Saturday, March 09, 2013

Slay me with your words

"For this reason I struck them down through the prophets,
I killed them by the words of my mouth;
my judgment shines forth like the light.
For it is loyalty that I desire, not sacrifice,
and knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings."  (Hosea 6: 5 - 6)

Abba Father, slay me with your words but do not kill me in your anger.  I will accept your admonishments because I know that you love me.  You train me as a father trains the sone he loves and approves.

"You have also forgotten the exhortation addressed to you as sons:
“My son, do not disdain the discipline of the Lord
or lose heart when reproved by him;
for whom the Lord loves, he disciplines;
he scourges every son he acknowledges.”
Endure your trials as “discipline”; God treats you as sons. For what “son” is there whom his father does not discipline?
If you are without discipline, in which all have shared, you are not sons but bastards.
Besides this, we have had our earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them. Should we not [then] submit all the more to the Father of spirits and live?
They disciplined us for a short time as seemed right to them, but he does so for our benefit, in order that we may share his holiness.
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: 5 - 11)

Father, I submit to your discipline.

"It is the spirit that gives life, while the flesh is of no avail. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and life."  (John 6: 63)

Friday, March 08, 2013

The Verdant Cypress Tree

"Ephraim! What more have I to do with idols?
I have humbled him, but I will take note of him.
I am like a verdant cypress tree.
From me fruit will be found for you!"  (Hosea 14: 9)

Jesus, the Pearl of the Greatest Value, our Treasure is here compared to the "verdant cypress tree."  That is, the ever-green cypress tree that is ever flush with foliage come winter come summer.

"He is like a tree
planted near streams of water,
that yields its fruit in season;
Its leaves never wither;
whatever he does prospers."  (Psalm 1: 3)

So, I can always trust Jesus for protection and provision and prosperity.  "Whatever he does prospers."
Yes Lord, I know that because of you, I will bear much fruit for you.  Because of you too, I will remain faithful till I cross the threshold.  Thank you Jesus.

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Jesus Christ is the stronger Man

"When a strong man fully armed guards his palace, his possessions are safe.
But when one stronger than he attacks and overcomes him, he takes away the armor on which he relied and distributes the spoils."  (Luke 11: 21 - 22)

The strong man is Satan.  Note that he is fully armed with all the tools of his trade.
But thanks be to God.  The stronger man is Jesus Christ who overcomes him, takes away the armor on which he relies.

With such certain knowledge, "So let us confidently approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and to find grace for timely help."  (Hebrews 4: 16)

Confident in the power of Christ, "I have the strength for everything through him who empowers me."

Although Jesus Christ takes away the armor of our mortal enemy, in His wisdom, He leaves for Satan certain tools with which he harasses us.  And besides, our concupiscence is always warring against us.

But Jesus wants us not to be afraid because  “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12: 9)

For our greater consolation we also know, "God did not give us a spirit of cowardice but rather of power and love and self-control."  (2 Timothy 1 :7)  Also, "For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you received a spirit of adoption, through which we cry, “Abba, Father!”  (Romans 8: 15)

Amen! Amen! Amen!

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Establish my feet in your word

"Steady my feet in accord with your promise;
do not let iniquity lead me."  (Psalm 119: 133)

Direct my steps in the Church, home, work and everywhere.  Let no sin gain dominion over me.

"Trust in the LORD with all your heart,
on your own intelligence do not rely;
In all your ways be mindful of him,
and he will make straight your paths."  (Proverbs 3: 5 -6)

"For you are my rock and my fortress;
for your name’s sake lead me and guide me."  (Psalm 31: 4)

"In green pastures he makes me lie down;
to still waters he leads me;
he restores my soul.
He guides me along right paths
for the sake of his name."  (Psalm 23: 2 - 3)

"But I, through the abundance of your mercy,
will enter into your house.
I will bow down toward your holy sanctuary
out of fear of you.
LORD, guide me in your justice because of my foes;
make straight your way before me."  (Psalm 5: 8 - 9)

"Make known to me your ways, LORD;
teach me your paths.
Guide me by your fidelity and teach me,
for you are God my savior,
for you I wait all the day long."  (Psalm 25: 4 - 5)

"Good and upright is the LORD,
therefore he shows sinners the way,
He guides the humble in righteousness,
and teaches the humble his way."  (Psalm 25: 8 - 9)

Guidance is promised to those who ask for it and those who wait on God and trust in Him.

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Lesson about prayer from the Unforgiving Servant

" At that, the servant fell down, did him homage, and said, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back in full.’
Moved with compassion the master of that servant let him go and forgave him the loan."  (Matthew 18: 26 - 27)

What can we learn about prayer that gets result from the Parable of the Unforgiving Servant?
The servant fell down, did Christ homage and asked to be given chance to change. When I am in dire need and come to Jesus for an answer, I would like to remember these three steps: Posture, Worship, Words.  The right posture in prayer, praise and worship, asking with faith can get results.

Monday, March 04, 2013

Do whatever he tells you

"But his servants came up and reasoned with him: “My father, if the prophet told you to do something extraordinary, would you not do it? All the more since he told you, ‘Wash, and be clean’?"  (2 Kings 5: 13)

Learn the heart of God from the word of God, says Pope St. Gregory the Great.  What can I learn about the Heart of God from the above scriptures?
First, I see from the whole incident of the cure of Naaman the leper, a type of Sacraments.  The sacramental form and matter may appear too simplistic to be real but they are true and real.  Take for example Baptism.  Water is poured over the baptized and the formula of Baptism repeated as this is done.  The resulting effect is total cleansing from sin and effective incorporation into the family of God.  Can so much benefit be delivered by such a simple means and gesture?  Take another example, the Eucharist.  The matter is bread and wine while the form is formula of consecration.  The Holy Spirit is invoked and the words of consecration are pronounced over the bread and wine.  The result is the transubstantiation of the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ.  Is this credible?  The Church has done and believed this from the very beginning, that is for 2000 years.  If this is not true and real, then the Church is guilty of the worst perjury.  No institution can survive for so long with such a monumental lie and deception.

We learn from the story of Naaman that God's thoughts and ways are not our thoughts and ways.  We learn also that it pays to listen to God when He speaks through His prophets.

 “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.”  (Matthew 17: 5)

But listening to Jesus and the prophets is not enough, we must also:
"Do whatever he tells you."  (John 2:5)

Sunday, March 03, 2013

The swallow lays her young by your altar

"As the sparrow finds a home
and the swallow a nest to settle her young,
My home is by your altars,
LORD of hosts, my king and my God!
Blessed are those who dwell in your house!
They never cease to praise you." (Psalm 84: 4 - 5)

Pope Gregory the Great (690 - 604) taught: "Learn the heart of God from the word of God."
What can I learn today about the heart of God from Psalm 84: 4 - 5?
I learn that God is so tender towards His creatures that He allows the common sparrows and swallows to settle very close to His altars.
And how about me?
My home is by our altars, O Lord my God.

The Lord Himself marks out the pleasant spots for me near His altars.
"LORD, my allotted portion and my cup,
you have made my destiny secure.
Pleasant places were measured out for me;
fair to me indeed is my inheritance."  (Psalm 16: 5 - 6)

The Sanctuary is still and restful waters.
"The LORD is my shepherd;
there is nothing I lack.a
In green pastures he makes me lie down;
to still waters he leads me;
he restores my soul.
He guides me along right paths
for the sake of his name."  (Psalm 23: 1 - 3)

Where to seek the Lord?  In the Sanctuary.
"O God, you are my God—
it is you I seek!
For you my body yearns;
for you my soul thirsts,
In a land parched, lifeless,
and without water.
I look to you in the sanctuary
to see your power and glory.
For your love is better than life;
my lips shall ever praise you!"  Psalm 63: 2 - 4)

The Choice, the Call and the Sanctuary
"Blessed the one whom you will choose and bring
to dwell in your courts.
May we be filled with the good things of your house,
your holy temple!"  (Psalm 65: 5)

Where to finish my days?  Near your Sanctuary, O Lord my God.
"One thing I ask of the LORD;
this I seek:
To dwell in the LORD’s house
all the days of my life,
To gaze on the LORD’s beauty,
to visit his temple."  (Psalm 27: 4)