Saturday, June 2, 2012

Saturday, June 2, 2012


Scripture:  Romans 8:12-17

Abba, Father

I have a dear friend, John, who is adopted. That in itself is marginally important. But the peculiar thing about his whole family is that everyone including his wife and four if his five children are adopted. Their last child is their biological child, and on finding out felt out of sorts because she was different and not special because she wasn’t adopted. Imagine that! 

There is something about being adopted that spells special, that says someone looked around and chose me, I didn’t just come about even if there was hope for my being born. While there is something special about being chosen for adoption, usually it takes the adoptee time to adjust to the new environment and trust enough to call the adoptive parents “Mum” or “Dad”. You’ve no doubt seen the scene on TV many times. The world seems to stop in that brief moment when the affectionate title is conferred on the caretakers and then it is followed by a shift in the relationship that comes with mutual acceptance. 

Friends, stop tippy-toeing around shuttling between works-righteousness and living into the fullness of grace that has been offered to you by being adopted, chosen by the spirit to become God’s child and inheritor of the riches of heaven.  While God can wait until you get it, see how much you’ll miss by dilly dallying; by serving the law, which only pays wages in death of the soul in small doses. Say no to the death dealing ways of living according to the law of the flesh and the walk of fear; say yes instead to the call of the Spirit that testifies to your spirit that you have been adopted and made a joint heir with Christ our Savior. Make your Father’s heart glad by boldly calling him “Paa”.

Here's a link to a wonderful song on youtube

Prayer:  Dear Lord, help me to know that I can commit minutest details of my life to you because you are my Father and you love me well. Help me live fully into that love that it may change me and make me into the image of the Christ who calls you "Abba". Amen

 Dr. Esther Acolatse

Friday, June 1, 2012

Friday, June 1, 2012

Bring on the Praise

Scripture:  Isaiah 6:1-8

Turn your eyes upon Jesus

This is a familiar passage to many Christians and as often as I have heard it expounded on, the focus has been to invite the Christian to release the things or people they look up to so that their eyes might be refocused to see the glory of the Lord. But perhaps what holds us back from seeing God as he really is and offering him highest praise is not so much that we have other idols in our lives, but that we are focused on how others attend to their worship. Isaiah beheld the Seraphim, these pure angels worshiping and crying holy and he cries: “woe is me for I am a person of unclean lips and live among a people of unclean lips and therefore unfit to worship”.  Instead of looking upon the incomparable God, Isaiah is quickly turned inwards on his own unworthiness.  Noble and a right response as that is, it may even prove to be a handicap; and indeed Isaiah turned it into a handicap, at least so he thought.

See how quickly the Almighty moves in to prevent him from wallowing in self pity and being unable to worship. The very obstacle he lifts up “his lips” is the very one that he is sent to use after it had been treated by the purifying fire, the refining, sanctifying power of God.

Friends, God knows that when we know we are unfit for service that is precisely the very reason why we are chosen. If we or the world had its way, we would be carrying our unfitness for service like a shield for life. I recall a line from the saga of Prince Caspian in C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia. When towards the end tasks were being meted out by Aslan, the figure of God, and Caspian was asked to stay where he was and rule his people; his response was that he was not ready. Aslan replies: “That is why I know that you are ready”.

Friends, we are unworthy and so we are ready; let’s bring on the praise.

Prayer:  Dear God, please take my focus off myself that I might see you more clearly and serve you more freely as I am enabled by your power at work within me. Amen.

 Dr. Esther Acolatse

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Thursday, May 31, 2012

A By-the-way Blessing

Scripture:  Luke 1:39-57

My soul doth magnify the Lord
My heart rejoices forevermore
For God has chosen me to sing
A mother’s song to heaven’s king.

Just think, Nazareth around 1CE, a young 13 year old carrying God inside her, skipping –likely bare footed – through the dusty alleys of Galilee probably filled with a mixture of awe and doubt and excitement. But she had to go and encourage Cousin Liza. Her cousin Liza had waited long for her good news, never mind that she also had great news of her own to share. This visit was all about Elizabeth.

