Category Archives: Devotions

We all know God loves us, but far too often the stresses, anxieties and problems in life crowd Him out of our view. Here find a moment to re-focus and remember how incredible it is that God loves us, and what it means to live in His presence, in the peace that passes all understanding…

The Need to Correct Others

Do not be conquered by evil, but conquer evil with good. Romans 12:21 CSB

Let us come now to the means which we have to employ in order to vanquish temptations. Spiritual masters prescribe a variety of means; but the most necessary, and the safest (of which only I will here speak), is to have immediate recourse to God with all humility and confidence, saying: Incline unto my aid, O God; O Lord, make haste to help me.3 This short prayer will enable us to overcome the assaults of all the devils of hell; for God is infinitely more powerful than all of them. (1)

It is quite natural, and even spiritual, to feel sorrow and heaviness when we see the professed followers of Christ walking in the ways of the world. And our first impulse may easily be to go straight to them and upbraid them indignantly.
But such methods are seldom successful. The heat in our spirit may not be from the Holy Spirit, and if it is not then it can very well do more harm than good.…
In this as in everything else Christ is our perfect example. A prayerful, face-down meditation on the life of Christ will show us how to oppose with kindness and reprove with charity. And the power of the Holy Spirit within us will enable us to follow His blessed example.

It seems that there are two ways to deal with error, especially in the church.

The first is to ignore it, well, at least ignore it while the person is in view Sometimes this can result in the frustrations being shared with those around us, initially as, “how can we help them.” But often, that turns into a form of gossip. Both refusing to deal with it, and the gossip caused by still being frustrated, is sin.

The second way is to treat them like the enemy, to attack them with the sincere intent of eradicating the false belief. The problem here is that the person’s soul or their family’s souls suffer significant collateral damage.  While our desire are sincere, our methodology, to be blunt, is sinful.

Tozer is more polite when he simply says the methods are seldom successful. But he is right; such efforts can cause far more harm than good. And we fall into this temptation, especially as we engage in social media, and we are trying to
fix those with whom we don’t have a relationship.

Before we get to correct someone, we must deal with our “need” to correct others! I think De Ligouri has the way to work through the temptation, as he advises us to call out in prayer to God. After all, if we are to be those who work for reconciliation, we need to be in contact with both parties to be reconciled. We need to remember His desire to bring them into a transformation of their mind. Which means we have to remember ours does as well.  

It is then, and only then, that we can conquer evil with good. That we can proceed, guided by the Holy Spirit, to work within our relationships, and approach those in error with love, a love that they will recognize.

God’s peace to all, as we care enough to take our time and remember the presence of God, as we care for those He loves.

(1) Alphonsus de Liguori, The Holy Eucharist, ed. Eugene Grimm, The Complete Works of Saint Alphonsus de Liguori (New York; London; Dublin; Cincinnati; St. Louis: Benziger Brothers; R. Washbourne; M. H. Gill & Son, 1887), 450.

(2) A. W. Tozer and Marilynne E. Foster, Tozer on the Holy Spirit: A 366-Day Devotional (Camp Hill, PA: WingSpread, 2007).

Could Revival Be This Simple?

Thoughts to encourage your to adore Jesus

16  ‘Afterward I will return and restore the fallen house of David. I will rebuild its ruins and restore it, 17  so that the rest of humanity might seek the LORD, including the Gentiles— all those I have called to be mine. The LORD has spoken— 18  he who made these things known so long ago.’ Acts 15:16-18 (NLT2)

Our insensibility to the presence of the Spirit is one of the greatest losses our unbelief and preoccupation have cost us. We have made Him a tenet in our creed, we have enclosed Him in a religious word, but we have known Him very little in personal experience.
Satan has hindered us all he could by raising conflicting opinions about the Spirit, by making Him a topic of hot and uncharitable debate between Christians. In the meanwhile, our hearts crave Him, and we hardly know what the craving means.
(1)

I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ my Lord, or come to him; but the Holy Spirit hath called me through the gospel, enlightened me by his gifts, and sanctified and preserved me in the true faith; in like manner as he calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies the whole Christian church on earth, and preserves it in union with Jesus Christ in the true faith; in which Christian church he daily forgives abundantly all my sins, and the sins of all believers, and will raise up me and all the dead at the last day, and will grant everlasting life to me and to all who believe in Christ. (2)

I think Tozer’s critique of the church has a lot of merit.

