Lenten Reflection Day 43 Holy Week: Isaiah 50:7

Listen to the audio version here: https://anchor.fm/simplediakonia/episodes/Lenten-Reflection-Day-43-Holy-Week-Isaiah-507-etum3j

The Lord God is my help, therefore I am not disgraced.” (Isaiah 50:7)


Fear is death when humiliation is its cause. When we place our faith in God, however, disgrace produces life. The Word of God humbled Himself that we may live. He embraced dishonor in exchange for our redemption.

Holy Week symbolizes victory over humiliation. The overcoming of light over darkness, life over death.

Today’s Intention

O Lord, walk with us this Holy Week. May we do not let disgrace prevent us from living our faith.

Peace and Goodness

One-Minute Reflection on 133:2 (30 days of prayer for unity #1)

Listen to the most recent episode of my podcast: Psalm 133:1 https://anchor.fm/simplediakonia/episodes/Psalm-1331-ep92ld

“How good and how pleasant it is,

When God’s people dwell together as one!” – Psalm 133:1


God desires unity with Him and with each other.

When we dwell together as children of God, even disagreements cannot separate us. For unity built upon the foundation of God’s love knows that adversity is normal in any healthy relationship.

However, unity built upon the foundations of fear has the opposite effect. Instead of forming communities, fear forms tribes, which then see others as enemies to protect against.

Today’s Intentions: May our actions bring people together as one.

Lean on Me

Reflection on Matthew 14: 22-33

“You just call on me brother, when you need a hand
We all need somebody to lean on
I just might have a problem that you’ll understand
We all need somebody to lean on”

The fourth verse of Lean on Me by Bill Withers is an appropriate reflection on Jesus’ exhortation to his disciples: “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid” (MT 14:27). Mr. Withers’ and Jesus’ exhortations speak of the power of asking for help in troublesome times and the assurance that the hearer will lend us a hand.

Fear and anxiety are as part of life as courage and serenity. Most us experience all four of them at different points and degrees in our lives. Those experiences are brought about by the environment and people around us or by our own doing. In the case of the apostles, the combination of the waves tossing their boat and them about and their vision of a “ghost” produced anxiety and fear. They had no control over the wind and their fear interfered with their clarity. Peter, however, created his own anxiety and fear. He could have stayed in the boat to wait for Jesus. However, he decided to do otherwise. Some may called him courageous for doing so. Others may called him unwise. Regardless, Peter found himself in dire straits, in need of a helping hand. Finding himself drowning, he did what most of us would do at a time like that, he prayed: “Lord, save me!” (Mt. 14:30). “Immediately Jesus stretched out his hand and caught him” (MT 14:31) thus answering Peter’s prayer. Then, when Peter and Jesus “got into the boat, the wind died down” (MT 14:33). Like the apostles, our life experiences were filled with fear and anxiety as well as with courage and serenity.

Jesus wants us to ask for help, to trust him in time of need. He said to us: “And I tell you, ask and you will receive; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you” (Luke 11:9). Peter heeded Jesus’ words. He asked for help and he received it. That should be good news for us, right? However, there are times when we ask: “Why are my prayers not answered?”; “Why did God not save my child, spouse, or loved-one?”; “Why does God allow discrimination, injustice, and abuse?”; “Why is there hunger and homelessness?” Those are painful and normal questions to ask. It is a mystery why God allows certain things to happen in our lives. He is not responsible for their happening though. The environment, the people around us or ourselves are. On the other hand, in His mercy, God sent His Son to die for us to give us hope that one day we will experience joy and peace. In the meantime, Jesus is with us when we experience fear and anxiety. He is with us in our difficult and sorrowful moments. God desires for us to trust in Jesus in time of need, to be His children in faith. Jesus will stretch out his hand and catch us whether in this world or the next.

Mr. Withers tells us in the first verse of Lean on Me:

“Sometimes in our lives we all have pain
We all have sorrow
But if we are wise
We know that there’s always tomorrow”

Christians are people of faith and hope, people of a better tomorrow. For Jesus tells us: “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.”

Peace and Goodness

Do not Worry! Riiiiiiiight…

Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take of itself. Sufficient for a day is its own evil.” (Matthew 6:34)

Do not worry about tomorrow!? Wow! That’s a juicy one for me; easier said than done. Worry has been a constant companion of mine. Sometimes, her presence is more present than others, but she is never too far away. Sometime I overcome my worries and sometimes they overcome me. So many things to worry about: What do people think about me?  How do I look? Do I have enough money, power, prestige? Am I making the right decisions? How is my English or my writing? Would I be able to support my family emotionally and financially? Am I Christian enough? Am I a good co-worker, father, or husband? How do I get what I need or want? Why are my wife and children this and that? The list goes on…

What leads to worry? Fear! When we are afraid we worry. Father Anthony De Mello, in his best-selling book Awareness, beautifully wrote the following about fear “It’s not that we fear the unknown. You cannot fear something that you don’t know. Nobody is afraid of the unknown. What you really fear is the loss of the known. That’s what you fear. Fear to lose something.” What are we afraid of losing – our pride, vanity, honor, power, wealth, reassure, affection, safety, loved ones, friendships, employment, etc.?

Worries in themselves are not terrible; they are part of our self-defense and survival kit; they can be a source of strength when facing uncertainty or difficult situations. However, when we let them control us or when they are misdirected, they could lead us to suffering; they become heavy emotional loads that hold us in bondage and harm others.

Fortunately for us, we have God by our side. God does not promise a worry-free existence. Life is full of misfortunes, successes, opportunities, and challenges; worries are part of being in this world. However, if we ask, God can give us strength, perseverance, consolation, and joy to live a life filled with light instead of fear.

When we surrender to God’s will, he shines his light on our darkness; If we do not surrender, “the path of the just is like shining light, that grows in brilliance till perfect day. The way of the wicked is like darkness; they do not know on what they stumble.” (Proverbs 4:18:19). Moreover, when we walk in the light, we become God’s light to the world: “You are the light of the world…your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father…you are a guide for the blind and a light for those in darkness” (Matthew 5:14, 16; Romans 2:19).  When we offer up our worries to him and go about our life without grumbling or questioning, we are like “blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom  you shine as lights in the world.” (Philippians 2:15)

Worries have always been a “thorn on my side.” Like Paul, I have asked the Lord to remove it. Conversely, I have been just as unsuccessful. However, I hope like Paul did that the Lord’s “grace is sufficient” for me “for power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12: 8-9).

The next time I am worried, I will make an effort to become aware of her power and the opportunity for spirituality. I will face my fear with courage even if I fail trying. I will pray “teach me, Lord, your way that I may walk in your truth.” (Psalm 86:11). I will remember Christ’s words “Do not worry and say, ‘What are we to eat?’ or ‘What are we to drink?’ or ‘What are we to wear?’ All these things the pagans seek. Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom [of God] and his righteousness and all these things will be given you besides. Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself. Sufficient for a day is its own evil. ” (Matthew 6:31-34)

Acceptance of Divine Will Prayer

May the most just, most lovable, and the most high will of God be done, be fulfilled, be praised and exalted in all things forever.

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