Devotional/Discussion Thought of the Day:
6 An elder must not be a new believer, because he might become proud, and the devil would cause him to fall. 7 Also, people outside the church must speak well of him so that he will not be disgraced and fall into the devil’s trap. 8 In the same way, deacons must be well respected and have integrity. They must not be heavy drinkers or dishonest with money. 9 They must be committed to the mystery of the faith now revealed and must live with a clear conscience. 10 Before they are appointed as deacons, let them be closely examined. If they pass the test, then let them serve as deacons. 1 Timothy 3:6-10 (NLT)
825 Persevere in the exact fulfillment of the obligations of the moment. That work—humble, monotonous, small—is prayer expressed in action, which prepares you to receive the grace of that other work—great and broad and deep—of which you dream. (1)
Not being a fan of monotony, I struggle with what St Josemaria calls the “obligations of the moment”. Those tasks that are the adult equivalent of a third graders math homework, doing 50 or 60 problems to learn the present lesson. Give me the process, let me try it, (as opposed to it trying me) and let me move on!
It’s taken a long time to learn the difference between vain and repetitious and beneficial and repetitious. I always thought repetition was vain.
Such an attitude made prayer a challenge. Because it seems repetitious to offer the same prayers, to ask God to intercede with the same names, day after day week after week. Can’t I just entrust the person once to God and then move on to the next person in crisis?
And the Lord’s prayer, let me turn it into an outline, let me use it as a guide, let me find something to do to make it more special, more pious, more holy. What good is it if I simply pray it in a rote manner, time after time? ( never mind that rosary! Even if Luther used it, how monotonous is that!)
As I’ve grown older, I’ve realized that repetition and vanity are not synonyms. That those names I gave to God yesterday, I became anxious about, that the words of my mouth and meditations of my heart are so broken that my words fail me. That is when the words of the Lord’s prayer become my life preserver, tossed to me so that I can still use the Lord’s name in a way that is not vain. So that I can use them to call out to Him and ask Him to revealed His comfort, His love, His mercy.
When all other words seem beyond my ability to form, His words, given to me for such times, becomes words I savor, that become more than beneficial, that become precious. I realize that as they are answered, they express His plan, they reveal His desire. This brings him delight, as I call out to Him, trusting him to fulfill what He’s promised. They are what I need in that moment, not just because I am obligated to pray, but because they remind me of His obligation as my Lord, as My Savior, as my God.
Then, at peace, I might find the strength for something else, the ministry of which I have dreamed, the works that will be exciting, but no more glorious than simply knowing He is here, listening, comforting, sustaining, loving me! This is the nature of our faith being tested, of becoming mature enough to realize that we start and end, and live conversing with God.
Even if things are of what I’ve dreamed, those simple words, no longer monotonous, are precious, and savored.
Our Father, Who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy Name. Thy Kingdom Come, Thy Will be done, on earth as it is, in heaven! Give us this day our daily bread! And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not to temptations, but deliver us from evil. For Thine is the Kingdom, and the power and glory, for ever and ever, Amen!
(1) Escriva, Josemaria. The Way (Kindle Locations 1893-1895). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.
Life’s not Fair
Could that Be OK?
† I.H.S †
May God’s gifts of love and mercy so fill your life, that you are assured you will live tomorrow and forever in His incredible, unsurpassable, unexplainable peace!
Life’s Not Fair!
That gospel reading this morning was strange, wasn’t it!
So strange most pastors don’t ever want to preach on it, but in a world that doesn’t always make sense, heck this world rarely makes sense. So this passage seems appropriate.
I mean I don’t understand why this guy is talked about positively in Scripture.
He doesn’t do his job.
When he does, he does it unethically, not doing what he’s given authority to accomplish, but what works in his favor.
Then, as he’s given notice to clean out his desk, what does he do? He uses the authority he’s been given to create a bunch of favors people will owe him – favors he will cash in on so that he isn’t bankrupt!
And here is what is strange, according to scripture, his boss, the owner of the company admires him! Other translations say he praises him – and the words are synonymous.
This just doesn’t make sense. It isn’t fair, so how in the world could the Bible teach that the dishonest rascal was admired?
