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Category Archives: Epiphany

Not a story

170228For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we had been eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received honor and glory from God the Father when that voice was conveyed to him by the Majestic Glory, saying, “This is my Son, my Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.” We ourselves heard this voice come from heaven, while we were with him on the holy mountain. So we have the prophetic message more fully confirmed. You will do well to be attentive to this as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. First of all you must understand this, that no prophecy of scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, because no prophecy ever came by human will, but men and women moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God. (2 Peter 1:16-21, NRSV)

Peter is telling those who are listening, this is not a story. This isn’t something we heard and are telling you. It isn’t mere gossip.

We saw all of this with our own eyes! It is true! All of it.

That is the message we share. The message of one who shines brighter than the sun and lights our world!

Are you ready to be cross-eyed and focused on the one who can save the world!

 

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into the cloud

170227The LORD said to Moses, “Come up to me on the mountain, and wait there; and I will give you the tablets of stone, with the law and the commandment, which I have written for their instruction.” So Moses set out with his assistant Joshua, and Moses went up into the mountain of God. To the elders he had said, “Wait here for us, until we come to you again; for Aaron and Hur are with you; whoever has a dispute may go to them.” Then Moses went up on the mountain, and the cloud covered the mountain. The glory of the LORD settled on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it for six days; on the seventh day he called to Moses out of the cloud. Now the appearance of the glory of the LORD was like a devouring fire on the top of the mountain in the sight of the people of Israel. Moses entered the cloud, and went up on the mountain. Moses was on the mountain for forty days and forty nights. (Exodus 24:12-18, NRSV)

So Moses went up the mountain because God called him to come up to see Him.

It would be like being called to the principal’s office or your boss’s office only a google times worse…

But Moses went to meet with God. So he could get the tablets that God was carving with the commandments for the people.

He went up alone and stayed 40 days and 40 nights.

What an experience to get to be with God.

How I would love to go to the mountain.

Are you ready to go to the mountain?

Are you ready to go into the clouds?

 

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Shine Jesus Shine

170226Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and his brother John and led them up a high mountain, by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became dazzling white. Suddenly there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him. Then Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here; if you wish, I will make three dwellings here, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” While he was still speaking, suddenly a bright cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud a voice said, “This is my Son, the Beloved; with him I am well pleased; listen to him!” When the disciples heard this, they fell to the ground and were overcome by fear. But Jesus came and touched them, saying, “Get up and do not be afraid.” And when they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus himself alone. As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus ordered them, “Tell no one about the vision until after the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.” (Matthew 17:1-9, NRSV)

Six days later? What happened six days ago?

Well it was a little event at which Jesus called Peter satan and advised him to get a proper perspective by getting behind Jesus.

Jesus told the disciples He was on His way to Jerusalem where He would be killed. And Peter said this will not happen. So Jesus put Peter in his place, where all of us belong. I have said before if you can’t see the back of Jesus’ head then you need to change your perspective.

And then here, after Peter tries to tell Jesus what is going to happen, Jesus takes him and James and John up the mountain where Jesus meets with Moses and Elijah. How did Peter, James, and John know it was Moses and Elijah? I mean they didn’t see polaroids of them. Were they wearing name tags? Hello my name is Moses?

But anyway, Peter shows who he is again by stumbling over his words, amazed at what he was seeing, asking if they should build tents for the three of Moses, Elijah, and Jesus, so they can all stay there forever. But of course that is not why they are there, they are there to be reminded of who Jesus is. The beloved son of God.

And Jesus shows mercy and grace, even to Peter. The one who thinks he knows what is happening, but really doesn’t have a clue.

But isn’t that really all of us?

We think we know, but thankfully God loves us any way and continues to shine in our lives.

So Shine on me Jesus and help me to be a beacon for your love.

 

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Lead me

170225Teach me, O LORD, the way of your statutes, and I will observe it to the end. Give me understanding, that I may keep your law and observe it with my whole heart. Lead me in the path of your commandments, for I delight in it. Turn my heart to your decrees, and not to selfish gain. Turn my eyes from looking at vanities; give me life in your ways. Confirm to your servant your promise, which is for those who fear you. Turn away the disgrace that I dread, for your ordinances are good. See, I have longed for your precepts; in your righteousness give me life. (Psalm 119:33-40, NRSV)

This section of Psalm 119 reminded me of the hymn Lead Me, Guide Me and I do not think I could expound on this better than that hymn, so here is the text of the hymn.

Lead Me, Guide Me

Lead me oh Lord, won’t you lead me
I am tired and I need Thy strength and power
To guide me over my darkest hour
For just open my eyes that I may see
Lead me oh Lord, won’t you lead me

Lead me, guide me along the way
For if you lead me I cannot stray
Or just open my eyes that I may see
Lead me oh Lord, won’t you lead me
I am lost if you take your hand from me
I am blind without try light to see

Lord just always let me Thy servant be
Lead me oh Lord, won’t you lead me
Lead me, guide me along the way
For if you lead me I cannot stray

Lord just open my eyes that I may see
Lead me oh Lord, won’t you lead me

 

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haughty

170224Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; 10 love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor. Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly; do not claim to be wiser than you are. Do not repay anyone evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all. If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave room for the wrath of God; for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” No, “if your enemies are hungry, feed them; if they are thirsty, give them something to drink; for by doing this you will heap burning coals on their heads.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:9-21, NRSV)

Haughty. What a great word. Do not think more of yourself than you ought to and do not think you are better than other people, and even if you are do not let that keep you from interacting with everyone.

Bless those who curse you.

Extend hospitality to all.

Love your enemies.

This is love in action.

This is what God calls us to be.

 
 

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love those who hate you

170219“But I say to you that listen, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. If anyone strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also; and from anyone who takes away your coat do not withhold even your shirt. Give to everyone who begs from you; and if anyone takes away your goods, do not ask for them again. Do to others as you would have them do to you. “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. If you lend to those from whom you hope to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to receive as much again. But love your enemies, do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return. Your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High; for he is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. (Luke 6:27-36, NRSV)

This has to be one of the hardest things to following Jesus.

Because this is what is supposed to set us as Christians apart from the rest of the world. Because as Jesus said everyone loves those who love them and lend to those who will repay and forgive those who ask.

But as Christians we have to love those who hate us, and forgive everyone and lend to all without expecting anything in return.

Because that is what God did for us.

Grace and mercy are gifts, freely given to us, so that we can give them to the world.

 

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for this is…

170222“Do not judge, so that you may not be judged. For with the judgment you make you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get. Why do you see the speck in your neighbor’s eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye? Or how can you say to your neighbor, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ while the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your neighbor’s eye. “Do not give what is holy to dogs; and do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under foot and turn and maul you. “Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. Is there anyone among you who, if your child asks for bread, will give a stone? Or if the child asks for a fish, will give a snake? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask him! “In everything do to others as you would have them do to you; for this is the law and the prophets. (Matthew 7:1-12, NRSV)

Judging, logs, specks what does it all mean?

We often hear people say that the Bible says “Do not judge.” Well it does but there is not a period after judge there is a comma, and it continues that you will be judged with the judgment you give. Not do not judge, but do not judge unless you are willing to be judged also.

And don’t look at the wrongs with your neighbor until you have taken care of your own issues.

Because we all want everyone to follow the golden rule. Do to others as you would have them do to you.

But what caught my attention this reading was the very last phrase, for this is the law and the prophets. To Jesus, who is the one who said this, the law and the prophets is short hand for the sum total of the Hebrew Scriptures. So all of the Hebrew Scriptures is pointing us to treat others as we want to be treated. So treat others with love, because that is what God did for you.

 

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