H/T: Fr. Paul Jagoe
Thursday Lent 5:
O Lord, my God,
I am not worthy that You should come into my soul,
but I am glad that You have come to me
because in Your loving kindness
You desire to dwell in me.
You ask me to open the door of my soul,
which You alone have created,
so that You may enter into it
with Your loving kindness
and dispel the darkness of my mind.
I believe that You will do this
for You did not turn away Mary Magdalene
when she approached You in tears.
Neither did you withhold forgiveness from the tax collector
who repented of his sins
or from the good thief
who asked to be received into Your kingdom.
Indeed, You numbered as Your friends
all who came to You with repentant hearts.
O God, You alone are blessed always,
now, and forever. Amen.
~Prayer of St. John Chrysostom c. 400 A.D.~
As a Christian, whether in leadership or not, it is right and necessary to know that ambition does have its place in support of Christ’s Church.
If all we Christians take God seriously, we shall “become ambitious for the spread of his kingdom and righteousness everywhere.” May this be our common goal, and may we “therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” (Luke 10:2 – ESV) AND > May we be among the bold/ambitious laborers. Keeping in mind that though we are differently gifted, we can, should, and must be willing to say to our Lord Jesus, “Here I am send me”. He can and does use in countless wonderful ways whosoever will.
Let’s look at what the late John Stott has to say on rightly ordered ambition.
“Ambitions for self may be quite modest (enough to eat, to drink and to wear, as in the Sermon [on the Mount]) or they may be grandiose (a bigger house, a faster car, a higher salary, a wider reputation, more power). But whether modest or immodest, these are ambitions for myself – my comfort, my wealth, my status, my power.
“Ambitions for God, however, if they are to be worthy, can never be modest. There is something inherently inappropriate about cherishing small ambitions for God. How can we ever be content that he should acquire just a little more honour in the world? No. Once we are clear that God is King, then we long to see him crowned with glory and honour, and accorded his true place, which is the supreme place. We become ambitious for the spread of his kingdom and righteousness everywhere.”
- 172 -173 “The Message on the Sermon on the Mount” (Inter-Varsity Press)
The answer to this question probably will surprise you. Worth noting and sharing and praying!
From the article: “We can pray for gospel rootedness in the Middle East, and we can pray to light up their world like the Fourth of July, at the same time.”
The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. ~James 5:16b
In your word is the precious promise of great power to righteous prayers. Grant most merciful Father, for your name’s sake, a great increase in righteousness for and among and emanating outward from the sheep of your pasture. More righteous and more righteousness bestow upon them, Good Lord, that Your kingdom come, Your will be done, and that the saving power of Your ἀγάπη be manifest in real transforming glory!
All for Your sake, and in the mighty name of Your Son our Savior, Jesus Messiah,
Intercessors, please pray for more righteousness and for more righteous people.
More confirmation of my continuing admiration of Blaise Pascal…
From Carl R. Trueman at First Things:
Pascal observed the problem in seventeenth-century France when he saw the obsession with entertainment as the offspring of the fallen human desire to be distracted from any thought of mortality. “I have often said that the sole cause of man’s unhappiness is that he does not know how to stay quietly in his room,” he said. And: “Distraction is the only thing that consoles us for miseries, and yet it is itself the greatest of our miseries.”
Trueman really captures what we miss when our focus centers on avoidance and sentimentalization of the reality of the tragic. Please take the time to read his article Tragic Worship.
The Psalm reads
“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil,”
and it does not stop there, as it goes on
“for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”
Happy, clappy distraction does NOT sustain. In the end it can only strain the frailty of our resolve until it snaps unsupported by the truth of the tragic.
On the other hand, God is with us all along the valley of the shadow. Only He removes the fear of evil. Only He bestows comfort. Only His grace lasts. Distractions are – at best – sugar candies.