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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The Heart of the Law – Meditation of the Studies in the Gospel of Luke

The Heart of the Law – Meditation of the Studies in the Gospel of Luke

Jesus’ question to the Pharisees and Scribes serves not only as a challenge to those present, but also to us who, likewise, are called to know and reflect the heart of God to one another and in the world around us. Notice that he leaves no room for a middle ground: one either does good or does harm; one either saves a life or destroys it—and this in reference to a man whose condition was not life-threatening or even necessarily urgent. The uncomfortable truth with which we are confronted in this is that, in the face of suffering and human need, there is no neutral position. We either do good or we do harm; we either save a life or we destroy it—and the decision we make in this matter is the ultimate reflection of whether or not we have understood the heart of God’s law and are obedient to it.

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Rejoicing in Suffering – Mediation of the Studies in 1 Peter

Rejoicing in Suffering – Mediation of the Studies in 1 Peter

This confidence is captured in the beautiful last verse of our quoted passage: “Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will do right and entrust their souls to a faithful Creator.” William Barclay tells us that the word we translate “entrust” is a technical term for depositing money with a trusted friend: “In the ancient days there were no banks and few really safe places in which to deposit money. So, before a man went on a journey, he often left his money in the safe keeping of a friend. Such a trust was regarded as one of the most sacred things in life. The friend was absolutely bound by all honour and all religion to return the money intact.” (Barclay, James and Peter, p.261) Then he adds this truth: “If a man entrusts himself to God, God will not fail him. If such a trust is sacred to men, how much more is it sacred to God.”

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Put Out Into the Deep! – Meditation of the Studies in the Gospel of Luke

Put Out Into the Deep! – Meditation of the Studies in the Gospel of Luke

This is what he wants for all of his disciples, to draw us into complete reliance on and trust in him. He wants for us to put out into the deep, to leave everything behind and surrender our whole lives to him—our hopes, our dreams, our wounds and weariness, all of it—in order that give all of himself to us. And in order to do that, he very often has to poke and prod at precisely those areas where we are most wounded, most weary. But he does not do so out of callousness; he does so out of love, so that he might pour his unfailing love into those areas of our lives and we might experience his abundant life.

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