Remember How Much Jesus Loves You Stay aware of God’s Love for you. God’s Love is unconditional. You can mess up and God is still there. Jesus continues to love. The Spirit speaks. You can live at a Spiritual Level of 10% — God loves and supports you. 30 or 40% — God cares for you. 60%, 80%, 90% — God is there. God cares for you.
Thankful in the Moment Friends, be present in your things you a thankful for. During this pandemic we have lost a lot, and I am not saying to give thanks for the loss and hurt, but as the pang is upon you, mindfully carry what you are thankful for. Have it at the ready. For whether you hurt (or not) you will find comfort and strength. For God gives good things, encouraging and strengthening us in many ways. My prayers are with you. -Jeff
Money: 1 Timothy 6:10 “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” 1 Timothy 6:10 NIV A verse often altered 3-ways: first, money is framed as the cause of all evil. Certainly evil and money are often yolked together for reasons of power, greed, and control. But money, a system of exchange for goods, knowledge, or services, is a tool to manage trade — and is not the foundation of all evil. Secondly, the covetous nature of loving money is simply overlooked, omitted, passed over. Loving money, or rather “craving” money becomes a means without God’s eternal plan in mind, placing money above allegiance to and fondness for God. Also, the trailing sentence is left out, imperceptibly, negating its ability to change people who need to grasp its warning. God wants us to be conscious of, in communication with, and dependent upon Him at all times. Beloved, I combine 1 Timothy 6:10 with Chapter 6 of Matthew, especially verses 31-33. You are cared for! -Jeff
Judging . . . Anyone Mark 4:24 Dear Ones – I note no end to the amount of judging happening in today’s world. Mark 4:24 declares to us the danger of how we, or ‘I’ process information. How we receive news, then act upon it will, in turn, give us our, — or give me -my’ — reward. What if I listen to one side of a story, then another tells their side and the two sides round out the issues quite a bit. If I act on one opinion only, my reward may not be what I am expecting since I am ignoring qualified opinions pertaining to the issues. Never forget there is a God who is a God of Justice and Truth. A God who gives right decisions and teaches us how to do the same. James, in verse 20 of chapter 1, says righteousness does not show in the works of human origins — we need to learn God’s thoughts. This follows verse 19 — be eager to listen, then measure your words and your anger. God knows we will judge issues — but we want to act in His manner. In Him, Jeff Consider Matt. 7:1-5, John 7:24 and Luke 6:36-37
"Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear." NASB
To the people near you . . . “give grace”.
Although this writing was for a church assembling together, I encourage you to apply this attitude wherever you go. Better yet — wherever you are; as God calls you to face an emptiness, longing, or sought-after confirmation within our living of this world.
I was extremely tempted to write about giving thanks but since a lot of people will be emphasizing thanksgiving I chose this. (But do be thankful for what you have. It always helps).
Be a giver of Grace. Not to horn-in on a conversation or control it; which is a great temptation.
Not to make sure you give the last word, having the last gotcha.
Only to bring a right-placed word, if needed.
In these “Covid times” a well-placed word might be wanted and needed. And you might be the right person to speak that word.
Jude is tucked away at the close of the New Testament, just in front of Revelation. When perusing through the Bible don’t blink or you’ll miss it. It is 1 chapter in length, sincerely compelling us to “contend for our Faith”. But the word “contend” is used in many translations. It is defined as an ongoing effort, a struggle — I think upwards or uphill against gravity like climbing a mountain, with thorn bushes and obstacles along the path — towards a goal. This goal is knowable, defined and is obtainable, reachable.
Jude’s unction for writing is to preserve a genuine Faith, the True Faith. Giving examples of how God rewards the faithful he then begins a laundry list of worldly ideas. Sometimes to know what it is we a talking about we take a look at what it is not. I wish we could do without this but to know the True Faith it is sometimes good to remind ourselves what to stay away from. This litany seems to drag on but verse 17 turns a corner.
In verse 20 you look to yourself and in prayer in the Holy Spirit you “strengthen” yourself. Do not turn aside but keep the goal in mind. Continue to tread towards the summit.
To carry this Faith you must know what the task is. And use the Faith you already possess. Could it be you are honing your Faith? Like a pilot of an airplane flying to a destination making course changes along the way. At takeoff the heading is established but nudges are needs to stay on course. The Faith is summed up pretty well in Matthew 5.
Another practical application in these Covid 19 times is to watch yourself and stay healthy. Watch how often you expose yourself to catching this disease or spread it to others. I live in New York State and Gov. Cuomo has become the herald for lowering the transmission of Covid. I applaud this attitude, others do not, which is their right to choose. But for you: you take responsibility for your health and the health of people around you.
The voids inside oneself from social distancing can become a time to deepen your relationship to God.
Evagrios the Solitary, also known as Evagrius of Pontus
Lived 346 – 399CE (disputable) as an early ascetic pioneer
Texts on Discrimination in Respect of Passions and Thoughts
Let us stand firm in the fear of God, rigorously practicing the virtues and not giving our conscience cause to stumble. In the fear of God let us keep our attention fixed within ourselves, until our conscience achieves its freedom. Then there will be a union between it [this freedom] and us, and thereafter it will be our guardian, showing us each thing that we must uproot. But if we do not obey our conscience, it will abandon us and we shall fall into the hands of our enemies, who will never let us go. This is what our Lord taught us when He said: ‘Come to an agreement with your adversary quickly while you are with him in the road, lest he hand you over to the judge, and the judge deliver you to the officer and you are cast into prison (Matt. 5:25). The conscience is called an ‘adversary’ because it opposes us when we wish to carry out the desires of our flesh; and if we do not listen to our conscience, it delivers us into the hands of our enemies.
Can you see we are at war with the adversary tiny? The “unseen enemy” is upon us. Watch our flanks. No, the enemy is directly ahead. It’s within our ranks, one of us has succumbed. What are we to do now. Don’t let down your guard.
CONSTANT VIGILANCE!!! (Thank you, Professor Moody.)
“The true contemplative is not one who prepares his mind for a particular message. . .” Thomas Merton
Thomas Merton is portrayed as owning a great joy. In Dialogues With Silence, a book of Merton’s writings and drawings, Jonathan Montaldo, editor, embodies Merton’s thoughts. And captures the “joy” surrounding Merton with Merton’s own words: