Wednesday, March 17, 2010

A Book Review - "Living With Confidence In A Chaotic World"

Living With Confidence In A Chaotic World is a wonderful read! There is so much in this book, it needs times of deep contemplation - definitely not a book to be read in a day!
In this book, Dr Jeremiah touches on some of the momentous turns of events that we are currently experiencing in our lives today - the state of the economy, natural disasters, sin/evil in the world, and how as children of God, we are to handle these situations. He talks about the world's way of handling stress - through the steady increase in pharmaceutical medications to handle anxiety, versus God's way to handle anxiety - by turning our focus on Him!
Dr Jeremiah writes:
"If we are going to live courageous lives in these chaotic days, we will need to be calm in our hearts, compassionate towards others, constructive in our relationships, challenged to grow, connected to the church. We were created to live in community, not in isolation."
Dr Jeremiah gives constructive tips on how to stay focused on the Lord to help to combat the evils of this world. He also teaches us to stay focused on others - even in the midst of hardship.
He writes:
"Have you stopped and considered that the real purpose of your struggles, at a given moment, might be the heart of compassion God is building within you? Smooth sailing doesn't develop such a thing, you know. Trials develop our humility, and humility opens our eyes to the needs of others. If we look to do His service during tough times, we will come out better rather than bitter."
He also writes:
" In times such as these we have to look somewhere for answers. The psychologist tells us to look within. The opportunist tells us to we should look around. The optimist tells us we should look ahead, and the pessimist tells us we should look out. But God says we should look up- even when we feel down."
Dr Jeremiah quotes from "Exploring Colossians and Philemon: An Expository Commentary" - John Phillips
A great book! One you will want to read again and again!
Check out Book Sneez for this and other wonderful books!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Welcome - Your Table Is Ready

"Unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees,
you will not enter into the Kingdom of heaven"
(Matt 5:20)

Reflection: There was a dedicated old priest who had always wondered what real difference was between heaven and hell. One day, he had a dream in which God showed him.

First, God showed him hell. The old priest was flabbergasted to find no flames, no horned, pointy-tailed devils - only crowds of angry people pressing around long picnic tables. At each place was a large wooden bowl of food and ten-foot long wooden spoons. Pushing and shoving to find places at the tables, the angry people managed to get their long spoons into the bowls - but they were unable to get them into their mouths. Their frustration and the accompanying bitterness and bickering were sheer hell!

Then the old priest was given a glimpse of heaven. He was amazed to discover the same massive picnic tables, the same huge wooden bowls of food, and the same ten-foot long wooden spoons. But in heaven there was a spirit of peace, thoughtfulness, even joy. In heaven, the people were feeding one another.
To enter the kingdom of God, to realize the reign of God among us in the here and now, we must embrace a new attitude toward God and one another, an attitude based on compassion, generosity, forgiveness, and justice, an attitude centered not in self but in the common good. Such is the holiness that Christ calls us to adopt in our lives if we are to be true sons and daughters of the Father, true brothers and sisters to one another, true disciples of the Risen One.

Prayer: Father in heaven, make us worthy to one day reside in Your dwelling place by embracing Your spirit of love and compassion for one another on our journey to You. As You feed us, may we feed one another; as You forgive us, may we forgive one another; as You welcome us into Your presence at the end of time, may we welcome one another to our tables in this time you have given us.
Daily Reflections For Lent - Not By Bread Alone - 2010

Blessings on your week ahead,

Sunday, March 7, 2010

The Vineyard

"But when the tenants saw the son, they said to one another,
'This is the heir.
Come, let us kill him and acquire his inheritance.'
They seized him, threw him out of the vineyard and killed him."
(Matt 21:38-39)

Reflection: In these difficult economic times for all of us, a moment of hope from a Minnesota supermarket:

While a woman waited to check out at the grocery store, the person ahead of her turned and handed her an envelope. On the front there was a note. "There is $50.00 in this envelope for your groceries. Take it if you need it or pass it on." She passed the envelope to the person behind her, who in turn gave it away. As she watched the envelope progress through the lines she was surprised that some people even added money to it.

The Spirit of God moved through that line of shoppers in the form of an envelope. Any time compassion and generosity, selflessness and humility compel people to do what is right and just, the Spirit of God is moving among them.

Today's gospel shows a "vineyard" devoid of that Spirit. For the tenants, all that matters is the profit to be realized. They turn on the vineyard owner who has been nothing but kind to them; they murder the owner's son who comes to hold them accountable.

We have seen what happens when the interests of the few are placed before the common good of all, when basic ethics and morality are dismissed as naive and unrealistic in order to make the quick buck. God will hold us accountable so that His vineyard will be used responsibly and justly for the good of all.

God has given us a wonderful vineyard that we often take for granted, that we mar and destroy by our selfishness. Christ comes with a new vision for the vineyard, a vision of generous sharing rather than obsessive taking, of peace rather than hostility, of forgiveness rather than vengeance. May we welcome Christ into the vineyard of our homes, our workplaces, our schools, aware that He calls us to the demanding conversion of the Gospel, but determined to sow and reap the blessings of God's reign.

Prayer: O Lord of the vineyard, You gave us this earth as a place of peace to seek You and grow in Your love. By Your grace, wisdom, and light, may we transform the villages and vineyards You have given us into places where Your justice abounds and Your peace reigns.

Daily Reflections For Lent - Not By Bread Alone 2010

Blessings to you this week,