Thoughts I pray drive you to the cross…
When the LORD heard them, he was furious. The fire of his wrath burned against Jacob. Yes, his anger rose against Israel, 22 for they did not believe God or trust him to care for them. 23 But he commanded the skies to open; he opened the doors of heaven. 24 He rained down manna for them to eat; he gave them bread from heaven. 25 They ate the food of angels! God gave them all they could hold. Psalm 78:21-25 (NLT2)
“Consequently this is the best advice, that one should draw from the source and diligently read the Bible. For a man who knows the text is also an extraordinary theologian. One passage or one text from the Bible is worth more than the glosses of four writers who aren’t reliable and thorough.
Only one stipulation do I make: my teacher must know God, as Carlyle said, “otherwise than by hearsay,” and Christ must be all in all to him. If a man have only correct doctrine to offer me I am sure to slip out at the first intermission to seek the company of someone who has seen for himself how lovely is the face of Him who is the Rose of Sharon and the Lily of the Valley. Such a man can help me, and no one else can.
In my libraries I have closed to 10,000 books, both printed in paper and digitally on 3 different software programs. S
Some are from favorite authors, like St. Josemaria, Michael Card, Martin Luther, Pope Benedict XVI, Peter Kreeft, Will Willimon, and Juan Carlos Ortiz. There are some newer writers that I am coming to appreciate more and more, like Tozer or Senkbeil. And there are other authors who are not as favored in my sight, yet all are men whose lives I thank God for, for they have affected me, or those whom I minister to at my church or in the community.
It would be really easy to just sit back in awe of their devotion, and spend time with their works.
After all, I’ve read the Bible through more than once, in multiple translations.
But it is there, in the pages of scripture, and in receiving and administering the sacraments, that I find God. It is where He hears me, and where I hear Him. There, on every page, there is Jesus. It is there where I find the words to think about, to ponder, even with which I question and argue. (It would be sad if I didn’t question and argue with them, for then I would be dishonest, or perhaps crazy… for God needs to transform me – which means I need to be honest where I am!)
I cannot simply accept what men, far more brilliant that I could ever be, claim about the Greek and the Hebrew. I cannot accept their systems of theology. Simply put, they are sinners as well. Luther and Tozer are right – find the people that know God and rejoice in the intimate relationship He is forging with them. Learn from them how they encounter and walk with God, let them disciple you as you walk with Him. But always let Jesus be your focus, let the scriptures be the resource you measure it all with…
Like the passage from the Psalms, get to know the God, who even when you are struggling with Him, opens the skies and provides for you the bread of heaven and more. For that is when faith is more than just a list of doctrines, it is a relationship where you can depend on God in whatever life throws at you. Get to know the God who didn’t give up on Israel – Issacs’ son, or Israel – the 12 tribes. Get to know Him… experience His love… and without thinking–rejoice!
God loves us.
Not from a distance, but right here and now.
Martin Luther, Luther’s Works, Vol. 54: Table Talk, ed. Jaroslav Jan Pelikan, Hilton C. Oswald, and Helmut T. Lehmann, vol. 54 (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1999), 352–353.
A. W. Tozer, Tozer for the Christian Leader (Chicago: Moody Publishers, 2015).
Discussion and devotional thought of the day: Another interesting thing popped up at the end of my devotions this morning.
” Don’t expect people’s applause for your work. What is more, sometimes you mustn’t even expect other people and institutions, who like you are working for Christ, to understand you. Seek only the glory of God and, while loving everyone, don’t worry if there are some who don’t understand you.” (1)
I have to admit a problem with this one, not that I like applause, but rather that I like confirmation. A strong amen at the end of the sermon, a “like” or a “share” on one of my posts that has a special meaning to me. (as opposed to those where my sarcasm and cyncism rules) I want people to grasp how deep and wide and broad and high is God’s love for them in Christ, and they instead get the point about social action I want them to realize that we need to rid ourselves of idols, and they focus in on giving to others. I want them to realize the key to worship is realizing they are in the presence of God, and the use my writings to either attack or defend the worship flavor they prefer.
How frustrating it is when people don’t get it!
I need to step back at these points, to realize my blindness is as desperate as theirs, just on different issues.As maybe the depth of their trust and appreciation of God’s love. My job isn’t to stimulate their growth to be like me, but to help them focus on Jesus. To see His glory, not to admire my turn of the phrase.
As I’ve spent the last year reading the works of St Josemarie Escriva, I look back and see somethings that have resounded in my soul, and others well, I would try to argue with him about if he were around. Some I need to think through, some like today’s, well hit me between my eyes (see yday’s blog – you’ll see my point.
So maybe I will just write – and if it blesses you praise God, and if you don’t care for it, or don’t get it – That’s okay. The only thing you need to get is Jesus, -who will rescue you from your sin. (Not sure its a sin – it is…don’t think it is – check against scripture – it probably is) Let Him rescue you, let Him bring you to glory…
Know His love, revel in the relationship you have with His people in His presence….
Escriva, Josemaria (2011-01-31). The Forge (Kindle Locations 1068-1072). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.