Sight and light are the themes we see in our readings this weekend. These two things go together well and describe our spiritual condition apart from God. In our Old Testament reading we hear about the Children of Israel being spiritually blind and in the darkness of their idolatry. God is faithful and promises to bring them back out of the darkness and to restore their sight. Paul tells us that we have been brought out of darkness and should live as children of the light. Finally in our Gospel reading we hear about Jesus healing a man who was born blind and exposing the spiritual blindness of the people around him.
Old Testament: Isaiah 42:14--21
Epistle: Ephesians 5:8--14
Gospel: John 9:1--41
When I started this blog I talked about writing about the things that interest me. I even went so far to say that there were many things that interest me. Apparently I can't find the topics or the time to actually write about. This seems to be the case with many people who start blogging. It is easy to get ambitious and believe that you'll regularly write for fun or that your ideas will change the world. Instead, as it happens with most things, it is easy to get busy and completely neglect a project like this.
To that end, I take comfort in the fact that there are more blogs in the world than any one person will ever be able to read and that there are so many writers who are far better than I am. I don't believe that the lack of another blog will ruin anyone's day. So I'll keep writing sporadically and hopefully find interesting or useful things to share. I appreciate your kind words when your find something you enjoy and I look forward to continued conversations about interesting topics.
Water is a foundational element for life on Earth and it also happens to be the theme in our readings this week. The people of Israel complain about not having water in the desert so Moses strikes a rock and they have water to drink. God pours out his Spirit like water into our hearts so that we can rejoice in our sufferings and Jesus shares living water with the people in Samaria.
Old Testament: Exodus 17:1--7
Epistle: Romans 5:1--8
Gospel: John 4:5--26 (27--30, 39--42)
Faith is our focus this week as we see Abram stepping out in faith to follow God to a new land when he was already 75 years old. Paul tells us that it was God's gift of faith to Abraham that caused him to be saved, not his own works and Jesus clarifies things for Nicodemus so that he too may know how one enters the Kingdom of Heaven and what Jesus mission was on earth.
Old Testament: Genesis 12:1--9
Epistle: Romans 4:1--8, 13--17
Gospel: John 3:1--17
Temptation is a theme that we see in our readings this week. In our Old Testament reading from Genesis we hear about Eve being tempted by the serpent and in our Gospel reading we hear about Jesus being tempted by satan. Check it out!
Old Testament Reading: Genesis 3:1–21
Epistle Reading: Romans 5:12–19
Gospel Reading: Matthew 4:1–11
Have you ever noticed that the things that are good for us are hard? They take work. Take school, for example, you can slide through school by just doing the bare minimum. You can get passing grades and graduate without really mastering any material. However, if you really want to learn the material it is going to take more work. You need to read the books, complete the exercises, and do the projects. When you finish this you have to do it all over again. Repetition and experience leads to learning.
How about relationships? In order for a relationship to be successful, two people must work hard. There must be a willingness to compromise during conflicts, to apologize when a mistake has been made, to forgive when you’ve been wronged, and to love not only in the good times but also in the bad times. Relationships are easy when life is good and things are going smoothly. When money is readily available, physical appearances are attractive, jobs are fulfilling, and times are fun, it is easy to love each other. But, when money is tight, bodies are worn out, jobs become frustrating, and there hasn’t been a laugh in days, that’s where you must really work to love each other.
Another activity that falls into the category of “good for you but hard to do” is exercise. Obesity is on the rise in America. We are faced with a buffet of unhealthy food choices and more and more things to distract us and keep us sedentary. Staying healthy takes hard work. You have to choose the right foods to eat while avoiding the unhealthy ones. You have to dedicate the time to exercising. This means getting rid of excuses about time, ability, or pain.
What does any of this have to do with anything and why write about such obvious things? Well today at church we’re beginning our “40 Days in God’s Word” challenge. Using a CD from Faith Comes By Hearing we are going to be able to listen to the entire New Testament in 40 days simply by listening for 28 minutes per day. Have you ever read the whole Bible? This is another thing that takes hard work. There are parts that are exciting and easy to read and there are other parts that don’t make much sense or are tedious to read. It takes hard work to focus and make it through these parts. Sometimes we don’t do it because it takes time and we’re busier doing other things. Other times we start out strong, but lose momentum along the way. My hope is that we will each challenge ourselves to work hard over the next 40 days to commit 28 minutes each day to listening to the assigned readings for the day.
God’s word tells us about his work and about his promises. It tells us about how he’s fulfilled all of his promises. We hear that he sent his Son into the world to die on the cross and rise from the dead to rescue us from sin, death, and the power of the Devil. The Holy Spirit uses this word to create and strengthen our faith. I think that at the end of 40 days we’ll find that working hard to carve out the time listen each day will be just as worthwhile as working hard to learn new things in school, to maintain and strengthen our relationships and to keep out bodies in shape. We’ll find that this “workout” for our faith will strengthen it and give us an even greater understanding of God our Father. May God bless us all as we dive further into his Word.
My name is Tom. I'm fascinated by the ways that people, ideas, current events and theology interact with each other.