Held by the Grip of God

June 28th, 2017 by Dave No comments »

I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. —Philippians 3:12

Never choose to be a worker for God, but once God has placed His call on you, woe be to you if you “turn aside to the right hand or to the left” (Deuteronomy 5:32). We are not here to work for God because we have chosen to do so, but because God has “laid hold of” us. And once He has done so, we never have this thought, “Well, I’m really not suited for this.” What you are to preach is also determined by God, not by your own natural leanings or desires. Keep your soul steadfastly related to God, and remember that you are called not simply to convey your testimony but also to preach the gospel. Every Christian must testify to the truth of God, but when it comes to the call to preach, there must be the agonizing grip of God’s hand on you— your life is in the grip of God for that very purpose. How many of us are held like that?

Never water down the Word of God, but preach it in its undiluted sternness. There must be unflinching faithfulness to the Word of God, but when you come to personal dealings with others, remember who you are— you are not some special being created in heaven, but a sinner saved by grace.

“Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do…I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14).

Journal, DJR

Good Morning Lord,
We continue to look at two streams of devotional literature and compare the truths that are contained in each. It’s a process of sorting, and comparing and even rejecting some of what we find. The authors, after all are imperfect humans caught in the space and time of their own culture… just as we are. Sometimes, understanding the context that the author wrote in helps, just as it is essential to understand the context that the scriptural authors wrote. And sometimes you’ve shown us concepts that help bridge differences and answer seeming contradictions. The bolded quote above… “when you come to personal dealings with others, remember who you are— you are not some special being created in heaven, but a sinner saved by grace.” … depends on the “either – or” dualistic thinking context. Which we are coming to reject. To us, it really helps to see and state that both are true. We are special beings, created in heaven…. and also sinners saved by grace.

Another line that we see as true, but we see it differently is, Never water down the Word of God, but preach it in its undiluted sternness. What Chambers and some of today’s polarized folks in politics as well as religion fail to include are the clear scriptures on Love and Grace and Mercy. We must not water those down either. When they are “preached with undiluted sternness” we have a delicious tension that only reliance on your Holy Spirit can resolve. Until he does, for us specifically, in a specific situation, it seems that the only safe way to stand is holding both of the seeming opposites in an “open palm”… ready to hear, ready to be instructed, ready to see thru a new lens. Help us Lord to live like that.

Field Hospital on the Edge of the Battlefield (Daily Devotional from Richard Rohr)
Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Francis of Assisi taught us the importance of living close to the poor, the marginalized, the outcasts in society. The outer poverty, injustice, and absurdity around us mirror our own inner poverty, injustice, and absurdity. The poor man or woman outside is an invitation to the poor man or woman inside. As you nurture compassion and sympathy for the brokenness of things, encounter the visible icon of the painful mystery in “the little ones,” build bridges between the inner and outer, learn to move between action and contemplation, then you’ll find compassion and sympathy for the brokenness within yourself.
Each time I was recovering from cancer, I had to sit with my own broken absurdity as I’ve done with others at the jail or hospital or sick bed. The suffering person’s poverty is visible and extraverted; mine is invisible and interior, but just as real. I think that’s why Jesus said we have to recognize Christ in the least of our brothers and sisters. It was for our redemption, our liberation, our healing—not just to “help” others and put a check on our spiritual resume.
I can’t hate the person on welfare when I realize I’m on God’s welfare. It all becomes one truth; the inner and the outer reflect one another. As compassion and sympathy flow out of us to any marginalized person for whatever reason, wounds are bandaged—both theirs and ours.
Thomas, the doubting apostle, wanted to figure things out in his head. He had done too much inner work, too much analyzing and explaining. He always needed more data before he could make a move. Then Jesus told Thomas he must put his finger inside the wounds in Jesus’ hands and side (John 20:27). Then and only then did Thomas begin to understand what faith is all about.
Pope Francis is encouraging a church of doubting Thomases when he tells us that “the church seems like a field hospital” [1] on the edge of the battlefield (as opposed to a country club of saved people) and the “clergy should smell like their sheep” (rather than thinking they smell better). [2] If this could happen, it would change just about everything that we have called church up to now.

Gateway to Silence:
Be still and still moving.

