Journeying by the Power Of the Holy Spirit with Christ toward Restoration to Life with God
Author: Christy Clark
I am, as you are, part of God’s great story. Writing is my way of putting voice to the chapters of my story. I wrote my first little story in Braille in elementary and have loved writing poetry, articles, short stories and even newsletters ever since. I have always had the feeling I should write a book, but no idea has quite solidified yet. Should I write an autobiography, creative nonfiction, the first Systematic Theology Text by a Black female Methodist? What?? Time to try my hand at blogging!
So, as you know by now, my name is Christy! I am a mother to Shaun, who is 11. I am married to my high school sweetheart and we have a Terrior Puppy! All of us are life-long Californians!
Vocationallly, I am Minister Of Children, Youth & Young Families with Saint Mar, Los Angeles. Concurrently, I am working toward ordination in the United Methodist Church as an Ordained Deacon, called to word, service, justice and compassion ministries. As our children, youth and families grow in faith and receive the vital nurture they need to thrive, they will take their stories out into the street and be the bridge to Christ for a broken world who so strongly needs hope, love and healing. My Master’s In Divinity (M.Div.) from Fuller Theological Seminary (2015) and B.A. in Collaborative Health, Human Services and Public Policy/Social Work reflect my conviction that the Child Welfare System and policies of our nation must be overhauled and our children must be protected and defended and the church has a key role in making sure this work is done.
Much of my childhood was spent in foster care, and so I am dedicated to being the light especially for at-risk youth and young adult populations, but also for all of those whom God sends my way. In 1985 at the age of three, I lost my vision and I’m to this day partially sighted, so I also have a special need to serve as a light for those with physical disabilities who the world often pities and/or shuns. We give lip service to justice for all, including children, the disabled, people o( all sexual orientations and races, but this is not the reality in many cases. So, the fight is going strong for social, political economic and all other forms of justice in the world.
For this, my first blogging attempt, I will journey through Lent with you. Starting Wednesday, which is Ash Wednesday, and leading up to Easter, which falls on April 21 this year, I will post daily on my journey to the cross with Christ and you all. I post pretty regularly on Facebook and Instagram anyway and figure it is time to try my hand at blogging. This is also a spiritual discipline and a way to hold myself accountable to daily reflection on journeying with Christ. My goal is to provide you with solidarity, resources, which will help you along your journey and have a lot of fun in the process. I hope to hear from you as to what you think, what would be more helpful for you, and any prayer requests you may have. May God bless you today and always. Shalom! Thank
You made it! It is now July which means part one of this crazy year has bypassed us. God, I am grateful for the time you have given us, and I’m happy that that time is passing! I’m switching it up a bit today! Most of my posts tend to be serious. They are often ministry or scripture related or analyzing some social issue. Today, let’s make some healthy yet sweet dessert! it’s not Halloween or even fall, but I love pumpkin! My very very picky son even likes these pumpkin donut holes, so here we go!
These Pumpkin Donuts don’t taste like diet food and the texture is moist and satisfying, even though they are low in sugar, fat and high in protein…heaven!! This recipe is also a great way to enjoy a sweet treat while doing the 21 Day Fixprogram!
The perfect breakfast to start a crisp, fall morning! (I like to make up a double batch and have them ready to grab and go on a busy, work morning.)
Hint: You can also make these into full size donuts if you have a donut pan! Bake for 5-10 extra minutes and you’ll get a full size donut for about only 80 calories!
I do not sell for or technically endorse Beachbody and their products. I do still love plenty of them and will always be grateful for and 21 day fix and other programs and the coaches who got me back on track healthwise though. So, I’m still sharing! I would probably still recommend themI do nottechnically endorse Beachbody and their products. I do still love plenty of them and will always be grateful for and 21 day fix and other programs and the coaches who got me back on track healthwise though. So, I’m still sharing! I woul still recommend them
Greetings of peace, joy and solidarity! Today’s entry is actually a post I posted on Facebook. And Instagram. As you may know if you’ve been following the blog, I’m going through a Bible in a year project. I’m on is the book of Job at the moment. I always receive great inspiration and hope from this sometime is very dark and very disturbing book. The most powerful message is that God is always with us and for us. When life is suffocating and difficult, God is still working God’s will. I pray for all of us that as we continue living through this epidemic of COVID-19 as well as the epidemic of rampant racism and police brutality we remember that God is with us and for us. I pray for you. I pray for the souls of those who have been murdered. I pray for peace and assurance as well as the bestowing of hope upon those left behind. I pray for the police and lawyers and lawmakers that they would be given wisdom and hearts of compassion and justice according to the will of God. Amen.
