Bread – Darkness

January 30, 2009


Readings for Friday, January 30

            from the Book of Common Prayer:

            Isa. 50:1-11; Gal. 3:15-22; Mark 6:47-56

            Psalms 40, 51, 54

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We like to say as children of God that we walk in the light.  But the truth is that we often find ourselves in the dark.  Perhaps the darkness arises from fear.  Perhaps it arises from a sense of hopelessness.  Perhaps it arises from tragedy.  Perhaps it arises from depression.  Perhaps it rises from self-doubt.  Perhaps we are blinded by anger or lust or jealousy.  Perhaps we lack wisdom and cannot “see” where we are going.  All of these situations are things that we find in the dark or which find us while we are in the dark.  Finally, there is the “dark night of the soul” where we feel like God is absent from our lives.

 

Isaiah has something interesting to say about this today.  In chapter 50, verse 10b, Isaiah says “Let him who walks in the dark, who has no light, trust in the name of the LORD and rely on his God.” 

 

Before you jump to the conclusion that Isaiah is talking about non-believers, realize that he says that the person in the dark should rely upon his God.  In other words, the person in the dark of whom Isaiah writes is a believer, a person who has appropriated God as “his” God.

 

The Bible speaks to reality, and believers can be and often are “in the dark” and have “no light.”

 

What should be our response when we find ourselves in such dire circumstances, without apparent light or guidance?  “Trust” and “rely.”

 

Why?  Well God says it best Himself a few verses earlier — “Was My arm too short to ransom you?  Do I lack the strength to rescue you?  Isa. 50:2b.  What do you think?

 

But we know that our tendency is, when we find ourselves in the dark, to take matters into our own hands first.  We say we trust the LORD, but we really think He needs some help.  God says “trust” and asks the question of whether His ability is too little to help.  We “know” the answer is that God’s ability is infinite and that arm is not too short to rescue, but somewhere in the back of our minds we think “not really.”

 

Why do we not place our total trust in the LORD when we find ourselves in a dark place, with no light?  I think it begins in the Garden of Eden, when Satan asked that truly deceptive question of all time – “Did God really say?”

 

This sense that we must behave differently in the dark, that we must rely upon our own resources to struggle to the light, is a thought engineered by the Prince of Lies, equivalent to “Did God really say?”  “Did God really say that His strength is sufficient?”  “Did God really say that you should trust Him in the dark?” 

 

Yes He did.  And that leaves us a choice when we are in the dark.  We can listen to the voice that says “trust in Me and rely on your God” or we can listen to the voice that says “Did God really say…”

 

Choose wisely.

 

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Lord, help us to love your Word, incarnate in Jesus Christ and written in Scripture.  Help us Lord to come to you and to bring others to you.  Help us know that you are God and we are not.  Assist us Lord through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit to be both willing and obedient.  It is only through the merits of your Son Jesus Christ that we are empowered to even make this prayer.  And so we thank you and praise you!  Amen.

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Bread – Not I

January 28, 2009


Readings for Wednesday, January 28

            from the Book of Common Prayer:

            Isa. 49:1-12; Gal. 2:11-21; Mark 6:13-29

            Psalms 49, 53, 119:49-72

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“I want.”  “I need.”  “I say.” Count how many times you say one of these today.

 

In today’s lessons, God reminds us through His Word that the emphasis in these short sentences is wrong.  In fact, instead of preceding every thought with “I” we should precede it with “Not I, but God.”  Imagine how we would lead our lives if we preceded our language with “God wants.”  Think about the conversations this would spin off.

 

How does God remind us in today’s lessons that it is “not I?”

 

First, God reminds us that, before we even know who “I” is, God knows who we are and has put us in place for His works.  The prophet Isaiah says “Before I was born, the LORD called me; … And now the LORD says — He who formed me in the womb to be His servant …” Isa. 49:1,5.

 

Second, God reminds us that it is through His grace that we are saved and that we have no power to shake free of God’s grip.  The apostle Paul writes to us in his letter to the church in Galatia, “I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!.” Gal. 2:21.  [This sentence follows a section whereby Paul recognizes that no one obeys the law thoroughly, and therefore, if salvation came through obedience to the law, none would be saved.  Therefore, the “do not” of this sentence does not imply a “can, but won’t” (giving power to “I”) but the reverse, a “can’t, so won’t” (giving power to God, “not I”)].

