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Daily Scripture and Teachings Archive

Believe the Good News by Myztery

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hat an incredible promise God gives to us: If we proclaim that Jesus is the Son of God, He will live in us and we will live in God. It takes the gift of faith to believe that Jesus is the Son of God. If our faith is weak, we can ask God to increase it. By our baptism we become the adopted sons and daughters of God, part of his family, and we receive the promise of eternal life in heaven and the gift of the indwelling Spirit of God. Let's thank God for the gift of our faith today and never take it for granted.

ust as the sun provides us with necessary vitamins and other essential things necessary for life on earth, so too our God provides us with all that is good and necessary. After all, he created the sun to serve our needs. When we strive to please God by "walking" blamelessly, he blesses us with grace upon grace and favor upon favor. "Walk" reminds us that faith is a lifelong journey, not a one time event. Those who persevere will be saved, Scripture says. We must persevere in following the Lord in faith, hope and love. "Daily walking close to thee," goes the song "Just a Closer Walk with Thee." That should be our prayer: to walk closer to Jesus every day, for he truly walks with us.

he saying goes, "you are what you eat." In a way, we also are what we think. If we think holy and pure thoughts, more than likely, we will be holy and pure. If we think of dark and sinful things, more than likely our lives will refect such darkness. This is the wisdom we ponder today: to take delight in God's law and meditate on it every day. I confess that I don't meditate like I used to, but I also know the value of taking God's word in the Bible, reading it, and reflecting on it prayerfully. Let's take time today or tonight to ponder God's word in our hearts, just like Mary did when the angel announced to her that she was to be the mother of the Messiah.

ho we choose to be our friends is important, because our friends influence us either for good or for evil: "Bad company corrupts good morals," the saying goes. There is a difference between reaching out with the love of Christ to people caught up in a life of sin and evil, and choosing to "hang around" with them as friends. Our friends should lead us closer to God, not away from him. What kind of words come out of our mouths reflects what kind of person we are. A foul-mouthed person reveals that he or she has a heart filled with profanity, as Jesus said "the mouth speaks what fills the heart." None of us is perfect, though, and sometimes we can be a stumbling block to our friends if we are not careful. Hence the need to always to on guard against falling into sin and becoming worldly.

n the Our Father we pray "hallowed be Thy name." God's name is absolutely holy. His name is above all other names. We are called to glorify the name of the Lord in our thoughts, words and actions. Jesus is the name above every other name. There is salvation in no other name than his. "His name is higher than any others. His name is Jesus. His name is Lord," a popular charismatic song goes. The name of Jesus is powerful and able to work wonders in our lives. It drives out demons, cures the sick, cleanses from sin, raises the dead and brings new life. Jesus is Savior, which is what his name means in Hebrew. Today, let's exult the name of Jesus with the way we live, bearing witness to the world that we belong to him, we bear his name as Christ-ians.

he movie, "The Passion of the Christ," clearly demonstrates the love of God for the world. God sent his only Son Jesus to teach us the truth about God and to suffer and die for our sins, giving us eternal life if we believe and are baptized into Christ. God "proves" his love in giving us Jesus. He could not have done anything more. We did not deserve to have Jesus given to us, but God sent him as a tiny babe. Jesus constantly gave of himself for sinners. He taught, healed, fed people, and ultimately gave his own life for us on the cross. The cross of Jesus is a sign of love, not defeat. It is a sign of triumph. Love triumphs over hatred. Forgiveness over revenge. God triumphs over satan. The Lord calls us to show signs of his love for others. We are called to die to ourselves each day, carry our crosss, and follow Jesus.

e don't usually equate suffering with joy, yet God's word clearly teaches us that suffering is something we can rejoice in, not for itself but for what it can produce in us: perseverance, character and hope. When we unite our sufferings with the sufferings of Christ, they take on a new meaning and power in our lives. We are not suffering alone, but with Christ. Our sufferings can be offered up to God for the good of our souls and the good of others. The old saying "offer it up" still holds true today. God is pleased when we offer up to him our sufferings. We can pray "O Jesus, I offer this for love of you and for the conversion of sinners." This is part of the prayer that was taught to the three visionaries at Fatima. The end of the prayer includes "and for the sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary and for our holy father the Pope." Offer up your sufferings today. You will be glad you did.

