Month: July 2012
Scripture: Luke 6:49 (NIV)
But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, viagra sale it collapsed and its destruction was complete.
Thought for the Day: I have known the parable of the wise and foolish builders since I was a kid, but just the other day when I read it again, I was struck by the words “its destruction was complete.” When reading the story in the past, I pictured the foolish builder being very surprised at the destruction of his/her house when the storm came. Now I’m thinking that the destruction was a more gradual process – it had already started before the storm.
Why didn’t the foolish builder see the signs and try to fix the shoddy construction? Maybe he/she decided, despite the warning signs, to roll the dice and just see what would happen in the event of the storm. These are approaches that I know I’ve taken on more than one occasion throughout my life when I’ve tried to avoid something I didn’t want to do, or deliberately chose a different path than the one the Spirit was prompting me to follow. The meaning that I now derive from this parable is a reminder to build, re-build, and maintain a solid foundation of active faith, so that whether the next storm of life is expected or a total surprise, my response will be faithful.
Prayer: God, thank you for the instruction provided to us through your Spirit, and for the perfect example of living found in Jesus. Through you, we are empowered to put your Word into practice, becoming master builders of your kingdom on earth. In both peaceful and threatening times, may we respond with diligence and faith to the job before us. Amen.
Scripture: Luke 6:46-48 (NIV)
“Why do you call me, treatment ‘Lord, sick Lord,’ and do not do what I say? I will show you what he is like who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice. He is like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built.”
Thought for the Day: When I first moved to Southwest Florida, I lived in a dilapidated historic home built in 1920. The home was believed to be one of Al Capone’s old Florida hide-a-ways, haunted, with an Indian mound on the property. Rich in history, yes, but the home was in such a state of disrepair that I was scared to let the pizza delivery people step on the front porch!
There were holes in the floors of the porch and interior, the walls were missing large chunks of plaster, birds flew through the house via the chimney, and the ceiling caved in on me the first week that I lived there. Even though it had already weathered decades of severe storms, the house really did seem to be on its last leg, so when hurricane Charley hit, I knew it would be wise to take shelter elsewhere. When I returned to the house after the storm, with power out and trees down everywhere in the neighborhood (including one on top of my car), there stood the house, with the porch light on to welcome me back. That experience proved that even with other features of the house caving and crumbling, the structure of the home was undeniably strong!
I can’t claim any kind of credit for the hearty construction of that house since it was built long before my time, but I can testify to the work of the wise folks who did build the house back in 1920. The most important parts of the house were built to last, leaving a legacy (and perhaps a few headaches) for generations to come. Sure, it’s not the material stuff that we build in our lifetimes that matters, but the core of who we are as children of God. Even if some of the ancillary aspects of my life fall away over time, I hope that I am always digging deeper to build upon the rock of unwavering, enduring faith.
Prayer: Eternal God, may I hear and put into practice your Word. Acting upon your gracious guidance, may my vision for building something strong and lasting be for your glory, and for the benefit of others well beyond my own lifetime.
Scripture: Colossians 1:15-16
He is the image of the invisible God, thumb the firstborn of all creation; for in him all things in heaven and on earth were created, health things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers—all things have been created through him and for him.
Thought for the Day: The revelation of God in human form represents a cosmic shift in the way we view our relationship with God. No longer is God some externalized, judgmental and temperamental being. When we think about God as something that all things are created through, then God becomes the very essence of our being.
The example and teachings of Christ show us just how intimate our relationship with God is. Or at least, can be. We have been created to bring about a peaceful world, here and now. The Kingdom of Heaven need not be a far-off, after-life existence. The teachings in Colossians reveal a God whose magnificent bliss is imbued in every living thing. And every thing is alive with the energy of Christ. When we think about Christhood as something God desires us to attain, then Christ becomes the very essence of our being
Prayer: Fill me with the energy, compassion, and the love of the Christ, today and evermore, most generous and loving God. Amen.
Scripture: Colossians 1:17-18
He himself is before all things, nurse and in him all things hold together. He is the head of the body, check the church; he is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that he might come to have first place in everything.
Thought for the Day: Richard Rohr refers to Jesus as “the very concrete truth revealing and standing in for the universal truth.” God did not first reveal God’s self through Christ 2000 years ago. God first revealed the infinite creative energy of Christ-Consciousness at the beginning of this particular multi-dimensional reality, the event we consider the beginning of the universe, the Big Bang.
But in Jesus, God revealed God’s and our true nature in a very concrete way. In Jesus the anointed one (the Christ), we should see a model for ourselves, too. Because God created everything out of God’s self-realization, and that means every human we meet was created out of the same stuff as we were. We all have Christ-potential. Jesus spent his ministry teaching us how to embody that potential by connecting directly to God. The Gospel is a message of equality, love and compassion; a message of the deep and profound way we are all more alike than we are different; a message of universal acceptance and love.
Prayer: Holy Infinite Consciousness, may I become fully aware of my connection to you, to the energy that exists through and all around me, so that I too, might become a loving, compassionate, equal being in Christ. Amen.
Scripture: Colossians 1:19
For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell.
Thought for the Day: The idea that God could dwell in a human, mind rather than in the Temple, is an astounding theological shift in the ancient world, brought about by necessity. When the first temple is destroyed by the Babylonians, and the people are carried away from their home into exile, God is suddenly no longer in their midst. If the house of God has been destroyed, then where do we find God?
It’s during the time of Babylonian captivity that the people of God begin to seek God in their midst, in their souls. The idea is fully formed by the time Colossians is written (probably about a decade after the destruction of the second temple), and Jesus has become a new temple of the Lord, and an example of our intrinsic relationship with God.
We are all temples of the Lord. God dwells within us all, deeply in our hearts and souls. God is pleased to dwell within us, and we should be pleased to welcome God into our lives, because in answering God’s call, we become more just, loving, compassionate and giving humans, fulfilling our potential and changing the world.
Prayer: If it pleases you, God of Infinite Wisdom, fill my heart, my soul, my very essence with your being, so that I, like Jesus, might experience the living Christ within, and be a light for love in a dark world. Amen.
Thought for the Day: We tend to read passages like this and go for the literal—Jesus died and now everything is okay between God and us. But that really doesn’t get at the deeper meaning of the idea of Jesus’ death as reconciliation. In fact, if you ask 100 theologians (people who study God) the meaning of Jesus’ death, you’ll get 100 different answers. Many don’t even consider Jesus’ death the most important aspect of this idea that we needed to be reconciled with God. Some, like Richard Rohr, believe the annunciation (Gabriel’s announcement to Mary that she would conceive God in the flesh) is the important point. Others will say the resurrection is the key.
Something they would likely all agree on is that all the stories are metaphor, parables that point to a deeper meaning as we quest for a relationship with God. It’s enough to make your head spin.
All I can say is that the God I have come to know throughout my life-long search (which continues), and the God I see at First Christian Church in Naples, and the God I see comforting those who mourn in Colorado, and protecting innocent people in Syria, and saving a young addict’s life, is a God of unequivocal, unconditional, reconciling love, who, if God were indeed a fleshy human, would gladly die for me, because that is what Love does. Love makes you willing to give your life for someone else. Love allows you to care more for another than you do for yourself. Jesus cared for everyone that way.
Which makes Jesus all the more extraordinary.
Prayer: God of Everlasting Grace, may I continually seek newer and deeper ways to come into relationship with you, so that I may become an extraordinary human, full of love for all my brothers and sisters. Amen.
Scripture: Colossians 2:1-3 (TNIV)
I want you to know how hard I am contending for you and for those at Laodicea, buy and for all who have not met me personally. My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, search so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
Thought for the Day: Treasure! The word usually conjures images of pirates, deserted islands, and a giant ‘X’ marking the spot. Inevitably, the quest for that sort of buried treasure proves to be a dead end. X never really marks the spot.
Unfortunately, we also usually approach our spiritual journeys like a hunt for buried treasure—looking for a giant ‘X’ that marks Nirvana or spiritual success, or redemption, or whatever we think we’re looking for. Yet while X never marks the spot where the buried treasure is, X does mark the spot where our spiritual treasure is—Christ. By looking for our spiritual X, by connecting with the Christ within, we actually can find Nirvana, or spiritual success, or redemption—what we’re really looking for.
In our spiritual journey, X shows us the way to God—through the Christ, whose name in Greek begins with the letter X (which is why Xmas is actually appropriate). Christ reveals the mystery of God to us, and brings us into a personal relationship with God, the greatest treasure available to any of us.
Prayer: Mark my heart with your love, my brain with your wisdom, and my soul with knowledge of you, my Loving Teacher, my Glorious God. Amen.
Scripture: Colossians 1:27-29
To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, hospital which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. 28 It is he whom we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone in all wisdom, so that we may present everyone mature in Christ. 29 For this I toil and struggle with all the energy that he powerfully inspires within me.
Thought for the Day: Colossians (not written by Paul directly) is a letter about the cosmic Paul—the Paul who had a metaphysical* understanding of life, the Paul who understood that like Jesus, we all have the Christ within, waiting to burst forth, waiting for us to come to a place of spiritual maturity. It’s a beautiful letter that reaffirms the idea that we are more than these physical shells, more than this material existence, with its annoyances and petty squabbles. Indeed, we are truly spiritual beings, maturing over time as we discover the truth about what lies within.
The more we pray and meditate to connect with God, the more spiritually mature we become. And spiritual maturity leads us down incredible new paths of adventure and insight.
Prayer: Holy God of Revelation, help me see the incredible loving power of the Christ within all of creation. Amen.
pluralnoun [ usu. treated as sing. ]
the branch of philosophy that deals with the first principles of things, including abstract concepts such as being, knowing, substance, cause, identity, time, and space.
• abstract theory or talk with no basis in reality: his concept of society as an organic entity is, for market liberals, simply metaphysics.
Metaphysics has two main strands: that which holds that what exists lies beyond experience (as argued by Plato), and that which holds that objects of experience constitute the only reality (as argued by Kant, the logical positivists, and Hume). Metaphysics has also concerned itself with a discussion of whether what exists is made of one substance or many, and whether what exists is inevitable or driven by chance.
Scripture: Romans 8:16-17 (TNIV)
The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, decease then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.
Thought for the Day: We are heirs of God. Every single one of us has the power, devotion, and faith of Christ within us, waiting to burst forth as soon as we acknowledge its presence. We are so much more than we think; yet we are also obstructed by what we think.
Now, there are some who suggest that humans actually don’t have any salvific work to do. They say we don’t really need to think, or to accept God’s offer to enter a much higher state of being. They read Paul’s letters to the various churches and find that in Christ, God has done all the work to reconcile us to God’s self. While I agree God has done the important reconciliatory work, I think that is only half the story.
If we are the heirs of God, co-heirs with Christ, the way Paul believed, then that implies acceptance of that inheritance on our part. You can be the heir to a throne, a family-owned company, or even a country, but unless you accept that responsibility, you have nothing.
I think it’s well beyond time for us to wake up to the inheritance that God has given us, because by accepting God, we become completely new beings—more loving, more universally accepting, more focused on spiritual rather than material growth. Just think about what the world would look like if we all started focusing on the spiritual rather than fighting over lines in the sand.
Prayer: I beg of you, Eternal Spirit of the universe, help us accept our responsibility and inheritance. Ignite the Christ within us all, so that we may transform our existence and create a world of peace, love, and understanding. Amen.
Scripture: Pslam 18:23-24 (The Message)
God rewrote the text of my life when I opened the book of my heart to his eyes.
Thought for the Day: Our hearts are amazing machines. They keep us alive by pumping blood throughout our system, medicine and they’re the doorways to an intimate relationship with God. Time and again we read in Scripture that by opening our hearts to God we find solace, health connection, cialis peace, compassion and mercy.
Yet, we find ourselves living in a world of fences, a world where we cut each other off rom the rest of humanity, and ultimately, where we cut each other off from God.
Here’s to hoping that we can abolish the artificial fences we’ve created and open our hearts and lives to God. Because when we seek, we find.
Prayer: Most glorious and precious Lord of all creation, help me tear down the barriers I have created, so that I may live more fully in the presence of your love, so that I may more fully exemplify the life of Jesus. Amen.