Monday, November 30, 2009

Advent: Monday, November 30, 2009

Hey there, remember me? Sorry I haven't been blogging much. I plan on being back to my normal routine starting back today, and actually I have another post I've been working on that I'm going to post later today.

Old Testament Lesson

Amos 2:6-16

The Lord warns His people - you have not done what you should, you have lead others astray, and just as I punished you in the past, I will punish you again. And it seems like in this text what has upset the Lord the most is not that the people made mistakes, we all make mistakes, it is that the people caused (and in this case) forced others to make mistakes.

Remember, we don't just live for ourselves, we live for God. And our lives have an impact upon others. Today, the lives we lead will glorify God, or not. And they can encourage other, or make a negative impact upon others. Today our lives will have an impact. May it be an impact for good.

New Testament Lesson

2 Peter 1:1-11

The author of this passage gives us a list of things that we should be seeking to apply to our lives, things that will strengthen us, encourage us, allow us to walk closer to our God. Things that will grow our faith and grow our hope. And they all build towards one thing - love.

Faith leads to goodness, and goodness to knowledge, and knowledge to self-control, and self-control to endurance, and endurance to godliness, and godliness to mutual affection, and mutual affection to love. It all leads to love. That's what we are supposed to be about, that's what we are supposed to seek above all, that how we are supposed to live. With love. May we love God, and love our neighbor with all that we have.

Gospel Lesson

Matthew 21:1-11

We see today in this text Jesus receive the worship that He deserved. He received the honor he deserved. He received the praise He deserved. In this passage, Jesus is honored as He should be. I didn't always happen, and it wouldn't happen again. But He was worshiped in this passage.

In our lives today, may we give Jesus the honor, praise and worship He so greatly deserves. May we not wait till another day. May we do it and honor Him today.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Ordinary Time: Monday, November 16, 2009

Old Testament Lesson

1 Chronicles 15:1-29

There is a joy that comes from God. David felt this joy. There is a difference between joy and happiness. Joy is not based upon circumstance. Joy is not based upon the conditions of life. You can be joyful when there is no reason, when there is no point in it. Because for the Christian, joy is based upon our walk with God.

Because we have a hope, we have joy. Because the grave is empty, we have joy. Because there is life abundant, we have joy. Even when our circumstances are not good, we can have joy. David had that joy. May we as well.

New Testament Lesson

Revelation 20:7-15

We have joy because we see here in Revelation that in the end, evil will be defeated. We live in a time now where it looks like evil is winning. We live in a time where it looks like good will not triumph, where it looks like sickness and sadness and death will win. That is not so. Goodness will win today and now, and it will triumph in the end. Don't lose heart. Have hope. In the end, God wins!

Gospel Lesson

Matthew 17:1-13

We have joy because we see the glory of Jesus. He is the king of Kings and Lord of Lords. He is the beginning and the end. All things were created by Him and for Him. He is the Lord of the Church and the head of it all. This passage shows us the fullness of His glory. And, in all His glory, power and might, He loves us. Oh, how He loves us. Today, we have joy, because we are loved. Today, YOU are loved.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Ordinary Time: Thursday, November 12, 2009

Old Testament Lesson

1 Chronicles 10:1-14

We see Saul fall today. He had such potential. He was the one that "looked" like a king. He was strong. He was handsome. He had all the gifts. He was a good warrior. He was a good leader. He rallied the people at times. He served God at times. He was everything you would think that you would want in a king.

But, he turned away from God. He became more worried about his own power, his own way, his own desires than he did for what God wanted. He turned away from God and because of that it all came crashing down. It all has to start with our walk with God. That's what is most important. That's what matters the most. Everything else pales to that. It all starts with God.

New Testament Lesson

Revelation 19:1-10

Revelation reminds us over and over again - things may look bad. It might look like things cannot get better. It might look like there is no hope. It might look like there is no way. But, God will make a way. God will rescue His people. God will intercede on behalf of His people. And, in the end, God will be worshiped by all. He is almighty, He is King of Kings and Lord of Lords and all will see His glory and power. He is worthy. Today, and always.

Gospel Lesson

Matthew 16:1-12

Remember, when we feel bad that we don't understand God, we don't understand the Bible, when don't understand what God is doing - neither did the disciples. Jesus would teach them, He would speak to them, He would explain it them, and they did still didn't always get it. They did in the end, but they didn't all the time.

Thankfully, He was patient with them, and He loved them above all else. He does the same for us. He loves us in our weakness, He loves us in our not knowing. He simply loves us.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Ordinary Time: Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Today, just a quick thought. It's Veterans' Day, and also drawing close to Thanksgiving. Today, and each day, may we remember just how much we have to be thankful. Let us be thankful for "for heroes proved In liberating strife. Who more than self their country loved. And mercy more than life" May we be thankful for all that are serving our country and all those that have served our country. May we be thankful for all the goodness of life. May we realize how blessed we are.

He who can return thanks for little will always find he has enough.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Ordinary Time: Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Old Testament Lesson

Nehemiah 9:26-38

This passage recounts the goodness of God. Time after time the people turned away. Time after time they turned from their God. Time after time they fell into sin. Time after time they chose the wrong, the improper, the the sinful. Time after time they were punished.

And time after time God forgave. Time after time God restored. Time after time God forgave His people and gave mercy, hope, and love. We don't deserve the goodness and mercy of God. That's not what we deserve or have earned. But He gives it anyway. God is a God of mercy, time after time. Let us be thankful for that.

New Testament Lesson

Revelation 18:9-20

If Revelation teaches us anything, it's this. God will intercede on behalf of His people. In Revelation, the people of God are oppressed. They suffer. They are beaten down. They face persecution on every side. And, in the end, God defeats those that have harmed His people. God stands by His people and in the end, goodness will win. God will win over evil. The meek shall inherit the earth. God will reign and His people will live forever. God wins in the end. Thanks be to God.

Gospel Lesson

Matthew 15:21-28

Jesus brought healing to those in need. They cried out and He brought healing. They hurt and He restored them. They were weak, and He brought strength. They were weak and wounded, sick and soar. And He gave them life.

The same Jesus that brought life to so many is the same Jesus that longs to bring us life today. Today, and each day, life is found in Jesus. In love, His mercy, His peace, His life. He is love and life. Today.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Ordinary Time: Monday, November 9, 2009

Old Testament Lesson

Nehemiah 9:1-15

The people come to this point where they are starting anew. They are starting back where everything was, but where so much had changed. They were starting again. But, before they restarted, they were reminded. The Lord was there in the past. The Lord had moved and the Lord would move again. In this time of change and new life, God was still God. And the same God they trusted back then was the same God they could trust now.

The same is true for us today. We can still trust God.

New Testament Lesson

Revelation 18:1-8

We are reminded over and over in scripture that we are not to judge. But, we are also reminded today that God will judge one day. He is the final judge and authority. He is the king of kings and Lord of Lords. He is all in all and the Lord of it all. And, thankfully, He is a God of mercy. He longs to love and forgive His children. Yes, He will judge one day. But today, in this place and time, He offers mercy, love and grace.

Gospel Lesson

Matthew 15:1-20

Jesus reminds us that it starts with the heart. That is where it all begins with. He wants our heart. He wants our very being. As the heart goes, so goes everything else. Today, and each day, may He have our heart.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Ordinary Time: Thursday, November 5, 2009

Old Testament Lesson

Ezra 7:1-16

One of the interesting things about the rebuilding of Jerusalem is this - God used people that weren't "His" to make this possible. Gentile kings and leaders, they allowed the Jewish people to return and rebuild. The kings supported, helped and encouraged. They told them to do and supported them in it. Yet, they weren't "God's people." They were Gentiles.

To me, this shows that God can and will use anyone. Sometimes when the church is resistant to doing what God would have us to do, God will use other means. God will use whoever, and whatever He has to in accomplishing His will. We need to always be careful to make sure we are trying to do God's will, not assuming that our will is God's will. God's will is going to be accomplished. May we be part of it.

New Testament Lesson

Revelation 14:1-13

Blessed is those that die in the Lord. Revelation reminds us of that. One of the lessons we learn from Revelation is this - God wins. And there is a reward for those that are faithful to God, that serve and love Him, that seek to do His will and seek to grow in grace. God sees His people, He loves His people, and He has rest for His people. Don't grow weary. Don't grow tired. There is rest for those that love God and are called for Him. There is rest.

Gospel Lesson

Matthew 14:1-12

Herod did a lot of things that were wrong. Lots of things that weren't good. Lots of problem. But, we see in this story perhaps his greatest downfall. Pride. He knew the beheading of John the Baptist was wrong. He knew he shouldn't. But, he had committed himself and he was too prideful to back down. It's the pride that goeth before the fall. May we remember the dangers of pride.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Ordinary Time: Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Old Testament Lesson

Nehemiah 13:4-22

When we make mistakes, when we fall down, we can always take comfort in scripture. Why? Because the people there are no better than we are, and honestly, sometimes I think they are worse. Today, we see that the Temple is rebuilt! God has restored His favor! Blessings back in the Land! The people have been restored!

And in no time, the people are back to breaking the law. They are back to doing the very things that got them in trouble in the first place. They are back to not keeping their word to God.

So, it's not just us that fall down and make mistakes. It's not just us that don't do what we said we would do. This is not to offer excuses. But it is to say that all humans throughout all time have suffered from the same problem - sin. And thankfully, our salvation doesn't come through anything we do, but through all that He did.

New Testament Lesson

Revelation 12:1-12

The power of evil is defeated by the blood of the lamb and by the word of our testimony. Jesus Christ, through the cross and the empty tomb defeated the powers of sin, death, and the grave. For us as Christians, they have no power over us. They are defeated. Where o death, is your victory, where, o death, is your sting? Sin is defeated, death is defeated.

And today, as Christians, as the church universal, when we raise our voices, when we offer praise to God, when we testify about God's grace by our words, and with our lives, darkness is defeated. Today, this day, with your witness, you have the power to defeat darkness.

Gospel Lesson

Matthew 13:53-58

Because of their lack of faith, He could not do the miracles that He desires. The only thing stopping God from breaking out in our midst today is us. The only thing stopping God is our faith, or our lack thereof. God will do His part. May we do ours. May we believe. May we have faith. May we hope. May we know that God is still at work today, and each day. May we have faith.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Ordinary Time: Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Old Testament Lesson

Nehemiah 12:27-31a, 42b-47

We see the wall is rebuilt. That which has been destroyed has been restored. We see where hopelessness and sadness reigned, hope was restored. The city had been destroyed. The temple laid to waste. All the signs of God's love and promise were gone. All looked lost.

But, God is a God of second chances. God is a God that doesn't give up. God is a God that forgives. God is a God of endless hope and a God that longs to restore. That which was lost has been found, that which was destroyed has been rebuilt. God is a God of endless hope.

New Testament Lesson

Revelation 11:1-19

One of the hopeful messages of Revelation is this - God sees the pain and hurt of people. We see in Revelation judgement after judgement. But, who is being judged? Who is having all these harsh pronouncements given? Who is facing the wrath of God?

Those that have worked against God; those that have oppressed God's people. Those that have persecuted the church, those that have sought to stop God's will. God hears the cries of His people. He hears the cries of the church. He hears the anguish of His children. And Revelation teaches us that He will intercede on behalf of His people.

Gospel Lesson

Matthew 13:44-52

What can compare to God? What can compare to knowing Him? We chase life and love and peace in so many ways. And they all leave us empty. On in Jesus. Only in God. Only through Him do we find the life that we want so badly. What can we compare the kingdom of God to? It is the pearl of great price, the gift that is worth everything. What can we compare to the goodness of God? Nothing. It is above all and beyond all. It is all in all.

Ordinary Time: Monday, November 2, 2009

Old Testament Lesson

Nehemiah 6:1-19

Nehemiah had a gift given to him by God - the gift of discernment. He was able to discern, to understand, to figure out that this one saying that he had a prophesy, did not. He was not speaking for God, he was speaking for those that were opposed to God and to His plan. Nehemiah was about to understand that see that.

Some of us may have that gift of discernment. Others may not. No matter, we all have a gift. We've all been gifted by God in some way. We all have something that God has given us that He wants us to use for His glory and His Kingdom. What are your gifts? Where do you feel like God has gifted you? What areas of your life do you just feel God calling you in? Those may be your gifts. Listen to God. Explore where He may be calling you. And follow.

New Testament Lesson

Revelation 10:1-11

We see in Revelation the continuing prophecies of God. We see the continual unfolding of God's plan. We see God's completeness being unfurled. And we don't fully understand it. I think that if there are things that we can learn from Revelation, they may be this - God wins in the end. When its all said and done, when it's all over - God wins. And, we don't understand it all. We don't understand every mystery. We don't understand all that God is doing. And that's ok. We don't have to. We just have to trust.

Gospel Lesson

Matthew 13:36-43

We see in this parable that angels will come, they will separate the righteous and unrighteous, and judgment will be done. Notice who's doing this. The angels on behalf of God. Not me and you. Our job is not to judge others. Our job is not to pronounce where folks will spend eternity. Our job is not to be the ultimate judge of others. Our job is to love. Love God, love neighbor. And leave the rest up to the one that will be the judge - God Almighty.