Daily Reading & Meditation

Saturday (November 29): "Lest your hearts be weighed down"

Scripture: Luke 21:34-36   

34 "But take heed to yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a snare; 35 for it will come upon all who dwell upon the face of the whole earth. 36 But watch at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that will take place, and to stand before the Son of man."

Meditation: Is there anything holding you back from the joy and freedom of the Lord? God wants our hearts for him and for his kingdom of peace, joy, and righteousness (Romans 14:17). But our hearts can be weighed down by many different things, such as greed, gluttony, drunkenness, and so many other harmful addictions and sinful habits. Jesus, our Lord and Master, offers us true freedom - freedom from the power of sin and wasted life, and freedom from our unruly desires and disordered passions - such as making food, drink or anything else our master rather than our servant. Jesus wants our hearts to be ruled by one thing only - his love and truth which enables us to choose whatever is good and to reject whatever is evil and harmful for us.

Jesus also warns us of the temptation to slacken off - to become spiritually idle, lazy, indifferent, or inattentive to God's word and guidance for our lives. We can fall asleep spiritually if we allow other things to distract us from the reality of God and his kingdom. It is very easy to get caught up in the things of the present moment or to be weighed down with anxious cares and concerns.

The Lord knows our struggles, weaknesses, and shortcomings. And he assures us that we do not need to carry our burdens alone nor struggle without his help. He is always very present and ready to give us whatever strength, guidance, and help we need to fight temptation and to stay the course which he has set for us. But there is one thing he doesn't tolerate: indifference, an attitude of not caring, and doing nothing! The Lord wants us to cast our anxieties on him and to ask for his guidance and help. Do you pray for God's strength and wisdom?

Until the Lord comes again we can expect troubles, trials, and temptations. Our adversary the devil does not rest in his attempt to lure us away from God's will for our lives. If he cannot succeed in getting us to renounce our faith in Christ, he will try, little by little, to distract us from pursuing God, especially in prayer and listening to his word. Ask the Lord Jesus to rekindle the fire of his love in you so that you will be ready and eager to meet him when he comes again.

"Lord Jesus, rouse my spirit to the truth that this world is passing away. Give me a lively faith, a joyful hope, and a fervent love to see you face to face when you return in glory."

Psalm 119:57-64

57 The LORD is my portion; I promise to keep your words.
58 I entreat your favor with all my heart; be gracious to me according to your promise.
59 When I think of your ways, I turn my feet to your testimonies;
60 I hasten and do not delay to keep your commandments.
61 Though the cords of the wicked ensnare me, I do not forget your law.
62 At midnight I rise to praise you, because of your righteous ordinances.
63 I am a companion of all who fear you, of those who keep your precepts.
64 The earth, O LORD, is full of your steadfast love; teach me your statutes!

Daily Quote from the early church fathers: Drunkenness weakens both soul and body, by Origen of Alexandria (185-254 AD)

"'But take heed to yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a snare.' You heard the proclamation of the eternal King. You learned the deplorable end of 'drunkenness' or 'intoxication' Imagine a skilled and wise physician who would say, 'Beware, no one should drink too much from this or that herb. If he does, he will suddenly be destroyed.' I do not doubt that everyone would keep the prescriptions of the physician's warning concerning his own health. Now the Lord, who is both the physician of souls and bodies, orders them to avoid as a deadly drink the herb 'of drunkenness' and the vice 'of intoxication' and also the care of worldly matters. I do not know if any one can say that he is not wounded, because these things consume him.

"Drunkenness is therefore destructive in all things. It is the only thing that weakens the soul together with the body. According to the apostle, it can happen that when the body 'is weak,' then the spirit is 'much stronger' (2 Corinthians 12:10), and when 'the exterior person is destroyed, the interior person is renewed' (2 Corinthians 4:16). In the illness of drunkenness, the body and the soul are destroyed at the same time. The spirit is corrupted equally with the flesh. All the members are weakened: the feet and the hands. The tongue is loosened. Darkness covers the eyes. Forgetfulness covers the mind so that one does not know himself nor does he perceive he is a person. Drunkenness of the body has that shamefulness." (excerpt from HOMILIES ON LEVITICUS 7.56)


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author Don Schwager 2014 Servants of the Word

Scripture quotations from Common Bible: Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright 1973, and Ignatius Edition of the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright 2006, by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Citation references for quotes from the writings of the early church fathers.  

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