Monday, September 30, 2013

Video On Demand

Many of us have come to appreciate Video On Demand. Imagine all those movies just waiting for us to watch when we want and when it is convenient for us to do so! It's wonderful to have especially as life has become so busy. Sure its great for movies, but what happens when do the same with God? When we use God On Demand!

Unfortunately, many times we can turn to God On Demand, only when we want and when it is convenient for us to do so! God help me here! God get me through this! God it would be great if you were here with me right now! We cannot turn to God On Demand. God is much more than a simple service provider!

God is a living and loving reality. God seeks a relationship with us at all times. I heard recently, do you know why God speaks to us very softly instead of yelling at us? The answer is because God is always close to us! God doesn't need to yell as if He was far away. No matter how far we may think we run away from God or our decisions keep us away from God, God is always there!

God is there because He desires, seeks, yearns to share His love, forgiveness, mercy, direction, and strength with us. God wants a relationship that is more than an On Demand service. So make a choice today. Focus on a relationship with God. A relationship that is more than On Demand, rather a relationship lived In Love!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Why do I do what I do?

"If there is no mercy in our hearts, if we do not experience the joy of forgiveness, we are not in communion with God, even if we observe all the commandments, because it is love that saves, not the simple observance of rules." -Pope Francis

I have tried to challenge people to reflect on the question, "Why do I do what I do?" Everyday we make decisions, take steps, and perform tasks. We do it with the family, at work, in school and within our walk with God. At times we make decisions with much thought and other moments with little or no thought at all. Certainly there are things in our daily life that do not need much reflection nor consultation before we make a decision or take a step. However, there are other things that desperately need us to take more time for discernment, reflection and then action.

When it comes to our walk with the Lord we must reflect more on the question, "Why do I do what I do?" If we allow our walk with the Lord to be routine, normal, expected and without thought, we can lose sight of what our relationship with God is truly all about. We can take the focus off things that matter more and simply become robotic or emotionless. We can even convince ourselves we are doing right and good because we are doing the things we are expected to do. 

As Pope Francis reminds us our walk with the Lord is more than a simple observance of rules. Yes, observance of rules is necessary and good, however, what is it that drives me in the observance of the rules? Is there love? Is there joy? Is there a true desire to be in communion with God? You see it is not one without the other. God is not calling us to throw out the rules and live the way we desire to live. At the same time God is challenging us not to simply observe commandments without knowing why and without love in our hearts! We need to seek balance. We need to understand why we do what we do.

One example:

Do I go to Church uninterested because it is only a commandment and I am expected to do so?
Do I not go to Church because it is only a rule and besides God loves me anyway?
Do I go to Church because God invites me into His presence and I do so with love and gratitude in my heart to worship and adore His presence?

And so when it comes to important things in your life like relationships, commitments, and sacrifices, take an extra moment before you act and ask yourself, why do I do what I do?

Monday, September 9, 2013

What if?

"At the time, all discipline seems a cause not for joy but for pain, yet later it brings the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who are trained by it." -Hebrews 12:11

I often do not like to speak about the trials in our lives as a "test" given to us by God. Nor do I often share with others that they should see their challenges as God's discipline. For many the mere thought that God is testing or disciplining us in this life can give a wrong impression of our God. In our spiritual immaturity, we could get stuck on that wrong impression and thus not be able to overcome how a loving merciful God would care to test or discipline us. However, as I continued to reflect on this notion I was led to the thought, what if?

What if God is testing us? Does that mean God doesn't love us? What if God was challenging us in order to discipline us? Does that mean God has no concern for us? Should we get stuck and angry or should we accept and evaluate how we are enduring?

Do we have the faith and courage to see our obstacles, challenges and sufferings as an opportunity to put that same faith into practice? I am first to say that it is far easier to live out our faith in God when all is well. The faith journey is great when I have peace in my heart and I am experiencing so much love. My faith is so alive when things seem to be going my way and everything seems to be clear! However, what happens when the journey is not easy? What happens when I do not have peace in my heart and I am experiencing everything but love? How do I go forth when things are not going my way and I do not have clarity?

Is faith only for the joyous moments? How does my faith guide me when I'm lost or discouraged? Can I muster the faith to say "I do not understand, but Jesus I trust in you!"

Due to the presence of sin in our own life and in the lives of others there will be pain and sufferings. There will be moments to quit and run away. We will be tempted to get angry and get even. This is not the way! Sure it is easier, but deep down inside we know it is not the answer and it will not give us the peace that we seek.

Evaluation time!

So when difficulties come how do you respond? Do you get angry and look to run away? Do you blame your sufferings on God and others? Do you run away from God and shy away from Your faith? Do you fall into depression and drown in your sorrow? If you answered yes to any of those questions then you are not alone. It is a temptation of all of us to do the same. However, as people of faith we must respond differently. I challenge each of us to see our pains and sufferings not as misfortunes but as a test of faith! An opportunity to use our faith to see us through. Not a time to say why me, but to ask what now and where do we go from here! A moment not to question God's presence but to see where God is and reflecting on how God is calling you to act.

When God looks to us in the midst of our suffering, does He find an obedient, joyous, and faithful child awaiting His direction? Or does God encounter a disobedient, down trodden, unfaithful lost soul?

Strive as a child of God to grow in faith and have the courage despite the test to be an obedient, joyous and faithful child awaiting the counsel of our Lord!

Remember there is a TEST in every TESTimony!

Keep the faith! Keep going! Be not afraid!