Catholic convert, author and blogger.
I've shared this here before, but I thought it good to share it again.
Here is a bit of simple math to help you be successful in your plan to read the Bible through each year. I call it the 2+2 = 1+3 program.
There are 260 chapters in the New Testament. There are 1074 chapters in the Catholic version of the Old Testament.
Do the math. If you average two chapters a day in the OT and two a day in the NT, you will read the OT once in a year and the NT three times in a year. (2+2=1+3)
How long does it take to read two chapters? Most chapters are only 20-30 verses. It typically takes 5-8 minutes to read two chapters. Five to eight minutes!
So, by spending less than 10 minutes in the morning and less than ten in the evening and you’ll read the entire Bible as I mentioned above.
A most articulate explanation regarding the decision all faithful Catholics AND other Christians must make before voting. Specifically, he lists five reasons -- each grounded in historic Church teaching and in the Scriptures -- why faithful Catholics and other faithful Christians should NOT vote for Joe Biden:
“Take heed, keep on the alert; for you do not know when the appointed time will come. It is like a man away on a journey, who upon leaving his house and putting his slaves in charge, assigning to each one his task, also commanded the doorkeeper to stay on the alert. Therefore, be on the alert—for you do not know when the master of the house is coming, whether in the evening, at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or in the morning— in case he should come suddenly and find you asleep. What I say to you I say to all, ‘Be on the alert!’” (Mark 13:33-36)
When the Lord Jesus says something once, it’s important. When he says it twice, we really should sit up and take notice. But what ought we do when He says the same thing four times in five verses?
My fellow brothers and sisters in Christ: stay on the alert. Time is short. The Lord could call YOU to your eternal reward before you finish reading this. Or the last trumpet could sound before the end of the day, to call all His true children to the place He’s been preparing for us.
Please, don’t fall back. Not even an inch. Keep pressing forward toward the mark of the high call of God in Christ Jesus. I say it again, time is short.
Several years ago, I was visiting someone at one of the 55+ community where I hold Bible studies and preach each week. The residents were getting ready for a Bingo game. As I stood in the back of the room, I watched one of our regular attenders slowly make her way toward the folding chairs with her walker. It looked like a slow and tedious process.
A moment later she accidently knocked her walker against a chair occupied by one of the other residents. It wasn’t a hard impact. How hard can a walker pushed by an 80-year-old knock into a chair? But the seated woman – also in her 80s – turned around and angrily barked at the poor woman who just stood there – probably embarrassed by the sudden outburst.
To her great credit, the woman with the walker quietly apologized, turned away and shuffled to the other end of the room where she found another seat.
You can read the entire edited text of my sermon here: https://thecontemplativecatholicconvert.blogspot.com/2020/10/called-to-excel.html
Or you can watch the YouTube message here (Originally planned for October 4, but actually preached on October 11:
Something to think about:
"By faith Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained the testimony that he was righteous, God testifying about his gifts, and through faith, though he is dead, he still speaks." (Hebrews 11:4)
Look at that last clause: “Though he is dead, he still speaks.”
Have you wondered what your life will speak after you are dead? I have. Will my life after my death speak of my kindness? My humility? My passion for Jesus? Will my life after my death speak of my integrity? My walk of holiness?
What do you want YOUR life to speak after you are dead? And what do you need to do to live that kind of life?
Part three of three
3) People who continually reject the truths of Scripture regarding sin, righteousness, and the final judgment, bring on themselves from God Himself a deep spiritual blindness. It will be a terrible, fearful blindness in which God Himself hardens their hearts to the point that will be UNABLE to believe truth.
4). Ultimately, their hardened hearts bring them to eternal damnation.
So, what is our protection against such a supernatural hardening by God? The answer is quite simple: Seek God’s will with a humble heart, with a soft heart, with a heart willing to obey Christ, even when we don’t like some of His commandments.
Just as God further hardens hard hearts, He also further softens soft hearts. What do you want to do with you
PART TWO OF THREE
1) Scripture tells us in several places of the events that must first occur before Jesus returns for His obedient servants. One of those events surrounds the rise of the “man of lawlessness’ – whom the Bible describes elsewhere as the anti-Christ. He will be an extraordinarily powerful political AND religious figure who will sway nations with his rhetoric as well as his ability to perform signs and wonders.
2) The anti-Christ will not gain ascendancy over the nations – and especially over many religious people – unless theological heresies first gain ascendancy in the churches. What kind of heresies? You have likely heard some already bandied about, such as the Bible is an archaic book and good only as an historical document; Jesus is not God; the commandments of Scripture are not applicable to 21st century people.
Part three continues next
Part one of two
I recently read this text in 2 Thessalonians and made a few quick observations:
“Let no one in any way deceive you, for [the second coming of Jesus] will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, 4 who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God . . . 8 Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming; 9 that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders, 10 and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved. 11 For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false, 12 in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness. (2 Thessalonians 2:3-12
part two continues next
(Part two of two)
When a Christian tells me, God doesn’t talk to them, I ask them if they read their Bible. Of course, they say yes. Then I ask if they ever had the proverbial ‘light bulb’ go on in their head as they read a text – an ‘aha’ moment, a clarification of a question they’ve had, an encouragement, an exhortation, a challenge, or a rebuke.
The answer is always yes.
Then I ask if they have ever had such an ‘aha’ moment when listening to a sermon or homily. Again, they say they have.
And I assure them, God is not silent today. He still speaks to His children through the Scriptures and through the pastors – and through everyone else who uses the word of God to encourage, exhort, comfort, rebuke, and so forth.
Of course, OUR responsibility is to be attentive to Him. And that is hard to do if we focus so much of our attention on the ubiquitous distractions from what we can see and hear on the television, the internet, and social media.
If you think God is not speaking to you, try this: Get quiet with Him and the Bible. Read it prayerfully, patiently, and expectantly. He will not disappoint you.
(Part one of two)
"In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe."(Hebrews 1:1-2)
Many Christians have told me God never talks to them. I never believe them. It’s not that they’re lying to me. No, not at all. It’s just that they don’t recognize His voice.
Look back at that text. In the past, God spoke THROUGH the prophets. In other words, when the prophets such as Moses, or Isaiah, or Obadiah, or Hosea, or Amos spoke to the nation, it was God Himself who was addressing the nation (or individuals) through the mouths or the pens of the prophets.
Listen: God did not grow suddenly silent in 2020. He still speaks to those who have ears to hear. But, according to this text, now He speaks to us through His Son, and He does so in the same way He spoke to those of old – through the mouths of His spokespeople, and through their pens.
(Continue for part two)
(Part two of two parts)
I remember the morning conversation as if it was yesterday. Before I could finish my sentence, the Holy Spirit interrupted with this: “But I am not tired of loving you.”
It is now four years later. I do not believe my thought life has gotten any better. Sometimes I don’t want to even go to sleep at night for fear my dreams will again betray me.
I so very much love those two words put together like that. That clause, But God, reminds me again and again, God is greater than my weaknesses. He is more merciful than I could ever deserve. More forgiving than I could ever hope for. More in love with me than I could ever imagine.
This morning, October 23, 2015, I entered my prayer room to begin my time with Jesus. As I always do when I begin my hour with Him, I placed headphones over my ears and opened my phone’s music program. The music library is set to play random songs.
Kathy Trocolli’s “Your Stubborn Love” began to play. Here is a link to the music and lyrics. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MvGono8mqFg
Perhaps, after you listen to the song, you also will find encouragement as He reminds you again of His stubborn love for you.
I wrote this several years ago. Only the dates have changed. The message remains.
(Part one of two parts)
It seems the longer I serve Christ, the closer I draw to Him, the more my thought life assails me. Perhaps it is because I am less willing today than I have been in the past to pass off my godless thoughts with an insipid and cavalier excuse like, “I’m just a sinner saved by grace.”
No, I know I am much more than that. I am a child of my heavenly Father, and I ought to do a much better job reflecting Him in my actions, as well as in my thoughts.
It was in that frame of mind that I awoke on October 27, 2011. Nearly four years ago. My dreams that evening left me feeling dirty in the morning when I walked into my prayer room to begin my time with God.
I could hardly address Him. I felt so guilty that I had so willingly participated in the terrible sinfulness of my dreams. I sat in my recliner and without lifting my eyes to heaven, I said all I knew to say:” I’m so tired of continuing to do the wrong things.”
(see next post for part two)
Isn’t that an amazing thing? Just moments earlier, the Father called Jesus His beloved Son, in whom He was well pleased. The next thing we know, Jesus is in the wilderness enduring nearly a month and a half of demonic testing.
The point? As was true with Job, it is futile to try to figure out why we experience fiery trials. We ought only to be like him when he announced, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him.” (13:15)
And as was true with Jesus – with whom the Father was well pleased – those who follow Christ should not be surprise by our own wilderness testing. We ought only to seek to be like Him, knowing that the Father is also well pleased with us as we walk in obedience to the Savior.
