Homily | Installment 4 | “The Master Speaks”

Brown Book Page

Photo by Wendy van Zyl from Pexels

 

Holy Scriptures for Sunday, 11 August 2019

  • Isaiah 1.1, 10-20
  • Psalm 50.1-8, 22-23
  • Hebrews 11.1-3, 8-16
  • Luke 12.32-40

 


 

At the outset, I must confess, this group of Scriptures is very dense indeed! I cannot presume to be able to do it justice, especially in a short blog. Truthfully this is also always the case, but seems even more the reality for this group. However, since my goal with these is not really to be an authoritative teacher, but rather to just try and pull together threads I see in an attempt to encourage you. In that case, there is something I will share that will hopefully be a blessing.  Regardless, please click on the link above and read the passages for yourself. Especially if you give them a good 2-3 readings through, they will do much more for you than what I will be doing.

Praise be to God for his Word that he shares with us!

The one thing I really want to drive home for today’s “homily” is that God certainly speaks! He speaks to us all of the time! Most of the time, we just miss it. The reality is, he is reaching out for us. This is a great blessing, but we must not mistake what is taking place in this interaction. He does not speak to us and reach out for us as a beggar in search for crumbs, but rather as a King imploring his subjects to stop their rebellion! We make it seem as though he will have consequences if he does not stop pursing us – like a pestering beggar on the street. On the contrary, he is imploring us to put down our arms and submit again to him while he allows us to do so! He will be returning; there will be a reckoning… Let’s look at some of the passages:

  • Isaiah 1.12, 15-17 – “12 When you come to appear before me who has required of you this trampling of my courts? 15 When you spread out your hands, I will hide my eyes from you; even though you make many prayers, I will not listen; your hands are full of blood. 16 Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of our deeds from before my eyes; cease to do evil, 17 learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause.”
  • Psalm 50.3-6 – Our God comes; he does not keep silence; before him is a devouring fire, around him a mighty tempest. He calls to the heavens above and to the earth, that he may judge his people: “Gather to me my faithful ones, who made a covenant with me by sacrifice!” The heavens declare his righteousness, for God himself is judge! Selah
  • Luke 12.33-35, 39-40 – 33 “Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. 34 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. 35 “Stay dressed for action and keep your lamps burning,”
    39 “But know this, that if the master of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have left his house to be broken into. 40 You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.”

We see here that God indeed is paying attention to what is going on. Not only that, but he speaks into our situations. He desires and demands that we repent of our sin (any act or commission or omission that is contrary to his Law) and turn to him. To follow him and become his faithful servants that will be awake and watchful for is certain but unexpected return. He is coming back. We will all stand before him. We, all of us, will kneel before him and confess his majesty. What will be the condition of our hearts on that faithful hour? How are we living today to meet that certain reality that none will escape?

  • Isaiah 1.20 – “but if you refuse and rebel, you shall be eaten by the sword; for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”

Yet, in his abundant mercy, he calls to us now, before that day, to participate with him in making things right! He calls us to make things right in ourselves first and then to allow that power to work through us to change the world back to how it should be.

  • Isaiah 1.18-19 – 18 “Come now, let us reason together, says the Lordthough your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool. 19 If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land;”
  • Hebrews 11.1-3, 13-16 – Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the people of old received their commendation. By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.
    13 These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. 14 For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland.15 If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.
  • Luke 12.32 – “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”

What we can plainly see, is that God is rich in mercy and calls out to us. He speaks to us! May we have ears to hear! This reminds me of a story. I was speaking to one of my friends one day who is not a Christian and she told me that while getting ready for the day she just felt like she wanted to call out to God. So she did. She said, something along the lines of, “God, if you’re real, come to me.” She said, nothing happened… I thought about this for a while before the reality struck me and I then explained to her, that the Scriptures – and our natures – teach that we do not seek God. The only way people even come to him is by his grace and he allows them to wake up to his presence (we just often hit the snooze button!). So, I tried to relate this and to not be discouraged and even though she didn’t get the response she wanted, the reality of the situation was that she was really the one who was responding. He was already there and was drawing her heart to seek him. She was responding to that pull and he was the initiator, not the other way around. May we all be perceptive and responsive.

How do you see God working around you?

© Joshua Curtis, 2019

Published in: on 7 AMpSun, 11 Aug 2019 11:30:25 -040030Sunday 2016 at 11:30 am  Comments (2)  
Tags: , , , , , , ,

7-Word Story | Erev Shabbat

 

 

As Friday dwindles, may worship be sweet!

 

© Joshua Curtis, 2019

Published in: on 7 PMpFri, 09 Aug 2019 16:32:22 -040032Friday 2016 at 4:32 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

W.P. | Installment 3 | “Gluttony”

Looks like I’m finally back! Hope you all have been well. I have missed being on here and seeing the amazing work everyone has been doing. I’m hoping to catch up soon!

I am going to just pick up where I left off, which was a Tuesday (writing prompt day). I got this writing prompt from my blogging buddy, Dr. Suchie. Her prompt to me was, “In poetry form, write about Gluttony,” so this is my attempt.

It’s good to be back and I hope you enjoy!


“Gluttony”

Stress,
Upon my mind,
With fists of fury,
Irately beating!
My peace it’s clawing, eating and gnawing;
A frenzied feast.
Blood upon his jaw;
Giving into this beastly fiend, as I smash more sweets,
My flaw!

~~~

“I don’t feel well,
And my weight, much overdue for
Forgone numeric fell!”
‘Come on, just eat another piece,
It’s just cake! This is who you are my friend!
A lover of sweets – just like compelling beats,
Peppery meats and epic feats –
Just get one more.
Besides, you have to feed that beast,
Stress will have his feast! AND, you work hard,
You deserve that extra piece!
Don’t be fake! That piece with extra frosting; partake!’
I fail, I falter, eat to appease my take
On being pleased.
Out of shape, breath wheezed
As I regret each wrong decision I make…

~~~

I’m tired; seeking a break.
This stress and heartburn
Are eating away at me.
I hop on social media,
See what’s going on in the world.



Just more toxic garbage
Being gobbled up in large poisonous portions,
Guess whose dating such and such…
Never interested me too much,
Blah blah blah; this is why everyone who doesn’t
Agree with me is a stupid, ignorant bigot!
“Well, have you ever considered…
Shut up you racist! Your only a product of
White privilege you white male supremacist!
Whelp, there the … Trump Card …
And to further the discombobulating stump,
Besides, I have more followers than you, so you’re irrelevant!
As I continue strolling,
Consuming preservatives and dyes, wasting precious time,
Even after my eyes realize…

~

Gluttony!
© Joshua Curtis, 2019

Published in: on 7 AMpTue, 06 Aug 2019 07:23:02 -040023Tuesday 2016 at 7:23 am  Comments (6)  
Tags: , , , , ,

Trusting

screenshot_2019-05-27-08-42-57400911195.png

© Joshua Curtis, 2019

Published in: on 7 AMpMon, 27 May 2019 10:00:30 -040000Monday 2016 at 10:00 am  Leave a Comment  
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: , , , ,

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: , ,

Why I’m a Progressive

Disclaimer: I tend to shy away from politics. Especially these days. It seems to only spur on foolish arguments and heated battles that are full of passion and lack much logic or reason. Just log into Facebook for 35 seconds… Furthermore, if you’re losing an argument, you just have to pull the Trump card (look, already an emotionally provoking pun) and call the other person a racist which not only smears them and their argument, but seemingly grants you an automatic win. The sheer level of foolishness – from all sides – makes me a bit nauseous. However, as I am a husband and father, indeed as a citizen that participates in this system, I must take a stand somewhere.  And make no mistake, we must choose where we stand very carefully as there are consequences for our choices. So, although I try and focus on the Gospel in my writings, the Gospel touches every part of our lives and this is where I have made my stance within the current American system I find myself. This is certainly a summation and I am excluding a lot of areas of consideration, but these are some of the main points that I stand on and why. I first published this on 4/07/2016, so I have revamped it slightly. However, some of the examples, although now outdated, still they bring the point across, so I have left those. Last note, one thing I have really enjoyed about WordPress is that people have had good discussions and I have not seen, with the exception of one example, people making rude, heated and/or unfounded comments. I have appreciated this! I am okay with disagreement – I know many people will not stand where I do with these issues, or at least all of them – and I welcome your comments. However, I will not put up with impassioned ranting or any other types of foolishness. I would love to hear where you stand, even if you are on the complete opposite side on these topics, but only if it remains respectful. Well, let’s get into it.



Here is why I am a self-proclaimed progressive…

  • I’m progressive because when there is less government involvement, this gives people and organizations the ability to succeed or fail. In turn, this brings more equilibrium in the system and it brings about the opportunity for freedom and prosperity.
  • I’m progressive because the government was NEVER supposed to be as big as it is.

 

 

  • I’m progressive because, overall, the welfare state impoverishes people and society. Furthermore, it is the new plantation which tends to keep people in bondage. To see just how devastating this system is, look up family statistics of the black community pre and post the 1960s Civil Rights Movement and you will find that black families, even when faced with less freedom and horribly unjust laws, were far more healthy and intact. The catalysts of this devastation was (and continues to be) liberal politics and the welfare system (initially this was used to get rid of husbands and fathers from the home). The policy of The Great Society – great for whom?! … For some specific statistics, I have a few laid-out in another post.
  • I’m progressive because I believe in life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

 

 

  • I’m progressive because I’m against high taxation and the government stealing people’s possessions (including money, weapons and property) and giving it to other people and/or organizations – even more so when those organizations are used to destroy people’s lives/livelihood (e.g., Planned Parenthood – specifically, what they are doing to minority, particularly black, communities).
  • I’m progressive because I believe in God. Since socialist/communist ideology has as its first premise that there is no God and man is his own god and we are all evolving to utopia, I will always oppose this system. Not to mention it’s logical outworking. Simply look at the fruit this system produces – over 100 million people dead just in the last century and we think it’s going to be different if we put it in place here…if we make it “democratic.” As a system, it just doesn’t work and makes people, indeed all of society with the exception of the few “leaders”, desperately poor.

 

Policeman Holding Handcuffs and Man Wearing Blue Suit Carrying Books Figures on Brown Surface

Photo by Pixabay from Pexels

 

  • I’m progressive because I believe that citizens have a right to hold their government accountable for their actions.
  • I’m progressive because, although this country has had a crazy history, especially with the treatment of Natives, Africans and Irish, it was founded on Christian principles and that has allowed us to build one of the freest and most prosperous nations ever while also giving us the freedom to repent of our mistakes along the way and to better ourselves. Also, this has given many people the opportunity to achieve great things in a lifetime.

 

Grayscale Photography of People Doing Team Hand Cheers

Photo by rawpixel.com from Pexels

 

  • I’m progressive because it has been the conservatives that have stood for the freedom of blacks in America. From the Emancipation of the slaves (although, I don’t think we needed a war to achieve this!) while the Democrats responded by creating the KKK to oppose the Republicans, to the Civil Rights Act of 1957, which was severely weakened by the Democrats opposition to it, to the opposition and rejection of the current debilitating welfare state.
  • I’m progressive because, by and large, liberal politics just do not work in practice! Just doing a quick search you will see that many of the cities that have the highest poverty rates have been liberal for quite some time, also they have the majority of cities with the highest crime rates and highest levels of people on welfare. In addition, the top states for abortion are overwhelmingly liberal. So, how is this good for people – particularly minority people? Since the 1960s, and in some areas the 1930s, black people have overwhelmingly voted for the politicians that are creating and purporting the conditions being so-called fought against. So, if liberalism is the “political mechanism” for the betterment of black people, have the black communities that have voted Democrat since the 1930s or 1960s gotten better, or worse? [You can look at Camden, NJ, Gary, IN, Baltimore, MD, etc. Just as a quick example, look at Flint, MI and their water crisis. Immediately people started making it a racial issue because the majority of people affected were black children. However, the mayor and the entire city council are almost all black and they are all Democrats. Furthermore, the prosecuting attorney, sheriff, county clerk, county treasurer, drain commissioner – county water agent, county surveyor, and 8 of the 9 members of the board of commissioners are all Democrats! Not to mention the first multi-ethnic, Democratic, President! So, what’s really the problem going on in Flint? (Let me also make clear that I am not lessening the severity of the situation there. It’s not all about politics as much as it’s about dereliction of duty. The point is, with all of those people in place “for the black population” it wasn’t an issue of racism – or, maybe it was, but from the liberal side. Should this situation have ever happened based on the promises constantly made from the liberal side as being the only answer of relief for black people?)]

 

Clear Glass H2o Bottle

Photo by Snapwire from Pexels

 

Moving on, I’m progressive because overall it has proven to be much better for society and has a more proven track record of giving the opportunities to produce more freedom and life than that of liberal politics/ideologies. Look at the fruit of each!

Now, there may be some confusion with the term progressive. Since Progressivism as a political ideology is known for being hyper-liberal, what do I mean by being progressive? Well, I mean I’m progressive how the word is actually defined! Here we go, redefining words again!

