Wednesday, June 20, 2001
The writer makes a good point today. Having the Holy Spirit speak through you doesn't necessarily mean speaking an unknown language or making grand prophetic statements. When I comfort a friend even though I don't know what to say, the Spirit speaks through me. When I speak in God's defense, his Spirit speaks through me. All those hundreds of years ago, God spoke through Moses to give the Law to his people. How appropriate, then, that on the anniversary of that date God grants the privilege of speaking his word to all of us who ask to be filled with his Spirit.
posted by Susanna King 10:25 AM
Friday, June 15, 2001
Unlike the FDBD writer, I don't think Jesus regretted what he did or acted irrationally. I think he was displaying righteous anger and trying to help these people. There's a difference between anger that leads to sin and righteous indignation. When I read how Saddam Hussein refused to accept a change in UN sanctions that would help feed his starving people, that made me angry. Injustice, poverty, oppression, hypocrisy: I think God wants us to be angry about these things rather than shrug our shoulders and say, "That's just the way things are." The kind of righteous anger Jesus exhibited led him to make a change for the better, and the same emotion can spur us on as well. I can't think of a simple way to delineate between "good" and "bad" anger, except to pray about it, and maybe to say that the "good" kind of anger leads you to make positive changes, while the "bad" kind leads you to hurt yourself or others.
posted by Susanna King 12:07 PM
Tuesday, June 12, 2001
It's easy to think of Jesus having mercy on the poor, but what about the rich? Let's say the story of Zacchaeus took place in modern times and it was Bill Gates who sought him out. I think many of us would be as skeptical of Jesus' choice of company as the people in this passage were. But this reminds us of an important lesson: Jesus comes "to seek out and to save the lost," (vs. 10) regardless of their financial status or past sins or social standing.
posted by Susanna King 9:00 PM
Friday, June 08, 2001
Today's lesson is an obvious one, but one that bears remembering. "All who exalt themselves will be humbled, but all who humble themselves will be exalted." (vs. 14) There are religions out there like Sokka Gakkai and Scientology which teach that you deserve a certain amount of success, it's your right, so you should take pride in your position and possessions as a sign that you are a good, righteous person. Followers of these religions claim that Christianity is about believing that you're a "miserable sinner" and deserve nothing. They are right in a sense, but they are missing the point. Righteousness isn't about outward wealth, it's about closeness to God. It's not about having the most stuff, it's about knowing you are loved and forgiven unconditionally. Sometimes God blesses us with material things, and sometimes he gives us spiritual blessings. But to deny that he's the one who gives them to us is to be like the Pharisee in this story, and you can see what Jesus said about him in verse 14.
posted by Susanna King 10:29 AM
Thursday, June 07, 2001
"Then Jesus told them a parable about their need to pray always and not to lose heart." (vs. 1) Hmmm... I'm beginning to sense a theme here. When I'm feeling worn-out and overwhelmed like I was yesterday, sometimes I forget to pray. I just can't seem to find the time to stop and bring my troubles to God. I tell myself, "OK, after I finish the errands and start dinner and get one more page done and check my email, then I'll pray." And then I forget. But this passage says to "pray always," not just when it fits into my schedule. It doesn't take that long, it's not going to disrupt my day to just take a moment to spend with God. Quite the opposite, in fact. "And will not God grant justice to his chosen ones who cry to him day and night?" (vs. 7) The message of this parable is persistence and constant prayer. Let's see if I can manage to hammer that into my head and pray constantly throughout the day today!
posted by Susanna King 9:56 AM
Wednesday, June 06, 2001
The last verse of this passage is really hard to understand, and I'd try but I'm too tired now. Today, I'm feeling pretty worn out. I'm tired of worrying about what will happen tomorrow and where I'll be working a month from now. Worrying is very tiring. So it's a relief to me to read "Those who try to make their life secure will lose it, but those who lose their life will keep it." (vs. 33) It meshes well with what I was reading about earlier today in The Prayer of Jabez: "...that your hand might be with me." (I Chronicles 4:10) It's times like this when it is a comfort to know that God's strength will support me beyond what I am capable of alone. For this, I gladly give up the security of controlling with a steel grip the path my life will take tomorrow and the next day.
posted by Susanna King 10:10 PM
Monday, June 04, 2001
Jesus tells his disciples, "if the same person sins against you seven times a day, and turns back to you seven times and says, 'I repent,' you must forgive." (vs.4) That sounds like a pretty tall order, and the disciples seem to think so too because upon hearing this they plead, "Increase our faith!"(vs.5) Jesus is asking us to be as forgiving as he is, basically. And think about it, how many times a day do people ask him for forgiveness? A lot more than seven, I'd guess. And still he forgives everyone who asks.
posted by Susanna King 6:46 PM