Tag Archives: Intentionality

Free Will

Christmas
January 3, 2018

Scripture Reading: Psalm 29

The Lord sits enthroned over the flood;
   the Lord sits enthroned as king forever.
May the Lord give strength to his people!
   May the Lord bless his people with peace! –Psalm 29:10-11

We saw our fair share of floods and other weather-related events in 2017. People will be working to overcome the devastation for years. We take comfort in the knowledge that the Lord will be with all those impacted by the floods and all those who are trying to help in any way they can. we seek answers to the questions that plagues us, how do we contribute to weather extremes and how can we prevent or ameliorate our participation in influences these events?

The theology of having dominion over the earth draws us into the concept of God’s gift to us of free will and how we handle it. We face the same question with many other issues. After overindulging in rich foods and not keeping my exercise routine over the recent holidays, I am facing the full weight of my failure to exercise dominion over my health and well-being.  This too is a free will issue.

I suffer from wanting to do the right thing when it is convenient for me. Practicing freewill within the boundaries of God’s love requires a good helping of intentionality. We are not like working horses who must be fitted with blinders to keep their focus on the path ahead. We are more like the quarterback or point guard who sees the entire playing field or court and must make the right decision among the many choices presented. There are more ways than one to do the right thing, to exercise the talents and gifts with which God has graced us. Remember Jesus’ story of the talents (Matthew 25:14-30).  Each servant was given resources to develop. All but one used their resources and doubled their worth. The one buried his and his gifts were taken from him and given to another to develop. Dropping the ball is not a choice.

I have no doubt that God’s will will be done. The question I must address is: am I doing my assigned role in making that happen? We live in a time when our best and most intentional efforts are demanded to bring justice into the world in which we live.

Prayer: Lord, give strength to your people and bless us with your peace as we attempt with our best efforts and intentionality to do your will. Amen.

All scriptures are quoted from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights are reserved.

Spiritual Vacuum

Love the otherLiving in the Spirit
July 18, 2016

Scripture Reading: Hosea 1:2-10

When the Lord first spoke through Hosea, the Lord said to Hosea, ‘Go, take for yourself a wife of whoredom and have children of whoredom, for the land commits great whoredom by forsaking the Lord.’ So he went and took Gomer daughter of Diblaim, and she conceived and bore him a son.

 And the Lord said to him, ‘Name him Jezreel; for in a little while I will punish the house of Jehu for the blood of Jezreel, and I will put an end to the kingdom of the house of Israel. On that day I will break the bow of Israel in the valley of Jezreel.’ Hosea 1:2-5

It seems that the prophets view the problems of the world as symptoms of a spiritual vacuum in the lives of God’s people. Such a vacuum often results from our shaping our religion to worship a God made in our image. We pick and choose ways of being that fit us comfortably as God’s ways and what others do as being outside of God’s spectrum.

I hate the ads on TV that illustrate someone eating a favorite food to excess that routinely makes them sick and then taking the magic elixir being advertised that relieves the resulting pain. Isn’t that sometimes how we treat our religion?

The way we live and the way we love makes a difference. We create most of our problems, and we are capable of creating solutions. It does require us to be intentional about our relationship with God learning from Christ’s example what God’s love is all about, and trusting God’s mercy to show us a better way. It does require us to take the beam out of our own eyes and let Jesus handle any judgment on others.

Prayer: Lord, forgive us when we fail to meet our obligations not only to love ourselves but to love all your children. Amen.

All scriptures are quoted from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized 
Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council 
of Churches of Christ in the United States of American. Used by permission. All rights 
reserved.