“Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Matthew 5:11-12 NRSV
For those of us who are Christian we will be seeing a great deal of this in the years to come. Time was when being Christian and going to church was necessary for social acceptance and a way to get ahead in the world. Needless to say…this has changed.
Things will not change all at once. Erosion will happen little by little in the hope that it won’t be noticed or argued against. If we don’t protest the small things eventually there will be nothing left.
Our culture has changed drastically and we a heading into a time when being Christian will be a detriment.How many of us are willing to be persecuted for the sake of our religion? It will certainly separate the wheat from the chaff. Already Christianity is being removed from areas of life where it has been present since the founding of this country. I think it will continue.
We must be ready to stand up for our beliefs in the face of opposition. Be ready!
Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us, even as we hope in you.
Hope. A word to cling to. I suspect that one of the worst things that can happen to us is to have no hope. But having hope also depends on what we hope for. Writings from those in the concentration camps of the Hitler era show that even in conditions of horror hope was still present.
Hope can be a matter of perspective. Am I hoping that I can be an opera singer (not likely) or that my day will be a good one? It is possible that neither will come true but one is less likely.
If my hope rests with the Lord then I will never lose it. The psalm says his love is steadfast and I believe it with all my heart. I will hope in God no matter what.
He makes me lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside still waters;
I have always found this verse from the so loved psalm intriguing. Why does it say “he makes me?” There is an easy answer to that. We are so busy…so prone to never stropping that we don’t slow down. God wants us to stop. He wants to us to just rest in the beauty of nature and listen for his voice. He wants us to hear the babble of the brook and dip our hands into the still waters.
Take the time to take your rest.
65 You have dealt well with your servant,
O 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.
O come, let us worship and bow down, let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker! For he is our God, and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. O that today you would listen to his voice!
Psalm 95:6-7 NRSV
It is so easy to forget to give attention to our God. Church is not the only place to worship God. We should be thanking God and giving praise through every moment. We must stop and be silent long enough to hear God’s voice. We are so good at putting everything else first. Praise, thank, and listen to God at all time.s
It is a wonderful thing to care about others. Putting feet to the caring is the next step.
It is a wonderful thing to pray. Putting feet to the prayer is the next step.
Notice the girl in the clip. She is actually doing something.
Sometimes doing something is not possible but when it is… do it. Too often the caring stays in our minds and not in our actions.
Caring and praying are critical. Just remember to follow through with the next step.
God, give us work til our live shall end and life til our work is done.
The New Zealand Prayer Book
This is something I think about a lot. I do feel that we are here for a reason and each of us want to finish our task. Sometimes it is not possible but our lives still have meaning. We leave things behind us like ripples in a pond. God has given us life. Now it is up to us to use it well.
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.
[ 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.
Faith is not something you can explain to someone else. It is a step into the unknown. Science needs everything to be provable. Faith accepts something that cannot be proved. It is a choice….a decision and it may have to be decided over and over. It can be slippery if we attach it to feelings. It is not a feeling but a choice.