Devotional Thought of the Day:
26 Moses knew that the treasures of Egypt were not as wonderful as what he would receive from suffering for the Messiah, and he looked forward to his reward. Hebrews 11:26 CEV
Putting the saint’s observation in simple contemporary terms may help. Bernard was saying that there are more men who give up serious alienation from God, mortal sin, than there are people who give up small wrongs, willed venial sins. And there are even fewer who grow into heroic virtue and live as saints live. If we are not saddened by this realization, we ought to be.
1 The law of God serves (1) not only to maintain external discipline and decency against dissolute and disobedient people, (2) and to bring people to a knowledge of their sin through the law, (3) but those who have been born anew through the Holy Spirit, who have been converted to the Lord and from whom the veil of Moses has been taken away, learn from the law to7 live and walk in the law.
I love to tell the story, for those who know it best; seem hungering and thirsting to hear it like the rest!
Being and Evangelical should not be about a political perspective, To be honest, it shouldn’t even be a theological perspective, as in choosing to be more Reformed, more Arminian, even more Lutheran or Catholic, or catholic.
Being Evangelical is about life, and about our greatest need in life. After reading Dubay’s comments (purple) above, Jackson’s beloved evangelical hymn made more sense to me. I need to keep hearing the gospel, not to celebrate what Jesus has done, but in order to continually be evangelized, to continually be confronted with my guilt, not so I wallow in shame, but because I need the grace of God to be applied to my life today, in this moment.
I need to go from rejoicing and being satisfied that the cross saved me, to imitating Christ. Some might call this sainthood, Wesley would talk about a second infilling of grace. Lutheran theologians talk about it as the Third use of the Law. I prefer Luther’s view of living in the promises made to us in our baptism. Or living the Evangelical life. Letting the news of God’s love, of His mercy being applied and washing away our sin so affect us, that our lives are changed. Not by our actions, but by the power of the Holy Spirit.
We need to realize that God’s work isn’t done in us, yet. Paul would describe this in several ways in Romans. The battle with old Adam, the struggle with feeling like a wretch because we can’t seem to conquer temptation, even the attitude of some that others must eat the way they do, and worship n the way they do, because they’ve arrived and everyone else has not.
We can’t be passive in our conversion, as if just being saved is enough. Not that we active make ourselves holy, the Spirit does, as the word of God, law and gospel bring us healing. We need to learn to desire that, to rejoice in it, to welcome it, and more than anything else, to expect and look for it.
To become like Moses, who would learn to set aside the things of this world, to embrace the suffering that comes with following God. The suffering of having our hearts circumcised, as sin and its cohorts are cut away. Suffering as we share this incredible joy that is affecting our life with others.
That is what the evangelical life is really about…
Lord, help us to hear anew of Your love and mercy daily, and grant that we would never tire of seeing You at work in our lives… AMEN!
Thomas Dubay, Deep Conversion/Deep Prayer (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2006), 12.
Theodore G. Tappert, ed., The Book of Concord the Confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church. (Philadelphia: Mühlenberg Press, 1959), 563–564.
Alan Jackson, “I Love to Tell the Story”
Devotional Thoughts of the Day:
For if a man is in Christ he becomes a new person altogether – the past is finished and gone, everything has become fresh and new. All this is God’s doing, for he has reconciled us to himself through Jesus Christ; and he has made us agents of the reconciliation. God was in Christ personally reconciling the world to himself – not counting their sins against them – and has commissioned us with the message of reconciliation. We are now Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were appealing direct to you through us. As his personal representatives we say, “Make your peace with God.” For God caused Christ, who himself knew nothing of sin, actually to be sin for our sakes, so that in Christ we might be made good with the goodness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:16 (Phillips NT)
103 Your life, your work, should never be negative, nor anti anything. It is—it must be!—positive, optimistic, youthful, cheerful and peaceful.
As I write this blog, a movie I’e longed to see id playing on my television. It is called Monuments Men, A bunch 0f artists and aficionados who have a mission. Some give all they have, their very lives to accomplish the mission. Some find a sense of redemption, a sense of meaning in the life that is given in pursuit of mission.
How much more should we be driven to focus on our mission? How much more should our love for God drive our mission, we should be willing to sacrifice for our mission, the way soldiers did, for the stakes are the same.
The mission, the raison d’etre, of the church.
In truth, there is only one ministry. There is one mission God has given His people. One work He has commissioned for us, the work He hs planned for us to be part of since before the foundation of the world.
The mission, the ministry of reconciling the world to Himself.
We are to be the agents of such reconciliation.
That is our only ministry, it is our mission, it is the work He has given to us, that He has gifted us.
It is our hope, it is our life, walking with the Lord, fulfilling His will.
And there are times where it gets to pessimistic, to depressing, to negative.
Yet it is too easy. We are effected by what goes on around us. The seemingly impossible task of reconciling people together. The seemingly impossible task of seeing what God so desires to come to fruition. We here of church politics, or we see brothers fighting each other without mercy, without recognizing the unity we have, because we are reconciled together in Christ. We see brothers dismiss each other, questioning each other, avoiding actual discussion, hiding behind defenses created to avoid any real conversation.
It is too easy to get caught up in the negativity, in the political machiavellianism. In the lack of reconciliation.
But what were we expecting? That this ministry, which required Jesus to die on the cross would be easy? THat we would snap our fingers and relationships would be reconciled and healed?
Even knowing the cost, we have a God who asks us in fulfilling His dream, of seeing Him call people to be His people, to see them healed, counted righteous.
it’s what we are called to do.
Nothing else. though we will do this in all we do……every vocation, in every place, in every moment we have. Especially in the midst of our sin…our sin, the sins of the people God calls, so that He can cleanse the of that sin.
So let’s get back to our service, let us work hard to diligently do what God has called us to do…..
and realize this…
13 For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him. Philippians 2:13 (NLT)
Rejoice… He will complete this work in you! in us!
He has promised this. so trust Him!
Escriva, Josemaria (2011-01-31). The Forge (Kindle Locations 575-576). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.