Monthly Archives: November 2019
Devotional Thought of the Day:
22 So let’s come near God with pure hearts and a confidence that comes from having faith. Let’s keep our hearts pure, our consciences free from evil, and our bodies washed with clean water. 23 We must hold tightly to the hope that we say is ours. After all, we can trust the one who made the agreement with us. 24 We should keep on encouraging each other to be thoughtful and to do helpful things. 25 Some people have gotten out of the habit of meeting for worship, but we must not do that. We should keep on encouraging each other, especially since you know that the day of the Lord’s coming is getting closer. Heb 10:25
544 The Communion of the Saints. How shall I explain it to you? You know what blood transfusions can do for the body? Well, that’s what the Communion of the Saints does for the soul.
There is a challenge today that the church needs to embrace.
One that describes us as the author of Hebrews does, in the third person plural. “Our,” “We”, “You” (the plural kind not singular.) these are words we need to restore to practice in the church.
Our faith is not an individualistic faith, it is always a corporate sharing of pain and sorrow, a sharing of joy and wonder at the grace of God.
That is why St Josemaria pictures it as an infusion of life as the Blood that is shared covers our sins as it brings life to us as a community, as a body, as the Body of Christ. For when a person is weak in their faith, the faith of the community lifts them up, comforting them and reminding them of the presence of God.
Without that infusion, life takes its toll, draining us of energy and the ability to depend on God. Without hearing others say the Lord is with you, without knowing that they are praying for you, we battle with the idea that the battle is ours, that we are alone. We need that input, we need the comfort and the encouragement we receive through the church, broken as she may appear.
“We” are the church, the people of God whom He ministers to through His word and the Sacraments. We need to be her…together.
Escriva, Josemaria. The Way . Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.
Devotional Thought of the Day:
Let me ask you this. What would you do if you had a hundred sheep and one of them wandered off? Wouldn’t you leave the ninety-nine on the hillside and go look for the one that had wandered away? 13 I am sure that finding it would make you happier than having the ninety-nine that never wandered off. 14 That’s how it is with your Father in heaven. He doesn’t want any of these little ones to be lost. Mt.18:12-14 CEV
16 Don’t be a gossip, but never hesitate to speak up in court, especially if your testimony can save someone’s life. 17 Don’t hold grudges. On the other hand, it’s wrong not to correct someone who needs correcting. Lev. 19:16-17 CEV
The Holy Spirit, however, permits us to censure sin, and prescribes the way in which we are to do it. It must be done by rebuking our brother to his face, not by railing behind his back. This course is manly, brotherly, Christlike, and under God’s blessing will be useful. Does the flesh shrink from it? Then we must lay the greater stress upon our conscience, and keep ourselves to the work, lest by suffering sin upon our friend we become ourselves partakers of it. Hundreds have been saved from gross sins by the timely, wise, affectionate warnings of faithful ministers and brethren.
For most of us, the statement about leaving the 99 is comforting, for most of us know we wander off too frequently.
Put a different face on the 99, and we might have a different reaction.
If it is a person that antagonizes us, we might say good riddance, and let them go.
It is someone who has hurt us, we may pretend we do not notice.
If they are a politician or someone who expresses themselves politically is a way we oppose, we might even pack their bags and give them a map with the fastest way out of town, and try to inflame them enough that they burn bridges behind them.
We should not take those attitudes, but they seem natural to us, and many would cheer us on if we allowed them to wander off. After all, we didn’t push them away or force them out. We just let them go, off to get what they deserve. (not to mention what we deserve.)
The answer to this sin is not found in forcing our will to do what we don’t want to do. We might be able to subject our will once or twice, and yet, somewhere down deep, resentment will only grow, not just toward the one who offended us, but towards God and those who would encourage reconciliation.
So how do we do the impossible, how do we pray that Jesus is able to rescue this one stray? Or even more impossible, how do we come to desire that we assist in some small way?
I don’t think it is by focusing on them, or the pain they have caused.
