Category Archives: st josemaria escriva

Spiritual Formation/Devotion > Theology

Devotional Thought of The Day

5  You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. 6  Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. 7  Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, 8  he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross.
12  Dear friends, you always followed my instructions when I was with you. And now that I am away, it is even more important. Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear. 13  For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.
Philippians 2:5-8, 12-13 (NLT2)

Our Lord asks for generous hearts that are truly detached. We will achieve this if we resolutely cut the thick bonds or the subtle threads that tie us to ourselves. I won’t hide from you the fact that this entails a constant struggle, overriding our own intelligence and will, a renunciation which, frankly, is more difficult than the giving up of the most prized material possessions.

I know many theologians, good ones who are also great teachers, imparting
information in ways that their students gain knowledge. Their knowledge is
beneficial, and I rely on them when considering the problematic intersections
of life and religion.

But there is more to Christianity than doctrine. There is the relationship with
God that is established. Surely good Theology describes that, and its
understanding of scripture ensures we do not go off and recreate God in our own
image or imagination.

Spiritual Formation is different. It is getting involved in the
relationship. It means God is working in us, giving us the desire and the power
to live life in a way that resonates with Him and thereby brings Him joy. Being
devoted to God means what St Josemaria describes, detached hearts where our
intellect and will are overridden.

St Paul was describing this when he was quoting the early Christian hymn known as the Carmen Christi. This is what Jesus did,
what we are called to do! The Theologian looks at this, and words describe the incredibly sacrifice of self that we see in Jesus. The pastor, guiding the disciples formation, sees verse 5 and says -here – how will this happen.  They see this attitude develop because of God’s
work, not human will, and so they focus the believer on Jesus, on His love and mercy, on His presence.

This isn’t a either or, we are not getting rid of Theology or Theologians, But
there needs to be as much effort, no there needs to be more effort in forming
disciples. We need to help people be able to have the mind of Christ, to be
able to see God’s work in their lives. To see God manifested in their
relationships. This is what shepherding, about what being a pastor or a
minister is truly about. It is why elders and Sunday teachers, exist as well,
as we work together to present every person perfect in Christ Jesus.

Father in Heaven, help us keep the desire of studying Theology in its proper place, balancing it out with drawing people deeper and deeper in their relationship with you. Lord, help us to help them imitate Christ, as you give them the desire and the power to serve and love as He did.  Help us as well to see that our efforts keep this balance, so that we can continue to see the Spirit at work, making disciples and seeing them grow.  We pray this in Jesus most precious name. 
AMEN!

 

 

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

God’s Creativity…

A five hundred year old cross…brought to life by an artist who is more of a work of art than she knows

Devotional Thought of the Day:
9  How can a young person stay pure? By obeying your word. 10  I have tried hard to find you— don’t let me wander from your commands. 11  I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. Psalm 119:9-11 (NLT2)

“God resists the proud, but gives his grace to the humble,”11 the Apostle Saint Peter teaches. In any age, in any human setting, there is no other way to live a godly life than that of humility. Does this mean that God takes pleasure in our humiliation? Not at all. What would he, who created all things and governs them and maintains them in existence, gain from our prostration? God only wants us to be humble and to empty ourselves, so that he can fill us. He wants us not to put obstacles in his way so that—humanly speaking—there will be more room for his grace in our poor hearts.

In our devotions this morning, we came to the verse in psalm 119, Drvien by some need, I looked up the word pure, and was a little surprsed by the definition. One of my Hebrew dictionaries talked about that form of the verb being translucent or transparent. About having nothing in you that people couldn’t see, therefore being innocent.

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We talk about leaders needing to be that way, about being transparent, about their agendas being clearly seen. We need to be as well. So that people see what they get. So that we don’t try to hide anything from them, from ourselves, or believing that somehow we can hide things from God.

That brings a different view on God and his insistence on simplicity and on humility. Humiliation is a way of stripping ourselves of all that obscures the transparency and translucency. It affects our pride, because often what we are proud about is not an accurate portrayal of who we are in Christ. Simplifying it and clearly seeing who we are.

Sometimes revealing that reveals the cracks in our personality, and how we are broken. To see that revealed is not easy. It can only be handled by depending on God toll fill in those cracks, to make us whole again, even as He has promised. He will do this, and the final creation of our lives, fully transparent, will reveal what God has made in us, what God has made of us.

A masterpiece, a work of art, something that God himself treasures.

Lord, help us to trust in You, as You remove layer after layer of that which we created to obscure who we are…and help others see the new creation You have made of us, so that it can happen to them as well!

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

do I have to be reasonable?

This is reason…
He died for us.

Devotional Thoughts for the Day:

 For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but it is the power of God to us who are being saved.19  For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and I will set aside the intelligence of the intelligent.
20  Where is the one who is wise? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the debater of this age? Hasn’t God made the world’s wisdom foolish? 21  For since, in God’s wisdom, the world did not know God through wisdom, God was pleased to save those who believe through the foolishness of what is preached.
1 Corinthians 1:18-21 (CSBBible)

We need a revival! We need a revival of consecration to death, a revival of happy abandonment to the will of God that will laugh at sacrifice and count it a privilege to bear the cross through the heat and burden of the day.

Reason that is under the devil’s control is harmful, and the more clever and successful it is, the more harm it does. We see this in the case of learned men who on the basis of their reason disagree with the Word. On the other hand, when illuminated by the Holy Spirit, reason helps to interpret the Holy Scriptures

Let us not be surprised to discover our frailty. Let it not come as a shock to see how easily our good behavior breaks down, for little or no reason. Have confidence in the Lord, whose help is always at hand. “The Lord is my light and my salvation. Whom shall I fear?”3 No one. If we approach our heavenly Father in this way, we will have no grounds for fearing anyone or anything.

Every once in a while I am told the church needs to be more reasonable. What I hear is an accusation that I am not being reasonable, that my logic is somehow flawed because I don’t agree wtih their niche of society, whatever its label. (And if you could narrow society into two basic sides – both sides will use the reason/logic play.

I am enough of a non-conformist that I have to watch myself, tell me that something is reasonable and I might just disagree for the sake of the disgreement. I resonate with Luther’s words, and am so willing to identify someone else’s reasoning as being in league with Satan. It is not hard to see usually, because it is not in agreement with scripture. So I have to watch my own sense of reason, and determine where my sense of reason, and the logic that interprets it, is faulty. Not an easy task! I have a few good friends I can count on to help me. This is the frailty of which St. Josemaria speaks. That frailty should drive us to the cross, to the

This is not the main reason to turn to scripture. The scriptures area there to reveal to us the love of God. But one of the side effects of that revelation is the abandonment to the will of God. To realize that dying to self (and therefore to my self’s reason) is not a major sacrifice.

Revival is not logical, it is not reasonable. It doesn’t have to be, and it is better subject to the Holy Spirit’s movement that to ours. But it can be prayed for, it can be sought, and the sermons and lessons given at our church’s need to aim at that – at seeing the church die and rise with Christ. It will happen in His time, in His way, according to the logic of God.

Ultimately, this is reasonable, ““Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.” Isaiah 1:18 (ESV) That is also revival.

May it happen in our lives, that we we find His reason more satisfying than our own.








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), 71.

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

We don’t need to play the game…

“God has raised you out of darkness, I have saved your soul for God!”

Devotional Thought of the Day

12 When he was in distress, he sought the favor of the LORD his God and earnestly humbled himselfe before the God of his ancestors. 13 He prayed to him, and the LORD was receptive to his prayer. He granted his requestf and brought him back to Jerusalem, to his kingdom. So Manasseh came to know that the LORD is God. 2 Chronicles 33:12-13 CSB

26 Say this to the king of Judah who sent you to inquire of the LORD: ‘This is what the LORD God of Israel says: As for the words that you heard, 27 becausen your heart was tender and you humbled yourself before God when you heard his words against this place and against its inhabitants, and because you humbled yourself before me, and you tore your clothes and wept before me, I myself have heard’—this is the LORD’s declaration. 28 ‘I will indeed gather you to your ancestors, and you will be gathered to your grave in peace 2 Chron 34:26-28 CSB

Someone wrote to the godly Macarius of Optino that his spiritual counsel had been helpful. “This cannot be,” Macarius wrote in reply. “Only the mistakes are mine. All good advice is the advice of the Spirit of God, His advice that I happened to have heard rightly and to have passed on without distorting it.”

Likewise, they teach that this faith is bound to yield good fruits and that it ought to do good works commanded by God on account of God’s will and not so that we may trust in these works to merit justification before God Article VI, Augsburg Confession

Naturalness and simplicity are two marvelous human virtues which enable men to take in the message of Christ. On the other hand, all that is tangled and complicated, the twisting and turning about one’s own problems—all this builds up a barrier which often prevents people from hearing our Lord’s voice.

Reading about the Kings of Judah can be depressing, it can even rob you of hope. For so many of them rejected the God we know, that their ancestor David knew so well. Mannasseh started out like so many of them, in fact, he may have been the one who strayed the furthest from God, leading people into all forms of idolatry.

Then God entered into the picture… and everything changed.

God brought him back to Jerusalem – completely reversing the captivity that has been prophesied to Hezekiah. His grandson would grasp on to that promise as well, and restore the Temple, the place where God would meet His people, care for them and cleanse them.

They both realized their need for God, and that humbled them. And God healed them, and healed the people,

That is the same kind of spirit that Macarius had, One that realized that anything good in him was because of God, and indeed tracable to Jesus. It is the same thing the Lutheran Confessions testify too – that the believer will do good and righteous thigns, as they dwell in Christ. That is the nature of the Bishop, who gave up the treasure of the church, his own treasures, because ValJean was one of God’s people. It would take a lifetime for ValJean to give up the game… but he did.

It is keeping it simple – because the more complicated we make it, the more plans and strategies we lay down, the more it is about our work, and the less it is about Jesus.

Which brings us to the idea of the church, the people the Holy Spirit calls, gathers, and makes holy by the Blood of Jesus. That is who we are. a bunch of broken people desperately in need of God’s love, and His touch on our lives.

That is what being a normal Christian is about, our need for God, a God who is always there. A God who can redeem us, and what we’ve done, and even find a way to make that into a blessing. So we don’t have ot hide who we are, we dont’ have to make up stories, or play games that make us our to be more moral or virtuous than we are. We can stop wasting time on trying to convicne ourselves and others that we are worth some.

God alreayd provided for that, by letting us nail Jesus to the cross. Sending Him to be nailed there, so that we could be drawn into Him….die to self… and be resurrected to new life.

That is what it all boils down to…

We are in Jesus…..

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

Robert Kolb, Timothy J. Wengert, and Charles P. Arand, The Book of Concord: The Confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2000), 41.

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

The Hardest Part of Prayer

Could you speak in a moment like this?

6  “Here’s what I want you to do: Find a quiet, secluded place so you won’t be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense his grace. Matthew 6:6 (MSG)

10  Humble yourselves before the Lord and he will lift you up.
James 4:10 (NJB)

Not all silence is spiritual. Some Christians are silent because they have nothing to say; others are silent because what they have to say cannot be uttered by mortal tongues. We … will confine our remarks to the latter.
Where the Holy Spirit is permitted to exercise His full sway in a redeemed heart, the progression is likely to be as follows: First, voluble praise, in speech or prayer or witness. Then, when the crescendo rises beyond the ability of studied speech to express, comes song. When song breaks down under the weight of glory, then comes silence where the soul, held in deep fascination, feels itself blessed with an unutterable beatitude.
At the risk of being written off as an extremist or a borderline fanatic, we offer it as our mature opinion that more spiritual progress can be made in one short moment of speechless silence in the awesome Presence of God than in years of mere study.… The exposure may be brief, but the results are permanent.

Let us now consider some of these human virtues. While I am talking I would like you, on your own, to keep up a conversation with our Lord. Ask him to help us all, to encourage us to penetrate more deeply today into the mystery of his Incarnation, so that we too, in our own flesh, may learn how to give living witness to our fellow men of him who has come to save us.

If it is hard when we are alone, it is nearly impossible in a time of prayer with others.

Quiet.

Stillness…

It should bring us to a place of peace, but it rarely does.

Our minds spin crazily, our hearts are blown from joy to despair, and if we are honest, maybe a little paranoia.

Quiet should be a great experience, a time to revive, and yet… it drives us crazy.

It should be a time to be in awe of the Incarnation, a time to be silent as you realize Jesus has come to you!

As you breath slows, as your sense sharpen, so should you become more aware He is there

Then watch, as that which pollutes your life is purged from you…as your sense of His grace overwhelms it, as the Holy Spirit sanctifies you.

Take your time in the silence… take your time in the peace…

Be confident in His promise, that He is there…

And find life.

in Him!

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

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

Prayer and Spam Calls!

Devotional Thought of the Day:

9  And he said, “Yes, go, and say to this people, ‘Listen carefully, but do not understand. Watch closely, but learn nothing.’ 10  Harden the hearts of these people. Plug their ears and shut their eyes. That way, they will not see with their eyes, nor hear with their ears, nor understand with their hearts and turn to me for healing.” Isaiah 6:9-10 (NLT2)

I have often said that we must not allow these periods of conversation with Jesus, who sees us and hears us from the Tabernacle, to degenerate into an impersonal type of prayer. If we want our meditation to develop right away into a personal dialogue with our Lord (for which the sound of words is not necessary), we must shed the cloak of anonymity and put ourselves in his presence, just as we are. We must avoid hiding ourselves in the crowd that fills the church, or diluting our prayer into a meaningless patter that does not come from the heart and is little better than a reflex habit, empty of any real content.

P. O Lord, hear my prayer.
R. And let my cry come unto Thee.
P. The Lord be with you.
R. And with thy spirit.

As I was doing my reading this morning, several spam calls happened. The calls come in on the church phone and on my cellphone. Recordings for free Marriot stays, google business listings. They were not even interesting, just the usual lifeless recordings that are frustrating because they mean absolutely nothing to me. They actually have a negative value as they waste my time and distract me from ministry.

As I looked at my readings this morning, I wonder if our prayers don’t take on the same tone at times.

Do we just mouth the words without hearing ourselves, never mind actually crying out to God to hear our prayer? Do we even bother to listen to His reply? Or do we just want our Father in heaven to press 1 to confirm the prayer is answered the way we want, 2 if it is denied, and 3 if the Holy Spirit is busy right now and will get back to us later? Is our prayer that impersonal? Has it degenerated, as Josemaria asks? Are our hearts as hard as phone solicitors, who hang up on us when we ask them if they know Jesus?

It doesn’t matter if our prayer comes spontaneously (from the heart?), or we read it out of a prayer book or hymnal. Either way can be impersonal, self-centered, even hypocritical. And as beneficial to us as a spam call. God very well might answer it, but we may never be aware of it, for we weren’t looking to Him.

So how do we fix this? How do we speak to God? How can our prayer life become more intimate and complete? How do we stop spam calling God? How do we delevlop so intimate a relationship… that we communicate with Him?

The most important thing is to know there is a real person who cares about you on the other side of the “call.” To know God personally, not just as some inanimate force, but as Jesus, who comes into your world to hear you…and to heal you. To depend on Him like you do, your best friend, to know He is there,  just as He promised. That was proven at the cross, when you were drawn into Him, and died with Him that you would rise to a new life with Him.

