Saturday, February 11, 2006

The Habit of Sin

The Habit of Sin

“I tell you most solemnly, everyone who commits sin is a slave.  Now the slave’s place in the house is not assured, but the son’s place is assured.  So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.”  (John 8: 34 – 36)

Sin is slavery to passion, to self, food, drink, money, habit, etc.  Every sin involves the law of compulsion.  It is said:  Sow a thought, you reap a word and sow a word and you reap a habit; sow a habit and you reap a character. Sow a character and you reap a destiny.  The habit or slavery to sin does not happen all at once.  The addiction to cocaine does not happen with the first sniff.  The very first act sets the stage for the next one and the next one until the habit is formed.  Then the law of compulsion takes over.  At this point, the stuff says:  “Hi, I am here, you must use me now.”  And the addict can no longer say No.  

Jesus says that he has come to set us free from this compulsion to act sinfully.  When sin as alcohol says to me, “Come and drink me now.”  I am free to respond:  Christ said:  “Man does not live by drink alone.  There is life for him in every word that comes from the mouth of God.”  For every temptation, there is a script (scripture) for it.  We must become like good actors familiar with the appropriate response.  The word of God makes us truly free because it exposes the lies and errors of the devil. Let the habit of eating the word of God everyday become second nature to us.

Friday, February 10, 2006

The Truth will make you Free

The Truth will make you Free

“If you make my word your home you will indeed be my disciples, you will learn the truth and the truth will make you free.”  (John 8: 31)

To know Jesus, you must know his word.  To know his word, you must read it, meditate on it again and again until you become very familiar with it.  St. Jerome said that “Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ.”  Christ’s word is truth.  Jesus says of himself “I am the truth, the way and the life.”  Jesus is the truth that Scripture reveals.  

Truth comes as light to chase away error or darkness that is associated with sin, ignorance and death.  When the veil of darkness is lifted, one sees the light, that is, the reality on any question, like:  family, health, job, money, tools and food.

Jesus promises that knowledge of truth leads to freedom.  Am I free in regard to family, health, job, money, tools and food?  Not yet.  But I trust completely in the word of God.  I believe that I am being made free everyday.  I do not understand how and I may not see much progress but I believe.

Lord Jesus, I thank you for your word.  Thank you for the opportunity to read and reflect on your word.  Lord heal me by your word and set me completely free by your word.

“If you make my word your home you will indeed be my disciples, you will learn the truth and the truth will make you free.”  (John 8: 31)   This is one scripture that can be put to test.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

10 Tricks of the Devil

My Top Ten Tricks of the Devil

"When he lies he is speaking true to his nature, because he is a liar, and the father of lies" (John 8:44)NJB

"Put on the full armour of God so as to be able to resist the devil's tricks." (Ephesians 6;11)

Falsehood is the most consistent attribute of the devil. Paul urged the Ephesians to put on the full armour in order to resist the tricks of satan. The Cure of Ars used to say, "The devil is a big dog on a chain, who threatens and makes a lot of noise but who only bites those who go too near to him" (Selected Sermons).

These are my top ten tricks of the devil:

1. We pray for miracles and events to happen and when they do, we fail to give God the full credit by dismissing them as coincidences.
2. Don't bother about the saints; they are dead.
3. The devil does not exist.
4. You don't have to belong to a Church to worship God.
5. Why pray since prayers are not answered.
6. All religions lead to heaven.
7. Jesus is not true God and true man.
8. It is impossible to keep on the straight path. Accept yourself as you are.
9. Why go to Church today, you can go next week. Why accept Jesus today, you can do it next year. Why tithe today, you can do it when you get a better job.
10. Be anxious about your job, health, money, family relationship and future.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

The Light of Jesus

The Light of Jesus

“I am the light of the world; anyone who follows me will not be walking in he dark; he will have light of life.”  (John 8: 12)

Christ is the light of the world.  He is the meaning of life; he is the explanation to all the questions about life and the world.  How?  Here are a few examples:

What is the meaning of family life?  Ask Jesus.
How do I conduct myself in the family as a father, mother or child?  Ask Jesus.
What is the purpose of family life?  Ask Jesus.
What is man’s purpose on earth?  Ask Christ.
What is the purpose of work?  Ask Jesus.
What is the meaning of suffering and death?  Ask Jesus.
What is the purpose of money?  Ask Jesus.

