Category Archives: Devotional

Secret Devotion

“A man who receives something from another because of his poverty or his need has therein his reward, and because he is ashamed, when he repays it he does so in secret. But it is the opposite for the Lord God; he receives in secret, but he repays in the presence of the angels, the archangels and the righteous.”

——Sayings of the Desert

Perhaps the monk is thinking of what Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount- But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Prayer AloneFather who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” The wonderful thing about God is that He doesn’t expect us to be showy in our worship of Him, he just wants us to be real. Most of us, whether we admit it or not, we like to be recognized for our successes and want our failures to be hidden and forgotten. Taking alms for our poverty is not something most people would brag about. The way God asks for our devotion is completely counter cultural. Our culture expects praise and in response continued favors are given, but God operates differently. He gives quietly and diligently to those who call upon Him.

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Give Me Your Sins

Jerome was a hermit, priest, and father of the church who guided the church as it translated the Bible from Greek to Latin, the language of the people. Jerome wanted the people to read and know the Bible. He lived in Bethlehem for a time to get a feel of how Jesus lived during his earthly journey. Oral tradition tells us that while living in Bethlehem, Jerome had a dream that Jesus visited him. TheJesus Quote 7-15.14 - 1 dream was so real that he rounded up all his material blessings and offered them to Jesus. He heard the Lord declare, “I do not want your possessions.” So being a good church leader, he offered all his money to Jesus. Jesus once again declared, “I do not want your money.” Finally, in desperation, Jerome cried out, “Jesus, what do you want from me?” Jesus simply replied, “Give me your sins. That is what I came for–I came to take away your sin. Give me your sin.”

That’s really what it’s is all about. Jesus wants our sins! He asks us to love and trust Him enough to be able to give all to Him. Our Lord asks us to confess the unforgivable and feel the warmth of His grace. Many of us are far too busy trying to impress God when all He wants is for us to trust in His promise. That promise is: “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” As we bring our sins, He offers His rest. Jerome had it right, all Jesus wants is our sins.

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Passing Through

Jesus went home. After ministering in Galilee he decided to go back to Nazareth, timage_previewo reconnect with those who had known him as a little boy, to visit his mom, to speak at the synagogue that he knew like the back of his hand. At the synagogue, he spoke about his mission. The locals were at first offended and then enraged. They took him to the cliff which marked the edge of town with plans to throw him off. Then the miracle happened. Scripture says, “But he passed through the midst of them and went on his way.” One man in an angry mob and “he passed through the midst of them!” He did not call for help or fight his way clear. He just passed through them.

When we think of Jesus’ miracles we consider events like healings, resurrections, calming the sea, walking on water, or turning water into wine. We never see this miracle listed, but I see it as an incredible moment that relates to our journeys so often. How many times have you walked through frightening, dangerous, heartbreaking situations and gone on to live out your life? How many times have you not been able to explain how you did it, how you made it through? How many times have you weathered opposition and hostility and continued to live victoriously? How many times has your broken heart healed? How many times has your mind been calmed by an unexplainable peace? How many times has your soul been restored? How many times have you been at the edge of the cliff sure you were going over, when some Presence led you through the fear and pain and hurt and death? Each of those times was a miracle.

Jesus knows all about standing at the cliff’s edge with other situations or people pushing you over. He knows what it is like to look down at a chasm of hopelessness and despair. He understands the pounding of your heart, the wrenching of your gut, the tears of your hurt. He reaches out his hand and leads you as you pass through the midst of them and go on your way to love and serve Him.

Reflection – What has Christ helped you pass through?

Monica Boudreaux

 

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What Can I Do?

Christ Suffering

Christ Suffering

Originally published January 10, 2010

We ask ourselves that question every time there is a great tragedy in the world. The tragic event that took place in Haiti on January 11th (an earthquake that still causes suffering in that country)will cause long-lasting suffering. Our first reaction is to want to do something. When great tragedies strike we can give money, we can pray and we can even weep with those who are weeping. There are many of us want to put our hands on something that makes us part of the solution but that is not possible for the great majority of us.

Missional people are committed to applying the teachings of Christ to all situations, no matter how tragic. I watch the news each day and am saddened more by the seemingly hopeless plight of so many of the injured. I watch and gather hope from the courage of the rescue crews that have come from all over the world. They risk their lives to help others. They are truly Missional people. As Missional people we are a people of prayer.

