Lamp Unto My Feet
When I think of the story of Jesus feeding the 5000 with fives loaves of bread and two fish, and after all had eaten, there were twelve baskets of food left uneaten, I wonder at the bounty of God’s earth and the goodness of mankind.
All too often we do not see those who are hungry; when we have our fill, we throw away anything left, unable or unwilling to share. I prefer to think that we are thoughtless; if we remembered those in need, we would share. Isaiah dares us to lift up our eyes and see, see what is around us, see who is around us, see the need in our society.
I remember watching early television in the 1950s with my father. There was a program called “Lamp Unto My Feet.” I now realize that this is the opening line of Psalm 119. The show demonstrated how everyday men and women would seek out those in need, bringing them into the lighted path of God.
Perhaps, we need to revisit this program to revitalize our concern for others. We need to give our free time to helping those in need, and we need to support the organizations that devote their energies to seeking out those in need and sharing God’s bounty with them.
Love for our Neighbors
I have been thinking a lot about love. Love of God, love for others, love of myself. God loves us all, no matter who we are. He grace and compassion for us are unmatched by anything we may do. We can only try to match our efforts to His will.
We must not only care for the stranger, care for the neighbor, but love him, nurture him as needed. Jesus lived among the poor and oppressed, lifting them up to walk in the light of God. This angered the leaders of Israel; can we dare do the same? I believe it is our duty, to follow Jesus and care for those less fortunate than we are.
Recently, many organizations and individuals stepped up to help feed those locked out of jobs during the government shutdown. This is doing God’s will; but we cannot stop just because the shutdown has ended. More people need our love and kindness.
To be like Jesus, we must look to the peripheries of society to see those our leaders are blind to. We cannot blame the poor for their plight. They are poor because jobs are closed off to them; they cannot get jobs that pay well enough so that they can live.
It is time for us to rise and shine as we walk in God’s light. We must share the glory of god with all people . . . ALL people.
Be Joyful in the Lord
One of my favorite psalms is Psalm 100, which is one of the meditations for today. I love the words, “Be joyful in the Lord;” they have meant so much to me over the past few years. I have entered his gates with thanksgiving and received unbelievable and unexpected blessing.
There is no place in my life that I am without the light of God shining on me. Being a prayer minister, I have been blessed when sharing prayers with people who are struggling in portions of their lives. I have many new friends in the international prayers groups I have joined that have expressed a need for prayer. I have always included these friends, even if I have not responded to their calls directly.
The Spirit of the Lord is within all of us, if we take the time to listen. God teaches us many things in our lives, all of which leads to goodness. I pray that the paths that we all walk will be in the shining light we are blessed with. “For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting.”
Living Together as Family – January 28, 2019
Psalm 133 includes the following: “. . . how good and pleasant it is, when brethren live together” and ends with, “For the Lord has ordained the blessing, life for evermore.” These words of King David upon the union of Israel, have great meaning in today’s world.
If we accept God as strength, we need no other defense against those who try to oppress us. He is the only defense we need. If we believe that God’s ways are the ways of truth and grace, then His path is the one we must follow.
I have always said that I love all people, even those I disagree with. I don’t care how obnoxious or evil one is, he is also a child of God, only he has lost his way. He deserves to be loved as much as someone who is kind and loving. He is one that Jesus referred to as the least of these.
We must take the role of complete adoption of this idea, if we want the world to be a better place. Anger and violence only create more anger and violence. Oppression leads to exclusion, poverty, hunger, and a number of other negative factors that we are taught to correct. Only our greed (and fear) keeps us from this.
My wife rebukes me sometimes when I refer to a stranger as dear or brother. But I always am rewarded by a smile and often a hug. Isn’t this God’s way? “Oh, how good and pleasant it is when brethren live together in unity.”
What is our Mission?
Our purpose is to share the glory of God. This is a message that rings throughout the world; if we listen for it. We are one body in our relationship with God. Yet, we are many, sharing our stories and sharing our lives. We are brothers and sisters; we are friends and relatives. All are under the grace of God.
In Luke’s story, Jesus said that the spirit of the Lord was within him and he was with us to bring the glory of God to mankind. We should be able to do as much. We may not have the power and knowledge of Jesus, but we can share God’s glory, just by being friends to all, helping all where needed, feeding each other with the bounty of Earth and the grace of God.
Sarah Bessey, author of Jesus Feminist, said, “Set out, pilgrim. Set out into the freedom and the wandering. Find your people. God is much bigger, wilder, more generous, and more wonderful than you imagined.” This is a similar call; we must go and bring God’s majesty to those we meet, not by being street corner prophets, but by our willingness to help each other, care for each other, and love each other, just a God wishes.
Be Strong in the Lord
We are so conditioned by our society, that to accept the strength of God to guide us can be difficult. I am no exception. I am retired; I believe that I am in His hands, but I worry that what I have save for this retirement will last. My faith tells me that I must be strong in the Lord; He will provide.
In my lifetime, I have recovered from several physical traumas, due to accidents of various kinds, and one mental trauma, due to a failed business as a result of a drunk driver. Each time, I have risen to the challenge with the help of God and a very strong faithful wife. I have much to give thanks, for the Lord has shown mercy on me.
I testify to His power often; I want others to understand that they, too, can be lifted up by God. I was raised with faith, and even though I turned my back on faith for a time, I know that faith had just become dormant in me, until I was prepared to accept my true self and my true relationship to God and those loved ones around me.
In the words of the Psalmist, “I sing to the Lord.” He is my strength.
Spirit of God in Us
Matthew 10: 16 offers these words of challenge from Jesus: “Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.” God wants us to discard the pretense and appearance of this selfish me-oriented life and asks us to walk in the strength and confidence of his light. This will set us free to treat others with respect and love.
We are not walking in the righteousness of God when we allow our government to disregard the needs of the people. This is especially hurtful during this unnecessary shutdown, which is hurting, not only the 800,000 federal workers, but the over 1 million contract workers that will not get back pay. Our government is forcing them to suffer needlessly.
If we are to walk in God’s light, as many of our political leaders say they do, then we cannot allow this suffering to continue. Jesus taught us to care for those in need. We are not doing this. Our laws are not righteous; they are designed to assist those who in the end persecuted Jesus.
If we love God, we must love those who suffer. If we do not love those who suffer, then we cannot love God. God’s spirit is within us; I pray that we can demonstrate this in our daily actions.