Devotional Thought of the Day:
27 God’s plan is to make known his secret to his people, this rich and glorious secret which he has for all peoples. And the secret is that Christ is in you, which means that you will share in the glory of God. Colossians 1:27 (TEV)
7 If you only look at us, you might well miss the brightness. We carry this precious Message around in the unadorned clay pots of our ordinary lives. That’s to prevent anyone from confusing God’s incomparable power with us. 8 As it is, there’s not much chance of that. You know for yourselves that we’re not much to look at. We’ve been surrounded and battered by troubles, but we’re not demoralized; we’re not sure what to do, 9 but we know that God knows what to do; we’ve been spiritually terrorized, but God hasn’t left our side; we’ve been thrown down, but we haven’t broken. 10 What they did to Jesus, they do to us—trial and torture, mockery and murder; what Jesus did among them, he does in us—he lives! 2 Corinthians 4:7-10 (MSG)
922 The apostolate—which is a sure sign of spiritual life—means being constantly on the lookout so as to supernaturalise each detail of the day, whether big or small, by putting the love of God into everything one does. (1)
What would happen, if we considered every situation we find ourselves in, a supernatural one?
What would happen if we treated the little things in life, like driving a car, or taking out the trash, or even talking to a 3 or 4 year-old, as a precious event. What would happen if we knew that second was a miraculous gift of God? What if we treated every moment, every conversation as if it was occurring in church? What if we realized that the glory of God is being revealed all around us, with every breath, every exhale, every heartbeat?
These questions may seem rhetorical, but they are not.
They may cause a bit of guilt or shame, but they shouldn’t.
This is our reality that God has taken up residence in us, that we are the temple of the Holy Spirit. In our very bodies is manifest the love and presence an glory of God.
it may even be as improbable as the idea that Solomon’s temple, or a tent in the wilderness could contain the glory of God.
But His glory dwells in a people claimed as His, In people He has cleansed, that He has poured His Spirit into, that His glory would be seen by the world. That those who are His, could know His mercy, that those who don’t, would see His glory, and come to know Him.
This isn’t poetry or some high-level theology. it is not just some metaphysical thought, or something that we only meditate upon when the mood hit; bu has no connection to our daily life
It is our life, a supernatural life, a miraculous life, lived in the glory of God. Every moment, even those that are the most common. Even the things which try to crush us, or defeat us. Even those moments where we grieve, or mourn, or are depressed, He is there. Seek His presence, His comfort, His peace… and share it with those around you.
May this reality be realized you more and more… this day.
Escriva, Josemaria (2011-01-31). The Forge (Kindle Locations 3249-3251). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.
Devotional Thought of the Day:
19 And so, dear brothers and sisters, we can boldly enter heaven’s Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus. 20 By his death, Jesus opened a new and life-giving way through the curtain into the Most Holy Place. 21 And since we have a great High Priest who rules over God’s house, 22 let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water. Hebrews 10:19-22 (NLT)
502 If bare justice is done, people may feel hurt. Always act, therefore, for the love of God, which will add to that justice the balm of a neighbourly love, and will purify and cleanse all earthly love. When you bring God in, everything becomes supernatural. (1)
We live in a day where the cries for justice are ringing out, or do we?
At least the cries that sound call for justice.
But I don’t think we know what justice is anymore. If justice is based on an outcome that is demanded, It is justice? if in seeking justice, we have to commit injustice to achieve it, is it right?
Will will seek after justice if we, or our way of life is that which is found unjust? Will we as readily accept our punishment and suffer for what we’ve done, (or not done) that led to unjust actions?
Do we want bare justice? An eye for an eye a tooth for a tooth, a life for a life, ruination for ruination?
Because if we do, we don’t want true justice, we don’t want the other term scripture uses for justice, righteousness.
God showed His righteousness, His justice at the cross, When the value of those who act unjustly was seen – God’s righteousness, God’s justice meant He had to take on the burden of injustice, and make it just and right. That those who were once unjust, could walk into the presence of God Almighty peacefully.
I don’t know whether the which of those in Ferguson or New York, Cleveland or in the interrogation rooms of the CIA, in the Ukraine, the Middle East, the Ukraine, etc are just in God’s eyes. Well let me re-phrase that – none —- none are.. Yet all who believe, all who have been cleansed by God are now right. for they dwell in the One who determines what is righteous and what is just. ….
Praise God my friends… this is a marvelous thing that brings us hope and peace.
(1) Escriva, Josemaria (2011-01-31). The Forge (Kindle Locations 1916-1920). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.
