Posts Tagged Catholicism

Devoted

Matthew 8: 20

And Jesus said to him, “The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.”

I really admire Catholics. The Catholic faith has taken some hard knocks and folks can be vociferous in their criticism. I don’t think any of us have the perfect theology yet but, as much as one may criticized Catholicism, there are things to appreciate and learn from too. One of those is the devotion of many Catholics. All around the world people are sincerely devoted to their God and to service. There are those who may not be able to espouse great theological theories, but they show up; they attend mass, they give to the church and they honor their God. I could wish for more of that in the rest of the church.

I believe we have lost too much honest devotion to our churches, our faith, our God and our pastors. When I was young, many preachers/pastors were called Reverend. Can you see the root word in that title? It, essentially, means revered one. Pastors were honored and revered. Now we call our pastors by their first name. I don’t know that this is wrong, but it is certainly a change. You will have to decide where we draw lines.

Additionally, churches were sacred, even to non-believers for there was an overall sense of holiness and respect. Church doors were often left unlocked. You certainly don’t do that now. Life has changed but what bothers me is the attitude of the faithful. I have noticed it in my preaching as well, so I must counsel myself and consider where I lead those who look to me for guidance.

All too often I see what could probably be titled the “What Have You Done for me Lately” faith. This is the denomination of believers who want to hear what living to God can do for them. Basically, “What is in it for me, God?” As I said, I have fallen for this modern theology myself. Let me say first that I am not suggesting abandoning this perspective. I am, however, questioning our devotion to our God.

The way this has presented itself in my teachings is that I spend a great number of my messages showing and explaining what a life in Christ means for right here and right now. I am absolutely dedicated to believers understanding that they should be living above the fray right now on earth. Your life is meant to be one of abundance in Christ Jesus. You have been anointed and blessed with the substance of God’s very being. All of that is true and it is a central, perhaps the central tenet, of my teaching. The second part of my message is that we must learn to live “in Christ” so that we are able to experience all that he won for us. To live below the grace line is an insult to his sacrifice. It grieves me to see Christians suffering when Jesus is the answer. However noble these two messages, they really should be evangelical. By that I mean that these are the messages we should be preaching to the unsaved. Life is good in Christ. Tell them the good news. So few Christians are actually living within the anointing, though, that we need to continually feed their appetites so that they will draw closer to God in order to have more life; i.e. more money, health, success, peace, liberty, etc. Enter into a third key part of my messages – Seek God with all your heart, mind and understanding.

Of the 2800 Words of the Day I have written, roughly 1000 of them include the word seek. Why do I feel compelled to implore Christians to seek God? You will likely concur that is an interesting question. I dare not articulate my speculative answer for fear of its veracity and import.

Here is where my heart is responsive to the faithful. There are seriously devoted people of every denomination and it is to those people that I speak my appreciation today. Culturally we have lost our lifestyle of devotion to God, so those people who have found the strength and heart within them to live before God in worship have my respect. I pray the Father make me more like them. I, like many of you, find myself busying my day with so many things that I don’t spend my life before my God as I think I should. Where is He when I awaken? Where is He when I am abed? Ah, but He is there, crying out to my heart, to my hardened, unresponsive heart.

Oh my God, forgive this sinner and through my repentance, Lord, turn the heart of your people back to you. Give us a passion for you, a desire for your presence. Tune our ears to your voice and our hearts to the beating of yours. Let us be known, O Lord, as a people after your heart. Let our lives be beacons, not of works Father, but of service from a heart of love. Save us, precious Jesus, from our works of the flesh and the ego which drives them. In great humility, teach us to honor you, to give into your works joyfully, to kneel at your throne in subject adoration even as we call you Father and know you as our best friend. Lend us your strength daily through a thorough and complete intertwining with your Spirit. And Father, cause that holiness which comes through the joining with the Spirit, to saturate our bones. Teach us to be a people unto you, Lord. Give us sight. Let us look upon your glory and praise you. Lead us, dear Spirit, into being a people of devotion, honoring our God and Father with all that is within us, all that we are and with all we have. Let our homes shout, “The Lord is King!” Father, with all that we have and all that we do and say, be lifted up. In your greatness, show us to be a people devoted to honoring you and serving you. Pour out your grace upon us Father. Though we are unworthy, because of our beloved Christ, shine your love upon us and let us be signposts that all the world might know that you are God.