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Will You Dare Pray this with Me?

Devotional Thought of the Day:

Who will set a guard over my mouth, an effective seal on my lips, That I may not fail through them, and my tongue may not destroy me?e Lord, Father and Master of my life, do not abandon me to their designs, do not let me fall because of them!

2 Who will apply the lash to my thoughts, and to my mind the rod of discipline, That my failings may not be spared or the sins of my heart overlooked? 3 Otherwise my failings may increase, and my sins be multiplied; and I fall before my adversaries, and my enemy rejoice over me?
4 Lord, Father and God of my life, do not give me haughty eyes; 5 remove evil desire from my heart. 6 Let neither gluttony nor lust overcome me; do not give me up to shameless desires.  Sirach 22:27- 23:6  NAB-RE

11 *Give us today our daily bread; 12 and forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors;
13 and do not subject us to the final test, but deliver us from the evil one.  Matthew 6:11-13 NAB-RE.

309      Doubts assail you, temptations, with that gloss of elegance about them. I love to hear you say how this shows that the devil considers you his enemy, and that God’s grace will never leave you unprotected. Keep up the struggle!

As I am working through the book of Sirach, I am amazed at the prayer life on display, and the hope of repentance he depended upon God granting him.. The prayer in the first quote above is an example.  It is a prayer that would answer James’ discourse on the tongue, and Paul’s plea for a rescuee from this body of death in Romans.  It is the plea for the fruit of the Spirit to develop in our hearts and minds.And it echoes the prayer Christ has taught us, in asking God to help us avoid temptation, to be delivered from the evil one, and that hard challenge of not striking back against those who’ve sinned us again, but forgiving them.

We would all say that we long for such a Christlikeness to be developed in our lives. I think that most of us would eagerly respond to that call, and the desire to live life walking with Jesus, and imitating Him.

But will we invite God to make it happen?  Will we let Him set a guard over our mouths, will we let him discipline our tongue, mind, heart, eyes and desires?  Will we accept His chastening and rebuking, recognizing it as His love?  Will we make such a prayer our own, knowing the result of God’s law, the work of the Holy Spirit that we call sanctification?

Letting the Holy Spirit put to death the deeds of our body will not be easy, I cannot promise it will be painless. (Romans 8:13)  Matter of fact, I am sure it will hurt, as war wages over our soul, and our sin which was nailed to the cross tries to keep us ensnared.  (Hebrews 1:1-3)

But our hope is found in looking to Christ, in trusting the Holy Spirit to work within us, to comfort us, to comfort and quiet our souls, and to help us understand the work of Christ, which is our promise of sharing in the glory of Christ.  

So, join with me in prayer, and ask God to transform us, that we would reflect the light of Christ to others who need to be healed and freed. And know this, through it all, your Master is with you!!!

(1)  Escriva, Josemaria. The Forge (Kindle Locations 1247-1250). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.

Justice, Mercy, Thirsting for Revenge or Righteousness?

Devotional Thought of the Day:

6  Arise, O LORD, in anger! Stand up against the fury of my enemies! Wake up, my God, and bring justice! Psalm 7:6 (NLT) 

A few days ago I wrote about mercy.  A disclaimer, I was struggling with the topic myself.  In at least 3 cases, I was trying to figure out how to respond mercifully, and yet honestly.  Try to seek reconciliation, and pursue what is right and just.

After reading that day’s blog, and a couple of tweets, a good friend asked how we are to balance justice and righteousness.   In fact, she asked me to write on it.

Darn it, now I have to think it through!

That’s what real friends do – they help drive home the lesson God is trying to teach you!  And so my friend did for me….and others helped.

Tough question, not just because of the thought needed, but to face the answer, I don’t want to face.

I just want to pray with David the top quote from Psalm 7.   Bring JUSTICE!  Trash my enemies.  Get rid of those who are my adversaries!  Whether they be ISIS/ISIL or whether they be… well, God knows who I am struggling with presently.  Anf I find myself too often wanting revenge rather than justice.   Revenge is never justice; it is a judgment against some in my favor.  It is, therefore, contrary to justice.

I thank God for some other friends that study the Bible with me a couple of Thursday mornings a month.  We looked not only at Psalm 7:6, but the verses before and after in the chapter.

If we are to hunger and thirst for justice/righteousness AND show mercy, we need to find the point where both are valid.  In the Psalm, as we discovered, there is the answer.

1  I come to you for protection, O LORD my God. Save me from my persecutors—rescue me! 2  If you don’t, they will maul me like a lion, tearing me to pieces with no one to rescue me. 3  O LORD my God, if I have done wrong or am guilty of injustice, 4  if I have betrayed a friend or plundered my enemy without cause, 5  then let my enemies capture me. Let them trample me into the ground and drag my honor in the dust.  Psalm 7:1-5 (NLT)

Developing a heart that desires justice and mercy starts with examining one’s own heart, and one’s behavior.  Knowing how easy our heart can deceive us, we do what David does, we don’t examine it.  Rather it is in prayer we beg God to examine it.  We welcome His judgment, and the means He will use to bring about in us humility.  The humility needed to answer a call to holiness; the humility needed to trust God to make things just, to make things right in our lives.  The humility to know we need His mercy, we must depend on it.

For otherwise, a call to the purest form of justice will see us judged.

We need to be examined, cleaned, healed.

Foremost of us, this process of being refined will be painful.   It will be difficult; it will be filled with grace, applied to the darkness, most sin-dominated areas of our lives. That grace will sting at first, but will soon turn sweet, and joyful.

It is then we can thirst for justice, and to love mercy.  Mercy for our enemies, adversaries and those who we see being unjust.  Our being refined will counter that as we realize that God’s justice, at this point in eternity, is still synonymous with other words.

Reconciliation.

Restoration.

Healing

Those things are just and right, and exactly what the Great Physician ordered.

Lord, have mercy on us all!  AMEN!

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