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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I.C.E. | Installment 3

Inspiring … Challenging … Encouraging 

Blessings to you on this day. Here are my picks for this week. Again, no explanations or commentary. Not always things I agree with either, but mostly that’s the case. Just things I find that are ICE. Questions? Comment!

 


 

“some memories are a haze
no recollection of the first kiss
nor school graduations
it was like a tasteless fog” (Ms. Cassa Bassa)

 

“A person caught in a firestorm praying for supernatural rescue will be heard. If they live or die, they live, but they may have been taken out of the earth before their time is due because of the chaos of evil set in motion by a corporate lack of obedient watchful response to a rising unmet situation. But many people praying for peace and righteousness to be flourishing in a given area can possibly see a total transformation in the circumstances.” (McLean, Clay.  “The Mystery of Prayer.” McLean Ministries. Nightlight 308.)

 

[Christianity on racism and sexuality] — “The reason we believe that discrimination ethnically is wrong is because the race and ethnicity of a person is sacred. You do not violate a person’s ethnicity and race. It is a sacred gift. And the reason we believe in an absolute nest of sexuality is because we believe sexuality is sacred as well, and that’s why we make our choice that same way. I said, ‘You would help me if you would tell me why you treat race as sacred and de-sacrelize sexuality.’ … Marriage, as God has given it to us, and if you take the whole corpus of the world view, is the most sacred relationship into which you will enter.” – (Zacharias, Ravi   “Christian View on Homosexuality” [video])

 

“Here’s what I mean: This is God’s world, and he is present and active in it. He is setting everything right through his Son Jesus Christ, and we are his church, filled and empowered by his Holy Spirit to be about our Father’s business. Our Bishop Todd Hunter often quotes Dallas Willard to us priests: ‘Humanity remains God’s project, not ours, and his initiatives are always at work among us.’ This week a friend sent me a quote from Wendell Berry, who said that the big problems we have now won’t be solved with “big solutions,” but rather “by hundreds of people accepting local responsibilities for small problems.” It’s hard to argue with Wendell Berry. So we have a part to play. There are actions we can take as faithful witnesses to the beautiful Good News that has been unleashed on the world.” – (Sternke, Ben, “Responding to the Shootings in El Paso and Dayton.” http://www.thetableindy.org)

 

“…The world, knowing how all our real investments are beyond the grave, might expect us to be less concerned than other people who go in for what is called Higher Thought and tell us that ‘death doesn’t matter’; but we ‘are not high minded’, and we follow One who stood and wept at the grave of Lazarus – not surely, because He was grieved that Mary and Martha wept, and sorrowed for their lack of faith (though some thus interpret) but because death, the punishment of sin, is even more horrible in His eyes than in ours. The nature which He had created as God, the nature which He had assumed as Man, lay there before Him in its ignominy; a foul smell, food for worms. Though He was to revive it a moment later, He wept at the shame; if I may here quote a writer of my own communion, ‘I am not so much afraid of death as ashamed of it.’ And that brings us again to the paradox. Of all men, we hope most of death; yet nothing will reconcile us to – well, its unnaturalness. We know that we were not made for it; we know how it crept into our destiny as an intruder; and we know Who has defeated it. Because Our Lord is risen we know that on one level it is an enemy already disarmed; but because we know that the natural level also is God’s creation we cannot cease to fight against the death which mars it, as against all those other blemishes upon it, against pain and poverty, barbarism and ignorance. Because we love something else more than this world we love even this world better than those who know no other.” (Lewis, C.S. “Some Thoughts”, God in the Dock. Cambridge: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company. 1970. pgs. 159-160)

© Joshua Curtis, 2019

Published in: on 7 AMpSat, 10 Aug 2019 09:30:00 -040030Saturday 2016 at 9:30 am  Comments (2)  
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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  
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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)  
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Societal Decadence

… … Another heavy one for Poetry Thursday! … …

This was originally published here on 19 December 2010. Slight revamps today.



adult background ball shaped blur

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Round and round we go, on the journey of boisterous lost souls…

Babies make babies, taught in taboo to stay away from sex,
Yet, not kept from harm’s way, ill prepared for what’s next,
Instead, we pay cable companies to baby-sit everyday,
And let them explore the internet; they lose their way.
Boys and girls, formed by the hand of God, created to be royalty,
But wanting to fit in they fall short, embracing unhealthy loyalty.
Boys aspiring to be ‘cool’, sexing many girls, foolish to what’s in store,
Girls succumb, give their bodies away – crushed as they’re now impure.
Boys and girls, giving themselves away in the name of love,
Missing it’s lust they’re slipping their fingers in like a glove.
Many adults condemn, yet it’s them allowing the culture to slip;
Perpetuate the issue teaching hopelessness as the youth trip.
We have too many men taking advantage for their own desires,
Setting young bodies and souls ablaze with various consuming fires;
Adults loving this loose culture; sex has lost sacredness in truth,
As we have millions of broken homes filled with broken-hearted youth!