The Overshadowing of God’s Personal Deliverance

June 27th, 2017 by JDVaughn No comments »

“…I am with you to deliver you,” says the Lord. —Jeremiah 1:8

God promised Jeremiah that He would deliver him personally— “…your life shall be as a prize to you…” (Jeremiah 39:18). That is all God promises His children. Wherever God sends us, He will guard our lives. Our personal property and possessions are to be a matter of indifference to us, and our hold on these things should be very loose. If this is not the case, we will have panic, heartache, and distress. Having the proper outlook is evidence of the deeply rooted belief in the overshadowing of God’s personal deliverance.

The Sermon on the Mount indicates that when we are on a mission for Jesus Christ, there is no time to stand up for ourselves. Jesus says, in effect, “Don’t worry about whether or not you are being treated justly.” Looking for justice is actually a sign that we have been diverted from our devotion to Him. Never look for justice in this world, but never cease to give it. If we look for justice, we will only begin to complain and to indulge ourselves in the discontent of self-pity, as if to say, “Why should I be treated like this?” If we are devoted to Jesus Christ, we have nothing to do with what we encounter, whether it is just or unjust.

In essence, Jesus says, “Continue steadily on with what I have told you to do, and I will guard your life. If you try to guard it yourself, you remove yourself from My deliverance.” Even the most devout among us become atheistic in this regard— we do not believe Him. We put our common sense on the throne and then attach God’s name to it. We do lean to our own understanding, instead of trusting God with all our hearts (see Proverbs 3:5-6).

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Richard Rohr

The Left Hand of God
Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Part of integrating the inner and the outer is looking at both sides of life clearly and honestly. We must be able to face the joy and wonder of life as well as its pain, injustice, and absurdity. I call the dark side of life the left hand of God or the painful mystery of things. My several encounters with cancer are good examples. I have long preached about the painful mystery of things, but with each of three diagnoses, it reached out and grabbed me and got my attention.

That’s often how it happens. You’re going along and things are just fine, then wham bam—you’re struck by the left hand of God. The longer you live the more you see the terrible pain, injustice, and absurdity as part of the entire world and the lives of those around you. You can’t make any logical or pleasing sense out of it. Then, if you are open, you’re driven back to an inner place of grace where the paradox is simply held by Love. The only alternative is a life of cynicism. The Left Hand of God (click to read more)

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Drawing on the Grace of God— Now

June 26th, 2017 by Dave No comments »

We…plead with you not to receive the grace of God in vain. —2 Corinthians 6:1

The grace you had yesterday will not be sufficient for today. Grace is the overflowing favor of God, and you can always count on it being available to draw upon as needed. “…in much patience, in tribulations, in needs, in distresses”— that is where our patience is tested (2 Corinthians 6:4). Are you failing to rely on the grace of God there? Are you saying to yourself, “Oh well, I won’t count this time”? It is not a question of praying and asking God to help you— it is taking the grace of God now. We tend to make prayer the preparation for our service, yet it is never that in the Bible. Prayer is the practice of drawing on the grace of God. Don’t say, “I will endure this until I can get away and pray.” Pray now — draw on the grace of God in your moment of need. Prayer is the most normal and useful thing; it is not simply a reflex action of your devotion to God. We are very slow to learn to draw on God’s grace through prayer.

“…in stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors…” (2 Corinthians 6:5)— in all these things, display in your life a drawing on the grace of God, which will show evidence to yourself and to others that you are a miracle of His. Draw on His grace now, not later. The primary word in the spiritual vocabulary is now. Let circumstances take you where they will, but keep drawing on the grace of God in whatever condition you may find yourself. One of the greatest proofs that you are drawing on the grace of God is that you can be totally humiliated before others without displaying even the slightest trace of anything but His grace.

“…having nothing….” Never hold anything in reserve. Pour yourself out, giving the best that you have, and always be poor. Never be diplomatic and careful with the treasure God gives you. “…and yet possessing all things”— this is poverty triumphant (2 Corinthians 6:10).

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Journal DJR
Good morning Lord, I’ve been traveling for the last few weeks and have missed many days here with you and JD. I’m almost home and look forward to getting more regular in our times together. One thing that JD and I have discussed often and more regularly over the last year is our regular differences with the daily selection from Oswald Chambers. Usually the selection is a mixed bag…. some of it we agree with, some of it we take issue with, and see differently. It’s been good for us to think about what you are saying to us and what we really believe for ourselves. This year, we have also each day looked at Richard Rohr’s daily meditation. The juxtaposition of the two writers has been interesting and an exercise in “iron sharpening iron.” The last line in Chambers’ devotional today, for example, fits with Rohr’s Franciscan theology like a hand in a glove. Other points, not so much.

