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Tag Archives: grace

The Writing on the Wall, part 2

Then Daniel was brought in before the king. The king said to Daniel, “So you are Daniel, one of the exiles of Judah, whom my father the king brought from Judah? I have heard of you that a spirit of the gods is in you, and that enlightenment, understanding, and excellent wisdom are found in you. Now the wise men, the enchanters, have been brought in before me to read this writing and tell me its interpretation, but they were not able to give the interpretation of the matter. But I have heard that you can give interpretations and solve problems. Now if you are able to read the writing and tell me its interpretation, you shall be clothed in purple, have a chain of gold around your neck, and rank third in the kingdom.” Then Daniel answered in the presence of the king, “Let your gifts be for yourself, or give your rewards to someone else! Nevertheless I will read the writing to the king and let him know the interpretation. O king, the Most High God gave your father Nebuchadnezzar kingship, greatness, glory, and majesty. And because of the greatness that he gave him, all peoples, nations, and languages trembled and feared before him. He killed those he wanted to kill, kept alive those he wanted to keep alive, honored those he wanted to honor, and degraded those he wanted to degrade. But when his heart was lifted up and his spirit was hardened so that he acted proudly, he was deposed from his kingly throne, and his glory was stripped from him. He was driven from human society, and his mind was made like that of an animal. His dwelling was with the wild asses, he was fed grass like oxen, and his body was bathed with the dew of heaven, until he learned that the Most High God has sovereignty over the kingdom of mortals, and sets over it whomever he will. And you, Belshazzar his son, have not humbled your heart, even though you knew all this! You have exalted yourself against the Lord of heaven! The vessels of his temple have been brought in before you, and you and your lords, your wives and your concubines have been drinking wine from them. You have praised the gods of silver and gold, of bronze, iron, wood, and stone, which do not see or hear or know; but the God in whose power is your very breath, and to whom belong all your ways, you have not honored. “So from his presence the hand was sent and this writing was inscribed. And this is the writing that was inscribed: MENE, MENE, TEKEL, and PARSIN. This is the interpretation of the matter: MENE, God has numbered the days of your kingdom and brought it to an end; TEKEL, you have been weighed on the scales and found wanting; PERES, your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians.” Then Belshazzar gave the command, and Daniel was clothed in purple, a chain of gold was put around his neck, and a proclamation was made concerning him that he should rank third in the kingdom. That very night Belshazzar, the Chaldean king, was killed. And Darius the Mede received the kingdom, being about sixty-two years old. (Daniel 5:13-31, NRSV)

Why do you do the things you do?

Daniel was offered a purple robe a gold chain and the place of third in command, but he told the king to give it to someone who wanted it because he did not. He would interpret the writing on the wall because that is the gift that God had given him and was the way that he could help the world.

We have all been given a gift, and how do we use it?

This season of Advent is about preparing for the coming of Christ, our savior. Are we helping the world see the coming of God, or are we worried about getting the right presents and the right gifts for everyone on our list? Are we more worried that people will not get us what we need/want for Christmas than the person who is struggling to make ends meet and is falling further behind?

How do we look at the world and use what God has given us?

How can we make Advent a time where people see the love of God?

 

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The Anger of Haman

After these things King Ahasuerus promoted Haman son of Hammedatha the Agagite, and advanced him and set his seat above all the officials who were with him. And all the king’s servants who were at the king’s gate bowed down and did obeisance to Haman; for the king had so commanded concerning him. But Mordecai did not bow down or do obeisance. Then the king’s servants who were at the king’s gate said to Mordecai, “Why do you disobey the king’s command?” When they spoke to him day after day and he would not listen to them, they told Haman, in order to see whether Mordecai’s words would avail; for he had told them that he was a Jew. When Haman saw that Mordecai did not bow down or do obeisance to him, Haman was infuriated. But he thought it beneath him to lay hands on Mordecai alone. So, having been told who Mordecai’s people were, Haman plotted to destroy all the Jews, the people of Mordecai, throughout the whole kingdom of Ahasuerus. In the first month, which is the month of Nisan, in the twelfth year of King Ahasuerus, they cast Pur—which means “the lot” —before Haman for the day and for the month, and the lot fell on the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month of Adar. Then Haman said to King Ahasuerus, “There is a certain people scattered and separated among the peoples in all the provinces of your kingdom; their laws are different from those of every other people, and they do not keep the king’s laws, so that it is not appropriate for the king to tolerate them. If it pleases the king, let a decree be issued for their destruction, and I will pay ten thousand talents of silver into the hands of those who have charge of the king’s business, so that they may put it into the king’s treasuries.” So the king took his signet ring from his hand and gave it to Haman son of Hammedatha the Agagite, the enemy of the Jews. The king said to Haman, “The money is given to you, and the people as well, to do with them as it seems good to you.” Then the king’s secretaries were summoned on the thirteenth day of the first month, and an edict, according to all that Haman commanded, was written to the king’s satraps and to the governors over all the provinces and to the officials of all the peoples, to every province in its own script and every people in its own language; it was written in the name of King Ahasuerus and sealed with the king’s ring. Letters were sent by couriers to all the king’s provinces, giving orders to destroy, to kill, and to annihilate all Jews, young and old, women and children, in one day, the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month of Adar, and to plunder their goods. A copy of the document was to be issued as a decree in every province by proclamation, calling on all the peoples to be ready for that day. The couriers went quickly by order of the king, and the decree was issued in the citadel of Susa. The king and Haman sat down to drink; but the city of Susa was thrown into confusion. (Esther 3:1-15, NRSV)

Can you imagine reading a decree that your people are to be killed and removed from the kingdom?