od is the one who saves us: he simply asks us to believe in what he has done for us through his Son Jesus. We don't need to be geniuses, or study theology for years, or give up all we possess in order to gain eternal life: we simply need to have faith in Jesus. Jesus is the door which we enter heaven through. He is the gate. He is the entrance way to heaven. When we believe in Jesus, heaven opens up for us. The result of faith is peace, grace, joy and hope. God could not have done more for our eternal salvation than he did through Jesus. Jesus taught us by word and example what we need to do to be saved. Faith is a gift from God, it is not something we can buy or earn. We can ask for it, though, and we can ask for a deeper faith. Pray today, "Lord, I believe in you. Please deepen my faith and help me to stand firm as your disciple in this world, bearing witness to others." Amen.

he highest form of prayer is praise. Above all, we should praiase and thank God for his goodness, love and mercy. He is highly to be praised. We can never praise and thank God enough. Everything good comes from him: our lives, our food, our shelter, our clothing, our families, our friends, the earth, the universe, our salvation.... everything. Church services should be marked by a spirit of praise. Christian music should include praise. When we praise the Lord something within us is released ... a new joy. We go beyond ourselves to focus on God. There is a great old Christian song called "Let's just praise the Lord." It goes, "Let's just praise the Lord, praise the Lord, Let's just lift our hands towards Heaven and praise the Lord." What a great attitude. Let's praise the Lord today no matter what circumstances we find ourselves in. Thank you Jesus!

od wants us to worship him with joyfull hearts. "Rejoice in the Lord always," is what St. Paul exorted the early Christians to do. The world needs the witness of joyfull Christians. People will be attracted to follow Jesus when they see us radiate his love, joy and peace in our lives, families and workplace. We are called to worship. We are called to come before the Lord. He is the source of our joy. We need to look beyond our difficulties to eternity, where God has prepared a place for each of us. Singing joyfull Christian songs at church or prayer meetings is an excellent way to rejoice in the Lord. May the Lord help us to rejoice in him this day and give him praise and glory!

e are called to rejoice in the Lord! The Lord does not want his children to be unhappy. He is the God of joy, peace and love. When we are in love with the Lord, who is the source of our joy, we should express this love in a tangible way through our joyful attitude, words and actions. One reason I love charismatic prayer meetings is the great joy that people have in praising the Lord. Scripture exorts us to SHOUT to the Lord! People shout at football games, hockey games, etc., so.... why not shout to the Lord in church or at prayer meetings?! Try it yourself at home! You might like it! Of course, your family members may think you have lost it, but that's ok, David danced almost naked before the Lord and he didn't care what his wife thought about it. Happy shouting!

ur minds need to be renewed by Christ. Scripture calls us to have a new mind: the mind of Jesus. The moment a sinful thought comes to the mind we must oppose it immediately in the name of Jesus or it quickly takes root and one is then compelled to speak it. This is the next step before acting it out. If it gets to this level quickly oppose it in the name of Jesus before acting it out. We must battle daily because the mind is the active playground for the enemy to create havoc and tempt us to sin. Once we sin, we have created a division between us and God. This separation is painful for both, and if the sin is commited habitually without stopping we are in danger of eternal separation from God, and this is a very serious matter. If you do sin quickly repent and ask for Jesus to forgive you. Get up, get over it and start again remembering that the attack will probably come again on the mind first. With these strategies you should become a better warrior for Christ towards sanity, righteousness, and sanctity.

atan is a thief who seeks to steal our salvation from us. He wishes to rob us of God's sanctifying grace in our souls. He does this by tempting us to commit sin, thus "tying up" our lives. Jesus came to unbind us from slavery to sin and to bind satan in chains and eventually cast him into hell forever. Christ is stronger than satan and we can have spiritual victory if we remain in Jesus' love. A strong man bound up is unable to defend himself or his family. If, however, he is not bound up, he can defend himself and his loved ones. The Lord wants us to be free in him and not bound by sin in any way, shape or form.

esus was born to die. His death brought us life. We become "other Christs" when we are baptized, or "christened." Jesus has produced many seeds as a result of his death and resurrection. We are those seeds. We are also called to die to sin and ourselves, and lay our lives down for our brothers and sisters. Dying is not a pleasant experience, but it is necessary to enter into Life. As we prepare to celebrate Christmas tomorrow, lets reflect on the awesome love of God in sending his own beloved Son Jesus as a tiny baby, who one day would die on the cross to give us eternal life.

here are basic things we need in life: food, shelter, and clothing, for example. Yet, Jesus tells us that life consists of more than these things. True life lies in God and our union with him. Food is a good and necessary thing in our lives, and it, too, comes from God. Clothing is important to keep us warm, protected and to preserve modesty, and clothing is made from things God created such as animal skins, wool, cotton, etc. Everything we see and don't see on this earth and throughout the universe comes from God, the Source of all life. L.I.F.E. can stand for Living In Faith Everywhere. Life without faith is empty and devoid of true meaning, for it is only in God that we find the meaning of life: through a relationship with Jesus, His only Son.

