Devotional Thought of the Day:
16 Once a man came to Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what good thing must I do to receive eternal life?” 17 “Why do you ask me concerning what is good?” answered Jesus. “There is only One who is good. Keep the commandments if you want to enter life.” 18 “What commandments?” he asked. Jesus answered, “Do not commit murder; do not commit adultery; do not steal; do not accuse anyone falsely; 19 respect your father and your mother; and love your neighbor as you love yourself.” 20 “I have obeyed all these commandments,” the young man replied. “What else do I need to do?” 21 Jesus said to him, “If you want to be perfect, go and sell all you have and give the money to the poor, and you will have riches in heaven; then come and follow me.” 22 When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he was very rich. Matthew 19:16-22 (TEV)
636 You are constantly talking about the need to change and reform things. Good… Reform yourself! For you need it badly, and already you will have begun the great reform. In the meantime, I shall not be putting too much faith in your proclamations of reform. (1)
It seems that Rush Limbaugh has taken it upon himself to criticze the pope for not being Christian, for not being faithful to scripture. Well the claim is that the Pope is a Marxist because of the way he interprets scripture. I haven’t read more than one article on it, so I am not sure where Limbaugh’s points are. I don’t see the Pope being much of a Marxist, just one who would have Christians love the world as Christ did, taking on the form of a servant…
As I read the article, as I see all the posts about people wanting to reform our government, I have to wonder when we will slow down and consider the advice of St Josemaria, and reform our own budgets, our own spending habits. Will we hear the last “commandment” the man heard Jesus ask about? The one that where we considering loving our neighbor as we love ourselves? Will we desire the “perfection” of giving up all we have to the poor, and following Christ. Would consider giving more than just our hand-me-downs and loose coins to the Salvation Army?
If we take the scriptures in their fulness,what God wants to see develop from within this people is the same kind of love that Christ has shown, the same eagerness to sacrifice for others as Christ did. You can’t but see this in the way the Old Testament prophets confronted Israel over their treatment of the single moms (widows) and orphans. You see it in the commands of how one treats the foreignors, the responsibility of families – even multiple times removed, to care for those in their family. You see it again in the gospels (the Good Samaritan, the Sheep and the Goats) , and in Romans and 1 Corinthians 12, and the entire epistle of 1 John. This love for neighbor, this willingness to be with them in their brokenness, this love for them isn’t one that is mandated, but comes from a heart that beats in symphony to Christ’s heart.
As I write this, I myself am changing in my attitude. Maybe the reason for coming across the article wasn’t for me to defend Christianity against Limbaugh’s American Civil Religion. But to get me to think about my riches and how they are going to be used. Of what I can give away to the poor, of how our finacnes are used. How can I grow in likeness to the Lord who gave all for me?
Heavy thoughts during these early days of Advent…..but ones that I invite you to share in a well.
Thank God that He walks with us through them, and I pray we trust in Him enough to stay and follow and enjoy His presence, rather than walk away sad….
(1) Escriva, Josemaria (2011-01-31). Furrow (Kindle Locations 2679-2682). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.
- Pope a Marxist: Is Rush right? (cnn.com)
- Is it insane to keep doing/teaching/preaching the same thing over and over, and expecting… (justifiedandsinner.com)
- Who is more faithful to the faith? Wrong question! (justifiedandsinner.com)
- Advent Devotion: Convenient, Comfortable Christianity? Hmmm… (justifiedandsinner.com)
Devotional/Discussion Thought of the Day:
15 So watch your step. Use your head. 16 Make the most of every chance you get. These are desperate times! 17 Don’t live carelessly, unthinkingly. Make sure you understand what the Master wants. 18 Don’t drink too much wine. That cheapens your life. Drink the Spirit of God, huge draughts of him. 19 Sing hymns instead of drinking songs! Sing songs from your heart to Christ. 20 Sing praises over everything, any excuse for a song to God the Father in the name of our Master, Jesus Christ. Ephesians 5:15-20 (MSG)
“There is also, he added, “another richness in our culture”, another richness that prevents us from getting close to Jesus: it’s our fascination for the temporary”. We, he observed, are “in love with the provisional”. We don’t like Jesus’s “definitive proposals”. Instead we like what is temporary because “we are afraid of God’s time” which is definitive. “He is the Lord of time; we are the masters of the moment. Why? Because we are in command of the moment: I will follow the Lord up to this point, and then I will see… I heard of a man who wanted to become a priest – but only for ten years, not any longer…” Attraction for the provisional: this is a richness. We want to become masters of time, we live for the moment. ( Pope Francis’s honily this day… from Catholic News Agency)
We live in a world that is, as Pope says, fascinated with “the temporary”. We look to the short term investments to make a killing, we lease cars so that in two or three years, we can buy a new one. We buy into a system that causes us to replace our cell phones, our tablets, our computers every two or three years. We hear that young people will not have one career in their lives – but 3 or 4 or more (heck , I am on my third…) And less we forget marriage, people trade in their lifetime commitments like they were library books.