Over the last two centuries scholars have reduced the role of scripture to be a document to be studied, instead of the revelation of God. It now longer is the good news which has the ability to save the Jew and the Greek. (Romans 1:16). No longer do we have confidence in it, but it needs stuff to make it work.

In the same way, the church has diminshed the role of the Holy Spirit over the years.

No longer is the Spirti the dynamis – the source of our our ability, our power our freedom. No longer is the Spirit our paraklete, the course of all comfort. And no longer does the church count on the Spirit to make people holy, righteous, and choose and equip them to serve each other, and bring the light of Chirst ot the world.

Or perhaps I should qualify this and say the church in many parts of Europe and the U.S.A.

This isn’t a liberal phenomena, I have seen it among conservatives and confessionals to – those who put more value on youtube videos and blogs (even this one) than in time in quiet prayer. Or ore time studying the word, than in reading it devotionally.

But what if we depended on the Spirit, we expectantly looked for the Spirit to call, gather, enlighten and make holy the entire church. Including those called yesterday, those the Spirit will draw close today, and tomorrow? What if we expected that whne we shared Chirst with others, the Spirit would be cutting their hearts open, just as the Spirit did at Pentecost?

What if we stopped depending on our reason and strength, we relied on the Spirit’s?

Would our dying churches revive? Would our pastors who are burning out be reingorate,

Could revival be that simple… and so not dependent on us?

I beleive so…

Lord, pour out your Spirit in a way that is undeniable, and draws your people together in Your presence. Show us the Spirit calling, gathering, enlightening and making us Your holy people. AMEN.

(1) A. W. Tozer and Marilynne E. Foster, Tozer on the Holy Spirit: A 366-Day Devotional (Camp Hill, PA: WingSpread, 2007).

(2) Martin Luther, Luther’s Small Catechism; Explained in Questions and Answers: For the Use of the Church, School, and Family (Philadelphia: G. W. Frederick, 1863), 13.

A Time For Tears. A sermon based on Psalm 119:129-136

A Time for Tears
Psalm 119:129-136

† In Jesus Name †

May the grace and mercy of God the Father and our dear Lord Jesus so transform our lives, that we can’t bear the thought of people going without it.

An Awkward transition?


I love the way the song we just sang told the story of Jesus….

From a throne of endless glory, to a cradle in the dirt

To reconcile the lost, to redeem the whole creation, You did not despise the cross…

the lamb had conquered death…

By His blood and in His Name

In His freedom I am free

For the love of Jesus Christ

Who has resurrected me!

I could go on, or we could just re-sing the song!

As I listened to the song yesterday over and over…the irony of the title of this sermon to the song…seemed huge…

How do we go from praising the Holy Trinity for how they have interacted with all creation, for how they interact with us

A Time for Tears?

Thinking about it, I re-wrote the sermon outline… and I will tell you this… it’s not time for tears… yet.

Unless they are tears of incredible joy. 

Psalm 119 is going to cause us to be in awe, to be amazed at two things – the revelation of God’s word and the meaning of His presence in our lives.

So Let’s look at the blessings

The Blessings of His WORD

129  Your laws are wonderful. No wonder I obey them!

It starts by saying these words of God are wonderful! The word there is law – but it means the entire law – the entire story we just sang about, that David only knew a small part of, a tiny bit about.

And of course, you’ve heard it from me before – Biblical obedience isn’t blind; it is to treasure and guard these words because they are so incredible!

God’s revelation in His word is so miraculous… so incredible… it is just natural that we see it as our greatest treasure!

It goes on to talk more about this revelation,

The teaching of your word gives light, so even the simple can understand.

That is what God’s word does – as we heard in the song. We were alone in the darkness; life was empty, without hope. That dark, lifelessness was shattered by these words, I am with you! I love you!

What a simple concept, to look at this cross, and know Jesus was nailed to a cross, to not only free us from Sin- but to make us His! The Old Testament pointed forward to it. The New Testament constantly calls us to remember our Lord!

131  I pant with expectation, longing for your commands.

The more we realize that this is the message of God’s word, the more we thirst for it. The more we recognize our need for it.

