Devotional Thought of the Day:
37 Peter’s words pierced their hearts, and they said to him and to the other apostles, “Brothers, what should we do?” Acts 2:37 (NLT)
17 So faith comes from hearing, that is, hearing the Good News about Christ. Romans 10:17 (NLT)
Simply concentrate on being completely devoted to Christ in your hearts. Be ready at any time to give a quiet and reverent answer to any man who wants a reason for the hope that you have within you. 1 Peter 3:13 (Phillips NT)
“Stillness is not simply silence, but an attitude of listening to God, and of openness towards Him” (Celtic Prayer Book 1/14 Finian Reading)
I am amazed, as I read the gospels when Jesus talks of a people that hear and see, but don’t understand, that don’t perceive. That have all the tools for being servants of God, yet fail to “live up to their potential.” They get caught up in legalism, or in liberalism. They get caught in the idea of their own faithfulness or orthodoxy, or their own serving the least of these, and hold out their position as proper and right.
Been there, done that myself. Too many times if I am honest. Too recently if I am blunt.
It is interesting to me, that these times don’t come when we are struggling with the darkness of our life, when we are staring in our own failures, our own sin, our own brokenness, face to face.
It is when we are going well, that our confidence slips, and becomes confidence in our works, in our actions, our wisdom. It is there that we are in the process of sinning, just as the Pharisees did, just as the Sadducees and canon lawyers of Jsus day did. It is when we confuse His message with our own.
And hearing, we do not understand, and seeing, we don’t perceive.
It is those times when we need the silence, not of rest and sleep, but the silence that allows God to speak to us.
It is why i so prefer to deal with the broken, those who are crying for help as they struggle with sin, or the injustice/unrighteousness of the world. To see to them revealed the blessings of walking with Christ, of being comforted by the Holy Spirit. of rejoicing in the Lord who reveals Himself in word and Sacrament, and through the service of other broken people. People like me.
We need to hear Him…we need to let Him cut open our hearts, to let His word penetrate, to hear the hope that is only found in Him, and to speak it to others, who need to hear it as badly as we do.
That requires faith in the simplicity of the word and Sacrament, the simplicity of Christ crucified, our hope, of the love of God to be revealed, not through our logical manipulations, nor our self-inflicted martyrdom’s (which really isn’t martyrdom..but we want people to see it as such)
we need to hear that message, that cuts us open and pours transforms, enlightens, grants repentance, that reminds us, we are God’s work of art… not artisans ourselves….
Yes, even to us “mature” Christians,
Be Still.. and know… He is… God.
Discussion/Devotional thought of the day:
Hear the words of one whose life was broken….
I’ve tried everything and nothing helps. I’m at the end of my rope. Is there no one who can do anything for me? Isn’t that the real question? Romans 7:24 (MSG)
As I’ve been writing this week on brokenness – passages keep popping into my mind, proof that our generation isn’t the first broken. And proof that even as those who believe and trust in Jesus, we struggle with sin. Yesterday I wrote that the first step isn’t confession our brokenness, it is realizing that we are broken. And for many of us, that realization continues into our new life. We, like Paul, grasp how life is supposed to be – we are supposed to be whole, saintly people, dedicated to God and to doing his work. Aren’t we all supposed to have our lives change as Christians. Why can’t i bring Jesus to people like Billy Graham, or pray and have devotions like St Francis, or serve the needy like Mother Theresa? Or be a preacher and writer like Luther? Why do I still have to deal with sin, my sin, as it assaults my thoughts, is found in my words, and gulp – is seen in my deeds, (or my lack of deeds)
I think we would be surprised to find out how human they were, that they too struggled with temptation and sin, that like the APOSTLE Paul – they had days where they cried out for Christ to return, to rescue them from this life. Think about Revelation’s description of saints,
12:11 They have triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word to which they bore witness, because even in the face of death they did not cling to life. Revelation 12:11 (NJB)
Been there somedays….not wanting to cling to life, not because of the people around me, for them I would gladly stick around, but because of my own brokenness, because of the fact that I know I don’t live the way I would desire to, knowing His love. When I forget and cry out as Paul did – who will rescue me from this body of death…..
Until a friend reminds me I have been rescued. Till I stand at an altar, and am given the Bread of Life, and drink of the Cup of Salvation. Till I hear those incredible words “your sins are forgiven in the name of the Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit…AMEN!) The words that Paul rights after His cry of brokeness – in those words we find the answer
7:25 The answer, thank God, is that Jesus Christ can and does. He acted to set things right in this life of contradictions where I want to serve God with all my heart and mind, but am pulled by the influence of sin to do something totally different. 8:1 With the arrival of Jesus, the Messiah, that fateful dilemma is resolved. Those who enter into Christ’s being-here-for-us no longer have to live under a continuous, low-lying black cloud. 2 A new power is in operation. The Spirit of life in Christ, like a strong wind, has magnificently cleared the air, freeing you from a fated lifetime of brutal tyranny at the hands of sin and death.
Romans 7:25 -8:2 (MSG)
There is our answer !
Our brokenness has been dealt with!
We have been freed from it, healed of it.
We still will struggle – with our own brokenness, even more perhaps as we see people living broken lives, unaware that their cry has been heard, that the Lord has had mercy, that He has come… and will free them….and we not only get the joy of letting them know this – when they do hear – we get to see the weight lifted off of them… we get to share in their realizing His promise…
For we are a church, a people that find healing in Christ, while healing others heal….