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Posts Tagged ‘understanding’


Proverbs 14: Lady Wisdom and Sir Fool 

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Melanie Rogers: Portrait of Lady Wisdom

We have visited this chapter of Proverbs before during Lent to see if we might use these axioms to help us examine our lives. Today we reprise this thinking.

The title of this chapter in THE MESSAGE translation is, “The Road that leads to Hell,” and it begins with these verses.

Lady Wisdom builds a lovely home;
    Sir Fool comes along and tears it down brick by brick.

Just when we believe we have found sure footing, Sir Fool comes along to tempt us out of our commitment to living in Christ. The writers reference frivolous talk, derisive smiles, false witnessing, cynicism, and ridicule.

There’s a way of life that looks harmless enough;
    look again—it leads straight to hell.
Sure, those people appear to be having a good time,
    but all that laughter will end in heartbreak.

As a counterweight to destructive behavior, an opposing way of living presents itself. Positive advice open-mindedness, true witness, honesty, a strong ox for the plow, and holy living. And amid all these axioms we find this nugget.

The person who shuns the bitter moments of friends
    will be an outsider at their celebrations.

The advice to abide with those who suffer is a harbinger to the words and actions Jesus offers as he preaches and lives out the Beatitudes.

John Watson Nicol: The Court Jester

In verses 14-35, we again hear the recommendation to sift and weigh every word. We do well to remember that meanness, keeping the company of fools, putting prudence aside, making decisions with hot heads and cold hearts, ignoring the needy, subscribing to conspiracy, and exploiting the powerless are all actions that bring our own demise. And again, this negative way of living is balanced against the positive. A final reminder calls us to think about what we are doing, and to act with understanding, integrity, honesty, and holiness.

Lady Wisdom is at home in an understanding heart—
    fools never even get to say hello.

Today we have the opportunity to reflect again on what we do and why we do it. Do we wish to greet and abide with Lady Wisdom or Sir Fool?

Find the Beatitudes at Matthew 5:1-12, and enter the word into the blog search bar for reflections on this Law of Love. 

When we compare other translations of these verses, we explore the difference between Lady Wisdom and Sir Fool. To visit another Noontimes post on this chapter, visit: https://thenoontimes.com/2015/03/13/proverbs-14-axioms-for-living/

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1 Peter 4:1-11: A Prayer for Mutual Charity

Monday, May 8, 2017

St_Peter_Besenzi

Paolo Emilio Besenzi: Saint Peter

Peter exhorts the early Christians to regard their persecution as a blessing, and today’s Noontime reading describes how those in community bear with one another, how they celebrate their diverse gifts, and how they are to stand on God’s authority rather than their own.  Peter calls his flock to mutual understanding, forbearance, purity and love.  And he also calls us today.

God of Abraham, God of Peter, we say that we are willing to serve your purposes, the purposes for which you have designed us.  Help us to keep faith with your hope in us.  We know that we are wonderfully made, and that you have plans for us . . . plans for our joy and not our woe.

God of Abraham, God of Peter, we know that our fellow travelers are also wonderfully made.  We also know that when we walk together, you call on us to bring forth the best in one another.  Help us to be open to our fellow pilgrims as we journey toward you.  Help us to remember that in the life of the Spirit there is always an opportunity for a new beginning.

God of Abraham, God of Peter, bless us, hear our petitions, heal us, bind us together in you.  We pray this in Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Adapted from a Favorite written on July 31, 2007.

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Acts 3:12-26: Acting in Ignorance

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Peter Addressed the Crowd

And now, friends, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did also your rulers. 

Peter teaches us an important lesson today, a lesson he learned from Christ himself. In a non-threatening overture, he creates a safe space for understanding. In a loving gesture, he delivers a message of forgiveness and acceptance. With an open embrace, he both challenges and welcomes those who have been his enemies.

Peter addresses the crowds at the Temple, wading into the controversy that overshadowed the lives of this fledgling Christ-following community. How might we open our arms to those who oppose us?

Peter allows the Spirit to speak through him, putting aside his own anxiety and fear, delivering a much-needed message to a world awaiting hope. How might we step into our role as Christ-followers to speak the words we know we must say?

Peter rests in his tradition yet trusts the newness of his understanding of Christ as the fulfillment of God’s promise of salvation. How might we internalize the message of the Gospel story when we move into a world that looks for promise and assurance?

Today we reflect on Peter’s words to the crowds at the Temple and we wonder how we might avoid acting out of ignorance. And we determine to act out of, and through, and for Christ’s peace and love.

When we use the scripture link and drop-down menus to explore this sermon, we allow Peter’s words to open our hearts and minds. 

Tomorrow, Peter’s third sermon following Pentecost.

 

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Luke 6:27-36: Loving Others – Part III

Thursday, November 24, 2016a-revolutionary-kind-of-love-luke-62736-1-638

To you who are ready for the truth, I say this: Love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. (MSG)

This thinking is so different from: “An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth”.

When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer for that person. If someone slaps you in the face, stand there and take it. If someone grabs your shirt, giftwrap your best coat and make a present of it.  (MSG)

This thinking causes us to look at old hatreds with new insight.

If someone takes unfair advantage of you, use the occasion to practice the servant life. No more tit-for-tat stuff. Live generously. (MSG)

For millennia God has protected us, Jesus has told shown us The Way, and the Spirit has healed and consoled us. Today all three speak to us through the words that Luke records.

Here is a simple rule of thumb for behavior: Ask yourself what you want people to do for you; then grab the initiative and do it for them! (MSG)

For millennia Jesus has turned the world upside down, telling us that we live when we die, and we fill up when we empty ourselves. Today Jesus describes for us in detail how to live our lives as his disciples.

If you only help those who help you, do you expect a medal? Garden-variety sinners do that. If you only give for what you hope to get out of it, do you think that’s charity? The stingiest of pawnbrokers does that. (MSG)

This thinking is the inversion of: “When someone hits me, I hit them ten times harder”. This thinking requires the building of bridges rather than walls. It asks for humility and understanding rather than ego and power.

I tell you, love your enemies. Help and give without expecting a return. You’ll never—I promise—regret it. Live out this God-created identity the way our Father lives toward us, generously and graciously, even when we’re at our worst. Our Father is kind; you be kind. (MSG)

This thinking is Kingdom thinking. This thinking is timeless and universal, applying to all occasions and to all persons. This thinking brings eternal redemption. And it lies open and ready for our own adoption.

When we use the scripture link and drop-down menus to explore these words as translated differently from THE MESSAGE, we begin to understand that Jesus gives us sound advice; we begin to recognize that Jesus’ request brings us closer to him in every way; and we begin to find a way to love those who have done us such damage.

 

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2 Peter 1:5-8: Oblivion

Monday, October 3, 2016path-into-fog

The Apostle Peter gives us advice we will want to explore when the path we cautiously tread leads us into oblivion.

So don’t lose a minute in building on what you’ve been given . . . we need to hear these words when we struggle to get through difficult days and endless nights.

Complementing your basic faith with good character . . . We need these verses when we have tried every suggestion, followed every lead, responded to every piece of advice.

Peter gives us specifics we may be looking past, increasing the chances that we discover The Word obscured by our state of oblivion.

Spiritual understanding . . . when we cannot comprehend our lives or the world around us, we lean back on the broad shoulders of Christ.

Alert discipline . . . when we seem to give in to every lure the world throws at us, we rely on the vigilance of the Spirit.

Passionate patience . . . when we have run out of steam and exhaust our resources, we trust the heart of Jesus.

Reverent wonder . . . when we have forgotten that this world offers nothing that lasts, we turn to the One who creates us.

Warm friendliness . . . when the world feels like a cold and lonely place, we turn to our brother Jesus.

And generous love . . . when we are disappointed or betrayed by those closest to us, we call on the Holy Spirit.

Each dimension fitting into and developing the others . . . when we allow Christ to pull the flying pieces of our days and the darkness of our nights into place, the fog rises and our way is suddenly clear.

With these qualities active and growing in your lives, no grass will grow under your feet, no day will pass without its reward as you mature in your experience of our Master Jesus. Without these qualities you can’t see what’s right before you, oblivious that your old sinful life has been wiped off the books. (THE MESSAGE)

path-into-lightWhen the chaos of bad news bends us down, Christ offers a way to rise. When the rumble of doubt threatens our carefully constructed peace, the Spirit offers a consoling heart that heals. When the realities of the world begin to pull us into oblivion, our loving God shows us the wisdom of discipline, patience, wonder, friendliness and love. Our generous God shows us the path that leads from nothingness to all.

When we spend time with other translations of these verses, the fog of oblivion fades as the light of Christ lights our path. Or enter the words 2 Peter into the blog search bar and explore more wisdom passed on to us by Peter. 

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John 17:1-5: Glory, Part VIII – Unityuniversality

Sunday, July 26, 2015

In his first letter to the Corinthians, Paul describes for us Unity and Variety (12:1-14); we are accustomed to looking for those characteristics that define as unique.  Today we look at the idea of glory as found in the unity of God’s variety.

Today’s lesson on Glory: The great diversity we find in God’s creation call us to come together in unity through Christ.

It is true that there is great variety in God’s creation and that we are a part of that variety.  It is also true that many of us are uncomfortable when approached by a person or an idea that varies from what we expect or want.  Today we read this prayer of Jesus’ in which Jesus intercedes for all — and not some – of the people. So what do we do about those who are not on our invitation lists, in our lunch group or book club, on our street, in our political party or in our church pews? How do we begin to include all of creation that we have not regarded as one with  all of us?   When we hear Jesus today, we understand that he glorifies God by obeying God in making this universal call to all.