e belong to the Lord. We are not our own. He paid a price for us: the blood of His own Son, Jesus. God will never abandon us. Those who hope in him will never be disappointed. He is faithful and keeps his word. God takes delight in his children, and even when we reject him, he never stops pursuing us to lead us back to his merciful love, for he knows that we cannot be happy or fulfilled apart from him. Apart from the Lord, there is nothing that will satisfy us. God's name is Holy, and we should reverence God's name in every way possible: our thoughts, our words, our actions. Lets come to the Lord today, confessing his Great Name, and rejoice in his love.

he Lord does not desire our destruction, but our salvation. Even when we have done evil, He still calls us to himself. He wants to forgive us, heal us, bless us, use us to touch others. He wants all our hearts. Sometimes after we have fallen into sin we fear approaching God, just like Adam did when he fell. But the Lord tells us "do not be afraid." It is not that God does not hate our sins: he does hate sin, but his love is so great that it cleanses us from sin when we come to him with trust and humility: "Lord, be merciful to me, a sinner." What a blessing it is to serve the Lord. We are called to "serve the Lord with gladness." When we fall, we are made more aware of our own weakness and need for God's help in our lives. God can draw good out of every situation. Turn to him today in whatever situation you are facing and trust in his merciful love.

e are called to be peacemakers by the Lord. Rather than hurt those who hurt us, the Lord wants us to forgive and remain at peace. Wherever we go, we can be instruments of the Lord's peace: shopping for groceries, buying batteries for a flashlight, getting an oil change, going Christmas shopping, and so on. We must first be at peace with the Lord and ourselves before we can truly be instruments of peace for others. "Lord, make me an instrument of your peace," St. Francis of Assisi prayed. It is God who transforms us, sancifies us, and uses us to touch others with his peace reigning in our hearts. Christmas is a season of peace: peace between God and man. Jesus is the Prince of Peace, who wants to give peace to every human heart on earth.

he early followers of Jesus were deeply aware of the importance of unity. They wanted to sing with one voice (una voce), love with one heart, and think with one mind. Harmony exists where everyone works together, where there is no rivalry. Humility is so important: Jesus humbled himself to become one of us, even to the point of dying on a cross to set us free. It is said that a society can be judged by how it treats its weakest members. How do we treat the poor and the lowly? Do we consider ourselves "superior" to them? It is so easy for us to become conceited because of our power, position, wealth, looks, etc. God calls us to give him praise for all the gifts we have received, for truly all good things come from the Lord.

aving an attitude of identifying with people, no matter what they are going through is important in the Christian life. There is no room for competition, jealousy or pride in our relationships with one another. When another member of the church is happy, we should be happy too; when someone is sad, we should be compassionate and share in their sorrows. It is a matter of journeying with one another, in good times and in bad, somewhat like a married couple are called to do in their life together: they have good times, but they also have bad times. Through it all they love each other and support each other, no matter what. That is true love.

e are the body of Christ. We come from every part of the world, every culture, every language, male and female, rich and poor, young and old, yet we form one body in Christ. Unity in diversity is our calling. We are not all the same: we have different gifts, different vocations, and so on, yet we are all called to holiness and oneness in love with Christ and each other. The church is the body of Christ. We experience church locally, beginning in our own homes, but also in our local parish churches. Some of the most profound experiences of the body of Christ for me have been gatherings like the one in Rome in 1984 when over 150,000 youth from all over the world were present for the first world youth day. We were different in many ways, yet our faith and love for Christ united us deeply with each other. I had a similar experience in Denver, where there were, I think, 500,000 young people at the outdoor mass with Pope John Paul II. "We are one body," we sang with the Irish singer Dana. I will never forget that experience of God's family.

eople need love. The Lord our God is a God of love. He calls us to love one another as dear brothers and sisters in him. We are called to place others higher than ourselves. In our world there is so much emphasis on self and we can fall into a trap of exalting ourselves over others, even God. The Lord calls us to humility and placing others before ourselves. Devotion to each other is also our calling. We are not strangers. We have been made members of God's family through our faith in Jesus and baptism into the one Body of Christ. To be devoted to each other means getting to know each other. To speak with each other regularly. To meet often, especially on Sundays, the Lord's Day. We should honor the presence of Jesus in each other. God bless you as you seek to love the Lord and others in him.

