Blog Archives

Do We Dismiss Satan (and demons and angels) to Easily?

Devotional Thought of the Day

8 Be alert, be on watch! Your enemy, the Devil, roams around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. 9 Be firm in your faith and resist him, because you know that other believers in all the world are going through the same kind of sufferings. 10 But after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who calls you to share his eternal glory in union with Christ, will himself perfect you and give you firmness, strength, and a sure foundation. 11 To him be the power forever! Amen. 1 Peter 5:8-11 GNT

Nineteenth, let no one presume to perform such things by his own power, but humbly ask God to create and preserve such faith in and such understanding of his holy sacraments in him. He must practice awe and humility in all this, lest he ascribe these works to himself instead of allowing God the glory. To this end he must call upon the holy angels, particularly his own angel,13 the Mother of God, and all the apostles and saints,14 especially since God has granted him exceptional zeal for this. However, he dare not doubt, but must believe that his prayer will be heard. He has two reasons for this. The first one is that he has just heard from the Scriptures how God commanded the angels to give love and help to all who believe and how the sacrament conveys this. We must hold this before them and remind them of it, not that the angels do not know this, or would otherwise not do it, but to make our faith and trust in them, and through them in God, stronger and bolder as we face death. The other reason is that God has enjoined us firmly to believe in the fulfilment of our prayer [Mark 11:24] and that it is truly an Amen.

Today, in the Roman Catholic Church, they celebrate the Memorial of the Guardian Angels, and as I started my devotional reading, that sat in the back of my mind. Not as a major thing, but I had seen on facebook for or five references to it.

Given some of the things I am dealing with, the idea of a heavenly warrior having my back is quite… comforting. But I dismissed it, until I got to my reading in 1 Peter 5, and the warning that Satan is still out there, trying to drag us away from Jesus.

That isn’t myth, that is reality.

And as Satan exists and demons exist, so do angels. Not as heavenly beings to worship, but rather as servants of God who minister to us. Reading the Book of Daniel you see this as Gabriel and Michael do battle on his behalf.

The key is found in what Peter says after , that as we endure, God himself perfects us. That is what Martin Luther points out in his sermon on preparing for death above as well, as we look to God for the strength, and ask for intercession in our ability to grow in faith, to depend on God’s work, and give glory for what is being done.

The end game is sure, God’s work guaranteeing it, His command to those He sends to serve confirm it, as they point us to Jesus, to the promises the Holy Spirit is the guarantee of, as we dwell united to Christ’s and to His death and resurrection.

This is something to take serious, this spiritual battle we are involved in, to recognize it for what it is, and yet, to have confidence in our endurance, which God provides.


Heavenly Father, help us to realize that we are no in this life alone, but that you surround us with Your people, the church, and with the angels you send to protect us, to point us to Christ. In Jesus name we pray, AMEN

Martin Luther, Luther’s Works, Vol. 42: Devotional Writings I, ed. Jaroslav Jan Pelikan, Hilton C. Oswald, and Helmut T. Lehmann, vol. 42 (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1999), 113.

t

God’s Shown Us That “WE are right!” (really?)

Photo by Ric Rodrigues on Pexels.com

Devotional Thought of the Day:

7 When you are full, you will refuse honey, but when you are hungry, even bitter food tastes sweet. Pr. 27:7 GNT

10 The LORD says, “My people shout, ‘The LORD has shown that we are in the right. Let’s go and tell the people in Jerusalem what the LORD our God has done.’ ” Jer 51:10 GNT

Last night I was half watching a football game when I heard cheering like someone had won the Superbowl. I looked up from the email I was reading, and saw the replay of a field goal kick that was good.

Really? That much cheering for a 3 point kick?

Then they showed how many kicks last year missed, or bounced off the field goal posts. One kick even hit the post and then the cross bar! The Bears fans were excited because of their past. They are like the people in the proverb – that even something bitter (they didn’t score a touchdown) can seem like an incredible victory.

I think that applies to the Christian faith, and how we read the Bible. A great example is how we select quotes without considering the context. The Jeremiah passage above is a great example.

I’ve heard people quote the first half of the verse – “WE ARE RIGHT! God says so!” We use that to back up some things where we are right, and somethings (like political views) that are at best questionable. And we triumphantly parade around like we’ve conquered the world.

Yet we overlook the second part of the passage, and indeed the context. There is say that we’ve got to tell every what God has done! Our being right has nothing to do with our actions, our works, our intelligence and logic. It has everything to do with God’s love for us, and the work He is doing.