This is the call to find unity rather than division is one which we must take up and then extend to others.  This is the call that gives glory to the Father.  This is the call that we can answer if we reply with the patience, openness, and understanding of Christ.

For this is eternal life, that they should know you, the only true God, and the one whom you sent, Jesus Christ. 

Let us spend time today with Jesus’s words as we consider who and what separates us from God’s glory that calls all to be one in Christ. And let us reflect on our concept of eternal life as described by Jesus.

Adapted from a reflection written on August 17, 2008.

 

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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

colossians worthyColossians 1:9-12

Worthiness

We have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of God’s will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please God in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all power, according to God’s glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and[ patience; joyously giving thanks to the Creator, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.

It is a simple task to search a Bible Concordance to look for the verses that reference the quality of worth. Both Old and New Testaments give us insight; the letters of Paul alone serve as a springboard for understanding. We might search dictionaries or leaf through entries in a thesaurus to arrive at a better appreciation of what it means to be worthy of God; multiple connotations referencing financial, personal and social worth give us a great deal to ponder.

As we go through our busy days to rest weary heads on tired pillows, we may often wonder about the concept of worth. If we are stressed in our workplace or neighborhood we may feel undervalued or over-used. If we struggle with family difficulty we might speculate about the worth of demanding relationships. In all of this tussling and turmoil there is one sacred place in which we can find rest . . . and St. Paul reminds us of this today.

We have not ceased to pray for you . . . and so we pray for one another.

Be filled with the knowledge of God’s will . . . and so we rest in the knowledge that God sees and understands all that we experience.

Spiritual wisdom and understanding . . . and so we spend time each day asking God for guidance and protection.

Bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God . . . and so we witness to the Gospel and look for clarity.

Strengthened with all power . . .  and so we look to God for courage.

Attaining steadfastness and patience . . . and so we ask for fidelity and wisdom.

Joyously giving thanks to the Creator . . . and so we thank God for the love placed in us.

We who share in the inheritance of the saints in light . . . and so we thank God for the worthiness engendered in us.

Use the scripture link above to compare various versions of these verses, and ponder the value of worthiness. 

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Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Bedouin Tent in the Sahara

Bedouin Tent in the Sahara

Jeremiah 30

A Cry of Dismay

In this portion of Jeremiah’s prophecy we have a reprise of oracles already spoken. Perhaps we need to hear this message once more. We have heard and read these words and yet . . . do we fully comprehend God’s promise?

The Old Testament God unleashes the storm upon those who have fallen away from the covenant. God guides, admonishes and protects. The New Testament God lives our trial with us. Jesus heals, restores and redeems. The Spirit comes to live within each of us to console, fortify and counsel.

Let us spend some time today with these verses so that we might more fully understand. Read the four Bible versions on the scripture link above, or choose others from the drop-down menus on the scripture site. Listen for God’s unique response to our own cry of dismay, and determine to rest in the peace that only God can give.

A cry of dismay we hear; fear reigns, not peace.

Be not dismayed. Behold, I will deliver you from the far-off land.

You shall again find rest, for I am with you.

“The outcast” they have called you, “with no avenger”.

See! I will restore the tents of Jacob.

When I summon you, you will approach me.

You shall be my people, and I will be your God.

See, the storm of the Lord!

When the time comes . . . you will fully understand.

To read a blog post on women in scripture dwelling in tents, click on the image above or go to: http://www.womeninthescriptures.com/2012/05/dwelling-in-tent.html

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Friday, August 8, 2014

Jeremiah 7

Abide 2Prayer for Remaining

Reform your ways and your deeds that I might remain with you in this place . . .

Put not your trust in deceitful words . . .

If each of you deals justly with your neighbor . . .

If you no longer oppress the resident alien, the orphan, and the widow . . .

If you no longer shed innocent blood, or follow false gods to your own harm . . .

These are words we hear from God through the prophet Jeremiah sent to us over the millennia. What might we reform? How might we speak less deceitful words? When have we oppressed those living in life’s margins? Who are our false gods? Let us take notice of ourselves, our actions and our surroundings as we pray.

Gentle and Gracious God, you visit us in this place today. We thank you for your presence.

Faithful and Loyal God, you abide with us in this time today. We thank you for your mercy.

Just and Powerful God, you strengthen us when we falter. We thank you for your fidelity.

Compassionate and Generous God, you forgive us when we stray. We thank you for your understanding.

Healing and Loving God, you restore us when we fail. We thank you for your stillness.

Constant and All-knowing God, you bind up what we tear down. We thank you for your wisdom.

We praise you for abiding. We thank you for enduring. We thank you for remaining. Amen.

For more on Jeremiah 7 and words from the mystic Adrienne von Speyr on fidelity, visit the Remaining post on this blog at: https://thenoontimes.com/2012/08/19/remaining/ 

Learn more about Von Speyr at: http://www.ignatiusinsight.com/authors/adrienne_von_speyr.asp

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