Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘truth’


Sunday, October 10, 2021

Jeremiah 23:1-4

promisesThe Messiah Promise

We become so occupied with news of the day and the obstacles we see in our lives that we struggle to find a half hour to be still with God. Sometimes we look for little pockets of silence in the tumult of schedules and appointments. When we arrive at the end of our day, we may sleep more easily if we set time aside to commune with the Lord. The book of Jeremiah still lies open before us. If we turn to Chapter 23 we see the gift of promise almost hidden in this prophecy of doom; we find hope in the darkest of places. Destructive pastors and restorative pastors. Which are we?

Each of us is called as “pastors over God’s sheep that they shall feed them,” and to the extent that we are able, we hope to shepherd those placed in our care with integrity, authenticity, truth, wisdom, fidelity, mercy and compassion. As much as we are able, we are likewise called to bring comfort to the troubled stranger, to offer peace to the enemy, to bring God’s presence everywhere we go and to all whom we meet.

In this way, may we all move toward forward in restoration in Christ. In this way . . . we become an integral part of the Messiah promise.

Enter the word promise into the blog search bar and explore ways in which we might bring hope to our troubled world.


Adapted from a reflection written on May 4, 2007.

Image from: http://ilifejourney.wordpress.com/2011/11/20/promise-vs-promise/

Read Full Post »


give_thanks_with_a_grateful_heartWednesday, September 22, 2021

Psalm 138

Hymn of a Grateful Heart

I thank you, Lord, with all my heart. I bow low toward your holy temple; I praise you name for your fidelity and love.

God says: I know that you are grateful but it is good of you to tell me. Keep in mind that you are my temple so remember to care for yourself even as you care for others in my name.

You have exalted over all your name and your promise. When I cried out, you answered; you strengthen my spirit.

God says: I am always with you although you may not sense it. I smooth many obstacles for you each day and when you meet the obstacles that frighten you, know that I am with you. You cannot fail. There is nothing to fear.

The Lord is on high, but cares for the lowly and knows the proud from afar.

God says: My prophet Jeremiah tried to tell the leaders of my flock that they had erred. They did not listen. You are prophets in your own day and you warn of danger; yet you are also ignored. I see your exhaustion but I am telling you that you need not expend yourself totally. Do what is right. Listen to my word and share it. When darkness arrives I am with you. My light will pierce that darkness and all truth will be revealed.

Though I walk in the midst of dangers, you guard my life when my enemies rage. You stretch out your hand; your right hand saves me.

happy grateful peopleGod says: I know that you are grateful and it is good of you to tell me. My promise is genuine. My compassion is complete. My hope is eternal. My love is trustworthy. You are made in my image and so I look for the truth and integrity I planted in you in the moment I first thought of you.  

The Lord is with me to the end. Lord, your love endures forever. Never forsake the work of your hands!

God says: There really is no end for you are eternal. Rest in me today and allow these words to seep into your sinews. Relax with me today and let the words and hope of my prophet Jeremiah console you. Abide with me today and reflect on this prayer. I am with you always and everywhere. You are the work of my hands. I cannot forget you. I will not abandon you. I will always guide and protect you. Of this you may be sure.


Compare different versions of Psalm 138 through the scripture link above. Choose other versions with the drop down menus and spend some quiet time with God. Allow God’s word to seep into your bones. Give all of your fears, anxieties and worries to God. And offer up a hymn of thanksgiving from a grateful heart.

To see and hear the Westminster Abbey Choir sing Psalm 138, go to YouTube at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iNqvpM2MFYM 

Image from: http://pastorfergus.wordpress.com/2013/10/11/this-sunday-were-giving-thanks-at-st-pauls-together-for-gifts-to-share/ 

Read Full Post »


sparks risingSunday, September 19, 2021

Wisdom 3

Worthiness through Trials

Chastised a little, they shall be greatly blessed, because God tried them and found them worthy of himself.

