RSS

Tag Archives: loved

Hard Times to Come

15“So when you see the desolating sacrilege standing in the holy place, as was spoken of by the prophet Daniel (let the reader understand), 16then those in Judea must flee to the mountains; 17the one on the housetop must not go down to take what is in the house; 18the one in the field must not turn back to get a coat. 19Woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing infants in those days! 20Pray that your flight may not be in winter or on a sabbath. 21For at that time there will be great suffering, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be. 22And if those days had not been cut short, no one would be saved; but for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short. 23Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look! Here is the Messiah!’ or ‘There he is!’ —do not believe it. 24For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and produce great signs and omens, to lead astray, if possible, even the elect. 25Take note, I have told you beforehand. 26So, if they say to you, ‘Look! He is in the wilderness,’ do not go out. If they say, ‘Look! He is in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. 27For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 28Wherever the corpse is, there the vultures will gather.29“Immediately after the suffering of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of heaven will be shaken. (Matthew 24:15-29, NRSV)

Let the reader understand…

Let the reader understand what? What happened with the sacrilege of holy items in Daniel, where the king took the items from the temple and used them as common everyday dishes. Or is there something else we should understand?

If it is the taking of items for daily use that should be for holy use, what is there to understand, that we shouldn’t do this? Or those of us who are doing it because we are revering the items and not taking them because they are made of precious metal and have intrinsic value. The king in Daniel raided the temple and took the items because they were valuable, not because they were holy and using them for daily use when they are holy when you see them only as valuable is wrong. Because every moment of our lives is holy, there is never a time we are not with God, so know that God is always with you and every moment is holy and use the implements of the holy time in your daily life because it is holy, not because of its value.

Let the reader understand…

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Unforgiving Servant

15“If another member of the church sins against you, go and point out the fault when the two of you are alone. If the member listens to you, you have regained that one. 16But if you are not listened to, take one or two others along with you, so that every word may be confirmed by the evidence of two or three witnesses. 17If the member refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if the offender refuses to listen even to the church, let such a one be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.18Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. 19Again, truly I tell you, if two of you agree on earth about anything you ask, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. 20For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.” 21Then Peter came and said to him, “Lord, if another member of the church sins against me, how often should I forgive? As many as seven times?” 22Jesus said to him, “Not seven times, but, I tell you, seventy-seven times. 23“For this reason the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves. 24When he began the reckoning, one who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him; 25and, as he could not pay, his lord ordered him to be sold, together with his wife and children and all his possessions, and payment to be made. 26So the slave fell on his knees before him, saying, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’ 27And out of pity for him, the lord of that slave released him and forgave him the debt. 28But that same slave, as he went out, came upon one of his fellow slaves who owed him a hundred denarii; and seizing him by the throat, he said, ‘Pay what you owe.’ 29Then his fellow slave fell down and pleaded with him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you.’ 30But he refused; then he went and threw him into prison until he would pay the debt. 31When his fellow slaves saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their lord all that had taken place. 32Then his lord summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked slave! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. 33Should you not have had mercy on your fellow slave, as I had mercy on you?’ 34And in anger his lord handed him over to be tortured until he would pay his entire debt. 35So my heavenly Father will also do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother or sister from your heart.” (Matthew 18:15-35, NRSV)

Wow. I am in deep trouble. This passage has Jesus telling us if we do not forgive others, that God will not forgive us. God will hold us accountable for every wrong we have done and make us pay back everything we owe God. Which is ultimately everything. Here a slave is forgiven a huge debt. How big was this debt?

Well in comparison the other slave owed the first 100 denarii which is the same as the pay for 100 days of work. so in about 4 months, a person could earn that amount. But 10,000 Talents is a lot more. You see a Talent is a measure of weight for gold. 1 Talent is equal to about 75 U.S. pounds. So just to give an example in today’s values, on February 22, 2019, when I typed this devotional the value of 1 ounce of Gold was $1,323.24. So 1 Talent would equal $1,587,888! and 10,000 would be $15,878,880,000! That is over 15 Billion. And the king forgave the debt when the slave begged! But that slave could not take the forgiveness he was given and give it to others because he needed what was his.

But think about what God has forgiven you. And that is worth way more than 15 Billion so we should forgive others.

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Caring for the Little Ones

10“Take care that you do not despise one of these little ones; for, I tell you, in heaven their angels continually see the face of my Father in heaven. 12What do you think? If a shepherd has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray? 13And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that never went astray. 14So it is not the will of your Father in heaven that one of these little ones should be lost. (Matthew 18:10-14, NRSV)

Funny that I saw the picture for this devotion the day I sat down to write it. Sometimes sheep may not feel welcomed by the other 99. And that brings up questions of what does that mean. Does that mean, as the cartoon states, they are different in sexual orientation and we just don’t accept them because of that, or is it because they are somehow different than the rest of us? But when we get down to it, aren’t all of us really different from the other 99?

And what God is calling us to do is to love everyone the way God loved us. God loved us when we were filthy in our sins and not able to be with Him. But He picked us up and cleaned us off only for us to get covered in filth again, but He still loves us.

So how can we actually accept everyone and not help keep people from the love that God has for them?