(Part one of two)
Last evening, God focused my attention on the final chapters of Job – 38 through 42. In them, He makes it abundantly clear that we, His creatures, really haven’t a clue as to how powerfully omnipotent is our God.
Even after nearly 50 years walking with the Lord, I am still unable to grasp the truth that God is in utter and undiluted control of every affair of life. He orchestrates every circumstance in every moment of my every 24 hours – from the big things that affect my health to the mundane situations such as who I meet in the supermarket.
That was His lesson to me last evening as I read those chapters in Job. Then this morning my routine took me to Matthew’s gospel. Here are the last verses of chapter three: "After being baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove and lighting on Him, and behold, a voice out of the heavens said, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased.”
When I turned the page to chapter four, I stopped at the first verse: "Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil."
(See part two)
It’s 9:45 in the evening. I’m working on a puzzle. It’s one of my favorites. I think it's the picture and the memories it evokes. Not that we lived in a home when I was young. We lived in an apartment – mom, my sister, and I. But the image stirs memories of being with a loving mom who would have baked cakes if she hadn’t been so busy working two and three jobs to feed Andrea and me after our father deserted us.
I always used to ask my nursing students, “How long is it between the ages of 25 and 55?” They’d look at me funny, thinking it a trick question. In a way, it was a trick question. The answer is not 30 years. The answer is about three weeks.
The older I get – I’m past 70 now – the shorter those weeks grow.
Is your mom still alive? Your dad? Please call them. I urge you to do so at least every week. In a few days, or so it will seem, they will be gone. And you will be sorry you didn’t take the time when you had the time.
My mom used to say, “Too soon old. Too late smart.” She learned the aphorism from her father. He probably learned it from his.
Please hear me: You also will one day find yourself too soon old. I only hope you won't also find yourself too late smart.
This person has demonstrated why our nation will eventually -- November, perhaps -- but eventually put the worst of the worst people into office. Our education system, along with the MSM, and yes, even many churches, have done a devilishly good job. https://www.foxnews.com/politics/transexual-satanist-anarchist-picks-up-gop-sheriff-nh-county
Here is another hard lesson the Lord continues to try to teach me.
I listened this morning to the hymn, “I surrender all.” Many of you know the song: “All to Jesus I surrender, all to Him I freely give; I will ever love and trust Him, in His presence daily live. I surrender all, I surrender all; All to Thee, my blessed Savior, I surrender all.”
That song challenges me every time I think about the lyrics.
“I surrender all” to Jesus means more than a simple surrender of my time, talent, and treasure. I must ALSO every day surrender my expectations, my hopes, and my response to God’s ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to my prayers. I must surrender it all to God’s will.
Nor must surrendering it all to God be a sullen resignation. That is not what God hopes from us, a sullen resignation. Rather my surrender of all should be a child-like offering of all that I have and for all that I hope.
All of it.
That’s what “I surrender all” means.
Oh, Lord, change my heart – every day – that I might every day surrender all. Amen.
Someone I communicate with on another social media site groused about the killing God commanded Israel to do when they entered the Promised Land. Men, women, children- God commanded that they be slaughtered. I responded in part this way:
It seems ironic to me that so many who find fault with the morality (or, as they would call it, the immorality) of God’s dealing with humanity in the Old Testament see no conflict within themselves when they support – and vote for those who support – the slaughter of nearly 3,000 babies every day in American abortion clinics. (Yes, that occurs every day. I suppose even on Sundays).
So to find fault with God who ordered the destruction of the nations occupying the Promised Land – men, women, and children – while we give hardly a passing thought to what happens every day in our own cities and towns. Seems kind of hypocritical, doesn’t it?
You can read the rest of my response here:
Eye Has Not Seen
Many times, as I’ve read Revelation chapter 5, I've tried to imagine what is will be like when I stand before the Lord on that day when He calls me from this body of flesh.
You can listen to my YouTube recording for the full message here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M47sBq_M5Hw&t
Or, you can read the edited text on my blog: https://thecontemplativecatholicconvert.blogspot.com/2020/09/eye-has-not-seen-sermon-sept-6.html
CONTINUED FROM LAST POST:
They had long forgotten the REASONS for their religious observances and duties and practices. They’d forgotten that the One whom they were to serve through those observances is a holy God who demands holiness from His followers.
And therein is the application to us in 2020. Are we careful to not be like the Pharisees of old? Are we careful to remember the REASON for our religious observances and duties and practices – that they should all lead us closer to Christ in holiness and humility?
May the Holy Spirit help us to avoid fooling ourselves to think such a thing could not happen to us.
Catholic convert, author and blogger.
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