 

Third, God reminds us through the Apostle Mark that it only by God’s power that we have wisdom.  In Mark, the apostle relates the history of John the Baptist’s beheading, but notes that Herod (prior to having him beheaded) protected John for this reason — “When Herod heard John, he was greatly puzzled; yet he liked to listen to him.” Mark 6:20b.  In other words, Herod had enough human wisdom to know that what he was hearing was good, but he lacked the God-given wisdom to understand what he was hearing.  Herod in all of his power and learning lacked understanding because God in His sovereignty had not given it to him.

 

Finally, God through David’s hymns reminds us that those who depend upon the “I” instead of the “not I’ are doomed for destruction.  For example, in Psalm 49 it is said “But man, despite his riches, does not endure; he is like the beasts that perish.  This is the fate of those who trust in themselves [“I”], and of their followers, who approve their sayings.  Selah.” Psalm 49:13.

 

How will you approach your opportunities and problems today?  “I” first or “Not I, but God” first?

 

 

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Lord, help us to love your Word, incarnate in Jesus Christ and written in Scripture.  Help us Lord to come to you and to bring others to you.  Help us know that you are God and we are not.  Assist us Lord through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit to be both willing and obedient.  It is only through the merits of your Son Jesus Christ that we are empowered to even make this prayer.  And so we thank you and praise you!  Amen.

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Bread – Consistency

January 23, 2009


Readings for Friday, January 23

            from the Book of Common Prayer:

            Isa. 45:18-25; Eph. 6:1-9; Mark 4:35-41

            Psalms 31, 35

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Paul’s letter to the church in Ephesus today contains a verse which has always been a favorite of mine because I am a father — “Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.”  Eph. 6:4.  Now fathers and mothers really like the preceding verse, which instructs children to obey their parents and to honor them, but rarely is any emphasis placed on verse 4.

 

And isn’t the word “exasperate” one of those perfect words which sort of means what it sounds like.  You look at it and feel all irritated, angry, and tied up.  You say it and feel all irritated, angry, and tied up.  Even the sound grates on you a little bit.  And that is what it means — according to Webster’s, “exasperate” means to “to irritate or annoy very much, make angry, vex.”*

 

Now the question becomes, how do we do that?  Well, we know how.  We say one thing and do another.  We ask them to do something one way and then we criticize (or, more politically correct, critique) them when they are obedient (or disobedient).  We say something means one thing, but then change the meaning on the fly to fit the circumstances.  We say, “tell the truth,” but we then say “but it is OK to tell a [white] lie.”

 

So why would Paul suggest, as the antidote to inconsistency, unrealistic expectations, unjust criticism, and just plain parental annoyance of their children, that fathers should bring them up according to the training and instruction of the Lord?”

 

The answer is found is our reading today out of Isaiah.  There, the prophet repeats what the Lord says as follows:

 

“For this is what the LORD says — He who created the heavens, He is God … He says: ‘I am the LORD, and there is no other.  I have not spoken in secret … I, the LORD, speak the truth; I declare what is right…my mouth has uttered in all integrity a word that will not be revoked: Before Me every knee will bow; and by Me every tongue will swear.”  Isa. 45:18-23

 

“All integrity.” There are two parts here, “all” and “integrity.”  There is no deception in “all” because there is no place in the word “all” for an exception.  There is no deception in “integrity” because “integrity” means the quality of being complete, whole, without defect, perfect.  There is no room for inconsistency in “all perfect,” “all complete,” “all whole,” “all without defect.”

 

The training and instruction of the Lord does not exasperate because there is no inconsistency, no defect, no slippage, no change, no double standard.  Now the training and instruction of the Lord may well make a child (and adult) angry when they are confronted with the necessity of putting their own definitions, desires, objectives, plans, thoughts, opinions, and “world view” on the shelf in deference to the Lord’s standards, but at least they can’t validly complain that that the Lord has changed His definitions, His commandments, His standards, or even His love.

 

Consistency.  If you don’t want to be frustrated in your dealings, then you have to deal with those who speak consistently, in all integrity.  What better place than to begin with the God of the universe, the one in whom there is “all integrity” and the one who always speaks the truth.

 

And what better time to begin than when you are young.  So fathers, start now with your children.

 

But you say that your children are old (and you are older).

 

Well then what better time to start than now.