One of the things that we have been learning is not to polarize, but rather to look for truth in all perspectives and suspect that a “third path” will open up somewhere different than at the polarized ends of any spectrum. How great would it be if our politicians could learn this! In my travels, I met with some old friends who reminded me how we had worked together to free people from addiction by identifying and helping them dismantle one of the root causes…. “Imperative Thinking” This all or nothing, black and white, right or wrong, approach is what keeps addicts coming back to their addiction… as well as what keeps our politics so divisive. Over the years, Imperative Thinking is one of the things you have been removing from JD’s and my lives… and that’s still a work in process. Which brings me to today’s thinking on what to include in our CO2MannaToday output. Chambers ALWAYS has some nuggets of truth … but also, we are seeing so much Imperative Thinking, with “Guilt Hooks” and Sin Management, that I no longer want to put it out without comment or “counterpoint” Today, I’m including both devotionals. Perhaps that’s too much, too long. Or maybe our readers will enjoy seeing them both and joining us in the “iron sharpening iron” that we experience by daily comparing the voices… and finding our own that you are speaking to us.

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So here is today’s devotional from Richard Rohr. and here is a link which takes you to his site. The 8 minute introductory video is helpful. If you like it, feel free to sign up to have his daily devotionals come in your email. http://email.cac.org/t/d-l-kiudft-ulluljtiy-i/

Richard Rohr’s Daily Meditation Monday, June 26, 2017

The words action and contemplation have become classic Christian terminology for the two dancing polarities of our lives. Thomas Aquinas and many others stated that the highest form of spiritual maturity is not action or contemplation, but the ability to integrate the two into one life stance—to be service-oriented contemplatives or contemplative activists. By temperament we all tend to come at it from one side or the other.
This full integration doesn’t happen without a lot of mistakes and practice and prayer. And invariably, as you go through life, you swing on a pendulum back and forth between the two. During one period you may be more active or more contemplative than at another time.
I have commonly noticed a tendency to call any kind of inner work contemplation, and this concerns me. Inner work might lead you to a contemplative stance, but not necessarily. We shouldn’t confuse various kinds of inner work, insight-gathering, or introspection with contemplative spirituality. Contemplation is about letting go of the false much more than just collecting the new, the therapeutic, or the helpful. In other words, if you and your personal growth are still the focus, I do not think you are yet a contemplative—which demands that you shed yourself as the central reference point. Jesus said, “Unless the single grain of wheat dies, it remains just a single grain,” and it will not bear much fruit (John 12:24).
We must guard against our “innerness” becoming disguised narcissism, navel-gazing, and overly self-serving. I am afraid this is not uncommon in the religious world. An exalted self-image of “I am a spiritual person” is far too appealing to the ego. Thomas Merton warned against confusing an introverted personality with being a contemplative. They are two different things.
Having said that, I’ll point out the other side of the problem. Too much activism without enough inner work, insight, or examination of conscience inevitably leads to violence—to the self, to the project at hand, and invariably to others. If too much inner focus risks narcissism and individualism, I guess too much outer focus risks superficiality, negativity passing for love of justice, and various Messiah complexes. You can lack love on the Right and you can lack love on the Left—they just wear two different disguises.
We need both inner communion and outer service to be “Jesus” in the world! The job of religion is to help people act effectively and compassionately from an inner centeredness and connection with God.

Gateway to Silence:
Be still and still moving.

The Ministry of the Inner Life

June 21st, 2017 by JDVaughn No comments »

You are…a royal priesthood… —1 Peter 2:9


By what right have we become “a royal priesthood”? It is by the right of the atonement by the Cross of Christ that this has been accomplished. Are we prepared to purposely disregard ourselves and to launch out into the priestly work of prayer? The continual inner-searching we do in an effort to see if we are what we ought to be generates a self-centered, sickly type of Christianity, not the vigorous and simple life of a child of God. Until we get into this right and proper relationship with God, it is simply a case of our “hanging on by the skin of our teeth,” although we say,
“What a wonderful victory I have!” Yet there is nothing at all in that which indicates the miracle of redemption. Launch out in reckless, unrestrained belief that the redemption is complete. Then don’t worry anymore about yourself, but begin to do as Jesus Christ has said, in essence, “Pray for the friend who comes to you at midnight, pray for the saints of God, and pray for all men.” Pray with the realization that you are perfect only in Christ Jesus, not on the basis of this argument: “Oh, Lord, I have done my best; please hear me now.”How long is it going to take God to free us from the unhealthy habit of thinking only about ourselves?
We must get to the point of being sick to death of ourselves, until there is no longer any surprise at anything God might tell us about ourselves. We cannot reach and understand the depths of our own meagerness. There is only one place where we are right with God, and that is in Christ Jesus. Once we are there, we have to pour out our lives for all we are worth in this ministry of the inner life
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The Path of Descent
Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Jesus himself taught and exemplified the path of descent, which Christians have often called “the way of the cross.” The path downward is much more trustworthy than any path upward, which tends to feed the ego. Like few other Christians, it was Francis of Assisi who profoundly understood that.

