Homily | Installment 4 | “The Master Speaks”

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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)  
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7-Word Story | Erev Shabbat

 

 

As Friday dwindles, may worship be sweet!

 

© Joshua Curtis, 2019

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Glory, King Jesus

Happy Monday (or Tuesday for those ahead of the game!). Here is my poem for today. It was originally posted here on 02 October 2017. 

There is a hidden message … if you find it, comment!

Hope you enjoy!



 

19 February 2016 | 22 February 2016

“Glory, King Jesus!”

Glory Lord; Obviously, Rightly Yours,
Totally – Only!
Joyous Expression, Solely Upon Sonhead.
Thankful Hallelujahs Ecstatically
Hailed – Into Great Haze;
Kindled – Ignited – Notably; Glory!
Opulent Faithfulness,
Abundant Lavish Libation,
Creation Raising Eager Applause To Incarnate One – Nobility!

 

© Joshua Curtis, 2019

Published in: on 7 PMpMon, 03 Jun 2019 20:30:25 -040030Monday 2016 at 8:30 pm  Comments (2)  
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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

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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!

 

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“The Gathering Clouds”

To catch up from yesterday’s post, this is a poem I first published here on 9/3/2015. There still may be some truth to this! 

 

island during golden hour and upcoming storm

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November 19, 2009

“The Gathering Clouds”

Off in the distance, with great persistence, a gathering sets in –
At the brink of our shore, ever present the more, upon our horizon –
A gathering of fierce and tenacious clouds,
Armed with deeply deluging waters,
Masterful lighting and explosive thunder.
This storm is sweeping and leaping upon us,
At an alarming rate.
Our nation dancing on the cliff of destruction –
Foolishly tip-toeing the edge without caution,
Thinking it both wise and fun –
Mocking and laughing in the face of God; not heeding conviction.
This storm is coming first to draw a line in the sand;
A line betwixt the house and the portico of the Almighty!

© Joshua Curtis, 2019

 

 

Published in: on 7 AMpTue, 21 May 2019 06:46:54 -040046Tuesday 2016 at 6:46 am  Comments (2)  
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Bawling Blood & Beneficent Beauty; Part I

Preamble

Day two, still the beginning, and yet I am already beating back the boundaries of this challenge. I was betwixt two beckoning beliefs that burdened by brain. Instead of breaking the bonds of one or the other, both was the only reasonable and balanced choice. Thus, I bisected it! Part I, Bawling Blood and Part II, Beneficent Beauty. Brace yourself; begin!


Part I | Bawling Blood

Man Kneeling in Front of Cross
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Although I bequeathed you with a bounty of b’s, I will now bench the “b” barrage bombarding this blog. Let’s move onto something a bit more serious. Sometimes I come up with ideas or conclusions that I take from Scripture – which may or may not actually be there, but I find intriguing nonetheless. This is one of those posts and it’s going to be a tying together the overall ideas of two previous posts: Foul Smells and Lamentations (which has to do with innocent blood) and The Thread of Christ’s Divine Nature (the eternal nature of Christ).

First, we see in Genesis 4.10, “And the Lord said, ‘What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to me from the ground.” We can draw a conclusion here that innocent blood calls out to God from the ground, as Abel’s blood did after Cain killed him. Now, what we don’t know is if innocent blood always cries out to God, or if it just did in this instance. We are going to assume that it does; I believe this to be the case.

If this is the case, then it would also be true of Jesus when his blood was spilled on the cross. His blood was innocent, and if it cried out, what would it’s plea be? Now, we must also remember that Jesus is God in the flesh. He is eternal and divine. He also longs to make intercessions for us. Hebrews 7.24-25 tells us both of these realities, “but he holds his priesthood permanently, because he continues forever. Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.” (emphasis mine)

Now, Jesus was killed on our behalf that we may have the opportunity to be redeemed. He loved us to the extent to die for our sins that if we submit to him we may have his life. Powerful message of love and I believe that’s what his blood was crying out – for our forgiveness and redemption! However, since he is divine and eternal, I come to the conclusion that his blood is still indeed crying out. His blood is still making intercession for this broken and sinful world. It’s still weeping from the broken clay under Golgotha!

Jesus’s bawling blood – crying out today on our behalf. Again, this is just a thought that intrigues me. What are your thoughts?

I really enjoy “thinking outside of the box” or “reading between the lines” when it comes to the Bible. However, the caution is that we must not become dogmatic about things that are not clearly there. What we do know for certain from Scripture is that Jesus loved us enough to die for us and still loves us enough to intercede on our behalf. He never quits on us! That truly is a bounty of beauty; we are called to become his beloved!

Well, I’m off to work. I will see you around the corner for Part II (in about 14 hours or so!). Have a wonderful day/night.

Published in: on 7 AMpSun, 07 Apr 2019 03:43:29 -040043Sunday 2016 at 3:43 am  Leave a Comment  
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