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Tag Archives: grace

The Sower Explained

10When he was alone, those who were around him along with the twelve asked him about the parables. 11And he said to them, “To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside, everything comes in parables; 12in order that ‘they may indeed look, but not perceive, and may indeed listen, but not understand; so that they may not turn again and be forgiven.’” 13And he said to them, “Do you not understand this parable? Then how will you understand all the parables? 14The sower sows the word. 15These are the ones on the path where the word is sown: when they hear, Satan immediately comes and takes away the word that is sown in them. 16And these are the ones sown on rocky ground: when they hear the word, they immediately receive it with joy. 17But they have no root, and endure only for a while; then, when trouble or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately they fall away. 18And others are those sown among the thorns: these are the ones who hear the word, 19but the cares of the world, and the lure of wealth, and the desire for other things come in and choke the word, and it yields nothing. 20And these are the ones sown on the good soil: they hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirty and sixty and a hundredfold.” (Mark 4:10-20, NRSV)

Sometimes we will see what Jesus has told us in a way others may not. We can understand a little clearer the message He is sharing with us.

Sometimes we can see why others may not accept the grace and love and understand what is happening.

Even if we don’t we still need to share the word and the story of God’s grace and love in our lives.

The thing we are called to do is to share the love of God in everything we do.

Share!

 

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The Parable of the Sower

Again he began to teach beside the sea. Such a very large crowd gathered around him that he got into a boat on the sea and sat there, while the whole crowd was beside the sea on the land. 2He began to teach them many things in parables, and in his teaching he said to them: 3“Listen! A sower went out to sow. 4And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5Other seed fell on rocky ground, where it did not have much soil, and it sprang up quickly, since it had no depth of soil. 6And when the sun rose, it was scorched; and since it had no root, it withered away. 7Other seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no grain. 8Other seed fell into good soil and brought forth grain, growing up and increasing and yielding thirty and sixty and a hundredfold.” 9And he said, “Let anyone with ears to hear listen!” (Mark 4:1-9, NRSV)

We are all called to share the word or to spread seed. We are to always tell the story of God’s grace everywhere we go.

Sometime people will be open and receptive and sometimes there will be things that will keep the seed from sticking…

Ours if not the worry about how the seed takes but to cast it far and wide. Telling everyone about the love and grace of God.

 

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A Restored Jerusalem

The word of the Lord of hosts came to me, saying: 2Thus says the Lord of hosts: I am jealous for Zion with great jealousy, and I am jealous for her with great wrath. 3Thus says the Lord: I will return to Zion, and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem; Jerusalem shall be called the faithful city, and the mountain of the Lord of hosts shall be called the holy mountain. 4Thus says the Lord of hosts: Old men and old women shall again sit in the streets of Jerusalem, each with staff in hand because of their great age. 5And the streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in its streets. 6Thus says the Lord of hosts: Even though it seems impossible to the remnant of this people in these days, should it also seem impossible to me, says the Lord of hosts? 7Thus says the Lord of hosts: I will save my people from the east country and from the west country; 8and I will bring them to live in Jerusalem. They shall be my people and I will be their God, in faithfulness and in righteousness. (Zechariah 8:1-8, NRSV)

They will be my people and I will be their God. God is jealous for us.

God will always work for the best for God’s people. And make sure they are in a place they can share God’s love and grace with the world.

So trust in God and always know God is with us.

 

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The City Falls

And in the ninth year of his reign, in the tenth month, on the tenth day of the month, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon came with all his army against Jerusalem, and laid siege to it; they built siegeworks against it all around. 2So the city was besieged until the eleventh year of King Zedekiah. 3On the ninth day of the fourth month the famine became so severe in the city that there was no food for the people of the land. 4Then a breach was made in the city wall; the king with all the soldiers fled by night by the way of the gate between the two walls, by the king’s garden, though the Chaldeans were all around the city. They went in the direction of the Arabah. 5But the army of the Chaldeans pursued the king, and overtook him in the plains of Jericho; all his army was scattered, deserting him. 6Then they captured the king and brought him up to the king of Babylon at Riblah, who passed sentence on him. 7They slaughtered the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes, then put out the eyes of Zedekiah; they bound him in fetters and took him to Babylon. (2 Kings 25:1-7, NRSV)

The Good News of God!

How do we get anything out of this to use today?

Where is the good news of God in all of this?

Where is Grace?

Well, sometimes it is yet to come. But if grace is still to come, where is the hope of grace?

The hope is always in Jesus, in God. In the promises that God has made to us as His children. Claimed and named by God so that we will be heirs with Jesus.

Not every story will be uplifting, but we have to have hope and know God works through all things for good.

 

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Naaman Returns Home

15Then he returned to the man of God, he and all his company; he came and stood before him and said, “Now I know that there is no God in all the earth except in Israel; please accept a present from your servant.” 16But he said, “As the Lord lives, whom I serve, I will accept nothing!” He urged him to accept, but he refused. 17Then Naaman said, “If not, please let two mule-loads of earth be given to your servant; for your servant will no longer offer burnt offering or sacrifice to any god except the Lord18But may the Lord pardon your servant on one count: when my master goes into the house of Rimmon to worship there, leaning on my arm, and I bow down in the house of Rimmon, when I do bow down in the house of Rimmon, may the Lord pardon your servant on this one count.” 19He said to him, “Go in peace.” But when Naaman had gone from him a short distance, 20Gehazi, the servant of Elisha the man of God, thought, “My master has let that Aramean Naaman off too lightly by not accepting from him what he offered. As the Lord lives, I will run after him and get something out of him.” 21So Gehazi went after Naaman. When Naaman saw someone running after him, he jumped down from the chariot to meet him and said, “Is everything all right?” 22He replied, “Yes, but my master has sent me to say, ‘Two members of a company of prophets have just come to me from the hill country of Ephraim; please give them a talent of silver and two changes of clothing.’” 23Naaman said, “Please accept two talents.” He urged him, and tied up two talents of silver in two bags, with two changes of clothing, and gave them to two of his servants, who carried them in front of Gehazi. 24When he came to the citadel, he took the bags from them, and stored them inside; he dismissed the men, and they left. 25He went in and stood before his master; and Elisha said to him, “Where have you been, Gehazi?” He answered, “Your servant has not gone anywhere at all.” 26But he said to him, “Did I not go with you in spirit when someone left his chariot to meet you? Is this a time to accept money and to accept clothing, olive orchards and vineyards, sheep and oxen, and male and female slaves? 27Therefore the leprosy of Naaman shall cling to you, and to your descendants forever.” So he left his presence leprous, as white as snow. (2 Kings 5:15-27, NRSV)

We do not do things for the Lord for a reward. We do not expect payment for doing the work of the Lord.

We are to do what God has called us to do without asking for anything in return because God has given to us freely so that we might freely give.

Your reward may be something you don’t want. Allow God’s grace to be enough.

 

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The Ten Commandments

Moses convened all Israel, and said to them: Hear, O Israel, the statutes and ordinances that I am addressing to you today; you shall learn them and observe them diligently. 2The Lord our God made a covenant with us at Horeb. 3Not with our ancestors did the Lord make this covenant, but with us, who are all of us here alive today. 4The Lord spoke with you face to face at the mountain, out of the fire. 5(At that time I was standing between the Lord and you to declare to you the words of the Lord; for you were afraid because of the fire and did not go up the mountain.) And he said: 6I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery; 7you shall have no other gods before me. 8You shall not make for yourself an idol, whether in the form of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. 9You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, punishing children for the iniquity of parents, to the third and fourth generation of those who reject me,10but showing steadfast love to the thousandth generation of those who love me and keep my commandments. 11You shall not make wrongful use of the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not acquit anyone who misuses his name. 12Observe the sabbath day and keep it holy, as the Lord your God commanded you. 13Six days you shall labor and do all your work. 14But the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God; you shall not do any work—you, or your son or your daughter, or your male or female slave, or your ox or your donkey, or any of your livestock, or the resident alien in your towns, so that your male and female slave may rest as well as you. 15Remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God brought you out from there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm; therefore the Lord your God commanded you to keep the sabbath day. 16Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord your God commanded you, so that your days may be long and that it may go well with you in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.17You shall not murder. 18Neither shall you commit adultery. 19Neither shall you steal. 20Neither shall you bear false witness against your neighbor. 21Neither shall you covet your neighbor’s wife. Neither shall you desire your neighbor’s house, or field, or male or female slave, or ox, or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor. (Deuteronomy 5:1-21, NRSV)

As we started our trek into the 10 Commandments the other night at confirmation at St. John’s we read this passage and the passage from Exodus 20 of the 10 Commandments. I had those present count as the reading was done how many commandments they thought they heard. No one said 10, I got 13, 14, 12, all sorts of numbers, but everyone had more than 10. So why are there 10 Commandments and which ones are they? Also, did you know there are at least 3 different ways to number the 10 Commandments? Take a look at this chart from SundaySoftware.com which does a nice job of illustrating the different approaches to numbering the 10 Commandments.

So how do we know what we are supposed to do actually?

Well, in my opinion, these commandments were given to help us live in relationships. They are to help our relationship with God (1-3 or 4) and our relationships with others (4-10 or 5-10).

They help us know how to interact with God and with others. So don’t worry about the numbers, just love God and love everyone else and live that mercy and grace God gave you into the world.

 

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Grace through Faith

You were dead through the trespasses and sins 2in which you once lived, following the course of this world, following the ruler of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work among those who are disobedient. 3All of us once lived among them in the passions of our flesh, following the desires of flesh and senses, and we were by nature children of wrath, like everyone else. 4But God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us 5even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,7so that in the ages to come he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God— 9not the result of works, so that no one may boast. 10For we are what he has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life. (Ephesians 2:1-10, NRSV)

We were not saved by anything we have done. This passage clearly states twice that we are saved by grace. By the gift of God. When we were dead in sin and far from God, we were lifted up out of the mire through the faithfulness of Jesus.

We are saved by grace, and that is the gift of God so none of us can boast that we did it.

But it doesn’t stop there, and just because we can not do anything to earn that grace does not mean there isn’t anything for us to do. Verse 10 clearly states that we were lifted out of the mire to do good works, works God had prepared for us in advance of the grace to show God’s love to the world.

So thank God you do not have to earn your salvation, but go into the world and share God’s love because of your salvation!

 

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