I think it can only be by looking to Jesus, to seeing Him at work in our own lives, bringing about the healing that we need, forgiving the sin we’ve committed, removing the guilt and shame, and indeed the fear of death that comes from knowing we will be judged. To experience the love of God that makes our life new, and free from the power of sin. In awe of that, with the joy that only knowing we have passed from death to life can bring, is reconciliation with others possible.
For free, and full of joy, we see them out of the corner of our eye, and in awe of Christ’s work, we invite them to share in it. We then find great joy walking with Jesus after the one, because as they share the in the wonder of Christ’s healing them, we see again His healing us, it is made more complete.
Another part of us is healed, when they are cleansed and healed by Christ.
Then the joy of seeing Christ at work becomes greater, as it is shared.
Heavenly Father, help us to see and wonder about the incredible things Christ is doing in our lives. Help us to know He is with us, and as we gaze upon the cross, help us to rejoice as the Spirit brings healing to all our relationships. AMEN@
C. H. Spurgeon, Morning and Evening: Daily Readings (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1896).
Devotional Thought of the Day
33 Sir, I am your slave. Please let me stay here in place of Benjamin and let him return home with his brothers. 34 How can I face my father if Benjamin isn’t with me? I couldn’t bear to see my father in such sorrow… …Yes, I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt. 5 Don’t worry or blame yourselves for what you did. God is the one who sent me ahead of you to save lives. ….
Tell your brothers to load their donkeys and return to Canaan. 18 Have them bring their father and their families here. I will give them the best land in Egypt, and they can eat and enjoy everything that grows on it. 19 Also tell your brothers to take some wagons from Egypt for their wives and children to ride in. And be sure to have them bring their father. 20 They can leave their possessions behind, because they will be given the best of everything in Egypt. Gen. 44:33-45:1, 4-5, 17-20 CEV
One good deed is more worth than a thousand brilliant theories. Let us not wait for large opportunities, or for a different kind of work, but do just the things we “find to do” day by day. We have no other time in which to live. The past is gone; the future has not arrived; we never shall have any time but time present. Then do not wait until your experience has ripened into maturity before you attempt to serve God. Endeavour now to bring forth fruit. Serve God now
You may just have read the excerpts from my devotional reading this morning and thought that I am a little… confused.
After all, neither reading has anything to do with Christmas, Thanksgiving or Advent. You probably have a point, yet,please listen to me for a moment.
Far too often we look past this moment, thinking of something in the future. At least I do, and in the process I miss the work God is doing, right now, today, here where I am. Other times, I miss where I am because I am haunted by my past. (this is starting to sound a little like A Christmas Carol!) We have to hear Spurgeon’s urging us to to live in the present, we have to see what God is doing.
We see that in the in the three voices from Genesis. They all live in the moment, and find themselves acting like Jesus.
Judah, remembering how he didn’t help Joseph, is willing to lay his life down for his brother Benjamin. He lives in the moment, and acts like Jesus would (maybe for a different motive) but he is willing to take the heat, and deal with the wrath that could be poured out on his brother. Jesus couldn’t go back tot the Father without his brother either, so He took your place.
Joseph, lived in the moment as well, looking past the sins committed against him, was able to see God’s hand in bringing him to this moment, for the purpose of saving lives. Despite the pain, despite all the suffering, he was sure that God had him there, and was able to minister out of the present moment, even to those who sinned against him. Sound familiar?
And then there is the Pharoah, the guy who ministers in the present, welcoming his “new” people home, and ministering to those who were broken by the famine, and were wasting away. He welcomes them into His presence and gives them of the best that He has. He even tells them to leave all the stuff they had behind, for he will provide all they need. Again, we see that in the moment, someone acting like God, who has us leave the brokenness of our spiritually famished lives behind, giving us more life than we can ever imagine,
There is something about living in the moment, seeing those in need around us, and ministering to them. Something that allows us to be God’s person in this place, brought here in advance, to save people.
So look around, and see who is there…
C. H. Spurgeon, Morning and Evening: Daily Readings (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1896).
They Didn’t Know,
But He did
† In Jesus Name †
May the grace and mercy of God our Father and our Lord, Jesus Christ help you to know that you will be with Him in paradise.
They Didn’t Know – 1 Cor. 2:8
I have a confession to make.
