Category Archives: Betsy Happel

Roots of Appreciation

By Betsy Happel, 3/12/17

Romans 5:1-5  (The Message)    

By entering through faith into what God has always wanted to do for us—set us right with him, make us fit for him—we have it all together with God because of our Master Jesus. And that’s not all: We throw open our doors to God and discover at the same moment that he has already thrown open his door to us. We find ourselves standing where we always hoped we might stand—out in the wide open spaces of God’s grace and glory, standing tall and shouting our praise.

There’s more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary—we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit!

 

Roots of Trust

By Betsy Happel, 3/5/17

Hebrews 11:8-16 (Common English Bible)

By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was going to receive as an inheritance. He went out without knowing where he was going. By faith he lived in the land he had been promised as a stranger. He lived in tents along with Isaac and Jacob, who were coheirs of the same promise. He was looking forward to a city that has foundations, whose architect and builder is God. By faith even Sarah received the ability to have a child, though she herself was barren and past the age for having children, because she believed that the one who promised was faithful. So descendants were born from one man (and he was as good as dead). They were as many as the number of the stars in the sky and as countless as the grains of sand on the seashore.  All of these people died in faith without receiving the promises, but they saw the promises from a distance and welcomed them. They confessed that they were strangers and immigrants on earth. People who say this kind of thing make it clear that they are looking for a homeland. If they had been thinking about the country that they had left, they would have had the opportunity to return to it. But at this point in time, they are longing for a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore, God isn’t ashamed to be called their God—he has prepared a city for them.

Seeking Thyself

By Betsy Happel, 2/26/17

Matthew 6:16-21  (Common English Bible)

“And when you fast, don’t put on a sad face like the hypocrites. They distort their faces so people will know they are fasting. I assure you that they have their reward.  When you fast, brush your hair and wash your face.  Then you won’t look like you are fasting to people, but only to your Father who is present in that secret place. Your Father who sees in secret will reward you. “Stop collecting treasures for your own benefit on earth, where moth and rust eat them and where thieves break in and steal them.  Instead, collect treasures for yourselves in heaven, where moth and rust don’t eat them and where thieves don’t break in and steal them.  Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Perfectly Complete

By Betsy Happel, 2/19/17

Matthew 5:43-48   (Common English Bible)

 “You have heard that it was said, You must love your neighbor and hate your enemy.  But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who harass you so that you will be acting as children of your Father who is in heaven. He makes the sun rise on both the evil and the good and sends rain on both the righteous and the unrighteous.  If you love only those who love you, what reward do you have? Don’t even the tax collectors do the same?  And if you greet only your brothers and sisters, what more are you doing? Don’t even the Gentiles do the same?  Therefore, just as your heavenly Father is complete in showing love to everyone, so also you must be complete.

The First Move

By Betsy Happel, 2/12/17

       Matthew 5:21-26  The Message

“You’re familiar with the command to the ancients, ‘Do not murder.’ I’m telling you that anyone who is so much as angry with a brother or sister is guilty of murder. Carelessly call a brother ‘idiot!’ and you just might find yourself hauled into court. Thoughtlessly yell ‘stupid!’ at a sister and you are on the brink of hellfire. The simple moral fact is that words kill.  “This is how I want you to conduct yourself in these matters. If you enter your place of worship and, about to make an offering, you suddenly remember a grudge a friend has against you, abandon your offering, leave immediately, go to this friend and make things right. Then and only then, come back and work things out with God. “Or say you’re out on the street and an old enemy accosts you. Don’t lose a minute. Make the first move; make things right with him. After all, if you leave the first move to him, knowing his track record, you’re likely to end up in court, maybe even jail. If that happens, you won’t get out without a stiff fine.

Being Light, Shedding Light

By Betsy Happel, 2/5/17

Matthew 5:13-20  (Inclusive Bible)

“You are the salt of the earth.  But what if salt were to lose its flavor?  How could you restore it?  It would be fit for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.  “You are the light of the world, You don’t build a city on a hill, then try to hide it, do you?  You don’t light a lamp, then put it under a bushel basket, do you?  No, you set it on a stand where it gives light to all in the house.  In the same way, your light must shine before others so that they may see your good acts and give praise to your Abba God in heaven.  “Don’t think I’ve come to abolish the Law and the Prophets.  I have come not to abolish them, but to fulfill them.  The truth is, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter of the Law, not even the smallest part of a letter, will be done away with until it is all fulfilled.  That’s why whoever breaks the least significant of these commands and teaches others to do the same will be called the least in the kindom of heaven.  Whoever fulfills and teaches these commands will be called great in the kindom of heaven.  “I tell you, unless your sense of justice surpasses that of the religious scholars and the Pharisees, you will not enter the kindom of heaven.

So, what are you going to do about it?

By Betsy Happel, 1/22/17

Isaiah 49:1-7 (NRSV)

Listen to me, O coastlands, pay attention, you peoples from far away! The Lord called me before I was born, while I was in my mother’s womb he named me.  He made my mouth like a sharp sword, in the shadow of his hand he hid me; he made me a polished arrow, in his quiver he hid me away. And he said to me, “You are my servant, Israel, in whom I will be glorified.”  But I said, “I have labored in vain, I have spent my strength for nothing and vanity; yet surely my cause is with the Lord, and my reward with my God.”  And now the Lord says, who formed me in the womb to be his servant, to bring Jacob back to him, and that Israel might be gathered to him, for I am honored in the sight of the Lord, and my God has become my strength he says, “It is too light a thing that you should be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to restore the survivors of Israel; I will give you as a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth.”  Thus says the Lord, the Redeemer of Israel and his Holy One, to one deeply despised, abhorred by the nations, the slave of rulers, “Kings shall see and stand up, princes, and they shall prostrate themselves, because of the Lord, who is faithful, the Holy One of Israel, who has chosen you.”