I mean it’s not far, how could it be okay?
Admiration and Praise?
I think we need to hear again why the rich man admired the rascal. After being told to get his things in order, and that he was being terminated, the rascal said,
4 Ah, I know how to ensure that I’ll have plenty of friends who will give me a home when I am fired.’
Jesus would go on to say
And it is true that the children of this world are more shrewd in dealing with the world around them than are the children of the light. 9 Here’s the lesson: Use your worldly resources to benefit others and make friends. Then, when your earthly possessions are gone, they will welcome you to an eternal home.
While neither praising the ethics or actions of the dishonest man, Jesus notes that he is thinking more than about the present moment. That his concern is for the time when he is not able to care for himself, for a time after he is judged, and found to fail, to fail because of actions he took.
Most of us don’t plan for five years from now, never mind 25 years from now or eternity. We don’t use our knowledge, what we’ve been entrusted with, what we’ve been given the future, never mind what is waiting for us eternally. We don’t often think about this given our lives, and we need to consider it about our lives, and those of these children we have been blessed with!
If we did, how would we live? What would change in our lives, in how we treat people? What priorities would change in your life, if you were thinking of judgment and eternal life? What would we want for our children?
How do we live life, thinking of eternity?
It starts there – with using your possessions to benefit others, To invest your time and strength in making friends and caring for them.
Not unethically, but realizing people are more than possessions. That relationships matter more than accomplishments, more than personal wealth, more than a secure retirement. T love and care for them, as you would want them to love and care for you!
And there is one relationship that demonstrates this, there is one where the relationships were so important, the future so important that one man died, to completely forgive the debts own to his Father.
Get that settled!
Jesus wasn’t just given notice, nor was he told that he was not doing His job well. Still, He knew He was about to be terminated with prejudiced. And as He had planned, along with the Father, He used his legitimate authority to make himself friends.
He wasn’t unethical, He wasn’t using His authority to benefit himself, He simply loved others, and by His death turned those that didn’t love Him, who abandoned Him, who cried out for Him to be crucified.
He was thinking of eternity, of life after all is terminated.
Not His life,
And so He died on the cross, to make true these words,
15 I shall no longer call you servants because a servant does not know the master’s business; I call you friends, because I have made known to you everything I have learnt from my Father.
John 15:15 (NJB)
This is why we are here – as a church, as a school, all the ministries that are Concordia. TO make the love of God know, to encourage you to search out the height, the depth, the breadth and the width of God’s love for you.
We find that out in our baptism, and in the Lord’s Supper, as we take and eat His body and drink His blood. As we hear, children sing of His love.
His love, for us.
As we know it, peace comes over us; that guards our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. AMEN!
Devotional Thought of the Day:
76 And you, child, will be called prophet of the Most High,
for you will go before the Lord* to prepare his ways,r
77 to give his people knowledge of salvation
through the forgiveness of their sins,
78 because of the tender mercy of our Gods
by which the daybreak from on high* will visit us
79 to shine on those who sit in darkness and death’s shadow,
to guide our feet into the path of peace.” Luke 1 76-79
Finally priests have been placed in the midst of the laity to lead them to the unity of charity, “loving one another with fraternal love, eager to give one another precedence” (Rom 12:10). It is their task, therefore, to reconcile differences of mentality in such a way that no one need feel himself a stranger in the community of the faithful. They are defenders of the common good, with which they are charged in the name of the bishop. At the same time, they are strenuous assertors of the truth, lest the faithful be carried about by every wind of doctrine.56 They are united by a special solicitude with those who have fallen away from the use of the sacraments, or perhaps even from the faith. Indeed, as good shepherds, they should not cease from going out to them.
Mindful of the prescripts on ecumenism,57 let them not forget their brothers who do not enjoy full ecclesiastical communion with us.
Finally, they have entrusted to them all those who do not recognize Christ as their Savior. (1)
As Zechariah considers his son’s birth, as the Spirit fills him, as it will fill John, the words are worth considering, worth being struck with awe.
John prepares a people who are lost, blinded, in fear of death ready for a miracle. He is to begin to reveal to them their salvation, to ready them for the day when the Glory of God, seen in Jesus, will shine into their darkness. He would give them the knowledge fo the forgiveness of sin, which his cousin Jesus would actually bring us.
That God, Himself and no other, would come to guide us, to shepherd us into a place of great peace. To prepare the people of God for the arrival of the messiah, that was John’s role, as it is the role of everyone in ministry, especially pastors and priests. (though really, every Christian is in ministry)
Decades before the term “missional” became in vogue, Vatican II noted this when it describes the role of priests. I would include pastors in this, but I want to draw attention to these things,
the are to reconcile
They are to see no one feels themselves a stranger in the community
the are to defend the common good, and the assert the truth – that is to present Jesus and His mercy so clearly that people aren’t blown about by doctrine.
But get this as well
We who are in ministry are to unite with those who haven’t encountered Jesus in the sacrament, who haven’t been trusting and depending on Christ. We can’t cease to try and guide them back to Jesus.
And if brothers are divided – knowing that Jesus would see us unified, we don’t just dismiss those whose theology is different than our own!
And finally, Vatican II says – those in ministry have entrusted to them ALL who do not recognize Jesus as their savior.
This was John’s ministry, it is ours. Some will call it being missional, some will call it the apostolate. I really don’t care which you use, as long as you actually are doing it. A mom guiding her children, a pastor guiding Hs parish, a friend reminding another that God is indeed with them, and cares and loves them.
This is the ministry, this is our life as a church, led by priests and pastors, we guide people to Jesus, we reveal His love, and then we are overwhelmed again and again, as He works in their lives.
Revealing to us that they are the children of God, the ones He died to reclaim.
Lord have mercy on us sinners, help us lay aside our own brokenness, that we can help others see their salvation. AMEN!
(1) Catholic Church. “Decree on the Ministry and Life of Priests: Presbyterorum Ordinis.” Vatican II Documents. Vatican City: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2011. Print.
Here is YOUR Repentant Attitude
† In Jesus Name †
May the Grace and Mercy of God, which was revealed when Christ came in human form sustain you as you, as you help others know this incredible comforting peace! AMEN!
How does this happen?
Paul writes to the church in Rome
15 Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with each other. Romans 12:15-16 (NLT)
It is something we do here, one of the amazing things seen as we gather at the communion rail, and moments before, as we greet each other with the promise of God’s peace.
Living in Harmony, I suppose I could ask Chris to demonstrate harmonics on his guitar, to show you how a string vibrates when a string nears it vibrates at a precise pitch, without the first string doing anything. It just happens.
Be happy when others are happy, and yes, far too often it seems like we are weeping as those around us weep, that our hearts are crushed as theirs is crushed.
This is the attitude of someone who is repentant, someone God is transforming. It is the attitude that Paul calls us to, in His epistle. Read again the first verse,
You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had…
That sounds so hard, yet we see it so clearly, as we look to the way we respond to each other, in times where the peace of Christ must be known, where only God is able to comfort each other, and he does it through our words, our hugs, and the holding of each other, as we pray to God.
The struggle in our souls
The struggle is that we don’t always share in each other’s lives in that way. We confessed that a few moments ago, as we prayed for God’s mercy, as we recognize that we sinned against God and too often, against each other.
Or does anyone around here want to confess something different, that they do love God with everything they are, and that they love their neighbors, even their enemies, as much as they love themselves? Remember that passage I used, about being happy and sad with those we love, that we are in harmony with? Well here is it in context…
9 Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. 10 Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. 11 Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically. 12 Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. 13 When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality. 14 Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them. 15 Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with each other. Romans 12:9-16 (NLT)
Big difference isn’t it? To know we can rejoice and weep with those we grieve alongside this week; but we are to weep and laugh with those we struggle with, that we may not like, or that we’ve been angry with for 7 years…
How in the world can we obey this? How in the world does God expect us to love this deeply?
And if we can’t, are we condemned?
John’s epistle tells us that those who cannot love their neighbor, who they can see, how can they love the God who they cannot?
