25 August, Sunday – Stand Corrected

25 Aug 2019

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Isaiah 66:18-21

The Lord says this: I am coming to gather the nations of every language. They shall come to witness my glory. I will give them a sign and send some of their survivors to the nations: to Tarshish, Put, Lud, Moshech, Rosh, Tubal, and Javan, to the distant islands that have never heard of me or seen my glory. They will proclaim my glory to the nations. As an offering to the Lord they will bring all your brothers, on horses, in chariots, in litters, on mules, on dromedaries, from all the nations to my holy mountain in Jerusalem, says the Lord, like Israelites bringing oblations in clean vessels to the Temple of the Lord. And of some of them I will make priests and Levites, says the Lord.

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Hebrews 12:5-7,11-13

Have you forgotten that encouraging text in which you are addressed as sons? My son, when the Lord corrects you, do not treat it lightly; but do not get discouraged when he reprimands you. For the Lord trains the ones that he loves and he punishes all those that he acknowledges as his sons. Suffering is part of your training; God is treating you as his sons. Has there ever been any son whose father did not train him? Of course, any punishment is most painful at the time, and far from pleasant; but later, in those on whom it has been used, it bears fruit in peace and goodness. So hold up your limp arms and steady your trembling knees and smooth out the path you tread; then the injured limb will not be wrenched, it will grow strong again.

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Luke 13:22-30

Through towns and villages Jesus went teaching, making his way to Jerusalem. Someone said to him, ‘Sir, will there be only a few saved?’ He said to them, ‘Try your best to enter by the narrow door, because, I tell you, many will try to enter and will not succeed.

‘Once the master of the house has got up and locked the door, you may find yourself knocking on the door, saying, “Lord, open to us” but he will answer, “I do not know where you come from.” Then you will find yourself saying, “We once ate and drank in your company; you taught in our streets” but he will reply, “I do not know where you come from. Away from me, all you wicked men!”
‘Then there will be weeping and grinding of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, and yourselves turned outside. And men from east and west, from north and south, will come to take their places at the feast in the kingdom of God.

‘Yes, there are those now last who will be first, and those now first who will be last.’

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Suffering is part of your training; God is treating you as his sons

I would like to base this reflection on a teaching by a priest on growth, which best captures that learning is part of suffering.

Growth encompasses four aspects – Taken, Blessed, Broken and Given. Growth is essential for all Christians and this also brings about blessings. And these blessings come about when you accept all these components.

Taken

As in the parable of the rich young man who was asked to give away his wealth, God will take away the very things that we hold on to. It can mean different things to each of us. God will take our time, demand our effort, even our money. He will remove from us the very thing that stops us from growing.

Blessed

We all crave to be blessed by God but are usually not ready to accept purification and sanctification. And honestly, I am no different, though I know that He wants to sanctify me, as His daughter sometimes, I question His choices in this process of sanctification.

Recently I had a fall out with someone and I was very surprised how God was leading me and this person towards a blessing. Indeed God surprises me when He demands that I be the bigger person despite being very hurt. But I also realised that God cannot choose to bless one of His children at the expense of the other. And that is also when I am embraced — that both me and my trespasser are called by Him — as His own as stated in Isaiah 43:1 – You are mine.

It is no coincidence, that from the very start of my interactions with this person, I would seek counsel through scriptures and found this verse as a reminder that despite this person’s shortcomings, the Lord of all the earth had summoned him as His own. You and I are no exception.

Broken

This is rather self-explanatory, though it is necessary for it to be said so that we all have clarity. Christ will break you, so that you can be holy. He needs us whole so that we can live a complete and fulfilled life, like any good father would want for us. He wants us to live our best lives and for that to happen, He will break us from the whole being that we have created for ourselves, so that we are more of Him and less of ourselves and of the world.

Given

He will make us a holy sacrifice so that we become acceptable to Him. For scripture states: “Be holy as I am holy” – 1 Peter 1:16.

There is really no greater joy that to be a child of this Father who wants to remove all that hurts us and hinders us from the love and life He has created for us.

 (Today’s Oxygen by Josephine Dionisappu)

Prayer:  Lord, help us to remain holy by having holiness as a goal. Let us wholly accept and embrace holiness as our lifestyle, so that we meet others we truly reflect your image. And when we meet you face to face, we are truly like you.

Thanksgiving: Father thank you for your sanctifying grace. Though it sometimes irritates me, I feel privileged that you are working in and through me so that I am fully feel and know that I am yours.

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