I love the illustration of not just thirsting for the revelation of God’s love but panting for it! That we can be so thirsty to take it in, so aware of our need for it, that everything we are focuses on it. And as we are given Jesus, the living water, everything mellows, and our body begins to relax as life returns to normal.

It is the same as some of us have been able to come back to church, and we realize how much we miss the Lord’s Supper. (Remember – if you are at home – Dane, one or the other elders, or I will gladly bring you communion!

This is my prayer that you realize your need for the word and sacrament, not out of duty, but because we need to commune with God, to realize His presence and mercy and love!

What His Presence Means

We move from the incredible blessing of God’s word, revealing all the love and glory of God, to seeing what that practically means in a normal… David provides that in the Psalms as well,

132  Come and show me your mercy, as you do for all who love your name.

The first thing David asks for is God’s mercy, just as we did when we confessed our sins and heard the fact that we are forgiven!  What a glorious thing it is we praise God for, knowing that all who love His God are forgiven!

133  Guide my steps by your word, so I will not be overcome by evil.

Because He is with us, God guides our steps with His word! Amazing promise here – for it is not just a casual thing! The Hebrew word talks of thoroughly guiding them, planning out the route, even preparing it for us.

134  Ransom me from the oppression of evil people; then I can obey your commandments.

That route preparation includes this, the ransom from the oppression of evil people. God’s faithfulness made such an impression on David that David knew – and the Holy Spirit wants us to know that we can pray for this. That God will indeed save us when we are under someone else’s power. That may be by removing us, or it may be by God converting our adversary, our enemy.

But when someone has that kind of power over us, we have an advocate, a defender in Jesus…

135  Look upon me with love; teach me your decrees

In the last section, what an amazing prayer of faith!  Look upon us Lord, and teach us all that You have commanded into existence, from the promise of our sharing in the glory of Jesus to the freedom we have, that opens up our ability to enter your presence boldly, even as is recorded in Hebrews

19  And so, dear brothers and sisters, we can boldly enter heaven’s Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus. Hebrews 10:19 (NLT2)

This is the incredible message of God that David saw in part and treasured and wanted us to treasure…. More than anything.

All this that God called into being – so we could be His people, so He could care for us as our God.

This brings us to the title of the sermon… the thought that will bring us to tears… as it did David.

136  Rivers of tears gush from my eyes because people disobey (do not treasure) your instructions.

There are no words to say when thinking of people that go throughout this life without the love and mercy of God, who go without the comfort and peace that comes from seeing Jesus revealed. ….that will go without that, not only in this life… but will spend eternity without Jesus, in hell.

Thinking of this should flood this room with gushing tears… and there is nothing else to say…

Except this…

All power and authority has been given to Jesus, who wants you to go make disciples of all people, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to treasure what He has called into existence,

And know this… He will be with us, teaching, guiding, comforting, and loving us, until the end of the ages!  AMEN!

The Inconvient, Challenging Truth of Following Jesus.

where I belong… at the foot of the cross

A Hard Devotional Thought for these Days

Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, because they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided his clothes and cast lots. Luke 23:34 CSB

It appears that too many Christians want to enjoy the thrill of feeling right but are not willing to endure the inconvenience of being right.

Therefore the entire sum of what it means not to kill is to be impressed most explicitly upon the simple-minded. In the first place that we harm no one, first, with our hand or by deed. Then, that we do not employ our tongue to instigate or counsel thereto. Further, that we neither use nor assent to any kind of means or methods whereby any one may be injured. And finally, that the heart be not ill disposed toward any one, nor from anger and hatred wish him ill, so that body and soul may be innocent in regard to every one, but especially those who wish you evil or inflict such upon you.

I knew what was coming today in my Bible reading.

It made me want to delay it as much as possible.

The words from the cross above frustrate me… significantly frustrate me. Especially if the Apostle Paul’s words are echoing through my mind at the same time.

 I
mitate me, as I also imitate Christ. 1 Corinthians 11:1 CSB

Yesteday, I was planning the service for the day after the twentieth anniversary of 9/11. Flashing across my news feed and social media were call for revenge, including a horrific prayer for it to have quickly, to wipe out a people. It wanted revenge, not justice, and definitely not mercy.

