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A Different Life, one of the Sabbath

nativityDevotional Thought for our Days:
12  Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. 13  Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. 14  Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. 15  And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful. Colossians 3:12-15 (NLT)

102 Peace, and the joy which comes with it, cannot be given by the world. Men are forever “making peace” and forever getting entangled in wars. This is because they have forgotten the advice to struggle inside themselves and to go to God for help. Then He will conquer, and we will obtain peace for ourselves and for—our own homes, for society and for the world. If we do things in this way, you and I will have joy, because it is the possession of those who conquer.And with the grace of God—who never loses battles—we will be able to count ourselves conquerors as long as we are humble.

I am looking out the window of a timeshare, at a schooner being driven by the wind.  From a distance, it looks peaceful, calm, the stuff that makes a beautiful portrait or painting.

I am here, on a two day “sabbatical” of sorts, to plan for our Advent services, to find quiet, to get away and rest.  A good friend lent me some of his timeshare points to do this, for which I am grateful. And so time away, to pray, to think, to meditate on the incarnation, to have, in a real way, a Sabbath rest. 

But like the schooner in the distance, what may appear to be a peaceful time isn’t.  The master watches the sales, the quartermaster/pilot is considering the terrain, listening for directions, the sailors working hard to ensure all goes well.  And I am tempted to do the same. To think through all the problems and challenges I am escaping from for a brief moment.  To think of the chores and the work that will await my return.  It is too tempting for my mind to return there, while my body is here. 

Dear St. Josemaria is correct, we try to “make peace” but only cause more riots, more violence, more sin. Rather than go to God, who has supplied our peace, we try to create it on our own.  We try to even manipulate the silence when we encounter it.

Scripture calls us to something different, a life that is peaceful because God has conquered us internally first,  To know and rejoice that He rules over our hearts, that He has come there, even in the dark recesses where our lives truly aren’t peace-filled, but hectic.  Those places that we struggle to control, or having crashed our ships on the rocks, struggle to keep afloat.

There is something different that happens when we can relax in His presence.  We can allow Him to be the master of our life. We can take a moment to enjoy the Spirit breathing life into us, providing the power and guidance.  We can trust God to do all that is necessary, as He moves us from one place to another. as he reconciles our life to His.

It is then we find peace, even in the midst of storms and waves that would threaten us. For it is not a human peace we have made, it is His peace, a peace which will pass all understanding, but in which we shall live, Amen!

 

Escriva, Josemaria. The Forge (Kindle Locations 568-575). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.

Even if I am a dog, He’s my Master!

Even if I am a Dog,

He is MY Master

Matthew 15:21-28

Kyrie Iesou, Eleison


May you realize that when God is your Master, your Lord, which means He obligates Himself to showing you love, and mercy, so that you live in peace!  

It’s not about tenacity; it’s about recognition

A question for you to start this message.

Does God simply answer our prayers because we are so tenacious?  Did Jesus answer this lady’s prayers just because she followed them through town, or did Jesus answer her to silence the apostles who were whining about her bothering them with her begging?

Is that the way God works, that He rewards those who are persistent, who are tenacious?  Who don’t give up?  Do we have to workout spiritually, so that we can endure, and then receive that which is promised?

We might say, “No, that doesn’t sound right.” But when it comes to unanswered prayer, do we sometimes hear this story, or the parable of the elderly woman and the judge, and wonder; is that the key to getting a prayer answered?

Persistence, dedication to the cause, determination and good old-fashioned stubbornness?

Or is there something else…. Perhaps something like recognizing the Truth?

The truth that it is okay to be a dog; if that means that He is our Lord, that He is our Master?

That is what was revealed to her, which confirmed to her that He was her Lord!

What She Saw:   Lord Son of David!

A little background helps.  When the lady first starts yelling to Jesus “Kyrie Eleison” she is saying something we sang a few moments ago.

The translation phrases it, “have mercy Lord.”  We sing it the Kyrie in the opposite order, but the plea is the same.  Lord, love us and because of that love, care for us.  That is what the word mercy means.  cHesed means to have great love, care for, provide, protect, forgive and do everything in your power to care for and help those who with who you have a relationship.  She demands this of him.

Pour out you love and care on us Lord, she cries, Over and over, she begs this very thing.