When it comes to politics, I am slightly… okay… mostly… apathetic!
I like to blame it on scripture, you know, passages like Psalm 146,
3 Don’t put your confidence in powerful people; there is no help for you there. Psalm 146:3 (NLT2)
Or Psalm 118
8 It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in people. 9 It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in princes. Psalm 118:8-9 (NLT2)
I mean –I can justify my apathy there, can’t I?
But if I am honest, it is because I have known a few politicians in my life, and I don’t understand them, or a system where what is popular is better than what is right by God’s standard.
I’ve even got
one more passage that talks about people in power, one that nails their lack of
knowledge clear. Paul tells the church in Corinth this,
7 No, the wisdom we speak of is the mystery of God—his plan that was previously hidden, even though he made it for our ultimate glory before the world began. 8 But the rulers of this world have not understood it; if they had, they would not have crucified our glorious Lord. 1 Corinthians 2:7-8 (NLT2)
saw this as well, as he looked out on those who were crucifying them and said, “Father,
forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.”
They didn’t know what they were doing as they crucified Jesus, and what they really did not understand was that they were doing exactly what they needed him to do/
Hear that again, in their ignorance they did exactly what God wanted them to do, what He needed them to do.
They crucified Jesus.
When Jesus forgives them, he does so with full knowledge. Not just the experience of the crucial pain of the cross, but the full knowledge of why He was hanging there. To be able to say “you are forgiven”. To be able to say to us, as we realize the depth of our sin, rise, go in peace, your sins are forgiven, sin no more…. Only to be ready to tell that to us again the next time.
Presently I am reading Luther’s little pamphlet on meditating upon the cross. It is powerful, not just in the depth of walking us through the depths of our sin, but helping us realize the love of God that causes Jesus to volunteer to bear that pain. He chose it, knowing over and over from where the Triune God inspired the Old Testament, that He had to suffer and die!
Time and time he told the apostles it had to come about, that He had to die for them, that He had to die for us.
They didn’t see it coming, the leaders didn’t, the people didn’t, and Jesus died, which would have never happened if they truly understood and lived their lives knowing He was the Son of God..
the thief realized it…
Only one man that day, dealing with the pain of his own sin, realized what Jesus being the Messiah meant. The man being crucified next him.
Hear this man’s words again,
Jesus, remember me when you come into your Kingdom.”
you realize how crazy this is to say?
They are hanging there, on the cross, both about to die! To die!
Hey Jesus, when this is over, can I be part of what you’ve got coming next? Please? I mean, really Jesus, and as he leans to speak to Jesus, the pain once again robs him of all His strength.
please..? Can you imagine the joy that comes from hearing Jesus response?
I am not sure if he even heard the word, day….. or maybe the word paradise.
He heard what was in between though, “YOU will be with ME”
“You will be with me”
That is why Jesus came to the cross, to be able to say those words to that sinner. To that man who spent his life doing what He shouldn’t do, and not doing what he should do. The kings and leaders who crucified him didn’t know this was Jesus’ intent. Neither did all the people who cried “Crucify Him” and mocked him.
By the prompting of the Holy Spirit, this man knew… and he heard the sweetest words.
Words that every sinner can hear. Including you and I.
Jesus says, “you will be with ME!”
And as we hear that, all else fades away.
The sin, the shame, the grief, the pain. The doubts, the anguish…. It all faded away faster than this man’s life was, for he hear Jesus’s words…
We need to hear that, even as we struggle with out own brokenness and apathy. We need to realize that all things – – including Jesus dying for our sins, works out for good, so even the ignorance of kings and leaders can, as well.
“You will be with ME!”
You will be with ME!
We indeed are with Him!! AMEN!
Let us pray….
1 O God, you are my God; I earnestly search for you. My soul thirsts for you; my whole body longs for you in this parched and weary land where there is no water. 2 I have seen you in your sanctuary and gazed upon your power and glory. 3 Your unfailing love is better than life itself; how I praise you! 4 I will praise you as long as I live, lifting up my hands to you in prayer. 5 You satisfy me more than the richest feast. I will praise you with songs of joy. Psalm 63:1-5 (NLT2)
In a nutshell one could say that the goal of Asiatic contemplation is the escape from personality, whereas biblical prayer is essentially a relation between persons and hence ultimately the affirmation of the person.