And my first reaction was to agree, even as it soured my stomach… and I knew it was wrong.

Did I mention following Jesus was inconvenient?

Another line from the Scriptures, this time from Jesus,

43  “You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. 44  But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! 45  In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:43-45a (NLT2)

This isn’t just inconvenient… I don’t even have the words.

It is more tha just difficult, it is impossible… at least for me.

Never mind those who have killed people in what they consider war… this is true for those in all sorts of positions. Some actively hate, some unintentionally hurt (how could they not see their own narcicism?)

But on this day, as I read of Jesus on the cross, I realize again how much I have to be united to that cross, to let my narcicistic self die there, and rise to life with Him. How that means I give up my desire for revenge (though I call it justice – let’s be honest here) I need His mercy, I need His love…

I need Him to heal me of my hurt.

This isn’t about being weak, about not standing up for what is right and wrong. Luther’s quote makes that clear – we can’t let our hearts be ill-disposed, but rather we need to lift these enemies to the Lord in prayer, and desire, as God does, that they come to repentance. That’s not being weak….

It is accepting the inconvenience of following Christ, and realizing that Him joy

As we do, it will take prayer, it will take a lot of thought about the cross, and the grave, and why Jesus, for the joy set before Him,… set aside revenge… and loved.

us

all.

A. W. Tozer and Marilynne E. Foster, Tozer on the Holy Spirit: A 366-Day Devotional (Camp Hill, PA: WingSpread, 2007).

Martin Luther, The Large Catechism, trans. F. Bente and W. H. T. Dau (n.p.: WORDsearch, 2003).

We Didn’t See It… but God did…

God, who am I?

Thoughts to draw us to Jesus… and His love.

Father, if you are willing, take this cup away from me—nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.”
43 Then an angel from heavenu appeared to him, strengthening him. 44 Being in anguish,v he prayed more fervently, and his sweat became like drops of blood falling to the ground. 45 When he got up from prayer and came to the disciples, he found them sleeping, exhausted from their grief. Luke 22:42-45 CSB

That faith which passively accepts all the pleasant texts of the Scriptures while it overlooks or rejects the stern warnings and commandments of those same Scriptures is not the faith of which Christ and His apostles spoke.

Usually, as we read the story about the garden of Gethsemane, we focus in on the incredible suffering Jesus sufffers, and the prayers that He prays.

Which is good and right….

And usually, we look at the disciples as a bunch of weak lazy failures, who couldn’t keep their eyes open…. We usually use their failure to stay awake as a sign of their weakness, of their sin. I mean, why couldn’t they down a red bull or a mountain dew or something?

As I was reading the Bible passage show above, I saw something I ahve seen in 50 years of readings and hearing this.

This translation says they were “exhausted from their grief”.

Since I didn’t remember it, I checked a few others …

“worn out by grief” TEV
“exhausted from grief” NLT
“Sleeping from sorrw” ESV, NKJV, NASB, KJV

Emotionally, the week had been draining. There were emotional highs and lows, Lots of people in need, and many of things Jesus taught, well, they were simmering in the souls of these men. Jesus talking about His blessed death didn’t help, nor did that scene with Judas…

And so late in the night, wearing, drained, crushed…. and while we are focused in on Jesus… the Holy Spirit and the scriptures recognize the burden the dsiciples carry… and even then, Jesus is there for them.

Just as God realizes the burdens we carry. And the spiritual exhaustion that is leaving us weak , and needing rest and sleep. Evening to the point of dreading life.

In the morning, Jesus would endure even more… the beatings, the trials, more betrayals, and eventually, the cross.

But even seeing all of that coming, He cared for those who the Father gave Him….He wanted them to know the presence of the Spirit, just as God wants us to know that today in the midst of our grieving, in the midst of the burdens we carry.

He is here… He will provide you the rest for your soul that you need. Just as He was there in the Garden for them, He is there for you in the midst of your pain… and He is here with me…in the midst of my grief.

Rest in His love… even as you take up your cross.. He is there with you…



A. W. Tozer and Marilynne E. Foster, Tozer on the Holy Spirit: A 366-Day Devotional (Camp Hill, PA: WingSpread, 2007).

New Beginnings!

Devotional thoughts for this day…

31 “ ‘Son,’he said to him, ‘you are always with me,l and everything I have is yours. 32 But we had to celebrate and rejoice, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ ” Luke 15:31-32 CSB

26 Those who heard this asked, “Then who can be saved?”
27 He replied, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.” Luke 18:26-27 CSB

Gracious Lord, I wish to impose on Your Grace once more. A son was just born to me, and I am a father again. Please help the poor fellow get where he belongs

Today, for so many starts a new year of school, whether it is preschool or a new semester chasing a Ph.D. These are the children of our community, and our prayers need to rise on their behalf. And at the end of the day they need to know they are welcome home, here in our churches, and yes, in our homes.

We need to rejoice when any enters the church, no matter where they come from or what they’ve done, they are our brothers, or our beloeved children. It is possible and even should be expected that some will come from very unpleasant places where sin has broken them. No one is impossible, no one is beyond salvation.

God is bringing them here….

And we need to go let them know they are welcome.

We need to treat those in our community witht he same love a father would show to his son…. we need to be patient, loving, truly merciful – not hiding sin, but acknowledging ti to be what it is…but still calling them to the mercy of Christ.

Haven’t been doing that? Well – it is a new time of learning… let’s get to it!




Martin Luther, Luther’s Works, Vol. 54: Table Talk, ed. Jaroslav Jan Pelikan, Hilton C. Oswald, and Helmut T. Lehmann, vol. 54 (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1999), 184.

A Call for More Meditation…

Thoughts to encourage our love for Jesus

10  All I want is to know Christ and to experience the power of his resurrection, to share in his sufferings and become like him in his death, 11  in the hope that I myself will be raised from death to life. 12  I do not claim that I have already succeeded or have already become perfect. I keep striving to win the prize for which Christ Jesus has already won me to himself. 13  Of course, my friends, I really do not think that I have already won it; the one thing I do, however, is to forget what is behind me and do my best to reach what is ahead. 14  So I run straight toward the goal in order to win the prize, which is God’s call through Christ Jesus to the life above. Philippians 3:10-14 (TEV)

Clearly we must begin to produce better Christians. We must insist on New Testament sainthood for our converts, nothing less; and we must lead them into a state of heart purity, fiery love, separation from the world and poured-out devotion to the Person of Christ. Only in this way can the low level of spirituality be raised again to where it should be in the light of the Scriptures and of eternal values.

Many books, even good ones, have the same effect on the student. So he is like the man who dwells everywhere and therefore dwells nowhere. Just as in human society we don’t enjoy the fellowship of every friend every day, but only of a few chosen ones, so we ought to do in our studies.”

There are a lot of books out there, very good books. There are some bad ones as well.

But as one who has more than my fair share of them, if I read through them quickly, I often don’t get to use the information processed in my life. I just gain the knowledge, store it somewhere in the catacombs of my mind, and move on to the next text.

It takes time, and effort to use what we read, to let it sink deeply into our hearts and souls.

Looking at Luther’s words and Tozer’s, I wonder if there is a connection between the man who reads too many books and not growing any deeper in our faith. That we move from this book to that, like a bee collecting and disbursing
pollen from one flower to the next. We look for this answer, then that, and then the next. And beyond our libraries, we now have podcasts, and blogs, and tweets, and we take in so much, we take in nothing.

As I looked at my new textbooks, as I consider what I am reading for devotional time (including Luther and Tozer), as I look at a small stack of books I have been given to read, I am changing my mind about how to approach them.
Usually, I try to consider priorities, which things do I have to read, which will give me options, and then try to speed read through the highest priorities. What if instead going for quantity of quality, I chose one or two
books to savor, to truly get into and digest. Then helping my people do the same…. With the scriptures and with whatever else we are reading. To really think through and meditate on the scripture passage… to ask the hard questions about what it presents to us, and to take the time to rejoice…

Perhaps it is time to savor what we take in more… to press on to reach what God is telling us…that we may answer God’s call through Jesus. 

 

A. W. Tozer and Marilynne E. Foster, Tozer on the Holy Spirit: A 366-Day Devotional (Camp Hill, PA: WingSpread, 2007).

Martin Luther, Luther’s Works, Vol. 54: Table Talk, ed. Jaroslav Jan Pelikan, Hilton C. Oswald, and Helmut T. Lehmann, vol. 54 (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1999), 179.

When it seems like all is crumbling down

Thoughts encourageing our love of Jesus

47 I will show you what someone is like who comes to me, hears my words, and acts on them:b 48 He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. When the flood came, the river crashed against that house and couldn’t shake it, because it was well built. 49 But the one who hears and does not act is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The river crashed against it, and immediately it collapsed. And the destruction of that house was great.” Luke 6:47-49 CSB

In fact, we know by experience that we are not meeker and gentler towards others, except when we feel an increased tenderness towards Jesus Christ.
But since we cannot constantly experience this tenderness, we must prepare ourselves, in our mental prayer, to bear the crosses that may befall us. This was the practice of the saints; and so they were ever ready to receive with patience and meekness injuries, blows, and chastisements. When we meet with an insult from our neighbor, unless we have frequently trained ourselves beforehand, we shall find it extremely difficult to know what course to take, in order not to yield to the force of anger;

There are storms and troubles that affect us, that are from our own making. THere are others that come because we believe something that is hard for others to understand. Either way, the storms will shake and rattle us to the point where we think we are going to collapse.

It is not a matter of if the storms come, it is a matter of when they will come.

ANd I don’t care how strong your personality is, your pateince, and your endurance, if you aren’t planted in something, if you are not surrounded by something, then you will fall, and fail.

Building a house on roeck means that the supports go down into the rock, and therefore the supports are firmly in place. THe building may shake and grown, but what holds it together is stronger than than the buildings materials itself – the strength is in the rock it is built on and surrounded by.

DeLigouri saw this as well. When we are surrounded by conflict, but those who lack tenderness, our natural strength would rail against it. But strengthed by the tenderness of Jesus, we can work from that strength, we can love those who opress us, we can bear our crosses, we can even deal with our chastisements, whether they are valid or not.

This is what it means to be in Christ… and it is our precious hope.

Let us encourage each other to hold to this – knowing He will hold to us. Amen

Alphonsus de Liguori, The Holy Eucharist, ed. Eugene Grimm, The Complete Works of Saint Alphonsus de Liguori (New York; London; Dublin; Cincinnati; St. Louis: Benziger Brothers; R. Washbourne; M. H. Gill & Son, 1887), 396–397.

What Are You Used to Seeing (Maybe it is time to stalk God?)

Thoughts to encourage you to love and adore Jesus…

12  I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. 13  No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, 14  I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us. Philippians 3:12-14 (NLT2)

It is related that a pious hermit, one day while the king was hunting through the wood, began to run to and fro as if in search of something; the king, observing him thus occupied, inquired of him who he was and what he was doing; the hermit replied: “And may I ask your majesty what you are engaged about in this desert?” The king made answer: “I am going in pursuit of game.” And the hermit replied: “I, too, am going in pursuit of God.” With these words he continued his road and went away. During the present life this must likewise be our only thought, our only purpose, to go in search of God in order to love him, and in search of his will in order to fulfil it, ridding our heart of all love of creatures.

We get used to getting up every day as if it could not be otherwise; we become accustomed to see violence in the news as something inevitable; we get used to the usual landscape of poverty and misery while walking the streets
of our city.

We get up, we check out email, our twitter/facebook/newest social media feed and go on. We listen to the news, we fet in our cars and go about our day. It doesn’t matter what form of music we listen to, rock, emo, country, edm – the lyrics are anything but positive. And even if they are encouraing our overcoming, whose cost is it at?

Is it any wonder we become pessimistic? Is it any wonder we become anxious?

Pope Francis notes how accustomed we are to conflict and violence. It becomes what we expect. The stories talk of bigotry and racism, greed and hatred, sexual and sensual perversion, so we don’t think anything else exists in the heart of man.

We become acclimatized to these things – they become our norm, and we don’t expect anything else.

For an option to getting beat down by what we see, what if we were DeLigouri’s hermit – looking here, there and everywhere, but expecting to find God? What if we were, with St. Paul, willing to press on, to focus on, to even stalk God, for He has called us, and Jesus pressed on with everything we are…

How different would our outlook be in life?

How different would it be, if our focus was on the God who we depend on for life, and we knew all His promises that fill our lives? If we looked for His touch in every part of each day?

There is part of my daily prayers that helps…. especially if I slow down and hear the words, rather than just saying them. It is a modificaiton of a old Celtic prayer, that helps me realize I will see God at work today.

Here it is, ( the link is at the boottom)

Christ, as a light
illumine and guide me.

Christ, as a shield
overshadow me.
Christ under me;
Christ over me;

Christ beside me
on my left and my right.
This day be within and without me,
lowly and meek, yet all-powerful.
Be in the heart of each to whom I speak;
in the mouth of each who speaks unto me.
This day be within and without me,
lowly and meek, yet all-powerful.
Christ as a light;
Christ as a shield;
Christ beside me
on my left and my right
.

This day, realize the Lord is all around you – and stalk Him. Look for His work in others, and in your actions. See even the hard times as a blessing – as you reach out to Him, even in desperation.

God is with you…

Alphonsus de Liguori, The Holy Eucharist, ed. Eugene Grimm, The Complete Works of Saint Alphonsus de Liguori (New York; London; Dublin; Cincinnati; St. Louis: Benziger Brothers; R. Washbourne; M. H. Gill & Son, 1887), 376–377.

Pope Francis, A Year with Pope Francis: Daily Reflections from His Writings, ed. Alberto Rossa (New York; Mahwah, NJ; Toronto, ON: Paulist Press; Novalis, 2013), 246.

https://www.northumbriacommunity.org/offices/morning-prayer/

Hope for the hypocritical… (that means you and me)

Thoughts to Encourare us to Love Jesus

The chief priests took the silver and said, “It’s not permittedh to put it into the temple treasury, since it is blood money.” 7 They conferred together and bought the potter’s field with it as a burial place for foreigners. 8 Therefore that field has been called “Field of Blood” to this day. 9 Then what was spoken through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled: They tookC the thirty pieces of silver, the price of him whose price was set by the Israelites, 10 and they gaveD them for the potter’s field, as the Lord directed me. Matthew 27-6-10 CSB

But don’t forget that we are not the source of this light: we only reflect it. It is not we who save souls and move them to do good. We are quite simply instruments, some more, some less worthy, for fulfilling God’s plans for salvation. If at any time we were to think that we ourselves are the authors of the good we do, then our pride would return, more twisted than ever. The salt would lose its flavor, the leaven would rot, and the light would turn to darkness.

They were the chosen ones, the religious leaders of the day, set apart to point people to God, to assure them of the forgiveness of sin. Blessed by God, for the good of the people, they still sinned, as was evident not only in giving Judas the 30 pieces of silver for betraying Jesus, but by refusing to put the same money back where it came, labelling it sin money. We maybe thinking – what a bunch of zealous hypocrites… and we would be correct, well, mostly correct. Even in their hypocrisy, they served the poor and disenfranchised, creating a place where those deceased could be laid to rest.

He was one of the elite, on the the 12 disciples who was sent out to preach, to heal to cast out demons, and he did. But he couldn’t cast out his own . Most would account him amonf the most evil in scripture, forgetting that he did preach the word effectively.

And in judging the the priests and Judas, we show our own twistedness, our own evil.

St. Josemaria mentions the paradox – the more we credit ourselves with being holy and righteous, with doing our best, the more our pride pushes aside the work God is doing, the more we return towards the darkness we endured without Jesus. The Apostle Paul struggled with this as much as we do, read Romans 7.

For it is never our work that counts, but the work of the Holy Spirit within us that brings otheres to know Jesus, that helps them understand their forgiveness, that helps them rejoice in God’s presence.

And here is the amazing thing, that even when we deal with our brokenness, God is there, working tthrough us still. Even as He ministered to the poor and aliens with the money from the betrayal – as they fulfilled and ancient prophesy. So when we are drawn back to where we belong in Jesus, we find the work of God, and can be amazed.

This is the blessing of knowing Jesus…of living blessed, as we grasp the dimensions of His love, mercy and grace. To realize the depth of the promise that all things work for good, for those who love God and are called according to HIs desire.

You are one of those… if dwelling in the light – praise Him for His love, which courses through you. I sliding back into the darkness, if feeling guilty of you hypocrisy and betraying God, come and be healed again.

The Lord God is with you!

Escrivá, Josemaría. Friends of God . Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.

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