You see that in the chapter before this. as God explains what will happen. Here is that verse from Isaiah 50,

20 When that time comes, no sin will be found in Israel and no wickedness in Judah, because I will forgive those people whose lives I have spared. I, the LORD, have spoken.” Jer. 50:20 GNT

Our we right? Are we free of sin? YES

Is it because we are perfect and don’t sin? NO

It is because God has spared us, that God has forgiven us and cleansed. He has spoken in the life, death, burial and resurrection of Jesus, and in that declared we are sinless, that we are right.

This being “right” isn’t something to be proud of, it is something to be in awe of, because we know what it took to get us to be right!

And yes, we should go and tell everyone what God has done. Including a humble and loving approach to those who we think we have victory over. Look at Luther talks about praying for them.

The third petition: “Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Say, “Ah, dear Lord God and Father, you know how the world is. Where it cannot completely reduce your name to nothing and entirely destroy your kingdom, they go around day and night with evil thoughts and devious plots. They devise many snares and strange assaults, take counsel and conspire, comfort and strengthen themselves, rant and rave, and proceed full of evil intentions against your name, word, kingdom, and children as they murder them. Therefore, dear Lord God and Father, deter and convert them. Convert those who will yet come to recognize your good will, that they with us and we with them may obey your will and, further, that they may patiently and gladly suffer all evil, the cross, and adversity, and thereby recognize, explore, and consciously experience your good, gracious, and perfect will.

We need to grow, and desire that this victory is not just “ours.” We need to share the victory, this being right with everyone, so God can convert them by revealing to them His love and mercy, that we might be one.

Lord Jesus, help us to appreciate what You have accomplished for us, Your working in making us right, and making sure no sin is found in us sinners. Lord help us to realize that this is what it means when we declare we are “right” and help us to see others in need of this as well. AMEN!

Martin Luther, Luther’s Spirituality, ed. Philip D. W. Krey, Bernard McGinn, and Peter D. S. Krey, trans. Peter D. S. Krey and Philip D. W. Krey, The Classics of Western Spirituality (New York; Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press, 2007), 219.

You Need Hope! (whether you think you do or not….)

Devotional Thought of the day:
15 When Jesus heard about the plot against him, he went away from that place; and large crowds followed him. He healed all those who were ill 16and gave them orders not to tell others about him. 17He did this so as to make what God had said through the prophet Isaiah come true:
18 “Here is my servant, whom I have chosen, the one I love, and with whom I am pleased. I will send my Spirit upon him, and he will announce my judgment to the nations. 19 He will not argue or shout, or make loud speeches in the streets. 20 He will not break off a bent reed, or put out a flickering lamp. He will persist until he causes justice to triumph,
21 and in him all peoples will put their hope.”  Mark 12:15-24

491    Nonne hic est fabri filius? Nonne hic est faber, filius Mariae?—“Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary?” This, said of Jesus, may very well be said of you, with a bit of amazement and a bit of mockery, when you really decide to carry out the will of God, to be an instrument: “But isn’t this the one…?” Say nothing, and let your works confirm your mission.(1)

I stood there, having voted for everything but a candidate for President.  My mind was not made up  even then even after praying a lot. Serious concerns over both candidates, and indeed about the political spectrum in which we exist delayed that vote.  I have dear friends, many of them who follow Christ, who made passionate pleas for me to vote for their candidate, and those friends were advocating four different choices.

My thoughts were about them, and as the night closed, and this morning dawned, I saw some urging us to work together, others railing in triumph, and others drowned in despair.  What words could I write this morning that would minister to these beloved friends?  There is comfort needed, encouragement needed, and in some cases, a gentle rebuke, on that would re-focus them on Jesus, and restore a true hope.

Daily I do what I call devotional reading.  Reading not to prove my devotion, but to see God’s devoted care for us revealed. It is there I found these readings this morning, and the promise of God’s precise care for us.

Even as we are at our weakest, our most broken, shattered point, Jesus does not crush us. Even though we are burnt out, God knows where that little spark can be found, enough that with care the fire will roar again.  Even when we are at our weaknest – not because of despair, but because our success leads us to be vulnerable, and we don’t see a need for the hope we have in Jesus.

Yet justice, His justice, not ours, will prevail.

His.

No loud speeches needed, no arguments, no cheering or wailing.   Instead caring, comfort, a correction of course for those, re-orienting all to the presence of Christ.

It is so hard in these days when we let anxiety rain, or celebrate beyond what is beneficial.  When we go on the defensive, trying to justify our position, to show those who mock us they are wrong. When overwhelmed by sorrow or joy we don’t pay attention to those around us and end up breaking yet another relationship.

It’s time to stop – get back to what we do, to be silent and not take things personally, and to simply point people to the comfort and grace that is found in Christ, because He died, He rose, and He leads us into and keep us in His peace.

Rest there, no matter who you backed, and greet those who like you, find a respite from the days past. Let Jesus minister to you – bringing you life and hope!  AMEN!