 

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Lord, help us to love your Word, incarnate in Jesus Christ and written in Scripture.  Help us Lord to come to you and to bring others to you.  Help us know that you are God and we are not.  Assist us Lord through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit to be both willing and obedient.  It is only through the merits of your Son Jesus Christ that we are empowered to even make this prayer.  And so we thank you and praise you!  Amen.

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 *Webster’s New World Dictionary, Second College Ed. (World Publishing 1974)

Bread – Helpful

January 14, 2009


Readings for Wednesday, January 14

            from the Book of Common Prayer:

            Isa. 41:1-16; Eph. 2:1-10; Mark 1:29-45

            Psalms 12, 13, 14. 119:1-24

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There is a series of tiny books which I believe is published in England called the “The Little Mr. and Mrs.” series.  They are “children’s” books, so I used to read them to my children when they were young.  Like so many “children’s” books, however, they also speak to our human condition and so in that sense are very much written for adults.  Each book in the series is a presentation of a particular characteristic of people, raised to a comic level.  Like all good comedy, however, there is the prickly reminder of the element of truth contained in the comedic situation.

 

One of the funniest books I ever read in the series is called “Little Miss Helpful.”  As you can imagine, Little Miss Helpful is very helpful, but nothing she “helps” with ever goes right.  When she sees someone in distress, from a distance she calls “Let me help!”, rushes in, and (of course) immediately makes things worse.

 

Now we all know people who are “helpful,” good-hearted people who intend well but whose “help” we would rather not have.  We enjoy their company, but don’t touch a thing!

 

I wonder how often we think of God that way – as someone who is “good-hearted” but whose “help” we neither think we need or particularly want.  In Little Miss Helpful, Miss Helpful ended up causing a mess in the kitchen while she was helping clean it up.  Likewise, we sometimes feel like God is making a mess of our well-ordered lives, and we tell ourselves as a result that we do not want or need God’s help.  Don’t we often really say “God, come and keep us company but don’t help, don’t meddle, don’t mess up, thank you very much – we have things well under control!”

 

Of course, there is a huge difference between Little Miss Helpful and God.  Little Miss Helpful has little power; God has infiinite power to help.  Little Miss Helpful’s help is to put our affairs in our order; God’s help is to put our affairs in God’s order.

 

God declares in Isaiah today that “I myself will help you.” Isa. 41:14.  This help is absolutely essential, as we have no power to save ourselves from the pit of eternal death, as pointed out by Paul today — “But because of His great love for us, God who is rich in mercy, made us alive in Christ even when we were dead …it is by grace you have been saved.” Eph. 2:4-5.  And this help by grace in raising us from our bed of sickness to life is demonstrated early in Jesus’ ministry, when He raises Simon’s mother-in-law — “So He went to her, took her hand and helped her up.”  Mark 1:31.

 

Little Miss Helpful’s help messes up; God’s help straightens up.

 

What is your attitude toward God’s help?  Do you consider it something which is a bother, a minor inconvenience, bittersweet comedy?  Or do you consider it for what it is – the means of eternal life, effective, powerful, long-lasting, beneficial, and necessary?

 

Seize the help!  Seize the day!

 

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Lord, help us to love your Word, incarnate in Jesus Christ and written in Scripture.  Help us Lord to come to you and to bring others to you.  Help us know that you are God and we are not.  Assist us Lord through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit to be both willing and obedient.  It is only through the merits of your Son Jesus Christ that we are empowered to even make this prayer.  And so we thank you and praise you!  Amen.

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Bread – Majesty

January 12, 2009


Readings for Monday, January 12

            from the Book of Common Prayer:

            Isa. 40:12-23; Eph. 1:1-14; Mark 1:1-13

            Psalms 1, 2, 3, 4, 7

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There is a song which really irritates me and it goes something like this — “I am a friend of Jesus.  He calls me friend.”  Now, like so many things, the song is probably technically accurate because Jesus is the one initiating the call [“He calls”] and as a result, “I am a friend”.  It demonstrates how Jesus was a real man, because people are in community and have friends. It is even somewhat based on Bible verses (see Luke 12:4; John 15:14).  And yet even knowing that, the song still bothers and irritates me.

 

Why?  I think the answer is found in the reading from Isaiah today:

 

“Who has understood the mind of the LORD,

or instructed Him as His counselor?

Whom did the LORD consult to enlighten Him,

and who taught Him in the right way?

Who was it that taught Him knowledge

or showed him the path of understanding?

…To whom then will you compare God?

