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Have We Shut Down…the church

English: Icon of Jesus Christ

English: Icon of Jesus Christ (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Devotional Thought of the Day:
28  Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29  Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30  For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”  Matthew 11:28-30 (NLT) 

228         The masses have been going off down “the road of a justified discontentment” and continue to do so. It hurts… but, how many we have caused to be disaffected among those who are spiritually or materially in need! Christ may once more be set among the poor and the humble: it is precisely with them that he is more at ease. (1)

The news this morning, and the talk I overheard at breakfast at the pastor’s conference I am at, is about the government shut-down.  People can’t go here and do this – the grand canyon is closed, this agency is closed – that agency is closed.  Some are rejoicing, some are voicing that “justified discontent” at our leaders and their inability to get things done.

Many are disaffected, discomforted, and even more will become more and more disillusioned.

But I wonder about the church – and if we’ve done the same thing.  That in order to maintain our entitlements – we’ve disaffected the very world which we are to be serving.  We don’t focus on relieving burdens, we don’t focus on bringing comfort, we don’t bring Christ’s healing to where there isn’t.

Not because we aren’t working.  Most pastors and most church people do, instead of too little, too much. We study and we gather and we strategize and we wonder why we aren’t effective.

It’s because we don’t take time in our relationships – seriously, we don’t take time to bring Christ to people – to bring them to Him.  It’s not because of a lack of desire – I think we have that.  It’s because we simply don’t spend enough time with Him ourselves.  Time in prayer, time in reading – not to study, but to read to understand His devotion to us… time to simply sit and adore Him.

For it is in those situations we allow Him finally, to take our burdens, our cares our anxieities, and dree us from them.  We learn to just walk with Him. absolutely absorbing His presence….

Then from there.. we walk with Him in ministering to the lost, the broken, the poor in Spirit.

Spend time with Jesus…. please….

For then, we will not have shut down the church, we will have opened it up…. and it will minister in His Name..

(1)  Escriva, Josemaria (2011-01-31). Furrow (Kindle Locations 1151-1155). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.

Making Ready for the mission.. today’s

Devotional Discussion Thought of the Day…

 34 Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself. Sufficient for a day is its own evilMatthew 6:34 (NAB)

Tomorrow evening I head to the airport – I am travelling to a foreign land, where i will be sharing God’s love with others.  Will proclaim God’s word to some, will worship and pray alongside others, will teach and share as I am able.

I am looking forward to it, as I try to work on what the messages will be each day, and wonder how best to reveal to them the height and breadth, depth and width of God’s love for them in Christ.  It is my first oversees mission experience, and I am looking forward to it.

It is no odd thing, that among my devotional readings this morning, this came up:

When you are preparing for a work of apostolate (this is his and an ancient term for a mission endeaevor), make your own these words of a man who was seeking God: “Today I start to preach a retreat for priests. God grant we may draw profit from it—and, first of all, myself!” And later: “I have been on this retreat for several days now. There are a hundred and twenty on it. I hope that Our Lord will do good work in our souls.”  (1)

We know that God will do these things – yet we pray that we are realizing it is done around us, that God is doing this here!

But even as I planned to plan, I had to encounter that quote from Matthew, and realized, my mission, my apostolate doesn’t start when I land in Asia, today there is a mission. Today’s mission has begun…. Today I will encounter people that need, desperately need to know God’s love.

Are you ready for your mission? Are you ready to be sent – to be God’s apostle to your workplace today?  It is not as much “work”, as it is simply realizing that you dwell in God’s presence, realizing that He brought you into His presence. That everything you need, He provides, the cleansing of sin, the removal of guilt and shame, the love and peace that makes life truly abundant….

Living the mission, living the apostolate, is simply living in and depending on God’s grace.. and that occurs whether you are in Cerritos, or Hong Kong…

Godspeed

(1)Escriva, Josemaria (2011-01-31). The Forge (Kindle Locations 2435-2438). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.

God’s Justice is Love?

Discussion/Devotional  thought of the day:

“Don’t fear God’s justice. It is no less admirable and no less lovable than his mercy. Both are proofs of his love.”  Escriva, Josemaria

To think of Justice as an act of love is challenging, primarily because I don’t think we understand justice.  We see it primarily as punitive, and in an eternal sense – there is something to that.  But justice in scripture is also righteousness  – and in that form, it cannot abide unrighteousness,

It seems to be that we want God to work on the injustice in the world, that which we see as not being righteous.  The challenge is wanting Him to do the same in our own lives, even as we pray it occurs in our communities and countries.  And ultimately, His righteousness is proven in how He deals with our unrighteousness – He keeps His promise – His sacred covenantal promise and makes a righteous people by putting their injustice and unrighteousness on someone else- that His justice may be seen.

May we find that love every day, as we look at crosses that surround us – testifying to His justice, His mercy and His love!

Prayer is not a FB update!

Thought of the day:

He has become so small—you see: an infant!—so that you can come close to him with confidence.    Escriva, Josemaria

In these days of social media – it seems that we communicate more.  I am not so sure of that – we may type more words, we may text and twit, we may read the updates of our friends on facebook, ut do we really communicate?  There is far more to communication than words – there is body language, intonation, personality, culture, and… intimacy.

Example – if a person from group A says something to someone in group A, even if it is a very negative term for the group they are a part of, there is no issue.  Yet the same exact phrase from someone outside of the group – say from group C – oh my gosh, the world is about to end, for world war three has started.

Social Media gives us the illusion of communication – but without all the things that make it comprise it, the “communication” is far more shallow, far less a dialogue, and far easier to misunderstand. I bring this up.  I bring this up because I think we treat prayer like a facebook update at times.  We tell God what we need Him to know – here it is – and we bulk send a ton of posts. We treat God as if He is as far as the person we are messaging (well except for those times when you message your spouse sitting 26 inches from you!) and we expect that some time later we will get a “y”  or NO or a ROFL from God in return.

Prayer is intimate conversation – the most intimate.  We see God’s desire for that in that He didn’t come as a great king – with thousands of guards that prevents us from coming close.   He has come close, come near – come as a baby – grew up as we did, lived life with all its heart breaks, joys, sorrows, sacrifices, laughter…….He has come near… that we could be near Him, talk to Him, cry on His shoulder, be caught up in His joy as another child of the Father is revealed.   He has sent the Spirit, the Comforter to abide with us, to indwell in us, a promise of our baptism, the guarantee of our inheritance, the guide and power of our lives.

Don’t mistake the tiny infant in the cradle for someone weak, someone fragile.. He was there..for you.  To know how close you can come to Him……..to know how intimate our relationship is with Him

To know His mercy, to share in His peace..

So talk to Him.. know Him..adore Him,  and fall in love with the God who has come near..

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