 

PROGRESS’IVE, adjective Moving forward; proceeding onward; advancing; as progressive motion or course; opposed to retrograde.
1. Improving. The arts are in a progressive state.
– Webster’s Dictionary, 1828 version

 

 

 

While Progressives would look at that definition and agree with it, it is clear the fruit of their policies are working the opposite effect. In truth, this is what they really want anyway! Here is a good example of true progressivism: “Progress means getting nearer to the place you want to be. And if you have taken a wrong turning, then to go forward does not get you any nearer. If you are on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; and in that case the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive man.” – C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

 

 



Thus, I am and will to continue to be, progressive. I want to continue to evaluate if I’m, and the society in which I live, is on the correct road. We have needed to turn around for a while now, but we keep trudging along in the wilderness thinking our utopia is just around the bend. Let us be progressive and get back to the right road! That’s where I’m at. How about you?

© Joshua Curtis, 2019


If you enjoyed this post, please show some love! Give me a like or a share. Love to hear your thoughts. Blessings.

Published in: on 7 PMpMon, 13 May 2019 18:26:36 -040026Monday 2016 at 6:26 pm  Comments (9)  
Tags: , ,

Zenith & Nadir

2 May 2019

“Zenith & Nadir”

The zenith and nadir of human – and all of – history occurred in one weekend! A weekend that was just recognized and celebrated …

screenshot_2019-05-02-20-26-011799741211.png

 

© Joshua Curtis, text and picture, 2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Published in: on 7 AMpSat, 04 May 2019 05:18:18 -040018Saturday 2016 at 5:18 am  Leave a Comment  
Tags: ,

Ubiquity

 

calm body of water

Photo by Lucas França on Pexels.com

underwater

Photo by John Cahil Rom on Pexels.com

toddler girl sitting on floor

Photo by Davis Sanchez on Pexels.com

nature red love romantic

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

26 April 2019

 

1 . Sun begins quest; invigorates life and beauty  – warmth to all

2. Water cultivates blessings; bequeaths life through stages yielded

3. Stars uniquely blaze; inquisition sparked at their shining glory

4. Creatures unequivocally abound – in quiet abundance – our joy

5. Pupils and irises bleed liquid at breathtaking sights; lovely

6. Beautiful babies conquering love; capturing hearts without trying

7. Undeniably life is quickened and infused by beauty’s intensity!


Romans 1.19-20 – “For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.

I implore you, look around. In the midst of the swirling darkness; bullets zooming, bombs igniting, fists flying, beauty abounds. Look past the darkness of the veil. At the eyes of the owl, the immovability of a mountain’s beauty; the joy of a baby through the pain of bearing that child. God’s nature echoes through all of creation. He is constantly present, even when we can’t see him. The presence of his holding hands when we don’t comprehend the workings of his fingers! His name and goodness – ubiquity! He is like that word in this poem – always present though seemingly hiding within the shadows. But, when the veil is removed…

 

1 . Sun begins quest; invigorates life and beauty  – warmth to all

2. Water cultivates blessings; bequeaths life through stages yielded

3. Stars uniquely blaze; inquisition sparked at their shining glory

4. Creatures unequivocally abound – in quiet abundance – our joy

5. Pupils and irises bleed liquid at breathtaking sights; lovely

6. Beautiful babies conquering love; capturing hearts without trying

7. Undeniably life is quickened and infused by beauty’s intensity!

 

We see the truth of its presence. With him, we see the truth we’ve been seeking when the veil’s removed.

Soak up the beauty around and the source of that beauty!

Peace be with you – because he’s available!

© Joshua Curtis, 2019

Published in: on 7 PMpFri, 26 Apr 2019 14:05:00 -040005Friday 2016 at 2:05 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , ,

Thankful

23 April 2019

sin on! Losing all of my grips
you say that I am going to win, Ultimately
can you see me as for provision I Faithfully wait
am I able to, there are Kids to feed and give vision
Nightingale song stale melting within me that which is
glorious, Amazingly you fail at all I heal
I trust I’m found Harmonious within, as in you,
me in your way, presence, Lord oh, Turn right around!

 

black and white cemetery christ church

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

 

man sitting on edge facing sunset

Photo by Abhiram Prakash on Pexels.com

 

person playing dj controller

Photo by Wendy Wei on Pexels.com

 

Turn me, oh Lord, in your presence, right way around!
Harmonious within, as I trust in you I’m found,
A
mazingly glorious you heal all that I fail,
Nightingale song melting within me that which is stale
Kids there are to feed and I am able to give vision,
Faithfully you can see me, as I wait for provision,
Ultimately, you say that I am going to win
Losing all of my grips on sin!

© Joshua Curtis, 2019

Published in: on 7 PMpTue, 23 Apr 2019 23:05:32 -040005Tuesday 2016 at 11:05 pm  Comments (17)  
Tags: ,
%d bloggers like this: