Let me sow love

Psalm 85:8 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

Let me hear what God the Lord will speak,
    for he will speak peace to his people,
    to his faithful, to those who turn to him in their hearts.[a]

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With war always looming on the horizon, I wish that the whole world would hear words of peace. We must make God very sad with all the hatred and violence that goes on in the world some of the worst of it in the name of God. Even his faithful people don’t hear his voice. None of us are exempt.

The Hebrew word shalom means fullness having everything you need to be happy and fulfilled. It’s easy to be peaceful when you have everything you need. That’s where the world’s problems are. Not everyone has what they need much less what they want.

Christ tells us to love our neighbor as ourselves. If I want my neighbor to be happy and fulfilled as much as I want that for myself then things will be good.

Frederick Buechner says “for Jesus peace seems to have meant not the absence of struggle but the presence of love.”

Prayer: Lord God of peace, let us grow in love toward you and our neighbor until wars cease and shalom rains. Support us with your Holy Spirit and surround us with your love, now and forever. Amen

Judgement is the Lord’s

For we know the one who said, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay.” And again, “The Lord will judge his people.” It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

Hebrews 10:30-31 NRSV

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We all know people that we would love to have suffer for the wrongs that they have done. We would love to see evil befall them. However, God tells us that no matter how much we want to see them suffer it is not our place to take vengeance.

So many evils in this world come abut because of someone’s selfish, uncaring ways. People are hurt or seriously damaged and we can’t understand how they can get away with continuing to live that way and nothing happens. It seems that the good suffer and the evil thrive. How can God let this happen. That is one of the most difficult questions but part of the hope we see is here in these verses. It is definitely fearful to fall into the hands of the living God and have to answer for how we lived. Trust the Lord.

Prayer: Loving God, help us to trust you to render judgement. Remind us that is not our place but yours. We are called to forgive instead of seeking vengeance. Help us to follow in the ways of our Lord, Jesus Christ. AMEN

 

Do we really see them?

Psalm 41:1

Happy are those who consider the poor;[a]
    the Lord delivers them in the day of trouble.

We don’t want to see the poor and needy. It disturbs us. Probably because we feel guilty about not doing something. We see homeless people on the streets and they are dirty, wear layers of clothing (have everything they own on their backs) and often smell bad. They are not pleasant to be around. They often beg for money and we generally assume that they will use the money for liquor or drugs. Hoe much we assume! I wonder if we would fee the same way if we knew their story.

see the poor

Christ calls us to give out of our abundance. Maybe we think we don’t have much to give but by comparison we are very rich. The psalmist tells us that we will be happy if we help…that help will come to us in our time of need if we do. It reminds me of the saying “what goes around, comes around!” If we do nothing that could be a scary thought.

Prayer. God of the homeless and needy . Help us to not pass by when we encounter the poor. Le us see the incredible plenty that we have and inspire us to share. Remind us that we, also could be one of those in need but for your grace. AMEN

Teach me

Psalm 119:65-66

65 You have dealt well with your servant,
    Lord, according to your word.
66 Teach me good judgment and knowledge,
    for I believe in your commandments.

We all need to be taught. We slip so easily into doing the wrong thing. We have to be reminded that we stray from God’s path. There is so much to tempt us. We are bombarded with TV programs that make love of others and kindness seem outdated. Violence is present in computer and video games. The exposure make it seem “normal.” God calls us to turn away from hatred and turn back to love and compassion. We need to be taught God’s ways not those of the world.

Put away anger and hatred

Ephesians 4:31-32 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

31 Put away from you all bitterness and wrath and anger and wrangling and slander, together with all malice, 32 and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you.

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This world needs this verse from Ephesians. Everyone seems so angry. So much division and hatred. It seems to me to every major religion in its pure form teaches peace, compassion and love. Put away your anger and bitterness and every day show your love for one another.

Prayer for those in distress after Dorian

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Lord God, the people affected by Dorian need your loving and healing hands. Send your grace to uphold them. Their anguish is great. Give them peace and hope in the days to come. Remind us all to help where we can and be generous with the gifts you have given us. We pray to you in the name of your son Jesus Christ. Amen

Prayer

Today as I watched the forecast for the hurricane I thought about how to pray about it. Normally I would just pray that the storm would not hit us but then I thought how selfish that prayer is. As I wishing that I would hit someone else? It does look as if it will land somewhere on the southern coast so I need to direct my prayers in a different way.

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Lord, guard and keep all those who are in the path of Hurricane Dorian. Give them strength and courage during the storm. Help them as they recover from any damage and give them the strength to help others as well. Hold in your loving arms those in the tropics who have been hit so hard in the recent past and help us to aid them where we can. We pray in your Holy Name. AMEN

Responsibility

God spoke: “Let us make human beings in our image, make them reflecting our nature So they can be responsible for the fish in the sea, the birds in the air, the cattle, And, yes, Earth itself, and every animal that moves on the face of Earth.” God created human beings; he created them godlike, Reflecting God’s nature. He created them male and female. God blessed them: “Prosper! Reproduce! Fill Earth! Take charge! Be responsible for fish in the sea and birds in the air, for every living thing that moves on the face of Earth.”
Then God said, “Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.”
If we have any question of why mankind has not cared at all for the earth these two translations show the difference in wording. Many different translations…many different ideas.
earth responsibillity
We were to care for God’s creation not destroy it. Now we are faced with the consequences of our actions. The cause of the things happening now may not be entirely of our making but our view of the earth has been plundering its resources instead of caring for them. I hope it is not too late.

Imitate God

We so often want God to think the way we do. We are right and our view of justice should be done. We often think about an “eye for an eye” which actually tells us to not ask for more retribution than we are actually due. But God is not us and does not look at things the same ways we do.

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As Isaiah says of God, “My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways” (Isaiah 55:8). Yet I am afraid we often pull God down into “our thoughts.” We naively and erroneously think fear, anger, intimidation, threat, and punishment are going to lead people to love. Show me where that has worked. We cannot lead people to the highest level of motivation by teaching them the lowest. God always and forever models the highest—love—and our task is always to “imitate God” (Ephesians 5:1). From the meditation of Richard Rohr

God is love and love is always his answer.

Jesus the way

Jesus came to us as an example. His life tells us how God wants us to live. He flouted all the culture of the day and showed us how to love unconditionally.

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The Example of Jesus ] Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us,
But for that very reason I received mercy, so that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display the utmost patience, making me an example to those who would come to believe in him for eternal life.