Friday, May 29, 2015

Where do we find our hope?

   Our hope is ultimately in Jesus Christ.  Jesus is the Way to Heaven.  Jesus is the way to unification with God.  We must be perfect to be unified with God, but this should not deter us.  “So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.” – [Matthew 5:48]
   Being perfect is a large and seemingly impossible task, but, again, this should not deter us.  After all, Jesus said, “I have not come to call the righteous to repentance but sinners.” – [Luke 5:32]  Our hope is not in being perfect now, though we ought to aim for it, but our hope is to work towards perfection and unity with God in eternity.
   Aiming for perfection may sound like trying to do an impossible task, but, as I have heard it said, it is better to aim for Heaven, miss, and reach Purgatory, than aim for Purgatory, miss, and fall to Hell.
   Aiming and working towards perfection is a great task, but as anything, it starts with one step.  Even the littlest of steps towards perfection is a move towards perfection.  After all, if you are not moving towards perfection, what are you moving towards?

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Remember the sacrifice of those before you.

   John Quincy Adams once said, "You will never know how much it has cost my generation to preserve your freedom.  I hope you make good use of it."  We owe many things to the generations before us, especially their sacrifices.  The greatest of these sacrifices being their lives.
   It takes a great person to sacrifice themself for another.  Yesterday, we remembered those who did just that.  They put their life on the line for us and they paid the ultimate price.  Jesus did it best and gave us the most from His sacrifice.  Which is why we remember His sacrifice every Sunday (Son-day).
   Jesus, like our service men and women who died in the line of duty, knew that freedom is not free.  Jesus paid His life to free us from the bonds of sin.  Bonds that prevent us from Heaven.  These terrible shackles are removed for all those who ask Jesus to use the key, which He paid with His life.
   Let us be thankful for the sacrifice of those before us and what we have received from these sacrifices.  Let us never take these gifts for granted, so as to lose them forever.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Love, the Greatest Commission.

   Jesus commissioned His disciples to “[g]o into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature.” – [Mark 16:15]  This was His final command that He gave before ascending into Heaven in the Gospel of Mark.  His Ascension, which we just celebrated on Sunday.  However, is this the greatest commission?
   I would say that Jesus’ greatest commission, the greatest commission ever given, was to love.  “I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another.” – [John 13:34]  Now, if “God is love” [1 John 4:8], then there can be no greater commission than to bring God, love, to others.  Indeed, when Jesus commissioned His disciples before His ascension, He told them to “proclaim the gospel to every creature.”  The gospel is God’s love for everyone.
   Jesus is, was, and will always be love.  His very nature as God is love.  He cannot be separated from it, lest He separate Himself from Himself.  If you want to bring Jesus to someone who needs Him, bring love and they will receive Jesus.  There is no greater commission; there is no greater duty.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

“If you have faith the size of a mustard seed… nothing will be impossible for you.” – Jesus

   The mustard seed is very small.  How can a faith that is very small do anything of significance?  It has to do with the one whom the faith is placed.  If your faith is placed in an all-powerful God, then yes, even a very small faith can do anything.
   This very small faith, like the mustard seed, must be whole.  A mustard seed that is incomplete cannot do anything.  Just so, a very small faith can do nothing when doubt accompanies it.  Indeed, how can you call it faith when doubt accompanies it?  In such a case, the faith is incomplete.
   Why doubt God?  Has He failed us in the past?  Perhaps, He has failed to give us what we want.  But have we given Him faith that is whole?  Indeed a faith that is whole, no matter how small, asks and receives.  God, after all, only wants to give.  But as a loving God and Father to all, He will not give us what is bad for us.
   “God proves his love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us.” - [Romans 5:8]  God, our Heavenly Father, gave us the ultimate gift of His Son, so that we might be forgiven.  He will surely not take away the very best from us, but give us the best, if we have a complete faith, even the size of a mustard seed.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Give God a little and He will multiply it.

   Jesus multiplied 5 loaves and 2 fish to feed 5,000!  Not only did He supply enough for the five thousand, the leftovers filled 12 baskets!  We look at the little we have (faith, money, love, etc.) and wonder how we could ever have more.  If given to Jesus, He can return it to you and those around you so much that there will still be some leftover.
   If giving Jesus a little does this much, how much more does giving everything get multiplied?  Indeed, Jesus wants this from us.  The more we give, the more we can receive.  If you have a full garage and give from it, you are only able to receive until the garage is full again.  If you empty it, you are able to receive so much more.  This is like our hearts.  However, Jesus loves us so much and desires to give us even more that He would gladly enlarge our hearts to receive more, if only we clean it out first.
   God can do a lot with a little.  Imagine how much He can do with a lot!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

How do you celebrate God’s love for you?

   We are still within the Easter Season, so we should still be celebrating God’s love in a special way, but we should always celebrate God’s love for us.  God has created us.  God has given us many blessings.  God also allows us to show love back to Him.
   We have been very blessed to be counted among those who God created in His image and likeness.  Being thus created is a great privilege and honor.  Along with this gift, we have been given many blessings.  Family, friends, and other things that have allowed us to enjoy God’s creation.
   God also has given us an ability to return His love.  Often this is in the form of sufferings.  Only within suffering can we freely choose to love God.  God does not give us sufferings, but He allows them.  Much like a parent allows their child freedom.  They may suffer by any number of ways, falling being a good example of accidental suffering.  But this suffering (a scraped knee), can provide the parent and child the ability to share love.  One by comforting the other and the other by experiencing this love and responding with love.
  God has bestowed upon us many great blessings.  However, we need to remember God the Father’s love for His Son, Jesus, did not keep Jesus from the cross.  How do we celebrate God’s great love for us?

Saturday, May 2, 2015

When we hear the truth, does it change us or just entertain us?

   Hearing the truth is a dangerous thing.  Once we hear the truth, we cannot un-hear it.  After hearing the truth, we are often left with a decision:  (a) change and adhere to the truth OR (b) continue to live a lie.  However, this decision bears much more weight than the original decision to live the lie.  Now we know the truth!
   “Herod feared John, knowing him to be a righteous and holy man, and kept him in custody. When he heard him speak he was very much perplexed, yet he liked to listen to him.” – [Mark 6:20]  Herod was entertained by the truth, but it did not change him.

More from the lips of Jesus:
   “I am the way and the truth and the life.” – [John 14:6]
   “And this is the verdict, that the light came into the world, but people preferred darkness to light … but whoever lives the truth comes to the light.” – [John 3:19, 21]
   “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” – [John 8:12]