So how come the story following their encounter focuses on Mary? She went to give a shout out to her cousin and received a blessing. This is the kind that comes by the way of looking out for another. This is the blessing that accrues to us by the way of putting another first. Scripture says it is more blessed to give than to receive; and the interchange between Elizabeth and Mary gives ample proof of that expression. Here is a mutuality of giving and receiving that comes from familial affection and mutual interdependence. Elizabeth is blessed by Mary’s visit and Mary’s faith is shored up by the words of Elizabeth. 

If there is one lesson to learn from this encounter, it is that you should not allow attention to your own burden blind your view of your sister. Perhaps it is in attending to others that make you blessed among all women. 

Hail to you this day!

Prayer:  Dear Father, you have given so much and yet you remain the More. Help me remember that it is indeed more blessed to give than to receive. Amen.

 Dr. Esther Acolatse

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Wednesday ,May 30, 2012

The Scent of Love

Scripture:  Romans 12:9-16b

Come Down O Love Divine

My people, who dabble in proverbs and pithy sayings, say “only the teeth know with whom they are smiling” for not all flashing of the pearly whites translate the same message.  The saying speaks to inherent falsehood and lack of transparency and therefore trust in human dealings. Perhaps it is for the same reason that Paul pens these important words calling the believers to authenticity in their relationships. The foundation of such authentic living with one another is love. It is this love that allows for us to do the impossible, putting others before us. It is this love that allows us to be made low and lift others up. Not in a subservient way, but in a way that suggests that we know who we are because we know whose we are. 
Elizabeth and Mary had learned that lesson well, so well it rubbed off on the children they were carrying in their wombs. So well the sons born of them exemplified it and then left a legacy for all who would call God Abba.  John spoke the humblest words ever spoken by one man to another younger than himself. “There is one coming after me whose sandals I am not worthy to untie.” He had learned that lesson from a mother who spoke almost similar words to a younger woman “how it is the mother of my Lord would come and visit me?” 

And Jesus, the one who was God enfleshed, was led to the slaughter like a lamb, and uttered “not a mumblin’ word”; he had also learned from a mother who had said “behold I’m the handmaid of the Lord, let him do with me according to his will”. Sure the two men had a call on their lives and the grace to carry them through; but I’m sure the example of their mothers helped to solidify their acquiring the love that puts others first without losing self; the love that allows one to take the humbler part. 

Today, may the fragrance of that love waft to eternity through  Christ’s life in us; we who have been brought to new life by the supernal gift of the love the Father has shown through Christ our savior.

Dear Lord,
Let Holy Charity, mine outward vesture be
And lowliness become my inner clothing
True lowliness of heart
Which takes the humbler part
And o'er its own short comings weeps with loathing

 Dr. Esther Acolatse

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Hold the Praise

Scripture:  Psalm 113

Count your Blessings.

In the late 70’s there was a series of books on Praise by Merlin Carothers. “Prison to Praise” “Power in Praise”, “Praise Works” and “Answers to Praise”. I read them, and applied them like a panacea to a canker sore. I was walking on cloud nine all the time; I was living proof that praise works.

But I also know that praise doesn’t come so easily all the time, especially when the world is threatening to do you in and cut you off.  David, who performed most of these psalms, had himself been in many sticky and treacherous situations, and yet he gives a clarion call to praise the LORD.

Praise affords us opportunity to declare, in no uncertain terms, to ourselves, to our problems, and to whomever we assume caused them, whom we believe to be in charge— THE LORD GOD ALMIGHTY. It allows us to anticipate with joy, what God’s meddling, if you will, can bring about. 

One thing is for sure, it is a humbling process. I have found that often the proud and foolish are unable to praise. The first because they think they did it all, and the latter because they are not attentive enough to their lives to see the many times God has “meddled” to arrange their fortunes and misfortunes to a good end.  That is why the song writer calls on us to “count our blessings, name them one by one”.  Counting allows us to name those blessings and be specific and intentional in our praise, for no generic hallelujahs would do. This season, with the newness of Spring, hold the praise until you have counted. Prepare to be surprised by God.

Prayer:  Dear Lord, When I'm tempted to praise just emotionally, teach me the value of pausing to count, that I may praise more thoughtfully as well. Amen.

 Dr. Esther Acolatse

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