I offer this prayer:

Lord you created the earth with all it dynamics. We sometimes question the reasons for suffering and pain. We even blame you and call you a harsh and vengeful God but when we see your power manifested in natural disasters we are reminded of your greatness. Lord allow us to learn to treasure our days as we watch the unfolding of this horror. Let us learn from the spirit of the first responders who risk their lives to save others. In all this help us to count our days and offer them to the service of the world.

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Out of Fuel

In 1991 an Air Canada flight ran into big trouble. Passengers were enjoying an in-flight movie on the Boeing 767 when the jumbo jet’s massive engines abruptly stopped. At first only those without earphones on noticed anything. However, soon it was apparent the jet was in trouble. The pilot came on the speaker system and announced that Flight 143 would be making an emergency landing. The 69 people on board were trapped in an agonizingly slow but inescapable descent to earth.

For a minute that seemed like an eternity, a desperate silence filled the cabin. That silence morphed into fear and gave way to screams as the landing neared. All the latest technology could not keep the jumbo jet in the air. What had happened was this: the electronic digital fuel gauge was out of order. The flight crew had depended on the figures given them by the refueling crew before takeoff. But someone on the refueling crew had confused pounds with kilograms. Therefore, eight hundred miles short of its destination, the jet simply ran out of fuel and was forced to make an emergency landing. Fortunately no one was injured.

A multimillion dollar airplane, headed in the right direction, but running out of fuel. That’s what’s happening to a lot of people today. They have everything in life and one day they wake up out of fuel.

KnowJesusDon’t let that happen to you. Jesus tells us that the power for successful living comes from God. It is the promised gift that Jesus offers us. “Peace be with you,” he says. “My peace I give to you, not as the world gives you. Let not your hearts be troubled, believe in God, believe also in me.”

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The First Stone

So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.

——–John 8:7

Medical doctors and counselors tell us that a great deal of sickness, both mental and physical, is brought on by the fact that people carry around a tremendous burden of unresolved guilt.  As creations of God, we long for His forgiveness, even though we don’t even recognize the need.  Hear a story of forgiveness.

            The woman was being shoved and jostled along the dusty road.  Her long, dark hair was covering her face.  She could see little.  She had stumbled and fallen several times and the brush burns on her elbows and knees stung.

The men harassing her called her terrible names as they roughly pushed her along.  They were taking her to the right place – the church.  They were taking her to the right person – Jesus.  But, they were taking her there for all the wrong reasons.

The men were well dressed, finely appointed religious leaders.  On the outside, they were excellent examples of the best religion had to offer, but on the inside, they were dead and filthy.

They had found this woman in the act of adultery and were anxiously anticipating stoning her to death.  Thinking to entrap Jesus with a violation of the law at the same time, they took the woman to the temple where Jesus was teaching.

In response to their question about the death sentence on this woman, Jesus at first ignored them and began writing in the dirt with His finger.  The woman cowered, terrified that she would be stoned to death within minutes.  She dared not lift her eyes to meet any of theirs.  Her whole body shook in fear and horror at the situation.

Jesus knew her fear – He could see it.  But since He was God, He also knew her heart and the hearts of the pompous men so ready to crush her bones.  Jesus looked at the adulterous woman as He looks at you and me.  He was filled with love for this woman He had created just a few years before.  Maybe as He wrote on the ground, He thought of you and me.  People He would create 2000 years later.

His eyes met the eyes of the religious leaders.  He looked into the emptiness and rot of their hearts.  He made a simple statement that carried with it the authority from heaven and said, “If you have not sinned, you can throw the first stone.”  Those men convicted by the irrefutable authority of the Lord walked away – one by one.
Then His eyes met the frightened eyes of the woman.  He asked her where her accusers were.  Upon her reply, He performed a remarkable miracle.  He forgave her.

God’s miracle of forgiveness continues 2000 years later.  During this Lenten season confess your need for God’s forgiveness.  By the grace of Jesus Christ – you are forgiven!               Monica Boudreaux

PRAYER:  Father – We confess our need for forgiveness and gratefully receive it.  May we forgive those who have “trespassed against us” as you have forgiven us.

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