For this reason…


Ephesians 3:14-20

“For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth takes its name.  I pray that, according to the riches of his glory, he may grant that you may be strengthened in your inner being with power through his Spirit, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love. 

I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.  Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever.  Amen.”

 For this reason.  For this reason…and what reason is that?  Paul had just written that he was the very least of all the saints and it was God’s grace that was granted to him to preach the boundless riches of Christ. 

For and because of God’s grace, it is that for that reason that Paul’s knees bow before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth takes its name.  God’s grace is the reason.

Salvation by grace through faith.  This unlimited treasure of grace.  Let me ask you this question, do you allow yourself to be full open to receive grace?  Are you able to fully receive it and extend it to others?

I am guilty of this.  I am guilty of not taking the time to reflect on all that God has done for me and taking many times for granted.  I am guilty of being closed off to grace at times and of trying to do something to earn it.

Maybe you have done the same.  Gone through a time of spiritual dryness or struggle.  Trying to balance the demands of ministry, family, your own spiritual growth and for those of us that are bi-vocational, a full-time job as well.  Too many things to get done, allowing little time to reflect on God’s work in our own lives.

 Paul was a man that suffered many hardships for the sake of the gospel.  He became a servant according to the gift of God’s grace.  As we all know Paul wasn’t always a servant for Christ.  He persecuted Christians and tried to extinguish the early church.  God’s redeeming work and grace took a man that killed Christians and made him a man that would help save them. 

Paul is the most prolific writer in the New Testament.  If grace can change a heart that hard, what can it do for each of us?  What each one of us are capable of.  For this reason, for the saving grace of our God, my knees bow before the Father.

Pastor Shawn LaRue

Author of Incomplete

incompletedevotional.com

 

 

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Who is Christ?


 

“Hosanna, Hosanna in the highest!” the crowds shouted as Christ triumphantly entered the holy city of Jerusalem for the last time.  Save us, grant us blessing in the highest places.  The Jewish people were a conquered people, they carried the brutal weight of the Romans on their back.  They would be saved.
The whole city shook with the question of, “Who is this?”  Who is this man, fully human yet fully divine?  My question is during Holy Week is who is Christ to you?
What kind of God comes to this world, lives precisely the same way we do, lives a life of radical poverty, heals, teaches and allows the very same people he came to save to turn him over to be beaten, whipped, tortured and crucified?
A God of love does that.  A God that has a radical love for his people, a love that is unheard of and that we can only scratch the surface of.  During this holiest of days, let this question of who Christ is not be far from our hearts and minds.
Pastor Shawn, Seymour UMC

Depression vs. Guilt


This is something that I have been dwelling  on for a while. I have been ranting about depression. I had even contemplated that I had an addiction to depression. I had some time to reflect and I realized that my first instance or semblance of depression was not depression, instead It was guilt.

Now, I know and recognize the need to treat medical depression, but I wonder how many of us mask our guilt on the guise of depression. I know that a lot of the times I am  depressed because of my sins, but I have programmed myself to call it depression and I medicate my guilt away.

Maybe It’s just me….

I am also wondering if there is a relationship between confessing to a priest (or to GOD) and seeing  a psychiatrist. To me both sounds prescriptive

just thinking loudly…. what do you think?

“Anybody who’s been depressed can tell you that feelings of guilt and self-blame can be overwhelming. In fact, the tendency to blame oneself excessively (and inappropriately) is a key factor in depression. … In depression, excessive self-blame is often accompanied by the equally maladaptive tendency to overgeneralize.”

 Jun 6, 2012: http://www.forbes.com/sites/alicegwalton/2012/06/06/oh-the-guilt-the-neurobiology-of-blaming-yourself-for-everything-when-youre-depressed/

http://www.harleytherapy.co.uk/counselling/guilt-and-depression.htm

While sin and guilt may contribute to depression, it would be terrible to explain our guilt away as depression. What would happen if we got rid of our guilt completely. Would the world be a better place. I think guilt and depression has a place in our lives. Obviously too much of anything is bad for us.

Confession of our faults is the next thing to innocence-Publilius Syrus

 

Faith and Hope


[He] was manifest in these last times for you who through Him believe in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.
1 Peter 1:20b-21

When counselors encourage their clients to “have faith and hope,” a reasonable response might be, “Faith in what? Hope in what?” For sure, encouraging a discouraged person to have a positive attitude and a bright outlook can be helpful. But in truth, faith and hope are only as good as their object. Which would be wiser when faced with walking across a frozen pond: great faith in a very thin sheet of ice or weak faith in a very thick sheet of ice? If the object of faith is most important, weak faith in a thick sheet of ice would be better and safer.

Peter says that God demonstrated, through Christ’s resurrection and glorification, that our faith and hope should be in God. The Resurrection is history’s greatest demonstration that life eternal awaits all who put their faith and hope in God. And if we have that certainty for the end of life on earth, we can depend on it to keep faith and hope alive until we get there.

Develop your faith and hope in God by renewing your mind with His “exceedingly great and precious promises” (2 Peter 1:4).

The beginning of anxiety is the end of faith, and the beginning of true faith is the end of anxiety.
George Muller

There Is Always Hope


For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.
Romans 15:4

The kingdom of God is full of paradoxes: we receive by giving, we live by dying, we receive honor by dishonor, and more. One of those paradoxes is that we gain hope by suffering, which seems odd. Normally, we seem most hopeful when things are going well, and we lose hope when we suffer. But, not surprisingly, the Bible says the opposite.

Paul explains how suffering leads to hope in Romans 5:3-4. Suffering produces perseverance, perseverance produces character, and character produces hope. Later, in Romans 8:24-25, he clarifies what hope is. Hope is what carries us through when we can’t see the outcome. It’s what allows us to walk by faith, not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7). Paul writes, “For why does one still hope for what he sees?” (Romans 8:24) If we can see the outcome of our trials then we have no need to hope. But when we cannot see the outcome, our hope carries us through—if we persevere and develop the character of Christ.

Regardless of your situation today, there is hope because there is God. Cling to Him through the promises of His Word. Hope never disappoints (Romans 5:5).

True faith is ever connected with hope.
John Calvin