ickedness leads to defeat. Although sin may seem to bring great pleasure and rewards, it is only a temporal experience: ultimately, sin leads to death, spiritual death. Holiness (righteousness) causes us to "stand firm" in the Lord, to be able to withstand all the forces of evil that come against us, all temptation, the pressures of the world, and so on. When we build our houses on the rock of Jesus' words, they will not fall. Only if we fail to put the Lord's words into practice will our spiritual houses collapse. This is why it is so important that we take time each day to pray and read the gospels. They bring life to our souls, for they contain the words of Christ, our life. This is the "good news" we need to hear each day, which will triumph over all the "bad news" we are exposed to on television and newspapers. O Lord, help us to stand firm in you today.

ur minds need renewing. The Lord wants to set us free from a worldly way in thinking in order to put on the mind of Christ. We see that God's word teaches that with a renewed mind we will know what God's will is. Jesus stressed how important it is to do God's will: "It is not those who cry, "Lord, Lord," who will enter the kingdom of heaven, but those who do the will of my Father." Reading and pondering God's word in our minds helps us to have a renewed mind. We also need to put God's word into practice in our daily lives by speaking it out loud in various circumstances and standing on its promises. Christians are to be in the world but not of it. This is a challenging calling, but it is possible by the power of the Spirit of truth and holiness living in us. A renewed mind will lead to renewed speech and renewed behavior.

ne of the slogans of the pro-abortion movement is "I have a right to do whatever I want with my own body." Besides the fact that this statement fails to recognize the truth that a unique individual, another "body", is living inside the womb of a pregnant woman, this slogan also portrays a false picture of our bodies. God made us to give glorify him with our hearts, minds, souls and bodies. We are to "offer" our bodies as living sacrifices to God, a spiritual act of worship. To reject this and adopt the pro-abotion mentality is basically a turning to self-worship, where each one of us is our own little god and all things center around us, and we have no restrictions on our choices. God is pleased when we freely and willingly offer our bodies (and entire being) to him. He is grieved when we use our bodies as instruments of sin. Our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit. Let's ask the Lord today to cleanse the temple of our body to make it a fit dwelling place for his Spirit.

aul boasted of his weaknesses in order to show that it was God's power working through him that produced any good results in his life and ministry. Everything good we have and do comes from God. When we acknowledge that we are weak, we give glory to God, for we point to him as the source of our strength. The tendency to exult ourselves will always be a temptation, buy through prayer and meditation on Scripture we can overcome such attitudes. "I am weak but thou are strong," goes the hymn "Just a Closer Walk with Thee." It is not a terrible thing to be weak and know it. It is when we think we are strong and fail to give credit to God that we are setting ourselves up for a fall. "Pride goes before a fall." Today let's confess to the Lord our weakness and share with others the true source of our strengh: God.

o eat the body of Christ in the holy Eucharist is an incredible priviledge. It calls for spiritual preparation. To live in a state of serious sin and receive the body of Christ is a grave offense against God that carries with it judgement on the person doing such a thing. It is similair, though infinitely more serious, to casting precious pearls into the mud of a pig sty and having the pigs trample on them and eat them. Jesus was not kidding when he told the people and his disciples "My flesh is real food and my blood is real drink." Examination of conscience and, when serious sin is present, confession of sin is a requirment before receiving Jesus in the holy Eucharist. This is the greatest treasure of the church for it is Christ himself: body, blood, soul and divinity. All the other sacraments flow from this "Blessed" sacrament.

f we believe in Jesus we will live forever. Death will not be our end, but our beginning of eternal life with the Lord in heaven. Jesus asks us the same question he asked 2000 years ago: "Do you believe this?" I believe it because Jesus said it and everything he says is the truth, for he is Truth incarnate. Those who are in "deadly sin" and refuse to believe in Jesus will die, and they will not inheirit eternal life but eternal death. Hell, in some sense means to "live" in a state of constant deprivation of life, hence, perpetual death. That is why the wicked hate life (God) and love death (destruction of life, eg the unborn). We reap what we sow, so if we so death we reap death, if we sow life, we reap life, everlasting life.

n the spiritual life there is a basic principle that applies to everyone: we reap what we sow. If we refuse to forgive others, God will not forgive us. Unforgivness leads to bitterness, anxiety, depression, revenge and a host of other negative realities. The Lord wants us to let go of everything we hold against others, no matter how badly we have been hurt. How can we do this? By the power of God working in us. All of us sin in some way or another and therefore we are in need of forgiveness from God. As we have received and continue to receive the mercy of God, we must extend that mercy to others, especially to those who have offended us. This does not mean we have to say that what they have done to us was not wrong, but it does mean that in spite of their sin, we show them that we are willing to forgive as God has forgiven us. Jesus prayed on the cross: "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." Today let's forgive everyone who has hurt us from our hearts and allow God to bring healing in our lives and into the lives of our family and friends and even those who oppose us for our faith in Christ.