She goes one step further; she calls Him Lord! She acknowledges that He is her master.  She lays herself at his feet, and she worships Him as her Lord.

You see, cHesed is that loving-mercy of God.  It is an obligation of the Lord to His people.  I’ve mentioned that word here before, this incredible word that binds a Lord, a Master to His people. He will take care of them, for He has made that commitment to them, as their Lord. He has become their Master.

That is what she wants! That is why she keeps calling Him Lord! Every time she speaks, this is how she addresses Him, as the one who is obligated to care for her.

She wants to be part of His Kingdom, His Household, to be His!

More Precise!

The first time she calls out for mercy, she adds something to it.

Have mercy Lord, Son of David!

Somehow, she knew about this promise of the Messiah.  She uses one of the titles for the Messiah, the Christ, the Anointed one of God!  The Lord through whom salvation would come! Salvation to the Jewish people, but also to all who would call out to the Messiah.

When she cries out for mercy, she is crying out to the Messiah!  She is crying out to the long-awaited Son of David! She recognizes that He is the Lord and Master; the One who would bring about what we heard from the prophet Isaiah,

“I will also bless the foreigners who commit themselves to the Lord, who serve him and love his name,
who worship him!”

She knows who Jesus is, she knows the help that only He can offer!  She comes and places herself in His care, begging that He would accept Her!

His response finally is heard.

You are nothing but a dog.

Surprisingly, that is what she is longing to hear!

Dogs are part of the family

Consider this quote, about John Chrysostom, one of the most-quoted preachers in  history.

Chrysostom seems to recognise the shade of meaning conveyed by τ κυνάρια (the dogs of the household). “On the very words of the Lord she founds her plea. If I am a dog (κυνάριον), she says, I am no alien.”[i]

I belong!

She understands these “terms”; that the promises go first to the people of God, those he counts as His children.  She rejoices in knowing that the promise is there for her as well. This Lord has accepted her as part of the household, part of the family of God.

Think about it!  How many people refer to their dogs as their children!

She’ll take it, even as the Psalm 84 talks of a similar attitude:

A single day in your courts is better than a thousand anywhere else! I would rather be a gatekeeper in the house of my God than live the good life in the homes of the wicked. Psalm 84:10 (NLT)

To be the mutt, waiting under the table for scraps, the Kingdom of God is a great place to be, knowing the love of the Master.  As long as she knows the love of the Lord, as long as she is one of the people He brings home, she will be content.

She will trust in her Master; she will bask in His love…she will trust His reign over her life.

Scraps aren’t good enough!

He will at first acknowledge her faith, by providing the salvation of her daughter, freeing her from the demons that afflict her.

That is only the beginning of the fulfillment of His promises to her, and to all of us, who though not physical descendants of Abraham, are the spiritual descendants.  It is just the beginning for those who trust in God as our Lord, our Master!

A blessing for those who know that our cries for His love are answered.  His mercy is always the answer! He hears us and will bring us home.  That woman didn’t get the scraps from the table; neither will any who trust in the promises that are made ours in Christ.

 

She is invited to a feast – one beyond all comparison…the wedding feast of the Lamb, the feast to celebrate the welcoming home of all the people of God.

Including this gentile woman and her daughter.
When we approach this altar, we see this feast in part.  The love of God, the love of our Master, our Lord, and the mercy which makes it possible.  These are not bread scraps and the last drops of wine.  This is the body and blood of Jesus Christ!

This feast is the answer of a God, who would provide for all of His children, for all who will call upon His name.

Yes, I am your Lord.  Come and feast with me!

Yes, dear friends, Jesus says I will be your Lord, your Messiah, I will care for you. I will provide.  That was what the cross was about, not just saving us from our sins, but opening up a relationship for all people with God the Father.  He says,  “You are my people, come and know my peace!”  For this, this peace of God, is promised, which passes all understanding, and in which our hearts and minds are kept safe, by our Lord.

AMEN!

[i] Chase, F. H. (1887). Chrysostom: A Study in the History of Biblical Interpretation (p. 130). Cambridge; London: Deighton Bell and Co.; George Bell and Sons.

Jesus Christ our Lord: A Look at what He Commits to!

