Spiritual Connection -9/23/21

Silence and Centering – Pause for 5 minutes of Silence    

“Be still, and know that I am God; – Psalm 46:10

Confession:

Salvation-Giving God, we know you have broken the chains that bind us to the systems of sin and death. Yet we confess that we often fall back into old patterns, follow old idols, and avoid the freedom you graciously extend. Shatter our chains once again, Lord, so we may walk boldly in Your Kingdom as we love and serve those around us.

Scripture Reading: Luke 9:7-9

Now Herod the tetrarch heard about all that was going on. And he was perplexed because some were saying that John had been raised from the dead, others that Elijah had appeared, and still others that one of the prophets of long ago had come back to life. But Herod said, “I beheaded John. Who, then, is this I hear such things about?” And he tried to see him.

Prayer of the Day:

Our dear Father in heaven, we thank you that you have given us the Lord Jesus on high and that we are allowed to be with him and find joy even while still surrounded by all that must fade and perish. For in Jesus Christ, you hold us by the hand through anxiety, need, and death. Grant that he may be with us as we continue our pilgrimage. Grant us your Spirit, for we are poor in spirit and in soul. Give us your Holy Spirit from on high. Just in our weakness we come to know what strength and victory you bring through the Lord Jesus, our Savior. The Lord Jesus is our Savior for body, soul, and spirit for ever and ever. Amen.

Reflection:

He was greatly perplexed. (Luke 9:7)

Jesus had opened blind eyes, unstopped deaf ears, and mended lame legs. By doing all of this, he had fulfilled Isaiah’s prophecy about the coming Messiah (35:4-6). Herod, a Jew, would probably have known that prophecy. But Herod’s thoughts were tangled up in guilt, fear, and self-interest. He had ordered the beheading of John the Baptist, he was living with his brother’s wife, and he would do just about anything to satisfy his self-interest. And that tangle of thoughts prevented him from recognizing the truth of who Jesus was.

It’s natural to criticize Herod’s actions because we know that he would eventually reject Jesus and send him to his death. But here we see Herod in the middle—the perplexing middle—of his story. We see him still intrigued by Jesus and his message.

We all experience some degree of perplexity about the Lord. Perhaps guilt or shame causes you to doubt that he would welcome you. Maybe you’re disappointed that a loved one for whom you had prayed earnestly has slipped away into eternity. Or perhaps you’re worried about your spouse or a child who has turned away from the faith. Thought and emotion become tangled, and perplexity gains the upper hand.

You don’t have to stay like this! You can always turn to the Lord and let the truth of God’s presence and love speak to the perplexity within you. Let God remind you that his love is greater than all uncertainty, that the freedom flowing from repentance is worth any awkwardness, and that Jesus is both able and willing to strengthen anyone. Even you. Then focus your thoughts on the truth that you know: Jesus will never abandon you, your loved ones, or anyone, for that matter.

Herod let perplexity keep him from seeing the truth. You have the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of truth, to guide you to all truth and to help you choose it (John 16:13). He will lead you in the way forward. He will help you find peace, even in the midst of perplexity.

“Holy Spirit, help me to choose truth today, and lead me in your peace.”

The Our Father (slowly pray this)
Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For yours is the kingdom, the power, and the glory forever, Amen.

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