Friday, January 13, 2012

Do not be conformed to the world

God elected Israel to be a special family in the world.  The Israelites themselves were uncomfortable with this self-image.  They yearned to be like other nations.  Being set apart appears at times a burden too heavy to bear.   The early Roman Christians had the same image problem.  St. Paul writes to them, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind.” (Romans 12:2)  This advice seems to suggest that without the transformation of the mind, it will be near impossible not to conform to this world and its ideas.   The lure and magnetism of the world could be formidable at times.  St. Peter writes, “As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance.” (1 Peter 1: 14).  Before they became Christians, their passions were unrestrained like those of their neighbors.  Everybody was living in ignorance.  With Baptism, the light of Christ dispelled this ignorance in their minds and hearts.

The word of God is the sword of the spirit that transforms the mind and liberates it from its former ignorance.  As we feed on the word always and everywhere, we are being transformed gradually into the image of Christ until we possess the mind of Christ in everything.  Correct thought is the key to correct action.  The Israelites wanted to have a king and be like other nations because they believed that the absence of a king was the reason their enemies prevailed over them in warfare.  If only they had a king to lead them in warfare and fight their battles, all will be well.  We know that this is not so.  The only king that fulfilled this wish was David because he was a man after God’s own heart.  Other Israelite kings led them into bankruptcy, defeats and exiles.

Only a mind transformed by the word of God will have the wisdom and courage to resist being conformed to this world and its values.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Why this defeat?

“Why has the Lord permitted us to be defeated today by the Philistines?”  (I Samuel 4:3)
The leaders of Israel asked themselves the above searching question after they suffered a crushing defeat in the hands of the Philistines in 1 Samuel 4: 1-11.   Four thousand people were killed after a single fierce military campaign.  They asked the right question but did not get the correct answer before they rushed into action.  This time, the defeat became a total disaster.  Thirty thousand perished in the ensuing battle. 

Life is full of surprises.  There are unexpected delays, disappointments and obstacles.  Like the Israelites in 1 Samuel 4: 1-11, we find ourselves asking “Why has the Lord permitted this to happen?”  Correct thought is the key to correct action.  If we receive correct answer to the question of WHY and act on it, all will be well. 
“Why do you hide your face, forgetting our woe and our oppression?”  (Psalm 44: 24) 
The God of Israel does not slumber nor does He forget. Even if it is possible for a mother to forget her new born helpless child, it is impossible for God to forget His own.  “I will never fail you; I will never forsake you.”  (Hebrews 13:5)

“Fear is useless; what is needed is trust.”  (Luke 8:50, Mark 5:36)  To be happy with Jesus, all that we need is to trust and obey.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Write the vision down

“2Then the LORD answered me and said:
Write down the vision;*
Make it plain upon tablets,
so that the one who reads it may run.
3For the vision is a witness for the appointed time,
a testimony to the end; it will not disappoint.
If it delays, wait for it,
it will surely come, it will not be late.”  (Habakkuk 2: 2-3)
 With God, faith and work, inspiration and power, prophecy and fulfillment are two sides of the same coin.  When God gives you a vision, write it down.  When it is fulfilled, read the vision again and your faith in God will receive a big boost. 

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

My help comes from the Lord

1 I raise my eyes toward the mountains. From whence shall come my help? 2 My help comes from the LORD, the maker of heaven and earth. 3 He will not allow your foot to slip; or your guardian to sleep. 4 Behold, the guardian of Israel never slumbers nor sleeps. 5 The LORD is your guardian; the LORD is your shade at your right hand. 6 By day the sun will not strike you, nor the moon by night. 7 The LORD will guard you from all evil; he will guard your soul. 8 The LORD will guard your coming and going both now and forever." (Psalm 121)
The whole of Psalm 121 is included in the PL scripture because of the heavy promises of help and protection.  15 years after the compilation of the PL scriptures, my help and my protection everyday comes from God.