Thursday, February 27, 2014

Failure to Victory

There is a thought by some that in order to believe in God and to follow Christ one must be without fault or sin. This is not entirely correct. Although Jesus calls us to be perfect as the Heavenly Father is perfect, we, nonetheless are sinners in need of forgiveness and salvation. Enter Jesus! Jesus came into the world to save us and to show us the way! Since the beginning of time God has called humanity into a relationship knowing that with free will we can at times fall short of the holiness we are called to live. God always recalls the goodness with which He created us and so provides the grace needed to overcome the evil and to choose good. The moral is when we fall short or slip up that we don't go backwards or give up. Rather we get back up and live with gratitude for God's grace which gives us the strength to live another day and to strive for holiness! So don't just look at your mistakes or your blemishes. Instead allow God to use you for His glory and for the salvation of the world.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Make a Choice

If you choose you can keep the commandments, they will save you; if you trust in God, you too shall live; he has set before you fire and water to whichever you choose, stretch forth your hand. Before man are life and death, good and evil, whichever he chooses shall be given him. Immense is the wisdom of the Lord; he is mighty in power, and all-seeing. The eyes of God are on those who fear him; he understands man’s every deed. No one does he command to act unjustly, to none does he give license to sin. –Sirach 15:15-20

The wisdom of Ben Sira otherwise known as the book of Sirach in the Old Testament provides a wealth of knowledge and valuable direction for the journey of faith. Life is full of choices one must make. It is not always easy and there will be bumps along the way. This is why God wishes to accompany His people on the journey. God can see the entire way and thus knows the roads to travel. If one allows, God can take a person to the highest of mountaintops and maneuver through any valley of death. No person can know for sure what he or she will see along the way, but in faith is asked to trust that the Lord will guide in safety to a heavenly destination. A destination that cannot be fully understood in this world for as we hear in the Scriptures, “what eye has not seen, and ear has not heard, and what has not entered the human heart, what God has prepared for those who love him” (1 Cor 2:9).

Nevertheless, there are some who refuse to believe if they can’t see it all or hear everything. It is one thing to refuse to believe for faith cannot be imposed  yet it is another thing when these same individuals begin to mock others by proclaiming that faith is an easy way out and a form of weakness that takes away one’s freedom. I beg to differ. I believe those individuals do not like the idea that they are not completely in control. Thus, they need to convince themselves and others that they can forge any path and choose their own destiny. In fact, pride and power can lead one to think he doesn’t need direction from anybody nor she has anything further to learn. Additionally, pride and power can make one believe his license gives him the right to take any road he so desires and for her to think that nothing nor anybody can stop her along the way. These selfish beliefs can only lead to reckless behavior and imprudent choices. This deception leads to a thought that everything and anything is a god given right with no consequences for partaking. This is anything but the truth. Yet, through it all, God continues to give to each a choice to make. The decision is completely free. The only thing God requires is for the choice to be made. "Let your ‘Yes’ mean ‘Yes,' and your ‘No’ mean ‘No’" (Matthew 5:37).

So what is your choice? Is it a yes to trust the Lord and to follow His commands? Or is it a no? I can understand the temptation to say both yes and no. Yes to have the Lord guide us when troubles come, but at other moments wanting the freedom to do our own thing. We cannot have the Lord be our part time passenger. As often as we try it cannot be this way. We need to make a choice: yes or no! A yes doesn’t mean we will not have questions nor make mistakes. It is a yes to affirm each day to follow the commands of the Lord even if it means sacrificing for something greater. “Blessed those whose way is blameless who walk by the law of the Lord. Blessed those who keep His testimonies who seek Him with all their heart” (Psalm 119:1-2).

We must make the choice. You must know to follow the Lord will not be easy. It will at times cause you to be mocked and isolated. Nevertheless it will not be in vain. For if you are willing to trust the Lord, remember this: “what eye has not seen, and ear has not heard, and what has not entered the human heart, what God has prepared for those who love him” (1 Cor 2:9).