Sunday, October 15, 2017

When Listening is Not Enough

Luke 6:46-49 (NRSV): When Listening is Not Enough
[Jesus said,] “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I tell you? I will show you what someone is like who comes to me, hears my words, and acts on them. That one is like a man building a house, who dug deeply and laid the foundation on rock; when a flood arose, the river burst against that house but could not shake it, because it had been well built. But the one who hears and does not act is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the river burst against it, immediately it fell, and great was the ruin of that house.”
Some proclaim Jesus as Lord but do not act on His teachings. It is an easy thing to do. We can profess ourselves as followers of Christ, but when it comes time to love -- that which Jesus says is our identifier in the word -- we gossip, judge, and ostracize. But Jesus calls us to something much greater than the habits of sin. He calls us to Himself, to follow His way, and to build the foundation of our character on Him.
To illustrate true faith, a faith that is lived out in Christian love, Jesus presents the parable of a house builder. The builder who digs deeply and constructs his house on a foundation of solid rock -- Jesus and His teachings -- builds a house that is unshakable against the floods of hardship. But Jesus warns His would-be followers who live lives of inaction:
But the one who hears and does not act is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the river burst against it, immediately it fell, and great was the ruin of that house.
Being a Christian means putting Jesus at the center, heart, and foundation of our lives. More than this, however, Jesus calls us to not only listen but act. For disciples are agents of loving action in the world. Our discipleship is to follow the way of the Master, the way of love and mercy toward all people.
Heavenly Father, please give us the grace to place Your Son at the foundation of our lives. In doing this, strengthen us to become agents of Christ’s love in the world. We ask this in Jesus’ name, amen.  
Have a blessed week!

Stan

Sunday, October 8, 2017

When we Persist in Prayer

Luke 18:1-8 (CEV): When we Persist in Prayer
1 Jesus told his disciples a story about how they should keep on praying and never give up . . . The Lord said: “Won’t God protect his chosen ones who pray to him day and night? Won’t he be concerned for them? He will surely hurry and help them. . .”
I find comfort in prayer. Peace and calm accompany calling God to mind and offering myself to Him -- my celebrations, my struggles, my faults. But often, I wonder if my prayers are heard. This happens especially when I struggle with a decision or problem. Trust in God and persistence, however, are key when it comes to prayer.
In commenting on the above passage, the writer David McCasland reminds us what prayer is and is not:
Prayer is not a means of coercing God to do what we want. It is a process of recognizing His power and plan for our lives. In prayer we yield our lives and circumstances to the Lord and trust Him to act in His time and in His way.
The lesson Jesus teaches us in this parable is to keep at it. Prayer requires tenacity and trust. We are to abandon ourselves to God’s will and care, knowing that His time and ours are not the same.
O God, may we all feel Your presence and blessings in our lives, knowing that in our persistent prayer we are to trust and yield, not coerce. We pray in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
Have a blessed week!

Stan