Readings and Reflections for Wednesday 16 January 2019: Epiphany

Daily Office Readings

AM Psalm 119:1-24; PM Psalm 12, 13, 14 
Isa. 41:1-16; Eph. 2:1-10; Mark 1:29-45 

Ephesians

“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God— not the result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are what he has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life.” (Ephesians 2:8-10)

We are saved through faith – believing. I have always liked to look at faith as that handle by which God uses to pull our souls to God’s Self when we give up the ghost.  Just as our doing won’t earn our way into heaven, so too, our wrong doing shouldn’t keep us out.  It is all matter of faith, believing, and in believing we will do what is loving and pleasing in God’s sight. What we do then becomes a by-product of our faith.  

We are who God has made us whether we live into that being or not. We were created to do good works based on faith and for good faith-works to be our way of life. I think this is what St James is trying to tell us when he says, “For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is also dead.” (James 2:26)

Let us hear what the Spirit is saying through and to God’s people.

More about who God made us to be: Wednesday 16 January 2018

Mark

“In the morning, while it was still very dark, he got up and went out to a deserted place, and there he prayed. And Simon and his companions hunted for him. When they found him, they said to him, ‘Everyone is searching for you.’” (Mark 1 35 – 37)

This again reminds me that my children never disturbed me during my prayer time.  As the kids were growing up they would often come to ask me something while I was on the phone,  mowing the lawn, or watching the game; but never did they interrupt me during prayers like it seems Simon and his companions did Jesus.  Long story short, I was never praying.  If it’s one thing I could change while raising my children it would be that I would be found praying regularly.  Kids are funny, if parents curse, they will curse, if parents smoke, kids will smoke, it stands to reason then that if parents pray kids too will pray.  I wish I had been found praying like Jesus was when they were searching for me. 

Let us hear what the Spirit is saying through and to God’s people.

Wednesday Night Healing Service: 16 Jan 2019

ANTONY OF EGYPT MONASTIC (17 JAN 356)

1 Peter 5:6-11 

 Psalm 91
Mark 10:17-22

“When he heard this, he was shocked and went away grieving, for he had many possessions.”  (Mark 10: 22)

In this narrative of Jesus we hear of a man who could have been one of the Apostles.  This is one occasion where someone was invited to follow Jesus but declined. We don’t have his name but we could have.  The man says that he has kept the six relationship commandments that deal with how we treat one another; Honor parents, no murder, no adultery, no stealing, no bearing false witness, and no coveting.  Scripture then tells us that he could not follow Jesus because he had many possessions.  But I wonder if it was the possessions that had him.

Antony of Egypt, the son of Christian parents, inherited a large estate. On his way to church one day, he found himself meditating on the text, “Sell all that you have, and give to the poor, and come follow me.”  When he got to church, he heard the preacher speaking on that very text. He took this as a message for him, and, having provided for the care of his sister, he gave his land to the tenants who lived on it, and gave his other wealth to the poor, and became a hermit, living alone for twenty years, praying and reading, and doing manual labor.  (Contributed by James Keifer)

I must admit that I too am moved when writings or words come to me repeatedly.  I look at it as if the repeating words are a sign from God that God is trying to tell me something. Conversations, in particular around money, can be toxic in relationships.  What also is meaningful for me is Antony doing manual labor.  I work at a desk.  There is a stack of papers there when I start work and there is a stack of papers there when I finish.  Whew!  I can’t tell I’ve done anything.  It is different with manual labor.  Last month it was left to me to take much needed canned food to our Fayetteville Urban Ministry. There was a lot of it.  I loaded all of it into the back of my truck and hauled it to the ministry.  They were thankful.  When I returned to the church and looked at the now empty space where the food was I enjoyed a real feeling of accomplishment. I am now taking a cabinet making class.  It is fun.  My hope is that I get a real feeling of accomplishment every time I complete a project.  I am aware that sitting with people in crisis is real work, and it is very much appreciated.  But like Antony I too would like many years of praying and reading, and doing some kind of manual labor, Jesus did, Paul did and John should.

Let us hear what the Spirit is saying through and to God’s people. bti

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