For every question about life, Jesus has a point of view.  His point of view is the light that should guide our thinking and behavior.  If we follow Christ’s teaching on everything, we should never walk in the dark.  We will be guided by the light of life.

“I am the light of the world; anyone who follows me will not be walking in he dark; he will have light of life.”  (John 8: 12)  This is God’s promise.  It is true.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

The Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit

“If any man is thirsty, let him come to me!  Let the man comes and drinks who believes in me!  As scripture says:  From his breast shall flow fountains of living water.’   He was speaking of the Spirit which those who believed in him were to receive.”  John 7: 38.

On the morning of June 19, 1996 when I read and commented on the above scripture, I woke up to find that thieves had broken into my living room and cleaned up everything.   My reflection on the scripture written in my journal that day was more of prayer for guidance and wisdom than on any other thing.  I recognized the promise of the Holy Spirit in John 7: 38 and I asked the Lord to minister to my bruised feelings through his Spirit.

Today, ten years after, I am amazed to note how “this also had passed away” as the saying goes.  What happened on that day of June that seemed so large and unforgettable has after ten years become a tiny foot print in my walk on the shifting sand of life.

When I read John 7: 38 today, February 2006, what occurs to me immediately are two scriptures from the Old Testament, both from Isaiah:

“All you who are thirsty come to the water!  You who have no money, come, receive grain and eat; come, without paying and without cost, drink wine and milk!”  (Isaiah 55: 1)

“With joy you will draw water at the fountain of salvation, and say on that day:  give thanks to the Lord, acclaim his name; among the nations make known his deeds, proclaim how exalted is his name.”  (Isaiah 12: 3).

In both scriptures from Isaiah, we see clear pointer to the Holy Spirit, “which those who believed in him were to receive.”  Thank you Jesus for the gift of the Holy Spirit.  From my experience I have found that Christians from every denomination and background who may disagree on everything are all agreed on the Holy Spirit, his gifts and his operations.  

Monday, February 06, 2006

The Right Time

The Right Time

“The right time for me has not come yet, but anytime is the right time for you.”  (John 7: 6)

The cousins of Jesus asked him to manifest himself openly in Judaea and Jesus said that the right time for him to do so has not come.  This reminds me of the concept of the two times:  Chronos and Kairos.  While chronos measures physical time – minutes, hours, days, weeks and years, kairos is God’s right time for any event.  In the Scriptures, kairos is also indicated as the fullness of time.  When we look at the life of Christ, we sense that he seemed to judge time as kairos instead of chronology.  The world judges time chronologically but the saints do so in kairos.

We learn also from John 7: 6, that there is a time for everything.  To succeed in anything, one must align himself with God’s timetable.  How do we find out God’s time in any issue?

First, believe that God is in control of the event.  Second, pray for light and guidance.  Third, wait for God to speak.  “Faith that is firm is also patient.” (Isaiah 28: 16)    Lastly, “Do whatever he tells you.”  (John 2: 4)

The hardest part in this formula is to wait for God to speak.  Surrender the problem and the time-table for the solution to God.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Whom shall I go to?

Whom shall I go to?

“Then Jesus said to the Twelve, ‘What about you, do you want to go away too?’  Simon Peter answered, ‘Lord, who shall we go to?  You have the message of eternal life, and we believe, we know that you are the Holy One of God.”  (John 6: 67 – 70)

When Jesus said, “I am the living bread which has come down from heaven.  Anyone who eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is my flesh, for the life of the world..”(John 6:51) most of the multitude that followed him found the message too much.  They disbelieved him and went away.  But Jesus did not call them back and say, “You misunderstood me, I was only speaking symbolically.”  Instead he challenged the disciples who did not go away to believe the message or to go away with the rest.  Happily, inspired by the Holy Spirit once again, Peter spoke for the rest:  Jesus has the message of eternal life.  His word is true.  There is nothing out there to go to.

On the feast of Sacred Heart, 1996, I too received a most astonishing message from Jesus:  “My grace is always with you.”  This message was also too much for me and without the help of grace, it was not possible for me to believe it.  

Lord Jesus, I thank you for your message on 061496.   You have said the same again many times since that date.  I believe you.  I know that your word is truth.  I also know that you are faithful to your promises.  Lord, may I grow in the understanding of your message.  May every aspect of my life be influenced by the truth of your message.  May my life be enriched by this message.

The seed is the word of God.  All that is required of me is to be still and remain calm and believe and the seed will grow.  It has fallen on a fertile soil.  I water the soil through prayer and the word of God.