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How Do We Become the One, Separated from the 99

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The Good Shepherd, carrying His own.

Devotional Thought of the Day….
3  “You must not have any other god but me. 4  “You must not make for yourself an idol of any kind or an image of anything in the heavens or on the earth or in the sea. 5  You must not bow down to them or worship them, for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God who will not tolerate your affection for any other gods. I lay the sins of the parents upon their children; the entire family is affected—even children in the third and fourth generations of those who reject me. 6  But I lavish unfailing love for a thousand generations on those who love me and obey my commands. Exodus 20:3-6 (NLT2)

9         When they talked to him about committing himself personally, his reaction was to reason in the following manner: “If I did, I could do that…, I would have to do this other… “ The answer he got was: “Here, we don’t bargain with the Lord. The law of God, the invitation of the Lord, is something you either take or leave, just as it is. You need to make up your mind: go forward, fully decided and without holding back; otherwise, go away. Qui non est mecum…— whoever is not with Me, is against Me.”

Back in the late 80’s, early 90’s there was a huge battle over something called “lordship salvation”.   The question pit some of the mega-church, whose services were on television and radio against each other. The battle also sold a lot of books for them as well, as they countered each other with the dedication of boxers, each looking for the knock-out punch. 

They battled over justification, could a person become a Christian unless they sold out completely to God.  Was He going to become your Lord and Master, and would you follow him perfectly?  They would use the parables like the king going to war without considering how his army matched up to his enemy or the man who built his house on rock versus sand. 

Neither side accounted for the ongoing struggle with sin.  Neither side considered the work of the Holy Spirit.

And yet, we need to regularly ask the question,  Are we praying to God, or an idol of our own making?  Do we worship God, for the love He has for us, revealed in the life and death and resurrection of Jesus, or do we create a God that will answer our own desires?

We need to think these things through, regularly.  Are we willing to go where God wants us to go?  To do what He asks us to do?  Or do we just do what we want, what we desire, what seemingly benefits us the most?

It is a hard question, but I like the way St. Josemaria phrases it.  Do we consider our relationship with God based on a plus and minus calculation of how it benefits or makes u uncomfortable?  

Do we struggle with the big decisions, trying to ascertain His will?  What if it means we lose? What if it requires us to suffer?

And what about the small everyday decisions, the challenges to bypass the temptations that leave us broken in sin?  For those too deal with the idea of hearing God, and relating to Him as he determines. 

So, where is the hope?  How do we deal with our own infidelity when it comes to God?  How do we admit we’ve turned from our relationship with God, and put in His place an idol?

We learn to do so, to go to God, so that He can deal with the guilt, the shame.  That He can remove us again.  For just as He called us originally, He will forgive us, and revive us and cleanse us.  That too is His promise, and what we need to cling to.  he will not reject us, indeed, He will continue to try and call us home, or bring us home, to unite us to the 99. 

It is worth the struggle, it is worth seeing what God has in store, it is worth it, for, in the end, our idols can’t answer us or help us, but God can…. and does. So let Him pick you up… and rejoice in resting in His care. 

What are the things you don’t like about what God wants in His relationship with Him?  Have you checked to see if they are actually Biblical?  How will you deal with them?

Escriva, Josemaria. Furrow (Kindle Locations 274-279). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.

Will we ever…. get it? Our Intimacy with GOd

Devotion Thought of the Day…

 26  From one human being he created all races of people and made them live throughout the whole earth. He himself fixed beforehand the exact times and the limits of the places where they would live. 27  He did this so that they would look for him, and perhaps find him as they felt around for him. Yet God is actually not far from any one of us; 28  as someone has said, ‘In him we live and move and exist.’ It is as some of your poets have said, ‘We too are his children.’    Acts 17:26-28 (TEV)

There are a couple of young guys I get to interact with once in a while.  ( I get to interact with others, but this morning I am thinking and praying for these two. )  Like I was at their age, I want to change the world, or at least a small section of it.  Yet, like them, I wandered through careers, trying to find that place where I could not just excel at what I did, but find some kind of contentment at it.

I got to talk to one yesterday, the other, well I will hopefully see him soon.

But I feel both have a call to ministry.  They are avoiding it, and well I was there too, once upon a time.  Matter of fact, I can be pretty good at avoiding God still.  Pretty simple for a pastor – the more we minister to others, the more we don’t allow God to minister to us.

But this blog entry isn’t about them or about me, it’s about all of us, and what we try to avoid.  It is not about serving either – well one of the fringe benefits of realizing what this blog is about – well you will begin to desire to be more and more like Jesus, especially as He ministered to those who were, well, a little obstinate, a little desperate, pretty defensive, and well were sinners.  Because that’ what we were…when He found us.

This blog is too help us mature, but Christian maturity, as my young friends will realize, is less about becoming independent and self-sufficient.  It is, rather, about becoming dependent on God’s presence, on realizing He is with you – that your very life is found, in His presence, that He guides your movements, that because in Him we exist, He is never far from us.

I know most of us guys will grimace at the use of the word “intimacy”, but I have yet to find a word to describe this relationship that God has called us into.  But to try and accept this – even it is too much to comprehend –  God is with us.  We dwell, we live, everything we do is in His presence.   It is when we realize this, when we revel in it, when we dance with joy and abandon because we know His love… (like Snoopy)  that everything changes.  That we realize His promises, that we realize His providing for us and His protection.  That we take chances, that we sacrifice, that we endure – knowing, expecting, trusting that He has us in the palm of His hand.

It becomes the center of our existence, and everything else is measured – not by how many dollars we earn, or what we have, but simply – knowing God….

And it is there – in His presence, that we realize our true life, our true calling.

May S and K find that calling – that seems a bit obvious to us, and may we as well realize that where God has placed us, He has done so for a reason – it’s where He has chosen to dwell with us.

Godspeed!

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