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

Athazagoraphobia


Athazagoraphobia: Fear of Abandonment

Athazagoraphobia: Fear of Abandonment

OR” leaves me to the predicament that I am in, but much to my chagrin,
I still remain confused to the day those decisions were made. This is for my kids, i.e. if you ever find your way to this blog.

You see, in India back in my day, we couldn’t get a part time job, so every bit of need or luxury that I could afford were met by my parents . Unlike in  America we didn’t have the benefit of getting loans to study through college and beyond (This doesn’t apply anymore) . There were exceptions, but I am talking about regular folk. Affording good education was  an expensive affair in India, and it generally cuts into a big chunk of money that could have been saved otherwise. There is an unspoken rule that the male child would take care of the parents. In my dad’s family, there were three male children. My grandpa taught my dad, my dad educated the brother next in line (the middle one) and he in turn (pay it forward) educated the youngest brother. The youngest brother took care of my grandparents, because he inherits the ancestral property  (i.e. the property where the parents reside.) There is a misconception that women do not get a share of the ancestral property, this is simply not true. Women do get a share of the ancestral property as dowry. The amount of the dowry is usually decided by both of the parents. In an ideal world, its a fair share.

In my case, I was an only son, so by default my parents were my responsibility. I studied in Manipal Engineering College Its by far the most expensive engineering college in India
(Notice I didn’t say the best, although it has given the world its share of CEO’s Rajeev Suri -CEO of Nokia, Satya Nadella- CEO OF Microsoft). Suffice it to say, educating me was an expensive affair for my parents and it was only fair that I would watch over them in their old age.

Enter the US citizen & my wife. She and her relatives had their own set of ideals, which were completely contradictory to every thing that was I was used to (but not so apparent when we got married). You see, their favorite verse in the bible was  “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his  wife, and the two will become one flesh.” Eph 5:31, Gen 2:24. They interpreted this to mean that I was responsible for my wife and her parents and they brought this up ever so often. We have had several fights on this little predicament that we had cornered ourselves into.When we got married we were in love and we didn’t have time to think through about the  practicalities.

And so it brewed for 14 years, until my dad got really sick and I had to attend to him. When he passed away, I was pressed with a hard decision i.e.to stay back in India and care for my mom and have my family alongside me. I had the kids attend the same school that I attended. Everything was going fine until the MIL stepped in. She raised her kids as Americans and this didn’t sit well with her (neither with my wife). Predictable there were a lot of  inconveniences for my wife. I guess I took it too lightly and hoped that she would get adjusted eventually. The only other option was to go to US with my mom tagged along with me. But then I shudder to that thought, because last time around, when my parents were visiting me in US, my wife called the  cops on them and complained that my 80 year old father was abusing her. Even the cops had sympathy for my dad,  because he was so fragile; they advised him to go back to India.

So here I am wondering should I go back to US with my family and leave my mom here,
or stay with my mom and let my family go back to US.

I chose the latter. I am still not sure if it was the right decision. I am paying a very hefty
price for that decision, because the kids (you) have been completely cut of from my life.
Do I miss my wife? Yes… but let’s leave it at that.

So, as you grew up, you would have heard a lot of horror stories about me and my family. Some of it, would be about how heartless I was to abandon my family.  I am sorry it had to come to this; I really am… and I miss you and think about you every other minute.

I could have stopped you from going to US and let your mom go back alone, but what’s a mother with out her children, so I erred in her favor.  Maybe some day we’ll see each other on the other side of hell.

abandonment

Weekly Discover Challenge

From the heart


Sincerity makes the very least person to be of more value than the most talented hypocrite - Charles Spurgeon

Sincerity makes the very least person to be of more value than the most talented hypocrite – Charles Spurgeon

I have been to several funerals and I have shed my share of tears, just to keep up with appearances.  There was a bit of truth in my sorrow, but there was always this pressure to visibly show how I felt. So I have always questioned myself about my lack of sincerety.

When my Dad passed away, I made up my mind to be completely sincere in my affection for him. There were moments when I was almost ready to burst, but I held back; for all the crocodile tears that I had shed, there had to be some sense of justice. And so it was,  to this day I  haven’t shed a single drop of tear for my father.

My heart feels hardened and I don’t feel like there is any good left in me. I heard some where that we are the heroes in our own lives, that each of us can justify the actions of our past no matter how troubling or horrible it maybe. We are the product of our thoughts.  I have lived my life trying to fulfill a lie, lies that I project to the wayfarers.

These days it feels more easier to exhibit myself, to reveal the ugliness of my double standards, dishonesty and wayward life. You see fake people have an image to maintain, but real people just don’t care. Sincerity and truth is basis for every virtue. So  even though I am not perfect, I’d rather be known for my weaknesses and failures, because I will have received my condemnation and judgement while I’m still alive.

on a lighter side, I have a sincere story or two that may make you smile

I remember once, when my dad gave me money to pay the electricity bill, but instead I bought a lottery ticket for a brand new car. When I got home, I explained to my Dad what I did and he beat the crap out of me. The next day, when my dad woke up and opened the door, outside my house was a brand new car. We all cried especially me, because the car was from the electricity company, they were there to cut off the electricity, my dad beat the crap out of me again !!! 😦

I hate it when you offer someone a sincere complement on their  mustache  and suddenly she’s not your friend any more.
– Anonymous

A little sincerity is a dangerous thing, and a great deal of it is absolutely fatal. Oscar Wilde

A little sincerity is a dangerous thing, and a great deal of it is absolutely fatal. -Oscar Wilde

Nothing in this world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity - Martin Luther King Jr.

Nothing in this world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity – Martin Luther King Jr.

A caring Community


Word of God

Word of God

And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment.
Philippians 1:9

Phi Beta Kappa, the national scholarship fraternity, is recognized as the first Greek-letter collegiate fraternal organization. One fraternity, Sigma Alpha Epsilon, co-founded in 1856 by a committed Christian, incorporates the words of Psalm 133:1 into its guiding principles: “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!”

The values of brotherhood and sisterhood, community, friendship, strong bonds, and caring—at the heart of modern fraternal organizations—are biblically based. Indeed, the New Testament uses the image of body (1 Corinthians 12:27) and family (Romans 8:12-17) to describe the close-knit relationships Christians should have with one another. Nowhere is that better illustrated than in the life of the first church in Jerusalem (Acts 2:42-47). So great was their care for each other that “there [wasn’t] anyone among them who lacked;” for they were “of one heart and one soul” (Acts 4:32-35).

To care, and be cared for, is what distinguishes the followers of Jesus in this world (John 13:35).

Caring is the ultimate measure of a congregation’s size.
Carl S. Dudley