Sometimes we need a little help when we are terribly frightened, extremely I’ll, in shock over some event, in spiritual warfare or such things. Memorized prayers can be very helpful in such instances. I believe this is the intent of the “Lorca.” I do not believe that this type of prayer, historically, was ever intended as an incantation or magic formula. There are times when we cannot even utter a word or think. We need songs, hymns and spiritual songs put deep into our hearts that we can quickly offer up without thinking. Many “loricas” we’re hymns. “Be Thou My Vision”. Is one of my favorite hymns that I have memorized. It encourages us to focus on God alone. Many scriptures were put to music for this very purpose in the first century by the early church. It is good to see the entire historical context of a tradition.

Christianity 201

Just when you think you know everything — no, I’m not being serious — you discover words and phrases that have been heretofore foreign to your Christian experience, and then face the task of deciding whether you are comfortable with incorporating them into your personal theology or Christian worldview.

This week I encountered a blogger who we have featured here before using the term lorica. A quick trip to Wikipedia offered this:

In the Christian monastic tradition, a lorica is a prayer recited for protection. The Latin word lorica originally meant “armor” or “breastplate.” Both meanings come together in the practice of placing verbal inscriptions on the shields or armorial trappings of knights, who might recite them before going into battle.

Notable loricas include Rob tu mo bhoile, a Comdi cride, which in its English translation provides the text for the hymn Be Thou My Vision, the…

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Very insightful, encouraging and helpful. Thank you.

Christianity 201

Phil. 3:10 I want to know Him inside and out. I want to experience the power of His resurrection and join in His suffering, shaped by His death…  (The Voice)

When you write a devotional blog, or keep a devotional journal, inevitably there are times when you look back at past entries and say, “What on earth was that about?”  What obviously made a great deal of sense on the day you wrote it suddenly appears to be random. You know there was a spark that set pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard, but now you are lost trying to decipher it.

The Knowledge Effect

You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures my plans without knowledge?’ Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know.  (Job 42:3, NIV)

Job realizes that from day one of his experience, where the discussion…

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One of the ways of experiencing God is through silence. We are not taught very much about this way of interacting with God in evangelical churches but it is scriptural and very historical. Lamentations 3:25, 26 says “The LORD is good to those who wait for Him, To the person who seeks Him. It is good that he waits silently for the salvation of the LORD.” (NAS)

The well-known story of Elijah in the cave after running from Jezabel (1 Kings 19:10- 15) applies very well. “And the word of the Lord came to him: “’What are you doing here, Elijah?’ He replied, ‘I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.’ The Lord said, ‘Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.’ Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.”

I love the question God puts the frightened prophet. “What are you doing here, Elijah?” It is the question God asked me many years ago. Let me share the story of the start to my journey inward to where Jesus lives.

Well, this isn’t exactly the first time Jesus tried to get in touch with me but that one didn’t take. So I’ll start with this one.

In 1997 I was teaching a course called “Experiencing God” by Henry Blackaby. I confidently explained to the group that we can all get caught up I rules, practices, and legalism in our relationship with God. At this time I would have told anyone that I had a relationship with God. I’ll let you be the judge.
As an example, I said “I could even get legalistic about my prayer book.

Now I’ve had an organized prayer book since I was a teenager. It was divided into categories, color coded, dated and had a section for answered prayer. The next day I couldn’t find my prayer book anywhere. In the middle of the third week I was desperate. No! I mean really, really upset and desperate. I slumped down on the floor of our den sobbing. “Why won’t You show me where my prayer book is, God. Don’t you want me to pray? Please, please help me. I love You, God!”. Then I got very quiet. I didn’t move. I didn’t pray. I didn’t look up a Scripture. I just sat there. Then I heard Jesus say, “Could you just have a cup of coffee with Me?” Yes.” I said “I think I could do that.”

So I got up and fixed two cups of coffee and took them out to the sun room. I sat down. And, for the first time in my life I just sat there enjoying the presence of Jesus. Quietly, without words we sat together.

What was I doing there sobbing in the floor? Elijah didn’t know the answer and neither did I. But we both desired God in the deepest recesses of our hearts. When that happens, God shows up. Not in flashy sound and light shows like wind, earthquakes and fire. No, He comes softly, tenderly and quietly. He’s waiting there now. Won’t you just have a cup of coffee with him?

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This week in the Genesis study we explored the very difficult 34th chapter. It’s hard to understand why stories like the rape if Dinah are in the Bible. We seem to think that all the characters in the Bible are saints. They are not. The Bible shows use raw humanity. The are stories that could be put on the nightly news and be right at home. So why are they there? To show that the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob was a God of LOVE.

