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Dare I Demand What Is Mine by Right?

Photo by Wouter de Jong on Pexels.com

Devtional Thought of the Day:

17 If I were doing this on my own initiative, I would deserve payment. But I have no choice, for God has given me this sacred trust. 18 What then is my pay? It is the opportunity to preach the Good News without charging anyone. That’s why I never demand my rights when I preach the Good News. 1 Corinthians 9:17-18

Grant, my Lord, that before I die I may do something for Thee!

The apostle does not belong to himself/herself, but is buried with Christ
(Col 2:12).
Any other way is to be ashamed of Christ and, therefore, to face
the eschatological consequences: “If anyone is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, also the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in the glory of his Father with his holy angels” (Mk 8:38).

The Apostle Paul writes something to contrary to our culture today.

He preached Christ crucified, and if that meant surrendering his rights, he did.

Even to the point where he would welcome chains, for then he could share the love of God with those guards to whom he was chained.

I wonder how many of us would be willing to do that today?

How many of us pray with de Ligouri that we could do something for God before we die? What suffering or sacrifice would we accept and embrace if that desire could be come true?

If you think I am trying to pour on the guilt to try and motivate you to serve God, to love your neighbor and your enemy, I am not. If you are feeling guilt over this, go back to the cross, go back and look at the love that Jesus has for you there, as He embraced the guilt as He removed your shame, as He embraced that cross for the joy that He would come to know, as you walk with Him in your life.

That is what it means that you aren’t your own, that you belong to Jesus. That you were untied to Him in His death, burial and resurrection, THat guarantees God is at work in and through you, the queston is do you see it?

THat is the job of pastors and priests, daecons and elders, Bible teachers, and 4 and 7 year olds who remind you that Jesus is with you…

at which point, thoughts about our “rightes” mean nothing, not compated to the love God has for us, as He trusts us to invite others into this divine fellowship.

Alphonsus de Liguori, The Holy Eucharist, ed. Eugene Grimm, The Complete Works of Saint Alphonsus de Liguori (New York; London; Dublin; Cincinnati; St. Louis: Benziger Brothers; R. Washbourne; M. H. Gill & Son, 1887), 140.

Pope Francis, A Year with Pope Francis: Daily Reflections from His Writings, ed. Alberto Rossa (New York; Mahwah, NJ; Toronto, ON: Paulist Press; Novalis, 2013), 57.

Are Our “Rights” More Important Than Their Salvation?

The Good Shepherd, carrying His own.

Devotional Thought of the Day:

21  “You have heard that people were told in the past, ‘Do not commit murder; anyone who does will be brought to trial.’ 22 But now I tell you: if you are angry with your brother you will be brought to trial, if you call your brother ‘You good-for-nothing!’ you will be brought before the Council, and if you call your brother a worthless fool you will be in danger of going to the fire of hell.
Matthew 5:21-22 (TEV)

9 Love must be completely sincere. Hate what is evil, hold on to what is good. 10 Love one another warmly as Christians, and be eager to show respect for one another. 11 Work hard and do not be lazy. Serve the Lord with a heart full of devotion. 12 Let your hope keep you joyful, be patient in your troubles, and pray at all times. 13 Share your belongings with your needy fellow Christians, and open your homes to strangers. 14 Ask God to bless those who persecute you—yes, ask him to bless, not to curse. 15  Be happy with those who are happy, weep with those who weep. 16 Have the same concern for everyone. Do not be proud, but accept humble duties. Do not think of yourselves as wise.
Romans 12:9-16 (TEV)

866         Violence is not a good method for convincing anyone… Even less is it so in the apostolate.

The answer to the title is simple to say, but very difficult to implement in our lives.

I am teaching a man, preparing him to serve more at church. He’s currently reading about the reformation and how violent it was. Catholics burning those who would attempt to break away, Henry ordering the death of many, Calvin and Zwingli and Luther were prone to violence as well.

It wasn’t right then, and the more subtle versions that exist today in the church are not righteous or holy either. Jesus, of course, anticipated our thoughts, actions, and words, when He laid out the understanding of sinning in Matthew’s gospel.

Pretty blunt, call your “enemy” or adversary names, deride their character and you are in danger of going to hell.

Even if their action would remove what the world considers your “rights”.

You are still to love them. You are still to be concerned about their life and their salvation. You are to ask God to bless them, rather than curse them. Do not take any violent action, wish that they get what they deserve.

This isn’t easy, in fact, it requires great faith. It requires us to look past what is “ours” to what is God’s.

We are.

We are His responsibility, and we are the way His love becomes known to a broken world that needs it. That mission, the reason that God is patient with us is more important than getting angry. And to remember that, when people are making decisions that cause you stress and anxiety when politicians are polarizing when you are dealing with violent threats yourself, requires great trust in God.

And that trust, that dependence, that faith requires us to know He is with us, to know His attitude toward us, to know His love for us, and to know that nothing can separate us from His love.

Knowing that… we can love them, and that love may be the very thing that allows them to see Jesus love for them revealed.

But it all comes back to walking with God…


Lord, send Your Spirit to strengthen us, to draw us so close to You that your love drives out all anxiety, all stress. Lord, help us to know you are with us. In Jesus name. AMEN!

Escriva, Josemaria. Furrow (Kindle Locations 3549-3550). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.

Would You Give Up Your “Rights” for….

Devotional Thought fo the Day:

 So turn from youthful desires and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord* with purity of heart.s 23 Avoid foolish and ignorant debates, for you know that they breed quarrels.t 24 A slave of the Lord should not quarrel, but should be gentle with everyone, able to teach, tolerant,u 25 correcting opponents with kindness. It may be that God will grant them repentance that leads to knowledge of the truth,v 26 *and that they may return to their senses out of the devil’s snare,w where they are entrapped by him, for his will.  NABRE 2 Tim 2:22-26

.299    Christ died for you. You …what should you do for Christ?

31 6. In line with the above, churches will not condemn each other because of a difference in ceremonies, when in Christian liberty one uses fewer or more of them, as long as they are otherwise agreed in doctrine and in all its articles and are also agreed concerning the right use of the holy sacraments, according to the well-known axiom, “Disagreement in fasting should not destroy agreement in faith.”

When we think of “doing” things for God, we tend to think of big things.  Things like becoming a missionary, or selling out prized possessions and moving into the inner city to run a rescue mission.  Becoming the next Billy Graham or Greg Laurie

In my devotions today, another option is given, one we could do for God if we dare accept the sacrifice called for, the painful self-denial that it will require.

Giving up our “right” to speak what we believe is right.

The right to quarrel.  The right to argue, the ability to prove we are “right.”

Instead of coming with guns loaded, reading to unload our intellect, our well thought out slogans and the meme’s we memorized because they destroy (or so we think ) our opponent, our adversaries, our enemies…..

Instead of being the victorious spiritual warrior, crushing those who mistakenly thought were our enemies, we are asked to remember we are humble slaves, tasked by God himself with loving them, not quarreling, but gently serving them.  

We are asked to love them, to teach and correct them with patient kindness, so that they come to Christ, that they are granted repentance, which His mercy and love be revealed to them, changing everything.

This whether they are of another religion, the Muslim, the Jew, the Mormon or Sikh, or whether they are simply a member of our denomination who stands on the other side of the worship wars

This is an area I need, desperately need transformation in, as do most of us.  Too often we consider our positions beyond question, our logic undefeatable.  

In Christ, we find not only the model for this, but we also find as we have been united to Him the passion, the desire and the power to subject our will, our pride and see the miracle of our transformation, our repentance, and prayerfully, theirs as well.  This is part of the impact of our baptism, and as we kneel and eat and drink of His sacrificed body and shed blood.