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Healing a Woman and a Girl

18While he was saying these things to them, suddenly a leader of the synagogue came in and knelt before him, saying, “My daughter has just died; but come and lay your hand on her, and she will live.” 19And Jesus got up and followed him, with his disciples. 20Then suddenly a woman who had been suffering from hemorrhages for twelve years came up behind him and touched the fringe of his cloak, 21for she said to herself, “If I only touch his cloak, I will be made well.” 22Jesus turned, and seeing her he said, “Take heart, daughter; your faith has made you well.” And instantly the woman was made well. 23When Jesus came to the leader’s house and saw the flute players and the crowd making a commotion, 24he said, “Go away; for the girl is not dead but sleeping.” And they laughed at him. 25But when the crowd had been put outside, he went in and took her by the hand, and the girl got up. 26And the report of this spread throughout that district. (Matthew 9:18-26, NRSV)

Here we see Jesus healing a woman who was dealing with an illness for 12 years and a girl who was dead. Have you ever seen this?

We think that we need to see these big miracles to actually believe?

But miracles happen all around us every day. We actually are a miracle. If you think about how our bodies work and the earth ecosystems work there are all kinds of miracles around us.

So see what God is doing all around you and join God in the work that is being done here and now to make His light shine in the darkness and His love to be made known

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

John’s Teaching, part 1

7John said to the crowds that came out to be baptized by him, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8Bear fruits worthy of repentance. Do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our ancestor’; for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham. 9Even now the ax is lying at the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.” 10And the crowds asked him, “What then should we do?” 11In reply he said to them, “Whoever has two coats must share with anyone who has none; and whoever has food must do likewise.” 12Even tax collectors came to be baptized, and they asked him, “Teacher, what should we do?” 13He said to them, “Collect no more than the amount prescribed for you.” 14Soldiers also asked him, “And we, what should we do?” He said to them, “Do not extort money from anyone by threats or false accusation, and be satisfied with your wages.” (Luke 3:7-14, NRSV)

As I read this text I hear law. Law and very little gospel, but gospel is there.

It seems like we have to do the works all on our own to get it right, but is that really what John is saying?

John is saying you can not rely on being related to anyone or that you can trace your lineage back to Abraham. Everyone can do that actually…

What John tells those who ask what they can do is, treat everyone as you want to be treated. Do not take more than you should, do not extort money from people.

Treat others as you want to be treated. That is not doing anything more than we really should do.

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Jesus and John the Baptist

In those days John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness of Judea, proclaiming, 2“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”3This is the one of whom the prophet Isaiah spoke when he said, “The voice of one crying out in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.’” 4Now John wore clothing of camel’s hair with a leather belt around his waist, and his food was locusts and wild honey.5Then the people of Jerusalem and all Judea were going out to him, and all the region along the Jordan, 6and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. 7But when he saw many Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8Bear fruit worthy of repentance. 9Do not presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our ancestor’; for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham. 10Even now the ax is lying at the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 11“I baptize you with water for repentance, but one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 12His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and will gather his wheat into the granary; but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.” 13Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan, to be baptized by him. 14John would have prevented him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” 15But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now; for it is proper for us in this way to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he consented. 16And when Jesus had been baptized, just as he came up from the water, suddenly the heavens were opened to him and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. 17And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:1-17, NRSV)

“This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.”

Most parents I know are always bragging on their kids. I am so overwhelmingly proud of my three girls. I am so amazed every day at what they do. I am glad and honored to be blessed with them. But as much pride I have in them doesn’t even compare to the pride and love that God has for Jesus, or me or my daughters.

You see the version of Jesus’ baptism we have above is God bragging on Jesus, Luke’s version says You are my Son, my beloved. God is speaking directly to Jesus, and I know as a parent I don’t do that enough to my girls. I brag on them and love them, but I forget to tell them.  Bragging on them and telling them they are loved it so important.

So hear it today that you are loved by God. You are God’s beloved and God is pleased with you!

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

A Promise of Restoration, part 2

Thus says the Lord: A voice is heard in Ramah, lamentation and bitter weeping. Rachel is weeping for her children; she refuses to be comforted for her children, because they are no more. Thus says the Lord: Keep your voice from weeping, and your eyes from tears; for there is a reward for your work, says the Lord: they shall come back from the land of the enemy; there is hope for your future, says the Lord: your children shall come back to their own country. Indeed I heard Ephraim pleading: “You disciplined me, and I took the discipline; I was like a calf untrained. Bring me back, let me come back, for you are the Lord my God. For after I had turned away I repented; and after I was discovered, I struck my thigh; I was ashamed, and I was dismayed because I bore the disgrace of my youth.” Is Ephraim my dear son? Is he the child I delight in? As often as I speak against him, I still remember him. Therefore I am deeply moved for him; I will surely have mercy on him, says the Lord. Set up road markers for yourself, make yourself guideposts; consider well the highway, the road by which you went. Return, O virgin Israel, return to these your cities. How long will you waver, O faithless daughter? For the Lord has created a new thing on the earth: a woman encompasses a man. Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Once more they shall use these words in the land of Judah and in its towns when I restore their fortunes: “The Lord bless you, O abode of righteousness, O holy hill!” And Judah and all its towns shall live there together, and the farmers and those who wander with their flocks. I will satisfy the weary, and all who are faint I will replenish. Thereupon I awoke and looked, and my sleep was pleasant to me. The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will sow the house of Israel and the house of Judah with the seed of humans and the seed of animals. And just as I have watched over them to pluck up and break down, to overthrow, destroy, and bring evil, so I will watch over them to build and to plant, says the Lord. In those days they shall no longer say: “The parents have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge.”But all shall die for their own sins; the teeth of everyone who eats sour grapes shall be set on edge. (Jeremiah 31:15-30, NRSV)

God looks upon us as his children. As His beloved child. And no matter how mad that child makes you or the stuff they do that upsets you, you still love them because they are your beloved child.

That is how God sees you. That is how God loves each of us.

So remember no matter how far you go or how far you feel from God, God is always there and loving you.

Are you ready to be held by a Father that loves you?

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,