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There is only one way to deal with Mondays: with our eyes opened!

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Concordia Lutheran Church – Cerritos, Ca , at dawn on Easter Sunday

Devotional Thought of the day:

When the servant of the man of God got up early and went out, he discovered an army with horses and chariots surrounding the city. So he asked Elisha, “Oh, my master, what are we to do?”
16 Elisha said, “Don’t be afraid, for those who are with us outnumber those who are with them.” 
17 Then Elisha prayed, “LORD, please open his eyes and let him see.” So the LORD opened the servant’s eyes. He looked and saw that the mountain was covered with horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.  1 King 6:15-17  HCSB

 

26  And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. 27  And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will. 28  And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. 29  For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. Romans 8:26-29 (NLT)

404    You say you’ve failed! We never fail. You placed your confidence wholly in God. And you did not neglect any human means. Convince yourself of this truth: your success—this time— was to fail. Give thanks to our Lord, and try again!

There was a great desire to sleep in this morning, to pretend Monday didn’t exist. While Mondays are a study day, I have to admit Holy Week exhausted me.

And while I didn’t feel like a failure yesterday, today I am not so sure!  (This is called the Elijah syndrome – after major spiritual victories we want to hide!)  But I’ve often dealt with failure, especially on Mondays. Not just the feeling I’ve failed, but the knowledge I have failed, or I am actively experiencing failure.

In those moments, I feel like Elisha’s servant, all I see around me is pressing in on me, and there is no escape.  “Oh no, it’s Monday, what are we to do!!!”  And the sake of being alone, and without hope rises like the tide and we fear it will drown us.

At least that’s how my Mondays and several other days a month often feel.

It’s as if I’ve forgotten the promise in Romans 8:28, that all things work for good, including Mondays.  That I can’t picture God doing something in the present circumstances, so I can’t understand my success is found right in the midst of the failure.  Just as the time between the cross and the resurrection was not a failure in the true sense of the word, neither is this time or failure, or anxiety about it, a true failure.

We need to have our eyes opened to this, just as Elisha’s servant did.  We need our trust in God rekindled until we can go through the dark times, and trust that the good times are coming.

For God is with us, Jesus is risen indeed, and that means we are given life and a life where the plan all works together….

His plan, not mine.

This is why I adore Him (when I can remember this!) This is why I praise Him, for He is our God, and we are the people whom He loves.

Just need to remember that on Mondays…. and every other day that has a d in it.

Let me pray for you ( and please pray for me)
As our Lord opens your eyes to His presence today, may you rest, as you dwell in His peace!

Question of the day….. how does knowing you are loved help you through the hardest of days?

 

Escriva, Josemaria. The Way (Kindle Locations 1013-1015). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.

How do we treat those who are just “wrong”

Devotional Thought of the Day:

Acts 18:24-28 (TEV) 24 At that time a Jew named Apollos, who had been born in Alexandria, came to Ephesus. He was an eloquent speaker and had a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures. 25 He had been instructed in the Way of the Lord, and with great enthusiasm he proclaimed and taught correctly the facts about Jesus. However, he knew only the baptism of John. 26 He began to speak boldly in the synagogue. When Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him home with them and explained to him more correctly the Way of God. 27 Apollos then decided to go to Achaia, so the believers in Ephesus helped him by writing to the believers in Achaia, urging them to welcome him. When he arrived, he was a great help to those who through God’s grace had become believers. 28 For with his strong arguments he defeated the Jews in public debates by proving from the Scriptures that Jesus is the Messiah.  

A Confession  Prior to the Devotion.:
I will be the first to admit that I am the chief of sinners in regard to this, but then again, if I wasn’t, this post wouldn’t be written. It is my prayer, and solid hope, that God will work wonders to correct the errors of my past in this, and help me to overcome this tendency in the future.

The Blog:
Last night, probably while I was driving home from a friend’s Superbowl Party, one of the victorius Ravens was approached and said some thanks to God and quoted from Romans 8.  I know of this because my twitter feed and fb was filled with people’s attacking him and questioning his faith and practice.  The accusations ran from calls to discredit him because of his past, to charges of twisting the word of God. 

It would be twisting scripture to say his sin was any worse than ours, so that sets aside that charge for a moment, to deal with the charge of twisting scripture, or taking it out of context.  He might have – I haven’t watched the video, he might have not.  But if we thought we did, the response of simply blasting away with charges, is not correct.

The model that Priscilla and her husband give us, is a great one. Look at some of these steps:

1.  Take the person aside, and work through the issue.
2.  Focus on the Way of God – not our cultural applications of it, not our personal opinions, but focus on God’s revelation to man (i.e. the scriptures)
3.  As the respond , encourage their ministry!  Their zeal is something that should never be stifled, but directed and encouraged.  Too often, I believe, we decide to stifle them, afraid they will go back to their erring ways. We should be praying for them, teaching them, discipling them and sending them.   

We confess in my congregation each week that we belong to one, holy, catholic/christian and apostolic church.  Such a response as Priscilla and Aquilla had towards Apollos had, yeah that is consistent with that belief.  If we can’t work with them directly, our words should have the same flavor, as we instruct those who heard those words about how they apply.  But doing it with graciousness and love is still important.  Doing it with the best construction is still important.  

May we all have the mercy shown to us, as we work together in His Kingdom. 

The Unredeemable?

Occasionally in the life of a pastor (or priest for my RCC friends) you come across a situation that is so far beyond what you’ve been taught to deal with in seminary or pastor’s conferences.  Your heart and soul twists and turns as you think about how you will deal with it, and how in the world the situation will be seen in the promise we share with everyone else….

“We know that in all things God works for good with those who love him, those whom he has called according to his purpose. 29 Those whom God had already chosen he also set apart to become like his Son, so that the Son would be the first among many believers. 30 And so those whom God set apart, he called; and those he called, he put right with himself, and he shared his glory with them.”
Romans 8:28-30 (TEV) 

The situations we find ourselves in have nothing glorious, nothing good it seems, and we are hard pressed to not consider the situation “unredeemable”.

Yet we have a God, who in that passage promises redemption, for H has called us to Him, He has set us apart – and He will make it right.  We have the challenge of trusting Him in that, to rest assured that He is God, and that He can do what we consider impossible, including redeeming that which seems unredeemable.  Forgiving and making right that which seems to dark, too evil, and causes to much despair.

He has promised to make it right, to make it good.  ( I can’t but help hear that as “guuuuuuddd’ as in Jim Carrey and Morgan Freeman in Bruce Almighty”

So it figures, as I face a situation that isn’t completely unredeemable, but still weighs heavily on my mind… at the end of my devotions I come across this:

218      Get rid of that human prudence which makes you so very cautious, so—sorry to be so blunt!—cowardly. Let us not be narrow-minded. Let us not be infantile men or women, who are nearsighted and lack a supernatural breadth of vision…! Could we be working for ourselves? Of course not! Well then, let us say quite fearlessly: Dearest Jesus, we are working for you, and… are you going to deny us the material means we need? You know full well how worthless we are; still, I would not treat a servant working for me in that way… Therefore, we hope and are sure you will give us all we need to be able to serve you. (1)

And He will, He has promised.  The situation will be resolved – by Him, not by us, though perhaps through us.  THough there are times where we have to cry, “Lord, I believe, but help me in my unbelief!”

We have to remember – we’ve asked – “Lord have mercy” – now let us act trusting He has!

(1)  Escriva, Josemaria (2011-01-31). The Forge (Kindle Locations 944-951). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.

 

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