Authentic spirituality is always on some level or in some way about letting go. Jesus said, “the truth will set you free” (John 8:32). Once we see truly what traps us and keeps us from freedom we should see the need to let it go. But in a consumer society most of us have had no training in that direction. Rather, more is usually considered better.

True liberation is letting go of our small self, letting go of our cultural biases, and letting go of our fear of loss and death.  (read more)…..https://cac.org/the-path-of-descent-2017-06-21/

Journal DJR
Good morning Lord,
Today both or our writers mention “letting go” rather than holding on as the way to freedom and peace. You have taught us to be suspect of what we’ve called the Big Four… the need to Look good, Feel good, Be right, and Be in control. Rohr adds a view thru a slightly different lens… letting go of our need for power and control, safety and security, and affection and esteem. In meditation about letting go of all of this stuff, I’m seeing that none of those items are bad in themselves, being right, having safety or affection, etc. Rather it is the “need” for those thing and the striving for them to the extent that we become blind and deaf to the needs around us and what you are saying to us. So the challenge seems to be the de-coupling of the need and striving from those things. Being right, Feeling Good, Being in control and having security and esteem are not bad if they come to us, rather than being things that we strive after. How can that de-coupling happen? How do we work together with you to walk in those blessings without getting tangled up in chasing after them?

Have You Come to “When” Yet?

June 20th, 2017 by JDVaughn No comments »

The Lord restored Job’s losses when he prayed for his friends. —Job 42:10


A pitiful, sickly, and self-centered kind of prayer and a determined effort and selfish desire to be right with God are never found in the New Testament. The fact that I am trying to be right with God is actually a sign that I am rebelling against the atonement by the Cross of Christ. I pray, “Lord, I will purify my heart if You will answer my prayer— I will walk rightly before You if You will help me.” But I cannot make myself right with God; I cannot make my life perfect. I can only be right with God if I accept the atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ as an absolute gift. Am I humble enough to accept it? I have to surrender all my rights and demands, and cease from every self-effort. I must leave myself completely alone in His hands, and then I can begin to pour my life out in the priestly work of intercession.
There is a great deal of prayer that comes from actual disbelief in the atonement. Jesus is not just beginning to save us— He has already saved us completely. It is an accomplished fact, and it is an insult to Him for us to ask Him to do what He has already done.If you are not now receiving the “hundredfold” which Jesus promised (see Matthew 19:29), and not getting insight into God’s Word, then start praying for your friends— enter into the ministry of the inner life.

“The Lord restored Job’s losses when he prayed for his friends.” As a saved soul, the real business of your life is intercessory prayer. Whatever circumstances God may place you in, always pray immediately that His atonement may be recognized and as fully understood in the lives of others as it has been in yours. Pray for your friends now, and pray for those with whom you come in contact now._________________________________________________

https://cac.org/freedom-2017-06-20/

Freedom

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June 20, 2017

Journal Entry for Today-JDV

Good morning Lord, and thank you for this day and both of these devotionals. It seems that Richard Rohr is leading us past the issue of sin management and how that can get in the way of surrendered and connected living. As Rohr said…Jesus was neither surprised nor upset at what we usually call sin. Jesus was upset at human pain and suffering. What else do all the healing stories mean? They are half of the Gospel! Jesus did not focus on sin. Jesus went where the pain was. Wherever he found human pain, there he went, there he touched, and there he healed.

Lord please help me focus on going where the pain is. Help me engage and support the marginalized and those that are hurting.  I believe that is where you want me to be, is it not?

And God says…”When you are surrendered, connected and available, I can lead you to the exact place and time(s) where your life can and will touch and impact the lives of others. I can lead you to connect and engage with people that need to hear your story and be impacted by your life and gifts when you are surrendered and connected to Me.”