BLACK LIVES MATTER
MotivationMonday – Black fathers are losing their wives, daughters and sons. Black daughters and sons are losing their fathers. Black mothers are losing their husbands and children. Black children are losing their mothers. Loss, murder, and countless numbers of tragedies and travesties befall people of all creeds and stations. #LordHelpUsAll.
Most authentically though, I speak from my own social location and to the issues burning most on my heart right now, which include the suffering and injustice perpetrated upon black bodies, minds and spirits.
I am a black daughter, mother, wife, sister, niece, aunt, friend, mentor, minister/teacher/preacher and advocate, and I want a better world for my people. We don’t know why horrific things happen and evil, power-hungry and vindictive people gain and maintain power. We wonder where God is in all of this and why setan is giving so much freedom to torment God’s people. We blame ourselves and we blame others and we seek solutions. Some of us are already in states of despair and some may be considering or have given into the temptation to self-destruct or comit suicide, because the pain is too much.
We’ve had enough for a very long time!!!!! I can’t answer your questions just like the book of Job doesn’t answer your questions, but I can help be the friends as they were at the end of chapter 2 before they started giving such fearful and condemning advice, they were good friends who sat silently with Job for seven days. I am with you not only for seven days but for as long as we need each other, which will be as long as there is life breath in you, because we are gods answers to each other’s prayers. As I read these verses from Job chapter 2, this is the message GOD put on my heart for you.
Greetings to you from this warrior mom, wife and minister of our Lord Jesus Christ! Today, the prophet and advocate in me is alive, well, and bursting to get out. So, here she is! To some extent or other, we’ve all had to struggle with locating and securing employment. In our society, it’s a struggle to obtain anything from housing to childcare to employment… If you happen to be “different“ that challenge is tenfold.
At some point and in someplace or other I have addressed issues such as sexism, racism, disability-ism, and more. Today, what is on my heart is to address the injustice those with visual impairments face when seeking employment. One day, employers and others in power and Without power will be able to look past surface differences and prejudices they have assuming they understand the abilities of others and the world will be a stronger, more just, well-rounded, truly inclusive and glorious place. When we look at each other, may we come to automatically ask ourselves “what unique ability and gift does this person have to contribute to my life or the lives of others?” It’s time we did more than give lip service to the reality that God has created all of us in gods own glorious image to bring God’s Kingdom to earth. Amen
From My Heart
I’ve had enough! 😞😫🤦♀️ I know I’m not the only one.
Yes, I have two B.A. degrees! Yes, I have a
M.A. (M.Div.) degree! Yes! I have experience working with diverse populations of children, women and men! Yes I am resourceful, creative, compassionate, determined and resilient! Yes, I am a skilled teacher, presenter, public speaker and will successfully pass any background screening you require. Yes, I have been trained in CPR/first aid. Yes! Yes! Yes! I meet and likely exceed most of your requirements and recommendations.
No, I DONT drive!.
“Oh, we’re sorry, although you sound like the perfect candidate, … this position, which does not require you to transport patients or anything else really requires that you have a valid driver’s license and a good driving record, so not hired!”
My sisters and brothers who have visual impairments, are deaf or hard of hearing, have speech challenges, perhaps struggle with learning disabilities or criminal records, know that I am with you and stand in solidarity with you. You are strong, courageous and beautiful and Waze many are in capable of seeing, yet be assured that God always sees.
Employers and boards/Committees may not even realize this is prejudice and discrimination, but in large part it is. When we fail to look beyond our own context and outside of our own boxes, we are acting according to fear, prejudice and comfort zones. God is the God of the marginalized and the demonized and the rejected. with God by our side, #WeShallOvercome #YouAreNotAlone
I’m not sure if there’s practice is UNORTHODOX, but I’m going to leave the hashtags in as they were in the FB and IG post I did earlier.
Come, Holy Spirit, come! As we with various abilities, gifts and graces bring them to the table, grant those in power and authority with your wisdom and vision for a kingdom which embraces all your children! May your peace, assurance and love accompany those of us fighting the fight to be excepted and loved for who we are and whose we are.with your wisdom and vision for a kingdom which embraces all your children! May your peace, assurance and love accompany those of us fighting the fight to be excepted and loved for who we are and who’s we are. Lord, you are making all things new even as we speak and you have rejected the oldest structures of oppression and domination. I pray to be part of the rebuilding of a more just society. We are tired and need your strength to hold us up and send us fourth.
Thank you, Lord, for your affirmations and your assurances. Thank you for being with us and loving us. Thank you for the will to continue to fight for ourselves and for all those who are marginalized and forgotten and left out. This world belongs to you, and so there is hope for justice to prevail. Thank you, Lord. In Jesus’name, Amen!
