Discussion and Devotional Thoughts of the Day:
11 I will live among you in my sacred Tent, and I will never turn away from you. 12 I will be with you; I will be your God, and you will be my people. Leviticus 26:11-12 (TEV)
What does it mean to have a god? or, what is God? Answer: A god means that from which we are to expect all good and to which we are to take refuge in all distress, so that to have a God is nothing else than to trust and believe Him from the [whole] heart; as I have often said that the confidence and faith of the heart alone make both God and an idol. (1)
78 Heroism, sanctity, daring, require a constant spiritual preparation. You can only ever give to others what you already have. And, to give God to them, you yourself need to get to know him, to live his Life, to serve him. (2)
I have pondered why the church is anemic in America.
We have incredible theologians, great exegetes, and emphasis on apologetics. We have Church Growth studies and strategies, church planters, church restorers, more seminaries than anywhere else in the world.
Yet the church in America still is in decline. It is so bad now, that we actually have experts in church viability, and strategies to close churches. The key phrase these days is a legacy church – a church which realizes it isn’t viable, and therefore determines how to will its assets to something that will live and thrive.
We’e forgotten His promises, we’ve forgotten that this faith we have, is faith in those promises, a trust that is based in not knowing about God
A trust not founded in theological treatises, or exegeting the word skuballw correctly, or in knowing which studies to use to understand a church, or which programs might work in which context. It’s a trust that isn’t dependent on using a 14th century liturgy, (or one from a red, blue or maroon hymnal) or haing the right contemporary service order. All these things are tools, they can be used in our churches, But we never, ever dare put our trust in them. They are not what we count on, they are not whom we believe on, and they will let us down.
It is a trust that comes from knowing God, and knowing Him intimately.
It is then we can study His promises and claim those promises (not promises we or others create) as His promises to us.
But it still isn’t about the promises. They are incredible, they are awesome… but our faith isn’t in them.
It is in Him.
It is in realize that He lives with us, in us, that He has come to us, and saved us, cleansed us, is healing us, and is shepherding us, His church, that we come to know Him. Yes, intimately, and we know He knows us more intimately that we will ever know ourselves. It was that knowledge that caused Him to comes to us, to die for us, for in knowing us, He loves us, and we… amazed, in awe, begin to learn to love Him back.
That love of His for us is what makes us holy.. It is what drives missionaries and martyrs. It’s what makes grandma’s and great aunt’s pray for their prodigals on their knees, It is what makes all the heroes of the faith trust in God in their darkest hour. It is what is causing the church in the “third world” or the Global South, to grow in the face of persecution, in the face of famine, in the face of spiritual warfare.
It’s time we remembered that…. its times we shared that, in chruches, and restaurants, in our homes, our workplaces.
God is with us. God loves us… and share the extent of that love.
(1) The Large Catechism of Martin Luther.
(2) Escriva, Josemaria (2011-01-31). The Forge (Kindle Locations 493-495). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.