Worthiness is a quality that may be undervalued in our culture; we rely heavily on nurturing independence with high doses of self esteem. As with all good things, too much of it becomes a bad thing, as my Dad used to say.  Self-knowledge and self-esteem are not that far from narcissism.  And self flagellation is not a healthy tool when we step back to look at ourselves. Sadism and masochism are the flip side of a willingness to suffer for the sake of another. And if we are sisters and brother in Christ, we look to God for direction rather than to our own egos.

The human existence is a constant tightrope-walking along the spectrum of desirable and undesirable qualities.

From our study of James this year: Consider it all joy, my brothers, when you encounter various trials, for you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. And let perseverance be perfect, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.  (James 1:2-3)

The perfection God asks of us is not that we live a life without flaw, but that we persevere in doing God’s will, and in finding the good in the trials we undergo for the conversion and redemption of others. The joy we know from participating in God’s economy is far greater and longer lasting than the fleeting happiness we experience as a result of a contentment we feel at the end of a good day. Suffering for show or suffering for the sake of suffering is the flip side of the salvific suffering which Christ undergoes for the redemption of others. And if we are sisters and brother in Christ, we are worthy through self-sacrifice of our own agendas for God’s better plan.

souls of the just

Wisdom 3:7

The human existence is a joyful one when we persevere through trials in faith, live through hope and bind with others in love.

Lives lived in Christ shine, and shall dart about as sparks through stubble, and the alternative is to live as the wicked who receive their punishment to match their thoughts, since they neglected justice and forsook the Lord. 

This is the wisdom offered us today: that we examine our motivations for perfection, and that we cease judging the worthiness of ourselves and others. Once we put aside our mountains of criteria and our hierarchy of worth, we begin to understand the perfection God asks not that we be perfect in all we do, but that we remain steadfast in Christ’s love through our trials and in our constant search for truth.


Adapted from a reflection written on Saturday, May 29, 2010.

Image from: http://kentonjseth.blogspot.com/2010_11_01_archive.html

Read Full Post »


Wednesday, September 8, 2021

cisternJeremiah 37

Jeremiah in the Dungeon

We have spent several weeks with Jeremiah as he exhorts, complains, and calls. He warns of the danger in presuming that the enemy has been conquered. And for his words of prediction, he is punished. Jeremiah brings truth to ears that know their own guilt. As we move through this chapter, let us pause at verse 9.

Do not deceive yourselves . . .

Jeremiah is on his way to tend to family business but he is detained and accused of deception. Jeremiah, the innocent, suffers; his accusers know that his words point out their own corruption, and they wish to silence him. Perhaps they believe that the prophet’s imprisonment will prove their innocence and his guilt. Let us reflect on verse 14.

Without listening . . .

King Zedekiah refuses to hear Jeremiah and when we read further into this prophecy, we will see what happens to each of these men. For now, let us spend a bit of time with verses 19 and 20.

Where are your own prophets now who prophesied to you that the king of Babylon would not attack you or this land?

From our own life experience, we know that liars perceive their lies – and the lies of their compatriots – as fact. For speaking truth to the structure, Jeremiah will soon be thrown into the cistern. The truth-sayer will be punished severely for speaking the words God sends to him. But lest we think that this prophet brings us only sadness, let us remember some of his earlier words: There will be a new covenant . . . one written on your hearts, not on stone . . . I have plans for your joy, not your woe . . .

The story of Jeremiah may be seen as a dreary one but perhaps it ought to be one of our favorites, for despite the pain and ruin his prophecy brings, Jeremiah does as God asks. And despite the suffering God’s words visit upon him, Jeremiah is ever faithful to his task, ever hopeful in the Lord, and ever loving of his people . . . even those who punish, exile and eventually murder him.

As we pause with Jeremiah today, we pray . . . May we never undergo such torture . . . but may we always be as true as this prophet is to his God.


Adapted from a reflection written on October 22, 2007.

Compare different versions of today’s Noontime by following the scripture link above. Choose other versions of the Bible by using the drop down menus. Sit with Jeremiah for a time today . . . and listen for God’s word.

Enter the name Zedekiah into the blog search bar and spend some time reflecting on the relationship between prophet and king.