We know God aright when we grasp him not in his might or wisdom (for then he proves terrifying), but in his kindness and love. Then faith and confidence are able to exist, and then man is truly born anew in God.
Luther’s words in green above come from a pamphlet (the forerunner to the blog) on the contemplation of the suffering of Jesus. It is a pretty difficult read, as he takes us through contemplating the incredible power of sin, that breaks us down, the crushes us…
that we to often choose.
It is painful, and though I hate to say it, it should be. We need to be horrified by the actions we have done, the words we have said, both in anger, and simply to do damage to those we dislike or are jealous of, we need to take a moment, and examine our thoughts to realize how little we control them.
And then, find relief, not in our own resolve, or our ability to make things right, or even survive our brokenness, but in the presence of God, in the Holy Spirit’s comfort and gentle careful cleansing of our lives, our hearts, minds, souls… all of it.
This is the meditation that Pope Benedict XVI discusses, the relationship we have with God, and He with each and all of His people. It is what affirms us, this new birth in God that we have to really contemplate – that we really have to sit and discover.
And in that contemplation, as we gaze on the power of God, as we realize what He has done and is doing, we can cry out praise, much as the Psalmist does.
It is in those quiet moments, contemplating the riches of God, revealed in Christ so that they may be revealed in our lives, that the desire for God’s work becomes stronger and stronger.
So take some time, not just a moment. Consider the cross and the grave… let the Spirit help you know the entire picture, how you’ve been broken, and how you’ve been healed…
For the Lord is with you…
(no matter which side of the Tiber you are, or whether you are on the bridge)
Joseph Ratzinger, The Feast of Faith: Approaches to a Theology of the Liturgy, trans. Graham Harrison (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1986), 24.
Martin Luther, Luther’s Works, Vol. 42: Devotional Writings I, ed. Jaroslav Jan Pelikan, Hilton C. Oswald, and Helmut T. Lehmann, vol. 42 (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1999), 13.
Devotional Thought of the Day:
5 I trust your love, and I feel like celebrating because you rescued me. 6 You have been good to me, LORD, and I will sing about you.
Psalm 13:5-6 (CEV)
O children of God, seek after a vital experience of the Lord’s lovingkindness, and when you have it, speak positively of it; sing gratefully; shout triumphantly.
548 If you feel the Communion of the Saints—if you live it—you’ll gladly be a man of penance. And you will realize that penance is gaudium etsi laboriosum—“joy in spite of hardship,” and you will feel yourself “allied” to all the penitent souls that have been, that are, and that ever will be.
I grew up among a generation that was told not to focus on experiences, not to trust our feelings. to only focus on a logical, rational presentation of Christianity.
I’ve also seen the other extreme in my youth, where people chased after religious experiences, who wanted to feel the positive vibes that come when experiencing the supernatural, I think those excesses of the late 60’s and 70’s led to the pendulum swing of the 80’s and into the new millenium.
Both sides treat the other side with suspicion, both sides blame the other for the death or at least the hospice status of the church. ANd both try to convince me and others that their focus is the best and only hope, relying not on God for the growth of the church, but on man’s wisdom, and man’s ability to create the right… environment… that will bring about revival.
While I think both are wrong, and grow weary of both, I do think think that a sign of revival is an experience, Not one of great passion, not one of great signs and wonders.
Instead a humbling experience, one that touches the depth of our brokenness, and leaves us tired, exhausted, and in awe of what we’ve encountered… the grace of God.
That is what Spurgeon is talking about with the term loving kindness. cHesed in Hebrew, it is that experience of the merciful love of God that comes to us in our brokenness, in the depth our our sin, when we are with hope, and dries our tears and whispers to us that we are forgiven, that we are being healed, and restored.
That is what Escriva is talking about with the joy in the midst of hardship, the experience that causes us, in the future when we sin again, to pray for repentance and restoration with confidence,
It is the quiet celebration of the Psalmist, who though he believed there was no hope, found that hope in the middle of despair.