Devotional Thought of the Day…

 9  This, then, is how you should pray: ‘Our Father in heaven: May your holy name be honored; 10  may your Kingdom come; may your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. 11  Give us today the food we need. 12  Forgive us the wrongs we have done, as we forgive the wrongs that others have done to us. 13  Do not bring us to hard testing, but keep us safe from the Evil One.For yours is the Kingdom and the Power and the Glory, now and forever! AMEN Matthew 6:9-13 (TEV)

31  “So do not start worrying: ‘Where will my food come from? or my drink? or my clothes?’ 32  (These are the things the pagans are always concerned about.) Your Father in heaven knows that you need all these things. 33  Instead, be concerned above everything else with the Kingdom of God and with what he requires of you, and he will provide you with all these other things. Matthew 6:31-33 (TEV) 

857 The Kingdom of Jesus Christ: that is our task! So, my child, be generous: don’t be anxious to know any of the many reasons he has to want to reign in you. If you look at him, it will be enough for you to consider how much he loves you… You will feel a hunger to correspond to his love, crying aloud that you really love him here and now; and you will understand that if you don’t leave him, he won’t leave you.

Back in the 1990’s there was a controversy over what it meant for Jesus to be our Lord.  Interestingly, it focused not on God, but on our obligation to God, or more precisely the code of behavior laid down in scripture. On one side, there was a focus on complete obedience to Christ as the only way to be sure we were in God’s will.  On the other side, there were pastors and theologians who took a position that since faith alone saves, our behavior had little to do with our salvation – but rather affected our peace and comfort in this life.

The battle seems to be raging anew – with different descriptions, – the latter group being called anti-nomians, the former pietists  Old labels for sure, but being applied anew.  I chose a different translation for the second passage – we usually hear it as “seek first the Kingdom” – but this to comes on the heals of realizing God’s promise to provide, so that we can focus on living in a relationship with Him. As we focus on what God requires os us, especially we hear His invitation for us to walk humbly with Him

The challenge is realizing that these views are arguing about Christ’s Lordship by looking at th wrong subject.  They start by looking at responsibility in the relationship – but they set their priority in the wrong place.  It all starts with the master’s responsibility, not ours.  IF we are to understand the Lordship of Christ, if we are to understand what it means that He is our master, we must begin there…We must begin by seeing His commitment to us.

As He teaches us to pray, look at what is promised to us, look at the things God is taking responsibility for in our lives. Look at the burdens He would have us place in His hands

I love the point St Josemaria makes – we can think all day of why God would choose to call us, to walk with us.  We can try to comprehend all of His logic, to analyze it, to create the theological systems   But what if instead, we looked to God, we knew His love, we expored, as Paul urged the height and depth, the breadth and width of that love.  What would happen if we looked at His commitment, HIs faithfulness, HIs desire – and our thoughts and our heart were focused there?  The resulting response by us as we consider His love as we bask in it, as we realize he loves us, will cause be far more of a change than we could ever negotiate on our own.Looking to His love, knowing it, will see that love work and create a level of trust and bind us to Him.

That’s the point – Christ being our Lord and Master is a promise to us, a promise that He will care for us, be there for us, that He loves us.

And in the end, it becomes even closer, as we hear him say, “I know longer call you servants…but friends”

Be at peace – for you live in Christ Jesus.

Escriva, Josemaria (2011-01-31). The Forge (Kindle Locations 3035-3039). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.

I don’t want to…its soooo boring!!

Devotional THought of the Day:

22  They put fresh heart into the disciples, encouraging them to persevere in the faith, saying, ‘We must all experience many hardships before we enter the kingdom of God.’ Acts 14:22 (NJB)   

9  Love from the center of who you are; don’t fake it. Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good. 10  Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle. 11  Don’t burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, 12  cheerfully expectant. Don’t quit in hard times; pray all the harder.  Romans 12:9-12 (MSG)

““My enthusiasm is gone,” you wrote me. Yours has to be a work not of enthusiasm, but of love, conscious of duty— which means self-denial.”  (1)

One of the joys of having a brilliant 6 year old son is having to teaching him.  Well sort of! This morning’s lesson was one on dealing with boring things.  The title of the blog is a direct quote from him, about something I asked him to do.  THe response is one I’ve heard from my own lips a time or two during my life. Luckily, with vacation noly a week away, I had some good tools to work with, to explain why doing boring things can be quite good to get done.