Devotional Thought of the Day:
19 For when I tried to keep the law, it condemned me. So I died to the law—I stopped trying to meet all its requirements—so that I might live for God. 20 My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:19-20 (NLT) Galatians 2:19-20 (CEV)
1 What shall we say, then? Should we continue to live in sin so that God’s grace will increase? 2 Certainly not! We have died to sin—how then can we go on living in it? Romans 6:1-2 (TEV)
288 You were still rather hesitant when you were telling me: “I am deeply aware of the occasions when the Lord is asking more of me.” All I could think of was to remind you how you used to assure me that the only thing you wanted was to identify yourself with him. What’s keeping you back? (1)
I am still trying to understand the reason there is a long battle over the nature of faith and works.
For some, the quote from Galatians stops at the second hyphen. “so I died to the law – I stopped trying to meet all its requirements-“ In doing so, there is missing the the second half of the statement, “so I might life for God!”
It is as if they were answering Paul’s query in the second quote, “Yes, let us continue to live in sin, because to expect anything else from us is not only impossible, but it it bringing the penalty of the law back upon us.” The claim of being a pietist quickly follows, when you encourage people to go to confession and receive absolution, when you encourage them to make regular use of the sacrament of Lord’s Supper, spend time in God’s word, or pray continually. Theologically, there is no “third use” of the law they expound, we can only expect people to have “faith”. Thus reducing faith to some kind of knowledge, rather than the trust which enables us to live in Him.
Some will cry, but it is impossible to live a holy and perfect life! That God’s call to us to do that only serves us to run to Him for mercy. But that reduces mercy to forgiveness, not the love which He binds Himself to show to His people. it negates the work of the Holy Spirit, who dwells within us, equipping, empowering, setting us apart as the Bride of Christ, as His body, as the co-heirs of Christ.
Then why go so indepth in every epistle from Romans to Jude about what the Christian life looks like? Why the incredible descriptions of the Body of Christ working together in Romans 12, in 1 Corinthians 12, why the discussion of the ministry of reconciliation entrusted to us in II Corinthians? of the mutual care for each other in Ephesians 5-6, the striving in Philippians 3? Why the words in the third chapter of Titus saying this is how we used to be – now be this? Why the challenges in James 2-5? Why the warnings to the 7 churches in Asia minor in the Revelation?
We aren’t saved by works, but as we are untied to Christ, that means His work becomes our, His ministry becomes ours, His apostleship becomes ours as well. These things take a devotional and focus, not on our efforts, not on our capabilities, but on the Lord, even as the Holy Spirit conforms us to His image. As Paul notes:
12 So then, my dearest friends, as you have always followed my advice – and that not only when I was present to give it – so now that I am far away be keener than ever to work out the salvation that God has given you with a proper sense of awe and responsibility. For it is God who is at work within you, giving you the will and the power to achieve his purpose. Philippians 2:12 (Phillips NT)
That’s the point, it is the work of God in us, the very blessing of His presence, in our lives. That is why it isn’t a question of faith and works. It is walking with God, working alongside Him in His fields, sharing in His presence. That is how we work, not apart from God, but alongside Him, letting Him giving us not only the power to do what pleases Him, but the will, the desire to do it as well.
Confused about faith and works, tired of the arguments? Look to Christ, the author and finisher of your faith, identify with Him abide in Him, remember to share with Him everything that causes you concern, anxiety, fear. Let Him take those things away, while He shares with you the wondrous ministry of reconciliation. Examine fully the depth of His love for you, and walk with Him. That will produce good fruit, far more than the theological debates and discourses. That which you consider impossible? He will accomplish it.
Love mercy, live in His righteousness, and walk humbly with God, your God.
Escriva, Josemaria (2011-01-31). The Forge (Kindle Locations 1175-1178). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.
Devotional Thought of the Day:
1 LORD, I have given up my pride and turned away from my arrogance. I am not concerned with great matters or with subjects too difficult for me. 2 Instead, I am content and at peace. As a child lies quietly in its mother’s arms, so my heart is quiet within me. 3 Israel, trust in the LORD now and forever! Psalm 131:1-3 (TEV)
268 If you are convinced of your “poor quality”—if you know yourself—you will react to events supernaturally. Joy and peace will take a firmer root in your soul, in the face of humiliations, being despised, calumnies… In these cases, after saying fiat—Lord, whatever you want—you should think: “Is that all he said? He obviously does not know me, otherwise he wouldn’t have left it at that.” Being convinced that you deserve worse treatment, you will feel grateful to that person, and rejoice at what might have made somebody else suffer. (1)I
it is Tuesday morning, but not a normal Tuesday. It is more like a triple espresso version of Monday.
