Feb 4, 2011 - Friday Meditation (Stand Up for What is Godly!) Herod was a weak man. He could take a strong stand on the wrong things when he knew the right. Such a stand, however, was a sign of weakness and cowardice. The Lord gives grace to the humble, to those who acknowledge their sins and who seek God's mercy and pardon. God's grace enables us to fight fear with faith and to overcome the temptation to compromise goodness and truth with wrongdoing and falsehood. GOD BLESS! Memorial of St. John de Britto, S.J. Hebrews 13:1-8 Psalm 27:1, 3, 5, 8b-9abc Mark 6:14-29 King Herod heard of it; for Jesus' name had become known. Some said, "John the baptizer has been raised from the dead; that is why these powers are at work in him." 15 But others said, "It is Eli'jah." And others said, "It is a prophet, like one of the prophets of old." 16 But when Herod heard of it he said, "John, whom I beheaded, has been raised." 17 For Herod had sent and seized John, and bound him in prison for the sake of Hero'di-as, his brother Philip's wife; because he had married her. 18 For John said to Herod, "It is not lawful for you to have your brother's wife." 19 And Hero'di-as had a grudge against him, and wanted to kill him. But she could not, 20 for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man, and kept him safe. When he heard him, he was much perplexed; and yet he heard him gladly. 21 But an opportunity came when Herod on his birthday gave a banquet for his courtiers and officers and the leading men of Galilee . 22 For when Hero'di-as' daughter came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his guests; and the king said to the girl, "Ask me for whatever you wish, and I will grant it." 23 And he vowed to her, "Whatever you ask me, I will give you, even half of my kingdom." 24 And she went out, and said to her mother, "What shall I ask?" And she said, "The head of John the baptizer." 25 And she came in immediately with haste to the king, and asked, saying, "I want you to give me at once the head of John the Baptist on a platter." 26 And the king was exceedingly sorry; but because of his oaths and his guests he did not want to break his word to her. 27 And immediately the king sent a soldier of the guard and gave orders to bring his head. He went and beheaded him in the prison, 28 and brought his head on a platter, and gave it to the girl; and the girl gave it to her mother. 29 When his disciples heard of it, they came and took his body, and laid it in a tomb. Meditation by Don Schwager Do you ever feel haunted by a past failure or a guilty conscience? King Herod, the most powerful and wealthy man in Judea , had everything he wanted, except a clear conscience and peace with God. Herod had respected and feared John the Baptist as a great prophet and servant of God. John, however did not fear to rebuke Herod for his adulterous relationship with his brother's wife. John ended up in prison because of Herodias' jealousy. Herod, out of impulse and a desire to please his family and friends, had John beheaded. Now Herod's conscience is pricked when he hears that some think that the Baptist has risen. When Herod heard the fame of Jesus he supposed that John the Baptist, whom he had beheaded, had returned from the dead. Unfortunately for Herod, he could not rid himself of sin by ridding himself of the man who confronted him with his sin. Herod was a weak man. He could take a strong stand on the wrong things when he knew the right. Such a stand, however, was a sign of weakness and cowardice. The Lord gives grace to the humble, to those who acknowledge their sins and who seek God's mercy and pardon. His grace and pardon not only frees us from a guilty conscience, it enables us to pursue holiness in thought and action as well. God's grace enables us to fight fear with faith and to overcome the temptation to compromise goodness and truth with wrongdoing and falsehood. Do you rely on God's grace and help to choose his way of holiness and to reject whatever would compromise your faith and loyalty to Christ? "Heavenly Father, form in me the likeness of your Son that I may imitate him in word and deed. Help me to live the gospel faithfully and give me the strength and courage I need to not shrink back in the face of adversity and temptation." Supplementary Reading Handfuls on Purpose “And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, if you obey the voice of the Lord your God” - Deuteronomy 28:2 Our God is a rewarder of those who seek Him! When you keep God first place and do your best to honor Him, the Scripture says, “His blessings will chase you down and overtake you.” That means you will come into increase, promotion and good breaks that you didn’t necessarily deserve. That’s God rewarding you for walking in His ways. We see this principle in the Old Testament with Ruth. She was out in the fields following behind the workers and gathering up the leftover wheat that they missed. She was trying to take care of her mother-in-law, Naomi, but they were barely surviving. One day, the owner of the fields told the workers to leave handfuls of wheat on purpose for Ruth. Ruth came into blessings that were simply dropped at her feet. Every one of us can look back and see times where God has left us handfuls on purpose — something that we didn’t deserve or even ask for. We just stumbled into it. That’s a “handful on purpose.” I encourage you to always keep your expectancy up. Keep trusting God and obeying His voice because He is ready to bless you in unexpected ways today! Father in heaven, thank You for Your goodness and faithfulness in my life. I trust You as my Provider; You are the One who cares for me. I acknowledge You with my love and thank You for leaving me “handfuls on purpose” today! In Jesus’ Name. Amen. — Joel & Victoria Osteen
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