Category Archives: Bible

Sunday Devotional: Speak, Your servant is listening

1 Samuel 3:3B-10, 19

Samuel was sleeping in the temple of the Lord
where the ark of God was.
The Lord called to Samuel, who answered, “Here I am.”
Samuel ran to Eli and said, “Here I am. You called me.”
“I did not call you, ” Eli said. “Go back to sleep.”
So he went back to sleep.
Again the Lord called Samuel, who rose and went to Eli.
“Here I am, ” he said. “You called me.”
But Eli answered, “I did not call you, my son. Go back to sleep.”

At that time Samuel was not familiar with the Lord,
because the Lord had not revealed anything to him as yet.
The Lord called Samuel again, for the third time.
Getting up and going to Eli, he said, “Here I am. You called me.”
Then Eli understood that the Lord was calling the youth.
So he said to Samuel, “Go to sleep, and if you are called, reply,
Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.”
When Samuel went to sleep in his place,
the Lord came and revealed his presence,
calling out as before, “Samuel, Samuel!”
Samuel answered, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”

Samuel grew up, and the Lord was with him,
not permitting any word of his to be without effect.

Samuel, who is believed to have lived in 11th century B.C., is venerated as a prophet by Jews, Christians, and Muslims. According to 1 Samuel (the most important account of his life and acts), he anointed both Saul and David, the first two kings of the Kingdom of Israel, and acted as counselor to both.

Christians regard Samuel as a prophet, judge, and wise leader of Israel. He is celebrated and commemorated by the Eastern Orthodox, Coptic Orthodox, Armenian Apostolic, and Lutheran Churches.

“Speak, for your servant is listening.”

So how are we to listen? Here are some suggestions:

(1) Ask: With a humble heart, ask our Lord to counsel, enlighten and guide you, especially when you are before the tabernacle or have just received Holy Communion.

(2) Listen: God speaks to us in many ways —

  • As a flash of understanding.
  • As a still, small voice in our mind.
  • In the Bible: God is always speaking through His Word, so apply what you read to your life. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 says, “All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
  • In a dream or vision: St. Joseph was told by an angel to “not be afraid to take Mary as your wife” (Matthew 1:20). St. Peter fell into a trance (see Acts 10:10). St. Paul had supernatural encounters—whether in the body or out of the body (see 2 Cor. 12:13). St. John wrote the entire book of Revelation based on a supernatural vision.
  • Through our surroundings in our daily lives: God spoke to Solomon through his practical experiences, an account of which is in Proverbs 24:30-34: “I went by the field of the slothful, and by the vineyard of the man void of understanding; and it was all grown over with thorns, and nettles covered its surface, and the stone wall was broken down. Then I saw, and considered it; I looked on it and received instruction: Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep, so your poverty will come like a stalker, and your need as an armed man.” If we heed our surroundings, are mindful, and maintain a listening ear, we’ll find that God speaks to us through many things as we go about our everyday lives.

(3) And always remember to tell God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit that you love Him with your whole heart, your whole soul, your whole mind, and with all your strength.

May the peace and love of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you!

~Eowyn

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The Epiphany: Manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles

Matthew 2:1-2, 9-12

When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea,
in the days of King Herod,
behold, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying,
“Where is the newborn king of the Jews?
We saw his star at its rising
and have come to do him homage.”

And behold, the star that they had seen at its rising preceded them,
until it came and stopped over the place where the child was.
They were overjoyed at seeing the star,
and on entering the house
they saw the child with Mary his mother.
They prostrated themselves and did him homage.
Then they opened their treasures
and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod,
they departed for their country by another way.

adoration-of-the-magi

Isaiah 60:1-6

Your light has come,
the glory of the Lord shines upon you.
See, darkness covers the earth,
and thick clouds cover the peoples;
but upon you the Lord shines,
and over you appears his glory.

Nations shall walk by your light,
and kings by your shining radiance.
Raise your eyes and look about;
they all gather and come to you:
your sons come from afar,
and your daughters in the arms of their nurses.

Then you shall be radiant at what you see,
your heart shall throb and overflow,
for the riches of the sea
shall be emptied out before you,
the wealth of nations shall be brought to you.
Caravans of camels shall fill you,
dromedaries from Midian and Ephah;
all from Sheba shall come
bearing gold and frankincense,
and proclaiming the praises of the Lord.

Today is the great feast of the Epiphany, which celebrates the adoration of Jesus by the magi — an event that, as you’ve just read above in Isaiah’s prophesy, had been foretold some 800 years before the birth of Christ.