“For God so loved the world. . . ,” a world of raw humanity capable of horrors and atrocities. “That He gave. . . ” God’s love is always about giving, of Himself, first and then in a million intimate gifts that come to rest in the heart of Jesus. “His only Son. . .? Divine LOVE give all, gives what is most precious and dear to His own divine heart, withholding nothing. That is why I capitalize all the letters when referring to divine LOVE. No human being can LOVE like that. Why would He do that? Why would He give His dearly beloved Son to people capable of the horror we see in Genesis 34.

So, how do we get this great love? See there’s the wrench in the works. Justice demands that sin must pay the penalty. Logic tells us that we must measure up to the righteousness demanded by the law. Except that there was no law at this time, just strict cultural norms and standards enforced by tribal kings in city-states. But this call for justice is a natural one in every human heart of every culture found on earth. So when the Bible says that we obtain this incredible LOVE by faith alone, we rebel. “. . . That whoever believes in Him (Jesus) would not perish but have everlasting life.” Noooooo! It can’t be true. Shechem can’t get off scott free. Jesus didn’t die for Hitler. The boys were perfectly justified in killing all the men in the village. That’s justice. Yes, perhaps. But it us not LOVE, or grace, or making peace.

It is a mistake to demand New Testament values from Old Testament people. As the old saying says, “The Bible must be interpreted in the time in which it was written.” But God does not change. His righteousness demands perfect LOVE which is part of His great character. The greatest commandment for both Jews and Christians is summed up in Deuteronomy 6:6 “You shall love The Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your strength.”

That’s the standard. Who can measure up to it? Every moment of every day to be totally consumed with a burning love fit God, is the demand. And although these words had not been written yet, God still sets this as the standard. Do I measure up. Certainly not!

Jesus does LOVE like this He loved Shechem when he came riding across the plains to snatch up Dinah and rape her. He loved Jacob when he failed in leadership. He loved Simeon and Levi, when they committed the crime of killing all the men and not stopping with Shechem. The corollary to the Great Commandment is Leviticus 19:18 “. . . You shall love your as yourself.” It takes divine LOVE to love our enemies, those toxic people who destroy our lives our peace and our sanity.

How can we get this divine LOVE? Be filled with the Holy Spirit. It is given through the life of God to us because He is living in us. Galatians 5:23,24. I receive the Holy Spirit when I became a believer. Romans 8:9. But being controlled by God, The Holy Spirit is a matter of choice. God is a gentleman, if I want to do things my way, He will let me. I have a will. When I sin it is then a matter of confessing my willful sins to allow the Holy Spirit to flow through me.

Loving toxic people is hard. Sometimes it’s hard to love the people we cherish. But loving my enemies is completely out of the question. I cannot love a “Hitler.” Only divine LOVE can do something that amazing.

Let’s ask Jesus for mercy. Let’s ask the Holy Spirit for the help He is ready to give so that. We can LOVE as He does.

In the heart if Jesus,
Kathy Seidlitz

OK. I Surrender

A few years ago the Southern Baptist Convention gave me a wonderful gift. A “servant husband.”* Why hadn’t I been told this secret before. My husband is my servant. Of course, we laughed and laughed about it and I used it in masterful and timely ways. But there’s something to this. Something we have all missed.

Jesus is, in fact, the servant husband to His beloved wife, the church. She is His Bride, the love of His life. He came to be her resue. He came to die for her. He will come and take her home with Him.

He is the perfect example of total surrender as Philippians 2 tells us. The perfect servant. And that’s what these musings are about, surrender. Surrender of my will to God is one of the first steps to experiencing Him. We have to trust Him before He will reveal Himself to us.

If we are not surrendered in total trust, we risk misinterpreting not only what God may reveal to us but who God is. Why? Because we are plagued with a sin nature. It is like a lens that distorts and colors everything falsely. It also corrupts everything it touches. But Jesus does come to terribly sinful people. Why? Because they are ready for Him. The Gaddarine demoniac (Mark 5) was ready for Him.

Surrender is a quiet thing. Unseen, deep in the heart. It has enormous consequences! A surrendered heart is a vessel that the power of the living God can flow through to a desperate world. It is a Spirit-filled heart, full of love, joy and peace. From these three the rest of the fruits grow. All I have to do to see if I am surrendered today is look at the fruits of the Spirit in Galations 3 and see how I line up. If not, some soul exploration needs to happen, finding and surrendering the areas that I’m clasping.

In His heart,
Kathy Seidlitz

*1998 Baptist Faith and Message