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Posted by Paul Edwards (Fr. Paul) on Mar 20, 2014 | Comments (0)


Fourth Sunday in Lent

Click here to go to the Bottom Line Meditations for the Fourth Sunday in Lent

Godly Abiding Spiritually in Jesus Changes the Meaning of What we See Worldly When Not Abiding in Jesus.

Spirituality is our innate ability to feel the difference worldly or godly thinking makes to the way scripture translates to our daily life and relationships.

All Scripture is a testimony to Jesus Christ, who is the Word of God. He is the complete revelation of God’s will of grace for salvation. Grace is the only unfailing rule of faith and practice for the Christian life.

The Gospel of grace is: rather than trying to be more faithful to become faithful, we become faithful by feeling the Faith God already has for and in us.

The Strength of Christianity is Grace

John 1:14 “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”

Another name for Jesus is "Grace". Another name for God is "Grace". We are saved by GRACE. "Love" is not Love if it is not grace. This is true for "Faith", "Hope", "Joy" and all other theological words of significance in the scripture.

Until someone experiences the grace gift in their lives, all other theological words have no real meaning. Why not begin to use the word "grace" in place of "Jesus", "God", "the Spirit", "Love" and so on? It might seem inappropriate to do so. However, until it is actually experienced it will make no sense at all.

That is what this year is all about. Grace, did you get it?

Finding Grace in Our Life

When it absolutely, positively has to be there, go for the grace.

Abiding in us is a Wisdom no one can take from us.

Prayers for Lent from Forward Day by Day.

Pray this prayer:

“O God give me strength to live another day. Open wide the eyes of my soul that I may see good in all things. Grant me this day some new vision of thy truth.”

Now quietly move into God's Presence and pray the prayer again:

“O God give me strength to live another day. Open wide the eyes of my soul that I may see good in all things. Grant me this day some new vision of thy truth.”

Did you find the difference?

 

John 9:1-41 “Open wide the eyes of my soul.”

John got grace. Now, all of us got grace in the eyes of the Lord. Our issue is to let grace get us. John got grace spiritually. He also “got” grace rationally; that is, he understood the difference being in or out of grace makes in our life by moving from the rational physical to the conscious spiritual. This chapter is one of the best of his exercises. It is tricky in that for the first thirty nine verses we are talking about physical blindness, then in the last three verses he jumps into writing about spiritual blindness. The purpose is to find out if the reader can make the shift. It is good practice to see if you can get the Grace.

The story goes: As Jesus walked along He saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked Him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?" Now where did they get that kind of nonsense? How could they even think that way after being with Jesus as long as they were with Him? It is not realistic they would come to Him with that kind of wimpy question. It probably was asked by the family. Where did they get it? They probably got it from the Pharisees who were present and watching for the full time of the event.

Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned; he was born blind so that God's works might be revealed in him. We must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; night is coming when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”

What was God’s work that we must work? Right off, we think it was to restore his sight physically and so for the next almost forty verses this is what He does.

But now He adds, "I came into this world for judgment so that those who do not see may see, and those who do see may become blind." The key is “for”. It can be translated “because”. It is not to come in this world to judge but because of our judging.

Here He makes the switch from physical blindness to spiritual blindness. When did this spiritual blindness happen? Way back in Genesis with Adam and Eve.

In Genesis 3:1-5, the serpent said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” The woman said to the serpent, “You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.”

“You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman, “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

The woman took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband,then the eyes of both of them were opened.

These eyes are not physical. They could see before and after. They are spiritual. When our eyes are opened, who we are is determined by our judgmental thoughts of good and evil that create our feelings about what happens. When these eyes are shut rationally we consciously open our heart to the grace of God within us. When we are separated from His Presence we are in Sin. Our sins are symptoms of this Separation. When we are in His Presence we no longer are separated by Sin. The feelings of His Love, Joy and Peace will create thoughts that are Wise which we will never know while judging everyone as good and evil.

Some of the Pharisees near him heard this and said to Him, “Surely we are not blind, are we?” Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would not have sin. But now that you say, ‘We see,’ your sin remains.”

What was it the Pharisees were blind to? They were telling the parents and the family the boy was blind because of the sins of the parents. Ezekiel writes, “The word of the Lord came unto me again, saying, ‘What mean you, that you use this proverb. The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge?’  ‘As I live’, says God, ‘you shall not use this proverb. If a man be just, and does that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live,’ says the Lord God.”

We cannot stop people from positions of judgment, racism, sexism or any kind of elitism. That is their position. We cannot stop people from misquoting the Scripture to make the words fit into their position. Duck Dynasty Robertson defended his really nasty beliefs by adding, “They were quotes from the Bible.” He did not believe the Bible when it writes that we must put to death homosexual, adulterers, those who use the Lord’s name in vain or do not keep the Sabbath Holy by not working. In this kind of reckless belief, they agree with the Bible only as long as the Bible agrees with them. Picking and choosing to make their own Scripture is their choice.

What we can do is to witness what the Bible says about grace and truth as the Word of God which is Jesus. Jesus, as the Word of God, commands us to “Love others as He (in the Presence of the Love of God) Loves us.” The rest of His Bible tells us to do the loving thing. Luke 10:27-28 If scripture tells us to love, we obey it. If it tells us to do an unloving thing, we do not obey it. We choose to believe our Bible as Jesus who is the Word of God commanded and they choose theirs. Which one do you choose?

This whole passage is not only about Pharisees. It is also about you and I who think we see, but are blind. The only way we can see with the Truth and Wisdom of God is to get into His grace. There is the switch from our judgment into the Wisdom of God.

“And as I cannot in my own strength do this, nor even with a hope of success attempt it, I look to thee, O Lord God my Father, in Jesus my Savior, and ask for the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

Did you get grace?


THE DISCIPLE-SHIFT: The Virtual Small Group: Members share once a week with their group through the internet when a shift from being out to being in the Presence made a difference.


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