Growing in Resilience
Day 12, Read Isaiah 51
Reflection: Eyes to See, based on Isaiah 51:1-3
Listen to me, you that pursue righteousness, you that seek the Lord. Look to the rock from which you were hewn, and to the quarry from which you were dug. Look to Abraham your father and to Sarah who bore you; for he was but one when I called him, but I blessed him and made him many. For the Lord will comfort Zion; he will comfort all her waste places, and will make her wilderness like Eden, her desert like the garden of the Lord; joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and the voice of song.
You woke me
You tore the veil in two
You wiped the scales from my eyes
Eyes now seeing your saving grace
Eyes to see and to follow
To pursue you
To pursue peace and righteousness
Right relationship with you and with others
Right relationship with the earth and myself
I now see you and seek you
The fullness of your grace
Your Kingdom come
What do I see?
I didn’t see it before but now I have eyes
Eyes to see
our wasteland- the dissipation and squandering
our wilderness- the isolation and preying
our desert- dry to the bone
Look at all I see
Lord God, help me to keep looking
To see it all and to see even more
All that was, all that is, and all that is coming
Help me look to the rock
The hardness of who I used to be
Now broken against the cornerstone of your love
Broken for good
Help me look to the legacy
Foremothers and Forefathers of faith
Their following and frailty and victory
I am not the first, I am not alone
Help me look to the promises
The wasteland will be a garden again
The seeds of truth are budding
As are the seeds of justice and hope
Eyes to see your consolation
Eyes to see your redemption and new birth
Eyes to see joy and gladness blooming
Watered from springs of thanksgiving and song
1. How we relate to our money goes to the heart of our relationship with God
There are three conversions necessary: the conversion of the heart, the conversion of the mind, and the conversion of the purse. – Martin Luther
2. If you look for money to do what only God can do, money will fail you
Money cannot forgive your sins, bring you wholeness, nor save you
Money is not a Rock and a Refuge from the pain and trouble of this world
Money does not define you, nor make you valuable
3. Is money is good or evil?
Money is a powerful tool and gift of God. Like any gift, it can be twisted into something it was never meant to be: greed, envy, exploitation, materialism, hoarding… Like any gift, it can be received, nurtured, blessed, and multiplied for the greater good.
In the hands of [God’s] children, [money] is food for the hungry, drink for the thirsty, raiment for the naked. . . . By it we may supply the place of a husband to the widow, and of a father to the fatherless; we may be a defense for the oppressed, a means of health to the sick, of ease to them that are in pain. It may be as eyes to the blind, as feet to the lame; yea, a lifter up from the gates of death! – John Wesley, The Use of Money
So it’s not about money. It’s about being in right relationship with money.
It is about using God-given spiritual practices to manage God’s powerful gift of money faithfully. There is no reason to fear or avoid speaking about money.
4. Where do we start? Wisdom is more valuable than money
Think of the consequence of money without wisdom
What is Wisdom? Accumulating knowledge is being smart, educated, informed. It is good to seek the help of experts and best practices, but it is not enough. Wisdom goes beyond accumulating knowledge to the use of knowledge. Wisdom takes into account experience, best practices, but goes beyond to seek and apply timeless Biblical truth and Divine Insight. Wisdom reveals what to do with what you have and why you do it.
Psalm 19:1-6, gaining God’s wisdom via nature
God reaches out to everyone, speaking to us. God wants to be in relationship with us through Jesus Christ, to lead us and guide us and give us wisdom. Yes, we consult experts. Yes, we use our God-given brains. Yes, we seek God’s will and wisdom.
Psalm 19:7-11, gaining God’s wisdom through God’s Word
God’s wisdom is
sure and reliable
right and correct
clear and clarifying
true and sound
more to be desired than gold
sweeter than honey
The wisdom that God’s Word provides
revives the soul
makes us wise if we have an open mind and a teachable spirit
causes our hearts to rejoice and be satisfied
enlightens, opens our understanding and perspective
brings answers, perspective, clarity
results in a healthy fear, awe, and holy reverence for God
results in appropriate humility before God
sustains and endures
warns, correcting us that we may live a rewarding life
In short, God’s wisdom puts us in right relationship with God, with others, with ourselves, with the earth, and with money. It’s why we can trust it, seek it, and surrender to it.
5. Ask God for Wisdom, that you may be in right relationship with money.
Do you pray and thank God for “daily bread,” trusting God as the source of your provision and asking God to provide? Do you seek God’s will when making a purchase or an investment or making an offering or for the courage to tithe?
Consider Solomon, a young man about to follow his father David in becoming king. God comes to him in a dream. “Ask what I should give you.” What would you ask for? Long life, love, wealth, power, peace, revenge, victory over your enemies…
Solomon asks for this Give your servant, therefore, an understanding mind to govern your people, able to discern between good and evil; for who can govern this your great people? (1 Kings 3:9)
Notice Solomon’s love and respect for God. He was a king yet humble. He refers to himself as God’s servant. Notice Solomon’s love of others. He understands his call as a leader is beyond his strength, skill, intelligence, and resources. He understands his responsibilities to the greater good.
God answers his prayer and God will answer you. Ask God for Wisdom, that you may be in right relationship with money.