To read an interesting post on Jeremiah 37-39 as the prophet journeys from prison to palace, click on the image above or visit: http://www.journeythroughthestory.com/2014/08/jeremiah-37-39.html

Read Full Post »


sincerityThursday, July 22, 2021

Jeremiah 3

Sincere and Insincere Conversion

In chapters 3 and 4 of Jeremiah we see how the two kingdoms of Israel and Judah turned from the Lord their God to a life of idol worship and harlotry. Let us consider some thoughts from The Dilemma of Narcissus by Louis Lavelle (W.T Gairdner, Tr. Larson Publications, Burdett, N.Y. 1993), a portion of which was published in the May 2007 issue of MAGNIFICAT. His words ask us to think of sincerity as a continual growth process rather than a character trait or a commodity to be gained.

To be sincere is to show oneself, but at the same time . . . one is making oneself.

Sincerity must reach out, beyond all speech, to an invisible inner life.

Sincerity appears only when the inner life begins to be incarnated in acts which determine both our true being and our destiny.

True sincerity is an accomplishment. And it is quite conceivable that one should miss it, whether through laziness or through fear, or because one finds it easier, or more expedient to yield to public opinion and to renounce oneself, letting oneself be dragged unremittingly down the slope of social conformity.

In sincerity, the act by which we find ourselves and the act by which we make ourselves are one and the same. Sincerity is at once the attention which arouses our potentialities, and the courage which gives them form, without which they would be nothing.

Sincerity challenges all the voices which call to me from without, and commands me to descend into my heart’s heart. It is always a return to the source. It makes me a being perpetually being born.

Sincerity liberates us from every preoccupation with public opinion or with the effect we are producing. It brings us back to our own origin, showing us to ourselves as we were when we left the Creator’s hands, when life first flashed forth, and before outer appearances had begun to seduce us, or we had learned the art of pretending.

It is rectitude of a will which admits no duplicity, no evasion, and no dissembling, between man and other men.

Sincerity is spiritual nobility. For the sincere man seeks to live under the open sky; he alone has enough self-respect to hide nothing from himself, and to expect nothing except from the truth; he alone is not content merely to appear, but establishes himself so firmly in being that for him being is indistinguishable from appearance.

Sincerity is the act by which I put myself under the eye of God; there is no other sincerity.

In today’s reading, Jeremiah calls the wayward Israel and Judah to sincerity. He warns Judah that her sin is more grave than that of Israel who first strayed. Why? Because the traitor sister did not return to me wholeheartedly, but insincerely.

We often lament the lack of sincerity in others, but this week we might take time to examine our inner self for the presence or lack of sincerity, and to return to the paths we know are just and merciful. We might spend a few minutes reflecting on our own spiritual nobility. How do we reflect God to others? What social slopes are we willing to slide down? To what social conformities do we bow? Do we have the courage to rise to our potentialities? What inner life do we incarnate with our speech and actions? With what duplicities are we content? Do we challenge the voices without and descend to our heart’s heart?

In God’s Eyes

God in Heaven, God on Earth, call to us . . . we want to return to your hands.

God Incarnate, God Abiding, remain in us . . . we want to follow your feet.

God Consoling, God of Wisdom, bring us strength . . . we know what we must do.

God of Freedom, God of Truth, we feel your presence . . . we come back to your heart.

God of All, God of Each, our hearts sing praise . . . we seek to live sincerely . . . in your eyes.


Adapted from a reflection written on February 2, 2008. 

Cameron, Peter John. “Meditation of the Day.” MAGNIFICAT. 21.5 (2007): 298-300. Print.

Image from: http://www.tiptopsigns.com/Chinese-Symbol-Decals-p-1-c-96.html 

Read Full Post »


Tuesday, July 20, 2021

jeremiah 15Jeremiah 1

Persecution

Jeremiah’s prophecy is complex; it consists of judgment oracles, narratives about his life, and sermons. Throughout all of this his voice brings not only a constant warning but also a certain consolation to those who are willing to suffer. To the faithful remnant he says what we long to hear: that we are loved, that God’s name is written on our hearts, and that we are called. He speaks to anyone eager to find the truth embedded in each of us, the truth that is God.

Jeremiah speaks to the experience of persecution and this is a theme that resonates with all human beings for all of us at one time or at many times – either justly or unjustly – are persecuted. We all know what it feels like to be left out, over looked, betrayed, and even punished for what we believe is truth. Ultimately, only God can let us know if we are living an honest life; and God does this frequently. Only God can indicate to us that our suffering has been either self-pitying and pointless or redemptive and fruitful. We all suffer. But do we suffer well? God tells us about the truth of our suffering by pointing out to us the fruits of our labor. And God does this gently by telling us that we are wonderfully made, and that we need not fear. God tells us that there is hope.

From the HARPERCOLLINS NRSV STUDY BIBLE (Meeks 1113): Here indeed was a prophet who combined elegance of form with the ethical and redemptive content of the “word of the Lord”. And perhaps more than anyone in his time, Jeremiah provided the means by which a despairing people could hope for a new future.

Reading the first chapter of this profound prophecy is an invitation to new life and to hope, an invitation to join Christ in the kind of suffering that saves souls and that transforms itself and us into a joy-filled gift. We are invited into this redemptive mystery that is God’s love.

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you . . .

You are mine. You are special. I have a particular job in mind for you.

And before you were born I consecrated you . . .

Because you are mine you are holy. You are my temple. I want to dwell within you.

I appointed you a prophet to the nations . . .

You have words to say and gestures to make in my Name.

Then I said – Ah Lord God! Truly I do not know how to speak, for I am only a child . . .

We reply in fear to this awesome task, believing falsely that we are not up to the journey that lies before us.

But the Lord said to me – Do not say “I am only a child’ for you shall go to all to whom I send you, and you shall speak whatever I command you . . .

You are my gift to the world . . . my gift of joy. I see a wonderful potential in you . . . for you are designed in love by me . . . to love me in all places and times and peoples . . . you are made to put away fear . . . in yourself and in others . . .

Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you . . .

Until the end of time . . . Amen.


Meeks, Wayne A., Gen. Ed. HARPERCOLLINS STUDY BIBLE (NRSV). New York, New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1989. 1113. Print.

Adapted from a reflection written on Friday, January 16, 2009.

Image from: http://maryhess.com/and-mary-pondered-jeremiah-15/

Read Full Post »


Sunday, July 4, 2021

Psalm 27:12

 Falsehood

Do not deliver me over to the desire of my adversaries, for false witnesses have risen against me, and such as breathe out violence.

God says: You need not worry about the false statements uttered against you. Continue to follow the path of integrity. Remain on the path of The Way that my son has shown to you. Stay the honest course you have chosen in the Spirit. If the falsehood created about you has the hint of truth to it, change your ways. Come fully into the light and leave all deceit behind. You cannot outrun a lie. Nor can you hide from the truth. Rest in me. Rely on the Christ. Live in the Spirit. And you will find that you have no need to struggle. The falsehood begun against you will go home to roost with its creator . . . and the world will recognize the truth in you.

Enter the words the faithful need not fight into the blog search bar and reflect on how we might best work with falsehood.


Image from: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:BLW_Truth_and_Falsehood.jpg

Read Full Post »


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.

Read Full Post »


Let us loveSaturday, May 29, 2021

1 John 3:11-18

From the Beginning

For this is the message you have heard from the beginning: we should love one another . . .

For this is the message we carry into the world: we must love one another, even – or perhaps especially – our enemies.

Do not be amazed, then, if the world hates you . . .

We are not amazed, then, when the world condemns us.

Whoever does not love remains in death . . .

Whoever loves those who hate him remains in life eternally.

The way we came to know love was that he laid down his life for us; so we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers . . .

The way we come to know love is to enact it. The way we come to know hope is to give it.

Children, let us not love in word or speech but in deed and truth . . .

Sisters and brothers, let us not love in what we say but in what we do.

For this is the message you have heard from the beginning: we should love one another . . .

Spend some time today with the four selected versions of this citation in the scripture link above. Choose another version from the drop down menus and ponder what we have heard from the beginning, what we know, and how we enact God’s love in the world.


Image from: http://www.annarborrehab.com/

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: