If we are the City of God, we need to drive out the murderers!!!

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Gift: the Spirit of Knowledge that I may know God and know myself and grow perfect in the science of the Saints.

Reading:  He made a whip out of cords and drove them all out of the temple area, with the sheep and oxen, and spilled the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables, and to those who sold doves he said, “Take these out of here, and stop making my Father’s house a marketplace.  (John 2:15-16)

Observation:  Sometime back, they completed construction of a new 40,000 square ft Planned Parenthood facility in our town of Springfield, Oregon.  Shortly after that, one of our local churches put up a new electronic banner on our major highway that says, “Springfield – City of God”.  The first time I saw the sign, I thought about the fact that if we are the City of God, shouldn’t we be acting like it.  I mean, we should be standing up and protesting this facility that plans to kill babies, once the surgery rooms are completed.

Personification:  Peace.  When I tell you what I am planning, you may wonder how I can plan on displaying the fruit of peace when I am planning on holding a sign that says, “MURDERERS” outside of the new facility.  It is my hope that more people will know what they are planning on doing there.  However, I need to focus on peace to keep myself from being like Jesus and turning over the tables, and do whatever I need to do to restrain myself and keep my protest peaceful.

Prayer:  Lord, make me bold enough to do your work in our small town, but diligent enough to continue to focus on peace.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit…Amen!

Jesus is our peace?

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English: Stained glass windows at Notre-Dame, ...

English: Stained glass windows at Notre-Dame, Geneva, Switzerland. Top: God the Father; middle: Dove of Holy Spirit in trefoil; lower: Annunciation scene. Français : Vitraux de la basilique Notre-Dame, Genève, Suisse. Deutsch: Fenster in der Liebfrauenbasilika, Genf, Schweiz. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Gift: Understanding – With the gift of understanding, we comprehend how we need to live as a follower of Jesus Christ. A person with understanding is not confused by all the conflicting messages in our culture about the right way to live.

 

Reading:  For he is our peace, he who made both one and broke down the dividing wall of enmity, through his flesh, abolishing the law with its commandments and legal claims, that he might create in himself one new person in place of the two, thus establishing peace, and might reconcile both with God, in one body, through the cross, putting that enmity to death by it. He came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near, for through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father.  (Ephesians 2:14-18)

 

Observation:  I tried to title my journal entry for today, “If Jesus is our peace, why don’t we rest in Him more often?”  However, I think my title is a little more direct, because it begs the ultimate question, “Is Jesus our peace?”  If we want to have access to the holy Spirit and the Father, we must recognize Jesus as the one who can keep the peace, not just in the world, but in our hearts.  The world is creating turmoil in our hearts, through our families, we must rest in Jesus and tell Him what we need for peace.  If we go on trying to make peace by our actions, we will only create more unrest. (IMO)

 

Personification:  Joy  I have been the embodiment of fatigue lately, rather than joy, especially to my family.  I will focus my attention on displaying the fruit of joy today, with the grace of God making it possible.  I am especially joyful for the birth of my best friend David’s new baby daughter, and can’t wait to see her later this morning.

 

Prayer:  Lord, please give rest to those that need it this morning and help me remember to rest in You today.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit…Amen

 

 

 

 

To continue yesterday’s theme, our hope in the Lord should bring peace…

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Gift:  Wisdom- With the gift of wisdom, we see God at work in our lives and in the world. For the wise person, the wonders of nature, historical events, and the ups and downs of our lives take on deeper meaning. The matters of judgment about the truth, and being able to see the image of God.

Reading:  They shall not harm or destroy on all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be filled with knowledge of the LORD, as water covers the sea.  (Isaiah 11:9)

Observation:  I read the readings at home this morning before I came to our communion service and I really didn’t have any particular verses that were speaking to me.  However, when I was sitting in our chapel this morning, listening to the lector read the first reading, I couldn’t get the picture of the earth filled with knowledge of the Lord, and that looking like the waters that covers the sea, out of my head.  It reminded me of yesterday’s focus of my journal that had to do with hoping in the Lord and thereby not allowing conflict to appear in our relationships.  Today, I am left with a picture of what this peace looks like, and not a practical application of how we could make it happen.

Personification:  Peace  I don’t remember if I focused on peace yesterday, but I will try to keep the idea of knowledge of the Lord covering the earth in my head, so that I can display the peace that comes from the grace of God.

Prayer:  Lord, allow me to display the fruit of peace in my life and supply me with the grace necessary to display it to everyone that I come in contact with today.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.

If they are not against us, they are for us…

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Gift:  Fortitude (Courage) – With the gift of courage, we overcome our fear and are willing to take risk as a follower of Jesus. A person with courage is willing to stand up for what is right in the sight of God, even if it means accepting rejection, verbal abuse, or even physical harm and death.

Reading:   Then John said in reply, “Master, we saw someone casting out demons in your name and we tried to prevent him because he does not follow in our company.” Jesus said to him, “Do not prevent him, for whoever is not against you is for you.”  (Luke 9:49-50)

Observation:  My immediate reaction to this gospel this morning was that the preachers from other Christian denominations are not exactly in line with the fullness of the truth, but most of them are not directly against us.  Instead of letting my mind focus on those that are directly against us, I am hearing the gospel story from Luke’s gospel say that we should not deny their simple preaching, and even when they are evoking the name of Jesus to exorcise demons, we should consider them as part of the same team.

Personification: Peace  It is my hope that I can display the fruit of peace today.  I hope that I can show that peace when dealing with everyone, including my family.  This includes my in-laws, because I know that they won’t be reading this today, I will say that no matter how far they have wandered from the faith, I will accept them for the beautiful creation of God that they are.

Prayer:  Lord, help me to see the beauty in all of your creation, and allow me to live in your peace for the rest of my days.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.

Did you deny the Lord? He is waiting for you…

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Gift: Fear of the Lord (Wonder and Awe) – With the gift of wonder and awe (fear of the lord), we are aware of the glory and majesty of God. A person with wonder and awe knows that God is the perfection of all we desire: perfect knowledge, perfect goodness, perfect power, and perfect love.

Reading:  9 While they were still speaking about this, he stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.”  (Luke 24:36)

Observation:  In order for them to be about the work that he was sending them to do, the disciples needed to know that no matter what had taken place in the past, had to be left there.  The “Peace” that Jesus is talking about here is not the sense of peace that we know.  It is not meant to be the absence of war, rather the meaning that we get from the Aramaic is that he was saying that they should feel safe, complete and well.  I can imagine that Peter was feeling a little ashamed of his denial, and the other disciples were in fear of what the Jewish leaders had planned for them.  Jesus’ words are meant to bring wholeness to the church, even today.

Personification: Peace  I would hope that I can hear the words of Jesus today and relate them to my relationship with Him as well.  He knew that we were sinners, when he chose to die for us.  Still he chose to die for us anyway.  Therefore, I would think that he would want us to hear the word “Shalom” in our lives too.  He knows that we need to feel safe, complete and well to continue to deliver the good news, and he would not wish to see us fail. 

Prayer:  Lord, let me always stay aware of the call that you gave me.  Please help me to live out my life with a repentant heart, for everything that I have done that does not glorify you.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.

The first written account of rainbows…(not really!)

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Gift:  Fear of the Lord (Wonder and Awe) – With the gift of wonder and awe (fear of the lord), we are aware of the glory and majesty of God. A person with wonder and awe knows that God is the perfection of all we desire: perfect knowledge, perfect goodness, perfect power, and perfect love.

Be still and know that he is God...Psalm 46:10

Reading:  I set my bow in the clouds to serve as a sign of the covenant between me and the earth.  (Genesis 9:13)

Observation:  I decided to not tackle any tough parts of the readings today.  Instead, I chose to focus on a way that we have to keep God at the forefront of our mind.  Of course, it is necessary that we remember this story and not the other stories that do not involve God.  This verse is a great reminder of the fact that God is in control of everything.  It is not just that he is not going to flood the earth again, but that he has put things like rainbows in the midst of a cloudy day to remind us that he is good.

Application:   Peace  As for me, I will work today to use the creation that God created all around me as a reminder to display the fruit of peace in my life.  It will be my hope, with the help of the grace of God, that I can display the real peace that means completeness.  It is also my hope that I could show this peace to everyone that I meet to be a sign to everyone that we are only complete in our communion with each other and God.

Prayer:  Lord, help me to be the man who you created me to be.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.

Here is your God!

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Gift:  Fear of the Lord (Wonder and Awe) – With the gift of wonder and awe (fear of the lord), we are aware of the glory and majesty of God. A person with wonder and awe knows that God is the perfection of all we desire: perfect knowledge, perfect goodness, perfect power, and perfect love.

Reading:  1 Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her that her service is at an end, her guilt is expiated; Indeed, she has received from the hand of the LORD double for all her sins.   (Isaiah 40:2)

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Go up onto a high mountain, Zion, herald of glad tidings; Cry out at the top of your voice, Jerusalem, herald of good news! Fear not to cry out and say to the cities of Judah: Here is your God!  Here comes with power the Lord GOD, who rules by his strong arm; Here is his reward with him, his recompense before him.  (Isaiah 40:9-10)

Observation:  I started out reading the through all the readings this morning before deciding on the three verses above from the first reading to journal on.  Originally, I heard the gospel reading telling me that God understands that I am a sinner and he is looking forward to celebrating when I can conquer sin completely when I surrender completely to his grace that will accomplish it.  When I went back to read the first reading, I saw that God was saying through the prophet Isaiah that Jerusalem, and now by default us, does not have to continue to be in service to sin.  In the 9th and 1oth verse, it says that the good news needs to be heralded from a high mountain.  I don’t think the prophet could have seen the internet as the high mountain, but I can’t imagine a better way to herald the good news in our day.

Personification:  Peace  Today, I will try to bring the fruit of peace that comes from the Word of God to my little corner of the world.  I do not know how I will get the opportunity to do this, but I will stay awake to make sure that I am able to display peace that comes from the grace of God, which is the only thing keeping me from losing that peace.

Prayer:  Lord, help me to see the way to follow you.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.

Thank you, Jesus!

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Gift:  Piety (Reverence) – With the gift of reverence, sometimes called piety, we have a deep sense of respect for God and the Church. A person with reverence recognizes our total reliance on God and comes before God with humility, trust, and love.  

    

Reading:  For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, deluded, slaves to various desires and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful ourselves and hating one another.  (Titus 3:3)

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2 The LORD is my shepherd; there is nothing I lack.  In green pastures you let me graze; to safe waters you lead me; 3 you restore my strength.  You guide me along the right path for the sake of your name.  (Psalm 23:1b,3)

Observation:  I figured that I get enough reminders of my baptism that I didn’t want to make my reflection this morning about that reminder again.  However, after watching the video reflection this morning I heard that when we do finally realize our need of a Savior and we remember the sacrifice he made to forgive our sins, we need only say thank you. 

I would also like to say thank you to my Savior for forgiving my sin and for leading me in the right paths and revealing his truth to me through his Word, as we heard in Psalm 23 today.

Personification:  Peace  I know that this fruit may not seem like the correct one to focus on displaying after the verses from the readings I selected and the observation above, but I feel like a reminder of the fruit of peace is important in a time like now.  We enjoy a great amount of peace in this country, but there are other countries like Iraq who find it very difficult to be a disciple of Christ because of the oppression of the Christian religion by others.  I want to focus today on the peace that comes from God and my prayer will be directed at the oppressed Christians, who need our prayers right now.

Prayer:  Lord, thank you for giving us our country that allows our freedom of religion.  Please send down your angels to protect those Christians that are persecuted in other countries and help them to enjoy the same freedom that we do.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.

Peace as an effective word…Thanks, Luke!

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Gift:  Piety (Reverence) – With the gift of reverence, sometimes called piety, we have a deep sense of respect for God and the Church. A person with reverence recognizes our total reliance on God and comes before God with humility, trust, and love.

Reading:  Into whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace to this household.’ 4  (Luke 10:5)

Observation:  This morning I was left with a feeling of doubt whether the English language was capable of communicating the type of peace that Jesus was talking about here.  However, when I clicked on the footnotes for the 5th verse, it says to look at Luke 2:14 and Matthew 10:13.  In Luke 2:14 it is the familiar verse, “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to whom his favor rests.”  It really didn’t clarify the meaning of this peace.  However, upon looking at Matthew’s Gospel, in chapter 10 verse 13, where it says essentially the same verse that I used for my journal today, the footnote says, “The greeting of peace is conceived of not merely as a salutation but as an effective word. If it finds no worthy recipient, it will return to the speaker.”

Personification:  Peace  Since this morning, I have had a few things happen that could have very easily taken away my peace.  However, the fruit of peace is still shining through to display itself in my life.  To anyone that may be reading this, I would just say that there is a great reward waiting for anyone who makes a conscious choice to display the fruit of peace to others.   It is not just that if someone doesn’t choose to accept it, it comes back to you.  It permeates every part of your life, if you choose to display the fruit of peace in your community or family.

Prayer:  Lord, you are the Almighty who makes all things good.  Please continue to work your graces into my life by keeping me holding on to the truth that comes from your Word.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.

Not my will, but God’s will be done…

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Here is the video reflection for the Gospel today…If you are reading my journal on any other day, you can click on the date of this entry on the calendar below the video and see Father Michael’s reflection for the Gospel that I reference in my journal.

Gift:  Knowledge – With the gift of knowledge, we understand the meaning of God’s Revelation, especially as expressed in the life and words of Jesus Christ. A person with knowledge is always learning more about the scriptures and Tradition.

Reading:  “The LORD forbid,” Naboth answered him, “that I should give you my ancestral heritage.”  (1 Kings 21:3)

Observation:  After reading the first reading today, I am left to ponder whether Naboth knew that there would be retribution from Ahab for standing up to him.  However, when they came to honor him, he must have been filled with love for the Lord for honoring him for doing what was right in standing up for what is right.  As he died, though, he was probably left with the thought, I should have just given him the land.  I am left with the feeling that it must have been really hard to be a Jewish follower of the law during those days.

Personification:  Peace – Quiet, inner confidence that keeps us from feeling uptight and anxious.  After reading the Gospel today and hearing the video reflection, I am hoping that I can display the fruit of peace that comes from following the will of God.  Even though, at times the decision can feel like I am not doing what is best for my family, I must follow what I know God is calling me to and I know that I will be at peace.

Prayer:  Lord, help me be at peace with your will for my life and always display that peace to the people that I meet today and for the rest of my life.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.