Lord Jesus, help us love them more than we love to be proved right.  Send your Spirit to heal our brokenness that we might see theirs healed as well.  † AMEN †

 

Escriva, Josemaria. The Way (Kindle Locations 780-781). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.

Tappert, Theodore G., ed. The Book of Concord the Confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church. Philadelphia: Mühlenberg Press, 1959. Print.

 

Inalienable, God-given Rights? There is only one….

Devotional Thought of the Day:photo

12  Some, however, did receive him and believed in him; so he gave them the right to become God’s children. 13  They did not become God’s children by natural means, that is, by being born as the children of a human father; God himself was their Father. 14  The Word became a human being and, full of grace and truth, lived among us. We saw his glory, the glory which he received as the Father’s only Son. John 1:12-14 (TEV)

255 Jesus came to the Cross, after having prepared himself for thirty three years, all his life! His disciples, if they really want to imitate him, have to convert their existence into a co-redemption of Love, with their own active and passive self-denial.  (1)

A lot of my Facebook recently has been filled with people demanding their, or someone else’s “rights”.  Here are a few of them.

  • a right to a “living wage”
  • a right to sexual freedom
  • a right to speak our against sexual sin
  • a right to life
  • a right to end life
  • a right to live in a democracy
  • a right to own guns of whatever type
  • a right to religious freedom (some claiming that right is infringed on in the USA… some really showing how it is infringed upon in places like the Sudan, or North Korea, or Syria.  you can actually sign online petitions here in the U.S.A to petition the leaders in the Sudan and Iraq to not follow their laws…
  • our right to be treated the way we want in any given relationship.

In some cases, these rights are considered to be God given, or inalienable or universal rights.  My sense of irony would ask, in some cases do we want everyone in the world to have that right.  For example – in the case of guns, if the right is truly inalienable, do we want our enemies to have the same right?  What about those who are violently unstable?  Do we want other countries to be able to tell us what we can or can’t do, based on their understanding of what is right?

Even as my thoughts find the irony in such demands, there is something more serious going on here. The idea of “rights” is quickly becoming a form of idolatry, with the idol being us, and our opinion.  God doesn’t given these rights (neither does the Constitution – which can be another idol at times) unless we think we speak for God, or more realistically, if we have created God in our own image.  demanding our own “God given rights” is often more simply our way of saying life isn’t fair.  An adult way of throwing a tantrum and saying we don’t like the what we are given.

Don’t get me wrong – some of these rights are given to us, legally, by powers that ave the right to grant them.  Others may have been given out of turn, but still, legally, they may have been given.

I am speaking about when we add “God given” or inalienable (which is the same thing if you think it through)

In talking of God-given rights, there is only one I find in scripture.  The right given to those who trust in God, to be called His children.  That can be unpacked, talking about being born again in baptism, talking about God bringing us into a relationship with Him, forgiving our sins.  That is the right that God gives to us, one that neither Satan, the world, a government, enemies, nor even family and friends can deny us.  To spend our life walking with God, knowing that He is there, that He loves us, that everything that happens is promised to work out for good.  (That does stretch our trust at times) Knowing that we are His kids, that He is our dad.

BTW – if we are His kids, that means we will be sometimes treated like His only begotten son. That means, as we imitate those like Paul when they imitated Christ, we will need to deny ourselves, and take up a cross.  We will have to give up our man-given or perceived to be given rights,  We will have to lay down our lives.  Not because we are commanded to, but because that is what those who walk with Jesus do, and have done for two centuries.

When we do, our lives testify to something far greater than our rights.

We testify to the God who gives, who sacrifices because of love, who gives mercifully, who walks with us through our lives, even through the times we make a mess of things. Even when the world is going to kill us.

So next time you think about your rights…. think first of your being a child of God.  It will help put things into perspective.

 

(1)  Escriva, Josemaria (2011-01-31). Furrow (Kindle Locations 1247-1250). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.

 

 

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