Deal Some Mercy – Good News for February 28

28 02 2009

John 7:40-53

Some in the crowd who heard these words of Jesus said, “This is truly the Prophet.” Others said, “This is the Christ.” But others said, “The Christ will not come from Galilee, will he? Does not Scripture say that the Christ will be of David’s family and come from Bethlehem, the village where David lived?”

So a division occurred in the crowd because of him. Some of them even wanted to arrest him, but no one laid hands on him. So the guards went to the chief priests and Pharisees, who asked them, “Why did you not bring him?” The guards answered, “Never before has anyone spoken like this man.”

So the Pharisees answered them, “Have you also been deceived? Have any of the authorities or the Pharisees believed in him? But this crowd, which does not know the law, is accursed.” Nicodemus, one of their members who had come to him earlier, said to them,  “Does our law condemn a man before it first hears him and finds out what he is doing?” They answered and said to him, “You are not from Galilee also, are you? Look and see that no prophet arises from Galilee.” Then each went to his own house.

The Daily Path: Here’s a question for Lent. What can you offer up to God that will help someone else?

I don’t see how my giving up candy and ice cream does much to show love and mercy for another. In fact, the resulting downturn in confection sales might actually put someone out of work! Phew. Dodged that bullet.

Seriously though, a precious commodity in this society is our time. Giving up our time during lent to help someone in need seems to be a great way to prepare for the Resurrection of the King of Sacrifice. Find a way to share the burden of the cross that another carries.

Remember, it doesn’t take much. Don’t get caught up in a grand scheme that will never get off the ground. Keep it simple! Perhaps it’s only a minute to bend down and perform a random act of kindness. Consider ten minutes of prayer petitioning God to help someone you know. It can be an hour online researching non-profit aid organizations, while asking the Holy Spirit for inspiration on where you can make a difference. The point is to look for ways to give up your time in the service of someone who needs your help. 

Room to Chat: For the next 24 hours, open your eyes for one opportunity to help. Dealing love and mercy is cool!

The Formula – Good News for February 6

6 02 2009

Hebrews 13:1

Let brotherly love continue. Do not neglect hospitality, for through it some have unknowingly entertained angels.

Be mindful of prisoners as if sharing their imprisonment, and of the ill-treated as of yourselves, for you also are in the body.

Let marriage be honored among all and the marriage bed be kept undefiled, for God will judge the immoral and adulterers.

Let your life be free from love of money but be content with what you have, for he has said, I will never forsake you or abandon you.

Thus we may say with confidence: The Lord is my helper, and I will not be afraid. What can anyone do to me?

Remember your leaders who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

The Daily Path: Here’s another reminder of the simple way God asks us to live our life. Another roadmap to quickly reference and get our bearings straight. I’m glad that these keep popping up. It’s so easy for me to forget this basic formula while dealing with the world around. Earlier this week I talked about the discipline I need. Remembering love and mercy has to be part of my daily workout as I continue to build my strength on the journey home. One repetition. Then another. 

The playing field may change but these guidelines are a constant… just as Christ is always there for me and for all of us.

Room to Chat: Do you have 10 seconds somewhere in your day? Try this 10 second connection to God: The Lord is my helper, and I will not be afraid. What can anyone do to me?

Stewardship – Good News for January 6

6 01 2009

Ephesians 3

If, as I suppose, you have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace that was given to me for your benefit, (namely that) the mystery was given to me by revelation as I have written briefly earlier. which was not made known in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit, that the Gentiles are coheirs and members of the same body, and copartners in the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.

The Daily Path: If our primary purpose is to love God and each other, why is so much energy spent on finding fault with “other” religions? Whether Muslim, Jew, Christian or Catholic, aren’t all of these faiths rooted in the God of Abraham? It seems to me that our time is better spent in the stewardship of God’s love and mercy than searching for some difference that divides. 

Room to Chat: Have you ever considered a traffic stop light as God’s little trick to give you an opportunity to say hello to Him? You can sit there and grumble for 60 seconds, or you can use that short time to have a little conversation with God. “Father, I’m stuck at this stop light in your kingdom on earth, but your name IS great and I want to do Your will today…”

Viral Love – Good News for January 5

5 01 2009

John 3:22 – 4:6

We receive from him whatever we ask, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him. And his commandment is this: we should believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and love one another just as he commanded us. Those who keep his commandments remain in him, and he in them, and the way we know that he remains in us is from the Spirit whom he gave us.

Beloved, do not trust every spirit but test the spirits to see whether they belong to God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. This is how you can know the Spirit of God: every spirit that acknowledges Jesus Christ come in the flesh belongs to God, and every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus does not belong to God. This is the spirit of the antichrist who, as you heard, is to come, but in fact is already in the world.

You belong to God, children, and you have conquered them, for the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. They belong to the world; accordingly, their teaching belongs to the world, and the world listens to them.

We belong to God, and anyone who knows God listens to us, while anyone who does not belong to God refuses to hear us. This is how we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of deceit.

The Daily Path:  Once again we hear about loving God and each another. These things are pleasing to God. It’s so simple. Yet somehow we don’t get it. We live in a world obsessed with the wrong things that are in direct conflict with love. Perhaps today, January 5, 2009 will be the day that putting emphasis on loving God and each other becomes viral in nature and sweeps across the world. If thousands can take to the streets in hatred spawned by the anti-christ, can’t millions just as easily spread God’s love?

Will you be a carrier for the virus that spreads love?

Room to Chat:  How about a little prayer while washing your hands? The Mayo Clinic suggests that after wetting the hands and lathering with soap, you should scrub vigorously for 20 seconds. Sounds like an ideal time for a prayer to God.

The Finger – Good News for December 7

7 12 2008

Peter 3:8-14

Do not ignore this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years and a thousand years like one day. The Lord does not delay his promise, as some regard “delay,” but he is patient with you, not wishing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a mighty roar and the elements will be dissolved by fire, and the earth and everything done on it will be found out.

Since everything is to be dissolved in this way, what sort of persons ought you to be, conducting yourselves in holiness and devotion, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved in flames and the elements melted by fire. But according to his promise we await new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.

Therefore, beloved, since you await these things, be eager to be found without spot or blemish before him, at peace.

The Daily Path: Each day since God reached out to bring me close, I have dwelt in His safe haven. No matter what my daily path throws in front of me, He has provided comfort.

My youngest child has experienced a few mishaps that required trips to the hospital emergency room. During these experiences she bravely sucks her thumb and holds the finger of Mommy or Daddy as the medical staff perform whatever procedure is necessary. She still has to endure the pain, but she has the comfort, support and love of her parents right at hand… or in her case, “in” hand. Our Lord is no different. He, too, will provide a “finger” of comfort and love to any of His children when we reach out to Him.

Today, please pray for all who are in harms way. War and conflicts continue to be waged across the globe. This very day some of God’s children will die horrible deaths. Pray that they may have a final opportunity to reach out to God for His love and mercy. Pray that those perpetrators of violence will be touched to know Christ’s love and mercy, and in turn be inspired to offer not the hand of fear but the “finger” of God’s peace.

Love and Loaves, Mercy and Fish – Good News for December 3

3 12 2008

Matthew 15: 29-37

At that time, Jesus walked by the Sea of Galilee, went up on the mountain, and sat down there. 

Great crowds came to him, having with them the lame, the blind, the deformed, the mute, and many others. They placed them at his feet, and he cured them. The crowds were amazed when they saw the mute speaking, the deformed made whole, the lame walking, and the blind able to see, and they glorified the God of Israel.

Jesus summoned his disciples and said, “My heart is moved with pity for the crowd, for they have been with me now for three days and have nothing to eat. I do not want to send them away hungry, for fear they may collapse on the way.” 

The disciples said to him, “Where could we ever get enough bread in this deserted place to satisfy such a crowd?”  

Jesus said to them, “How many loaves do you have?” 

“Seven,” they replied, “and a few fish.” 

He ordered the crowd to sit down on the ground. Then he took the seven loaves and the fish, gave thanks, broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples, who in turn gave them to the crowds. 

They all ate and were satisfied. They picked up the fragments left over–seven baskets full. 

The Daily Path: I’m struck that the greatest bounty described in this passage isn’t the miracle of the loaves and fishes, it’s actually the endless love and mercy demonstrated by Jesus. He heals the broken bodies and spirits of the multitude then worries that they haven’t had physical nourishment.

How is it that I can’t consistently offer even a single loaf of love or tiny act of mercy when I’m surrounded by so many opportunities to do so?

Advent Meditation: Blessed are all who wait for the Lord.

Heavy (Heart) Lifting – Good News for October 27

27 10 2008

Luke 13: 10-17

Jesus was teaching in a synagogue on the sabbath. And a woman was there who for eighteen years had been crippled by a spirit; she was bent over, completely incapable of standing erect.

When Jesus saw her, he called to her and said, “Woman, you are set free of your infirmity.” He laid his hands on her, and she at once stood up straight and glorified God.

But the leader of the synagogue, indignant that Jesus had cured on the sabbath, said to the crowd in reply, “There are six days when work should be done. Come on those days to be cured, not on the sabbath day.”

The Lord said to him in reply, “Hypocrites! Does not each one of you on the sabbath untie his ox or his ass from the manger and lead it out for watering? This daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has bound for eighteen years now, ought she not to have been set free on the sabbath day from this bondage?”

When he said this, all his adversaries were humiliated; and the whole crowd rejoiced at all the splendid deeds done by him.

The Daily Path: On most days I’m awakened very early when my “internal operating system” boots up. This is not by choice. I would prefer to sleep and keep more normal hours. Unfortunately, on many nights the worry files are the first things opened in my mind. This leads me down a path that prevents further sleep. Soon I am out of bed and at my desk. Are you in the same pattern?

The good news is that the first thing I do is read the daily Gospel. I try to get my mind and heart in the right place. Often this is all I need to get me on the right path with a better outlook and some hope. Other days, like today, my heart is heavy. Perhaps it’s because I know significant challenges await me. Before the first call or meeting, I’m already playing scenarios out in my head. And, sadly, I’m finding that extending the  love and patience that Jesus asks of us is the furthest thing from my mind. 

Lord Jesus, please send the Holy Spirit to me this day so that I may feel your love. If I can feel loved, perhaps my own heart will be lifted. Then I can extend the same love and mercy to all who I will encounter today.