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March 11, 2018

 
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Lent Reflections
 
Sunday, March 11, 2018
 
 
John 3:14-21
 

Jesus said, “Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.

 

“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. 

 

“Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Those who believe in him are not condemned; but those who do not believe are condemned already, because they have not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil. For all who do evil hate the light and do not come to the light, so that their deeds may not be exposed. But those who do what is true come to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that their deeds have been done in God.”

 
 
 
 
 
 

 

I'm reminded of the classic speech in the movie Scent of a Woman, when Lt. Col. Frank Slade says, "Now I have come to the crossroads in my life. I always knew what the right path was. Without exception, I knew. But I never took it. You know why? It was too damn hard." God knew which path to take and he sent his only Son, fully aware of the consequences, because humanity depended on it. Which path do we take? Our faith clearly guides us down the right path, but most of us don't take it. Why? Because its too hard. Self-preservation. We're too scared. We hide in the darkness because we are afraid of what the light will show. God took the right path because he knew it was bigger than himself or one man, his Son. Each of us are likely faced with decisions on a daily basis that can take us down either path. Block out all the noise and take the path for the greater good. The path that is bigger than yourself. I think you'll like what you find at the end.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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March 10, 2018

 
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Lent Reflections
 
Friday, March 9, 2018
 
 
Mark 12:28-34
 

One of the scribes came near and heard the Sadducees disputing with one another, and seeing that Jesus answered them well, he asked him, "Which commandment is the first of all?" Jesus answered, "The first is, 'Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one; you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.' The second is this, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no other commandment greater than these." Then the scribe said to him, "You are right, Teacher; you have truly said that 'he is one, and besides him there is no other;' and, 'to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the strength,' and, 'to love one’s neighbor as oneself,' — this is much more important than all whole burnt-offerings and sacrifices." When Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, "You are not far from the kingdom of God." After that no one dared to ask him any question.

 
 
 
 
 
 

Wow! What happened? Since Jesus entered Jerusalem the Establishment has been attacking Him, but the tone in this story is so different. Jesus’ reply to the scribe’s question, “Which commandment is first of all?”  is not revolutionary on the surface, yet is most revolutionary in the transformation experienced by the scribe. All Jews were very familiar with the two commandments Jesus ascribes as the greatest: the first, to love the Lord with all your heart, your soul, your mind, and your strength was prayed by every Jew every morning and known as the Shema (Deuteronomy 6:4-5) and the second, to love your neighbor as yourself (Leviticus 19:18) was seen as the summary of the Scriptures. Yet, the scribe's response to Jesus’ answer shows a deeper insight, a transformation. Loving God with one’s entire being requires surrendering one’s self totally and completely to the Holy One which is a life changing experience. Understanding neighbor as all human beings rather than just members of one’s tribe requires pushing all bigotry and prejudice from one’s life, which is transformational. Living into these commandments of radically inclusive unconditional love transports one into the Reign of God in this world as well as the one to come.

 
 
 
 
 
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March 9, 2018

 
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Lent Reflections
 
Friday, March 9, 2018
 
 
Mark 12:28-34
 

One of the scribes came near and heard the Sadducees disputing with one another, and seeing that Jesus answered them well, he asked him, "Which commandment is the first of all?" Jesus answered, "The first is, 'Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one; you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.' The second is this, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no other commandment greater than these." Then the scribe said to him, "You are right, Teacher; you have truly said that 'he is one, and besides him there is no other;' and, 'to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the strength,' and, 'to love one’s neighbor as oneself,' — this is much more important than all whole burnt-offerings and sacrifices." When Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, "You are not far from the kingdom of God." After that no one dared to ask him any question.

 
 
 
 
 
 

Wow! What happened? Since Jesus entered Jerusalem the Establishment has been attacking Him, but the tone in this story is so different. Jesus’ reply to the scribe’s question, “Which commandment is first of all?”  is not revolutionary on the surface, yet is most revolutionary in the transformation experienced by the scribe. All Jews were very familiar with the two commandments Jesus ascribes as the greatest: the first, to love the Lord with all your heart, your soul, your mind, and your strength was prayed by every Jew every morning and known as the Shema (Deuteronomy 6:4-5) and the second, to love your neighbor as yourself (Leviticus 19:18) was seen as the summary of the Scriptures. Yet, the scribe's response to Jesus’ answer shows a deeper insight, a transformation. Loving God with one’s entire being requires surrendering one’s self totally and completely to the Holy One which is a life changing experience. Understanding neighbor as all human beings rather than just members of one’s tribe requires pushing all bigotry and prejudice from one’s life, which is transformational. Living into these commandments of radically inclusive unconditional love transports one into the Reign of God in this world as well as the one to come.

 
 
 
 
 
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March 8, 2018

 
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Lent Reflections
 
Thursday, March 8, 2018
 
 
Luke 11:14-23
 

Now he was casting out a demon that was mute; when the demon had gone out, the one who had been mute spoke, and the crowds were amazed. But some of them said, "He casts out demons by Beelzebul, the ruler of the demons." Others, to test him, kept demanding from him a sign from heaven. But he knew what they were thinking and said to them, "Every kingdom divided against itself becomes a desert, and house falls on house. If Satan also is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand? — for you say that I cast out the demons by Beelzebul. Now if I cast out the demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your exorcists cast them out? Therefore they will be your judges. But if it is by the finger of God that I cast out the demons, then the kingdom of God has come to you. When a strong man, fully armed, guards his castle, his property is safe. But when one stronger than he attacks him and overpowers him, he takes away his armor in which he trusted and divides his plunder. Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters."

 
 
 
 
 
 

Jesus cast out a demon that was mute and the man spoke. The crowd was amazed but then some decided, "It must have been Satan." Have you ever had something in your life happen that you knew was a miracle? Then you talked yourself out of believing it was God; "It was only a coincidence." God does miracles all of the time and we must learn to recognize He is still the Miracle Worker. He has called us to be part of the kingdom of God and to do His will. He said he would equip us for every good work and gives us wisdom, understanding, and knowledge. How great is that?! Scriptures say for us not to lean on our own understanding, but to trust in God, and He will make out path straight. This is not a coincidence, but the kingdom of God working through us. Lord, I pray that you give us eyes to see all the miracles that are happening around us and know it is you!

 
 
 
 
 
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