings we see Ananais hesitate, saying to God: Lord, I have heard from many sources about this man, what evil things he has done to your holy ones in Jerusalem.  And the Lord replies: Go, for this man is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before Gentiles, kings, and children of Israel, and I will show him what he will have to suffer for my name.

In today’s story, we do not read of any trepidation Nathan may have felt on going before the King to give the man an opportunity to repent.  What we do read in verse 12:5 is how David reacted in anger to Nathan’s parable.  Yet Nathan stands his ground, firm in his knowing that he has been sent.

We might spend time this afternoon wondering about our own Nathan parable.  What story might the prophet stand before us to pronounce?  How might we react?  We also might also spend time thinking about our own role as truth-revealer.  When we hear the voice tell us what is required of us, are we willing to do what is required?

We might question as Ananais does, or we might immediately – like Nathan – speak a truth we know others who are far stronger and far more powerful than ourselves wish to keep hidden.  In any case, as children of light we are asked to stand in the truth and to bring truth to others . . . as is required of us by our God . . . according to our vocation.

We notice today that Ananais and Nathan respond to God’s call in kindness and with mercy, prepared and even expecting that their work will bear fruit.  As we go about the rest of our day, we might want to think about which role we play in today’s drama.  Are we David?  Are we Bathsheba?  Are we Nathan?  Are we truly converted by our vocation?  Do we act from God?  Do we act with God?  Do we act in God’s love?  Do we act at all on what we know to be our own conversions . . . one of the heart . . . the other of our vocation?

Adapted from a January 25, 2009 Favorite.

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Romans 1:20: God’s Basic Reality

Wednesday, December 7, 2016gods-law-of-creation-the-origin-of-deviation

This week we explore how to put our love on the line just as the Creator does by abiding with us, just as Jesus does as he shows us The Way, and just as the Spirit does as she comforts and remains in us.

Ever since God created the world, his invisible qualities, both his eternal power and his divine nature, have been clearly seen; they are perceived in the things that God has made. So those people have no excuse at all! (GNT)

Some of us may believe that putting love on the line is not fully possible; but Paul tells the Romans – and he tells us – that with God all things are possible. We have only to look around us at the mystery and beauty of God’s creation.

But the basic reality of God is plain enough. Open your eyes and there it is! (MSG)

Some of us may believe that putting love on the line is foolish; but Paul tells the Romans – and he tells us – that with God we experience nothing but love.

By taking a long and thoughtful look at what God has created, people have always been able to see what their eyes as such can’t see: eternal power, for instance, and the mystery of his divine being. So nobody has a good excuse. (MSG)

Some of us may believe that putting love on the line brings to fullness the eternal promise of peace and joy. Paul tells the Romans – and he tells us – that this is a promise worth trusting.

When we explore various translations of these verses, we discover God’s basic reality, and the fullness of his promise.

 

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