Daddy, “Well, going tonight to check out our tent trailer is boring, so I guess I don’t want to do that either”

William – “but….”

Daddy:  “You know – the drive up north to the campground is 6-8 boring hours… and I have no enthusiasm for that…. so we shouldn’t go…”

William – “But…” Then the lesson dawned on him…

Then when I got to the office,. gulp – it dawned on me as well….  ( I really dislike when God ramns “my” lessons back down on me!) I may not be enthusiastic about some of the things I have to endure, some of the things that are tedious and boring and.. well not fun.

The times where I am not worshiping with people, or teaching/learning with them. THe times where we aren’t in awe of God’s grace – but wonder why life has to be so… boring, mundane or trying.
The times of doing the grunt work – either at home or at church.  It is just a fact – there are times in our lives where we will deny our own wants and desires, times where boredom will cause us to slow down, or even be distracted.  Other times where we won’t have any enthusiasm to endure because the road is to rough, the obstacles take to much effort to overcome.

The answer in both places is the same.  When we persevere, our goal cannot be the task alone.  Most of them would fail to be worth our effort.  But if we see the end of the task as a place to rest and be ministered to by God, a chance of peace and a time for healing, then it changes our attitude.  The Kingdom of God is there… waiting… ready for our entrance home. The only way to get there is to endure – and the key to that is to know who has taken us on His journey home… for we live and dwell and persevere and find life’s great victory… in Christ. With Him, the trying times can be endured.

WIth Him, even the boring times can be endured. AMEN

(1)  Escriva, Josemaria (2010-11-02). The Way (Kindle Locations 2309-2310). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.

Some Advice for Surviving Mondays at Work

English: Icon of Jesus Christ

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

Devotional/Discussion Thought of the Day:

5  Servants, respectfully obey your earthly masters but always with an eye to obeying the real master, Christ. 6  Don’t just do what you have to do to get by, but work heartily, as Christ’s servants doing what God wants you to do. 7  And work with a smile on your face, always keeping in mind that no matter who happens to be giving the orders, you’re really serving God. 8  Good work will get you good pay from the Master, regardless of whether you are slave or free. 9  Masters, it’s the same with you. No abuse, please, and no threats. You and your servants are both under the same Master in heaven. He makes no distinction between you and them.     Ephesians 6:5-9 (MSG) 

When I made you a present of that Life of Jesus, I wrote in it this inscription: “May you seek Christ. May you find Christ. May you love Christ.” These are three very distinct steps. Have you at least tried to live the first one?

At first, the scripture passage from Ephesians and the quote from Josemaria may seem dissonant, or at least unrelated.

But as I consider this particular Monday morning, they resonate completely.

It is easy, as an employee or the boss, to view our work from what benefits me, that its all about me getting done what I need to get done.  We will do a good job at work, but only if we get the wage we feel we deserve.  We wil only work as a team, if we get our reward for the job well done, and not the blame when others on the team fail to work hard enough to get the team’s goal accomplished. If we are the boss, it’s easy to expect people to go beyond the average and do their best – without our having to invest ourselves in them.

The answer to being a good boss, or a good employee (and some of us are called to be both) lies not in ourselves.  It is found in Christ, it has to be, we have to trust Him.   For the one who believes and trusts in Christ – this is our core value.  This relationship with God is how we define ourselves.  It is what gives us the strength to both know the truth, and to be honest about it.  Without knowing this, how can we address our own faults, be honest and work sacrificially, and in th best interests of those around us?  How can we find the humility to serve, and the strength and patience to work through things.

It is only in trusting Christ, it is only in seeking first His mastery, His reign, His Kingdom, that this can happen.  It is only realizing that He is the one we answer to in life – and that His standards are far different and far higher than our own, or those of our earthly bosses.

Look at Christ – the best of servants – who gave up everything not for His own success, but for the success of those who failed the Boss.  Look at Christ the Boss, who trained His servants to the point they were willing to die to achieve that which Christ wanted – the reconciliation of the world.

Believers – seek Him first, find yourself in His presence! Know His love for you…. and work with Him by your side…

Godspeed this Monday.

Escriva, Josemaria (2010-11-02). The Way (Kindle Locations 966-968). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.

Not Ashamed to Call us Brothers

Not Ashamed… to call us brothers!

Hebrews 2:1–13 (14–18)

 

In Jesus Name

 

As you begin to comprehend that Jesus is not ashamed to call you His brothers and sisters, may you never neglect this news, this message of the cross, and may you realize what it means that we have been brought into His glory!

That first date and that relative…

I think each one us has someone in their past, that was capable of embarrassing us at the drop of the hat.

 

It might have been the over-enthusiastic younger sibling who tried to pretend they were all grown up and equal to you and your friends.

Or that aunt who managed to show up at the wrong moment just in time to share with your first date the cute stories of you early child-hood.  She was trying to make you look cute, but the more she spoke, the more you tried to shrink between the seat cushions.  Maybe it was the obnoxious, boisterous uncle, who wanted to relive his youth with you.

Maybe it is your offspring, or your parents.  As I said, sometime in our life there probably was someone we are ashamed of, embarrassed by, not really happy when they show up
For some of us, it wasn’t that we were embarrassed and shamed when others showed up in our lives, maybe we were the sibling that was dragged along, and were treated like a ball and chain around our older brother’s ankle.  It could have been as we were sharing that important story, well it was important to us, that we finally noticed everyone rolling their eyes…

Being embarrassed by someone, or being the person everyone is ashamed to admit they are related too are simply opposite sides of the same coin. The relationship is invariably fractured, maybe even shattered, as we wonder will they ever change… will we ever change…

As I thought through this passage from the book of Hebrews, there is one phrase that keeps coming back to mind…

 

. 11 For he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one source. That is why he is not ashamed to call them brothers

 

He is not ashamed to call us brothers…

Jesus is not ashamed to call us brothers..

Can you hear Me now?

         

Knowing that truth, that Jesus is NOT afraid to call us His brothers and sisters, is something that I pray we never forget.  It is what the writer of Hebrews is telling us that we need to pay closer attention to – literally to grasp onto for dear life. If we don’t, we will drift away as the cares of the world drag us down stream toward the falls. We have to hear Jesus’ message, to what we hear in this place, and to what we read in the scriptures of the love of the Creator of all, the love of the God who cleanses us and sets us apart for a relationship,

who sets us apart for a relationship with Him!

This epistle, my favorite book of the New Testament makes a great deal of this relationship for which we have been saved.  The relationship we are delivered into, a relationship that is glorious, as it based in the love of God.

This isn’t just the message of a pastor, or even a prophet or apostle, or any other messenger of God, whether human or angelic.  But it is the message from which every other message of God takes its cue, it is the measure against all messages which are claimed to be from God must be measured.

 

But it starts with the Annointed/Chosen Christ

         

Often we hear of Christ being the Lord of all, and that we need to learn to submit to His lordship, to put Him in charge of our lives. There is a strong lesson there, and yes, we need to know Jesus reigns, that He is in charge, that the way He commissioned us to live life is the way we should, for we have learned to trust in Him.

There is another side to this idea of Lordship though, it isn’t just about our submitting to God, it is about His taking responsibility over us, that He would commit His life, and all eternity to being responsible for our lives.  The one who created the mountains, and the oceans, we’ve talked about it so many times, He has promised to make our lives a masterpiece, to forge them into something incredible and miraculous and His.

I think we’ve lost that in the church in the USA today.  I know when I talk to people who’ve have negative experiences with churches, it was because they felt an incredible pressure to conform – to shape up or ship out  – that it was about domination, and unless YOU made God the Lord of your life- and obeyed perfectly, you weren’t good enough.  That is, simply put, wrong.

Jesus being the Lord of your life isn’t about a perfect life submitting to the domination of another.  It is about the ill letting the nurse attend them, about the broken letting the One who can heal the brokenness get in and get to work…It’s about the leper hearing he’s healed, the prostitute hearing, “go and sin no more,” the adultress being offered living water. The one weary and tired being offered rest.  I love what I came across in my devotions this week,

If the outlook in your interior life, in your soul, is darkened, allow yourself to be led along by the hand, as a blind man would do. In time the Lord will reward this humble surrendering of your own judgment by giving you clarity of mind. 

 

What we surrender to the Lord is that which could have been embarrassing, that which is shameful, that which He suffered death to remove from us, and did.