Like any one people is greater than another! We see it every day though.  There is racism and sexism and ageism and you name it isms. We judge people who are different from us and see them as less.

Rather than Haman discovering why Mordecai didn’t bow he just got upset because it wasn’t done his way. How many of us get upset when everything isn’t done our way?

We all need to seek more to understand what is happening and why people do the things they do.

How can you better understand others and work better for peace and share love and mercy with all of the world?

 

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Ruth and Boaz at the Threshing Floor

She came to her mother-in-law, who said, “How did things go with you, my daughter?” Then she told her all that the man had done for her, saying, “He gave me these six measures of barley, for he said, ‘Do not go back to your mother-in-law empty-handed.’” She replied, “Wait, my daughter, until you learn how the matter turns out, for the man will not rest, but will settle the matter today.” (Ruth 3:16-18, NRSV)

Ruth returned to Naomi with the grain Boaz had given her and reported all that happened. Naomi knew that Boaz would be gracious and caring.

Are we gracious and caring with the people we deal with in our lives?

Are we caring for those who can not care for themselves?

 

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We Love Because God First Loved Us

Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love. God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. Beloved, since God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God lives in us, and his love is perfected in us. By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and do testify that the Father has sent his Son as the Savior of the world. God abides in those who confess that Jesus is the Son of God, and they abide in God. So we have known and believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them. Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness on the day of judgment, because as he is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love. We love because he first loved us. Those who say, “I love God,” and hate their brothers or sisters, are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen. The commandment we have from him is this: those who love God must love their brothers and sisters also. (1 John 4:7-21, NRSV)

We love God because He first loved us. We can not love if God does not live in us.

And we need to love people as God loved us. Where we are and how we are. So many of u feel we need to hide our true selves and make others happy. But here is the thing, God created us as we are and that is hwo we need to be. And we love because He loved us as He created us.

So live the love God gave you in everything you do. And allow the world to be changed through your giving of His Grace to the world.

 

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Pressing toward the Goal

Not that I have already obtained this or have already reached the goal; but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Beloved, I do not consider that I have made it my own; but this one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus. Let those of us then who are mature be of the same mind; and if you think differently about anything, this too God will reveal to you. Only let us hold fast to what we have attained. Brothers and sisters, join in imitating me, and observe those who live according to the example you have in us. For many live as enemies of the cross of Christ; I have often told you of them, and now I tell you even with tears. Their end is destruction; their god is the belly; and their glory is in their shame; their minds are set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven, and it is from there that we are expecting a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. He will transform the body of our humiliation that it may be conformed to the body of his glory, by the power that also enables him to make all things subject to himself. Therefore, my brothers and sisters, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, my beloved. (Philippians 3:12-4:1, NRSV)

Paul continues here telling the Philippians to not worry about the past. To not let past hang-ups or faults get in the way of what God is doing in your life.

You see we have to press forward. We can not stay stuck on the muck and mire we find our selves in but we have to press on towards the goal and the upward call of Jesus. For if we stay we wind up like the enemies of the cross whose god is their belly, feeding their desires and needs now. But God has called us to a higher understanding and calls us to walk with Him and to press forward sharing His love, grace, and mercy everywhere we go.

So press on and know that He is with you giving you strength.

 

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Jesus Foretells Peter’s Denial

Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, where are you going?” Jesus answered, “Where I am going, you cannot follow me now; but you will follow afterward.” Peter said to him, “Lord, why can I not follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.” Jesus answered, “Will you lay down your life for me? Very truly, I tell you, before the cock crows, you will have denied me three times. (John 13:36-38, NRSV)

Aren’t we all like Peter?

We are ready to lay down our lives for Jesus. We are ready to go the distance.

Isn’t it good that Jesus really knows us better than we know ourselves?

He knows how we will fall short, even when we have the best intentions, we will not quite measure up.

We are so close, yet oh so far away…

But thankfully God loves us even though we fall short.

So be like Peter. And try as hard as you can, knowing that God will pick you up when you fall.

 

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Rivers of Living Water

On the last day of the festival, the great day, while Jesus was standing there, he cried out, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me, and let the one who believes in me drink. As the scripture has said, ‘Out of the believer’s heart shall flow rivers of living water.’” Now he said this about the Spirit, which believers in him were to receive; for as yet there was no Spirit, because Jesus was not yet glorified. (John 7:37-39, NRSV)

Have you ever been really thirsty? Like you would drink water out of a mud puddle kind of thirsty?

Jesus said out of believer’s hearts would flow living water, and whomever drank this living water would never be thirsty.

Jesus will or has given us the Spirit and through the Spirit we are connected to God and through us God’s grace and mercy flows as a never-ending river.

Allow God to spray the world through you!

 

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