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Posted by Paul Edwards (Fr. Paul) on Jan 16, 2014 | Comments (0)


Third Sunday in Epiphany

Click here to go to the Bottom Line Meditations for the Third Sunday in Epiphany

Godly Abiding Spiritually in Jesus Changes the Meaning of What we See Worldly When Not Abiding in Jesus.

Spirituality is our innate ability to feel the difference worldly or godly thinking makes to the way scripture translates to our daily life and relationships.

All Scripture is a testimony to Jesus Christ, who is the Word of God. He is the complete revelation of God’s will of grace for salvation. Grace is the only unfailing rule of faith and practice for the Christian life.

The Gospel of grace is: rather than trying to be more faithful to become faithful, we become faithful by feeling the Faith God already has for and in us.

The Strength of Christianity is Grace

John 1:14 “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”

Another name for Jesus is "Grace". Another name for God is "Grace". We are saved by GRACE. "Love" is not Love if it is not grace. This is true for "Faith", "Hope", "Joy" and all other theological words of significance in the scripture.

Until someone experiences the grace gift in their lives, all other theological words have no real meaning. Why not begin to use the word "grace" in place of "Jesus", "God", "the Spirit", "Love" and so on? It might seem inappropriate to do so. However, until it is actually experienced it will make no sense at all.

That is what this year is all about. Grace, did you get it?

Finding Grace in Our Life

Prayers are from the Collects for the weekly Scriptures.

Find the difference between being transformed by His grace to do His will or doing His will to be transformed by His grace.

"Give us grace, O Lord, to answer readily the call of our Savior Jesus Christ."

What was the difference?

Epiphany

Matthew 4:17  From that time Jesus began to proclaim, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”

Epiphany is about changing our thinking from outside to inside, to inside to outside. We cannot do it unless we are able to know the difference between the two ways of thinking. If we cannot tell the difference, no matter how sincere we are we will go back to the old way.

This is illustrated by the word “repent”. It can be either from outside to inside thinking or from inside to outside thinking. Do you know the difference between the two? You can practice with the “Bottom Line” exercises published in this blog every Monday.

When we think about repentance from outside to inside, we confuse it with other forms that are a part of repentance but they are not repentance.

As an example, confession is not repentance. A man was making a confession to the priest about his cheating on his wife. When he was through the priest told him he had to say four “Hail Mary’s” each day until he stopped being unfaithful and went back to his wife. The man replied. “Why should I. I am not a Catholic. I am an atheist.”  The priest asked him, “Then why are you confessing to me?” “Who else can I brag about my experiences and trust they will not tell my wife?” He was not confessing, he was bragging.

Then there is the person who is contrite. “I am so sorry for what I did.” First of all, for some who say they are sorry, it is not for what they did. It is for the fact they got caught. If they had not been caught they would not be sorry. But even if they were sorry that is not enough. Many times when the chance comes up they may do it again. There is no change in their life. They keep on being sorry, knowing they should not do it, knowing the consequences, but they still do it. It is like the scorpion that needed the frog to take him across the flooded waters. “Do you promise not to bite and kill me when I carry you across the waters?” “I promise I will not bite and kill you. Pease believe me. I would never do that to a person who was about to save my life.”

Halfway across the flooded stream the scorpion stung the frog “Why did you do that, now we both will die?” The scorpion replied, “It is my nature”.

Some who repent will do it again. They just can’t help themselves. It is engrained into their nature.

True and lasting repentance calls for more than a change in one’s life. Whatever was the addiction, it is still there. A repentant person may have chosen to change their habit. If they have changed it, it is for the good. The problem with this kind of repentance is that it is a change. It came from outside to inside. As in any recovery, one still remains an addict. What we need is not a change from the outside to the inside. We need a transformation from the inside to the outside.

The word used for “repentance” means to change our mind. That is, the change must come from the inside and go to the outside. What happens on an outside to inside change is we change what we are thinking that creates our feeling. The problem is the old thought is still there and at any time we can revert to the old nature.

When we come into the Love, Joy and Peace of the Presence, the new feeling changes the way we think. The old thought that brought the anger and lust to us cannot survive when we are feeling the Presence. It isn’t possible to carry the pain of the past into the Love, Joy and Peace of the Presence. It is like being in a dark room and turning on the light. No matter how dark the room was it cannot stand the light. It is a shadow that does not exist.

Try it by going from an outside, negative thought and feeling to sensing the difference of how being in the Peace Presence transforms your thought.


THE DISCIPLE-SHIFT: The Virtual Small Group: Members share once a week with their group through the internet when a shift from being out to being in the Presence made a difference.


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