Devotional Thought of the Day:
3 “Worship no god but me. 4 “Do not make for yourselves images of anything in heaven or on earth or in the water under the earth. 5 Do not bow down to any idol or worship it, because I am the LORD your God and I tolerate no rivals. Exodus 20:3-5 (TEV)
1 The LORD said to me, “Go again and show your love for a woman who is committing adultery with a lover. You must love her just as I still love the people of Israel, even though they turn to other gods and like to take offerings of raisins to idols.”
Hosea 3:1 (TEV)
441 You are hurt by your neighbor’s lack of charity toward you. Think how God must be hurt by your lack of charity—of love—toward him!
I have sat with many people who are angry, who blame God for the pain and brokenness in their lives. Living with such pain, they get mad at God; they will claim it is His fault, or that He has abandoned them, they strike out at Him.
My temptation is to try an answer for God before they are ready to hear the answer or defend the God who needs no defense. Thankfully, He is patient with me, because He is not willing for them to perish.
And I think we need to see that, this God who is patient, this God who is merciful, this God whose goal is reconciliation and restoration.
We need to see a God who hurts when He is betrayed, who hurts when people are unfaithful, and who embraces that pain to provide an opportunity for those who hurt Him to experience again His incredible love, His limitless mercy, and the abundance of peace.
Yeah, we can hurt God, we can turn our back on Him. He hurts when our pain our anxiety, and the pressures of life seem to drive us away from Him. When we hurt so much, we ignore His presence, and refuse to let Him comfort us. He is there, hurting with us, trying to comfort us anyway, trying to heal us, trying to get us to listen, to be still and know He is God.
So how do we minister on behalf of a hurting God, to people who are hurt? As He does, with great patience, comforting them, allowing them to know they have a refuge, a place to rest, and when they are ready, revealing that to be no less that God Himself.
He is with them, He is with us, AMEN!
Escriva, Josemaria. The Way (Kindle Locations 1086-1087). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.
Devotional Thought of the Day
2 I urge Euodia and I urge Syntyche* to come to a mutual understanding in the Lord. 3 Yes, and I ask you also, my true yokemate,* to help them, for they have struggled at my side in promoting the gospel, along with Clement and my other co-workers, whose names are in the book of life. NABRE Phil. 4:2-3
174 Don’t say, “That person bothers me.” Think: “That person sanctifies me.”
Yesterday I wrote about the church being urged to work for unity at every level. That scripture urged us to do so, even as we find ourselves in opposition to others. That unity is found int he presence of God, in a sacramental (some would say incarnational) presence of God.
In my devotional reading today, Paul is again urging unity, but this time we aren’t the one’s who are divided – we are urged, as the church, to help bring two people back together, to help them reconcile and know the unity that can only be found in Christ.
Paul urges us to help them, and while we probably don’t have these names in our congregations and parishes, we have people that stand apart, that divided over something. People that we might classify as good people, people that work hard in the church, that minister to those hurting, that feed those who are hungry, that care and teach people about God’s love.
Let’s face it, we all have stubborn streaks, we all can be more than a bit irritable and irritating. We can all struggle and in those struggles, get a bit defensive, and bit anxious, a bit territorial. We all struggle with sin, and sin can divide people, even as it separates us from God.
Our sin, and the unrighteousness of the sins committed against us need to drive us to the altar, to the cross where the blood of Jesus cleanses us. That is where the healing between two who find themselves divided and antagonistic can happen. For there, face to face with sin being forgiven, with mercy being extended, we see what happens.
It is in the presence of God that we find that mutual understanding in the Lord. It is where love overwhelms us and where healing begins, as God heals us, as God draws into unity together.
And sometimes – the two parties need the third to remind them of this – that there they are together, that there they are both cleansed, and whatever divided them fades as quickly as their own sin does.
There, at the altar, where we celebrate the New Covenant, there is where they are reconciled. There, they find peace, and the joy of community united in Jesus is restored! AMEN!.
Escriva, Josemaria. The Way (Kindle Location 534). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.