Pastoral Relief and Retreat

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Wethersfield, CT, United States
I am Pastor at Poquonock Community Church, Congregational (CCCC) in Windsor, CT. My wife Jama and I live in Wetherfield, CT. We'd like to invite you to Terre Haute -- High Ground -- That's what Jama and I call the retreat space on our property. We offer free intentional get-away retreats. We'll feed you and house you and give you space to be with the Lord. All are welcome; no questions asked. This blog is my daily devotional journal. I write it because it is so easy to go for weeks without ever taking the time to be alone with God. Writing helps me develop a discipline I need.

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Wednesday, February 4, 2009

January 31, 2009 Losses and Crosses

READ: Matthew 10:34-39
34
“Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. 36 And a person's enemies will be those of his own household. 37 Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38 And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

It is particularly disconcerting, don't you think, to discover that as a Christian, your greatest opponents might turn out to be those of your own household. If you look back a few verses you'll find that Jesus reinforces this thought by saying that members of your own house are probably the ones who will turn you in for loving Jesus.

Yipe.

Anyone who is a parent knows there is no guarantee that their children are going to grow up to follow Jesus. I wish I could tell you there is. And anyone who has become a believer in their youth apart from the comfort of a believing family can tell you there is no guarantee that your parents will ever come to know Christ just because you came to love him. Finally, there's no guarantee that just because you come to faith your spouse will. The painful truth is that each person is responsible before God for only one person. God has no "grandchildren", and there is no extended family "ticket" that will gain your loved-ones access to the throne of grace. Those you love the most in this world may well be unable to join you as you await the next.

I have prayed and prayed for some that I love deeply. And certainly, some of them have come to know Christ. But others have remained unrepentant to the end. Yet know this: Christ commands us to pray, not matter what the outcome. We don't pray to change God's mind. We pray that God might change our hearts. I think that's a foggy misquote from Mother Teresa. Also know that the least you can do for someone you love is not to pray for them. The most you can do for them is to pray daily for their salvation and their reconciliation with God.

So pray! Even if they persecute you and throw you out of the house, PRAY. God is responsible for their salvation. Your witness will sometimes be verbal, sometimes physical. And while you pray ask for God's wisdom on how to be a witness for him; how and when to open your mouth in his name. And if they persecute you? Be sure that they're persecuting Christ IN you, and aren't just angry because your halo is on too tight.

Jon

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