Daily Reading & Meditation

 Friday (October 24): "How to interpret the present time"

Scripture:  Luke 12:54-59

54 He also said to the multitudes, "When you see a cloud rising in the west, you say at once, `A shower is coming'; and so it happens. 55 And when you see the south wind blowing, you say, `There will be scorching heat'; and it happens. 56 You hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of earth and sky; but why do you not know how to interpret the present time? 57 "And why do you not judge for yourselves what is right?58 As you go with your accuser before the magistrate, make an effort to settle with him on the way, lest he drag you to the judge, and the judge hand you over to the officer, and the officer put you in prison. 59 I tell you, you will never get out till you have paid the very last copper."

Meditation: How good are you at reading warning signs? Jesus expects his disciples to accurately read the signs of the times! Farmers and seafarers know the importance of spotting weather conditions for safe travel and planting. A lot of effort is made today, with the help of science and technology, to discern potential natural dangers, such as tropical storms, hurricanes, floods, tornados, earth quakes, and erupting volcanoes, so that people can be warned to take shelter before disaster hits. Our need for accurately discerning spiritual danger is even more necessary if we want to avoid a spiritual crisis or a moral disaster. Jesus used a vivid illustration to point out the urgency of getting right with God before it is too late. If you got into serious trouble with your neighbor and did something that could get you severely penalized (like being thrown into jail and loosing everything you owned), would you not try to settle the case out-of-court to avoid the worst consequences?

None of us has the power and strength of will for overcoming sin and evil on our own. We stand in constant need of God's grace, help, strength, and protection. That is why scripture uses vivid language to describe God as our rock, refuge, fortress, and mighty defense. We are also vulnerable to Satan's lies and deceptions as well as our own spiritual blind-spots for recognizing sin and moral weakness in our own lives. That is why we need God's help and discernment for distinguishing between truth and error, right and wrong, good and evil. Fortunately the Lord Jesus, who is a just judge, is also a merciful advocate who pleads for us at the right hand of the Father in heaven. The light of Jesus Christ reveals what is in our hearts and his grace frees us from the tyranny of sinful habits, hurtful desires, and harmful addictions. God's call is urgent and his grace is available for total freedom and transformation in Christ. If we want to turn away from sin the Lord is ready to give us the grace and help we need to choose for his way of love and holiness. Are you ready for his saving grace and healing action in your life?

"Lord Jesus, flood my heart with your love and free me from all that would keep me from doing your will. Transform my mind that I may discern what is right and have the courage to choose what is good and pleasing to you."

Psalm 119:66,68,76-77,93-94

66 Teach me good judgment and knowledge, for I believe in your commandments.
68 You are good and do good; teach me your statutes.
76 Let your steadfast love be ready to comfort me according to your promise to your servant.
77 Let your mercy come to me, that I may live; for your law is my delight.
93 I will never forget your precepts; for by them you have given me life.
94 I am yours, save me; for I have sought your precepts.

Daily Quote from the early church fathers: Signs from the Law point to the dawn of the Mystery of Christ, by Cyril of Alexandria (376-444 AD)

"People focus their attention on things of this kind. From long observation and practice they tell beforehand when rain will fall or violent winds will blow. One especially sees that sailors are very skillful in this matter. He says that it would be suitable for those who can calculate things of this sort and may foretell storms that are about to happen to focus the penetrating eyes of the mind also on important matters. What are these? The law showed beforehand the mystery of Christ, that he would shine out in the last ages of the world on the inhabitants of the earth and submit to be a sacrifice for the salvation of all. It even commanded a lamb to be sacrificed as a type of him who died towards evening and at lighting of lamps (Exodus 12:6). We might now understand that when, like the day, this world was declining to its close, the great, precious and truly saving passion would be fulfilled. The door of salvation would be thrown wide open to those who believe in him, and abundant happiness be their share. In the Song of Songs, we also find Christ calling to the bride described there. The bride personally represents the church, in these words, 'Arise, come, my neighbor, my beautiful dove. Look, the winter is past, and the rain is gone. It has passed away. The flowers appear on the ground. The time of the pruning has come' (Song 2:10-12). As I said, a certain springlike calm was about to arise for those who believe in him." (excerpt from COMMENTARY ON LUKE, HOMILY 95)


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author Don Schwager 2014 Servants of the Word

Scripture quotations from Common Bible: Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright 1973, and Ignatius Edition of the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright 2006, by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Citation references for quotes from the writings of the early church fathers.  

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