And then you pray, cry out to Him… let Him have it all…He is with you… and wants to be there for each one of us.

It comes down to this – the Lord is with you!

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

William Loehe, Liturgy for Christian Congregations of the Lutheran Faith, ed. J. Deinzer, trans. F. C. Longaker, Third Edition. (Newport, KY: n.p., 1902), 81.

Satisfaction …

Photo by Ric Rodrigues on Pexels.com

Devotional Thought of the Day:

14  Oh, satisfy us early with Your mercy, That we may rejoice and be glad all our days! Psalm 90:14 (NKJV)

P. O satisfy us early with Thy mercy;
R. That we may rejoice and be glad all our days.

Devotional Thought of the Day:

14  Fill us each morning with your constant love, so that we may sing and be glad all our life. Psalm 90:14 (TEV)

I used to enjoy climbing up the cathedral towers to get a close view of the ornamentation at the top, a veritable lacework of stone that must have been the result of very patient and laborious craftsmanship. As I chatted with the young men who accompanied me, I used to point out that none of the beauty of this work could be seen from below. To give them a material lesson in what I had been previously explaining to them, I would say: “This is God’s work, this is working for God! To finish your personal work perfectly, with all the beauty and exquisite refinement of this tracery stonework.” Seeing it, my companions would understand that all the work we had seen was a prayer, a loving dialogue with God. The men who spent their energies there were quite aware that no one at street level could appreciate their efforts. Their work was for God alone.

As I came across the liturgical (in purple above) response this morning, I began to think about what it takes to get satisfaction, to be satisfied with life.

And in the background of my mind I kept hearing the Rolling Stones chanting that you can’t get no satisfaction! (Does that mean they got satisfaction?)

The Psalmist tells us that satisaction can be found with God, as we call on Him to reveal His mercy early in the moring. That is where satisfaction is known, experiening the mercy of God, and it provides so much satisfaction that it turns into joy!

What a great thought – even more when you see that modern translations use “unfailing love” instead of mercy. What an incredible way to start each day! To know how God comes to us, no matter how broken, no matter how sinful, and loves cares for us. He picks us up and restores us!

It is this kind of joy that causes the work that Josemaria revelled in, the hidden work of great beauty, that required great skill and craftsmanship.

This is the same kind work that most of us do as we care for people, as we minister to each other. Sure some of it is seen on Sunday moring. But more of it happens behind the scenes. The elder taking communion to the shut-in. The ladies laughing and giggling together as they sew things, the group that shows up for an elderly person’s 95 birthday, driving by in a parade by their home.

It is beautiful, and yet not visible. It is the work done that no one may ever see…

Yet it is done in joy, an expression of the knowing we dwell in Chirst, of being filled with His constant love…

This is the life we have in Jesus.


William Loehe, Liturgy for Christian Congregations of the Lutheran Faith, ed. J. Deinzer, trans. F. C. Longaker, Third Edition. (Newport, KY: n.p., 1902), 80.

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

Miserable Job? Try Worship while you work!

Devotional Thought of the Day:

13  Do not let any part of your body become an instrument of evil to serve sin. Instead, give yourselves completely to God, for you were dead, but now you have new life. So use your whole body as an instrument to do what is right for the glory of God. Romans 6:13 (NLT2)

60 Forgive this digression, and, though we haven’t really gone off the track, let us return to the central idea. Be convinced that our professional vocation is an essential and inseparable part of our condition as Christians. Our Lord wants you to be holy in the place where you are, in the job you have chosen for whatever reason. To me, every job that is not opposed to the divine law is good and noble, and capable of being raised to the supernatural plane, that is, inserted into the constant flow of Love which defines the life of a child of God.

As I came up to with the title of this post, I thought of the 7 dwarves in Snow White’s famous cartoon, marching off to the mines singing “Whistle While You Work.” It is cute song at first, but try singing it at work when everyone is stressed out, or just about any Monday in a year!

Seriously, try researching how many people are not happy at work. First up in my search was Forbes, – 53% unhappy with their work! It gets worse, CNBC said 85% of the employees they surveyed are unhappy doing what they spend 40-50 hours or more a week doing!

Switching jobs won’t help, for all you would be doing is taking the job another person’s place, where they were unhappy. Trading misery isn’t a great option, for often the misery is found inside you, rather than just inside the building.

Maybe the answer then is something other that what you do?

One of my early mentors talked about who your real employer is, who you work to please. It isn’t your boss, or the head of your department, or even the owner of the company. You work for God, and the you work pays you to do that!

I am not saying spend all your time preaching in a break room, or being annoying with your faith in God. I am not advising you to become the apostle, prophet or evangelist that argues osmeone into the faith. Nor should you act like you are holier than the rest of the people at your workplace.

Instead, look at yuor co-workers are people who Jesus died for, because He loves them, just like He loves you! Look at your tasks as things God is using to draw you closer to Him. See every moment as one where you encounter God! As you do, you will realize the promises of God are for your work life as well as your lives at church and at home. If you are McDonald’s, or a Real Estate office, running a tractor or driving across country in a big rig, there you are with God. Even those in front-line, high stress jobs go about their lives in the presnce of Jesus, as the Holy Spirit is transforming them into His image.

This isn’t God’s law, you won’t go to Hell if you don’t do it. But it is living life the way He desires, casting cares, problems, sins into His arms, and dwelling in His peace and love. Find people that will remind you that the Lord is with you! Find little things that remind you of this.

And then be there, in the moment, with Jesus.

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

Can You Hear Him NOW? Can I?

Devotional Thought for this day:

Look: to obey is better than sacrifice, to pay attention is better than the fat of rams. 1 Samuel 15:22 (CSBBible)

When Luther’s puppy116 happened to be at the table, looked for a morsel from his master, and watched with open mouth and motionless eyes, he [Martin Luther] said, “Oh, if I could only pray the way this dog watches the meat! All his thoughts are concentrated on the piece of meat. Otherwise he has no thought, wish, or hope.”

The workers in the marketplace had all day to spare. The one who buried his talent wanted to kill the passing hours. The one who should have been looking after the vineyard went off elsewhere. They all prove insensitive to the great task the Master has entrusted to each and every Christian, that of seeing ourselves as his instruments, and acting accordingly, so that we may co-redeem with him, and of offering up our entire lives in the joyful sacrifice of surrendering ourselves for the good of souls.

There was a commercial series that ran for a long time. It had a man walking around, in all sorts of places, asking someone on his cell phone, “can you hear me now?” In Deserts, forests, rain, sun, no matter where or how he was, he always made sure he was connected to someone. (we never did hear whether they could hear him)

As I read in 1 Samuel this morning, I realized that Saul’s issue was that kind of issue. He couldn’t hear God, and even when he could, too many things drowned out what he heard.

Saul was so unlike the dog who focused on the food forgetting everything else. He was more like the one who buried the treasure entrusted to him. Or the ones who abandoned the vineyard or the sheep because the wolves were near.

I am not any better, for just a moment ago, while writing this, an ad for a Can-Am Ryker caught my attention. I lost my focus on what God was trying to communicate to me. I lost track of this idea of focusing on Him so completely that His task becomes ours. So completely that we don’t think of the cost to us, but the blessing of others, as they come to know the God we say we love.

But how do we grow in our ability to pay attention to God? How do we mitigate the distractions? I do not believe it is something we force ourselves to do as if we simply whip our bodies into submission. It cannot be, for even the most disciplined people will eventually fail and give up.

I think Luther was on to something as he referenced the dog. The mongrel knows the meat’s taste, and it is beyond his power to not respond. He locks in on it, using every tool to make it his own; pleading eyes,  speed, power, all of the tools to try and gain that which their heart and stomach are focused.

The Psalms testify to this desire as well!