The word “epiphany” (with a small “e”) is defined by Oxford Dictionaries as “a moment of sudden revelation or insight” and “a manifestation of a divine or supernatural being”. The word “Epiphany” (with a capital “E”) refers to “the manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles as represented by the Magi“.

To manifest is to reveal, demonstrate, bring into the open, or make evident through the senses, the reality of something.

It is noteworthy that the first creatures to see the newborn Jesus were his human parents, Mary and Joseph; angels on high; humble farm animals; lowly shepherds; and Gentiles — the magi.

The magi were wise men, non-Hebrew pagans from the East. Bearing gifts fit for a king — those of gold, frankincense, and myrrh — their coming to Jerusalem to pay homage to “the king of the Jews” shows that they seek in the messianic light of the Christmas star, the one who will be king of all nations.

The Epiphany, therefore, signifies the manifestation of Jesus as Son of God and Savior of the world. He is not just the Old Testament‘s oft-prophesied messiah of the Jews. He is the Savior of Gentiles too — the Savior of all humanity.

As St. Paul wrote in his letter to the Ephesians 3:6:

“the Gentiles are coheirs, members of the same body,
and copartners in the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.”

Noteworthy also is the fact that the magi, as the first Gentiles to find Jesus, were also the first Gentiles to receive His salvific grace. As recounted in Matthew 2:12:

“And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed for their country by another way.”

Jesus came for you and me. He came for all of us, no matter our race, gender, language, country, or creed. He was publicly humiliated and tortured, endured unimaginable sufferings, and nailed to a cross to die — for us wretched human beings.

Jesus loves us this much

The least we can do is to thank Him, love Him, and adore Him as the magi had done so many years ago.

Jesus, I love You — with my whole heart, my whole soul, my whole mind, and with all my strength.

And may the joy of the Epiphany and the peace and love of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you!

~Eowyn

Amos

The Book Amos is a strong message to a nation in its time of strength and prosperity.

America has come into a new time of prosperity, and needs to keep the warnings of Amos clearly in front of us.

It is extremely easy for a person who is successful to lose sight of the most important things in life, which are to love God with their whole being, and their neighbors as themselves, to act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with their God.

If our current president continues to accomplish the “Make America Great Again” goal, we need to be doubly watchful of the condition of our hearts.

We must embrace the fear of the Lord, seek always to obey His words, and we will remain safe. But if we cast off the fear of the Lord during the coming success, every bit of prosperity can crash in the blink of an eye.

King David said, in the midst of his victories, “This only have I asked, this one thing do I seek, that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord in His Temple…”

All the success David had, all his greatness and wealth, were recognized as potentially distracting influences. And David later made some horrible choices when he became too full of himself. Sin compounded sin, and David’s family reaped a terrible harvest of division, even dividing the nation after him.

Let’s re-read the very small Book of Amos this year as a reminder of how to live right while outwardly strong.

M A R A
(Make America Righteous Again)

On supporting John McCain in the 2008 election

We knew Obama was a monster. He made it clear in his personal Mein Kampf, “Dreams From My Father.”

Many also knew McCain was a flawed candidate. He was very hostile to Christian organizations and to many other conservatives.

We watched McCain and his people do everything they could to undermine McCain’s running mate, Sarah Palin. As impossible as it seemed, one could conclude that McCain was deliberately giving the nation to a leftist dictator.

How I prayed and wearied myself in intercessions before the Lord to force through answered prayer the election to go to the Republicans. I got to the point where, if you could see my spirit man, I was tattered and ragged.

Then the Holy Spirit turned my mind toward one Bible verse, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”

I quickly searched it out online and found Psalm 46 verse 10. So I read the whole psalm a few times, taking in the message. The psalm speaks of trusting the Lord in the midst of upheaval. “Nations are in uproar. Kingdoms fall. He lifts His voice, the earth melts.”

God was clearly telling me to relax my white knuckled grip on the election, and lean back into His arms in complete trust that He has it all under control. Since that time I have frequently returned to that psalm as a source of faith in our turbulent days.

John McCain supporting ISIS

In 2008 I knew McCain was not a person I would choose in a positive way, but simply a lesser of 2 evils. However, now that we have hindsight, it is plain to see McCain was much more poisonous than I had thought. In that same era, I also trusted the Bush family.