 

Or as a favorite song of mine puts it:

You love every lost cause; you reach for the outcast
For the leper and the lame; they’re the reason that You came
Lord I was that lost cause and I was the outcast
But you died for sinners just like me, a grateful leper at Your feet

Except at the cross, where He died for the joy of bringing us into the love of God,

For listen again to Hebrews, when it talks about Jesus being Lord…

Now in putting everything in subjection to him, he left nothing outside his control. At present, we do not yet see everything in subjection to him. But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.

He was crowned with glory and honor because He was willing to experience death for you, for me, to bear the shame, and disgrace that we were, that we struggle with, as we struggle to pay attention, to grasp on for dear life, for eternal life, this very message that occurs in the next paragraph

 

10 For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering. 11 For he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one source. That is why he is not ashamed to call them brothers,

 

In committing to be our Lord, in committing to care for us, He commits to bringing us, among many sons and daughters, to glory!

He commits to being never ashamed to call His brothers, never embarrassed to deal with our frailty, our immaturity, our brokenness!  He went to the cross to deal with it all, and in our baptism – we are united to Him, we have life in Him and are cleansed and claimed as His. The scripture describes as having one source of sanctification, that of the Father who raised Christ from the dead, and with Him, you and I!

 

You are His beloved family, He is your beloved Lord…

That is the message that we have to hold onto my friends, that we have been so cleansed, so rescued, so made holy and set apart for a relationship with God that nothing can separate us from God’s love.  Nothing.

You are His family, He is our beloved Father, Jesus our brother, by His decision not ours.  This is our hope, it is that He clings to us with more determination that even found in our desperation.

Don’t neglect that, celebrate it daily, you have been adopted by the Father, for you have been cleansed by the Spirit, and your brother Jesus, is never ashamed to be there for you….

And there, sharing in the love of Trinity, we find something special, the peace of God which passes all understanding, and a peace in which we are guarded, our hearts and minds secured and kept safe by our brother Jesus.

AMEN?

A Source of Brokenness: Who do you belong to?

Discussion thought of the day

“You don’t want to submit yourself to the will of God, and instead you adapt yourself to the will of anybody, and everybody”  Escriva

In the 1930’s the Biritsh Prime Minister, Neville Chamberlain, thought the way to peace was to appease Hitler, to give into his little demands, to sacrifice others that Hitler would find contentment.  It didn’t work of course, and the world was plunged into war.  I think many of us do that today.  Our friends are doing something we know is wrong, and we are quiet, afraid to destroy the relationship, yet all the time fearing for the consequences we know will come.  We give in to our children’s demands, thinking that a moment of respite and quiet is worth it, rather than engage in disciplining them. We make deals all the time, with the illusion that it will bring peace, and minimize the impact on our lives.

Except of course, we don’t bow to God, we don’t listen to the one who designed us, and we get mad at Him when peace isn’t there.  He points to simple things – love Him, love your neighbor, and points out the critical ways that can be done and lets us know we don’t have to submit to other God’s, we can use His name to praise and pray to Him instead of using it as a cuss word, we can cherish the blessings of marriage and life. We don’t have to covet other people’s lives and reputations….

DO these things, live in the way He designed, and there is peace.

If you don’t, confess them and He will provide the gift of cleaning it up, and making it right,

But we don’t even like that.  “why do I have to confess my sins” they cry!  “I don’t need a pastor, or a church, my relationship is with God!”  I guess, but even in saying that, the self-centered focus is turning down the gifts of God, and my expectation is the time you could have spent with God’s people, the burdens you have, the guilt and shame  – you will continue to bear as you bow to others agendas, and you appease them, for an illusion of peace in that moment.  The reality of it is, we belong to whomever we try to appease or submit to…

My friends, let God be God, submit to Him, look to His wisdom and promises….. when you belong to Him, the peace isn’t momentary, nor an illusion.  It is peace in the middle of storms, and through them.  It is real peace in life.

And in crying “Lord have mercy,” we acknowledge we belong to Him, when we confess our sins, looking for and receiving His love and compassion and comfort – we realize it again.  When we take part in the family of God, celebrating His presence, His promises, His gifts, the same – we revel in His being our Master, our Lord, our Savior.

SO this morning – who will you belong to?

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