I want to be victorious! Readings today (Revelation 19-22)

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Scripture:  The victor will inherit these gifts, and I shall be his God, and he will be my Son.  (Revelation 21:7)

Observation:  Besides all the talk about grace flowing waters, I loved the four chapters of Revelation this morning because of the one verse.  As the notes of my online Bible say, the victorious Christian enjoys divine affiliation by adoption.  So much better written than I could have ever explained. 

Application:  For me, there are plenty of reasons to stay faithful to God.  (Three sons and a daughter on the way to name just a few)  However, the idea that God will adopt me as his son is a pretty incredible reason for keeping the faith.  I love my parents and appreciate all they have given me in this life, but to have the creator of the universe adopt you as his son, they know they could never touch that kind of love.

Prayer:  Lord, thank you for accepting me even in my brokenness and I look forward to the day that I can feel your love surround me.  Abba Father, thank you.  Amen.

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A moment with God and Chad this morning…

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Wadi Rum, the "Seven Pillars of Wisdom&qu...

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Gift:  Wisdom– With the gift of wisdom, we see God at work in our lives and in the world. For the wise person, the wonders of nature, historical events, and the ups and downs of our lives take on deeper meaning. The matters of judgment about the truth, and being able to see the image of God.

Reading: 5 I am writing to you, children, because your sins have been forgiven for his name’s sake. 6

I am writing to you, fathers,
because you know him who is from the beginning.

I am writing to you, young men,
because you have conquered the Evil One.

I write to you, children,
because you know the Father.

I write to you, fathers,
because you know him who is from the beginning.

I write to you, young men,
because you are strong and the word of God remains in you,
and you have conquered the Evil One.

Do not love the world or the things of the world.
If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
For all that is in the world,
sensual lust, enticement for the eyes, and a pretentious life,
is not from the Father but is from the world.
Yet the world and its enticement are passing away.
But whoever does the will of God remains forever.

Observation:  I awoke this morning to my oldest child retelling me a nightmare that he had last night.  It involved him seeing God say “Hi” to him and then he didn’t see him anymore and a lot of test tubes.  I struggled with how I would explain the dream to him and asked him why he was so afraid.  I told him to remember what our Pastor said a couple of weeks ago, which was that his favorite phrase from the Word of God is “Do not be afraid.”  He said he wanted to stay with me as I journaled, so I went and made my coffee, said my morning prayers and then sat down to journal in his room.  I asked him if I could read the first reading to him out loud and he consented.  I don’t know if I need to say this or not, but I was blown away by what the God revealed to us in the first reading today.  After reading the gospel reading to him, he asked how they got the stories from the Bible, and I explained that when something miraculous or important happens in your life, you remember it.  I told him it was like what happened to him this morning, by the Word of God speaking directly to his situation, it would be something he would remember and then tell the story later.  If the story was profound enough, like the stories about Jesus’ life, someone would eventually write them down and they could be retold for centuries to come.  Hmmm!

Personification:  Gentleness  It is only by displaying the fruit of gentleness that I can get through to my children or anyone for that matter.  Thanks be to God that he graces me with the restraint to keep me from reacting to every situation the way that the world would have me react, and for being there to explain things the way that only you can.

Prayer:  Thank you Lord for being there to provide for me and my family, not just your Word but everything we have and everything that you are creating us to be.  In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.

My thoughts are revealed…on Saint Thomas Becket, the Blessed Virgin Mary and Saint Joseph!

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The Madonna in Sorrow

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Gift:  Understanding – With the gift of understanding, we comprehend how we need to live as a follower of Jesus Christ. A person with understanding is not confused by all the conflicting messages in our culture about the right way to live.

Reading:  The child’s father and mother were amazed at what was said about him; and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted (and you yourself a sword will pierce) 11 so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”  (Luke 2:33-35)

Observation:  My first impression of this gospel reading was that I could not understand why Joseph and Mary would be amazed at the things that were said about their son.  However, after reflecting for a moment I realized that they were human and I am sure they had doubts about their own sanity just like we all do when confronted with divine revelation.  So, they had gotten comfortable with the fact that they had a son and they were simply going to present him to have him consecrated to the Lord as was the custom of the day.  Simeon rocks their world by saying to them what they already know, and then goes on to further tell them and us that this boy of theirs will be a sign that will be contradicted and he will pierce his own mother in the side with a sword.  The sign that is contradicted, in my mind, is Jesus’ revelation that he is the light of the world, and then he is arrested in darkness.  The sword that pierces his mother is the fact that he says that the one who reads the Word and observes it is more blessed than her.

Personification:  Kindness  It is only by displaying the fruit of kindness today and for the rest of my life that I can be a source of truth that brings the Word into this world.  I learned  from watching Richard Burton‘s portrayal of Becket, in the movie of the same name, that a Christian man is not defined by his decisions that he makes as a sinner.  Also, the decisions that he makes when called out of darkness and into the light are the decisions that define him.

Prayer:  Lord, help me to act boldly today but with the fruit of kindness always in my heart.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.






 

Am I a friend of Jesus?

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Mary and Jesus
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Gift:  Counsel (Right Judgment) – With the gift of right judgment, we know the difference between right and wrong, and we choose to do what is right. A person with right judgment avoids sin and lives out the values taught by Jesus.

Reading:  If we say, “We have fellowship with him,” while we continue to walk in darkness, we lie and do not act in truth.  If we say, “We are without sin,” we deceive ourselves, 3 and the truth is not in us.  If we acknowledge our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from every wrongdoing.  (1 John 1:6,8-9)

Observation:  It is important for me to see this morning that I should not be walking in darkness.  I believe that this means for me that I should not continue in the same old habits of sinful behavior.  It is not that I will ever be able to overcome sin in my life, but I know that with the grace of God, it will be at least kept at bay while I am at the Lord’s work.  It is the simple fact that I know my sinful nature that tells me to rely on the grace of God to keep me from sin.

Personification:  Self-Control  I think that I need to see the fruit of self-control as time management again.  It is only by using all of my time wisely that I can be sure that I am doing the will of the Father, or at least making myself available to be used by him.  The display of the fruit of self-control for me will look like a well thought out day planner, with time to make sure I am in right relationship with the Lord.

Prayer:  Our Father, who is in heaven.  Holy is your name.  Your kingdom come.  Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.  Give us this day our daily bread.  Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.  Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.

 







How can I be like Saint John?

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Gift:  Piety (Of course, it is about Saint John!)

Reading:  We are writing this so that our joy may be complete.  (1 John 1:4)

Observation:  The first reading begins with the realization of the fact that the apostles were witnesses to the incarnation.  Rather than lamenting about how I was not there, I chose to fous on how I could enjoy the same relationship Saint John had with Jesus.  If I stay close to Jesus in the Word and continue to receive him in the Eucharist, I can be just as close to him as John was, at least mentally.  I will rely on the grace of God to spiritually bring me close to Him. 

Personification:  Joy  I would hope that my joy is coming through in my writing about the way the word is impacting my life.  It is only by staying faithful to the Word in my journaling and staying connected to my community that I stay close to Jesus.

Prayer:  Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.  Lord, send down your Spirit to keep me from temptation.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.

What a Christmas present this is…Blessed are those who fear the Lord and walk in his ways. (Psalm 128:1)

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Children in Jerusalem.

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Gift:  Fear of the Lord (Wonder and Awe) – With the gift of wonder and awe (fear of the lord), we are aware of the glory and majesty of God. A person with wonder and awe knows that God is the perfection of all we desire: perfect knowledge, perfect goodness, perfect power, and perfect love.  

 

   

Reading:  For the LORD sets a father in honor over his children; a mother’s authority he confirms over her sons.  He who honors his father atones for sins; he stores up riches who reveres his mother.  He who honors his father is gladdened by children, and when he prays he is heard.  He who reveres his father will live a long life; he obeys the LORD who brings comfort to his mother.  (Sirach 3:2-6)

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Like a fruitful vine your wife within your home, Like olive plants your children around your table.  (Psalm 128:3)

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Children, obey your parents in everything, for this is pleasing to the Lord.  (Colossians 3:20)

Observation:  In the first reading, the responsorial psalm and the second reading today, I heard that the Lord is interested in giving us a happy home if we only follow his commands for us.  The Lord tells us of the rewards for honoring our parents in the first reading.  I see a beautiful picture that is painted of a loving family that is rooted in the truth in the responsorial psalm.  Finally, of course, I love the idea of children obeying their parents talked about in the second reading.  This verse, is not to be taken out of context of course, because Saint Paul says this only after admonishing everyone, including parents to be full of compassion, love, humility and forgiveness.

Personification:  Patience  I hope to be able to display the fruit of patience with my family today.  If I could only keep in my mind how much patience the Lord has had with me, hopefully I will see how to be patient with my family.  Of course, if you read the second reading, Saint Paul mentions kindness, gentleness and love as well as the other fruits that I wrote about just above.  It is important to keep all of these fruits of the Spirit in mind when trying to live out what God is calling me to.

Prayer:  Lord, I know that I choose to focus on one or two fruits of your Spirit every day, but please help me to better display all the fruits of your Spirit in my life.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.

Who called you and what are they calling you to be?

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Arugot Stream, the Judean Desert, Israel.

Arugot Stream, the Judean Desert, Israel.

Gift:  Wisdom– With the gift of wisdom, we see God at work in our lives and in the world. For the wise person, the wonders of nature, historical events, and the ups and downs of our lives take on deeper meaning. The matters of judgment about the truth, and being able to see the image of God.

Reading:  1 “Now then, speak thus to my servant David, ‘The LORD of hosts has this to say: It was I who took you from the pasture and from the care of the flock to be commander of my people Israel.  (2 Samuel 7:8)

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And you, child, will be called prophet of the Most High, for you will go before the Lord 21 to prepare his ways  (Luke 1:76)

Observation:  Two things jumped out at me from the readings today, and again my title may give you a hint of what those two things were.  In the first reading, it is God saying to David that he was the one who called him to be a commander of Israel.  I believe that we can see in this reading that it was not just David that he called but also us, maybe not to be a commander of Israel, but we can be sure that it is God who called us.  As for the Canticle of Zechariah, which makes up the gospel reading for today, I found that he is telling his baby, John the Baptist, who was just born that he is to be a prophet of the Most High, to be very important.  Maybe it is just me, but I see this also related to us and our calling to be a prophet of the Most High.  Since I know that I will never be without sin, it is the similarities to my preaching style to that of John the Baptist that I can see that this is what God has called me to.  I try to be gentle and easy in my delivery, but this world is so loud, I am left with a feeling that I am being drowned out by all the other noise.  I know that Jesus was not always gentle and easy either, but I see a loving John the Baptist, as the kind of preacher, God is calling me to be.

Personification:  Joy  Since I feel like I am being called to get in some people’s face about repentance and conversion, I will make sure that I do so with the fruit of joy plainly displayed before me.  We live in a world that wants and approves of instant gratification, and I live in it too and fall prey to it as well, but it is about time that every one of us takes a hard look at what actions we are taking to change it or we can not expect any different results than what we have seen in the past 2000 years.

Prayer:  Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy Spirit.  Amen!