If He laid down His life for us, is it not the least we can do to lay down ours for Him? If He bore the cross and died on it for me, ought I not to be willing to take it up for him?Dwight Lyman Moody
What does it mean to “take up the cross?” He adds “and follow me.” Am I really following him? He loved and related to all people. He ate with tax collectors (who were hated by the people); did not rebuke a woman who was unclean for touching him. He went against the grain for his time. How are we doing?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, so many are outcast s in our own time. Even naming them can set us off. Help us to follow you more closely and learn to love even the people we now shun. Amen
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.”
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.
Christianity cannot be bound by ethnicity or nationality. This puts it in essential conflict with any group that wants to domesticate the message for its own “patriotic” purposes–Richard Rohr
Rohr’s quote may go against the grain with some. If you follow through with this thought it would also include denominations who feel that if you don’t agree with their ideas you are on the outside. Christianity must be inclusive. It takes in everyone. Remember we are all wrong about God. Our thoughts are too finite. We can only grasp God with our limited minds. To think otherwise is foolish. I certainly don’t presume to know the mind of God. Do you?
9 The Lord is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. 10 And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you.
God is always with us. We don’t always notice that because all is well. When things go wrong then we are quick to call his name and seek help. How good it would be if we acknowledged his presence all the time.
Loving God, thank you for your presence in our lives. Help us to see you there always. AMEN
Praying shapes believing.-—————— Lionel L. Mitchell
Praying not only shapes believing but it also enhances it. The more time we spend in prayer the closer we become with God. Too often we think that prayer time has to be planned and formed. This is so wrong. Prayer can be just a moment where we want to thank God or tell him something….just like speaking to a friend. Rmember God is always there and hears us.
Nurturing God, you hear our every thought and prayer. Help us to tell you our thoughts at any moment. When we pray you hear. AMEN
Our feelings and moods change from day to day. Today we may feel that God is close and our faith is strong. Tomorrow God may feel distant and we question. Sometimes our faith is challenged by something painful and we may back away from God. But God never changes and is always there waiting.
Present God, thank you for putting up with our moods and feelings. Thank you for always being present no matter what we feel. Help us to see your presence. AMEN
The ethical results of current research is staring us in the face. We don’t always think about this as being connected with our faith. However, it is critical to our belief system. I am thinking way beyond abortion and gay marriage. I am considering choosing the characteristics of our children, immortality for those who can pay, who can have access to healthcare, when do we let people die to husband our resources?
These are questions that we have to consider now and ones that we must lean on our core ethics, our faith and our God. We must listen for God’s voice to discern how to move forward. Begin to pray about these things and listen for God now!
Infinite, intimate God, the issues before us are way beyond our understanding. Guide us in your wisdom to do your will. AMEN
8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
Philippians 4:8New International Version (NIV)
Many times I have heard people say, “you are what you eat.” It seems to me that we are also what we think, If we spend all of our live talking about bad or unhappy things, then we are unhappy. If we concentrate on happy things, then our outlook is different. This piece of scripture hits the nail on the head. We need to be thinking of noble, right, pure, lovely and admirable things.
Direct our thoughts, Lord. We need your guidance and help to keep thinking good things. AMEN