Psalm 88:11–13 another prayer for deliverance. Jesus made God‘s wonders known below the earth on that day! But we pray for deliverance, because we can only make God‘s wonders known by living since we are not Jesus.
Hold on sisters and brothers! The sun, the hope, the light, the joy and the promise is coming. Don’t rush it! The shadow, the pain, the isolation, the grief, the uncertainty and the feelings of abandonment only make the glory more intense. Are you able to sit here for the last moments of Holy Saturday (or revisit) and resist the temptation of rushing onto Resurrection Sunday? It’s difficult, but I’ve always found it enriching and helpful.
I have found that suffering does build character. It does build endurance. It does create a deeper capacity for compassion and empathy
So I started this blog with Psalm 6:6 and 88:11-13 as prayer of lament. For those who are, by chance, not feeling sorrow or pain, perhaps you can pray for those who are. Thanks be to God. Amen.
What Does Scripture Tell Us About Ehere Jesus was on Holy Saturday?
Not surprisingly, the Gospels tell us little, because the original disciples did not know where Jesus was on Saturday. They believed that he was in a tomb waiting to have his body prepared for burial. Then, it was discovered that his body had disappeared and they thought someone stole him. At this point in time we pause and experience their Fear, uncertainty and great grief. Good Friday was bad enough, and now this.
As we today fight this coronavirus pandemic and see life around us all but stopped, and as we fear for ourselves in our love ones, we experience some of the same emotions as we live the story we find ourselves in.
What I did to put together material for this blog is I searched the Internet. Big surprise! We find information in Matthew, John, Acts, Ephesians, Philippians, Hebrews, First Peter and First Corinthian’s.
Jesus Foretells What Must Happen
Just as the original apostles/disciples forgot, I had, too! I was happy to find this.
Oh yes, and John has a prediction as well! The dead who serve God and have faith in God yet who had died/fallen asleep before Jesus came to earth will hear Jesus his voice and live. He has gone to rescue those held captive. That part comes in a liter photo.￼
Peter cause us to repentance for the wall we played in Jesus being crucified and so part of good Friday is sitting in that repentance for that shared seven, and the continued sin. Peter speaks from his own place of humanity, because he was as close to Jesus as anyone could be and yet he denied Jesus three times. Lord, and your mercy!
Paul also supports the truth that Zjesus descended before he assented. Jesus had to descend from earth in order to ascend from earth since we know he did make appearances back on earth.￼
Jesus came as a human in order to overcome death on our behalf. He had to experience the entire human experience, which does include death, but then he went beyond that and stuff and give us eternal life! Thanks be to God! I can shower over but he had to Indore and I’m grateful that it was done.
And finally, Firdt
Peter is the scripture I found that the Catholics and Methodists, and probably other “protestants” agree is critical to understanding Holy Week. It talks about Jesus descending into hell to break the chains and set the captives free. This is a powerful statement, and if I think about it, I feel it even more poignantly, because it points out that Jesus was so far from heaven at this point.
People love the simple scripture that says, “Jesus wept” (John 11:35). The people who find comfort and reassurance in that scripture would likely find assurance from this passage. Only Jesus can do this: break her heart and heal them at the same time.￼
Until The Marrow
Jesus, I thank you for dying on the cross for us, for me! I love you because you first love me. You are the author of life and the finisher of our faith in the saver of our souls.￼ What amazing love and forgiveness. Grant us a restful night that we might wake up in the morning willing to praise you through the storm, through the separation and isolation and through our enemies who seek to seporate us from you. Speak to us through the scriptures that we may feels a full range of emotions from the disciples, to the early church all the way through to the current church. Help us bring other people into this Victorious story. In Jesus name we pray, amen!￼￼
“One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!” But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom. ”
Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.””
Father/Mother God, thank you for sending your only begotten son! He would not come down from the cross to save himself. He decided, O God, to die just to save me! May we learn to be so loving, so gracious, so courageous and so selfless. Change us, O God! Create in us clean hearts that we might truly be Christians who love selflessly, forgive endlessly and die to self purposefully as did the one we follow, Jesus the Christ. Amen
Story of Self (personal story)
Troubled, violent, bad-mouthed, out-of-control, hard-to- place! These are the words foster children hear carelessly and cruelly aimed at and about them. Apparently, I used to think, they also think we are death and dumb! When I was 16, I served time at McLaren Hall, which has since, thank the Good Lord, been closed. It wasn’t technically Juvey, but from what I gather, it wasn’t much better. At the time though, I didn’t know it was a harsh environment, because I was so used to abuse, it was only another form of the same. In fact, at least I was in a group institutional setting and the staff did not have as much time as foster parents had to home in on me. I was simply another case! Another teen with a bad attitude and a lack of gratitude for what the state had done for me. This makes me bleed for mercy upon the criminal on Jesus’ left. Some are blessed to find the light shining in the darkness, yet others can’t see, can’t rise and thus cannot hope. But for the grace of God go I.
That light for me came in the form of two female ministers who would come to McLaren to speak with the residents. Unlike most of the adults of my acquaintance, they seemed to see and hear us. They helped us find empowerment and constructive ways to voice and express our guilt, shame, rage and need for belonging.
In return, we gave them bad attitudes and disrespect. We challenged them, because we did not trust them or their God. If your God is real, tell him to give you something better to do and get us out of here! They warned us, as the man on the right reminded the man on Jesus’ left, not to test God, and to take responsibility for our own actions. We mocked them and God, at least I did, at least at first.
These women couldn’t save us or change us, or could they? Well, they, or rather, the Holy Spirit within them, did. I stand as a living testimony that God speaks through angels on earth, and years later, I give thanks to those ministers. We don’t know if the man on the left accepted Christ in the last moment, we are not told, and I do not know the fate of the teens I lived with at that time, but as the man on Jesus’ right, and as Jesus himself most of all caused many hearts to turn toward God, these women spoke power, truth and love into my story, and I have decided to ask Jesus to remember me when he comes into his Kingdom. Glory to God
Story of Us (scripture story)
Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, today, you will be with me in paradise.” Having seen experienced the cruelty and injustice humans were/are prone to, Jesus the Christ made this astounding promise. Bloodied and beaten, already bruised for our transgressions and abandoned by many of his disciples, Jesus made his way to the Cross. Jesus is guilty of a multitude of sins. You ask how? Or perhaps you already know. Jesus, the lamb of God, the scapegoat, the Son of David has agreed to take upon himself the sins of the world! How could he stand and walk? As difficult as the walk would have been anyhow following the abuse suffered and with the physical heaviness of that old rugged cross, those burdens would have, I believe, been nothing in comparison to what Jesus the Christ carried in his spirit and in his heart; the guilt of humanity throughout history. Stoically, Jesus went on. Without protest, Jesus was hung and nailed painfully to the cross. And here, we stop to consider, the criminals hanging with him.
The words of the criminal on the left remind me of the temptation of Satan when Jesus was in the desert after receiving Baptism. Satan challenged Jesus at that time saying, “If you are the son of God, jump from this cliff. Surely, God will not allow you to stub your toe on a rock.” Jesus responds to Satan, It is written “do not put the Lord your God to the test.” The criminal on the left is definitely putting God to the test, rather or not he sees God as his God, and he is trying to tempt Jesus Christ who has been pushed to extreme limits, yet Jesus does not respond. Thanks be to Jesus, for he chose not to come down from the cross.
The man on the right is no less a criminal, yet he has the one vital key to salvation: he knows he is a criminal who deserves no less than death, and yet in faith and repentance, he asks Jesus to remember him and his acknowledgement of Jesus as an innocent man. Jesus, remember me when you come into your Kingdom. We are all guilty and fall short of the Glory of God, but we pray nevertheless, Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.
We may not be able to see ourselves as worthy to sit in the seats of honor or even to enter the Kingdom. We may only ask to be remembered; remembered with compassion and perhaps affection. Yet Jesus offered the criminal on the right more. Jesus offered entry into that Kingdom. Jesus offered immediate words of forgiveness and absolution. Jesus offered immediate acceptance. He saw the heart of the criminal and Jesus sees your heart and mine!
We aren’t on the cross. Most of us aren’t on death Rowe or on a cross. Most of us are still carrying our crosses. At the same time, many of us are bearing the crosses of those who have fallen and stumbled, and some of those who have too many emotional and physical wounds to make it up life’s hills with the burden of their sins and decisions on their backs. So, we may understand a little of Jesus’ pain and understand our place in this grand story of love and sacrifice. Jesus’ has a message for us: don’t stop! Don’t let go! Just a little further! It hurts but letting go will hurt more and for longer.
Hold on my sister! Hold on my brother! Ask Jesus to remember you! Confess your crimes and acknowledge his sacrifice and the injustices done to him and countless of our powerless and marginalized sisters and brothers, and the reward may just be more than we dared hope. Jesus may turn to us and say, “today, tomorrow, whenever your time comes to end your race, you will be with me in Paradise.”
Story of Now (shared calling)
Today, we are under the shadow of coronavirus. We are not in physical churches, because we are under “shelter in place” and “stay at home” orders. Yesterday, we partook of the Lord’s Supper and observance, some of us, of Maundy Thursday, at home alone or a few family members or roommates. We hear the criminal on the left taunting us, “if you are the daughter, if you are the son of God, get down and save yourself and save us.” We have, I hope ignored that lying voice of self-centeredness, faithlessness and pride. I have heard louder the voice of my Savior saying, truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise” because you have run a good race and stood firm until the end. Jesus sees my bad temper and cabin fever, and he loves me anyway. He sees every fear we allow to control us, and he loves us anyway. He is waiting for us to see our wrong-doings, confess we deserve nothing good and once we empty ourselves, we may be welcomed by him.
I don’t know how much longer I, an extrovert, and all the rest of us, will be forced to shelter in place. I do know we are invited to ask Jesus to come into our shelters and be our shelter. If we are homeless, Jesus wants to be our shelter. We have the opportunity to come out of this a more just, humble, merciful, faithful and loving community. But are we willing? We will overcome. This is my prayer.
Holy God of love and life, we are gathered from around the word via technology. We thank you for this virtual community as well as our physical communities. We thank you for the example of the criminal on the right and the criminal on the left. May we be more like the man in the middle; more like Jesus, the Christ! Thank you for the graciousness and mercy of Jesus Christ. Infuse us with the Spirit that we may come through these current struggles stronger, more faithful and ready to be instruments of healing and peace. We love you. We pray all this and more in the name of Jesus Christ by the Power of the Holy Spirit, giving you, O God, all the glory and honor forever, Amen!
Greetings of fellowship and peace, today, we celebrate the #LastSupper. Jesus ate in the presence of his friends and his enemies. This is community on earth for better or for worse. We are called to bring healing and reconciliation the best we can with many as we can. Holy Spirit, impart the grace, mercy, wisdom and sacrificial nature of Jesus to each of us. Amen!
Jesus knew at the Passover feast that Judas would betray him. Who won broke bread with, especially the Passover meal, would’ve been a big deal in a big declaration, and yet Jesus made it for the one who betrayed him as well as those who did not. We are remember Judas, Thomas and Peter most specifically, because Scripture tells us of the ways they turned their back on Jesus. Still, they aren’t likely the only disciples who stumbled, and that the one of us who have never stumbled be the first one to cast the first stone. I find it more therapeutic and healing to discover when I have been Judith. That teaches humility and wisdom, and empowers me to move forward and never seen in quite the same way again by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Tonight, I don’t wanna focus on the disciples, though. I want to focus on Jesus and his actions. Jesus broke bread symbolizing the breaking of his body and just hours now. He poured and drink the blood, symbolizing the pouring out of his blood for us in hours from now. He predicts his death and that he would not drink or eat with the disciples again until he returned and then they go to the mount of olives. Jesus lead the action as Jesus leads to the church today. If Jesus is not the head of the church, we are not the body. Let us choose tonight, tomorrow and forever more to be the body of Christ with Christ at the head.,, Holy Spirit, come! Thank you that you hear our prayers! Amen!￼￼
Now, after finish prepping for tomorrow Good Friday service! Yes, #GoodFriday! it is not good because we are good! It is not good because the disciples were good. It is good because we have the promise of eternal life through faith in Jesus Christ if only we would take hold of the promise and clean fast to the promise. Good God who loves us so much that he came in the form of a helpless human child, grew up as a human boy and died The criminals death we all deserve. He for gave us! He pleaded for mercy and grace to be given to each of us. We pray that we all believeregardless of our sins Would be forgiving and excepted into the family. This is why Friday is good.
Tomorrow at noon, we will host a special worship and I’ll include the YouTube link below for any who want to view. I preach on Luke 23:43:
Greetings of peace and hope! Happy Passover to my Jewish friends. We are all tight together in the circle of life and I am eternally grateful for the Jewish people throughout history who have done so much to stand for justice and equality for everyone. As I write this line, I am thinking back to the interfaith dialogue’s I attended every year in seminary. I am thinking back on human history and I am thinking of my connection with Clergy-Laity United for Economic Justice (CLUE). In this group welcome clergy and lady from our faith traditions United for purposes of justice bed for youth, and the immigrant, the imprisoned, the ethnic minority, etc. Thanks be to God for such connection, commitment and unity.
Warning of Persecution – Matthew 24:9-10
“Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other,” (Matthew 24:9-10 NIV).
This prediction almost immediately proved to be true. The nature of Biblical prophecies is that each usually has an immediate and a future fulfillment. They are also true to the nature of God as revealed in history. The prophet Daniel especially comes to mind especially since I chose the image of the lion, as women who especially endeared and persecution because of his God. We’ve seen it throughout history until this day. Jesus in most of his disciples were killed in hideous ways.
Lord grant us the strength, courage, faith and wisdom to stand strong when we are challenged to publicly Profess our love and faith in you no matter the cost. It may cost us reputation, employment, freedom or even our lives, but all of those gifts belong to you anyhow, and maybe be able to interest them back into your hands if they are demanded of us. Amen!
Warning to Be Ready & Stat Ready
This current crisis has made it blatantly apparent apparent that many of us were not ready for cOVID-19 or anything of its magnitude. We weren’t ready emotionally, because everyone panicked. We weren’t ready physically, maybe, because we didn’t have emergency kit and food supplies stocked up. And some of us are good even months into this thing without having to take any extraordinary shopping trips. It’s hard to know when we’re ready and we were unnecessarily fearful and panicked and that goes into the whole emotional readiness factor. Each of us need to evaluate regularly what our emotional, spiritual as well as physical readiness is.
I hope that you feel prepared and ready to finish coping with this epidemic, and I hope you have r you areemaining connected with God who is the source of our strength.
“Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour” (Matthew 25:13 NIV).
No, don’t look at the time I post these blogs or you will come to the wrong conclusion regarding my timeliness and readiness. LOL! All of us run out of supplies or forget things we need at times, but God wants us to make sure that we are spiritually ready when he comes back. as we journey with Christ to the cross now, we are required to have open hearts and open minds, seek justice, love mercy and have faith. These things are what it means to be ready. And well the five who had enough oil refused to share with the five who didn’t out of fear or concern that they would not have enough, but that same fear not stop us here in today from doing everything we can to get others ready so that at the crucial point, everyone who wants to be ready will be ready.
Lord, help us be ready for your return and for you to take us to be with you at all times and every place. Amen.
Woe to the Blind Guide
These woes deal so much with hypocrisy, misleading teachings, pride and greed. For some reason, this segment is what jumped out at me. The section of scripture is called “Woe to blind guides” and it talks about how the teachers of the law and religious leaders have missed the point entirely in our misleading the people. They do things like worshiping the altar instead of the lamb, Jesus Christ, on the altar. Today, we might say worshiping the church building instead of the one who caused us to be church. We need to go deeper and deeply understand who it is we worship and why we worship in order that we do not lead astray the people.
“Therefore, anyone who swears by the altar swears by it and by everything on it. And anyone who swears by the temple swears by it and by the one who dwells in it. And anyone who swears by heaven swears by God’s throne and by the one who sits on it” (Matthew 23:20-22).
First, there’s the issue with the swearing in any case, as we are told in Scripture that we should let our yes be yes and our no be no, and not swear, because we have no power to make anything happen or not happen, it is all by the power and grace of God. This also seems to be warning against idolatry and materialism, because Coveting and loving objects does most definitely distract us from worshiping God. In my own life, I see the current stage is being a time of pruning. It’s pretty painful! I hope you’re coping well. I hope at the end of this and even through this God is being praised and thanked, because God never makes a mistake or Misstep.
So, A Closing Blessing
Father God, help us stay ready, protect us from the temptation of greed and idolatry and shortsightedness, Help us endure until the end. We don’t understand your message or your timing, but we know that the world is in your hands and we ask that you grant us the faith in the insurance to walk in the truth as we run, walk, crawl and sometimes fall on the way to the cross with Jesus Christ. Amen!
Greetings of peace and hope! Yesterday, on Holy Monday, I told you I would name today/Tuesday #TellTheTaleTuesday. Instead, I have dubbed it #TellTheTruthTuesday In honor of the refrain “truly I tell you…” occurs here in Matthew 25 as well as throughout the Gospels. May the truth of the word of God guide your life today and every day.
Please read the entire Scripture passage by clicking the Button below to open the scripture in a new tab.
I hope we are able as a community to rejoice when we are the sheep, repent when we are the goats, and ask for the Holy Spirit to increase the frequency which with which we identify with this sheep, and Eradicate those times we are or are tinted to be the goats. May justice and mercy guide your life today and every day along your journey.
Sheep on the Right & Goats on the Left
As we journey to the cross, it is vital that we realize we serve a God of action; not in action. Many times we think it is OK or sufficient to avoid doing harm not realizing that in non-action itself often causes harm in matters of justice and social well-being. So, here we are given a contrast of good versus evil, action versus in action, Justice versus apathy and right versus left.
I’m a United Methodist, and in the beloved words of our founder, John Wesley, let’s say it together!
Just recently, one of the social justice agencies I am a part of hosted and event where they went to Los Angeles City Hall and honk their horn‘s for release of immigrants, and I wasn’t able to attend. I don’t drive so I miss out on a lot of these sorts of events but what I could do and it therefore I do is post on social media, talk to friends and family about it and pray. Those are things almost all of us are able to do. In my apartment, we’ve spent entire days clearing out our closet of perfectly good clothes that we will not wear to donate to shelters and clothing closets. We don’t have much money, but both my husband and I have been known to buy food or donuts for those in need in our neighborhood and drop spare cash and change when we could. Getting around is difficult, but I am really good at technology and I love doing research and writing and composing letters, so I often do those for family, friends, church and other places.
I’m not tooting my own horn. What I’m doing is showing that being a sheep requires only that we have open hearts and minds, are willing to love our neighbors, think outside of the box and commit to following Jesus.
No, I’m not always a sheep, and I don’t think any of us always are. Lent is a time for confession, so although you may not look up to me anymore after I confess, I will model what we all need to do regularly. I frequently lose my temper with my husband and son, which may not seem like a deadly sin, but it is. It is not loving. I’ve been guilty of passing judgment on homeless people or on immigrants because I don’t understand them and haven’t always wanted to. That is unjust and unloving.not Loving. So not surprisingly, my goat qualities aren’t popping to the forefront right now, but I have them in God knows! I can be self-centered, angry, fearful and anxious, lazy and unmotivated, and abrupt. Create in me a clean heart, Lord, and help me to have the spirit of Jesus. Amen!
What Does Jesus Say to/about His Faithful Sheep?
This is the perfect time to ponder when we have done good to Jesus through doing good to those Jesus died for.
What are some ways you can clothe the naked, feed the hungry, visit/communicate in writing with the sick or the imprisoned during this time?
When we do all we can for as many as we can however we can for as long as we can, when we asked Jesus when we showed love to him, he will tell us that we did our holiest and most just work when we served the needs of the least amongst us.
We Don’t Want to Hear….
The opposite of the blessing, which is the curse. When the judgement comes, it is too late to change our actions. FEAR NOT, for if you are reading this, you have time. I have time! Though, None can know how much.
Holy spirit, please help me where I am weak, help us were we are weak and have failed to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the sick and imprisoned, provide for the widow and orphan and immigrant in our midst. Amen! Please help us so that we do not hear the rebuke
Whenever we have not been just, merciful and loving to other people, animals and even creation, we have not been just and loving to God. As we continue this journey toward the cross, I pray that we think more about this and about ways we might still change and thus change the world.
UNTIL NEXT TIME
May God bless you for all the good you have done in the world and all the good you will do. May God remove any tendency we have to overly criticize ourselves for what we have not done as well as remove any pride so may have for what they have done. May the glory be given to God always in in all places for our victories. Our victory is in Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit granted us by God. May God protect you and hold you up as you continue toward the cross and Contuie following the light and love of Jesus Christ and the cloud of witnesses and disciples in his wake. Amen!
Greetings of peace, love and hope! I hope you are finding you are continuing to stay on the sunny side of life as the rain and clouds continue to make life messy. In these challenges of “Shelter in Place” and covid-19, there are opportunities to love a little deeper and shine a little brighter as the reflections of God’s life we are called to be. Perhaps it helps and motivates and emboldens you as it does me to remember that Jesus, a flesh and blood man, was headed facing his own challenges this time so many years ago. Let us take up our crosses and follow our commander and champion.
Throughout this week, I will post daily as your journeying partner.
MONDAY – Today, Holy Monday, I aim to motivate you with pointing out how Jesus is the light and direction. Jesus has told us how to remain strong. So, we will focus on the light of Christ, and the greatest commandments of Christ Today.
TUESDAY – Tomorrow, on Holy Tuesday, we will explore some of the paribles Jesus told in the Temple of Jerusalem as he continued to prepare the people for his coming crucifixion and resurrection. I am calling tomorrow “TellTheTaleTuesday.
WEDNESDAY – On Holy Wednesday, we will observe what I am calling #WoesAndWarningWednesday. In Jerusalem, Jesus reprimands the prople–especially the religious leaders and teachers of Jewish law– for dishonoring the spirit if not the letter of the Mosaic Law. Since knowledge is power and sometimes ignorance causes us to sin, Wednesday will be spent exploring the follies we fall into and will avoid when we full-heartedly follow Jesus and by the power of the Holy Sprit.
THURSDAY – Thursday is called Maundy Thursday. On this day, we celebra the Last Supper in remembrance of the Supper Jesus celebrated with his disciples before his crucifiction, so I invite you to reflect on this event with me.
FRIDAY – Good Friday is the day we commemorate the crucifiction of Jesus Christ. It is good, because without Jesus’ willing death on our behalf, we would have no hope of eternal life. So, we will pause to remember, reflect and repent on Friday.
SATURDAY – Saturday is vital though it seems to be a day we often overlook. It is a day people set up their Easter Egg Hunts and make last-minute preparations for Sunday Festivities. People cook, play and engage in other activities. I mean to condemn noone. Jesus came to save the world; not com=ndemn the world. My aim is to make us findful of the fact that on Holy Sunday, Jesus is fighting the forces of death and damnation, and rescuing the souls of the prophets and other faithful persons who had already died. It is a day of silence, because the disciples did not yet understand this, and only knew their leader and beloved teacher was gone and their hopes with him. Even once the apostles and Early Church understood, we they observed the silence of Jesus’ desension. So, I will find a way to help us reflect upon this time of silence and seporation of Jesus from God. Jesus died that we might live and live abundantly.
SUNDAY – That rest and silence empties us for the joy of the Resurrection of Christ on Resurrection Sunday/Easter. We will rejoice on that day. Come rejoice and give thanks with me on that day, and share with me how you and yours celebrated!
Motivation Monday: Love and Light
Before we are strong enough to not only carry our own crosses and help carry those of others, we must recieve the mental, spiritual and physical nourishment for the journey. Am I right? Scripture gives us the spiritual nourishment and armor. Jesus reveals that he is the Light and the way back in John 3:16. Here, in John 12:46, he re-affirms he is the Light, and when we commit to keeping our eyes upon him, we will get where we want to go.
Jesus is the Light. Jesus sheds light on those behaviors, attitudes and heart conditions most pleasing to God! In the Jerusalem Temple, he is asked what the greatest command is. He answers not only with the greatest, but adds a second command, which actually is a second part of the whole. Jesus sheads light upon the truth that we cannot love God with our whole being without loving our neighbor.
“Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?” Jesus replied, “‘You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments” (Matthew 22:36-40, NLT). https://www.bible.com/bible/116/mat.22.36-40.nlt
Especially now, I am mindful that the most powerful demonstration of our love for God is our love, service, mercy and kindness to our fellow human-beings. Love is the only light, which will bring us through this epadimic stronger and more whole than ever before. Without love, we will make it through, but we will be broken and destitute. Love, my sisters and brothers! Love! Love, as Jesus practiced it, is emotional, yes, yes, it is also active and consistant. It gives to each what she or he needs. In this way, LOVE! And may that love come back to you in abundance!
Jesus Christ, thank you for being love and light. Thank you for coming to brighten and straighten the path for us on this journey to the cross. We need you, O Lord, to be with us. Heal us Lord, and empower us to be the healing force for those around us. You know our prayers, our sorrows and our fears. Lord, take our sorrows and fears and transform them into hope and faith. May your faith and love infuse us, Lord Jesus. When the sick, homeless, orphan, imprisoned and immigrant see us, may they see you. We love you! Amen!
Greetings of peace and hope: I hope you acknowledge the blessing of being here and being functional in this moment. Because I am here, I am here for you. Please feel free to leave any prayer requests in the comments below. because there is so much information and false information out there, I’ve been inspired to provide a list of resources I’ve found helpful, and have been recommended by both governor Gavin Newsom and congresswoman Maxine Waters among others. As I said, these are resources I have personally found helpful. Now, I know some of you are beyond the borders of California. Some of these resources are national. Let us all use our powers of reason, experience and intuition to discern the best resources for ourselves, our families and our communities.
My prayer is that the resources you see here help direct your searches for information. My prayer is that what you find here helps you relax and control aspects of your environment, which will grant you a greater sense of peace and purpose. My hope is that you will lean into God for true healing, and lean into the understanding that God has granted certain people gifts and graces to get us through this time. Those gifted people include you. Never forget that.
And at the last, remember Jesus’ parting words to his disciple which include the promise that he will always be with them. When Israel was still going through their trials and tribulations, not that they’ve ever fully stop in during hardships, the prophet Isaiah spoke to them words of comfort. No, God would not remove all of the trials and tribulations and consequences, but God would be present in them. Take piece from Isaiah 43:2
“When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.” Isaiah 43:2 NLT);
Father God, thank you for your blessing that when we are going through the waters, you are right there with us. Thank you for holding us up and giving us yet another day. May we be granted the power, wisdom, strength and endurance to be your hands and feet in a world filled with darkness in pain. We pray for those who are ill, those who heal and those who have no hope. Please protect our children, our homeless, our orphaned and our widowed. May we embrace the marginalized instead of demonizing them and pushing them even further away during this time. Remove our fear, O Lord! ￼May we convey to the world that you are the help and you have overcome all death and disease, even the coronavirus. amen! ￼￼