Mighty God, grant me wisdom
Let the words of my mouth be acceptable to you
Let my every desire be acceptable to you
Let the resting place of my heart be acceptable to you
Open me to growth and guidance
Purify my reverence and awe for you
Sustain me and satisfy me
May the revival and sanctifying of my soul bring you delight and glory
I trust your Holy Word and Holy Wisdom to put me in right relationship with all things
With money, myself, my motivations, with others, with you
You alone are my Rock and my Redeemer
I’m excited to now offer mp3’s of my Sunday messages. A huge thank you to Sean and my brothers and sisters at Trinity United Methodist Church, Sarasota for all their help in making this possible. If you’re ever in Sarasota, please drop by for worship Sundays at 9am or 10:30am, or join us live on our Facebook page at 9am Sundays, or drop by during the week for a chat or small group. You and those you love are always welcome.
Please let me know the artist of this piece that I may give him/her credit.
Gratitude for a New Year
For the blessings of today
which remind us of the blessings of the past
which point forward to the blessings still to come
we give you thanks
Prayer for a New Year, based on Psalm 90
Eternal and Immortal One,
You have been our refuge from age to age.
Before the mountains were born,
Before the earth and the world came to birth,
From eternity to eternity,
You are God.
To you, a thousand years are like a yesterday
Like a watch of the night
You return us to dust
You sweep us away like a dream
We are like grass
In the morning we thrive,
But come evening,
We are withered and dry
Teach us to number our days
That we may gain your wise heart
Fill us with your faithful love
That we may sing your joyful story
Show us your wondrous deeds
That we may see your transforming power
That generations to come may see it as well
Let your favor, O God be upon us,
That the work of our hands
May bear forth your blessing
And bring your glory. Amen.
Penitence by Larry Poncho Brown
Prayer of Confession for a New Year
As the new year is born,
We remember and regret…
Forgive us, Holy One,
When we keep You at a distance
When we defy your bidding
When we make it harder
for people to know you
Forgive us, Holy One,
When we deny our weakness
When we wallow in our weakness
When we take advantage
of the weakness of others
Forgive us, Holy One,
When we refuse Your counsel
When we waste your gifts
When we withhold Your compassion from others
As the new year is born
We labor to look forward
Our hearts fill with hope
For you are making all things new
even us… Amen
My hope and prayer and confidence
is that in this new year
God will be lovingly present for you,
and you will more and more deeply trust
God’s delight in you.
Christ will lead you every step of the new year.
The Spirit’s gifts will unfold in you in new ways.
I rejoice that in this new year
beauty will surround you; grace will enfold you;
love will embrace and uphold you;
joy will bless you, and hope sustain you.
May you receive healing and wisdom;
may your creativity flower and your courage grow;
and in your hands may justice and mercy flourish.
I rejoice that these gifts await you in the new year,
and pray that you receive them with delight.
I give thanks for the gift of sharing together
the journey of this new year.
God bless us all.
********** Click Here for a collection of quotes entitled Counting Our Days
Numbers 24:17, The Voice
Balaam: I see him, but at a later time,
I’ll recognize him, even though he is far away.
A star will come out of Jacob,
A scepter shall rise out of Israel.
Matthew 2:1-2, 9-10, The Voice
Jesus was born in the town of Bethlehem, in the province of Judea, at the time when King Herod reigned. Not long after Jesus was born, magi, wise men or seers from the East, made their way from the East to Jerusalem. These wise men made inquiries.
Wise Men: Where is this newborn, who is the King of the Jews? When we were far away in the East we saw His star, and we have followed its glisten and gleam all this way to worship Him.
The wise men left Herod’s chambers and went on their way. The star they had first seen in the East reappeared—a miracle that, of course, overjoyed and enraptured the wise men. The star led them to the house where Jesus lay.
Clearly did Balaam reveal to us
The meaning of the words which were prophesied,
Saying that a Star would rise up,
A Star which would dim all prophecies and divination,
A Star to destroy the parables of the wise,
Their teachings and their enigmas,
A Star much brighter than this star which just appeared,
For He is the Maker of Stars
About whom it was written: ‘From Jacob shall rise up
A newborn babe, the God before time.’ – Romanos
O star of wonder, star of light,
Star with royal beauty bright,
Westward leading, still proceeding,
Guide us to thy perfect Light – John H. Hopkins, Jr.
Hallelujah to Jesus!
The Bright Morning Star
Rising in the nightfall of our creation
Hallelujah to Jesus!
The Divine Light shining in the darkness
No evil overcomes you
Hallelujah to Jesus!
Your brilliance radiates near and far
Drawing us into your presence
There we find
There we find you
Everything we long for
Everything we strive for
Everything we need
Thank you for showing us the way
Thank you for setting aside times this Holy Season to seek the One we celebrate.
Jesus, The Coming Messiah is an Advent Bible Reading Plan highlighting the Old Testament prophesies and passages which Christians see fulfilled in Jesus.
As you read each passage, consider how this description of Jesus the Messiah reveals his character, motivation, and purpose. How does this description inspire you to trust Jesus and his promises? How will you apply and share what you have discovered? I look forward to your comments.
If you’re in Sarasota, please drop by Trinity United Methodist Church for one of our seasonal events or services or just to say, “Hi.” You’re always welcome and wanted.
Jesus, heal us for we are hard of hearing
We do not listen, nor seek to understand
We work for our kingdom, not yours
Jesus, heal us for we have shut our eyes
We see, but we do not perceive
We look to our kingdom, not yours
Jesus, heal us for our hearts have grown dull
Blunted by apathy and distraction
We long for our kingdom, not yours
Jesus, you speak again that we might be saved
Weave your stories into the fabric of our souls
Unstop us with sacred truth
Awaken us to greater grace
Sharpen us with your light and love
that we may be fully yours and fully alive
to your kingdom, to your glory, to your mercy,
to you and your holy will. Amen