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Light of the Heart

 
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Prayer-Soldier
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 03, 2011 7:46 pm    Post subject: Light of the Heart Reply with quote

The LORD said to Samuel: “Fill your horn with oil, and be on your way. I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem, for I have chosen my king from among his sons.” As Jesse and his sons came to the sacrifice, Samuel looked at Eliab and thought, “Surely the LORD’s anointed is here before him.” But the LORD said to Samuel: “Do not judge from his appearance or from his lofty stature, because I have rejected him. Not as man sees does God see, because man sees the appearance but the LORD looks into the heart.” In the same way Jesse presented seven sons before Samuel, but Samuel said to Jesse, “The LORD has not chosen any one of these.” Then Samuel asked Jesse, “Are these all the sons you have?” Jesse replied, “There is still the youngest, who is tending the sheep.” Samuel said to Jesse, “Send for him; we will not begin the sacrificial banquet until he arrives here.” Jesse sent and had the young man brought to them. He was ruddy, a youth handsome to behold and making a splendid appearance. The LORD said, “There—anoint him, for this is the one!” Then Samuel, with the horn of oil in hand, anointed David in the presence of his brothers; and from that day on, the spirit of the LORD rushed upon David. (1 Samuel 16:1b, 6-7, 10-13a)

In our journey, we seek the approval of our peers. We seek to impress others in what we do, by how we look, and others judge us by what they see; but how others see us is not how God sees us, for He looks well beyond what others may see. He sees what is in our hearts. He knows the gifts He has granted each of us. He knows of what we are capable. He knows what we are able to do in fulfillment of His commandments or what we may do to seek our own designs. It is our heart which will reveal if we will use His gifts in selfishness or selflessness.

It is possible that we will use the blessings of God in selfishness, but what do we gain if we first seek to use the talents granted by our Lord to obtain the wealth of this world, but squander that which would lead us to His kingdom? Though one may have brawn, the one who is stronger is the one who acts in selflessness. Though one has wealth, the one who is wealthier is the one who uses the blessings they receive to bring blessings to others. The question for us is, “What will we show God when He peers into our heart?”

For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light, for light produces every kind of goodness and righteousness and truth. Try to learn what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the fruitless works of darkness; rather expose them, for it is shameful even to mention the things done by them in secret; but everything exposed by the light becomes visible, for everything that becomes visible is light. Therefore, it says: ”Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.” (Ephesians 5:8-14)

Though some are lured to the darkness, the light of the Lord will forever light the way of the path to His kingdom. In the darkness, we may believe our sins are hidden, but nothing may be hidden from Him for He knows when selfishness consumes us. Our Lord and Savior was sent to us to be the light of the world so that we might see the way to everlasting life. For one to see, there must be light, but though there is light, we must be first willing to open our eyes.

As he passed by he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “Neither he nor his parents sinned; it is so that the works of God might be made visible through him. We have to do the works of the one who sent me while it is day. Night is coming when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” When he had said this, he spat on the ground and made clay with the saliva, and smeared the clay on his eyes, and said to him, “Go wash in the Pool of Siloam” (which means Sent). So he went and washed, and came back able to see.

His neighbors and those who had seen him earlier as a beggar said, “Is not this the one who used to sit and beg?” Some said, “It is,” but others said, “No, he just looks like him.” He said, “I am.” So they said to him, “(So) how were your eyes opened?” He replied, “The man called Jesus made clay and anointed my eyes and told me, “Go to Siloam and wash.” So I went there and washed and was able to see.” And they said to him, “Where is he?” He said, “I do not know.”

They brought the one who was once blind to the Pharisees. Now Jesus had made clay and opened his eyes on a sabbath. So then the Pharisees also asked him how he was able to see. He said to them, “He put clay on my eyes, and I washed, and now I can see.” So some of the Pharisees said, “This man is not from God, because he does not keep the sabbath.” (But) others said, “How can a sinful man do such signs?” And there was a division among them. So they said to the blind man again, “What do you have to say about him, since he opened your eyes?” He said, “He is a prophet.”

Now the Jews did not believe that he had been blind and gained his sight until they summoned the parents of the one who had gained his sight. They asked them, “Is this your son, who you say was born blind? How does he now see?” His parents answered and said, “We know that this is our son and that he was born blind. We do not know how he sees now, nor do we know who opened his eyes. Ask him, he is of age; he can speak for him self.” His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jews, for the Jews had already agreed that if anyone acknowledged him as the Messiah, he would be expelled from the synagogue. For this reason his parents said, “He is of age; question him.”

So a second time they called the man who had been blind and said to him, “Give God the praise! We know that this man is a sinner.” He replied, ”If he is a sinner, I do not know. One thing I do know is that I was blind and now I see.” So they said to him, ”What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?” He answered them, “I told you already and you did not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you want to become his disciples, too?” They ridiculed him and said, “You are the disciple of that man; we are disciples of Moses! We know that God spoke to Moses, but we do not know where this one is from.” The man answered and said to them, “This is what is so amazing, that you do not know where he is from, yet he opened my eyes. We know that God does not listen to sinners, but if one is devout and does his will, he listens to him. It is unheard of that anyone ever opened the eyes of a person born blind. If this man were not from God, he would not be able to do anything.”

They answered and said to him, “You were born totally in sin, and are you trying to teach us?” Then they threw him out. When Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, he found him and said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” He answered and said, “Who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?” Jesus said to him, “You have seen him and the one speaking with you is he.” He said, “I do believe, Lord,” and he worshiped him.

Then Jesus said, “I came into this world for judgment, so that those who do not see might see, and those who do see might become blind.” Some of the Pharisees who were with him heard this and said to him, “Surely we are not also blind, are we?” Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no sin; but now you are saying, “We see,” so your sin remains.
(John 9:1-41)

As the disciples walked with their teacher and approached a man born blind, the question asked by the disciples was one of academic curiosity. “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” The question did not appear to be one of concern for the affliction of the man, but a curiosity as to the cause. The belief was that whatever afflictions we may have is the result of our sins or the sins of our fathers, but curiosity of the disciples was not how the man could be helped or healed, rather, who should be held responsible for the affliction. Jesus answered, though,“Neither he nor his parents sinned; it is so that the works of God might be made visible through him.”

In the next moments, Jesus made mud and smeared it on the eyes of the blind man, and then told the man, “Go wash in the Pool of Siloam.” Jesus could have simply given sight to the blind man, but instead, He told the man to go wash. Part of the miracle which was about to take place required the participation of the blind man. Had he decided to ignore the One who just smeared mud in the eyes of the man, nothing would have been revealed. As the blind man obeyed and did what Jesus instructed the man to do, what was to happen began to unfold just as Jesus had foretold, “so that the works of God might be made visible through him.”

When the community saw what had transpired, they struggled to make sense of it. Some were amazed by the miracle, but other others attempted to explain away what happened from that which they could understand, that perhaps the man had never been blind; but why, then, or even how could one carry on such a charade from birth? Out of fear for their social standing, the parents sought to distance themselves from the miracle. Though Jesus performed a work of healing, the Pharisees did not focus upon the blessing, rather, they focused upon the letter of the law as “they” defined it.

From each of these perspectives, we see a human response which exists within the children of God to this very day. Some explore the faith academically; some seek to explain what they see in terms of the perception of man; others filter their faith through social understanding; still others seek to be lawyers of the faith; and, then, there are those who are simply joyful in receiving the blessings of the Lord, seek a deeper understanding of their faith and offer their worship to God in thanks and praise for their salvation.

We might ask, who are we in relation to such behaviors? We might think we would be like the blind man, called to be part of a miracle of Christ, obeying the instruction of our Lord, a believer of the Son of Man and thankful for the mercy of our Savior; but if these events were to unfold before us now, through whose eyes would we see?

In retrospect, some might be tempted to ask, what of the man born blind? Why would God afflict this one from birth if it was not some sort of punishment? It is our nature to view our challenges and afflictions as punishments, but what Jesus revealed was, “Neither he nor his parents sinned; it is so that the works of God might be made visible through him.” It is through such a moment that we should understand that God allows afflictions only so that greater good may come.

Jesus restored the sight of the man born blind so that others might see. The event could not have happened had the man not first been afflicted, for without the affliction, the miracle of healing would not have been possible. The power of this moment crossed generations and we talk of it to this very day. Would we be willing to suffer such an affliction if we knew that it would become a prism through which generations would examine and might draw closer to their faith?

Our hope is not in what is of this world, but in the graces granted by our Lord. If we are afflicted in any way, we must trust that it is so that the works of God might be made visible through us. We may not know exactly how. We may not know exactly when. It may be over time, but it will come through how we use our gifts or how we deal with our afflictions.

If we are afflicted, we should pray that for whatever we may suffer, that it serves to produce a greater good. Blessed are those who suffer for the Lord, for whatever pain we may experience in this world, He will reward in heaven.

May the peace and blessings of the Lord be with you always,
Prayer Soldier

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