Pride blinds us not only to itself, but to every other sin tucked away in the recesses of our hearts and lives. It causes us to hate correction and reproof. It hides our sin from us, it justifies our sin, it excuses our sin, and it keeps us from repenting of our sin. It deceives us into thinking that we are spiritually well when, in fact, we have a deadly cancer and are in desperate need of the Great Physician’s Balm. ~ Lou Priolo
Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy? Listen diligently to Me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food. Incline your ear, and come to Me; hear, that your soul may live; and I will make with you an everlasting covenant, My steadfast, sure love for David. Behold, I made him a witness to the peoples, a leader and commander for the peoples. Behold, you shall call a nation that you do not know, and a nation that did not know you shall run to you, because of the Lord your God, and of the Holy One of Israel, for he has glorified you. “Seek the Lord while he may be found; call upon him while he is near; let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. … “For you shall go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and the hills before you shall break forth into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress; instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle; and it shall make a name for the Lord, an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off. ~ Him Speaking, in Isaiah 55
Oh beloved, it is true.
Each of us never saw it coming. At least at first. We were out, engorging our flesh as we gorged on anything, anything at all to try and make our lives work. Nothing seemed to be working, though we kept on trying.
We had something totally backwards. We were letting our flesh drive our life. The impulses on the dashboard were taking control, like some form of artificial intelligence. We were on autopilot. And, after a while, we just kind of settled in and let it drive.
God and the devil are found at opposite poles. No one can turn his face to God who has not first turned his back on sin. When a man turns his face to God, all of his paths lead to God. When a man turns his face away from God, all of his paths lead to perdition. ~ St. Nicholas of Serbia
What we had forgotten, though, was that we were not just flesh and bones. Rather, the incredible biochemical and biomechanical machines that are part of us, are not really all of us. They are, in fact, more of a suit or toolset to help us take in data in the four dimensions in which we exist. Our bodies, and flesh help us understand the world around us – but they are prone to failure and to passing on very bad information to our souls and spirits.
And so, we were there, getting things totally backwards, and hardly even noticing it. It was like the quiet Sunday morning in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii so many years ago. Everyone knew there was some sort of battle to be brewing, but no one really thought it was going to come to Oahu.
But the battle came. And the results were catastrophic.
We, sitting there in our flesh, and with our course set on autopilot, were in really real danger. We were heading for destruction along one of two paths. One, we were going to keep on following our own fleshly instrumentation, and we were going to run out of options. We knew it (oh, we were ignoring it), but we were beginning to run on vapors. Even though, we had some sort of quiet during the moments of engorging our lusts, even our bodies were screaming at us to stop.
Or two, some outside force was going to come in and intervene in our affairs. At one level, we didn’t want this. We had been buying all the things that did not satisfy, but we still really did not want SomeOne to come in and take over. We still were looking at a few of our dashboard lights that seemed like they might have a tinge of green within the bright red they were flashing. At another level, something within us knew that this was our only Hope.
For Ragamuffins, God’s name is Mercy. We see our darkness as a prized possession because it drives us into the heart of God. Without mercy our darkness would plunge us into despair – for some, self-destruction. Time alone with God reveals the unfathomable depths of the poverty of the spirit. We are so poor that even our poverty is not our own: It belongs to the mysterium tremendum of a loving God.
~ Brennan Manning
Then, out of the blue, over the horizon, He came. He came in fast and low. He came in with weaponry that was unstoppable. Even as we pulled out of our beds, and tried to man the weapons we had around us, they were of no avail. G_d came in, and torpedoed our lives. We never had a chance. We had been lulled to complacency by our supposed preparation, and we were so wrong – that it saved our lives.
Can we see it? There was no other way. Our instrumentation was just too messed up. Our intelligence was just too lacking. And the only way to wake the sleeping, eternally living, giant of a man in each of us, was for G_d to deal a death stroke to our flesh and its faulty instrumentation.
Beloved, there is a deeper truth here too. His mission to destroy us – that we might survive – destroyed Him too. Jesus was the ultimate kamikaze Warrior. He was not giving up his life for some despot in Japan. No, He was volunteering for a mission that only He could handle, and this was for the very Father of The Universe, and Maker of eternity.
And He did it. He died in killing you (and this fool of a writer). But, He died so forcefully, that He went all the way down through death, and came back on the other side, Alive in a way that death can no longer touch. And – He brought you through these dark paths with Himself. So, our seeming destruction, was really the only way for us to survive and thrive.
So, are you just hanging out on a Sunday morning on some tropical island of your imagination, thinking that everything is going to be just fine? You are gravely mistaken. However, this may be some of the best news you have heard in your supposed-life up to this point. Keep listening for the attack. It is coming. It is the only way you can survive.
Tonight is your night, beloved. Time to let Him give you everything He has got.
Written by Makala Doulos: Makala Doulos is a child of G_d, a husband to his wife, a father to his children, and a teacher to his students. But mostly, he is a prisoner set free by Jesus. Love has invaded his life, crushed it, and made it new. Now, G_d’s Love is what constrains him to live in full surrender to the freedom The Father and Son and Holy Spirit have bought for us all. Grace and Peace to you all.
The Daily Bible Reading: Psalm 39; Proverbs 9
Daily Quote: “Then Christ cries to justice, ‘Find a fault in this man; I have put my robe upon him; I have washed him in my blood; I have cleansed him from his sin. All the past is gone; … As for the penalty, I have borne it myself; at one tremendous draught of love I have drunk that man’s destruction dry; I have borne what he should have suffered; I have endured the agonies he ought to have endured. Justice have I not satisfied thee?'” ~ Charles Spurgeon
This Week’s Verse to Memorize:
But let all those rejoice who put their trust in You; Let them ever shout for joy, because You defend them; Let those also who love Your name be joyful in You. ~Psalm 5:11