1  As a deer longs for flowing streams, so I long for you, God. 2  I thirst for God, the living God. When can I come and appear before God?
Psalm 42:1-2 (CSBBible)

Some things cause us to respond, we don’t have to even think, because we have learned to treasure them.  The smell of coffee does it for some, the smell of bacon for others. It might be playing that perfect instrument or driving a particular car, being on a golf course, finding the perfect shoe; these things are triggers for us. Once we sampled it, we have to return to it.

Following God is like that if our focus is on Him. The more we’ve experienced His love, the more we can’t live without it.  The more we see Him work through us. The more we realize our role in redeeming this world, the more we want to see more people freed from the power of sin, Satan’s influence, and the fear of death, the more we want to see it happen and again.

Ministering to others becomes our meat that draws our attention, for there we know we are in God’s presence, we know He is there, and the transformation He has done in our lives…. A transformation that means He can work through us… as He ministers to others.

Lord, help us hunger for You and then satisfy that hunger by working in and thru us. We pray this in the name of the Father, the Son†, and the Holy Spirit!  AMEN!



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), 37–38.

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

Are You Tired? Wondering if you are on the right road?

Devotional Thought for the Year:

You are true to your name, and you lead me along the right paths. 4  I may walk through valleys as dark as death, but I won’t be afraid. You are with me, and your shepherd’s rod makes me feel safe. Psalm 23:3b-4 (CEV)

I love to speak of paths and ways, because we are travelers, journeying to our home in heaven, our Father’s land. But don’t forget that, though a path may have some particularly difficult stretches, and may occasionally involve wading across a river or passing through an almost impenetrable wood, as a rule it will be quite passable and hold no surprises for us. The danger lies in routine, in imagining that God cannot be here, in the things of each instant, because they are so simple and ordinary!

I am tired.

In the last year, almost 10 percent of my congregation passed away. Not one from Covid. And that was only a small part of the trauma my people endured…

This year seems to be competitive so far. Yesterday, I received news of a mentor whose health is failing. Then, a message that a staff member’s sister is in ICU after a drunk hit her head-on. I was with my mom, who had a procedure that confirmed another complicated procedure is needed. Four other people with other serious health issues came to my attention.

I am tired.

Did I say that?

If I am honest, there are days I wonder if I am on the right path. One of my elders joked that we change the church’s name so that trouble and trauma would have a more challenging time finding us. I wonder what I had done, which caused all this mess and all this trauma. Am I the bad luck charm that causes all the trauma, all the stress, the crap that invades the world around us?

This path that St. Josemaria mentioned is one that is one that has particularly difficult stretches. It seems that we are going through such a time right now. Like the forests in a Tolkein novel, the forest seems impenetrable, the dark valleys where things that terrify surround us. ( I think those show up in his novels because he endured them as he journeyed with Jesus.)

It is those dark valleys that David walked through that caused Psalm 23 to be written. The CEV translation broke the sentences a little differently, which hit me this morning. For before and after the mention of those dark valleys, there is the assurance of the presence of God. Hie leading, His protection, His PRESENCE.

Amid the weariness, hearing this is so needed. St. Josemaria notes that danger is found when we imagine God is not there… that He is not in each instant. I know that, but I need to hear it as well.

He is here… HE IS HERE!

Realizing that I can find the rest I need, even if it is only for a moment in a praise song, in a word that reminds me of His love, His mercy, His presence.

When we realize that, our weariness changes form. It changes, no longer communicated by groans, to that with sighs of peace For we know the hope created by our destination; and we know Who it is to guide us on the journey.

Be still, find your rest in Jesus, with whom we have died at the cross so that we are raised in His glory and peace.

If you don’t understand this, please give me a call – or drop me a message. These days, this forest is too challenging to take on, on your own.

Fazio, Mariano . Last of the Romantics: St. Josemaria in the Twenty-First Century (p. 149). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition. (taken from Friends of God by St Josemaria Escriva , p 313-314)

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