 

“Will You Lay Down Your Life?”

June 16th, 2017 by JDVaughn No comments »

Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends….I have called you friends… —John 15:13, 15


Jesus does not ask me to die for Him, but to lay down my life for Him. Peter said to the Lord, “I will lay down my life for Your sake,” and he meant it (John 13:37). He had a magnificent sense of the heroic. For us to be incapable of making this same statement Peter made would be a bad thing— our sense of duty is only fully realized through our sense of heroism. Has the Lord ever asked you, “Will you lay down your life for My sake?” (John 13:38).
It is much easier to die than to lay down your life day in and day out with the sense of the high calling of God. We are not made for the bright-shining moments of life, but we have to walk in the light of them in our everyday ways. There was only one bright-shining moment in the life of Jesus, and that was on the Mount of Transfiguration. It was there that He emptied Himself of His glory for the second time, and then came down into the demon-possessed valley (seeMark 9:1-29). For thirty-three years Jesus laid down His life to do the will of His Father. “By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren” (1 John 3:16). Yet it is contrary to our human nature to do so.If I am a friend of Jesus, I must deliberately and carefully lay down my life for Him.
It is a difficult thing to do, and thank God that it is. Salvation is easy for us, because it cost God so much. But the exhibiting of salvation in my life is difficult. God saves a person, fills him with the Holy Spirit, and then says, in effect, “Now you work it out in your life, and be faithful to Me, even though the nature of everything around you is to cause you to be unfaithful.” And Jesus says to us, “…I have called you friends….” Remain faithful to your Friend, and remember that His honor is at stake in your bodily life.
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https://cac.org/inner-authority-2017-06-16/

Get Moving! (1)

June 14th, 2017 by Dave No comments »

Abide in Me… —John 15:4

In the matter of determination. The Spirit of Jesus is put into me by way of the atonement by the Cross of Christ. I then have to build my thinking patiently to bring it into perfect harmony with my Lord. God will not make me think like Jesus— I have to do it myself. I have to bring “every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5). “Abide in Me”— in intellectual matters, in money matters, in every one of the matters that make human life what it is. Our lives are not made up of only one neatly confined area.

Am I preventing God from doing things in my circumstances by saying that it will only serve to hinder my fellowship with Him? How irrelevant and disrespectful that is! It does not matter what my circumstances are. I can be as much assured of abiding in Jesus in any one of them as I am in any prayer meeting. It is unnecessary to change and arrange my circumstances myself. Our Lord’s inner abiding was pure and unblemished. He was at home with God wherever His body was. He never chose His own circumstances, but was meek, submitting to His Father’s plans and directions for Him. Just think of how amazingly relaxed our Lord’s life was! But we tend to keep God at a fever pitch in our lives. We have none of the serenity of the life which is “hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:3).

Think of the things that take you out of the position of abiding in Christ. You say, “Yes, Lord, just a minute— I still have this to do. Yes, I will abide as soon as this is finished, or as soon as this week is over. It will be all right, Lord. I will abide then.” Get moving— begin to abide now. In the initial stages it will be a continual effort to abide, but as you continue, it will become so much a part of your life that you will abide in Him without any conscious effort. Make the determination to abide in Jesus wherever you are now or wherever you may be placed in the future.

Get Moving (1)

June 14th, 2017 by JDVaughn No comments »

Abide in Me… —John 15:4

In the matter of determination. The Spirit of Jesus is put into me by way of the atonement by the Cross of Christ. I then have to build my thinking patiently to bring it into perfect harmony with my Lord. God will not make me think like Jesus— I have to do it myself. I have to bring “every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5). “Abide in Me”— in intellectual matters, in money matters, in every one of the matters that make human life what it is. Our lives are not made up of only one neatly confined area.Am I preventing God from doing things in my circumstances by saying that it will only serve to hinder my fellowship with Him? How irrelevant and disrespectful that is! It does not matter what my circumstances are. I can be as much assured of abiding in Jesus in any one of them as I am in any prayer meeting. It is unnecessary to change and arrange my circumstances myself. Our Lord’s inner abiding was pure and unblemished. He was at home with God wherever His body was. He never chose His own circumstances, but was meek, submitting to His Father’s plans and directions for Him. Just think of how amazingly relaxed our Lord’s life was! But we tend to keep God at a fever pitch in our lives. We have none of the serenity of the life which is “hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:3).Think of the things that take you out of the position of abiding in Christ. You say, “Yes, Lord, just a minute— I still have this to do. Yes, I will abide as soon as this is finished, or as soon as this week is over. It will be all right, Lord. I will abide then.” Get moving— begin to abide now. In the initial stages it will be a continual effort to abide, but as you continue, it will become so much a part of your life that you will abide in Him without any conscious effort. Make the determination to abide in Jesus wherever you are now or wherever you may be placed in the future.________________________________________________

