Friday, March 27, 2015

The World Has God after Him

The Spirit Comes
The Pledge of God's Presence


The One Who Comes

John 12:14-19 The Message

See How Your King Comes

12-15 The next day the huge crowd that had arrived for the Feast heard that Jesus was entering Jerusalem. They broke off palm branches and went out to meet him. And they cheered:
Hosanna!
Blessed is he who comes in God’s name!
Yes! The King of Israel!
Jesus got a young donkey and rode it, just as the Scripture has it:
No fear, Daughter Zion:
    See how your king comes,
    riding a donkey’s colt.
16 The disciples didn’t notice the fulfillment of many Scriptures at the time, but after Jesus was glorified, they remembered that what was written about him matched what was done to him.
17-19 The crowd that had been with him when he called Lazarus from the tomb, raising him from the dead, was there giving eyewitness accounts. It was because they had spread the word of this latest God-sign that the crowd swelled to a welcoming parade. The Pharisees took one look and threw up their hands: “It’s out of control. The world’s in a stampede after him.”

For Reflection 
Who would you get out of bed and travel one hundred miles to see?  For whom would you prepare extravagant pageantry? That is the meaning of anticipation, the kind of anticipation Jesus found in the crowds which followed him.  How do you anticipate Christ entering into your life?

Pray
for the coming of Christ to your rescue.  Pray for the comfort afforded by the love of God.  Pray that all who know Christ anticipate goodness in their lives.  Pray for those who live in darkness to find hope in the light of God.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

The Coming Son of Man

The Spirit Comes
The Pledge of God's Presence


The One Who Comes

Mark 14:55-62  The Message

55-59 The high priests conspiring with the Jewish Council looked high and low for evidence against Jesus by which they could sentence him to death. They found nothing. Plenty of people were willing to bring in false charges, but nothing added up, and they ended up canceling each other out. Then a few of them stood up and lied: “We heard him say, ‘I am going to tear down this Temple, built by hard labor, and in three days build another without lifting a hand.’” But even they couldn’t agree exactly.
60-61 In the middle of this, the Chief Priest stood up and asked Jesus, “What do you have to say to the accusation?” Jesus was silent. He said nothing.
The Chief Priest tried again, this time asking, “Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed?”
62 Jesus said, “Yes, I am, and you’ll see it yourself:
The Son of Man seated
At the right hand of the Mighty One,
Arriving on the clouds of heaven.”

For Reflection 
Life seems to be crowded with conspiracy.  Lies, half truths, subterfuge, obfuscation; dark selfish motives benchmark the political climate in Jesus time.  Do not we also live among the shadows of our time?  Has much changed?

Everything has changed.  The truth is known.  Darkness can no longer hide from the light of the true God.  Jesus, the anticipated; Jesus, the undefiled; Jesus, the Savior has shown us the truth.  Godlessness does not last.   Only righteousness, the righteousness through Christ, survives.  We who believe and act on Christ survive in these, the last days.

Pray
prayers of thanksgiving and praise for the God of Light.  Pray for courage to face the chaos of life.  Pray to bring light to the darkest corners of Godlessness.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

God Highly Exalted Him

The Spirit Comes
The Pledge of God's Presence


The One Who Comes

Philippians 2:9-16  The Message

9-11 Because of that obedience, God lifted him high and honored him far beyond anyone or anything, ever, so that all created beings in heaven and on earth—even those long ago dead and buried—will bow in worship before this Jesus Christ, and call out in praise that he is the Master of all, to the glorious honor of God the Father.

Rejoicing Together

12-13 What I’m getting at, friends, is that you should simply keep on doing what you’ve done from the beginning. When I was living among you, you lived in responsive obedience. Now that I’m separated from you, keep it up. Better yet, redouble your efforts. Be energetic in your life of salvation, reverent and sensitive before God. That energy is God’s energy, an energy deep within you, God himself willing and working at what will give him the most pleasure.
14-16 Do everything readily and cheerfully—no bickering, no second-guessing allowed! Go out into the world uncorrupted, a breath of fresh air in this squalid and polluted society. Provide people with a glimpse of good living and of the living God. Carry the light-giving Message into the night so I’ll have good cause to be proud of you on the day that Christ returns. You’ll be living proof that I didn’t go to all this work for nothing.

For Reflection 
Christ is the answer!  What is the Question?  How do we live good God-centered lives? 

We frequently can stay a course if our mentors are near by.  But what happens when we fly solo?  How do you keep on keepin' on when no one is there to guide you?

Pray
prayers for steadfast faith.  Pray for forgiveness. Pray for the courage to put your mistakes behind you.  Pray that you will trust in the grace of God.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

A Righteous God and a Savior

The Spirit Comes
The Pledge of God's Presence


The One Who Comes

Isaiah 45:20-25  The Message

18-24 God, Creator of the heavens—
    he is, remember, God.
Maker of earth—
    he put it on its foundations, built it from scratch.
He didn’t go to all that trouble
    to just leave it empty, nothing in it.
    He made it to be lived in.
    This God says:
“I am God,
    the one and only.
I don’t just talk to myself
    or mumble under my breath.
I never told Jacob,
    ‘Seek me in emptiness, in dark nothingness.’
I am God. I work out in the open,
    saying what’s right, setting things right.
So gather around, come on in,
    all you refugees and castoffs.
They don’t seem to know much, do they—
    those who carry around their no-god blocks of wood,
    praying for help to a dead stick?
So tell me what you think. Look at the evidence.
    Put your heads together. Make your case.
Who told you, and a long time ago, what’s going on here?
    Who made sense of things for you?
Wasn’t I the one? God?
    It had to be me. I’m the only God there is—
The only God who does things right
    and knows how to help.
So turn to me and be helped—saved!—
    everyone, whoever and wherever you are.
I am God,
    the only God there is, the one and only.
I promise in my own name:
    Every word out of my mouth does what it says.
    I never take back what I say.
Everyone is going to end up kneeling before me.
    Everyone is going to end up saying of me,
    ‘Yes! Salvation and strength are in God!’”
24-25 All who have raged against him
    will be brought before him,
    disgraced by their unbelief.
And all who are connected with Israel
    will have a robust, praising, good life in God!