Harsh words, meant to make us think, and make us walk to the cross this week with Jesus…
The purpose of God’s word teaching us that is not to condemn us, not to make us feel guilty and ashamed, but to help us realize where our hope is found; to help us realize where our power is found to endure…
To realize the very work of the Holy Spirit in our lives…
We have to realize we aren’t alone.
You see, that is the message of this passage of Philippians, one of the earliest praise songs, that was common even as Paul wrote his letters, as two of the four gospel were not even written yet.
Christ humbled Himself, gave Himself, loved us in a way one songwriter declared it to be reckless, as he bought grace for us, by allowing himself to be treated violently.
This is why every knee shall bow, why every tongue will praise and glorify Him.
This is what it means for Him to be Lord, not a Lord who desires to control us, to force us, to use every power He has to manipulate us into behaving the way He wants…
He simply uses His love… and the more we find sanctuary in that love, the more we find rest, the more we can realize the comfort that brings peace beyond all ability to comprehend….
This is how it happens.
You see, growing in the knowledge of Jesus love, of His presence, of all that he is doing in our lives is how we learn to love each other. It is not some complicated thing, but it is profound. For as we are drawn into fellowship with God, as we kneel at this rail and realize that Christ gave His body and blood for us, we can’t help but love the person next to us, and even perhaps, love the guy handing to us the precious body of Christ, and holding out the cup of His blood, a blessing meant for us,
As we praise Him for that, as we know His love, we are transformed. This is what repentance really is, this transformation God works in us, as our minds are conformed to His. That is what it means to be repentant, to be granted repentance by the Holy Spirit. The very fact we hurt this deeply for Sandie and for the Jennings shows us that God can make this change in us, that He has done this….for we love them even as Jesus loves them. And as we dwell in Christ, this shared love spreads out to all…
That this mind of Christ becomes ours…. That we experience a love so profound that those who simply know it, are able to love sacrificially, are able to share the sorrows, and the laughter, of those they come to love.
This is why we rejoice and praise Him, this is why the journey to the cross means so much, as we are comforted by Him, as we know His peace.
Devotional Thought of the Day:
I have been put to death with Christ on his cross, 20 so that it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me. This life that I live now, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave his life for me. Galatians 2:19b-20 (TEV)
8 Live close to Christ! You should be another character in the Gospel, side by side with Peter, and John, and Andrew. For Christ is also living now: Iesus Christus, heri et hodie, ipse et in saecula!—Jesus Christ lives! Today, as yesterday, he is the same, for ever and ever.
I have written some blogs about Mondays. A lot of that comes from the attitudes I encounter before I get to my office, either in real life or on Facebook. It is as if we dread Mondays more than death. Sometimes I think this is an exaggeration, and other times, I am not so sure.
I dread them as much as anyone else, as another long week gathers steam. Maybe death is preferable? Well – not physical death, per se, but the death we were reminded about as we shared in the Body and Blood of Jesus yesterday.
We have died with Christ on the cross. Our old nature was nailed there, with all of its sins, with all of its brokenness. With all of its rebellion against God. With all of the desire to say, I don’t care what God reveals in scripture, my way is just as valid a way to be with God.
The challenge on Mondays remembers that Jesus lives in us, that we live so close to Him, as close as the apostles did, because of the cross. We are a character in the gospel, for we died in Christ, that we may live in Him.
This is a critical thought to start the week with, that it is not just What Would Jesus Do” but what is Jesus doing in and through me today!
Its’ not about thinking and meditating about what Jesus would do, and then 20 minutes later doing it. The Christian life is spending so much time in prayer, so much in His word, so much talking to Him that your normal reactions become like Christ’s. That you love as you are loved, that you show mercy even as you’ve been shown it, that you share in the greatest treasure you have.. your relationship with God.
For it is that which makes Monday worth dying for, the idea that you are not alone, that it is not hopeless, but that it is a wonderful opportunity because we live in Christ.
Escriva, Josemaria (2011-01-31). The Forge (Kindle Locations 262-265). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.
