Monday, February 14, 2011

San Francisco Sabbath

(Once again, please excuse the flimsy photos. I did take my real camera with zoom lens this time, however the pictures are not available yet.)

"So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.  He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor.  For we are God's fellow workers.  You are God's field, God's building." (1 Corinthians 3:7-9. ESV.)

As you can see, the fog was low in the city this weekend when we arrived. At first I was concerned I would not be able to offer any visuals to this post but as we continued on, the mist got lighter. (Side note, one of my family members feels there is a foggy side and a brighter side to San Francisco. Perhaps.)

The houses (and cherry blossoms) in the city are beautiful (yet so close together). Hubs and I wonder though how does one get out of his/her garage with lanes of bumper to bumper traffic sitting in front of the home?

13 ...each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. 14 If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. 15 If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire. (1 Corinthians 3:13-15. ESV.)

This week, the pastor at the lovely church I attended posed an excellent question. He asked each to assess the people with whom he/she gathers. Is it a "birds of a feather flock together" scenario or a diverse crowd?

Does God grow and stretch me when I hang out with like minded individuals or with those who challenge me on many levels? Is it better to be comfortable and content or uncomfortable and dependent on God, His grace, and strength in Christ Jesus?

As much as I hate to admit it, I would rather rely on God which means I am going to be pruned and refined regularly (which I utterly abhor almost as much as sin). But that is the price, that is what it takes to become more like Christ who was perfect. And though my goal is not perfection, I love God and His precious Son with my whole heart and want to glorify them.

But it is so easy to lose my focus on the cross and begin whining and complaining. The downward spiral, which begins with discontentment and self pity, is a slippery slope and trecherous. It was conceived and designed to separate me from God. NOT GOING TO HAPPEN!

I now (since 2006) have eyes to see and ears to hear. I am no longer fooled as easily and know (with certainty) I cannot be plucked from my King's mighty hand. His grasp, His provisions, His protection, His armor is stronger than ANYTHING.

As the pastor stated this Sabbath, the very same Holy Spirit which resurrected Christ is the One active in my life...for my good and God's glory.

Regarding the first commandment, Martin Luther's Catechism states this,
Therefore it is the intent of this commandment to require true faith and trust of the heart which settles upon the only true God and clings to Him alone. That is as much as to say: "See to it that you let Me alone be your God, and never seek another," i.e.: Whatever you lack of good things, expect it of Me, and look to Me for it, and whenever you suffer misfortune and distress, creep and cling to Me. I, yes, I, will give you enough and help you out of every need; only let not your heart cleave to or rest in any other. (THE LARGE CATECHISM by Martin Luther)

Luther goes on to say,
This I must unfold somewhat more plainly, that it may be understood and perceived by ordinary examples of the contrary. Many a one thinks that he has God and everything in abundance when he has money and possessions; he trusts in them and boasts of them with such firmness and assurance as to care for no one. Lo, such a man also has a god, Mammon by name, i.e., money and possessions, on which he sets all his heart, and which is also the most common idol on earth. He who has money and possessions feels secure, and is joyful and undismayed as though he were sitting in the midst of Paradise. On the other hand, he who has none doubts and is despondent, as though he knew of no God. For very few are to be found who are of good cheer, and who neither mourn nor complain if they have not Mammon. This [care and desire for money] sticks and clings to our nature, even to the grave. (THE LARGE CATECHISM by Martin Luther)

Thus you can easily understand what and how much this commandment requires, namely, that man's entire heart and all his confidence be placed in God alone, and in no one else. For to have God, you can easily perceive, is not to lay hold of Him with our hands or to put Him in a bag [as money], or to lock Him in a chest [as silver vessels]. But to apprehend Him means when the heart lays hold of Him and clings to Him. But to cling to Him with the heart is nothing else than to trust in Him entirely. For this reason He wishes to turn us away from everything else that exists outside of Him, and to draw us to Himself, namely, because He is the only eternal good. As though He would say: Whatever you have heretofore sought of the saints, or for whatever [things] you have trusted in Mammon or anything else, expect it all of Me, and regard Me as the one who will help you and pour out upon you richly all good things. (THE LARGE CATECHISM by Martin Luther)

21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matthew 6:21. ESV.)
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