What image will you compare Him to?”  Isa. 40:13-14, 18

 

Think about that last question – What image will you compare Him to? – and then ask yourself how that squares with us writing a song in which Jesus is called a “friend.”  Who are our friends?  People who look like us and we like!  There, God (Jesus) must be “comparable” to us, therefore God can be “comprehended” by us, therefore God can be “reflection” of us, therefore God is an “invention” of us!  See how slippery the slope begins once we begin to think of God (Jesus) as “our friend!”

 

I think what probably ultimately bothers me about the song is the presumption that, because Jesus can call us His friend, we have the right and the power to call God our friend.  Friendships establish a relationship of mutual dependence, mutual esteem, and mutual obedience to each other’s wishes.  Is God as our friend in any way dependent upon us?  Without the intervention of Christ to erase our sin, does God hold us in any esteem which makes us His equal?  Is God in any sense obedient to us?

 

Jesus does call us His friend.  For that I am eternally grateful because, as a result of His friendship and the price of ultimate friendship, the gift of His life for me, I am a citizen in the kingdom of heaven.  However, dare I return the favor?  Dare I call Him my friend?  Was it me who taught Him knowledge?  Was it me who enlightens God?

 

I think not.  We have a sense that friendship is a “two way street” and that if someone is my friend, then I am his.  I think, however, that in God’s family it works a little differently in that God declares that He is my friend, and in response and love I declare that He is my King.

 

Have you slipped into the trap of the song – presuming that if God is so loving that He stooped to call you a friend that you can return the favor?  Or do you bow your head at the question – “To whom, then, will you compare God” – and worship God in His majesty?

 

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Lord, help us to love your Word, incarnate in Jesus Christ and written in Scripture.  Help us Lord to come to you and to bring others to you.  Help us know that you are God and we are not.  Assist us Lord through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit to be both willing and obedient.  It is only through the merits of your Son Jesus Christ that we are empowered to even make this prayer.  And so we thank you and praise you!  Amen.

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Bread – Thyatira

January 9, 2009


Readings for Thursday, January 9

            from the Book of Common Prayer:

            Isa. 63:1-5; Rev. 2:18-29; John 5:1-15

            Psalms 121, 122, 123, 131, 132

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I have always had a fascination with discovering, through research of history and archeology, what happened to the Christian churches specifically mentioned in the New Testament.  Today, in Revelation Christ speaks to the church in Thyatira.  It obviously had a church and people in the congregation who followed Christ because Christ addresses them, but the church there was apparently also contaminated with worship of economic gods, sexual immorality, and desire for the “deep secrets” (of Satan).  Hmm … sounds like some other places I am familiar with!

 

The gods are economic-based gods because Thyatira was comprised of guilds who worked in metal and cloth (for example, see the reference to Lydia, the woman merchant of purple cloth, in Acts 16:14).  Guilds at this time (and, really, for most of history) have patron “gods” to whom they offer worship and sacrifice in order to have success.  Of course, this is not only foolish but deadly.  Jesus uses the prophetess Jezebel as an example of a promoter of worship of leser gods and detestable practices, and just says really simply “I will strike her children dead.” (Rev. 2:23)

 

The church in Thyatira was contaminated with the worship of economic gods, not because the church necessarily preached worship of these gods, but because it “tolerated” them.  Christ’s charge against Thyatira was that “You tolerate that woman Jezebel…” Rev. 2:20.  Because it tolerated non-Christian practice and teaching, it also was contaminated by sexual immorality.

 

Those members of the congregation of Thyatira who tolerated this “Jezebel,” who listened to her teachings, or who engaged in detestable practices (sexual immorality) were characterized by Christ as having “adultery” with Jezebel.  The reason it was adultery was that these are the very same people who had pledged belief in Jesus Christ and betrothal to Him.  The church is the bride of Christ and to the extent the church (and its people) are tolerant of other gods, follow detestable practices, or attempt to discover the “deep secrets” (of Satan), the church (and its participating members) is (are) adulterous.

 

With respect to the “deep secrets” or “deep things” (depending upon translation) of “Satan,” one is left to speculate as to exactly what is being talked about.  The Greek word for “Satan” being used means the “opposer, the adversary” (Strongs #4567), so one reasonable conclusion could be that the “deep things of the opposer” mean that alleged worldly knowledge which sets itself up in opposition to the Word of God.  For example, scientism could be such a “deep thing.”  Another reasonable conclusion is it refers specifically to sorcery and divination.  Another reasonable conclusion is that, since Christ’s comment is that these secrets are “so called” (in the NIV translation), “as they call them” (in the NASB), and “what some call” (in the ESV), they are not “deep” or mysterious at all, but only thought to be by those people who believe in such knowledge as opposed to God’s Word.  In any event, regardless of the conclusion, the complaint is that the church-goers have not learned the gospel, but have learned something else which opposes the gospel and is adversarial to it — i.e., false doctrine.

