Saturday, November 02, 2013

God gracious providence provides all our needs

"The LORD is my shepherd;
there is nothing I lack."  (Psalm 23: 1)

The truth that God provides all our needs in a timely manner is an idea that is found throughout  sacred scripture.  Amazingly, this is also the constant teaching of the Church from time immemorial.  Yet, ask any man on the street whether he believes that God is supplying everything he needs in a timely manner and you may notice some doubts and hesitations..

God's gracious and loving providence is expressed in this sentence of a song used frequently in  Church:

"Have you not seen All you have needed has been met by His gracious ordaining?"

"Gracious ordaining" means of course God's providence.  The first time I became aware of this thought in a worship service, I said to myself, "Wait a minute.  This isn't my experience."  As a self-employed person, I prayed desperately for jobs.  I shouted literally  to Heaven for any help to improve my finances.  These may not be the only felt needs but they were the constant ones.  How am I expected to answer honestly the question:  "Have you not seen All you have needed has been met by His gracious ordaining?"  I thought about it at the time and decided that the question like many questions about faith and religion is simply too mysterious.  I now realize that this attitude was an error.  What I should have done was to challenge God in prayer to show me how He met all my needs by His gracious ordaining.

But recently, as I read and reflect more on the subject of Prayer, I begin to get some insight on the question.  The key to understanding the question is this important teaching of Jesus:

"What father among you would hand his son a snake when he asks for a fish?
Or hand him a scorpion when he asks for an egg?
If you then, who are wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?”  (Luke 11: 11 -13)

In other words, the Father knows what is good for us and that is what He provides.  I like that.  I reviewed the things I thank God for everyday, for example:  where I live, where I worship and the work  I do.  These three life essentials match my personality and my desire.  That is why I thank God for them everyday.

I then reviewed the petitions I ask for that are not "granted."   For example: more jobs and more money.  I came to see clearly that more jobs will bring more money and less time for God.  More money will bring more distractions and more conceitedness.  More distractions will lead to all types of temptation.  More money will also lead to pride.  I winced as I thought of the consequence of pride.  God detests the proud.

So how do I today answer the question: "Have you not seen All you have needed has been met by His gracious ordaining?"  Of course it is true.  I have seen all my needs provided by God.  I pray for wisdom and understanding everyday to see how God does it.

Friday, November 01, 2013

Washed in the Blood of the Lamb

"These are the ones who have survived the time of great distress; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb."  (Revelation 7: 14)

Are your robes washed in the Blood of the Lamb?  The robe that is made pure and white in the Blood of the Lamb is the passport to the kingdom of God.

"Washed clean in the Blood of the Lamb" means one thing:

"Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you [falsely] because of me."  (Matthew 5: 10 - 11)

It also means:

"“If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.
For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it."  (Luke 9:  23 - 24)

Jesus Christ is the Way.  His way is the way of the cross.  It is the way of suffering, pain, contradictions, delays, humiliation, disappointments, obstacles, etc.

The way of the cross passes through what is most important for every person: health, family, finances, job, tools and property, food and future.  Are you enduring persecution in any of these?

Jesus asks us to renounce ourselves and take up our cross daily and follow Him.  What do we renounce?  We renounce our will!  Our will stand between us and the will of God.  The will of God is supreme;  it is also our supreme good and peace.  Our will is in perpetual struggle with the will of God.  The saints who washed their robes in the Blood of the Lamb had their wills broken.  They became submissive to the will of God.  Therefore, they became triumphant in the struggle against Satan and his demons.

But what is the will of God?  The will of God or His divine pleasure is revealed in His commandments.  It is also revealed in the word of God.  The will of God is also revealed to us in every event and in every moment of our life.  The will of God is also the divine Providence revealed every step every moment of our life.

The contest of our will with the will of God can be seen as the contest between truth and falsehood.  The Truth is Jesus Christ Himself.  Satan is the Father of lies.

Today is November 1.  Today the Church all over the world celebrates  the unsung heroes of the Church throughout the ages in the Feast of All Saints.  The Opening Prayer for this feast is beautiful:

"God our Father,
source of all holiness,
the work of your hands is manifest in your saints,
the beauty of your truth is reflected in their faith.
May we who aspire to have  part in their joy
be filled with the Spirit that blessed their lives,
so that having shared their faith on earth
we may also know their peace in your kingdom.
Grant this through Christ our Lord."

Thursday, October 31, 2013

If God is with us, it is accomplished.

"If God is for us, who can be against us?"  (Romans 8; 31)

How beautiful is this promise O Lord my God.  How I pray to remember this always and everywhere.  What I need in every trial is the awareness of your sweet presence in me and with me. Whenever I am able to do this, the awareness of your presence has imposed calmness and steadiness on me.  Help me Lord always to realize and cherish the truth of your presence in me.

If God is with me, then it is accomplished.  Amen!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Accept what you cannot change

"We know that all things work for good for those who love God,* who are called according to his purpose."  (Romans 8: 28)

Accept all that has happened.
Accept everything that is happening.
Cooperate with everything except with what is sinful.

"O God grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

" Let nothing trouble you,
let nothing frighten you.
All things are passing;
God never changes.
Patience obtains all things.
He who possesses God lacks nothing: God alone suffices."  St Teresa of Avila

"I let go of my desire for security."
"I let go of my desire for affection ."
"I let go of my desire for control ."
"I let go of my desire to change the situation ."
"I let go of my desire for perfect health ."
"I let go of my desire for perfect family harmony ."
"I let go of my desire for the perfect job."
"I surrender, I trust and I obey."
From Fr. Thomas Keating

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The certainty of hope

"For in hope we were saved. Now hope that sees for itself is not hope. For who hopes for what one sees?
But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait with endurance."  (Romans 8: 24 - 25)

Hope does not disappoint.

"I have chosen you from the world to go and bear fruit that will last."  (John 15: 16, 19)
"I will bear a witness to you in the world, O Lord. I will spread the knowledge of your name among my brothers, alleluia!"  (Psalm 17: 50; 21: 23)

Monday, October 28, 2013

Jesus spends the night in prayer

"In those days he departed to the mountain to pray, and he spent the night in prayer to God.
When day came, he called his disciples to himself, and from them he chose Twelve, whom he also named apostles."  (Luke 6: 12 - 13)

Jesus spent an entire night in prayer before choosing His disciples.  This teaches us the importance in the life of Jesus.  Commentators note that this is the habit of Jesus before any crisis.  He goes to a place where He could enjoy solitude.  He spends a considerable time in prayer.

I believe in prayer.
I believe in the word of God.
I believe in miracle.
I leave the rest to God.

In any crisis or need, as long as we are praying, we are winning.  The only activity that Jesus teaches us to do constantly is prayer.  We are not asked to work constantly or even to eat always but to pray constantly.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Jesus Christ is the Most Trustworthy Friend

"At my first defense no one appeared on my behalf, but everyone deserted me. May it not be held against them.......
But the Lord stood by me and gave me strength, so that through me the proclamation might be completed and all the Gentiles might hear it. And I was rescued from the lion’s mouth."  (2 Timothy 4: 16 - 17)

Lord Jesus, you stood by me and delivered me from the mouth of the lion because I trusted you. I trusted you because you taught me to trust you.  You taught me to trust you because I asked in prayer.  Thank you!  Thank you! Thank you!