Mon. April 8

Monday April 8, 2019

Today’s Focus                                                                                  The risk of discipleship      

Today’s Scripture Reading                                                                         Luke 12:49-53                  

49 “I have come to set the world on fire, and I wish it were already burning! 50 I have a terrible baptism of suffering ahead of me, and I am under a heavy burden until it is accomplished. 51 Do you think I have come to bring peace to the earth? No, I have come to divide people against each other! 52 From now on families will be split apart, three in favor of me, and two against—or two in favor and three against.

53 ‘Father will be divided against son
and son against father;
mother against daughter
and daughter against mother;
and mother-in-law against daughter-in-law
and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.’

Daily Reflection                                                                                 Pastor’s reflection

A friend of mine was once in a worship celebration when she felt the Holy Spirit working in her life.  In that moment she made a decision to “follow her calling.”  The next day she began to make arrangements at church to begin planting gardens throughout the church grounds.  She felt as if God had personally called her to create beauty around the church campus in order that others would experience the beauty of God through nature!

The gardens were beautiful!  The people in the community of faith responded in incredibly positive ways!  Everything seemed to be right with the world…. Except in her own home.  Her husband, who didn’t openly express his faith, was incredibly angry that his wife’s work at church seemed to “squeeze” her in what he saw as her responsibilities at home.  The changes he saw in his wife’s behavior, staying calmer in stressful situations, not worrying so much about very worldly concerns, angered her husband because he could “no longer count on her to act the way she once did.”

Jesus reminds us in this passage that our commitment to “follow Christ” affects other areas of our lives also.  Jesus warns in this passage that making a commitment to “follow” means that our attitudes change, our responsibilities to God take on greater significance.  Jesus warns that people who make a commitment to “follow” will find that their relationships to others, even those closest to them, will be affected by their commitment and call to “follow God!”  This happens simply because the believer allows God to shape our values, priorities, goals, and behaviors and forces us to examine and if necessary, change our old pattern of life.  These changes can precipitate crisis in our relationships.

God understands how devastating such crises can be and warns us all that we need to be prepared to encounter such obstacles in our lives.

Some questions for reflection

  • Earlier in this chapter Jesus shares stories about being “hypocritical” and stories about the way God desires us to deal with money and possessions and the need to prepare for the coming of the kingdom. In light of these teachings does Jesus teaching here change the way we “hear” or “see” them working in the world?
  • The disciples in following Jesus gave up family, home, vocation in order to follow. Their lives were literally placed in jeopardy for their beliefs.  How are “callings” in 2019 similar to these kinds of “callings” and how are they different?

Today’s discipleship challenge

In your thoughts and prayers, is there anything that you feel “passionate” about in your personal “calling” from God?  Perhaps it’s in Bible study, prayer, service to others, or even planting flowers.  Talk it over with your group… do you think that you’ll be able to follow?  What obstacles in your relationships should you think about and how might you be able to smooth the transition?

Today’s prayer

Direct us, Lord God, in all our doings with Your most gracious favor, and extend to us Your continual help; that in all our works begun, continued, and ended in You, we may glorify Your holy name; and finally, by Your mercy, bring us to everlasting life; through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.  Amen

4 thoughts on “Mon. April 8

  1. Keith Ricks

    Powerful reflection. Old patterns of life, contrary to what we hear, are willing to change when we are excited about changing them, have more people who care about and support us that are also excited about the change than those that do not… I testify to that… There You go, it is the God effect. Of Course You have to be onboard and depending on what the task is… and the hurdles involved, could effect time or Not.

    In your thoughts and prayers, is there anything that you feel “passionate” about in your personal “calling” from God?
    It is an Odd thing. Some time ago I told a friend “Yes” but remained vague on the what. It is still a “Yes” and I am still not saying what I feel at least this One calling, passion, or feeling of intense urgency is.
    I wish I could say I have not taken actions, only because I know I am not prepared, but I have done so a few times. Not all have been counter productive to the cause… but at least one was unthoughtful or inconsiderate to fellow Brother and Sisters… and that was on me. So I have been doing what You might call “Preparing” for the calling! Boy does that sound like a Syfi Show… Basically school, which I gripe about, a lot. Obstacles in my relationships… well, at home, it is Exactly like the story in the reflections… exactly, because I have much less time. You see, I am not trying to get a degree, just lots of different knowledge, so I take lots of different online classes at home, so I’m there all the time, then I go out to do projects, visit acquaintances, others, a friend, etc… and with homework, housework etc.. there is less time for everyone (funny, there use to be no one) and even less time for Me…
    …smooth the transition? Well, I’m way into the transition. However, I realize that Unlike the disciples who were literally with Jesus and called to drop everything, I am not. Don’t get me wrong, if Jesus was standing right here I would have no worries about what would happen to my husband, family, or little doggie because God and Jesus are not known for evil or cruelty… I am sure they would fair well, happy and no worries… Don’t You think? But that is not here and now. The mere fact that I would Jump on the Chance to Dump my responsibilities when called into service Instead of it going like,
    ring.. ring.. “Hello, God?”
    “Keith! Good afternoon! I thought I’d give You a call and fill You in on what I would like You to do… seeing from Your blog entry You might be a little confused on what that is… bla.. bla.. blab..blab… Oh, and Yes, You still need to fulfill all Your Truly Human Human responsibilities. Have a nice day, and why don’t You take the Puppy for a walk.”
    … all that translates into, Balance… doesn’t mean equal parts of each, just finding My own balance, and for Me, constantly Readjusting it.

    Reply
    1. Pastor Jerry

      Greetings my brother! No problem holding on to that call inside of you. I’m here if you’d ever like to share. I know, on a very personal level, that to feel, sense and then act on God’s call can be very disconcerting. After many years of waiting, I “took the plunge”, sold my house, left my vocation, moved my family. Along the way of my calling there have been great personal sacrifices and certainly even my family paid a great price. It’s always been difficult for me to find an appropriate “balance” but alas, I continue to work at it. I feel blessed to be able to share that I truly am living out my passion. Bringing God’s Word to people. Bringing people together in more productive and powerful ways, sharing a sense of comfort and peace in a world often filled with anger and hatred. The call… the passion moves forward; where it will lead is still unknown… but together we continue to move forward trusting and holding on to the hope and promises of our God!
      Peace and blessings my brother,
      PJ

      Reply
  2. Lisa Mantz

    In my twenties and thirties I was very passionate about raising my family. That’s the call I felt at the time. Now that my family is pretty much raised, I do feel other callings. And sometimes these things do get in the way of things at home. But you know what? That dirt on the carpet will still be there tomorrow to clean. And if I don’t get that “special” meal made tonight, I’ll get it another night. Yes. Balance is important. So are priorities. My priorities DO seem to be shifting. I hope that means I’m growing……

    Reply
    1. Pastor Jerry

      I think you’re doing a marvelous job growing with all of us and in your relationship with God! Thanks for sharing.
      P,B, &L,
      PJ

      Reply

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