 

So, what is the point?  To go back to the beginning, the difficulties in the church in Thyatira seem very real today.  Let’s see how many social groups we can identify which today show signs of tolerance of (a) a focus on economic gods, (b) sexual immorality, and (c) a reliance upon “knowledge” which is adverse to God and the gospel — the world?  the United States?  Texas?  Plano? A church?  A house?  A family?  You?  Me?

 

To these people, Christ has a message — He will strike you dead … unless you (a) repent, (b) do not rely upon the teachings of the adversary, (c) do not “hold onto her teaching” [a reference to sexual immorality], and (d) “hold on to what you have” (namely, hold on to the gospel).  Rev. 2:22-25.

 

“He who has an ear, let him hear …”  Rev. 2:29.

 

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Lord, help us to love your Word, incarnate in Jesus Christ and written in Scripture.  Help us Lord to come to you and to bring others to you.  Help us know that you are God and we are not.  Assist us Lord through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit to be both willing and obedient.  It is only through the merits of your Son Jesus Christ that we are empowered to even make this prayer.  And so we thank you and praise you!  Amen.

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Bread – Return

January 7, 2009


Readings for Wednesday, January 7

            from the Book of Common Prayer:

            Isa. 52:3-6; Rev. 2:1-7; John 2:1-11

            Psalms 103, 114, 115

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The three non-Psalm readings today appear to be disconnected until one takes a step back and looks at them from a different perspective.

 

The first reading is from Isaiah.  In Isaiah 52, God says “…without money you will be redeemed,” a foretelling of Christ.  And God reminds people that when the Redeemer comes, “…my people will know my name;…they will know that it is I who foretold it.  Yes, it is I.”  Isa. 52:6.  [Just as a side note, fulfilled prophecy is one of the best evidences we have of the inspiration, inerrancy, and authority of the Bible as the Word of God.  Here we have God telling us several hundred years before Christ that, when Christ is born, we will look back and realize that, yes, it is God Himself who foretold what He will do and not Isaiah.]

 

The second reading is from the Gospel of John.  Here we are confronted with the reality of Christ’s power as God over matter as He changes water into wine so that the wedding guests will not be disappointed.  If we think of those people at the wedding feast as the people of God, they are the beneficiaries of God’s grace.  There is an important part of this passage, however, that is often overlooked while people focus on the wine and the party.  That part is “Jesus … had been invited to the wedding.” John 2:2.  The fact is that if we do not invite Jesus into our lives, into our difficulties and feasts, and into our affairs, we will never be in position to be the beneficiary of His blessings.

 

The third reading is from Revelation, where Jesus (through John) is warning the Church in Ephesus that “You have forsaken your first love.”  Rev. 2:4

 

Now, don’t these three passages strung together reflect the pattern of Christian life?  We begin by hearing about the coming of Jesus Christ and His redeeming work for our sake on the cross; we accept Christ as our Lord and Savior, invite Him to share and rule our life, and receive the blessings of that redemption, power, and love; and then, after a while, we lose our first love, we become involved in worldly matters and forget our Christ, we do not spend time with Him, we do not worship Him, we may even go into a “dark night of the soul.”

 

Are you in that third stage?  Many times, immediately following the Christ-focus of Christmas, we lose that love in our engagement with the new year of self-focus or world-focus.  If you are in this third stage, God does not leave us without instruction.  Jesus says immediately following His comment that the Ephesians had lost their first love “Repent and do the things you did at first.”  Rev. 2:5

 

How do we return to Jesus when we have forgotten our first love – we recognize what has happened, we turn from our current path, and we “do the things” we “did at first.”

 

What did you do at first when you became aware that you were a child of God, adopted by the power of Christ through His grace?

 

Repent and do it again … and return to your first love!

 

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Lord, help us to love your Word, incarnate in Jesus Christ and written in Scripture.  Help us Lord to come to you and to bring others to you.  Help us know that you are God and we are not.  Assist us Lord through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit to be both willing and obedient.  It is only through the merits of your Son Jesus Christ that we are empowered to even make this prayer.  And so we thank you and praise you!  Amen.

