Monday, February 16, 2015

God's Divine Design

Families of Faith:
It could be said that the BIBLE is the “Basic Instructions (we must know to live properly) Before Leaving Earth.” Many would say God or Christ wrote the bible. But in fundamental truth – the CHURCH Jesus established wrote the bible, INSPIRED by God the Holy Spirit.
So while the New Testament is written with many “factual” events of Christ’s life as experienced by the apostles, the literal facts lead us to focus on the SPIRIT of each event. Simplified: neither God, nor Christ actually, or physically, wrote down the words that are written there, rather the Holy Spirit inspired the Apostles and the Fathers of the Church as to what was important in faith to be passed on thru our faith—the Tradition of God’s Divine Design.
While the Church is the bearer and holder of the truth of the divine design, each of us personally is called to know him, love him and serve him within the beauty of His design.

So what did God tell us? What examples in Christ’s life were important enough to be written down? In what Spirit did the Apostles record in writing God’s design for us? How are we to know Him, love him and serve Him?

“Beloved, let us love one another, because love is of God; everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God. Whoever is without love does not know God, for God is love. In this way the love of God was revealed to us: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might have life through him. In this is love: not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as expiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also must love one another. No one has ever seen God. Yet, if we love one another, God remains in us, and his love is brought to perfection in us. This is how we know that we remain in him and he in us, that he has given us of his Spirit”. Jn 4: 7-13

What a different world we would live in if each of us gave it our all to live by this design: To truly love one another as He loves us.

A short walk in the bible has God in Genesis creating woman from and for man. He creates for us a perfect helpmate so that we together can recreate His love (human birth) -- children. It shows us God’s power and His promise – from the promise to Noah of continued life after the flood to the depth of that love given by the death of His own Son: a death not for himself, but a death to perfect love by manifesting for us His/God’s forgiveness and mercy.

And He continued to teach and inspire through the writings of Paul as to how the benchmarks of a “serving love” should be acted out. The divine design is completed in Revelation with an inspiring picture of heaven—the purpose, the be all that ends all, THE reason for life – to remain in Christ and to return to His love eternally.

His divine design, love, is proven in the very gift of life itself, procreated within human families, with the support of the helpmate God fashioned for me (a spouse). It is passed on to our children, in new families, and shown to others around us in a Spirit of community service: whether that community is in my own home, or taken out into the world.

A lofty goal, yes; but like Christ, a goal that I should accept freely, totally, faithfully, fruitfully and with great passion. A design in which like Christ, I am asked to give up my own life (my selfish desires) by suffering (not nearly as much as those that are persecuted for their faith) and sacrificing (not nearly as much as much of the world that does not have enough food, shelter and clothing) because the final achievement is the promise of an eternal life of love with the designer of love, God.

Heavenly Father, You have created me in Your image and likeness as a product of heavenly love and born out of the bond of love thru my parents marriage. Help me to participate willingly in your divine design for marriage and family by passing that love on to my own family with the help of my spouse. Allow the world to see how you created in me your divine design. Amen.

In God’s design of love we are created.
Blessings as you go forth to live and share His love – BE His design,

Monday, February 9, 2015

Truth Decay

Women of Faith:

I read an article this week about a dentist who searched and searched because he wasn’t fulfilled but he didn’t know why.
What he realized was that in his life many of the things he believed in were not true: They weren’t necessarily false or absolutely wrong, they were partially right – they were what he had considered true and what he had learned over time.

BUT the TRUTH had decayed – it no longer “worked” the way it was supposed to (just as a tooth that decays no longer works the way it is supposed to.)
When he began to brush up on his belief system he realized that he wasn’t working with the absolute truth—it was based on his past, his friends, governmental laws, even his own interpretations and thoughts (what he wanted to believe.)

As he went back to the beginning, the very beginning, to the creation of life, to Genesis, and to the life of Jesus Christ and to the Fathers of the Church, he realized his basis, his beliefs were no longer in sync with the teachings of the Church Christ instituted. He joined that Church, became Catholic, and has since been fulfilled by a ministry to evangelize others to search for the truth within the Church.
I started to think about this, and thought: “this ‘truth decay’ must have started at the time of the Reformation.” And then I realized that it had started long before that, because even in Genesis Adam and Eve’s first sin was caused by a decayed truth. And this ‘truth decay’ has followed through every generation throughout time as we see God and then Jesus and then the Apostles (thru the Church) correcting generation after generation, person after person of the partiality of the lies they found themselves believing.

God thru Moses and Jacob told the people not to worship the golden idols (Exodus); Jesus asking the Apostles why they did not trust him when they were in the storm; and Paul telling the Romans to repent of their ways. No one is exempt from “truth decay.”
None of these groups or people necessarily wanted or intended to go against God, or God’s word, or the Church—but all of them had fallen short in their beliefs—their truth had decayed. They believed what they wanted to believe and trusted in themselves (or a person or a government or law; someone other than the Church) rather than the full and healthy truth.

It isn’t any different today: we have placed our trust in the law, government and/or ourselves. We expect and trust that we will be fed, sheltered, even given healthcare and that those who are in authority will look out for the good of all. But I think no matter which side of the political realm we are on we could probably all agree that in most cases government doesn’t have it quite right (or even has it completely wrong), and that some part of the gift of life, compassion and mercy given to us as Christians has been eroded.
This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines human precepts.You disregard God’s commandment but cling to human tradition.” He went on to say, “How well you have set aside the commandment of God in order to uphold your tradition! Mk 7: 1-13

The truth is Christ left us one holy, apostolic Church—a succession and a body of leaders to guide us to the truth. Yet over the years the truth has decayed and instead of placing our trust in what he left for us to rely on we have tried to make our own churches, relying on our power, instead of His.
Is this honoring the greatest commandment: “You shall love the Lord your God with your whole heart?”

And do our actions honor the second greatest commandment to “love one another as Christ loved us?”
The truth is it is OUR responsibility to help others—not the governments. Will we give up everything for our spouse, our family, or our neighbor? Or do we expect the government to take care of everyone that needs help?

God knows what is best for us and promises to “give us this day our daily bread.” Does He have my complete faith? And am I constantly brushing up on my faith so that it doesn’t decay?
How much do I let other people or the government influence what I perceive as true. Is my belief right because it is the law (made by man), or because it is the teaching of Christ and his Church? And am I willing to share the truth with others?

Heavenly Father, You are the Way, the Truth and the Life. May I be given the gifts to know you, to serve you and to love you. Thank you for giving me the gifts of the Holy Spirit: awe and wonder, wisdom, knowledge, understanding, courage, reverence and right judgment. Help me to use them wisely to prevent the decay of your truth. Amen.
If I won’t give up everything for Christ (and imitate him by giving up my wants for another’s needs) then I may have it wrong. If my right believes that something (myself, another person, the government) is greater than God, or more important than what the Church of Christ teaches then my truth may have decayed.
Come, Holy Spirit, show me the way to a healthy truth,

Monday, February 2, 2015

Ground Hogs Day AND the Presentation of Our Lord

Friends of Faith:
February 2nd—Ground Hogs Day AND the Presentation of Our Lord. What might the two have in common?

Thus says the Lord God: Lo, I am sending my messenger to prepare the way before me; And suddenly there will come to the temple the LORD whom you seek, And the messenger of the covenant whom you desire. Yes, he is coming, says the LORD of hosts. But who will endure the day of his coming? And who can stand when he appears? For he is like the refiner’s fire, or like the fuller’s lye. He will sit refining and purifying silver, and he will purify the sons of Levi, Refining them like gold or like silver that they may offer due sacrifice to the LORD. Then the sacrifice of Judah and Jerusalem will please the LORD, as in the days of old, as in years gone by. Mal 3: 1-4
The presentation of the ground hog or Christ: in whom do I place my I trust? In who’s appearance and opportunity do I place my excitement? In which media am I refined: the bible or today’s media: reality TV, Facebook, and YouTube?

The ground hog will either see his shadow or he won’t, he will either go back to sleep or professes to stay awake and present us spring. And he does it year after year, Feb 2nd after Feb 2nd – but regardless of today’s weather, spring always comes whether he actually sees his shadow or not.
And The messenger, Our Lord, was sent to prepare us in a much different way: He came once, He died for our salvation, and then He left us his Church with an invitation--Come follow me. He gave us a choice. Will we endure, will we stand, will we be refined by His message? Is there as much excitement, media and press for Our Lord as the ground hog seems to get each year?

Do we place as much trust in Jesus as we do in the ground hog? Or do we see more opportunity and value in the secular news media—forgetting that it was God who created the seasons, and that it is God who is always present, and that it is God who reveals the truth?
And like the ground hog – how often do I bury my head back underground, saying it’s too cold, too tough to come out and then I miss the true warmth of the sun, the Son of God?

I would like to personally invite each of you to two Christian enrichment opportunities this month:
For those of you who are married or soon will be: Archbishop Jackels will be the presenter for the VALENTINE’s Covenant of Love Date Night on February 15th at 5:00 at St. Pat’s Tama. RSVP’s are needed for both the candle lit meal and daycare. Freewill donation. Reply to me for additional details or to RSVP.

And the Lincoln Highway CEW (Christian Experience Weekend) (for women Feb 20-22 and men Feb 27-Mar 1) to be held at Pilgrim Heights between Tama and Marshalltown on Hwy 30. Cost $60. (Scholarships available) Again registration is needed—the form may be accessed at

Lord, may my eyes be opened to see Your truth and grace. May my heart be warmed by Your loving embrace. May I place my trust wholeheartedly in You. Thank you for sending down the gifts of the Holy Spirit to refine my wants and desires so that I can more fully experience Your love and Your mercy. Help me to come out of the cold, to unbury my sins, to accept your invitation for forgiveness, and to allow myself to grow closer to You each day. Amen.

Christ has come. So, regardless of what the ground hog sees today, spring will also come because the truth will reign forever.
May you be warmed and refined by His loving embrace,