Tag Archives: Scriptures

MLK: Love Your Enemies

 

Pastor, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

 

 

The following is an excerpt of the last portion of Martin Luther King Jr.’s speech entitled,

Loving Your Enemies
November 17 1957

…And our civilization must discover that. Individuals must discover that as they deal with other individuals. There is a little tree planted on a little hill and on that tree hangs the most influential character that ever came in this world. But never feel that that tree is a meaningless drama that took place on the stages of history. Oh no, it is a telescope through which we look out into the long vista of eternity, and see the love of God breaking forth into time. It is an eternal reminder to a power-drunk generation that love is the only way. It is an eternal reminder to a generation depending on nuclear and atomic energy, a generation depending on physical violence, that love is the only creative, redemptive, transforming power in the universe.

So this morning, as I look into your eyes, and into the eyes of all of my brothers in Alabama and all over America and over the world, I say to you, “I love you. I would rather die than hate you.” And I’m foolish enough to believe that through the power of this love somewhere, men of the most recalcitrant bent will be transformed. And then we will be in God’s kingdom. We will be able to matriculate into the university
of eternal life because we had the power to love our enemies, to bless those persons that cursed us, to even decide to be good to those persons who hated us, and we even prayed for those persons who despitefully used us.

Oh God, help us in our lives and in all of our attitudes, to work out this controlling force of love, this controlling power that can solve every problem that we confront in all areas. Oh, we talk about politics; we talk about the problems facing our atomic civilization. Grant that all men will come together and discover that as we solve the crisis and solve these problems—the international problems, the problems of atomic energy, the problems of nuclear energy, and yes, even the race problem—let us join together in a great fellowship of love and bow down at the feet of Jesus. Give us this strong determination. In the name and spirit of this Christ, we pray. Amen.

[full speech here.]

Please leave your comments. Thank you.

Innocence and Purity

 

My diagram for a "System" of Purity

 

Our freedom allows us to make choices that determine our purity and our innocence. So, freedom always includes responsibility, and purity can be regained. It is innocence that is untried.

In the cases were guilt may plague us, we may seek healing in the spiritual discipline of life confession, and then find it our acceptance of love and forgiveness. This happens best in Community, with the support of siblings in Christ.

This is also an act of worship.

Please share you thoughts on this, or a related theme.

Or you may tackle one of the following. Thanks.

• What have been your influencers with regards to purity?

• How has the media impacted your view of purity?

• What is the biggest struggle regarding your faith and your purity?

Resource used: Pages 126-8. Spiritual Disciplines Handbook: Practices That Transform Us (Adele Ahlberg Calhoun -IVP Books ©2005)
For further reading: “Real Sex” -Lauren Winner

A Call from Nazareth swim coach-


Recent discovery of transcripts of a little-known telephone conversation with Mary of Nazareth show why Jesus never had a varsity letter in sports.

(Transcribed while Mary was chattin’ on her celly.)

Hello, yes this is Mary.

I was wondering if I would hear from you.

Yes, I understand Jesus doesn’t have his permission slip to be on the Swim Team.

Yes, I realize he needs one before 6 p.m. today, but I don’t agree with him being on the team.

Well, because he doesn’t even know how to swim, and….

Yes, well, I understand that he walks on water just fine, or skims, whatever, but that’s not really the same thing. Actual swimming is done quite differently. It seems like an unfair advantage…

Yes, it’s surprising. He’s been quite an interesting child.

What? Well, yes, he’s small and short. He takes after me, not his “father” on that. Genetics are a funny thing.

I realize the chances for winning the Galilee-wide championships are on the line, but our family won’t be going around all high and mighty.

Why don’t we let use his gifts? Well, there’s a spiritual side to Jesus that you might not understand. He’s um… different.

Yes…..Explain Different? Oh, God. How can I explain this? I’m not sure I can explain, Coach Josiah, but I’ve been treasuring all of those things in my heart for now.

Thank you, yes, Coach. Thanks for understanding. Actually, it would be hard for him to make the meets; he has his hands full multiplying…I mean, making food for the prom committee. (They asked him to help because their budget is really low this year.)

No, he’s not much of a cook, per se, but he manages alright. I’m sure everyone will have plenty to eat.

No, I’m not sure if he has a date, Coach Josiah. The girls seem to love him, but he likes to keep things casual…on a friendship level. He’ll probably go stag.

Okay, thanks for calling. Good luck this season. Mazel Tov!

Blooming Rose of Sharon, evangelism, and spiritual conversions

For mother’s day my family got me a Rose of Sharon plant.

Rose of Sharon blossom (from my yard)

My Rose of Sharon shrubbery

As you can see it’s nearly in full bloom. Although a lot was happening in the life of this new floral addition to my yard, it is the blooming that get us to notice it most, and think of it as really “coming to life.”

Working this week doing the Bible lessons for Vacation Bible School has gotten me to thinking a lot about ordo salutis (“the order of salvation”). This refers to the series of conceptual steps within the Christian doctrine of salvation. Evangelical tradition is particularly focused on “the decision” to follow Christ, and “accepting him into our heart.” While a choice is involved here that can change one’s life, we might be noticing the spiritual blossoming when we concern ourselves primarily with a person’s sudden conversion experience.

Today, my former theology professor, Ken Miller (of the Methodist tradition), posted quite an insightful piece on spirituality that we in ministry and soul care are wise to read:

excerpt: -by Ken Miller
Let me put this out there up front: I grew up in a revivalist tradition, in which a signal experience is what initiates one into the faith. Further, in that tradition it is more similar events which act as catalysts for further growth in the faith. Crisis experiences, usually building on emotions and culminating in a trip to the front of the church/campmeeting/crusade venue and subsequent prayer, are what create significant growth in the Christian life. These experiences likely have to do with the confession of a known sinful act or habit or the sudden realization that one’s current pattern is displeasing to God.

I am not about to dismiss the potential value of theses events/experiences. But I will question their sufficiency. Too often we watch the same individuals having emotional releases, only to return to the same patterns of life. It’s a problem at least as old as the revivalist tradition itself, as John Wesley himself struggled with it and created the Methodist system as a corrective. One could conclude, as Wesley did, that those who reverted to the old ways never really tasted the saving power of Christ; others, wrongly in my reading of scripture and Christian doctrine, claim that the experience itself authenticates one as “saved” for eternity. Apparently, change is optional. Tell it to Paul.

That brings me to the subject of the day, and of the brief passage below. Transformation happens not by an emotional experience, but by the renewing of the mind. We may well experience—and many may well need—the jolt of the emotions provided by the revivalist approach. But change will only come when the mind is changed. We need to think differently about things if we are going to act differently. We need to unlearn some things, some of which were certainties before the word of God pointed in a different direction. We will have to take a look at the ideas we’ve adopted from the culture, along with the ones we didn’t even think were open to serious challenge.

But there’s more to it than turning the faith into an intellectual battle with “worldly” ideas. As Paul’s argument continues, we find that we are called into action immediately, requiring a different attitude and set of habits toward the people we live with and encounter on a regular basis. Is it the case that these ways of dealing with people constitute the renewing of the mind as much as the bigger worldview questions?

Miller’s full article here:

It’s interesting to note that if we think one must be “saved” from spiritual separation from God–by mainly the act of a conscious choice–the mentally handicapped and others are excluded. It also erodes some of the proper understanding of God’s sovereign work (as if Salvation is “up to us”).

If however we see both the hunger to seek the truth about life and God, and also we perceive the work and indwelling of God, (seen best in the fruit of the Holy Spirit), we may be noticing the blossoming of God’s continuous work (of which is largely a mystery).

It seems we must be careful to understand the entire process, including the disciple-making (training) and sanctification process, post-decision…if “the decision” is even the crux of it all in the first place. For us it may seem pivotal, but later a deeper experience could follow, yet for God, it’s one long Story that includes his work, and us (individually) and the rest of humanity.

In truth we have a limited and frail concept of what God, by his grace, gives us.

What are your ideas regarding salvation or conversion?

Some flowery information:

(found here)
Chavatzelet HaSharon (Hebrew חבצלת השרון) is an onion-like flower bulb. (Hebrew חבצלת ḥăḇaṣṣeleṯ) is a flower of uncertain identity translated as the Rose of Sharon in English language translations of the Bible. Etymologists have inconclusively linked the Biblical חבצלת to the words בצל beṣel, meaning ‘bulb’, and חמץ ḥāmaṣ, which is understood as meaning either ‘pungent’ or ‘splendid’ (The Analytical Hebrew and Chaldee Lexicon). The name Rose of Sharon first appears in English in 1611 in the King James Version of the Bible. According to an annotation of Song of Solomon 2:1 by the translation committee of the New Revised Standard Version, “Rose of Sharon” is a mistranslation of a more general Hebrew word for “crocus”.
The most accepted interpretation for the Biblical reference is the Pancratium maritimum, which blooms in the late summer just above the high-tide mark. The Hebrew name for this flower is חבצלת or חבצלת החוף (coastal ḥăḇaṣṣeleṯ). It is commonly assumed by most people in Israel that, the Sharon plainbeing on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, the Biblical passage refers to this flower.

Likely "rose of Sharon" Mediterranean Sea flower (lily)

Sunday Homily / Meditation / Lectio Divina

 Winter Sunrise NC

I present these two passages to you, from my own meditation time today, for your own reflection. Either one is a good choice for meditative prayer (Lectio Divina) which I have written about in previous posts. (You can do a search, or click on the appropriate category at the bottom of the page, for the 4 movements typical to this prayer form.) I have taken these two passages from the material offered in the Holy Bible: Mosaic by Tyndale, pages 58-59.

After reading these, please share your reflections.

Psalm 29:3-4

The voice of the LORD echoes above the sea.

The God of glory thunders.

The LORD thunders over the mighty sea.

The voice of the LORD is powerful;

the voice of the LORD is majestic.

O Love, How Deep

O Love, how deep, how broad, how high,

it fills the heart with ecstasy,

that God, the Son of God, should take

our mortal form for mortal’s sake.

For us he was baptized, and bore

his holy fast, and hungered sore;

for us temptation sharp he knew,

for us the tempter overthrew.

For us he prayed, for us he taught,

for us his daily works he wrought;

by words and signs and actions thus

still seeking not himself, but us.

For us to wicked men betrayed,

scourged, mocked, in purple arrayed,

he bore the shameful cross and death,

for us at length gave up his breath.

For us he rose from death again;

for us he went on high to reign;

for us he sent his Spirit here,

to guide, to strengthen, and to cheer.

To him whose boundless love has won

salvation for us through his Son,

to God the Father, glory be

both now and through eternity.

-Thomas Á Kempis (Germany/ c. 1380-1471) 

Advent Meditation-Day Spring

Today, we’ll reflect on the arrival of Jesus as Day Spring. It is a strange visual for winter, and of course, Jesus was not actually born at the time of year when we celebrate his birth. But, the reminder of hope and new birth at the time of darkest night during the winter season is powerful indeed.

3rd verse of O come, O come, Emmanuel -written in the 12th century (in Latin). Translated into English by John Mason Neale in 1851.

O come, Thou Day-Spring, come and cheer


Our spirits by Thine advent here


Disperse the gloomy clouds of night


And death’s dark shadows put to flight.


Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel


Shall come to thee, O Israel.

Please leave your comments, or thoughts. 

thank you for coming by. Happy Advent to you.

Advent Meditation-hope

The passage of Scripture I am sharing is featured this week in the NLT version of Tyndale’s new Bible called, Holy Bible: Mosaic. Weekly meditations, placed in the beginning of the publication before the Scriptures, take the reader through the seasons of the Christian calendar year, starting at Advent. This year Advent starts on November 29, and lasts four weeks.

A passage I will call you to reflect on today is written by church father, Paul. In this portion he offers the church in the city of Corinth words of hope concerning the Reality of their situation, despite the troubling circumstances, and internal strife. He clears through the smog of human weakness to reveal the power of God, and the strength and hope that resides in having confidence in the message, promises, and Spirit from God that have already transformed them.

If you are struggling this season, take hope  in the God who is everywhere always, who wants the best for you, who will not give up on you, or stop his transforming work in you. Have hope beyond your troubles, and place that hope outside yourself, in One who will be faithful, and carry you through to the end.

(thank you to biblegateway.com for Scripture version: link included)
1 Corinthians 1:4-9
View commentary related to this passage

Paul Gives Thanks to God

I Corinthians 1:4-9

“4 I always thank my God for you and for the gracious gifts he has given you, now that you belong to Christ Jesus. 5 Through him, God has enriched your church in every way—with all of your eloquent words and all of your knowledge. 6 This confirms that what I told you about Christ is true. 7 Now you have every spiritual gift you need as you eagerly wait for the return of our Lord Jesus Christ. 8 He will keep you strong to the end so that you will be free from all blame on the day when our Lord Jesus Christ returns. 9 God will do this, for he is faithful to do what he says, and he has invited you into partnership with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.”

(emphasis mine)

Friend, concentrate please on verses 7-9 especially, and take in the hope offered here. This hope isn’t just for the Christmas season, but for all year long, and all life long.

I invite you-right now-t0 re-read the passage slowly, roll it over in your mind and heart, and then pray to God about it, or some portion or  aspect that personally connects with you. Then, please share one or more of your reflections, thoughts, or feelings.

Thank you.

Blessings to you this season.