Devotional Thought of the Day:
54 The Jewish leaders were infuriated by Stephen’s accusation, and they shook their fists at him in rage. 55 But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed steadily into heaven and saw the glory of God, and he saw Jesus standing in the place of honor at God’s right hand. 56 And he told them, “Look, I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing in the place of honor at God’s right hand!” 57 Then they put their hands over their ears and began shouting. They rushed at him 58 and dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. His accusers took off their coats and laid them at the feet of a young man named Saul. 59 As they stoned him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” 60 He fell to his knees, shouting, “Lord, don’t charge them with this sin!” And with that, he died. Acts 7:54-60 (NLT)
11 And they have defeated him by the blood of the Lamb and by their testimony. And they did not love their lives so much that they were afraid to die. Revelation 12:11 (NLT)
1 Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. 2 Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. 3 For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 And when Christ, who is your life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all his glory. Colossians 3:1-4 (NLT)
This post is based on one of the Bible Study discussions among my people at church. We’ve been going through the book of Acts of the Apostles, and came to the martyrdom of Stephen.
It brought out a discussion of the fears we have because of the terrorism in Lebanon, the Sudan and Paris, the incredibly painful trauma people experience. A trauma that is spreading through anxiety and fear, which is being maniuplated by those who would have us stop out from reaching in love, because of that fear.
As we discussed these things, someone mentioned the incredible level of faith that someone who willing embraced martyrdom must have. The faith that would testify of God’s love, that would know the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians, even as the boulders were thrown down upon him, or as the blade slice through the air.
Such heroism seems beyond us, such an ability to set aside one’s automatic nature to preserve one’s self. Yet the angel in the passage from the Revelation states that the people there have defeated the accuser by the blood of the Lamb, the witness (in greek – the word we get martyr from!) and by the fact that they didn’t love life so uch they were afrasid to die.
That describes you, if your faith is in Christ. It describes me as well, and every other person who puts their hope in Christ Jesus. The more we comprehend, not just now, but understand at the gut level, the love of Christ, the guaranty of His promise that we will share in His glory eternally, the more we don’t need to cling to life, the more we don’t need to defend ourselves against persecution. The more we can embrance suffering like Jesus did. The more we trust, the more we look to the promise, the more we understand God’s love, the more we can accept martyrdom.
I want you to compare what Stephen goes through in the first reading to what Paul urges believers to do.
Stephen looked into heaven, and saw the glory of God.
Paul tells us to set our sights on the reality of heaven.
Stephen sees Jesus at the right hand of the Father, in the place of honor.
We are to see the same thing – the same Jesus, the same right hand, the same place of honor.
Stephen is killed. Physically.
We are to realize that we have died to this life. Yes spiritually, (as had Stephen) but also in our need to cling to it, for we realize we aren’t just here, we are hidden in Christ in God, waiting to be revealed with Jesus in our fullness.
That’s where the strength comes from to allow a witness to Christ result in our martyrdom, whether that martyrdom is physical, or whether it is setting aside our dream life, our desires, our need to preserve our identity, in order to bear witness to the love of Christ. This is exactly what Paul is talking about in Philippians 2:1-10. urging us on to unity in Christ. It is what Paul talks of when he urges ust o imitate him as He imitates Christ.
Ultimately, Martyrdom is never about the death, it is never about the sacrifice, it is about knowing the love of Jesus, about trusting in His promises, that is the martyrdom, the very witness we bear. Is this heroic then? It would be, except that the strength doesn’t come from us, it coems from the Holy Spirit. It is the very thing we are urged as believers to do. To bear witness with our very lives, to give the reason we have hope. To set aside our fears, to set aside our need for self preservation, to set aside all, to love God, and to love man.
It is who we are, because of what Jesus does for us in baptism…..what He does to us.
This is what it means to know the Lord is with you, that He answered your plea for emrcy.
It is abiding, secure in Christ’s peace. It is, His gift, His grace.
Devotional Thought of the Day
1 Take me as your pattern, just as I take Christ for mine. 1 Corinthians 11:1 (NJB)
27 God created man in the image of himself, in the image of God he created him, male and female he created them. Genesis 1:27 (NJB)
18 And all of us, with our unveiled faces like mirrors reflecting the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the image that we reflect in brighter and brighter glory; this is the working of the Lord who is the Spirit. 2 Corinthians 3:18 (NJB)
Is our being made in the image and likeness of God something invisible, something confined, perhaps, to the soul? But if so, then it is not an image, for an image is, by its nature, something that can be seen. And, in fact, we can see the image—not in the momentary flash of photography, but in the demeanor that reveals a life: in the goodness of a mother, in the uprightness of a husband, in the fidelity of a friend in our time of trouble, in the patience of one who suffers, in the gentleness and maturity of one who prays. When we see these signs, we are seeing the image of God. (1)
Every once in a while you hear about Jesus image, maybe in a piece of toast, or a tortilla or pancake, or in some artifact. It is kind of funny the fuss that is made over these things,
But what if I said I saw God’s image today, the glorious image of God, reflected in the face of an 89-year-old lady, or a two-year-old child, That claim might seem rather over the top. There is a strong Biblical basis for it. A basis recognized in the devotion I came across this morning.
I love how Cardinal Ratzinger sees the image of Christ, not in a static picture or print, but in a life lived reflecting the glory, the love and mercy of God. The glory of God at work, redeeming and reconciling for Himself a people, and doing it through….. the people He has redeemed. The people He has reconciled to Himself. He causes them to love, as the Holy Spirit transforms them into the image of Jesus. The Holy Spirit molds them, and as Eph. 210 discusses – we are changed into a work of art, God’s great masterpiece,
A people who resemble their Lord and Savior, the One, who sent the Spirit, to focus them on Jesus, and transform them.
So the lady in my Bible Study, who always pauses to pray, and give thanks and know God’s love, in Her I see the image of God reflected. In the two year old, who is most comfortable and most at peace at the altar, even though she can’t explain what happened in her baptism, in the friend who reaches out and listens, even though pressed for time. In each the image of Christ is reflected, the glory of Christ is seen and known and experienced.
Lord, have mercy, and He shows He does, as people find the healing that is only in Christ while helping others heal.
(1) Ratzinger, J. (1992). Co-Workers of the Truth: Meditations for Every Day of the Year. (M. F. McCarthy & L. Krauth, Trans., I. Grassl, Ed.) (p. 219). San Francisco: Ignatius Press.
Devotional Thought of the Day:
1 If I speak with the eloquence of men and of angels, but have no love, I become no more than blaring brass or crashing cymbal. If I have the gift of foretelling the future and hold in my mind not only all human knowledge but the very secrets of God, and if I also have that absolute faith which can move mountains, but have no love, I amount to nothing at all. If I dispose of all that I possess, yes, even if I give my own body to be burned, but have no love, I achieve precisely nothing. 1 Corinthians 13:1 (Phillips NT)
31 So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31 (NLT)
280 If you lose the supernatural meaning of your life, your charity will be philanthropy; your purity, decency; your mortification, stupidity; your discipline, a lash; and all your works, fruitless. (1)
Every so often I find my e-mail and Twitter filled with advertisements or advice for being effective, for improving your impact, Ways to ensure you have meaning in what you do. Go through this program, master these five trips, follow your passion, it seems like everyone has somewhere between three and twelve things to become successful in life.
Josemaria Escriva encourages us to one thing – a simple thing. To enjoy God, to be set apart to Him, to adore Him as you realize that He cares for you, that He loves you. Without it, all of our other actions, our sacrifices, our suffering, our prayers and worship and dedication to orthodoxy, is worthless.
To be blunt, if we live apart from the love of God, if we ignore his presence, we could be Mother Theresa, Billy Graham, Martin Luther, John Calvin and St Augustine rolled into one, and we would have wasted our lives.
Yeah – living supernaturally, living dependent on God, having an intimate relationship with God is that important.
Ultimately, without it, nothing else matters, nothing else is worth it. With it, everything becomes an incredible blessing.
This is why baptism matters because God makes you His own as He baptizes you. That is why the Eucharist, Communion, the Lord’s Supper should be CELEBRATED, for the feast is God and man, together. The same can be said for our times talking to God, hearing His voice, meditating on His word and simply resting, confident and secure in His presence.
That is where the peace comes from that we need to know if we are to survive the grind of life. It is where our healing comes into play, where lives are reconciled, where we find that we are God’s work of art.
