Tag Archives: Love

The Small Things

READ
Matthew 10:40-42

REFLECT
The world is a big place with a lot of big problems: war, famine, disease, poverty, tyranny, corruption, crime, hate, terrorism, racism – you name it. It seems overwhelming and might even make one feel hopeless and powerless. It can sometimes make us feel like nothing we do as an individual will make a difference. For the most part this is true.

Few of us will individually have impact the world like people such as Martin Luther, Mother Theresa, Martin Luther King Jr., or William Wilberforce. But guess, what none of them changed the world on their own either. The had a lot of “little people” doing a lot of so-called “little things,” without whom and which change would not have happened. How far would the Reformation have gotten had not some printer decided to make the 95 Theses public knowledge? What amount of good could Mother Theresa do without those who cared for the sick and dying? How far would Rev. King have gotten if people didn’t list and march with him? How successful would Wilberforce had been in abolishing slavery in the British Empire had “little people” not gotten on board and given weight to his arguments?

In all likelihood none of us will do earth-shattering things in our life and be remembered for centuries, but the “small things” we do can have a great impact and be favored by God – even giving a cup of cold water to one of the “little ones,” if it is done for righteousness sake.

Small things can have a big impact when done in love.

PRAY
God, by your Spirit, help me to see that not act is truly small when it is done in love, and out of love for you. Help me to help others where I cam and never despair because I cannot do the “big things” in life. AMEN.

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Remembered, Known, Loved

READ
Luke 23:33-43

REFLECT
It is nice to be remembered. Who has not felt really bad when their birthday has been forgotten? Who has felt really good when someone you haven’t seen for years remembers your face and name when passing on the street?

No one wants to be forgotten, which is probably why we have tombstones and monuments and other such things. This probably why we name things after people – not just to honor them but so who they were and what they did can be remembered.

The thief on the cross wanted Jesus to remember him when He came into His kingdom so that he might be with him (lot of pronouns there – but you get the idea). This is good. But what is even better is this: Jesus remembers His faithful not just in His Kingdom, not at some latter time when the Kingdom is fully realized. No matter where you are or what you have going on in your life Jesus remembers you now. He knows you now. He is with you now.

Jesus is the Word of God made flesh. As such the Word of God was with God in the beginning and through Him all things that were made were made through him. From the beginning to the end you are known and remembered and most importantly loved.

 

PRAY
Lord Jesus, I give thanks you know me and that you are my king. Keep me steadfast in your way so that I might realized, at last, eternal life and joy with You in Your kingdom and be with me all the days of my life from now until then AMEN.

Bliss

READ
Luke 6:20-31

REFLECT
When we hear the world “beatitude” we often think of the Sermon on the Mount or the Sermon on the Plain – “Blessed are you…” etc and so forth. But what does “beatitude”  mean? Surprisingly beatitude does not necessarily refer to a thing but a state of being. Webster defines beatitude as “a state of ultimate bliss.”

So what then is Jesus saying in these sermons that contain what we call “The Beatitudes”? Simply this: those who suffer and those who are faithful in this world will experience ultimate joy (bliss) when the Kingdom of God is fully realized.

As people we often like to focus on the goodies and not the bad stuff which is why what follows the beatitudes is often problematic for us. We don’t like to think that bliss might not be ours, but rather the woe. Jesus tell us that if you are making this world your focus – if you are making yourself the focus – you might well have good stuff here but the Kingdom and its bliss is not yours. You will lose what you have. You will hunger, weep and the praises sung of you will fade. Bliss will be eternal. This world’s pleasures will pass away.

God gave us a great world with wonderful things to enjoy but we should never value them above God and above others.

PRAY
Heavenly Father, helps us to keep our enjoyment of the things of this world in perspective. Help us not to love earthly things above you and above others, rather helps us to a friend to the friendless and care for those who are forgotten and neglected. Above all move us to love you firstly. In Jesus name we pray. AMEN.

Preparing a Place for the Lord

READ
2 Samuel 7:1-11, 16

REFLECT
“Our Father who art in Heaven, thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven.” So begins the Lord’s Prayer with these words, but what do they mean?

In the late 19th century, Liberal theology envisioned these words to mean we are to prepare our earthly home so that it would be a place for the Lord to dwell – in essence making the world ready for Christ to return, as if the world was really ready for His first appearance. In our times certain sects who follow “rapture ideology”  look to a similar idea – in essence “forcing” (my words not theirs) Jesus to return by making prophecy, as they understand it, happen. This is usually centered around rebuilding the Temple in Jerusalem, leading to a sort of “Christian Zionism,” an “ism” that many Jews find disturbing and self-serving.

But what does it really mean to prepare a place for the Lord to dwell? For David it meant preparing an appropriate and holy place for the Ark of the Covenant to reside, thought this task was to fall upon his son Solomon. We see this reflected in the placement of tabernacles in some churches to house the consecrated body and blood of Christ – rather than sticking it in a cupboard somewhere, which is tantamount to leaving the Ark in a tent.

Making heaven on Earth, restoring the Temple, building a resting place for the Ark, tabernacles in churches: while all might have their merits, they all miss the point to some degree. Indeed, God’s best and most precious dwelling place on Earth is in our hearts and it is in our hearts where God can truly be with us and thus be most efficacious. No better manifestation of God can be found that Jesus Christ.

Advent is drawing to a close, but before we leave this more important season of the church year it is important that we reflect on what John the Baptist called us to – preparing the way for the Lord, and on what Mary evidenced in her joy at being blessed to carry the Christ child.

Both examples are calls to not only develop a deeper relationship with God in Christ Jesus but also to find joy in it; not seeing pray or worship as a burden or obligation but as our greatest privilege and delight – as a calling. This relationship is not something to be confined to an hour on Sunday that must be completed in order to get to coffee and cake.

Soon we will enter the Christmas season and celebrate the manifestation of God’s Word in our world. If we see Christmas as the epitome of the God/human relationship we should strive, as Charles Dickens said in the words of his reformed Scrooge, to honor Christmas in our hearts and try to keep it all the year. This is culmination of the Advent message of the return of the King and God dwelling with us.

Let us strive to continuously prepare a place in our heart for the Lord to dwell and do so joyfully.

PRAY
Heavenly Father, come into our hearts by the manifestation of your Son Jesus Christ. Lord Jesus dwell within us teaching us to love and be loved. Holy Spirit strength us and encourage us to walk in close relationship with God and with one another.  AMEN.