Be not afraid

As we sit and wait to see what Hurricane Dorian will do I drew on one of the many verses in the Bible that tells us to rest in the arms of God. It is amazing how many verses remind us that God is with us at all times.

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do not fear, for I am with you, do not be afraid, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.

Are Bible characters perfect?

There were no “functional” families in the Bible. After all what do we mean by “functional.” Do we mean that they don’t make mistakes? I doubt it.

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The Bible uses flawed characters to let us know that no one is perfect. Yet somehow, God used them to do his will. Some of them went dragging their feet but they went. We are all flawed but God can use us. If you let him!

Come Holy Spirit

Psalm 42: 1-2

1 As a deer longs for flowing streams,..
    so my soul longs for you, O God.
My soul thirsts for God,
    for the living God.
When shall I come and behold
    the face of God?

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Someone has said that we have a God-sized hole in us…that we cannot rest until it is filled. It’s as if, at some time, God was part of us and now is not. We are always searching for something. ….longing for something that we can’t quite grasp. I think it’s what makes us so restless and unsettled. We always seem to want more….more stuff, more money, more peace. We are never satisfied.

It’s because we are looking for the wrong thing. No other piece can fit the hole where God belongs. As long as the hole is empty we are unsatisfied.

Seek God. Look where god can be found….in the Bible, in the stories of Christ, in prayer, in church, in other people.

Prayer: O God, the blank spot within me can only be filled with you. I have a longing that nothing else can assuage. Come Holy Spirit and fill my soul with the living God. AMEN

Read

By reading the scriptures I am so renewed that all nature seems renewed around me and with me.  The sky seems to be a pure, a cooler blue, the trees a deeper green.  The whole world is charged with the glory of God and I feel fire and music under my feet.  Thomas Merton

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Thomas Merton felt himself changed by reading scripture. We might think well that was centuries ago and it won’t happen to me.

Not so, Thomas was a man of the 20th century and lived a somewhat risqué life before he found God. The Bible did change his life and his way of thinking. It could happen to us. Reading the Bible daily and with real attention could make us see things differently as Thomas did. Try it!

Homework: Read the Bible this week with all your attention for at least 10 minutes.

Prayer: Generous God, you gave us the Bible as a guide in our lives. May we actually pick it up and not just read but absorb it. Amen

 

 

Love

Today being all about love the most important description of it comes from 1 Corinthians 13. Nothing says it better.

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13 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver my body to be burned,[a] but have not love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never ends; as for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For our knowledge is imperfect and our prophecy is imperfect; 10 but when the perfect comes, the imperfect will pass away. 11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became a man, I gave up childish ways. 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall understand fully, even as I have been fully understood. 13 So faith, hope, love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

Scripture Lives!

Richard Rohr wrote in a recent post about Midrash. This is a term I have used often when there is discussion about scripture. Midrash is a Jewish term and has to do with the way they look at scripture. Rohr says: “Jesus practiced a form that the Jewish people called midrash, consistently using questions to keep spiritual meanings open, often reflecting on a text or returning people’s questions with more questions.”

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The point of Midrash is to keep digging and thinking about scripture. See what meaning lies underneath the simple. Question what it means to you today and then look at it again tomorrow or much later. We are different each day and may have different ideas and see different meanings.

Don’t be afraid to discuss scripture and hear the ideas of others. There is nothing wrong with seeing another viewpoint. Scripture is not dead words on a page. It is a living, breathing thing.

Get ready

What are you doing to prepare for the Christ child? There are so many ways that we can focus on the meaning of Christmas. Take advantage of at least one if not more.

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Put unused items in a box to be delivered to the needy

Read your Bible every day. A good place to start during Advent is with Isaiah or one of the Gospels about the birth of Christ. 

Take time to pray for your needs and the needs of others

Thank God each day for all that he has given you

Befriend someone who is alone

There are many more things to do…but focusing in these last weeks will make Christmas more special

Turn away from God?

Psalm 2 verses 1-3

Why do the nations conspire,
    and the peoples plot in vain?
The kings of the earth set themselves,
    and the rulers take counsel together,
    against the Lord and his anointed, saying,
“Let us burst their bonds asunder,
    and cast their cords from us.”

How true this is. It seems as if these verses are a vision of the future. There are those who want God removed from our nation. Our forefathers saw this nation as being under God and now there are those who want to set it all aside. Where are we headed?

in God we trust

God of our nation, help us to thwart those who want to set you aside. AMEN

The love of God

I may have shared this before but I absolutely love this from Romans. It gives me hope that no matter what God will be there for me and you.

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Romans 8:37-39 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Amen and Amen