It is where we find that reality isn’t based on our emotion or our logic, but on His love and what He reveals to us because of that love.
St Paul is clear to the church in Corinth of this very same point – that without the love of God, even it doesn’t matter what we do, we have no value, no worth. But knowing that love? It transforms us and causes us to do that which is amazing, we can bring God glory.
So don’t set aside your time with Him, enjoy it, savor it, relax and have fun with your Father. Everything else will then fall into place.
(1) Escriva, Josemaria (2010-11-02). The Way (Kindle Locations 745-746). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.
Devotional/Discussion Thought of the Day:
9 It’s the same for you. If you speak to people in words they don’t understand, how will they know what you are saying? You might as well be talking into empty space. 10 There are many different languages in the world, and every language has meaning. 11 But if I don’t understand a language, I will be a foreigner to someone who speaks it, and the one who speaks it will be a foreigner to me. 12 And the same is true for you. Since you are so eager to have the special abilities the Spirit gives, seek those that will strengthen the whole church. 1 Corinthians 14:9-12 (NLT)
19 Even though I am a free man with no master, I have become a slave to all people to bring many to Christ. 20 When I was with the Jews, I lived like a Jew to bring the Jews to Christ. When I was with those who follow the Jewish law, I too lived under that law. Even though I am not subject to the law, I did this so I could bring to Christ those who are under the law. 21 When I am with the Gentiles who do not follow the Jewish law, I too live apart from that law so I can bring them to Christ. But I do not ignore the law of God; I obey the law of Christ. 22 When I am with those who are weak, I share their weakness, for I want to bring the weak to Christ. Yes, I try to find common ground with everyone, doing everything I can to save some. 1 Corinthians 9:19-22 (NLT)
917 In modico fidelis!—faithful in little things. Your job, my son, is not just to save souls but to bring them to holiness, day after day, giving to each moment—even to apparently commonplace moments—the dynamic echo of eternity.
I need to apologize to you my readers. A few of you now have said my spelling or grammar errors have made it challenging to read my blog. I dismissed it for several reasons as to why it didn’t concern me. This blog started out as a synthesis of my own personal devotions, which a friend suggest I put out on a blog.
This weekend, as I preached on the second Bible passage quoted above, I started to think of this blog and my sermons. I was convicted, and realized that in, not paying attention to grammar and spelling, I wasn’t doing what Paul urges, being all things to all people, that I may win some.
I know this in terms of language, as Paul talks about in the first passage above. Thanks to a friend I have, over the last couple of years realized that language is more than just the words, it is what they describe. That a Bible translation or a sermon may seem to be in English, but is it in the English our people can understand clearly? Language dialects aren’t just found based on ethnic/cultural issues, but also in our vocation and environment. WIth all these complications, communicating is a challenge, but it is so needed!
Yes, we can use dictionaries, they could as well. We can try to understand what a word or phrase means by context, we can even rely on the Holy Spirit to “interpret” in their heart. However, the message of Christ is too important to let my own issues cause a fog to obscure the message.
Back to my confession, if I passively or actively choose to allow something to get in the way of the message being heard, then I have failed, indeed, I have sinned. And for that I shall seek God’s grace and mercy, and ask for yours as well. It’s time for me to be faithful in the little things, for the sake of the message being heard. I need to me faithful in this, so that you can hear the echo of eternity. I need to do this, so that these sermons and posts can be heard, so that as they reveal God’s love, you can understand it.
The message is too important for any of us to allow language or culture or tradition, choice of Bible translation, personal comfort or even spelling or grammar to get in the way of it being heard, of it being understood.
People need Christ Jesus, they need to understand the incredible love and loyalty He has for those people He has created to be His people. There is nothing in life that is more important than understanding God’s love for you.
That is why Paul wants us to be all things to all people, so that we might win some. It is not about being a chameleon, fitting in to these groups. It is about being close enough to them to know how they think, so that we can communicate God’s love to them, even as we love them!
May we all treat that message with the care it needs, that it may be heard.
(note to help me with this – I am now running all my blogs and sermons through grammerly, and proof reading them. Feel free to mention other corrections needed, or things needed to be explained better.)