Tag Archives: Relationship with God

Discerning God’s Way

Desires of your heartLiving in the Spirit
July 13, 2015

Scripture Reading: 2 Samuel 7:1-14a
Now when the king was settled in his house, and the Lord had given him rest from all his enemies around him, the king said to the prophet Nathan, ‘See now, I am living in a house of cedar, but the ark of God stays in a tent.’ Nathan said to the king, ‘Go, do all that you have in mind; for the Lord is with you.But that same night the word of the Lord came to Nathan: Go and tell my servant David: Thus says the Lord: Are you the one to build me a house to live in? –2 Samuel 7:1-5 

We bandy about discussions on the will of God and following the will of God as if it were a tangible reality, if we could just figure it out we would be like God or, I fear, we might feel we are God. In many instances today dedicated Christians end up disagreeing, mightily sometimes, on exactly what the will of God is.

The phrase is not used specifically in the Hebrew Bible, appears only twice in the gospels, and 15 more times in the remainder of the New Testament. The word “will” is derived from the Greek thélēma (from 2309 /thélō, “to desire, wish”) – properly, a desire (wish), often referring to God’s “preferred-will,” i.e. His “best-offer” to people which can be accepted or rejected.*

Rather than being a fixed reality as if carved in stone never to be changed, the relationship Nathan displays in our scripture today is more one of pondered dialogue with God, dynamic in nature, and understanding of the need for humans to seek and act on God’s good counsel to shape and target our own wills into productive outcomes.

I have been described as a strong willed persons and believe me that can be considered both a good thing and a bad thing. David was a strong willed persons. His tenacity led the Israelites into many years of prosperity and peace; his lust led him into adultery and murder.

As followers of Christ we are not only called to discern the way of God for ourselves but working together to be the Body of Christ in the world today discerning God’s desire for all God’s children and working diligently to make it a reality. We must find ways to bridge the gaps among us and work toward productive outcomes.

Prayer: God we thank you for sharing your desires with us. Help us to learn you love enabling us to live in your ways. Amen.

*http://biblehub.com/greek/2307.htm
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.

Holy “Sprit”

Sail boatEpiphany
Celebration of God
Manifested in the World
January 9, 2015

 Scripture Reading: Acts 19:1-7

On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. When Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied— altogether there were about twelve of them.  — Acts 19:5-7

 Many years ago my church challenged each of the Sunday School Classes, adult and children, to make a banner for advent. It was surprising how everyone, young and old, got into the project. We planned to hang them across the wall in front of our balcony at the back of the church. On the day the crew arrived to put them up, we all got a good laugh out of the one done by the first grade class. They had done a three-D picture of a pregnant Mary with the words, Mary was found to be pregnant by the Holy Sprit. Someone had left one of the “I’s” out of the Spirit.

We hung the banner anyway. It was pretty, but it also had an inadvertent message. A sprit is actually a word defined as a spar that crosses a fore-and-aft sail diagonally from the mast near the tack of the sail to the upper aftmost corner that it extends and elevates*. A most apt description of the Holy Spirit don’t you think for it has to do with using the wind for power and guidance. Even more important is the message that if we leave ourselves out of the equation of our relationship with God through the Holy Spirit, we have already missed the boat.

We may be like those first graders who are still at the stage of life where everything is real, concrete to them. The Holy Spirit for most of us is the ultimate in abstraction. The Holy Spirit is like love, we may or may not be able to see it, but we know it when we experience it.

Prayer:
Holy Spirit, truth divine,
 Dawn upon this soul of mine;
 Word of God and inward light
 Wake my spirit, clear my sight. 

Holy Spirit, love divine,
 Glow within this heart of mine;
 Kindle every high desire;
 Perish self in Thy pure fire.**Amen.

* http://unabridged.merriam-webster.com/unabridged/sprit
**From Hymn Holy Spirit, Love Divine, words by Samuel Longfellow

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.

 

 

Wandering in the Wilderness

Rough placesAdvent
December 2, 2014

Scripture Reading: Isaiah 40:1-10

A voice cries out:
‘In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord,
   make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
Every valley shall be lifted up,
   and every mountain and hill be made low;
the uneven ground shall become level,
   and the rough places a plain.
Then the glory of the Lord shall be revealed,
   and all people shall see it together,
   for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.’ — Isaiah 40:3-5

When I read the above quoted part of our scripture today, I began to wonder what it would be like if we had no mountains to climb and no sharp rocks or hidden holes in our paths. What is it we are working toward in this Kingdom of God anyway?

We are called to prepare the way for God to be revealed and realized among us. We, after all, are often the creators of the mountains and the rough plains that separate us from God. If not the creators ourselves, we are the ones who accept the presence of the mountains and rough places that get between us and God and do not work to smooth them out. In many instances these mountains and rough places are found in interpersonal relationships and international relationships that require us to deal not only with our individual dependence on God, but also with our interdependence on God and each other. God calls us to a higher ground where our interactions with God and with each other creates synergy not available without God. The Kingdom of God is now and is becoming a whole new way of being. And it is good.

I wonder as I wander out under the sky,
 How Jesus the Savior did come for to die.
 For poor on’ry people like you and like I…
 I wonder as I wander out under the sky.*

Prayer: Lord, help us clear the clutter from our lives that separate us from you and from each other as we journey once again toward the realization of the meaning of your coming to us. Amen.

* Words and Music collected by John Jacob Niles
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.