Black-haired Boy Crying

Photo by Kat Jayne from Pexels

Round and round we go, on the journey of boisterous lost souls…

A bullet rips through the mind of a teacher, trigger pulled by student,
As he felt this teacher didn’t care and saw him as imprudent,
Can’t stop! He continues his rage, shooting those he thought smarter,
Situation is unbelievable and unexpected; surreal as it grows tarter,
The peer who said he was good-for-nothing made part of the disposal,
And the young lady that outright denied his movie night proposal,
Screams pour into the hallway with the guns every fiery flash,
And in the room, tears upon the floor ever the greater splash;
Another takes a bullet – once she knocked a pencil off of his desktop –
And then this young man shoots one yelling “Please Sam, stop!”.
How could this be; bad parenting, video games and violent TV?
Or was it from his science class where this young man began to see,
He had no purpose to his life as he simply evolved from an ape,
Realizing in this doctrine he was only an animal; mind took shape,
Tired of being put down! Today, he put himself on top of the food chain,
Then sirens filled the room from outside; realizing this was all in vain.
Pools of blood around the room – one was severely wounded, ten dead –
Large tears in his eyes, he let the last bullet fly through his own head.

Round and round we go, on the journey of boisterous lost souls…

A brand new baby girl, this princess full of innocence, beauty and grace,
Her face kisses the air for the first time, a new phase in this life’s race,
She cries her first known tears, yet she’s been anticipating this day.
Pain rips the back of her head, screams loudly finding the words to say.
Not fully out of her mother as the pain grows worse; she screams more –
It seems she will never know just what her life would had in store –
A cold metal rod shoves into the new hole in her head’s back,
The man stirred the rod around, everything faded to black,
Liquefied brains pour out of the hole, pouring like a slow faucet,
Her mother – for the moment only – relieved that she has lost it.
This child found herself lying in the arms of a man clothed in white,
Crying ceased, lying in peace, gazing into fiery eyes burning bright,
She began to notice large tears beginning to flow down His face;
“Precious daughter of mine, you are so beautiful in your white lace,
You are safe in my arms now; I’ll deal with them in time’s perfect pace.”

Round and round we go, on the journey of boisterous lost souls…

© Joshua Curtis, 2010-2019

Published in: on 7 PMpThu, 30 May 2019 14:14:31 -040014Thursday 2016 at 2:14 pm  Comments (5)  
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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

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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)  
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Coffee & Religion

wake up smell the coffee wall decoratio

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Up before sun up; the Son stirs me. Drop to my knees, “I thank you, oh living and eternal King.” I get dressed, grab a bar and my bag then shuffle along to the car. My back is twisted up in pain; groaning – like Gandhi’s belly or Luther’s hairline – I digress as I attempt to recline in the van. I set forth with my plan.

Wheels in motion heading for the local Goshen, land flowing with breve and honey to go along with the dark brew. Confucion I’m not feeling, but certainly stiff and groggy, almost weak – like Samson’s fresh fade.

man wearing black shirt cap and gloves

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I arrive, into the coffee shop I fade from the darkness of the world. I just want a cup of Jo-nah, I’ll probably take two; like Law & Grace! I order my grande soul revival – dark roast with honey and breve – in a mug. “Certainly” replies the gracious host, as I lug myself to my seat. Bible and journal appear. Grab my bar; ready to feed body and soul.

04031906261692444180.jpg

Photo by Joshua Curtis

Ready for that first sip; that creamy brown drip! Yearning for the freedom to flow, parting these lips of red. As the clock moves, ticks ‘n tocks, thickens the plot. Who is this gentil(e) barista?! Name tag? Oh, Zacch. Interesting spelling but this brother is coming up short! Is he denying my goodness? Perhaps plotting my destruction?! I speak. “Ha-man, is that dark roast hanging out back there?” “I’m so sorry! The orders were Mor-de-cai could handle! Momentarily.” Like a rasta, I felt his dread, but my attitude was past those young elders. Heat of frustration like a welder began to rise, but this I did realize. Although ready to start knocking with a heavy hand or maybe begin throwing around some stones of righteousness in this mermaid temple … I gave advantage to the sparks between the temples.

Chill Joshua, find your nirvana. NO! Wait, that’s that confucion talking again. That’s like karma, it doesn’t mean what you think it means – Westerner! What do I need? Oh, yes, Shalom, in the deepest! Not feeling sheepish, but I relax, reminding myself it will come hin-du time. Indeed, it shall come to pass and will arrive sunni…

At last, it arrives as across the counter the mug makes a smooth slide, like the Master into the upper room. I shuffle back to the table I reside and move books to make room. Sit down. Books out. Journal open. Bar unsheathed. Headphones in and wi-fi connected. Sons of Korah ringing out with Psaltery hymns.

person hand and cup of coffee

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The moment! My soul is already dancing like that little groot gif and my belly’s expectant down to the root – like buddha’s. This is it! I give thanks through increased salivation as I proceed to – like Peter’s sermon – illuminate the mental dank. The sip. BEHOLD! It … it … no … NO … tastes like … shiite! … … …

© 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 AMpMon, 13 May 2019 04:53:12 -040053Monday 2016 at 4:53 am  Comments (5)  
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