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How Important is That “Hour”

Devotional/Discussion Thought of the Day:

 40  Then he returned to the disciples and found them asleep. He said to Peter, “Couldn’t you watch with me even one hour? 41  Keep watch and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation. For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak!”  Matthew 26:40-41 (NLT)

28  “Come to me, all of you who are tired from carrying heavy loads, and I will give you rest. 29  Take my yoke and put it on you, and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in spirit; and you will find rest. 30  For the yoke I will give you is easy, and the load I will put on you is light.”   Matthew 11:28-30 (TEV) 

“why is there so little anxiety to get time to pray?  Ist is the want of these solitary hours that not only injures our growrh in grace, but makes us such unprofitable members of the church of Christ – and that renders our lives…useless.  ( Celtic Prayer Book – Devotion for 12/17)

In the hectic-ness of my trip to the Philipinnes, it has been far to easy to skip my “devotional time”.  The time where I deliberately try and slow down, or let God slow me down.  A time to relax – and listen – mostly listen to God’s love for me.  It can be, it is revealed through the scriptures, through the devotional reading I do – through givning him my anxieties, my burdens – and as I am realizing on this trip – my pains.

You see – if this time is to be devotional – then the result of it should be a time where I grow in my devotion to God – a devotion that is lived out in my daily work, my pastoring, my being a husband, a father, and to many a friend.  The time isn’t to prove my devotion to God – a discipline that proves to Him my love, but a time where His presence, in which I realize I am – all the time – strengthens me, cleanses, me, comforts and consoles me.

I used to hear Jesus’ words to the apostles in Gethsemane as a plea for them to prove their love to Him.  Even used that in sermons – “come on you lazy people – can’t you just pray and read scripture for an hour?  Really?  Not even a tithe of your time!  Sheesh!”  And oh I was wrong.

Look at ALL the words – Jesus is wanting them to pray for their sake, so they will not fall for temptation, for Jesus realizes our hearts desire His presence, our hearts desire not to sin, BUT, our flesh can often fail us – flesh meaning we live in a broken world, and we often fall – not because of anything else bu that we’ve taken our eyes off of God… again. Walking with Jesus in prayer – letting Him build our desire, our devotion to Him as He reveals Himself to us, through His word, through prayer, through the sacraments, is what strengthens us each and every day.

Maybe its not an hour – but 20 minutes here and there – taking time to pray, to listen, to adore the God who has come to us.

That’s what we so desperately need….this sacred time, this point of being set apart – just He and His people –  not to prove our devotion…but to reveal His.

Lord Have Mercy!

 

Anxiety, Temptation, Fear, or Peace…. Choose you this day…

Discussion Quote/Devotional THought of the Day:

“God is with you!” So cast far away from you that fear and spiritual agitation.  They are reactions to avoid in the first place, for they only serve to multiply temptations and increase danger! ”  St Josemarie Escriva,

Within our worship service, multiple times a phrase is said by the pastor, noting that the presence, the peace of God is with His people, and then we pray together, or feast together at the Lord’s table. It is a powerful thing, this knowing that the Lord is present, that He is here, that we have a relationship with Him, and that He is the Paraclete, the Encourager/Comforter/one who comes alongside and supports us.

To lack that presence is to invite in something else, Escriva says agitation,  I tend to call that anxiety, the peace robbing emotional reaction that doesn’t trust in God, but wonders about all the permutations of the situation and starts spinning our hearts and minds out of control, as fears take over. We seek to escape such, and there is Satan, holding out temptations that will kill the anxiety, or at least hide it, for a few hours, for a few minutes.  Those temptations often become addictions, because we turn, over and over, for some kind of release, some kind of escape, a vacation from the stressful strain of the world.  With those temptations is always danger, always a struggle, always…..more stress

The  option to it is simple – to simply rest and find yourself in the presence of God.  To know His peace is with you.  Luther talked of dwelling on the promises of your baptism, others talk about contemplating the incredible truth found in the Lord’s Supper – that there, we come face to face with the truth of how much the Father loves us, how much Christ was willing to sacrifice.   ( Our brothers and sisters in the RCC talk about Eucharistic Adoration – a complex devotional time before a host that is saved for that very time – it is my thought that it developed simply from stopping and considering what the Lord’s Supper reveals, and not wanting that moment to just come and go so quickly)  How deep the Father’s love for us… for me… to dwell on these things…. how the burdens, the transient, temporary burdens disappear! How the escapes that we had planned, as we broke before temptation now seem so.. empty… because we know that which makes a difference.

The peace of the Lord Jesus Christ is with you always……

And even as I write, I can hear my people say “AMEN!”

(and under their breaths… utter.. Thank God!)

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