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Bread – Get Ready

January 5, 2009


 

Readings for Monday, January 5

            from the Book of Common Prayer:

            Joshua 1:1-9; Heb. 11:32-12:2; John 15:1-16

            Psalms 2, 110:1

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“…(Y)ou and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them …” Joshua 1:2

 

The first command of God to the people of God once they had emerged from the wilderness was to “get ready to cross.”  Later, there will be a crossing but now there is preparation for the crossing.

 

This seems to represent the pattern of Christian life.  We are brought by God through the wildernesses of life, sustained by the promise of God of a better place.  We emerge from that darkness to see the promise, only to be told that we must “get ready to cross.”  We are anxious to seize the promise, but God knows we are not ready.  We have been brought through the fire of trial, but are we really ready for the inferno of success?

 

Americans have a hard time with the concept of “getting ready.”  We do OK in times of trouble, when we can engage the enemy (whoever or whatever that is).  We do OK “seizing the day” when we are grabbing the fruit.  But we have a hard time dealing with that in-between time – the time of rest and the time of preparation.

 

And yet isn’t in that gap of time, the space between coming and going, where the Lord speaks?

 

Just as Abraham was obedient to the Lord by leaving where he was and going to where the Lord showed him, so Joshua was obedient to the Lord in staying where he was so that he could prepare himself well to go when God called.

 

Is God calling you to a time of waiting, a time of preparation?  If so, then neither going nor retreating are being obedient.  Instead, be obedient to your call to “get ready.”  Then, when it is time to cross your Jordan and take the future the Lord has prepared for you, you will indeed be ready.

 

 

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Lord, help us to love your Word, incarnate in Jesus Christ and written in Scripture.  Help us Lord to come to you and to bring others to you.  Help us know that you are God and we are not.  Assist us Lord through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit to be both willing and obedient.  It is only through the merits of your Son Jesus Christ that we are empowered to even make this prayer.  And so we thank you and praise you!  Amen.

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Bread – Leave and Go

January 2, 2009


Readings for Friday, January 2

            from the Book of Common Prayer:

            Gen. 12:1-7; Heb. 11:1-12; John 6:35-51

            Psalms 33, 34

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The readings today begin: “The LORD said to Abram, “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you.”  Gen. 12:1

 

The middle reading explains how we are leave our comfort zone and go to where the Lord tells us — faith: “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see …By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.”  Heb. 11:1, 8

 

And our last reading tells us the place to go to — “Then Jesus declared, ‘I am the Bread of Life.  He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will…For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day…” John 6:35, 40.

 

How much simpler can it get, and how much harder?  To go we must leave.  We leave our places of comfort – our way of living, the way our friends think and act, the way we are – and we go where God commands, into the arms of Jesus.  This is a place we do not know and when we embark on a journey of faith in Jesus Christ and rely upon the call of the Lord to go to a new place, it is a place which is unfamiliar and may in fact be scary.  And yet, to receive our full inheritance as adopted sons of God, we must go.

 

How do we make it?  Not through our effort in rising above our circumstances, not by identifying the objective and plotting the course, not even by putting on a mantle of right thoughts.  No, we make it because the gift of faith which God offers us in His grace is sufficient to enable us to leave and go.

 

Perhaps you are not a Christian, but hear the voice of God or feel His presence urging you to leave and go.  The very God who calls you is the very God who provides the means.  Accept the gift and with faith accept the journey and the destination you do not see, and you will be blessed [“Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him.” Psalm 34:8

 

Perhaps you are a Christian and also hear the voice of God telling you to leave where you are and go someplace else.  If so, reread the previous paragraph.

 

In this New Year, let us give thanks to our Lord who creates, who provides, who loves, who protects, and who lifts up.  And then let us leave and go as God instructs, with faith which is sure of what is not seen, relying upon God [“For the word of the Lord is right and true; He is faithful in all He does.” Psalm 33:4].

 

Amen.

 

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Lord, help us to love your Word, incarnate in Jesus Christ and written in Scripture.  Help us Lord to come to you and to bring others to you.  Help us know that you are God and we are not.  Assist us Lord through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit to be both willing and obedient.  It is only through the merits of your Son Jesus Christ that we are empowered to even make this prayer.  And so we thank you and praise you!  Amen.

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