We aren’t talking about seeing a miracle that leaves everyone applauding like a Superbowl victory, (Well heaven parties like that) but one that leaves us like the feeling, having worked all night, to see the break of dawn…knowing that peace and rest is near… yet struggling to believe it.
We have to experience this healing, we can’t just “know” it happened once. We need to struggle with it, to ask, ‘could God have really loved me this much, and then be assured, by scripture and by the sacraments, yes, He does.
THis experience is contagious, it sweeps communities and nations, it changes individuals and countries, it changes the church, which welcomes sinners home with confidence, expecting to see the miracle again that reminds us of our miracle…. as we share in something that leaves us… awe doesn’t seem strong enough a word.
This experience can’t be manipulated, it is not subject to our feelings or our knowledge. It is the work of the Holy Spirit, drawing us, even dragging us to the foot of the cross, helping us see we belong there, nailed to the cross, sharing in Christ’s death, and wondering why we are even allowed near Him. And then coming to the realization that because we died with Him, we rise from the dead with Him.
That’s not head knowledge, that is life…and that life has to be lived….
Heavenly Father, help us to see the Holy Spirit’s work in our lives, drawing us to the cross, uniting us to His death and resurrection. Help us to see this, not as observers, but from actually experiencing the reality of the SPirit’s work. In Jesus name we pray, AMEN!
C. H. Spurgeon, Morning and Evening: Daily Readings (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1896).
Escriva, Josemaria. The Way (Kindle Locations 1322-1325). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.
Devotional Thought of the Day:
41 The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will gather from his kingdom everyone who does wrong or causes others to sin. 42 Then he will throw them into a flaming furnace, where people will cry and grit their teeth in pain. 43 But everyone who has done right will shine like the sun in their Father’s kingdom. If you have ears, pay attention! Mt 13:41-43 CEV
Properly speaking, true repentance is nothing else than to have contrition and sorrow, or terror, on account of sin, and yet at the same time to believe the Gospel and absolution (namely, that sin has been forgiven and grace has been obtained through Christ), and this faith will comfort the heart and again set it at rest.1
6 Amendment of life and the forsaking of sin would then follow, for these must be the fruits of repentance, as John says, “Bear fruit that befits repentance” (Matt. 3:8).
We must give ourselves wholly to this matter, for the main benefit of Christ’s passion is that man sees into his own true self and that he be terrified and crushed by this. Unless we seek that knowledge, we do not derive much benefit from Christ’s passion……..
No meditation or any other doctrine is granted to you that you might be boldly inspired by your own will to accomplish this. You must first seek God’s grace and ask that it be accomplished by his grace and not by your own power. That is why the people we referred to above fail to view Christ’s passion aright. They do not seek God’s help for this, but look to their own ability to devise their own means of accomplishing this. They deal with the matter in a completely human but also unfruitful way.
Star Wars would not be beloved the way it is, unless Luke and his family had to deal with their dark side. The Lord of the Rings would not be the same unless you experience the dark journey of two Hobbits, Smeagol and Frodo. We even see it in the old classics like The Count of Monte Cristo and Les Miserables, as the hero’s are survive their own darkness,
Every good epic tale had those dark times. Time s that some survive, some do not, and yet all bear the scars of throughout their lives. This is called a meta-narrative, a truth seen in God’s general revelation, that becomes clear in His specific revelation in scripture.
What these stories touch on is our own spiritual walk, what they illustrate is our own spiritual journey.
And just like Luke is afraid to face the darkness, like Frodo has to get used to his darkness calling him to wear the ring, of Val Jean dealing with his own brokenness, we have to face our own.
We have to face our sin. We have to own it, and the pain of the brokenness. As Luther writes about mediating on the cross, he goes ballistic on this point, ( I am hoping he is equally powerful about grace – but I have gotten there yet!)
Our sin does need to have an impact on us, crushing us, terrifying us at first, but as the Augsburg Confession discusses we have to believe in the gospel, that we’ve been forgiven, healed.
The weeds of Matthew 13 don’t want to admit they need that care. They go about doing wrong and encouraging others to do wrong. They refuse to see their brokenness, and therefore see no need for the cross, and the God to die upon it, bearing the weight of their sin.
