Saturday, April 14, 2012

The Lord led me to freedom

“The Lord led his people to freedom and they shouted with joy and gladness, alleluia.”  (Psalm 105: 43)
This is Easter week.  I feel that the Lord is leading me to freedom from the slavery of fear, worry and doubt.  I have not felt as much joy and peace in the midst of circumstances that would have made me very nervous in the past.  Thank you Jesus.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Work of faith and labor of love

“Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.”  (1 Corinthians 15: 58)

How do I understand labor?  What is the work of the Lord?  Only paid employment?  By no means.  There is in society, much labor that is not paid for.  Take for example, the house wife who puts in 12 or more hours a day.  She does much useful and indispensable work at home but receives no salary for it.  Another good example is the work of the Church.  The paid employment in the Church is a tiny fraction of the multitude of ministries that provide different services to the Church.  If all the people that offer services to the Church are counted as employees, the Church may have more employees than the government. 

Any work that builds up the Kingdom of God qualifies as “the work of the Lord” or labor under 1 Corinthians 15: 58.  My work in the Church in the various ministries that I serve and my work in the world where I earn my daily bread may appear to be two different departments.  In reality, they are one.  I work in the Church where I obtain the graces I need to continue my work in the world.  The Lord who blesses labor blesses and prospers the work of our hand wherever the labor is done. 

In the light of the above, unemployment does not exist in the Kingdom.  Jesus says that the Father is always at work, so is He.  So should be the children.  There could a period of temporary unemployment without pay.  There is always plenty of opportunity for volunteer non-paid employment.

"We give thanks to God always for all of you, remembering you in our prayers, unceasingly calling to mind your work of faith and labor of love and endurance in hope of our Lord Jesus Christ, before our God and Father, knowing, brothers loved by God, how you were chosen" (1 Thessalonians 1: 2 - 4)

God who is faithful and just always rewards our work of faith and labor of love.  He teaches us that “man does not live by bread alone.”  We should pray for our eyes to be open to the various ways that His divine providence always and everywhere meets our needs.

“Man does not live on bread alone………” (Matthew 4:4)
·         Man does not live on money alone………..
·         Man does not live on salary alone…………..
·         Man does not live on job alone………..
There are many ways God supports His man.

“Man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of God.”  (Matthew 4:4)

Faith gives us the promise of the 7 P’s
1.       Pardon
2.       Peace
3.       Power
4.       Purpose
5.       Presence
6.       Protection
7.       Provision

Amen! Amen!! Amen!!

“Stay away from the love of money; be satisfied with what you have.  For God has said, ‘I will never fail you; I will never forsake you.’   That is why we can say with confidence: ‘The Lord is my helper, so I will not be afraid.  What can mere mortals do to me?”  (Hebrews 13: 5-6)

The 7 promises above show that we need more than money to live a healthy and fulfilled life.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

God Himself will finish the job

“And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”  (Philippians 1: 6)

St. James advises us Be doers of the word and not hearers only, deluding yourselves.”  How do we do Philippians 1:6?  Not every word of God can be put into practice.  Some of them like Philippians 1:6, we give our assent of faith.  When I read this word this morning, I rejoiced in it.  I know that God started a good work in me in 1994.  I have never doubted it for a moment.  At times, the going gets really tough and doubts creep in.  This is when I need scriptures like Philippians 1:6 to remind me that God is faithful.  The message to me is clear.  Relax.  Believe.  Be steadfast and wait for God. God who started this journey will bring it to successful conclusion in His own time and manner.  Trust the system.  Trust the 7-Way Plan.  Thank you Jesus.

Why does the word of God affect us so deeply?  I read something from the Focolare Word of Life which answers this question excellently for me:

“The words of Jesus, in fact, are not like human words.  Jesus is present in them as he is present in the Eucharist, though in a different way.  Through his words, Christ enters us, and by accepting them and putting them into practice, we allow him to be born and grow in our hearts.

Pope Paul VI said: ‘How does Jesus become present in our souls?  Through the communication of the word, the divine thought is conveyed; the Word, the Son of God made man, is conveyed.  We could assert that the Lord becomes incarnate in us when we allow his word to come and dwell within us.’

The word of Jesus is also compared to a seed sown in the heart of the believer.  When it is welcomed, it penetrates deeply, and like a seed, it develops, grows and bears much fruit.  It “Christifies” us, making us similar to Christ. 

The word, which has entered a person’s life through the power of the Spirit, truly has the ability and strength to keep the Christian from evil: that is, as long as we allow the word to act in us, we will be free from sin and, therefore, pure.  We will sin only if we cease to obey the truth.” (Focolare Word of Life, April 2012)