Sunday, September 23, 2018


The Lord’s Will Be Done



   “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.  May it be done to me according to your word.”  (Luke 1: 38)



   Though Mary didn’t fully understand how she was to become the Mother of God she trusted that His will would be done.  She knew the possible shame and rejection she may have to experience as a pregnant unmarried woman but trusted God to watch over her and the child she was to bear.  She gave herself entirely to God’s will.

   Noah followed the will of God when He asked him to build an ark even though the people probably thought Him insane.  Abraham trusted when God told Him to sacrifice his only son and was blessed for his trust in God.  John trusted His call to baptize and claimed Isaiah’s prophecy as “A voice of one crying out in the desert; ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths.”  (Luke 3: 4).  They trusted and submitted to God’s holy will.

   There are many things not worthy of our trust in this world.  It’s comforting to know that above all else we can trust in God and His will for us.  He loves us; He watches over us and calls us to Him.  We may be called to missions uncomfortable to us.  We may be asked to do things that are difficult and even dangerous.  Still we can trust that God will be with us each step of the way, guiding us on the way of His will.

   Jesus came to give us salvation.  His entire life was devoted to the service of others and the will of God.  He asked nothing for Himself and gave everything of Himself for us.  He suffered rejection, hatred, betrayal and finally death on a cross.  Though He was God He chose to become a man to serve us and give us the perfect example of service to God and His will.

   We are called to serve God and others in our lives.  We are to called trust in Him and to follow His will for us.



“My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet, not as I will, but as you will.”  (Matt 26: 39)

Saturday, September 22, 2018


Look Within



   “I have been crucified with Christ; yet I live, no longer I, but Christ lives I me; insofar as I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God who has loved me and given himself up for me.”  (Gal 2:20)



   If we are to find God we need to look within ourselves.  Even though He is everywhere, in everything, He is found best in His presence within us.  Paul’s words to the Galatian’s express this beautifully.  We must give up ourselves if we want Christ to live in us.

   We are filled with earthly matters and concerns.  We are filled with prejudice, bias and sin.  In many of us there is very little if any room left for God.  Even so, He remains within us waiting for us to come to Him and let Him become the life within us.

   God has unlimited power to accomplish His will.  Yet He does not use that power to push Himself into our lives.  He waits for our invitation before entering.  Love and obedience out of demand and fear is not true love or obedience.  God does not require our love, He desires it.  He does not demand our obedience, praise and respect but is worthy of it.

   God is pure love and love is never demanding but gentle, caring and compassionate.  Paul wrote, “Love is patient, love is kind.” (1 Cor 13: 4).  This is the love God wishes to give us.  He is patient with us, waiting for us to seek Him.  He is kind, giving us His mercy and forgiveness for our sins through the blood of Jesus, His Son.

   Paul further writes, “It bears all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” (1 Cor 13: 7).  The love of God bears our sins; He hopes, but never demands, that we will turn to Him; He endures our delays, our failures and our faults, always willing to forgive.

   When you truly love another there is no need to be asked, you do what they desire because of that love.  They don’t need to demand anything from you; you give it freely, hoping to please them.  This is the love God has for us.  This is the love we should have for God.

   If we look within ourselves and focus on Him rather than ourselves, we will find Him and share the blessed love He has for us.



“May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the endurance of Christ.” (2 Thes 3: 5)

Friday, September 21, 2018


Indifference



   “First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out; because I was not a socialist.  Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out; because I was not a trade unionist.  Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out; because I was not a Jew.  Then they came for me; and there was no one left to speak for me.” (Martin Niemoller)



   A Lutheran Pastor in Nazi Germany, Martin Neimoller was sent to the death camps along with other undesirables.  After his rescue in 1945 by Allied forces he wrote the above concerning indifference.

   Saint Maximilian Kolbe was also an undesirable in Nazi Germany who was sent to the death camps.  When a man with a family was sentenced to die by starvation, Saint Kolbe took his place, dying by forced starvation.

   The entire world watched as Hitler began his efforts of eliminating all but those he considered part of the master race.   Indifference allowed it to continue.  Rather than confronting it in its’ early stages, the world waited until it was too late to save millions of lives in Nazi death camps.

   Today we’ve seen Christians beheaded in the middle east.  We’ve seen entire Christian populations uprooted and their properties taken.  Ancient sites sacred to Christianity have been obliterated never to be restored.  The world has stood by doing little to defend those being persecuted and killed.

   In our own country Christians are mocked, sneered at and looked down upon.  Candidates for high public office denigrate the faithful in their campaigns.  The entertainment industry mocks religion and faith.  Christian business owners have been sued and fined for standing up for their beliefs.  Our indifference to these attacks on Christianity encourages even more aggressive persecution.  Will we, like so many before us, turn a blind eye until it is too late?

   Indifference can be a sin against God.  Failure to defend our faith is a failure to defend Christ.



    “The most deadly poison of our times is indifference.” (St. Maximilian Kolbe)

Thursday, September 20, 2018


Prayer for Help



In your love you have given me all.
You sent Your Son to save me from my sins.
Yet, I still do evil in Your sight,
I fail to call on You when temptations come. 