They are Smeagol/Gollum, Vader and they Emperor, Javert, and those who betray the young sailor. They find their place in the darkness, and are afraid to deal with the evil they see within themselves.
But the main characters do not find their redemption in their heroics, they are almost surprised they survive, as they consider how close they came to embracing hell. There is a sense of joyous relief, even awe, as they look to their surviving the journey into darkness.
This is truly what happens to the sinner, drawn to the cross, where Jesus is lifted up. To get there, we need to see the brokenness sin has cause in our lives. We need to consider what would have happened if Jesus wasn’t sacrificed, and realize how incredible the love of God is that saves us from what we earned.
It isn’t all hell, fire and brimstone, for we know, we are fully confident in our deliverance. Yet… that confidence comes from realizing the painful emptiness that is the the effect being imprisoned by sin, and being rescued, the bonds shattered as the nails pierced Jesus’ wrists and ankles.
We have survived, in Christ overcoming our sin, we have endured. He has seen our darkness, more clearly that we ever have… and loved us more than despising the darkness.
May our lives reflect that love.. that would not let us go…
Theodore G. Tappert, ed., The Book of Concord the Confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church. (Philadelphia: Mühlenberg Press, 1959), 34–35.
Martin Luther, Luther’s Works, Vol. 42: Devotional Writings I, ed. Jaroslav Jan Pelikan, Hilton C. Oswald, and Helmut T. Lehmann, vol. 42 (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1999), 10-11
This Place is Wonderful but….
† I.H.S. †
May the grace of God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ strengthen your faith, and help you endure until we get to our final destination.
Wow…. Look at all
I think I understand the disciples, and their awe standing in the midst of the Temple, the place they went, because God had put His name there.
When I walk around this place, there are memories and feelings that will always come to mind. The disciples had to show Jesus the stonework and the memorials, in awe of what God had done there, what He revealed here. And though this church is not as impressive as Herod’s Temple, there are precious memories of God at work in His people here.
Memories of tears shed together, memories of laughter, some memories that combine the two in a twisted dance.
I cannot imagine Jesus walking with us here, and saying, “6 “The time is coming when all these things will be completely demolished. Not one stone will be left on top of another!”
I wouldn’t want to
hear it, I can’t imagine this altar rail here, or the baptismal font gone, or
even the pulpit I hide behind, as I play my guitar as we sing.
For just as the disciples looked at the Temple as the place, the place they could meet God, so too I can’t but see faces, present and past, as they met God in this place.
And so I understand their reaction of shock, as Jesus spoke… this place will be completely demolished..
When is it coming? Uhm?
The disciples begin to recover from the words of Jesus, and then they make it worse, they ask, when is this coming? What do we look for?
I wonder if they want to make sure they aren’t there, or what?
You see, the temple had been looted and destroyed before. Because of sin, it had been destroyed and abandoned. I can’t imagine this happening to this place, but even so, there will be a day when this place doesn’t matter anymore.
Jesus looks at them, and knowing their hearts, it must have broken His to reveal what has to happen before the end comes..
Even so, He will answer them honestly and scare the heck out of them. He’s going to tell them about false prophets, wars, earthquakes, famine, plagues, terrifying moments, miracles, persecution, people charging you with false crimes and dragging you into court, betrayal by family members, and just about everyone hating you! All sorts of lovely things!
Sounds like a normal
week around here?
Seriously, all he is saying is between that time and the time when temples and churches will have fulfilled their role, life is going to be rough, It is going to be impacted by the sins of billions of people, those in the past, and those presently alive. Jesus tells the twelve that people will kill “some” of us! Paul describes this as the earth groaning under as if in childbirth!
In the midst of the list there are a number other things,
Did you catch the part about miraculous signs from heaven? Even more importantly, did you catch two very important words to hear…
In the midst of the grief, the pain, the anxiety as we hear about all these horrid things, and we see them happening, DON’T PANIC!
I don’t know about you, but when someone tells me there is nothing to panic over… I immediately look around to see what should cause me to panic! Heck, if certain people were to tell me that, I would assume that panic is and underestimation of how I should react!
