Sunday, August 21, 2016

Devotion 8.22.16

The Olympics have been a fun diversion from the responsibilities of life for the past two weeks.  Surprise performances, predicted performances, upsets, and records all in the span of a couple of weeks in sports that, dare we say, we'd never watch unless a loved one is involved.  "Pardon me, dear, but badminton is on right now.  Shortly after that, I plan on watching rowing and the trampoline semi-finals."

We seem to appreciate the amateur athlete (professional athletes who are compensated in any form but pay except in certain sports where we just admit it and put the professionals out there) seeking his or her best.  Like anything else, it comes with a cost as it creates drama, controversy, and maybe even division.  In the once upon a time world of the Cold War, the tension between the Soviet Union and the United States and their allies/satellites created a distinct line of "sides."  It even created the scoring mechanism to throw out the high and low score in order to eliminate the side taken in the scoring and judging booth.  It was where the world was going to see, on display through athletics, the superiority of one system and its set of countries over the other.  Freedom versus totalitarianism.  Right versus wrong.  Maybe even good versus evil.  It's even the stuff movies are made of such as the movie about the 1980 US hockey team and Al Michael's famous line, "Do you believe in miracles?"

Faith, presumably the healer of all wounds, takes a funny turn in Luke 12.  Christ, the redeemer and provider of the grace we receive through his suffering, death, and resurrection, says that his presence on earth was not meant to heal, but rather divide.  "I came to cast fire on the earth, and would that it were already kindled!  I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how great is my distress until it is accomplished!  Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth?  No, I tell you, but rather division.  For from now on in one house there will be five divided, three against two and two against three.  They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law." (12:49 - 53)  Christ basically is saying, "Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters." (Matthew 12:30)

Christ's grace, while sufficient for all of us, is not something all of us will receive when we rely on our own beliefs and unbelief.  His grace delivers us from sin, Satan, and death, and his judgement will be equally certain in its division.

We pray for those households divided and we pray for the body of Christ and its divisions.  We ask that Christ's grace and mercy are sufficient to bring people to faith in the one true God and that we take that message to the world divided.

Hope Men's Ministry

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