Lord, give me a new heart.
Give me strength to always turn to You.
Give me sorrow for the offenses I have committed.
Help me to commit them no more. 

I trust in Your love and forgiveness.
I am assured of my salvation through Your grace.
I give myself to You.
I surrender all to Your will. 

Help me Lord.
To turn to You in times of trouble.
To rely on Your strength when tempted.
To come to You in my sorrow.
To seek Your forgiveness.


Amen

Wednesday, September 19, 2018


Trust in God



   “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom do I fear?  The Lord is my life’s refuge; of whom am I afraid?” (Ps 27: 1)



   Each day there are fears we must face.  Some real, some imagined, but fears nevertheless.  We sometimes get so concerned with our fears that we forget who is on our side.  We forget that the Holy Spirit is within us.

   We are taught to deal with our fears.  “Man up!” is the attitude we are supposed to take when something threatens.  Not only are we to face our fears we are expected to face them on our own.  We are to overcome the worries and concerns of everyday life.

   I am not ashamed to admit that I can’t always face my fears alone.  In some cases I am confident that I would succumb to them if there were no help for me to draw on.  Where does my help come from?  In many cases it comes from my wife; she strengthens me in so many ways.  I know that I can always turn to her and she will be there for me.  I pray that I am as much support to her as she is to me.

   But what of the times when we both fear?  A family emergency or a serious illness.  Of course we still turn to each other and support each other but there is a greater source of comfort and strength.  God can calm all our fears and strengthen us to face the hardest challenges.  All we need do is ask.

   Think of the fear the apostles must have felt after Jesus died.  They still didn’t fully understand all that He had tried to teach them.  So they hid in a locked room for fear of those who would have killed them just as they had Jesus.  But the advocate that Jesus promised, the Holy Spirit, came upon them and took their fears away and emboldened them in their mission.  They no longer feared but preached of Jesus and His teachings even though they knew it could cost them their lives.

   The fears we face each day are also subject to the comfort and strength of the Holy Spirit.  God will support us and give us the ability to overcome our fears.  Just as He was there for the apostles He is there for us.  He will take our hand and lead us home.



   “Wait for the Lord, take courage; be stouthearted, wait for the Lord! (Ps 27: 14)

Tuesday, September 18, 2018


The Face of Jesus



   It’s good to put a face with a name.  We hear this sentiment often, especially in these days of emails and texts.  In many cases we may have worked with or had contact with someone for years but never met them in person.  I’m not sure why knowing what they look like is so important, but we always look forward to the opportunity to meet them face to face.

   I think the same is true with Jesus.  We try to put our worldly expectations of what He should look like into our version of who He is.  Except for the fact that He was Jewish we really have no idea of what He looked like.  The many images we see of Him in paintings and on crucifixes reflect the ideas of the painter or sculpture.

   Do these various images of Him affect the way we see Him?  In some ways I believe they do.  Having a fixed image of what Jesus is supposed to look like may keep us from seeing Him in others.  If we expect Him look like us, what about those who are different?  We need to see Christ in everyone regardless of their appearance.  Those who claim Christianity should never retain bigoted and bias views of others.  All are children of God regardless of their earthly appearance.

   It’s natural for us to see Jesus as looking similar to us.  We are more comfortable with a Savior we can identify with in an earthly manner.  But we must keep in mind that our version of Him is just that; our version.  People of other races and backgrounds will see Him in their own image just as we do.  We must get past the earthly image and focus on the divine if we are to truly follow His commandment to love our neighbor as ourselves.



   “I see Jesus in every human being. I say to myself, this is hungry Jesus, I must feed him. This is sick Jesus. This one has leprosy or gangrene; I must wash him and tend to him. I serve because I love Jesus.”  (Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta)

Monday, September 17, 2018


Who Am I?



  “See what love the Father has bestowed on us that we may be called the children of God.” (1 John 3: 1)



   Who am I that God should love me so much that He sent His only Son to offer me eternal life?  I am a sinful man, flawed in many ways.  Yet God loves me and wants me as part of His family.  How blessed I am by His love and mercy.

   I sometimes struggle with the fact that God loves me so much.  I absolutely believe that He does but I don’t understand why He does.  I am simply a creature among many creatures.  I’m nothing special and don’t claim to be; yet God's love for me is eternal.

   Love is why Jesus became man.  Love is why He lived a life of rejection, abandonment and pain.  Love for me is why He suffered on the cross; to pay the price for my sins.  I know all these things and still I fall prey to Satan’s temptation and sin again.  How incredible it is that even though I continue to fail, God continues to love me and forgive my sins.

   “In just the same way, I tell you, there will be rejoicing among the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” (Luke15: 10).  These words of Jesus bring peace to me and remind me that God forgives me though I can do nothing to warrant His mercy.  Just as a parent forgives a child, God forgives me.

   Eventually, if I follow God’s will, perhaps I will know and understand His unending love and mercy for me.  For now, I must simply accept it with trust and thanksgiving, giving all praise and glory to Him.



“Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we shall be has not yet been revealed.  We do know that when it is revealed we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.” (1 John 3: 2)