Devotional Thought of the Day:
54 So when this takes place, and the mortal has been changed into the immortal, then the scripture will come true: “Death is destroyed; victory is complete!” 55 “Where, Death, is your victory? Where, Death, is your power to hurt?“ 56 Death gets its power to hurt from sin, and sin gets its power from the Law. 57 But thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ! 1 Corinthians 15:54-57 (TEV)
383 The scholastics do not teach the righteousness of faith. They interpret faith as merely a knowledge of history or of dogmas, not as the power that grasps the promise of grace and righteousness, quickening the heart amid the terrors of sin and death.
(disclaimer, I haven’t watched GoT yet…. but please keep reading)
Last night my Twitter and FB feeds went crazy, I mean really crazy. Like 1000 posts in five minutes crazy.
Everyone was talking about someone dying, reacting the way I remember us reacting when the Challenger exploded, or perhaps when the way people did when Kennedy was shot.
Turns out it was a character on a television show called Game of Thrones. ( I vaguely remember a similar incident when someone shot JR, but then again, I didn’t watch that show either!)
One of my much younger friends tried to explain it to me. She was kind of shocked that I hadn’t watched GoT yet and tried to convince me I MUST watch it. We “chatted” across FB for a while, and I went to sleep thinking I might be able to watch and episode or two… maybe in August?
But I thought about it, apparently this show, like a few others this last year, have made a point about people dying who are someone special to the show. Someone died in Gray’s Anatomy (McDreamy McSteamy, McBlasphemy?) , And I think there is some other show where they regularly kill off a character. I suppose if BlackList (the only show I regularly watch, and I am a season behind)
All this shock of death, even the death of a fictional character is, in my mind a good thing. We can learn from it, that death is fleeting, and that life needs to be taken in a proper perspective. That the relationships, we count on can be horribly marred by death, Whether that death is a friend in their 90’s or infant still in the womb. Whether it is the death of a dear friend whom we will miss for years or of someone across the world.
It can cause fear as well, I can testify to that. Because of a genetic heart condition, I’ve faced it for a long time though since 1998 the threat has lessened because of surgery. Even so, death has an incredible power over us who live. It threatens us, it hurts us, it damages our psyche as we try to cope with our lives being shorter and more tragic than we want to admit, that we want to face.
Yeah – a character can be killed off. Even more importantly, a friend can die, or you can. An accident, a cardiac arrest, food poisoning, cancer, war, civil unrest. No one is immune. No one. (as GoT so aptly proves!)
In the quote above in blue, a man named Phillip Melancthon talked about belief, about faith, in a way that can give us some comfort. Faith is what gives us peace in the midst of death and dying, It isn’t just knowing some facts and figures, it isn’t just about thinking about God, or trying to behave well. It is clinging to God in a way that brings hope, even in the midst of tears, and anger, and trying to make sense out of this life, and the terminal nature of it.
Faith clings to the God, who promises that death is not as brutal, that there is something more to life than ending in death.
It clings to the promises God has made, that He has revealed, that He sends the Holy Spirit to confirm to us and to comfort us and to be our guarantee of eternity. When we have faith, we count on God more and more, and He sustains us, comforts us, holds us close. And nothing, not even death, can separate us from His love.
So if GoT caused you to grieve, to be angry, to hold onto speculation that the character really isn’t dead, to go even into a small depression, maybe that’s a good thing. Take the time to think through your reaction, to realize the power of death, and the only way to break its very real hold on you, is to hold on to Jesus.
He’s promised to protect your heart and your mind… and surround you with the incomprehensible peace of God our Father.
You’ll be okay. He died to make sure of it!
Tappert, T. G. (Ed.). (1959). The Book of Concord the confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church. (p. 165). Philadelphia: Mühlenberg Press.
devotional thought of the day…..
8 The LORD is merciful and loving, slow to become angry and full of constant love. 9 He does not keep on rebuking; he is not angry forever. 10 He does not punish us as we deserve or repay us according to our sins and wrongs. 11 As high as the sky is above the earth, so great is his love for those who honor him. 12 As far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our sins from us. 13 As a father is kind to his children, so the LORD is kind to those who honor him. 14 He knows what we are made of; he remembers that we are dust. Psalm 103:8-14 (TEV)
Don’t think any more about your fall. Besides overwhelming and crushing you under its weight, that recollection may easily be an occasion of future temptation. Christ has forgiven you! Forget the “old man”—your former self. (1)
It has been said that those that don’t learn from the past are condemned to repeat it.
While not scriptural, there are many areas that it is true, though sometimes you have to spin it.. just a little.
Dealing with sin, we find that it needs a bit more spinning. For what we are to remember is not the sin, nor the shame. God remembers none, once He has cleansed us of it. Those actions, words, thoughts, or lack of action and words have no power over us. It is broken. God’s love shatters that link between our hearts and the sin – and they are separated as far as the east as is from the West. The prodigal is no longer away… you and I have come home. The Father has welcomed us, as our elder brother has come and brought us home. There is no reason for grieving over the past – as the psalmist rejoiced – God remembers how He made us, and that He knew we would need to be cleansed and healed..
And that is what we must remember – the “welcome home” feast. The Father’s hug! The celebration!
That is the lesson we need to learn from the past – the forgiveness, the mercy, the joy of our Father – the work of God in our lives.
Don’t dwell on your past sins – but rather rejoice in the reconciliation that has come to be our reality, on the work of God that enables us to be welcomed into His presence, on the joy on His face, as we stand before Him.
So learn from your past…. learn the power of His love and mercy… and when the time comes… show that Godly mercy and love to those that sin against you.
(1) Escriva, Josemaria (2010-11-02). The Way (Kindle Locations 693-695). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.
- Can we take sin seriously, that we may rejoice in being forgiven of it? (justifiedandsinner.com)
- Can we be this Holy? In the face of our “enemies”? (justifiedandsinner.com)
- The Power to Forgive (oricles.wordpress.com)
- Imitating Christ… in dying to self. (justifiedandsinner.com)
Devotional/Discussion thought of the day:
Last night, as a couple of friends and I were talking about the gospel reading for this week, we struggled with the message that will develop out of it.
Because it challenges our idols, it challenges the things we cling onto for support. And if we are to preach it clearly, we will have to destroy and idol or two. This isn’t easy, and the reaction of the man in the story is what we, as those who are tasked with what is fancifully called “the proclamation of the gospel” fear. The man came to Jesus, desiring eternal life, willing to bend his knee and honor Jesus, and at the end of the discussion this is what happens.
“he was stunned at this demand, and he went away grieving,”
He went away, rather than accept the invitation to accompany Jesus, in reality to do exactly what was at the heart of the question – to experience heaven, to be in the presence of God. For if he had given all that restrained him, all that bound him, this young man would have walked with God, just as Enoch did, just as Abraham and Moses and David… and Peter and James and John. What he wanted was right before his eyes! And he walked away, turning down what he wanted most. And not only did he turn away, he left broken and stumbling and….grieving.
While he went his way, Jesus went away, for the joy set before Him. A joy that would lead him to the cross. For this young man, into whose heart he looked, and loved, and would die for, gladly. He would endure the cross to break the power of sin, in this case, the sin of idolatry, and by breaking those bonds, the man would be able to do that which he most desired, to live in the presence of God. He would be able to do, that which we cannot do. Jesus would come to him the next time, and free him of that sin, and unite with him.
A good summary of the lesson for us would be this prayer….may we each pray it today, embracing the pain that being separated from our idols will bring, for the joy that was set before Jesus….that caused Him to give up everything that had to do with Himself, that He could share with us that glory and love.
“”Lord, grant me the grace to give up everything that has to do with myself. I should have no other concern than your Glory… in other words, your Love. Everything for Love!” (1)
(1) Escriva, Josemaria (2011-01-31). The Forge (Kindle Locations 1038-1040). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.