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Simple, Not Easy

Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery; You shall not murder; You shall not steal; You shall not covet”; and any other commandment, are summed up in this word, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law. ~ Romans 13:8-10


Love isn't complicated; people are. ~ Unknown
Not long ago I talked about how giving up control was simple but not easy. And I've talked a lot here about love: because, well, you know, there's a lot in the Bible about that! The idea of "simple not easy" is one that is also common among AA circles. Bill W., the creator of AA talked about the process being one that is simple in its steps, but not at all easy.  A couple millennia before Bill W. talked about AA being simple but not easy, the Apostle Paul related the simple Christian message to Jesus' followers.  It ALL com…

Allegory

Mortal, write down the name of this day, this very day. The king of Babylon has laid siege to Jerusalem this very day. And utter an allegory to the rebellious house. ~ Ezekiel 24:2-3


Metaphor is an allegory in miniature. ~ George Campbell, The Philosophy of Rhetoric 
Spoiler alert! The allegory that God is describing to Ezekiel isn't full of sunshine and good news.  It's full of images of bones and blood and rust and the wrath and fury of God.  It foretells the destruction of Israel by the Babylonians. Allegory is a common - and effective - way that Scripture presents God's message to God's people.  It's one that I believe is still effective. Allegory gets lost in the "Bible as literal" debate.  Allegory is not literal. It is, as Campbell states here, a much larger form of metaphor. But allegory is powerful.  Words evoke power in allegory and metaphor and symbolism in a way I think that the literal word can't always do. Think of truth itself.  How would you …

House divided

Then they brought to him a demoniac who was blind and mute; and he cured him, so that the one who had been mute could speak and see. All the crowds were amazed and said, “Can this be the Son of David?” But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, “It is only by Beelzebul, the ruler of the demons, that this fellow casts out the demons.” He knew what they were thinking and said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and no city or house divided against itself will stand. If Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself; how then will his kingdom stand? If I cast out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your own exorcists cast them out? Therefore they will be your judges. But if it is by the Spirit of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come to you. ~ Matthew 12:22-28


None of us can rest, be happy, be at home, be at peace with ourselves until we end hatred and division. ~ John Lewis



Do you know of any divided houses? Depending on who you talk to, …

Truth to Power

And the LORD sent Nathan to David. He came to him, and said to him, “There were two men in a certain city, the one rich and the other poor. The rich man had very many flocks and herds; but the poor man had nothing but one little ewe lamb, which he had bought. He brought it up, and it grew up with him and with his children; it used to eat of his meager fare, and drink from his cup, and lie in his bosom, and it was like a daughter to him. Now there came a traveler to the rich man, and he was loath to take one of his own flock or herd to prepare for the wayfarer who had come to him, but he took the poor man’s lamb, and prepared that for the guest who had come to him.” Then David’s anger was greatly kindled against the man. He said to Nathan, “As the LORD lives, the man who has done this deserves to die; he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity.” Nathan said to David, “You are the man!" ~ 2 Samuel 12:1-7a



Nathan emerges as an incredibly …

Friday Follow Up

- Re-read the passages from this week's devotions. Choose the one that is most meaningful to you to be your prayer focus for today. They are:

Exodus 19:3-6
Psalm 147:1
Matthew 26:6-13
Revelation 3:1-6


- Read the passage again and identify a word or phrases that jump out at you.

- Read the passage again, and if possible read from a different translation (biblegateway.com has many translations you can choose from). Identify where this passage might be touching your life today. How is this relevant to your life?

- Read the passage a third time, again in a different translation if possible. Ask yourself what God is calling you to do or to be from this passage. What change might God be moving your toward?

- Close with a silent prayer, listening to God rather than speaking to God. What actions will you take today based on this prayer?




- Recite the Lord's Prayer.

Revelation

And to the angel of the church in Sardis write: These are the words of him who has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars: “I know your works; you have a name of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is on the point of death, for I have not found your works perfect in the sight of my God. Remember then what you received and heard; obey it, and repent. If you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come to you. Yet you have still a few persons in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes; they will walk with me, dressed in white, for they are worthy.If you conquer, you will be clothed like them in white robes, and I will not blot your name out of the book of life; I will confess your name before my Father and before his angels. Let anyone who has an ear listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches. ~ Revelation 3:1-6


Revelation is less about doom-and-gloom, and more about gardens that will bloom. It…

Money and Worship

Now while Jesus was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper,a woman came to him with an alabaster jar of very costly ointment, and she poured it on his head as he sat at the table. But when the disciples saw it, they were angry and said, “Why this waste? For this ointment could have been sold for a large sum, and the money given to the poor.” But Jesus, aware of this, said to them, “Why do you trouble the woman? She has performed a good service for me. For you always have the poor with you, but you will not always have me. By pouring this ointment on my body she has prepared me for burial. Truly I tell you, wherever this good news is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in remembrance of her.” ~ Matthew 26:6-13


Worship is transcendent wonder. ~ Thomas Carlyle
In these few lines, Matthew hits home on two issues that matter quite a bit in our current faith communities: how we spend our money and how we worship.  How many times have you been in a meeting or disc…