Getting There (3)

June 13th, 2017 by JDVaughn No comments »

…come, follow Me. —Luke 18:22

 
Where our individual desire dies and sanctified surrender lives. One of the greatest hindrances in coming to Jesus is the excuse of our own individual temperament. We make our temperament and our natural desires barriers to coming to Jesus. Yet the first thing we realize when we do come to Jesus is that He pays no attention whatsoever to our natural desires. We have the idea that we can dedicate our gifts to God. However, you cannot dedicate what is not yours. There is actually only one thing you can dedicate to God, and that is your right to yourself (see Romans 12:1). If you will give God your right to yourself, He will make a holy experiment out of you— and His experiments always succeed.
The one true mark of a saint of God is the inner creativity that flows from being totally surrendered to Jesus Christ. In the life of a saint there is this amazing Well, which is a continual Source of original life. The Spirit of God is a Well of water springing up perpetually fresh. A saint realizes that it is God who engineers his circumstances; consequently there are no complaints, only unrestrained surrender to Jesus. Never try to make your experience a principle for others, but allow God to be as creative and original with others as He is with you.

If you abandon everything to Jesus, and come when He says, “Come,” then He will continue to say, “Come,” through you. You will go out into the world reproducing the echo of Christ’s “Come.” That is the result in every soul who has abandoned all and come to Jesus.

Have I come to Him? Will I come now?

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The Primacy of Love

Getting There (2)

June 12th, 2017 by JDVaughn No comments »

They said to Him, “Rabbi…where are You staying?” He said to them, “Come and see.” —John 1:38-39


Where our self-interest sleeps and the real interest is awakened. “They…remained with Him that day….” That is about all some of us ever do. We stay with Him a short time, only to wake up to our own realities of life. Our self-interest rises up and our abiding with Him is past. Yet there is no circumstance of life in which we cannot abide in Jesus.“You are Simon….You shall be called Cephas” (John 1:42). God writes our new name only on those places in our lives where He has erased our pride, self-sufficiency, and self-interest. Some of us have our new name written only in certain spots, like spiritual measles.
And in those areas of our lives we look all right. When we are in our best spiritual mood, you would think we were the highest quality saints. But don’t dare look at us when we are not in that mood. A true disciple is one who has his new name written all over him— self-interest, pride, and self-sufficiency have been completely erased.Pride is the sin of making “self” our god. And some of us today do this, not like the Pharisee, but like the tax collector (see Luke 18:9-14). For you to say, “Oh, I’m no saint,” is acceptable by human standards of pride, but it is unconscious blasphemy against God. You defy God to make you a saint, as if to say, “I am too weak and hopeless and outside the reach of the atonement by the Cross of Christ.” Why aren’t you a saint? It is either that you do not want to be a saint, or that you do not believe that God can make you into one.

You say it would be all right if God saved you and took you straight to heaven. That is exactly what He will do! And not only do we make our home with Him, but Jesus said of His Father and Himself, “…We will come to him and make Our home with him” (John 14:23). Put no conditions on your life— let Jesus be everything to you, and He will take you home with Him not only for a day, but for eternity.____________

Richard Rohr’s Daily Devotional

There Is Nothing to Regret (God Uses Everything in Our Favor)
Monday, June 12, 2017

Toward the end of his life, Saint Francis told the friars, “Let us begin, brothers, to serve the Lord God, for up until now we have done little or nothing.” [1] That enigmatic sense of beginning again at the end of life, at the end of an era, in the middle of so much failure, when we just want to rest and put the past behind us, that is the gift for reconstruction that we want to discover in these meditations. It makes Francis a man for all seasons, particularly for seasons of winter and death, when we do not know how, much less want, to begin again.

Francis also said as he lay dying, “I have done what is mine; may Christ teach you what is yours!” [2] We cannot change the world except insofar as we have changed ourselves.  (see more) https://cac.org/category/daily-meditations/