Homily | Installment 3 | “God’s Presence”

Hello everyone! Sorry for being so late with this one!

 

I’m here!

 

I am finding my job makes it difficult to write after being there for a few days. Too much energy is gone; tying to figure this thing out!

 



 

I am going to change the format up just a bit for this week compared to the last couple of weeks. At first I was struggling with picking the topic of drawing these verses together. I then saw the string of God’s Presence in specific ways through each passage. I am going to pick a few of these ways and highlight them in different colors.

Before getting into it, consider the following. What would you do, how would you respond, what would you say if God himself came to be in your presence? What would his presence demand out of you? … We all will be in that position one day; what are we doing about this fact today? This is all about his presence – a presence we will encounter at some point.

 

priest holding hostia

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

 

Scriptures for this week:

  • Acts 16.16-34
  • Psalm 97
  • Revelation 22.12-14, 16-17, 20-21
  • John 17.20-26

A few aspects we see in his presence:

  • Freedom/Freedom in Living
  • Fear/Trembling 
  • Judgement/Justice 
  • Praise/Worship

Acts 16.16-34

16 As we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl who had a spirit of divination and brought her owners much gain by fortune-telling. 17 She followed Paul and us, crying out, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to you the way of salvation.” 18 And this she kept doing for many days. Paul, having become greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And it came out that very hour.

19 But when her owners saw that their hope of gain was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace before the rulers. 20 And when they had brought them to the magistrates, they said, “These men are Jews, and they are disturbing our city. 21 They advocate customs that are not lawful for us as Romans to accept or practice.”22 The crowd joined in attacking them, and the magistrates tore the garments off them and gave orders to beat them with rods. 23 And when they had inflicted many blows upon them, they threw them into prison, ordering the jailer to keep them safely. 24 Having received this order, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks.

25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them, 26 and suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken. And immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone’s bonds were unfastened. 27 When the jailer woke and saw that the prison doors were open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, supposing that the prisoners had escaped. 28 But Paul cried with a loud voice, “Do not harm yourself, for we are all here.” 29 And the jailer called for lights and rushed in, and trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas.30 Then he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” 31 And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” 32 And they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. 33 And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their wounds; and he was baptized at once, he and all his family. 34 Then he brought them up into his house and set food before them. And he rejoiced along with his entire household that he had believed in God. (Personal note here: Notice the true freedom happening here. Most of us in this position, when the chains broke and the door opened, we would have bolted! However, Paul and Silas remained in there in their true freedom which brought true freedom to the jailer and his entire household.) 

 

Psalm 97

The Lord reigns, let the earth rejoice;
    let the many coastlands be glad!
Clouds and thick darkness are all around him;
    righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne.
Fire goes before him
    and burns up his adversaries all around.
His lightnings light up the world;
    the earth sees and trembles.
The mountains melt like wax before the Lord,
    before the Lord of all the earth.

The heavens proclaim his righteousness,
    and all the peoples see his glory.
All worshipers of images are put to shame,
    who make their boast in worthless idols;
    worship him, all you gods!

Zion hears and is glad,
    and the daughters of Judah rejoice,
    because of your judgments, O Lord.
For you, O Lord, are most high over all the earth;
    you are exalted far above all gods.

10 O you who love the Lord, hate evil!
    He preserves the lives of his saints;
    he delivers them from the hand of the wicked.
11 Light is sown for the righteous,
    and joy for the upright in heart.
12 Rejoice in the Lord, O you righteous,
    and give thanks to his holy name!

 

 

Revelation 22.12-14, 16-17, 20-21

12 Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay each one for what he has done. 13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.” 14 Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates. … 16 “I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify to you about these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.” 17 The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price. … 20 He who testifies to these things says, Surely I am coming soon.”Amen. Come, Lord Jesus21 The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen.

 

 

John 17.20-26

20 “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, 21 that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one,23 I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly oneso that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me. 24 Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I amto see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. 25 O righteous Father, even though the world does not know you, I know you, and these know that you have sent me. 26 I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.”

 

Thank you for reading. May the Scriptures bless and encourage you. Remember to ask yourself, what will happen when I encounter God? Will you be like the slave girl, the melting mountains, an adversary meeting his fire, or one that is one with him rejoicing in the longing response of “Come!” He gave it all for you to have the choice. Come to him on his terms and receive grace or come to him on your last day on your own terms. The choice is ours, but the weighty reality that we will not always be permitted to avoid him is his choice. Choose wisely!

 

grayscale photography of man sitting on grass field

Photo by Flickr on Pexels.com

Published in: on 7 PMpMon, 03 Jun 2019 17:00:53 -040000Monday 2016 at 5:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

7-Word Story | “I’m Late!”

Late!

Dreadfully late!!

Homily post … … … tomorrow!

LATE!!!!

Published in: on 7 PMpSun, 02 Jun 2019 18:28:20 -040028Sunday 2016 at 6:28 pm  Comments (2)  
Tags: , ,

Homily Series | Installment 2 | “Home”

Holy Scriptures for 26 May 2019

  • Acts 16.9-15
  • Psalm 67
  • Revelation 21.10, 22-22.5
  • John 14.23-29

 


 

In the Gospel reading this week, we see in John 14.23 – “Jesus answered and said to him, ‘If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.'”

This is indeed the beauty of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is, always and at all times, for all people. No matter where you live, your culture, age, gender, etc., Jesus can come and set you free and bring you into his family. He will clean you up and invite you to his table! We see the truth that it’s for all people in the Psalm reading. 67.2-4,

That Your way may be known on earth, Your salvation among all nations. Let the peoples praise You, O God; Let all the peoples praise You. Oh, let the nations be glad and sing for joy! For You shall judge the people righteously, And govern the nations on earth.” 

Believers, we need to pay attention to the promptings of the Spirit as he leads us. Like we see in the Acts reading, there are times when the Spirit of Christ will tell us no. However, he will tell us where to go from that point. We need to be open to his promptings and also understand that it may not be what we thought. Paul had a vision of a man calling for his help, but when they arrived, who did he help? Lydia.

 

 

electric lamp

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

 

If you do not follow Christ at this point, I encourage you to give it some thought. Will you be like Lydia? Will you have a heart to hear and see God which God will bless? Or will you push the truth away? Jesus loves you! He loves you so much that he literally died to bring you forgiveness and peace and resurrected to give you life in all abundance.

God has always had his eyes upon the whole world. He has always wanted to redeem every and all peoples. How will you respond to his call today? Feeling lost? You can be at home with him!

At the end of time as we are confined to it now, we see him bringing this already true reality in our world! We will dwell together with him. He will be our God and we will be his people.

As Jesus said, he will come with his Father and make their home in us. This is one of the “already and not yet” truths of Christianity. For example, this is absolutely true in my life, right now, but does it feel like it? Not always! How do I know it’s true? Because I can trust the one who says it! In addition, I do see evidence of it as time passes. However, this will be fully consummated and fully known at the end of – beginning of – time.

In Jesus Christ, we are … home!

Blessings.

© Joshua Curtis, 2019

Published in: on 7 PMpSun, 26 May 2019 23:52:13 -040052Sunday 2016 at 11:52 pm  Comments (1)  
Tags: , , , ,

Homily Series | Installment 1 | “Descending Glory”

These posts will probably be a little more in depth, but for this one, short and sweet (at least from my comments). Hope you enjoy. 

 


 

bible blur christ christianity

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

 

Holy Scriptures for 19 May 2019

 

I have linked the entire passages for each of these on their respective texts. For the purpose of this, I will just show the aspects of the texts that I want to draw your attention to.

As an American Christian, I can say that most mainstream Christianity here is focused on being “saved” in order to go to heaven. Indeed, there is some Scriptural precedence for this and I am not saying it’s absolutely wrong. However, I do believe our focus should be elsewhere.

From the readings this week, this is what stands out to me in terms of what our focus should be, bringing his Kingdom down to earth!

  • Acts 11.5-9, 15-17 – ‘“I was in the city of Joppa praying, and in a trance I saw a vision, something like a great sheet descending, being let down from heaven by its four corners, and it came down to me. Looking at it closely, I observed animals and beasts of prey and reptiles and birds of the air. And I heard a voice saying to me, ‘Rise, Peter; kill and eat.’ But I said, ‘By no means, Lord; for nothing common or unclean has ever entered my mouth.’ But the voice answered a second time from heaven, ‘What God has made clean, do not call common.’”’ & “As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell on them just as on us at the beginning. And I remembered the word of the Lord, how he said, ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ If then God gave the same gift to them as he gave to us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could stand in God’s way?”
  • Psalm 148 – notice how it is written. It starts high and then goes low. It moves from the heavens to the earth. It goes from broad to be narrow in focus. The entire flow of this Psalm is “a coming down.”
  • Revelation 2.2-4 – “And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.’”
  • John 13.33 – “ Little children, yet a little while I am with you. You will seek me, and just as I said to the Jews, so now I also say to you, ‘Where I am going you cannot come.’” – notice that Jesus was not concerned with bringing us with him, but in sending his Spirit down to us!

 

As Christians, we often are going through difficult times and it seems that darkness is pressing in upon us – all around! Often, we say to ourselves, something along the lines of, “I just wish I was with Jesus so he could fix all this!” My sentiments exactly too! What’s the word that sums this up though? Maranatha! Literally, “Come, Lord Jesus.” Not, “Take me, Lord Jesus.” His focus is not about taking us out, but about empowering us to represent him well here and allow “Your Kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven!”

Jesus’ focus is bringing Heaven down to earth! He will redeem all of it! There are several other Scriptures that speak to this very thing. May his glory come; like Mt. Sinai, may his glory come!

Another really good book on this topic is Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church by N.T. Wright.

Again, let our focus not be on escaping, but on conquering! Our time will come, but in the meantime, let us remain faithful and true!

Father, may your kingdom come upon us! For your name’s sake and for your glory. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Blessings.

 

brown and green grass field during sunset

Photo by Jonathan Petersson on Pexels.com

 

© Joshua Curtis, 2019

Published in: on 7 PMpMon, 20 May 2019 23:22:05 -040022Monday 2016 at 11:22 pm  Comments (3)  
Tags: , , , ,

God’s Word – A Poem

Originally written in 2009. Originally posted 10/14/2016.

 

 

person holding opened book

Photo by Eduardo Braga on Pexels.com

 

“God’s Word”

Powerfully prolific proclamations pour forth from the pinnacled port of God’s heart –
Ecstatical – exuberantly and enthusiastically exegete upon us like elaborate equations
Simultaneously stating simple and profound statements – sagaciously storytelling
Rapidly revealing in repetition renown reputation and desired relationships
Utterly unfolding understanding of his unyielding and unending love and unity
Decrees displayed and delivered dynamically and dramatically to us with his desire,
Predicated Explicitly on Submission – Rescue before the Ultimate Day!

© Joshua Curtis, 2009, 2019

 

Published in: on 7 AMpThu, 16 May 2019 04:45:41 -040045Thursday 2016 at 4:45 am  Comments (5)  
Tags: , ,

The Making of a Muscle-bound Man

man about to lift barbell

Photo by Victor Freitas on Pexels.com

 

One of the quintessential aspects of manhood: Strength! As men, we are expected to be strong. We tease and poke-fun at each other for weakness when putting a nemesis down or encouraging a friend on.

This strength is also supposed to permeate our entire lives. It’s not just physical. We have to be strong emotionally, mentally, in our spirits; in our souls. Of course, depending on the family, culture, nation, etc. that we are raised in, this strength can look very different. For some men, it is strength to let a women run over them and in others, to put that woman “in her place”, even physically if need be. For some, it is strength to fight as fast as possible and for others it’s strength to run and survive.

With so much confusion about men’s strength, what is a real standard for us to follow? I think there are many qualities of strength in a good man. However, I think there are two words that sum up where we really need to start when it come to being strong – both based on one Scripture.

 

 

Proverbs 24.10 reads, “If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small.” (ESV)

First word – courage! We must be willing to stand for truth and righteousness in the day of adversity. If we are to be strong, we must learn – and be willing to be taught – how to stand in the face of adversity. I also like what C.S. Lewis said regarding courage: “Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point.” We see this throughout Scripture, but one famous verse is God speaking to Joshua in chapter one of that book. “Be strong and courageous.”

 

soldiers-military-usa-weapons-87772.jpeg

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

 

Of course, just looking over this verse, it can apply to anyone. However, when we dig a little deeper, we can see how it apply a little more specifically to men as we find a very interesting meaning for the word adversity. One of the meanings is ‘rival wife’, and oh how easily we can be distracted by the femme fetale.

 

 

This brings us to our second word: Faithfulness! I think this is something that – in my country – is way undervalued. Men are prided on how many women they can “get with”, but that is opposite of reality. In reality, we are called upon to be faithful! This is not only what God expects of us, but also examples. He is faithful to keep his covenant with us himself, by putting his spirit and laws within us. He keeps the covenant going. Secondly, he tells us husbands to love our wives like Jesus loves his church and to give ourselves up for them (Ephesians 5.25-33). However, this word is so much bigger than just physical faithfulness. It is also spiritual, mental, in our hearts, souls, imaginations, etc. And, it certainly includes how we relate to and treat God in our lives.

 

grayscale photography of man sitting on grass field

Photo by Flickr on Pexels.com

 

So men, yes, let us be strong. However, if our strength is not rooted in righteousness and discipline, if it is only physical, if it does not flow out of courage and faithfulness, we are lacking. Speaking for myself, these are areas that God is certainly growing in me and has been for years. I am currently going through a season I can tell God is working on both of these areas again! Prayers are welcome!

 


 

I know, I am putting a post up for men today. However, HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY to all the mamas out there! I know speaking for myself, I got a lot of strength from my mom growing up and certainly get much from my wife everyday. I am speaking in this post of men’s strength, but the strength of a woman is a beauty to behold and should continue to encourage and spur us men on! Our families – the second most important reason for us to be strong!

 

 

© Joshua Curtis, 2019

Published in: on 7 PMpSun, 12 May 2019 17:38:04 -040038Sunday 2016 at 5:38 pm  Comments (5)  
Tags: , , ,
%d bloggers like this: