Meditations

From Reluctance to Boldness – Meditation of the Studies in 2 Timothy

From Reluctance to Boldness – Meditation of the Studies in 2 Timothy

Many of the great heroes of our faith were equally reluctant…The point is, though, that God let none of them off the hook. Not Moses, not Jeremiah, and not Timothy…Rather in each case God turned their minds away from their inadequacy and focused them on His ability. God would be the one who made them adequate. To both Moses and Jeremiah God simply said, “But I will be with you.” That is enough to overcome any inadequacy. To Timothy the message was a little more subtle but it was exactly the same: “Stir up the gift that is within you through the laying on of my hands”…And “God did not give us a spirit of timidity but a spirit of power and of love and of self- control.” That is, it is the Lord’s Spirit that gives what you need.

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A Tale of Two Healings – Meditation of the Studies in Luke

A Tale of Two Healings – Meditation of the Studies in Luke

This is not just how Jesus is in this instance; it is how he is in all situations. He not only knows where we need physical healing, but also every emotional, psychological and spiritual wound and area of vulnerability we have experienced as a result of those situations, and he desires to bring healing to all of it. Sometimes the means by which he does so may seem to scrape at the wounds that run deepest, as with the bleeding woman who was called to make her situation known among the very people who would have rejected her; but the intention is never for our harm, rather for a more profound healing than we could ever imagine or hope for

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Abundant Fruit – Meditation of the Studies in Luke

Abundant Fruit – Meditation of the Studies in Luke

We all know that underlying the parable is the message that the soil which represents our heart must be healthy in order for the Word of God to take root in our lives…but this small detail given by Luke challenges us to consider our own role it making it healthy. It is not sufficient we not have the scorching sun beating down on us—that is that we take away the trials and tribulations we face—nor even that we rid ourselves of the weeds of unnecessary concerns and attachments in this world. We must create space … through worship, study and prayer so that we can not only receive God’s word, but also allow it to take root and be nourished so that it can withstand these external challenges and bear abundant fruit in our lives.

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Fullness of Faith – Meditation of the Studies in the Gospel of Luke

Fullness of Faith – Meditation of the Studies in the Gospel of Luke

…faith is not about being certain that God will act in certain ways, though it may sometimes entail this. Nor is it primarily about the determination to persevere in hope in the face of trials, though this is how we are called to express our faith. Rather, faith is fundamentally about surrendering the whole of our lives in humility and awe at who God is, and in gratitude and adoration for all that he has done to reveal to us his unfailing love—at the cross, but also specifically in our lives. True faith is not just a determination of the mind, but also an attitude of the heart that orients itself in worship of the One from whose love we can never be separated (Rom 8:38-39), who works all things for the good of those who love him (Rom 8:28) and who is, indeed, just.

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Have No Anxiety – Meditation of the Studies in 1 Peter

Have No Anxiety – Meditation of the Studies in 1 Peter

So where do we find the gift of living without debilitating anxiety? Many say the answer is right here in these few verses from Philippians: it is taking everything to the Lord in prayer. But that is only so if something far more fundamental has happened first: we have come to trust the Lord and his love for us and are confident that when we pray he always hears and always answers. This is the assurance of Peter who says “cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you.” Anxiety diminishes as faith increases.

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Detachment and Trust – Meditation of the Studies in the Gospel of Luke

Detachment and Trust – Meditation of the Studies in the Gospel of Luke

It is only as we cling to these promises, and more importantly to the one in whom they find their “yes”, our Lord Jesus Christ, that we are able, in faith, to let go of the things of this world—whether it is material possessions, personal justice, or our idea of how our lives should end up, not because they don’t matter but because we trust that God is good and faithful, and because he is just.. Discipleship and obedience, particularly when it comes to teachings as challenging as these, are not ultimately about getting things right; they are about surrendering “to the Love that makes man fully alive” (Robert Barron).

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Clothed in Humility – Meditation of the Studies in 1 Peter

Clothed in Humility – Meditation of the Studies in 1 Peter

The word Peter uses which we translate “clothe yourselves” specifically calls to mind the tying on of a servants apron and Peter could not help but have in mind that moment at the last supper when his Lord tied on such an apron, knelt down, and washed his feet…This is the model of the humility that is meant to be the mark of Christian leadership: Jesus. We are to be like Jesus. We are to lead not by grasping and climbing but by stooping and serving. The humility we live is not found in thinking less of ourselves but, again as C. S. Lewis says, thinking of ourselves less.

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Called to Companionship – Meditation of the Studies in the Gospel of Luke

Called to Companionship – Meditation of the Studies in the Gospel of Luke

The truth is, we will all fail to obey Christ fully and fail to love others in the ways in which we are called to love them—sometimes in minor ways, other times epically. But at the end of the day, it is neither our successes nor our failures that determine our witness to Christ and his unfailing love. It is our relationship with him, for we cannot share whom we ourselves don’t know, nor can we give what we ourselves don’t have. To this end, it is striking that there is no apparent role given to the apostles at this point to distinguish them from the other disciples. They are simply to be “with” him, for the whole foundation of their ministry rests on this companionship: on identifying with and being shaped in relationship to Jesus’ life and mission.

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The Image of True Leadership – Meditation of the Studies in 1 Peter

The Image of True Leadership – Meditation of the Studies in 1 Peter

That image is captured in one word: Shepherd. Not a title of authority…but the humble role of one whose task is to serve the needs of those he oversees: to guard, protect, feed, and care for his flock…The shepherd is a servant of those whom he leads for their well -being. He lives with the sheep and is almost one with them. As Pope Francis has said, good shepherds always have “The odor of the sheep”.

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