Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Reflections for the 4th Week of Easter, Part 2

Thursday – My Faithfulness

“My faithfulness and My mercy shall be with him...” Thus God assures King David in today's psalm.

God's faithfulness and mercy shall be with us, too. The Hebrew word for “faithfulness” here is emunah, and it carries overtones of security, firmness, steadfastness, stability, and trust. God will never let us down or let us go, and He will never stop loving us. He is the rock we can turn to for help and support anytime, anywhere. Even when we are faithless and sinful, He waits for us and gives us the graces we need to believe and repent.

The Hebrew word for “mercy” is also rich in meaning. It is hesed, and it refers to covenant loyalty. When God makes a covenant, He keeps it, forever without ceasing. Further, because covenants create family bonds, God remains our Father through thick and thin. He will never abandon us, never kick us out, never tell us that we are no longer His kids. He may discipline us sometimes (as good fathers do), and if we, like spoiled kids, run away and think that we can make it on our own, He will take the tough love approach and let us learn our lessons the hard way. But He never, ever stops loving us.

So let us listen again to God's words as He speaks to our hearts like He spoke to David's: My faithfulness and My mercy shall be with you.

Friday – Do Not Let Your Hearts Be Troubled

Are you in a difficult situation and can't see a way out? Jesus has a message for you: “Do not let your hearts be troubled.”

Are you exhausted or sick or scared or all of the above? Jesus has a message for you: “Do not let your hearts be troubled.”

Are you wondering how you will ever find the strength to keep going? Jesus has a message for you: “Do not let your hearts be troubled.”

Are you afraid that your faith, hope, and love are too weak and fragile to amount to anything? Jesus has a message for you: “Do not let your hearts be troubled.”

Are you concerned that you'll never make it home to Heaven? Jesus has a message for you: “Do not let your hearts be troubled.”

“You have faith in God;” He continues, “have faith also in Me. In My Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If there were not, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and take you to Myself, so that where I am you also may be.” What better reassurance could Jesus give us than this?

Saturday – Jews and Gentiles

Paul and Barnabas were fed up. Many Jews of Antioch of Pisidia refused to listen to the saving message of Jesus Christ. Instead, they showered the two messengers with jealous scorn and abuse.

So Paul and Barnabas met the stubborn Jews head on. Since they rejected the Gospel and chose to condemn themselves and cut themselves off from eternal life, the Christians would simply find a new audience. They would go to the Gentiles.

This pronouncement probably made the Jews even angrier. In their eyes, the Gentiles were nothing, lower than scum, cut off from God, not worthy of notice.

Paul and Barnabas didn't agree. They knew that the Gospel of Jesus Christ was for the whole world, Jew and Gentile alike, and since the Jews didn't want it, the time had come to move on.

The Gentiles were thrilled to hear the good news. Filled with delight, they embraced salvation and the eternal life now offered to them with such great love. Finally their time had come. Finally they, too, could know the God so long hidden from them. Finally they, too, had a chance at Heaven.

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