For Reflection 
One of the most delightful emotions is anticipation, looking forward to a pleasant expectation.  This is where you will find people of God.  On the other hand, there is apprehension, dread, and foreboding.  This is where you find the godless.  In who's company would you rather be?

Pray
Give thanks for the living God.  Pray that you will never forget God who comforts you, God, whom is always with you, God, the creator, who makes all things right.

Monday, March 23, 2015

God Judges the Peoples with Equity

The Spirit Comes
The Pledge of God's Presence


The One Who Comes

Psalm 67 The Message (MSG)

67 1-7 God, mark us with grace
    and blessing! Smile!
The whole country will see how you work,
    all the godless nations see how you save.
God! Let people thank and enjoy you.
    Let all people thank and enjoy you.
Let all far-flung people become happy
    and shout their happiness because
You judge them fair and square,
    you tend the far-flung peoples.
God! Let people thank and enjoy you.
    Let all people thank and enjoy you.
Earth, display your exuberance!
    You mark us with blessing, O God, our God.
You mark us with blessing, O God.
    Earth’s four corners—honor him!

For Reflection
 We are examples, witnesses to the power of God to bring the world to justice, compassion, forgiveness and peace. This is a prayer for all people.  This is the hope of salvation.  Let us be exuberant without limits.

Pray
for the healing of all peoples.  Pray for the coming of the Spirit into the the lives of all peoples.  Pray for the healing hand of God to touch us all.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Be Filled with the Holy Spirit

The Spirit Comes
The Pledge of God's Presence


Receive the Holy Spirit

Ephesians 5:15-21  The Message

11-16 Don’t waste your time on useless work, mere busywork, the barren pursuits of darkness. Expose these things for the sham they are. It’s a scandal when people waste their lives on things they must do in the darkness where no one will see. Rip the cover off those frauds and see how attractive they look in the light of Christ.
Wake up from your sleep,
Climb out of your coffins;
Christ will show you the light!
So watch your step. Use your head. Make the most of every chance you get. These are desperate times!
17 Don’t live carelessly, unthinkingly. Make sure you understand what the Master wants.
18-20 Don’t drink too much wine. That cheapens your life. Drink the Spirit of God, huge draughts of him. Sing hymns instead of drinking songs! Sing songs from your heart to Christ. Sing praises over everything, any excuse for a song to God the Father in the name of our Master, Jesus Christ.

Relationships

21 Out of respect for Christ, be courteously reverent to one another.
 
For Reflection 
It might be interesting to think about what is meant by "the barren pursuits of darkness."  These days, pursuits of darkness seem to be done in the light of day and re-named to elevate the sham to a lie.  Can you name the shams which are done in the name of Christianity, which are defended with scriptural citations and which are at their core destructive?

Read John.  As Christianity grew from its infancy, clashes between culturally established rules or norms and religion grew.  The early church had just as difficult a time differentiating between culturally based and Christian based proscriptions regarding living our lives.  Can you separate the two?

Pray
that you will be able to differentiate common culture from Christian culture. Pray for those who misrepresent common culture as Christian.  Pray for wisdom.  Pray that the love of God trumps proscriptions.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Joy in the Holy Spirit

The Spirit Comes
The Pledge of God's Presence


Receive the Holy Spirit

Romans 14:13-21The Message

13-14 Forget about deciding what’s right for each other. Here’s what you need to be concerned about: that you don’t get in the way of someone else, making life more difficult than it already is. I’m convinced—Jesus convinced me!—that everything as it is in itself is holy. We, of course, by the way we treat it or talk about it, can contaminate it.
15-16 If you confuse others by making a big issue over what they eat or don’t eat, you’re no longer a companion with them in love, are you? These, remember, are persons for whom Christ died. Would you risk sending them to hell over an item in their diet? Don’t you dare let a piece of God-blessed food become an occasion of soul-poisoning!
17-18 God’s kingdom isn’t a matter of what you put in your stomach, for goodness’ sake. It’s what God does with your life as he sets it right, puts it together, and completes it with joy. Your task is to single-mindedly serve Christ. Do that and you’ll kill two birds with one stone: pleasing the God above you and proving your worth to the people around you.
19-21 So let’s agree to use all our energy in getting along with each other. Help others with encouraging words; don’t drag them down by finding fault. You’re certainly not going to permit an argument over what is served or not served at supper to wreck God’s work among you, are you? I said it before and I’ll say it again: All food is good, but it can turn bad if you use it badly, if you use it to trip others up and send them sprawling. When you sit down to a meal, your primary concern should not be to feed your own face but to share the life of Jesus. So be sensitive and courteous to the others who are eating. Don’t eat or say or do things that might interfere with the free exchange of love.

 
For Reflection
 We are plagued with correctness.  Being right sometimes seems more important than leading others to the Christian life.  The Christian life is not about being correct.  The Christian life is about the free exchange of love.  Love moderates rules.

Every era has a culture that needs interpretation.  The Christ event and Jesus have shown us how to love unconditionally and how to divide the cultural rules from faith in God.  How are you doing?

Pray
for forgiveness when your faith sets you squarely in a dilemma.  Pray prayers of thanksgiving that God does not demand perfection, just our very best tries.  Pray for the grace of God to guide you.