The freedom found in Christ

“The fact that those freed by the divine action still live in the world does not mean that they belong to the world, as though possessed by the world and incorporated into its structure. They are indeed in themselves finite individuals, but are no longer in slavery for — through the process of dying and rising with Christ — they have broken through into the infinity and freedom of God himself.” — Hans Urs von Balthasar, Engagement with God

 

The Gift of Rest

“Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. 11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy. (Ex. 20:8-11)

This isn’t about what “day” the Sabbath is “supposed” to be on. It is not about the specifics of how you “keep it holy.”

This is about trust. Sabbath is trust. The Lord provided a day of rest regularly for a slave nation. They had worked all their lives in every way possible. He then built in other “sabbaths” for them: the land to rest, debts to be settled, etc.

It was all about trust. Could they rely on provision of Yahweh, or did they think the world would stop turning if they didn’t take a day off? Could they trust Yahweh with what they did NOT do as well as what they DID do?

Is there a TRUST in the Father in your life? Or, are you there to “help God out?”

 

The questions of prayer

Luke 10:1-11:13 is about basic discipleship. I quite frequently let the chapter breaks (which were added centuries later) effect how I read a unit. I think the unit here is from 10:1 to 11:13.

Four basic things concerning discipleship:
1. Bold proclamation
2. Radical love for the neighbor
3. Intimate worship with Jesus
4. Bold prayer with the Father

This passage has drawn me in over the past two weeks and I’ve not really left it.

The challenge this morning is prayer and some tough questions in my own life.

Am I truly dependent on the Father? Prayer will expose that. If I am not praying, trust is not there. If I am shallow in my prayers (where I tend to breeze through a list or just let a worship song “do it” for me, as examples), I am hiding. But when I am there, waiting… listening… reading the Word and allowing it to soak in… and then asking him for the basic stuff of life… prayer happens. Trust is there. I am leaning on him. I am dependent.

I am always questioning my boldness. Over the past 2 plus years it has risen dramatically. Now that I have led my congregation off a proverbial cliff, it’s far more real. There are days I will easily confess I do NOT like bold prayers. Soft prayers were much easier.

All I have needed, HE has provided. It’s beyond finances. I have learned about business start up, insurance, taxes, state legal filings, property issues, and even city issues I thought I had a grasp on… all in the last six months. He is there for the practical stuff. All I have needed he truly has provided. Sometimes we separate this stuff out. We think, “Well, it’s ‘business’ so there’s not much ‘spiritual’ to it.” I have learned that I need the Spirit to lead the way. Jesus really knows how to guide me. He guides me to the right people, the right conversations, the right resources, and then empowers me to hear, to ask smarter questions, and to follow through.

God is in our business, and that doesn’t mean he is there because I put that fish symbol in my window. He is there because I get up every morning and think, “Dear GOD, I have no idea what I’m doing!” and he is there to say, “I think I can help you through this one. Let’s go.”

Prayer is radical trust. If I am NOT in prayer, I am not really trusting.

Those are the tough questions of prayer for me.