(1)  Escriva, Josemaria. The Way (Kindle Locations 1199-1203). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.

 

The Greatest Victory of This Year… Who Will You Tell About It?

Devotional Thought on Monday:

Featured image15  I speak to you as sensible people; judge for yourselves what I say. 16  The cup we use in the Lord’s Supper and for which we give thanks to God: when we drink from it, we are sharing in the blood of Christ. And the bread we break: when we eat it, we are sharing in the body of Christ. 17  Because there is the one loaf of bread, all of us, though many, are one body, for we all share the same loaf. 1 Corinthians 10:15-17 (TEV) 

938      Let us go to Jesus in the Tabernacle where we can get to know him and assimilate his teaching, and then be able to hand out this food to souls.

Yesterday, we celebrated an incredible victory. 

I wonder which of us will share the news of this victory today? 

Yesterday, we were invited to feast together, with a crowd far greater than any audience to watch any superbowl, any all star game.  A diverse and rowdy bunch for sure, as people not just across racial, cultural, and age gaps were gathered together.  Even across time were gathered in the presence of God to feast, to enjoy, to know God’s love. 

What a victory we celebrate!  What a victory we can share with others!

Our victory, for we share in it with Jesus.  We share in His Body, His Blood, together.  We share in praising Him with angels and archangels and all those host of Heaven. 

After a super bowl victory, the fans will relive the special moments of the game for weeks. I am still getting advertisements for Patriot gear.  People are still talking about it though it is slowing down quite a bit.

I wonder why we don’t talk about the Lord’s Supper, the Eucharist, with similar fervor?  Even among church folk – you rarely might hear how good a sermon was, or more likely the music, but how often do we hear about how incredible communion was?  

Is it too intimate?

Do we not comprehend what took place?

Do we not realize the promises, once guaranteed, now fulfilled as we take and eat, take and drink?

Do we not understand what it means to proclaim and celebrate His death, which intercepted our spiritual death, until He comes again? 

Celebrate my friends!  As you do, at that moment as you take the Body and Blood of Christ and are nourished by it, may you gain more insight into God’s love for you! May you know the incredible dimensions of that love, revealed in Christ Jesus being made a sacrifice, for you.

AMEN!

Escriva, Josemaria (2011-01-31). The Forge (Kindle Locations 3316-3317). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.

Give me this victory – over any other…

Devotional/Discussion of the day…

I am, without hesitation… an avid sports fan.  I thoroughly enjoyed watching the highlights of my favorite Patriots this day, and I even enjoyed watching other teams – as they do their best, seeing the games which speak of the training they endured, the pain, the sweat, the preparation….

Yet, those are but games…. the victory not comparable to another victory, another one where pain was endured,  Here is how one pastor/priest

The Lord’s triumph, on the day of the Resurrection, is final. Where are the soldiers the rulers posted there? Where are the seals that were fixed to the stone of the tomb? Where are those who condemned the Master? Where are those who crucified Jesus?… He is victorious, and faced with his victory those poor wretches have all taken flight. Be filled with hope: Jesus Christ is always victorious. (1)

As we worked through Romans 6:1-11 this morning in Bible Study,we see why this victory is more important than any other….why it means more to me than every Boston team winning every championship for decades….

Because while a Pats/Bruins/Celtic/Red Sox domination of pro sports would bring a smile to my face… the victory of Christ, for me and every believer, is personal.

What then shall we say? Shall we persist in sin that grace may abound? Of course not! 2 How can we who died to sin yet live in it? 3 Or are you unaware that we who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were indeed buried with him through baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might live in newness of life. 5 For if we have grown into union with him through a death like his, we shall also be united with him in the resurrection. 6 We know that our old self was crucified with him, so that our sinful body might be done away with, that we might no longer be in slavery to sin. 7 For a dead person has been absolved from sin. 8 If, then, we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him. 9 We know that Christ, raised from the dead, dies no more; death no longer has power over him. 10 As to his death, he died to sin once and for all; as to his life, he lives for God. 11 Consequently, you too must think of yourselves as (being) dead to sin and living for God in Christ Jesus. Romans 6:1-11 (NAB)

That’s why this is the best victory – dead to sin, and alive to Christ.  Nothing – nothing – in all creation… tops this victory… perio
That is why St. Paul will say… When I first came to you, dear brothers and sisters, I didn’t use lofty words and impressive wisdom to tell you God’s secret plan. 2 For I decided that while I was with you I would forget everything except Jesus Christ, the one who was crucified.”  1 Corinthians 2:1-2 (NLT)

Remember that victory, when you can remember no other….

 

 

(1)Escriva, Josemaria (2011-01-31). The Forge (Kindle Locations 2428-2432). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.

%d bloggers like this: