Finding the Little Ones- Good News for December 9

9 12 2008

Matthew 18: 12-24

Jesus said to his disciples, “What is your opinion? If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them goes astray, will he not leave the ninety-nine in the hills and go in search of the stray? And if he finds it, amen, I say to you, he rejoices more over it than over the ninety-nine that did not stray. 

In just the same way, it is not the will of your heavenly Father that one of these little ones be lost.” 

The Daily Path: One of my Advent prayers is that during this Christmas season some of the stray “little ones” will be inspired to look up and see their shepherd. He found this stray.

Final Exams – Good News for November 25

25 11 2008

Luke 25: 5-11 

While some people were speaking about how the temple was adorned with costly stones and votive offerings, Jesus said, “All that you see here – the days will come when there will not be left a stone upon another stone that will not be thrown down.”

Then they asked him, “Teacher, when will this happen? And what sign will there be when all these things are about to happen?” 

He answered, “See that you not be deceived, for many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am he,’ and ‘The time has come.’  Do not follow them!  When you hear of wars and insurrections, do not be terrified; for such things must happen first, but it will not immediately be the end.” 

Then he said to them, “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.  There will be powerful earthquakes, famines, and plagues from place to place; and awesome sights and mighty signs will come from the sky.” 

The Daily Path: None of us know when the end of our earthly life will come. Lately I’ve heard repeated messages in the Gospel and from the pulpit that essentially boil down to this: Don’t procrastinate! Live life as if you know the end will come in a few months. 

This past Sunday our pastor focused on the Gospel of Matthew 25: 35-39 in reminding us that Jesus gave us the answers to the questions we’ll be asked when we stand before Him on Judgement Day:

“For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.’

As I continue this week of Thanksgiving, I’ll try to do more homework for God’s final exam. If I’m scheduled to take it tomorrow, I have a lot of cramming to do. 

Remember, my friends… YOUR test is coming, too. Will you join me in study hall this week?

Blessed Are The Friends – Good News for November 1

1 11 2008

Matthew 5: 1-12

When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain, and after he had sat down, his disciples came to him. He began to teach them, saying:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the land.
Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you falsely because of me.
Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven.”

The Daily Path: For what it’s worth, I want to add my own two cents: “Blessed are friends who come unannounced and unexpected in a time of great need to share their bounty.”

God’s Joy Buzzer – Good News for October 23

23 10 2008

Luke 12: 49-53

Jesus said to his disciples “I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing! There is a baptism with which I must be baptized, and how great is my anguish until it is accomplished!

Do you think that I have come to establish peace on the earth?

No, I tell you, but rather division. From now on a household of five will be divided, three against two and two against three; a father will be divided against his son and a son against his father,  a mother against her daughter and a daughter against her mother, a mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.”

The Daily Path: God has a sense of humor. Earlier this year He held out His hand to me, with a “joy buzzer” in His palm ready to give me a little shot. That jolt re-ignited a tiny ember that somehow had burned faintly inside me for many years. I cannot explain it but the fire from that handshake burns stronger each day as I continue on my spiritual journey.

At the same time as I feel closer to God, I also realize that we all have a choice to make. Either we accept God’s invitation to the party or we don’t. It may come down to a choice between God and our family and friends. That sounds pretty harsh. One of my constant struggles is the courage to proclaim my faith in public. In many cases, I feel like Peter, I’m afraid.

Let’s ask God to give us all the courage to fully accept and proclaim Him. And in doing so, shed the fear that those we love here on Earth won’t accept us because we proclaim knowing the Lord. Pray, too, that we’ll be filled with grace to show our family and friends the path to God’s love and that he’ll place one of those “joy buzzers” in our hands.

The Signpost Up Ahead – Good News for October 13

13 10 2008

Luke 11: 29-32

While still more people gathered in the crowd, Jesus said to them, “This generation is an evil generation; it seeks a sign, but no sign will be given it, except the sign of Jonah. Just as Jonah became a sign to the Ninevites, so will the Son of Man be to this generation.

At the judgment the queen of the south (Queen of Sheba) will rise with the men of this generation and she will condemn them, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and there is something greater than Solomon here.

At the judgment the men of Nineveh will arise with this generation and condemn it, because at the preaching of Jonah they repented, and there is something greater than Jonah here.”

The Daily Path: I’ve found that when my heart is tuned to see and hear God, the signs are everywhere. What channel are you on today?

Are You a Party Animal? – Good News for October 12

12 10 2008

Matthew 22: 1-14

Jesus again in reply spoke to the chief priests and elders of the people in parables, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son. He dispatched his servants to summon the invited guests to the feast, but they refused to come.

A second time he sent other servants, saying, ‘Tell those invited: “Behold, I have prepared my banquet, my calves and fattened cattle are killed, and everything is ready; come to the feast.”’ Some ignored the invitation and went away, one to his farm, another to his business. The rest laid hold of his servants, mistreated them, and killed them. 

The king was enraged and sent his troops, destroyed those murderers, and burned their city. 

Then he said to his servants, ‘The feast is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy to come. Go out, therefore, into the main roads and invite to the feast whomever you find.’

The servants went out into the streets and gathered all they found, bad and good alike, and the hall was filled with guests. But when the king came in to meet the guests, he saw a man there not dressed in a wedding garment. The king said to him, ‘My friend, how is it that you came in here without a wedding garment?’

But he was reduced to silence.

Then the king said to his attendants, ‘Bind his hands and feet, and cast him into the darkness outside, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.’

Many are invited, but few are chosen.”

The Daily Path: I’m learning that every day God sends me an invitation to His party. When I was younger I was a party animal. I just couldn’t get enough fun. Now the question for me is: There’s a never ending party full of real and lasting fun. Can I return to being the party animal at God’s shindig?