Two devotions for Lent
This year during Lent, the 40 “spiritual awareness” days before Easter, everyone in our congregation is reading daily devotions from “Where In The World Is God?” by Steven J. Carter. These daily meditations have been remarkably relevant and distinctly profound.
I want to share two of them with you here, and make my own brief comment after each. I pray they will bless you and give you some food for your thoughts as you take your “spiritual awareness” journey toward Easter.
“They exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever.” Romans 1:25
Steven J. Carter writes: Whenever people have a question about anything at all these days, the answer is to “Google it,” to go to Google (or other Internet search engine of choice) to find the information they need. Google gives us a glimpse into why people believe in so many different gods. At last check, the word “god” yielded 549 million results on Google. Godchecker.com identifies 3400 gods in today’s world. Or if you prefer, one website presented 50 proofs why God is imaginary. Pretty frightening to consider that people are being led astray in our Internet world from the one true God.
In Romans Paul explained why there is so much confusion over gods even in his day. Ignoring the plain evidence of God in the created world, people “exchanged the truth about God for a lie,” he says, and they “worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator.” He mentions “images resembling a mortal human being or birds or four-footed animals or reptiles” as gods which people worshiped (Romans 1:23).
The list of possible images we worship in our world today is endless, limited only by our foolish imaginations or Internet searches. We could spend a lifetime wandering the mazes of this world and its religions. How wise, then, the church road sign I saw that read: “There are some questions that can’’t be answered by Google. Come on in.” God is the only search engine that has the one true answer to the meaning of life, the way of life, and the way of eternal salvation. And that answer is Jesus.
My comment: Every time we put the “creation” (ourselves) superior to “The Creator” (God), we get into big trouble. Too often our faith and actions are based on how “I feel,” or how “I want to do things,” or on what “emotions I have about a given subject.” One fact is still a fact, a good fact, and that is that “The Creator” always has authority over the “creation.”
“The sum of your word is truth; and every one of your righteous ordinances endures forever.” Psalm 119:160.
Steven J. Carter writes: It’s hard to know what to believe or who to believe these days. Not too long ago, it seems, lies were exposed and condemned. Now truth has departed and slogans rule that are catchy, slick, deceptive and shallow. Politicians, business leaders, television talk show hosts, trial lawyers, umpires, scientists, journalists, even clergy are guilty of bending or sugar-coating the truth at one point or another. Our faith in people, products and policies suffers in the end.
Psalm 119 presents God’s Word and God’s Truth as inviolate and necessary for daily life. God’s True Word communicates both his saving love and his standards for obedience. Ultimately, Jesus, God’s Son who perfectly obeyed God’s law would die on the cross in payment for our sins, said,”I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me”(John 14:6). That truth saves now and forever. Confident of God’s Truth, we can become less and less influenced by the untruths of the world.
“Lord, restore truth in our world and Your Truth through Your Word. Forgive our acceptance of lies, and point us to Jesus, the way, the truth, and the life. Amen”
My comment: The phrase “even clergy are guilty of bending or sugar-coating the truth at one point or another” brings me particular pause. One of the hardest, but most important things a pastor must do is not bend or sugar-coat the truth of God. God’s truth is that He is Holy and we are unholy sinners. He has a righteous judgment against us. We must confess our sin and turn to Him for forgiveness. When we confess our sin, God is faithful to His Promise that in the death and resurrection of Jesus, He forgives our sin and cleanses us from the marks of sin in our lives. And when we know the sweetness of God’s forgiveness in Jesus, we can also be guided and molded by His Holy Spirit through Scripture to turn away from our sinful ways and live our lives according to His Will and His Way.
My prayer is that I, and all pastors, might not ever “bend or sugar-coat” any of this eternal truth. Amen!
Kollmeyer is Pastor of Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Fayetteville, www.princeofpeacefayette.com.