Why should I panic if God reminds me that there will be a day when this place is not longer here? I can tell you why. I look around and see what God has done. I see the communion rail, and think of the kids that would not leave it, including a 50 year old named Chris, because this is where they experienced Jesus presence. I think about the back seat, back by the sound board and I think of Warren giving me a thumbs up, Or Mando, Or Clyde, or the two original Concordia Deacons who challenged me to find something in this room that would show the gospel…
Churches and Temples matter because they are places where we regularly found God’s presence, and therefore could rest and find peace In these sanctuaries, in these places that are holy, because we know we encountered God here.
And though we know better, the concept of change, and even loss threw the disciples into a panic!
In the midst of the brokenness – look up… your Salvation is near!
What we have to remember, what we have to know, is that
God isn’t tearing us away from what we love, to abandon us in the day of
judgement. We aren’t going to stand there, wondering if we are going to heaven
or hell. We don’t have to fear suffering His wrath, suffering and struggling
more with sin and doubt. The ark of the covenant won’t be needed, as Jeremiah
promised, neither will the font and the altar.
All these things are simply the shadows of the reality of Jesus.
That’s why he tells us “Don’t panic” and why angels say “don’t be afraid”, “don’t be anxious”
Jesus tells them why, just as He tells us, . 27 Then everyone will see the Son of Man* coming on a cloud with power and great glory. 28 So when all these things begin to happen, stand and look up, for your salvation is near!”
is an interesting word, this word “salvation”. Not the usual word, but the word
for destruction – specifically the destruction of all the constrains us, all
that has bound us up, all that has stolen from us joy, all that has made life
challenging. Everything is redeemed and restored.
We may lose the shadow – but we never lose our Lord!
There is our hope..
Don’t panic, don’t fear, look up and see your Lord, coming to set you free,
And until then, He keeps you safe… no matter what, and yours is the peace of God which passes all understanding. AMEN!
Devotional Thought of the Day:
40 He came back and found his disciples sleeping. So he said to Peter, “Can’t any of you stay awake with me for just one hour? 41 Stay awake and pray that you won’t be tested. You want to do what is right, but you are weak.” Matthew 26:40-41 (CEV)
530 Many Christians take their time and have leisure enough in their social life (no hurry here). They are leisurely, too, in their professional activities, at table and recreation (no hurry here either). But isn’t it strange how those same Christians find themselves in such a rush and want to hurry the priest, in their anxiety to shorten the time devoted to the most holy sacrifice of the altar?
I’ve probably spent twenty-five hundred hours of my life “in church”.
That might sound like a lot, until you realize I’ve been alive for some 475, 449 hours.
Sure, you could add in the time in Bible studies, both formal and informal. Chapel services, funeral and weddings might a few hundred more hours. and times of prayer and meditation may double the total.
But even then, I as a pastor, probably spend less than 2 percent of my life, “in church: and in prayer.
Not much of an investment.
Not given the eternal consequences, nor give the peace and comfort those eternal consequences bring, nor given the joy that walking with God brings in this life. Joy found even in the midst of chaos, in the midst of pain, in the midst of grief.
Yet some complain when church goes over 65 minutes (or in my case 90) We are willing to be free with our time, but sometimes we get all hot and bothered by spending more time with God.
We’ve got important things to do, people in great need to see, things that MUST get taken care of, and don’t you know, we are advised to take care of ourselves?
and so our flexible time becomes that we spend with God……
I am not writing this out of a sense of piety, the idea that what all good Christians do is spend 2-3 hours on Sunday, plus one on Wednesday night in church and 30-45 minutes a day in prayer. If we are doing it to prove how good and holy we are, that time would be better spent.
I am urging us to do this because we need, even desperately need that time with God. Life is too challenging, it is too broken, it is to wild. We need God in our lives, and we need to remember His promises to be there.
your time with God! Enjoy the moments without stress! Turn over to him all the
things that cause anxiety and pain, the things that could cause guilt and
shame…. and then just enjoy His presence and the Love He shares with you.
Escriva, Josemaria. The Way (Kindle Locations 1282-1285). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.