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Chi Rho Reflection for the Week of August 28, 2011

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  • Adam DeBaugh
    Chi Rho Reflection for the Week of August 28, 2011 ********** August is special order month! Order any book or other item from our Web site,
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 29, 2011
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      Chi Rho Reflection for the Week of August 28, 2011

      **********

      August is special order month! Order any book or
      other item from our Web site, www.ChiRhoPress.com,
      and receive another item from our catalog of equal
      or lesser value. Just e-mail Adam@...
      after you order and let him know what else you would
      like in your shipment.

      As one of the on-going ministries of Chi Rho Press,
      here is a selection from our book of daily devotions,
      "Living as the Beloved: One Day at a Time," by the
      Rev. Dr. Sandra Bochonok.

      Please read the Scripture passage and Dr. Bochonok's
      meditation. We hope you will be blessed.

      Thank you for forwarding this to your friends.

      Judgment and a prayer lesson

      "In the morning, when he returned to the city, he
      was hungry. And seeing a fig tree by the side of
      the road, he went to it and found nothing at all on
      it but leaves. Then he said to it, 'May no fruit
      ever come from you again!' And the fig tree withered
      at once. When the disciples saw it, they were amazed,
      saying, 'How did the fig tree wither at once?' Jesus
      answered them, 'Truly I tell you, if you have faith
      and do not doubt, not only will you do what has been
      done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this
      mountain, "Be lifted up and thrown into the sea", it
      will be done. Whatever you ask for in prayer with
      faith, you will receive.'"
      Matthew 21:18-22

      What in heaven's name does this unfruitful fig tree
      and prayer lesson mean for us? Matthew describes the
      tree as withering immediately. The fig tree event
      takes a bit longer in Mark 11:12-14, 20-25. Some
      biblical scholars suggest this is an example of God's
      immediate judgment (Barker, Kenneth, General Editor.
      "The New International Version Study Bible," p. 1472).

      Bearing fruit is a spiritual metaphor common in
      scripture that I struggle with as an urban woman.
      I have no agricultural expertise and provide great
      entertainment to my neighbors as I am learning to
      differentiate between the weeds and flowers in my
      yard. But I do understand what it means to be barren
      in spirit and life. Someday my own life will also
      come into divine judgment.

      All of us will someday be asked if our lives were
      fruitful or barren in goodness, generosity, hospitality,
      kindness, love, mercy, and justice. Perhaps it is time
      to cultivate and nurture a new spirit as we follow
      Christ.

      What about this teaching on prayer? Jesus says it is
      "the truth." If we have faith without doubt, we can
      do even more than he did with the fig tree. He
      concludes this teaching with this empowering comment,
      "If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for
      in prayer" (Matthew 21:22 NIV).

      Now I have asked for many things in life through prayer.
      I do not remember receiving answers to every request.
      Yet I have often been more prayerless than prayerful.
      My prayer life is imperfect at best, and I am an ordained
      minister with more than forty years in the Christian life.
      Perhaps my prayers have been as barren as this fig tree.
      The fruit of our prayers can change the world, help many
      people, and transform our personal lives. So why do we
      hesitate to pray and believe nothing is impossible for
      God?

      God, I personally lack the faith to pray strongly enough
      to move mountains. Oh, help my unbelief! Teach me to
      pray in such ways that my life and the lives of many
      others will be productive, loving, and blessed. Amen.

      Grace and peace,

      Chi Rho Press

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