Lesson:

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.”
– Proverbs 3:5-6

Right now we seem to be in the midst of a news blackout. Huge things are happening, but not being reported in the MSM. And we don’t know which sources can be trusted to be truthful and accurate in alternative media.

Now more than ever we must trust God.

“Be still, and know…”

Sunday Devotional: Giving thanks on the last day of the year

Colossians 3:12-17

Brothers and sisters:
Put on, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved,
heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience,
bearing with one another and forgiving one another,
if one has a grievance against another;
as the Lord has forgiven you, so must you also do.
And over all these put on love,
that is, the bond of perfection.
And let the peace of Christ control your hearts,
the peace into which you were also called in one body.
And be thankful.
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly,
as in all wisdom you teach and admonish one another,
singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs
with gratitude in your hearts to God.
And whatever you do, in word or in deed,
do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus,
giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Study after study find that gratitude, not money, is the key to being happy. Happy people tend to:

  • express gratitude on a regular basis;
  • practice being optimistic;
  • engage in frequent acts of kindness;
  • savor joyful events; and
  • practice forgiveness.

Today, the last day of 2017, is an appropriate occasion for us to reflect on the past year and count our many blessings.

For one, we made it through another year, which is not so for some of our families and friends.

We lost Will Shanley, a member of our FOTM family, on November 6, 2017.

William Brandon Shanley of New Haven, Connecticut, passed away on November 6, 2017, age 65. He was a graduate of Lewis S. Mills high school and attended Emerson College in Boston. William’s intellect and technical abilities provided him a lifetime of wide and varied occupational experiences. At the age of 16 years he was the youngest DJ on the air in Waterbury. After college, Will worked on Jimmy Carter’s presidential campaign, providing technical and audio visual support. Over the years Will was employed by the National Academy of Science in Washington, DC; CNN in Atlanta, Georgia; and other news organizations. He was an independent documentary producer, and the editor and author of the charming and informative book, Alice and the Quantum Cat.

Will was fiercely principled, a tenacious warrior for the truth, a loyal colleague, and a sweet and loving friend. Professor Jim Fetzer perfectly describes him as “courageous, with the heart of a lion”. (In memory of Will, see this post on Fetzer’s blog.)

Please remember Will Shanley in your prayers.

As we look back on the year that was 2017, what are your thanks and losses?

May the peace and love of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you,

~Eowyn

In the beginning was the Word

John 1:1-5, 9-14

In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God.
He was in the beginning with God.
All things came to be through Him,
and without Him nothing came to be.
What came to be through Him was life,
and this life was the light of the human race;
the light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness has not overcome it.

The true light, which enlightens everyone,
was coming into the world.
He was in the world,
and the world came to be through Him,
but the world did not know Him.
He came to what was His own,
but His own people did not accept Him.
But to those who did accept Him
He gave power to become children of God,
to those who believe in His name,
who were born not by natural generation
nor by human choice
nor by a man’s decision but of God.
And the Word became flesh
and made His dwelling among us,
and we saw His glory,
the glory as of the Father’s only Son,
full of grace and truth.

To all the readers and faithful commenters of Fellowship of the Minds:

~Eowyn, DCG, TrailDust, Dave and joandarc

Movie about St. Paul coming out soon!

Paul, Apostle of Christ:
Heart of the Story

Due in theaters in March 2018

The story covers Paul, portrayed by James Faulkner, transforming from the most infamous persecutor of Christians to Christ’s most influential apostle. 

Luke the physician is played by Jim Caviezel, Joanne Whalley plays Priscilla, John Lynch is Aquilla, and James Faulkner is Paul. 

Storyline

Paul, Apostle of Christ is the story of two men. Luke, as a friend and physician, risks his life every time he ventures into the city of Rome to visit Paul, who is held captive in Nero’s darkest, bleakest prison cell. Before Paul’s death sentence can be enacted, Luke resolves to write another book, one that details the beginnings of “The Way” and the birth of what will come to be known as the church. But Nero is determined to rid Rome of Christians, and does not flinch from executing them in the grisliest ways possible. Bound in chains, Paul’s struggle is internal. He has survived so much-floggings, shipwreck, starvation, stoning, hunger and thirst, cold and exposure-yet as he waits for his appointment with death, he is haunted by the shadows of his past misdeeds. Alone in the dark, he wonders if he has been forgotten . . . and if he has the strength to finish well. Two men struggle against a determined emperor and the frailties of the human spirit in order to bequeath the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the world … http://www.imdb.com/title/tt7388562/

I am looking forward to this movie.