My posts come from my personal daily scripture readings and a part of my personal accountability. If we are going to grow as followers of Christ, we must be in the Word! If you miss these a few days, something has kept me from it; but if they're gone for too many days, call me on the carpet. We need to hold one another accountable. Join me on this journey as our lives are to Reflect the Image-and Jesus IS the image. Peace, Carla Sunberg
Subscribe to this blog
Follow by Email
This is Not Shame
Rembrandt’s “Return of the Prodigal Son” at the Hermitage, St. Petersburg, Russia.
The Lord GOD helps me; therefore I have not been disgraced; therefore I have set my face like flint, and I know that I shall not be put to shame;
(Is. 50:7 NRSV)
The words from Isaiah are often thought to be prophetic words about the coming Messiah, but these words are also a promise to all of God’s people. We are called to participate in Christ and therefore we can hold onto the promise that it is the Lord God who helps us in our times of trouble. What may appear to be disgrace in the eyes of others, just may be grace-filled loved in the eyes of God. Therefore, this is not shame, or I am not shamed by my circumstances, but instead, I am transformed in the midst of those circumstance into one who reflects the glory of God.
We continue the Lenten journey through this Holy Week. This week will lead us to the cross where we find Christ dying for all the world. Jesus understood his circumstances, and that no matter how others treated him, he would not be put to shame for the Father was with him.
In the story of the prodigal son we find the boy returning home, poor, starving and shamed. He is embarrassed to see anyone, and especially his father. He knows that he has shamed the family, and himself, and should have no rights or privilege. However, in his worst moment, his father rushes to him, takes off his cloak and covers the shame with his robe. He would not allow his son to stand before him, shamed, but covered him with all that symbolized the value which he still had in the family. The Heavenly Father covered Jesus with his love and grace. The Father did not turn away from his Son in the moment of his suffering, but when all the guilt and shame of the world was revealed in the ugliness of his death, the Father covered it all. Neither Jesus, nor any of us need to live with the shame.
In the late fourth century John Chrysostom wrote a series of letters to a woman named Olympias. Evidently, she was going through a period of struggles and he encouraged her in this way, “Therefore, let none of these things that are happening trouble [you], but stop asking for the aid of this or that person and running after shadows (for such are human alliances); persistently call on Jesus, whom [you serve] . . . and in a moment of time all these evils will be dissolved. (LETTERS TO OLYMPIAS 7.2) Just like Olympias, we are to persistently call on Jesus, and not on others. No person has the power to take away our shame, only our Savior. The beauty is that in a moment Jesus also reminds us that though the world may want to shame us, we are not put to shame. This is not shame, because our shame has been covered by the love of a gracious Father.
We turn our faces toward the one who loves us and allow him to draw us to the cross, the place where there is no longer any room for shame.
Lord, may we find freedom from the shame which others may try to hang on us. Thank you for the journey which leads us to the cross. Words of gratitude are never enough to thank you for what you have done for us. Amen.
Unless the Lord builds the house,
those who build it labor in vain.
Unless the Lord guards the city,
the guard keeps watch in vain. Observation:
There is a foundation to the house of this life, and that must be the Lord. Application:
I think it started this week when we got off the plane in Boise. A flood of memories began to overwhelm me as I reminisced about the way that things used to be. Many years ago, when we were living in Russia, we would come back home to the United States on furlough, and that always meant coming to Boise, Idaho. My parents were living here and had built a home with two guest rooms that we would call “home” for three months. Exiting the security area at the airport, my parents were always there, waiting with expectant smiles, for us to finally arrive. I can see my mom, clapping her hands, with a grin from ear to ear, just waiting to wrap her arms around every one of us. This week, I glanced at the waiting area as we exited the security …
Scripture: Proverbs 21:17Whoever loves pleasure will suffer want; whoever loves wine and oil will not be rich. Observation:
Some have said that this verse speaks of the dangers of an Epicurean life-style. What does that mean? Generally we have attributed this to the teaching of Epicurus, a philosopher who was born in 341 BC. He encouraged people to find a static state of pleasure where one was satiated — or full. When the pleasures have been completely, or entirely satisfied, then one feels full. Later Epicurean societies adopted a motto: Non fui, fui, non sum, non curo ("I was not; I was; I am not; I do not care”). In contemporary society this phrase has been adopted to be used at humanist funerals, or to be carved as an epitaph on a headstone.
The problem is that they don’t understand what Wisdom was trying to say. Pleasure alone would ultimately leave one wanting. The Epicurean life of rich foods and drink, as well as the investment in oils and cosmetics could not be sustained. T…
Proverbs 15:17Better is a dinner of vegetables where love is than a fatted ox and hatred with it. Observation:
The guests are invited to dinner but the host is concerned that there is little to offer. Without the financial resources of the wealthy, they are unable to kill a fatted ox and can only serve vegetables. While some may be discouraged by this, wisdom tells us that the satisfaction depends upon the appetite of the guest. If the guests who are invited are hungry, then even a small meal will be enjoyed and received with gratitude. They will experience the love of the host who was willing to share all he had with his guests. Application:
I was born in Germany where my parents served as missionaries. It seems that our financial resources were often limited, and yet, there was an endless supply of guests at our table. Not only did we have our dear German friends gathering with us at the table, but also many visitors from other countries who would stop by, wanting to see “t…