Devotional Thought of the Day:
33 Peter spoke up and said to Jesus, “I will never leave you, even though all the rest do!” 34 Jesus said to Peter, “I tell you that before the cock crows tonight, you will say three times that you do not know me.” 35 Peter answered, “I will never say that, even if I have to die with you!” ……75 and Peter remembered what Jesus had told him: “Before the cock crows, you will say three times that you do not know me.” He went out and wept bitterly… Matt 26:33-35 & 75d TEV
Confound yourself: But, alas! my Creator, instead of uniting myself to Thee by love and service, I have become rebellious by my inordinate affections, wandering and straying from Thee, to unite myself to sin: valuing thy goodness no more than if Thou hadst not been my Creator.
4. Prostrate yourself before God: O my soul, know that the Lord is thy God: it is He that has made thee, and not thou thyself. O God, I am the work of thy hand.
I saw a meme this morning that said the best celebrations of Christmas are preceded by powerful tears of advent.
I think the thought is correct, if only needing to be unpacked a little, to help us explain, to help us grieve, to help us weep, to help us heal.
As we hear Peter’s strong words at the Last Supper, I hear them with my voice. I hear me telling the Lord how I will not fail Him, how I will gladly even face death if that is what it takes. Yet I find it harder to face life, to hear those crows as I fail, over and over again.
I won’t commit that sin again, I won’t fail to love, I won’t fail… and I do.
You do as well.
We do as de Sales indicates, we fail to see ourselves united to God, we fail to love Him with all we are, and we unite ourselves to sin. We wander about, trying to satisfy our passionate desire, trying to convince ourselves that we are actually good enough, strong enough, holier than the next person, which should be enough.
We need to hear that rooster, we need to remember Jesus words, we need to remember we are the created, not the Creator.
For then, we prodigals can rush home, for we realize there is no other hope, and that all we desire, is found in the Lord who proved His faithfulness to us; even as we see the proof in the nail holes in His hands, and the gaping wide wound that reveals His heart.
So realize you will cry, you will fail, you will sin, and He will absolve, and forgive, and heal.
(and you might find such love will sustain you through the next temptation…)
Cry out, through those tears, and with confidence in His fidelity, “Lord, have mercy in me, a sinner…” Then let Him draw you into His glory, where you will find healing and peace…
Francis de Sales, Saint. An Introduction to the Devout Life. Dublin: M. H. Gill and Son, 1885. Print.
Treasuring God’s Gifts
Means We Value Deep
Relationships, especially Marriage
Ex. 20:14, Eph 2:10. 5:27, Luke 10:25-28
In Jesus Name!
May you know well God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, who brings mercy, love nad peace into your life!
Really – This Commandment is a Topic WE need to cover?
When I started to write out the topics of this series of sermons, when I came to the 6th commandment, my first reaction is that this would be a fine sermon to hear Chris preach on, or perhaps Vicar Mark, or Vicar Albert.
Simply because talking about Adultery means touching on the subject of the three letter word that begins with S and ends with X.
For me, it is one of those topics I would rather not talk about, it is too personal, too intimate, and like many guys, I’d rather talk about anything else, especially in a group with both men and women in it.
Heck, it is a topic I don’t want to talk about with a group of women or a group of men.
But I think my reticence about discussing the topic gives me a hint towards why this commandment, about reserving that level of intimacy, both physical and psychological/spiritual aspects of the relationship, is worth a commandment.
It is because it is so intimate to a relationship, that God treasures it.
And therefore to diminish it, diminishes something God gave us to treasure…..
Because it teaches something about our life, about our relationship with God…..
Let me explain that some..
Why is this so important to God?
While no one will doubt the physical aspects the relationship between a man and a woman, those acts are by no means just physical.
There is a spiritual/psychological aspect to them, something that uses that word that sends shivers down most men’s spines….there is something ….
Something that takes all of our walls down, that leaves us and our spouse as one, relating to each other, caring for each other.
It is that level of emotional and spiritual intimacy that God desires us to have with Him. That’s why we heard Ephesians 5 tonight as well as chapter 2. That is why the Old Testament Books of Song of Solomon and Hosea talk of marital faithfulness and love as an example of God’s relationship with His people, and even the unfaithfulness of Hosea’s wife, as an example of Israel’s actions towards God.
A bitter betrayal, the deepest betrayal.
A depth of pain that goes beyond our ability to cope with…..
Yet a level of pain God has endured, as again and again He has picked Israel up from her wandering into idolatry…..
It’s hard to imagine God hurting as the couples I’ve had in my office have hurt. It’s hard to realize that you or I could hurt the Creator of the universe, that a congregation, that a people could so devastate God by betraying His love.
But we can… and we do…..
We fail to love Him with our entire heart, our soul, our mind, when we trust in our idols the way we are supposed to trust Him. Even when the idol we trust in is ourselves. When what we are proudest of, what we are in awe of, isn’t the God who created us, who created this planet.
If how we love our neighbor reveals how we love God, as the apostle John writes in 1 John, how much more does how we treasure our spouse, our faithfulness tell us about our relationship with God?
A Relationship to Cherish, to Guard, to Teach
Hear again Paul’s words from Ephesians 5…
25 For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her 26 to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God’s word. 27 He did this to present her to himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Instead, she will be holy and without fault.
If what we’ve been working through, that these 10 commandments actually are the Old Testament Beatitudes, the masterpiece of God that is how we, rescued from Satan are to live, then Jesus’s work to render us a “the glorious church, without spot or wrinkle or blemish, makes incredible sense.
It is what Hosea did for his wife, the very model of it. Even though her sins, like ours, are scarlet red. It is the depth of Christ’s desire for a relationship with us, the emotional intimacy, the being unified as one. Not sexually, but in ways that are just as deep.
He is faithful, even when we struggle. Even when we take the great blessing He has given us, this great example of marriage, that God considers it the model of our special relationship with Him, and we see it trashed around us, and sometimes, in thought or word and deed, we trash it ourselves. Or don’t speak up when we see it cheapened, and mocked.
God’s faithfulness extends even then, calling us back to our relationship with Him, healing us, restoring us, and yes, He can and has even restored the relationships, He can recreate us, revealing His masterpiece that is creating by uniting us to Jesus.
But it is there, where healing happens, where God ministers to us, Father, Son and Spirit. It is there were marriages find their healing as well, and the example of faithfulness and yeah – intimacy. It is there, in that relationship, that all relationships can find the peace that passes all understanding, that peace in which we find ourselves guarded and treasured by Jesus.