I could go into why, but each of us has our challenges, our crosses, our burdens to bear, The secret is to bear them with great joy, because of the peace that we have, that surpasses all understanding, a peace that comes to all who trust in God.
But that trust isn’t easy, having faith in God is something itself that is miraculous, that is supernatural because it simply isn’t natural to us.
There is a point in life where the world so overwhelms and oppresses us, that we want to emotionally crawl into a corner and go into a fetal position. To find a place where we can find security, where we can find peace, where we can find healing for our souls.
As I read this passage from Psalms this morning, as I looked at St Josemaria’s words in Furrow, something came to mind. When we are so spiritually exhausted, when we are so tired, so beyond our abilities, focusing on being humbled isn’t an issue. We simply are, and when we call out to God in such despair, we somehow, miraculously hear His voice, we recognize His presence. We find that we are embraced by Him, that we have found the rest and healing our souls so long desire.
All of a sudden, the supernatural becomes the natural, the work of God becomes our norm, and we walk through life, frazzled and joyous, oppressed and yet peace-filled, harried but trusting in a God who has proved His love for us at a wretched torturous cross, and proved to us that we dwell in Him. It is hard to explain, but it comes down to the simple humility that is described in the first commandment,
5 “The LORD said, 6 ‘I am the LORD your God, who rescued you from Egypt, where you were slaves. 7 ” ‘Worship no god but me. Deuteronomy 5:5b-7 (TEV)
It is that simple, humility is recognizing that we aren’t gods, that we aren’t in charge, but that He is. He is our God, the One who has promised us peace, mercy, joy, because of the love He has for us. Living simply in that, we find something beyond, something supernatural, something that should become more and more natural. That is why reading and studying (they are different disciplines) God’s word is crucial to our lives, it is why the sacraments, Baptism, Confession and Absolution, and the Eucharist (the Lord’s Supper) are blessings that should be received frequently. These means of grace bring us back to that level of humility, that place where we are curled up in God’s arms… that place where we simply know His presence, and His love… and that, that is enough for incredible peace, mind-blowing joy, and a strengthening of our faith as we walk humbly with Him.
(1) Escriva, Josemaria (2011-01-31). Furrow (Kindle Locations 1320-1326). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.
Discussion/Devotional thought of the day….
“I advised you to inject a great deal of supernatural outlook into every detail of your ordinary life. And I added immediately that living with other people provided you with ample opportunity through the day!” (Esciva, The Furrow)
Having just finished about preaching about those whose faith and life are withered and, for all we can tell, extinct, this one hits home hard. So often I see people writing off others as fallen, or congregations and parishes as “dead”. Have to admit – I’ve been there as well. Indeed, Sunday I quoted the lyrics of Casting Crowns song about Ezekiel’s experience….
A pastor stands before his congregation
Once a mighty army for the Lord
But now he stares into the lifeless eyes
Believers leading carnal lives
He wonders what they’re fighting for
But driven by a calling on his life
He spoke God’s word
Like he’d done a hundred times before
But this time he comes broken and weeping
With tears of a broken heart
And he cries out to the Lord
Oh Lord send Your wind into this valley
And breathe the breath of life into their souls
And raise them again a mighty army
For soon these arisen warriors will battle again
For they have been filled with the spirit wind
But a person’s spiritual life, or for that matter a congregations, is not measured by its faithfulness, but by God’s. Our work in revitalizing congregations and parishes that appears lifeless is never successful if the call is fire them up, to get them to work – but rather – to cause them to see the supernatural that occurs. Our work: to help them see the Spirit’s presence and promise in their lives, this will free them from the anxieties, guilt, and damage of their own sin, and that of the world.
It is then, as they see the Holy Spirit’s work and witness in their life, as they sense their lives changing that you see their desire to love God return, and then the desire to share the peace they know. You see more time in prayer, more hunger as they study the Bible. ( From my Lutheran/small “c” catholic perspective – even a greater desire for the Eucharist – the feast of Christ, the Lord’s Supper) As the Spirit sweeps clear their lives (which He actually did at their baptism – they often just don’t realize it for years or decades…) this abundant love brings them a peace… and that peace must be shared.
The supernatural which causes us to love and have compassion on each other is present…the challenge for a person… realizing it, reveling in it… the challenge for pastor’s and priests… helping people to see it, even as we struggle to as well.
This day… look for the supernatural – the dry bones coming to life, as God’s word bubbles forth from you,… and rejoice- the Lord is with you!