Daily Devotions

I Want It All  

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“'Then who can be saved?' He replied, 'What is impossible for mortals is possible for God.'” (Luke 18:26b-27)

 

Jesus is so demanding. The apostle Paul gets a bad rap, being judged for cultural comments I am sure he would not say today. The apostle Paul gives believers theological comfort over-and-over-again. "Justification by Faith" was not some concept invented by the great reformer, Martin Luther. Luther took the idea that we do not earn our salvation from Paul's letters.

 

Jesus was much harder on us. Today's verse is framed by the story of the wealthy ruler who wanted to follow Jesus, but was turned away because he wouldn't give up all his riches. Then Jesus seems to simply go off on anyone who doesn't make the faith the first priority in their lives. Jesus challenges us with the statement, "Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” This is followed with an announcement, “Truly I tell you, there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, who will not get back very much more in this age, and in the age to come eternal life.”

 

If your motto is, "I want it all," you will end up with nothing in eternity, according to Jesus. This is because God's motto is, "I want it all," or said even better, "I want all of you, your whole being!" Today, prayerfully contemplate how much of yourself you give to God, and whether there are parts of yourself you keep from God. Does God have your attention at home? Does God influence your decision making at work? Then pray for God to guide you to a deeper relationship, which places the divine in every aspect of your life.

 

Don't let this passage frighten you away. Let it motivate you to include God at a deeper level.

The Joy of Childhood Faith

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"Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it.”

(Luke 18:17)

 

I absolutely love doing the "Moment with the Children" during the Worship service. It gives me meaningful time with the kids, but I also feel like I learn so much from them. They believe without all the intellectual abstractions. It isn't that they do not have questions, or even frustrations when they do not understand or are not given clear answers to their theological questions. The difference is they are often more willing to believe amidst the questions, than many adults. Children also experience faith through feelings that do not always need to be systematically articulated.

 

As we mature in the faith, we should take the responsibility to learn more about the faith, and have a working knowledge of the Bible. We should be able to express our theological positions and articulate our faith so others can hear the blessings of God in our lives. But for some reason, we adults often miss something in the transition. In embracing the intellectualization of the faith, we tend to loose the mystery and joy of experiencing God in our midst.

 

Today, try to remember various faith experiences at different points in your childhood. Who were the people who exemplified faith in your life? Was the idea of God frightening or warm and comforting? Did prayer provide a visceral response? What were the key transitional moments that transformed your faith? Which were intellectual moments and which were brought on by a feeling of the divine that transformed your understanding? Answering these and other questions can bring you back to a place of joy, trust, and mystery that children tend to experience more fully than adults. Enjoy the process of remembering and affirming!

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