I labelled this blog – the “Idol of Time” because that is what it appears to be. Yet I think the Pope sees it very clearly – this is an Idol, because while we claim to value it, we also want to desperately control it. That’s the thing about idols – they are far easier to control than God is, who as CS Lewis put it (and Chesterton as well) God cannot be tamed. So we try to become Master’s of our own time – setting up calendars and planning our next moves, working to see what new thing we can distract ourselves with for the moment, thinking that we’ve got it all now. Then the next commercial makes us realize we are out of date already.
That’s why we are attracted to the temporary, to that which is unsustainable, to that which needs to be replaced.
But what id we were to focus on that which endures – that which is sustained – that which has a meaning that can never be replaced?
What if we understood the will of God, what if we took the time in prayer, and in reading His word, and in finding encouragement as we fellowshipped with those who also knew His love? What if our joy was found in seeing people cleansed and healed and finding God’s presence – not far off in some othre universe, or even on vacation in a gloriously beautiful place like the mountains of New Hampshire, or Rome, or China? What if we found God’s incredible majestic presence in our homes, our work places, our cars as we drive – and yes… our churches. Would we then look at those places differently? Would we find contentment in the simplicity of knowing He is there?
Would we find the joy that would explode in our singing praises?
Let God manage our time, let Him redeem it, let Him show us His will… His love, His mercy…His peace…and an eternity of wonder and awe and…Him
- Why our Idolatry is Worthless (justifiedandsinner.com)
Devotional/Discussion Thought of the Day:
10 All who are mine belong to you, and you have given them to me, so they bring me glory. 11 Now I am departing from the world; they are staying in this world, but I am coming to you. Holy Father, you have given me your name; now protect them by the power of your name so that they will be united just as we are .John 17:10-11 (NLT)
It’s been an interesting day, that as a “work day” is nearly over.
It started this morning, as I watched Pope Benedict leave behind the papacy, as he was escorted everywhere. It was then I noted that it was a day to especially pray for the church, as I noted many people who seemed to either loose hope, or who attacked a man, who finally could find some rest. I hurriedly posted to FB that this was a good time to pray, and then headed out to teach a Bible Study.
In the Bible Study, we talked about Hebrews 9, and how the tabernacle pictured the ministry of Christ. What a great discussion it was! One of my dear ladies declared that this was the kind of things that kids need to hear today – about how long God has planned and worked the clues to the cross – and to the depth of His love and how He would make us His people, His children. She is right…. that’s what we are to be about!
Lunch with a friend then followed – as we talked about the churches we go to, those we’ve worked with…. and how we need to find our lives, first in Christ…and then with each other in Christ. For that makes the difference.
It also brings me back to my comment… this is a day to pray for the church. For all its leaders, for all its divisions, for all of its people.
That we would find ourselves in the presence of God, and healing of all the damage of sin. For there is much to be healed of… and that healing… and the fellowship that we are made for…happens as we are the church.
Pray as well, especially for the future leaders, including the new pope – that they would be able to bear the burden of their ministry, and that they would see their work focus on revealing the love of God.