Harvest
The Strangest Prophet

Today's Archive of Thoughts

 

I keep a calendar of thoughts and compared those thoughts collected over the years, on the day of the month that corresponds to the first time I made them available to the public.

How they come together is something I sometimes manipulate, aggregate, collate, and curate.

At other times, I just let them fall into place and let the reader do all that “ate” work — or shall we say, “eating?”

If you see common denominators, please leave a comment.

“Again he entered the synagogue, and a man was there with a withered hand. And they watched Jesus, to see whether he would heal him on the Sabbath, so that they might accuse him. And he said to the man with the withered hand, “Come here.” And he said to them, “Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to kill?” But they were silent. And he looked around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart, and said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was restored. The Pharisees went out and immediately held counsel with the Herodians against him, how to destroy him.” -Mark 3:1–6 (ESV)

Jesus is angry and grieved here, because otherwise good people with sound doctrine are adding burdens to people that stand between them and their healing and redemption. Jesus’ heart does not allow him to pass a man with a withered hand and not do all he can to help and restore. He can no less pass an opportunity to make a teaching point in his own indignation — even if it creates hostility against him.

There are many lessons here, but one strikes me today. These Pharisees, by all accounts, reformers who sought to bring the faith of Israel back to its authentic roots, had gotten familiar with power and honor and were threatened when something different came along. They had also fallen for the mistaken belief that if everyone just followed the rules as they interpreted them, they would all be “cool” with God.

They were so convinced of their calling to control the Sabbath that God had given to man and made the Son of Man in charge of, that they were willing to align with the money-grabbing, religiously antagonistic, power brokers of the day whose Herodian inclinations were secular, unjust, oppressive, and basically evil. They had something in common — common economic and political interests that they were willing to justify with religious language.

So great was there lust for order, power, and social/religious favor and equilibrium that they made plans to destroy the voice that would upset their tentative and fragile apple cart of Roman-Jewish coexistence.

Jesus’ response was to feel the indignation, grief, and compassion, recognize the risk, and do what he would do anyway.

He was not about to be intimidated.

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“The passion in the human heart for freedom, justice and forgiveness is only eclipsed by the passion in the human heart to inflict injustice, limit freedom, and seek revenge. That’s what theologians call ‘sin.’” — Leonard Sweet

“The movement of the Spirit of God in the hearts of men often calls them to act against the spirit of their times or causes them to anticipate a spirit which is yet in the making. In a moment of dedication, they are given wisdom and courage to dare a deed that challenges and to kindle hope that inspires.” — Howard Thurman, Footprints of a Dream

Grace to you this day.

Free flowing, fresh, thirst quenching, life altering, mind bending, countenance lifting, laughter evoking, heart wrenching, heart mending, sweet, precious grace to you.

Grace to you that is greater than than sin, disappointment, and fear.

Grace to you that is so flavored with giddy God joy that no bitter words can shatter its confidence and all swords of disparagement pass through it like knives through Jell-O.

Grace, grace, grace to you.

Grace to you that lifts you and challenges you.

May grace that cannot be contained in you, be in you and flow through you to others today.

If you do not believe as I do, that grace can come in a person and dwell within you, may grace still surround you and may people of grace be gracious unto you. sing grace; dance grace; live grace.

Grace to you.

 

Here is my prayer for you today.

This prayer covers most bases. It gathers us into immediate and intentional community of support, love, and encouragement. Let us pray it together and, for today and maybe tomorrow, be a congregation of support that reaches around the globe and into eternity.

“For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith — that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”

“Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” -Ephesians 3:14–21 (ESV)

 

Something in us longs for a sense of conclusion as long as that conclusion is culmination of purpose. Sainthood presupposes purpose and closure in accordance with purpose. Let us live with the peace that in the last chapter of our lives, God has determined to bring precious meaning and to fulfill His purposes in us.

“Precious in the sight of the LORD
 is the death of his saints.” -Psalm 116:15 (ESV)

 

 

When your heart belongs to God and is, essentially set on the purposes of God, a new shaping begins to take place. None of this is perfected in time and space, but, to the extent that it is dominant reality of our lives, it does effect our desires. Our desires exist at multilevel layers. They are not all-together free of corruption, but neither are they all-together corrupt. We must listen to our emerging desires, inner stirrings, and subliminal awareness because it is often at that layer that our minds, hearts, and spirits are sorting out the scriptures and insights that God is giving us through many sources all at once. It is those desires that we want Him to fulfill because they are His desires and they are our deepest desires. Out of those desires flow the legitimate dreams, visions, and plans for the future He purposes for us.

“May he grant you your heart’s desire
 and fulfill all your plans!”- Psalm 20:4 (ESV)

Listen to your desires and prayerfully examine your plans. Do not dismiss them, but dig deeper into them. Examine them in the light of scripture and prayer, peeling away the layers until you discover what God is saying to you in and through them.

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Live loose; live light; live large!

I have been reflecting on an issue that often troubles me. When a crisis occurs in the world, there is an urge to pack up and go, or to at least to write a very big check. Many share that urge. But we are constrained by time commitments, lack of preparation, and enormous personal debt.

As part of the changes in my own life, I am thinking I need to make an effort to live loose, live light, and live large.

Living loose means to take life as it comes and to be able to join Isaiah in his declaration, “Here I am; send me.”

If we live loose, we plan and implement our plans, but we do not become so attached to our plans that they take precedence over our purpose for living. Strategies are vital to our goals, but they change. They must not rule us. Calendars represent commitments to be honored, but there must be some flexibility built into our rigid lives.

Living loose means living in a state of readiness to respond to God’s call through the suffering of the world.

Living loose may mean having a passport ready at all times. I don’t have that. It may mean having contingencies plans and back up prepared for our routine commitments.

Mostly it is an attitude.

I need to live light. Too often we are guided by our limitations. We have created many of those limitations through compulsive spending, mismanagement of credit, consumer greed, and appetites out of control. I have wasted thousands of dollars for which I have little to show.

What do we really need? What is interfering with our ability to give when a need arises?

How can we lighten our loads and live simpler, more rewarding and satisfying lives?

Not only debt, but possessions and expectations of comfort and pleasure can tie us down.

So can mismanaged health and wellness. We are often just too out of shape to be ready to respond. I, for one, have abused my body through years of eating too much of the wrong food and failure to push myself beyond my comfort level in exercise.

These are seemingly innocent sins, but they have effected my availability.

I am just being honest here — I have not lived light. Yet, in recent weeks, I have been experiencing an emptying of myself before God. It has been obvious on the physical level, but it has informed my soul and my spirit.

The sad consequence of the past, however, is that barring a miracle, I could not financially, physically, or professionally get on a plane tomorrow and fly to Haiti.

Neither do I have the money in the bank to write a big check. I will write a check, but it will not be what I could have written if I had lived more wisely and lightly.

There are skills I ought to require, but there is the ever-present excuse: When can I find the time?

Where does anyone find time? We make time.

Living large means we take the world into our hearts and let it expand us beyond ourselves. It means growing toward a God-sized concern for the pain of humanity. It means weeping with those who weep and rejoicing with those who rejoice. It means thinking globally and eternally.

Living large means loving our neighbors as ourselves.

We love ourselves. We pamper ourselves, indulge ourselves, and fatten ourselves. In the process, we destroy ourselves for usefulness. We need to find a new way of loving ourselves that embraces the whole world. We need to transform our love of self into something that feeds a new self, a servant self, a more fulfilled and joyful self that is available to God and others.

As we change ourselves and love ourselves that way, we can love and change the world.

Live loose; live light; live large!

 

 

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