Augustine, St. Francis, Martin Luther, John Wesley walk into a bar…
DEvotional thought of the Day:
33 Set your hearts on his kingdom first, and on God’s saving justice, and all these other things will be given you as well. 34 So do not worry about tomorrow: tomorrow will take care of itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.‘Matthew 6:33-34 (NJB)
537 You take everything so lightly that I am reminded of the old story. The cry went up: “There is a lion coming!” And the naturalist answered: “Why tell me? I catch butterflies.” (1)
A few days ago, I asked what the four shepherds of God I named above and the reader would talk about, were they found together.
An atheirst and pastors were the first to respond, A joke about them calling Francis A sissi, a quesiton about why two of them would be there, a couple other comments, no one taking the matter all that seriously. Until the final comment – that these incredible men would talk about God, and His gifts of mercy and love and peace.
I thought of it again, coming across the quote from St Josemaria this morning. We as people will think about everything but the Kingdom of God. We will be anxious over the state of our nation, ticked off at the government, worried about our health, we’ll struggle over finances, we will concern ourselves about the morality of others, but how often does our heart find itself in awe of God’s presence. How often do we contemplate the depth of His love? How often are we willing to place ourselves comepltely in His care, and then live a life that imitates those as they imitated Christ Jesus?
How often are we willing to see God at the center of our lives? Or are we unwilling to give up that throne?
As I tweeted this mornign, “We trust God with the infinite eternity, but will we trust Him with the finite now?”
Our Faith must not be confused with our faithfulness, for if we depend on our being faithful, we’ve made ourselves into idols. Faith is trusting in His faithfulness, to lean upon His goodness, to strive to find rest in Him, to prayt hat the Holy Spirit would help us to do so. For we don’t enter His presence by our faithfulness, He draws us there… and there we learn to trust Him. .. more and more. To be in awe that HE would love us, that He would be merciful.
So pray that I, and that you, would relaize where we dwell more often, that we would be open to God revealing to us His grace, That we would learn to be as excited as children on Christmas, as we contemplate His grace, both for what it means eternally, and what it means today.
(1) Escriva, Josemaria (2011-01-31). Furrow (Kindle Locations 2325-2326). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edi
- We Need A Mighty Fotress! (justifiedandsinner.com)
- Questioning where you are with God? Me too sometimes.. An answer of peace… (justifiedandsinner.com)
- Will God hear even me today, in this mood I am in? (justifiedandsinner.com)
- Will you let them see you…. (justifiedandsinner.com)
Don’t Confuse me with an Optimist…
Devotional Thought of the Day….
I long ago came up with, what is my theory of life.
An optimist looks at a 20 oz beverage container holding 10 oz of fluid and calls it half full. A pessimist looks at the same container and calls it half empty. I walk over drain the mug of beer, ticking off the optimist and the pessimist simultaneously. It was a good beer, the container served its purpose, and I caused opposing sides of an argument to be united. (against me – but that is cool) That’s a very good day! (1)
For some reason, I am occasionally mistaken for an optimist. I’m not sure why. I am certainly not a pessimist either, and I don’t fit on a line somewhere in between.
Don’t get me wrong – there are times I am sure everything is going to collapse around me, that the world is going to implode – and the proof of the possibility of that is that… well – I am here, therefore it could happen. At the same time – I a pretty sure that if it does, it will be a truly glorious thing to witness, mind-blowing even, and that I will find myself thoroughly enjoying the spectacle!
This weirdness in me is developed in part – by a long list of tragedies and traumas I have seen in life, either experiencing them myself ( for example my heart issues and marfans syndrome, my dropping out of college, my motorcycle accident, heck I could fill a blog) or by those I’ve walked beside, as they have seen God cause them to persevere and endure in peace …even unto death.
I’ve seen to much to be a carefree, naive, optimist who thinks everything is coming up roses. I have seen God’s action in those times nearly as often (sometimes I admit I can’t see them) to be a “the sky is falling” pessimist. Sure I will rant and rave at times, or celebrate a bit too early in other times. But overall, I am neither, or both, finding the joy in suffering, and the soberness in joy.
Maybe it is that my optimism is found, in that same place as faith, as trusting in God to fulfill specially what He has promised.
I like how St Josemaria put it,
“659 Christian optimism is not a sugary optimism; nor is it a mere human confidence that everything will turn out all right. It is an optimism that sinks its roots in an awareness of our freedom, and in the sure knowledge of the power of grace. It is an optimism which leads us to make demands on ourselves, to struggle to respond at every moment to God’s calls.” (2)
Call it “baptismal” optimism – the attitude we have in knowing that which God has given and done to us, when He claimed us as His people, when He cleansed our lives, and bound and sealed us with the gift of the Holy Spirit, the never-ending presence of God in our lives. Knowing that because of the grace poured out there, our lives are renewed, revitalized! That sin and shame and guilt and fearing death and Satan no longer have a hold on us, that we enter God’s presence and abide there confidently in peace.
There – instead of naively assuming that everything will work out right, or that everything is sure to fail, we can engage the attitude Paul describes as ours..
6 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. 7 Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. 8 And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. 9 Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:6-9 (NLT)
Live in your baptismal grace my friends… and rejoice… not just because all things will work out for good for those that love God, but that they will, because you abide in Christ..
(1) DT Parker – ~1988
(2) Escriva, Josemaria (2011-01-31). The Forge (Kindle Locations 2424-2428). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.