Devotional Thought of the New Year
5 Then I let it all out; I said, “I’ll make a clean breast of my failures to GOD.” Suddenly the pressure was gone— my guilt dissolved, my sin disappeared. Psalm 32:5 (MSG)
Brother Lawrence expressed the highest moral wisdom when he testified that if he stumbled and fell he turned at once to God and said, “O Lord, this is what You may expect of me if You leave me to myself.” He then accepted forgiveness, thanked God and gave himself no further concern about the matter.
“Tell the backslider,” says the Lord, “I am married unto him.” Was there ever a tenderer message?
My beloved Jesus, I am not yet perfect; but Thou canst make me perfect. I am not dear to Thee, and it is my own fault, because I have been ungrateful and unfaithful; but Thou canst make me become so, by inebriating me this morning with Thy love.
Gracious and Exalted Savior, we are not worthy to receive the mercy and goodness which Thou dost give us, and on account of our sins are far too unclean and weak rightly to receive this salutary gift. Sanctify us therefore in body and soul by Thy Holy Spirit; prepare us and adorn us with grace to draw near Thy holy Table.
What a way to start a year… with such refreshing prayers of de Ligouri and Loehe, a Catholic Mystic and a Lutheran Pastor. Add in Tozer quoting Brother Lawrence, a protestant quoting Roman Catholic lay monk, and the message is reinforced again. And yet, that is the only way to beging a year….
To realize our imperfection, and our hope!
Such is the way of Christ, who knew our sin, and still died for it. He knew our struggling with it, and sends the Holy Spirit.
It is no wonder deLigouri talks about God causing us to be inebriated to be drunk on the love He pours into us. To be dressed in the very grace of God, to be clothed with jesus.
This has been the way… it has been planned since the beginning, and sinners have become holy by experiencing the giddiness, the feeing lightheaded, that happens as the burdens of guilt, shame and resentment are lifted off of you.
This is how we need to start the new year. This is what you need to experience throughout 2021… It is what I need more than anything as well….forgiveness, pressures and burdens lifted….
God with us…
A. W. Tozer and Marilynne E. Foster, Tozer on the Holy Spirit: A 366-Day Devotional (Camp Hill, PA: WingSpread, 2007).
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), 89.
William Loehe, Liturgy for Christian Congregations of the Lutheran Faith, ed. J. Deinzer, trans. F. C. Longaker, Third Edition. (Newport, KY: n.p., 1902), 31–32.
Devotional Thought of the Day:
20 Listen! I stand at the door and knock; if any hear my voice and open the door, I will come into their house and eat with them, and they will eat with me. Revelation 3:20 (TEV)
“Pray remember what I have recommended to you, which is to think often of God, by day, by night, in your business,and even in your diversions. He is always near you and with you; leave Him not alone…” brother lawrence, The Practice of the Presence of God – quote from Celtic Daily Prayer..
Some of us, when we read this passage, visualize a painting of Jesus, standing outside the door, robed in glory, ever hair perfectly in place. The entire walled garden radiating a sense of peace, the originates with Him.
We hear evangelists like Billy Graham, pleading with thousands to just open that door, to let Jesus in, for then their life will be idyllic, clean, and at peace.
Some of us nod our head even, thinking of that, picturing people we would like to see open that door, and let Jesus come in….
Except, that passage is not directed to unbelievers at all. We don’t think of the context, we might know it is in the book of the Revelaiton of Jesus Christ, (no “revelationS”) but we don’t realize that it was part of a letter to a church. TO people just like us, to people who claim to believe, are part of a church, and yet somehow….. are missing out on communing with God – not just daily, but all the time.
This passage isn’t talking about daily quiet times, or a prayer life that is at meals, and before bed. It’s not advocating going on some retreat either, spending time in silence and meditation.
And the time Jesus would spend with us isn’t just the perfect times, when everything is in place. It is the times where our lives are in storms, where we’ve been bruised and battered by sin, the times where we are grieving, and anxious because of the presence of death. And the simple times, as we hug our kids and grandkids, as we watch the superbowl with friends, even as we hum a song that is in our mind, as we go about cleaning our homes, or shoveling snow. He is even in our “nothingness”, those times we have when we are just vegetating, thinking of nothing, just.. there.
The church in Laodecia had forgotten this. They thought they had everything in its right place in life. Work had its place – and it was good, family its place, and they were fine, church had its place, and when it was convenient, they would make it part of their life.
But God is there, patiently waiting, pleading even, wanting to share life with them, with me, with you.
Not just to teach us, and to guide us, not just to clean up our sins, but to laugh with us, to feast with us, to share life – even the nothingness of life with us.
When we remember Jesus is here… it changes everything, The storms, though raging and violent, seem less threatening. Death loses its sting and the grief becomes a ache that is matched by knowing His comfort and finding rest.
And life is as it should be, shared with God… as we go with Him, watching Him redeeming the time.. and those we love (and will come to love)
So walk with God, throughout your days… and know He hears you when you cry, “Lord have mercy”. For He is there…