ne good man or woman can change the world. Because Barnabas was a good man and filled with the Holy Spirit and faith, many people were led to Jesus. We are called to goodness because God is good. He is all good, the supreme good. The Holy Spirit wants to fill us and transform us into vessels of grace for other people by the witness of our lives and words. It takes faith to evangelize: faith that God wants to, and will, work through us if we are open and don't place any barriers to God's Spirit working in our hearts. Let's pray today that we will be totally open to God's Spirit moving in our hearts. Sometimes the wounds of our past can cling to us and bring us down spiritually; spirits of darkness can infiltrate our lives, our homes, etc. and paralyze us spiritually if we are not vigilant in resisting them and exposing falsehood that may try to creep into our lives. If we comprimise with evil, we will get sucked into it. Come, Holy Spirit, cleanse us from all sin and fill us with grace, peace, mercy, love and all your gifts. Amen.

esus took ordinary bread at the Last Supper and changed it into his own body for his disciples to eat in his memory. The Holy Eucharist is a sacraficial memorial of Jesus and our spiritual food and drink. Jesus changed wine into his precious Blood. He did all this on the night before he died, the night Judas betrayed him and all his disciples fled when the soldiers came to arrest Jesus. St. Paul speaks of receiving and passing on. This is what we call tradition. The Eucharistic meal is a tradition passed down from Jesus to the Apostles and then to Christians throughout history. Today we continue to celebrate the Eucharist every day: we hear God's word proclaimed and then we "break bread" together: the Bread of Life.

aving discretion is crucial, according to God's word. Sometimes we learn discretion by making blunders in that area. It is said that we gain wisdom by experience, and experience is gained by making good decisions, but also by making bad decisions and learning from them. A gold ring has no place being in a pig's snout: it should be on the finger of a loved one. Just so, a women who is beautiful should not behave in ways that are inappropriate for her. Jesus said we should not cast our pearls before swine, otherwise we may be trampled. Swine do not appreciate pearls, nor do they appreciate gold rings in their snouts. Let's ask the Lord to give us greater discretion today in all our undertakings. We are called to be wise, not foolish, during our exile on earth.

celebrate today the feast of Christ the King. Jesus has power over all things, even death itself. Jesus would go on to raise Lazarus from the dead, showing his authority over death. Martha had great trust in Jesus, and she believed that her brother would rise again, but she was not expecting Jesus to bring him back from the grave so soon. She placed her hope in the resurrection, which Jesus himself said "I am the resurrection and the life." Where Jesus is, there is life, healing, hope and salvation. It is only when we choose sin that we suffer separation from God, unrest, and hopelessness. Let's worship Christ our king on this special day and give our hearts totally to him.

od's commandments should be on our minds regularly. Parents have a special duty to teach their children about loving God and observing his commandments. Every day we should reflect on our relationship with God. We should examine our conscience and ask pardon from God for any times we failed to keep his words. God's commandments are life-giving: they keep us from harming others and harming ourselves. They are meant for our well-being, not to stifle us. In a world which increasingly attempts to root out God from culture, Christians have a duty to proclaim the Gospel, to let the light of Christ shine in the world of the home, school, office, media, etc. A true Christian is not satisfied with only praying and thinking of God once a week on Sunday. No, everyday he or she opens up to Christ and his presence in the Scriptures, in other people, in the holy Eucharist and in the depths of his or her own soul. For those who love God, a Divine Guest always lives within to speak, heal, encourage, sometimes reprimand, and console.

esus is the Good Shepherd who never abandons his flock. The Lord has a severe warning for shepherds who fail to do their duty to take care of the flock of the Lord. God's people need shepherds to help them in all the various stages of life: from birth to death, the presence of God's ministers is seen. From Baptism to the funeral, we need the guiding hands of holy men who will look after our spiritual needs. The shepherd must place the care of his flock as his number one priority. He does have to look after his own needs, but not in a way that neglects his sheep. We must pray for our spiritual shepherds, that they be men after the heart of God, filled with zeal for God's glory and the salvation of souls.

e are called to know God. The more we know Him, the more we will love and serve Him. God wants all people to know Him. My life changed dramatically once I came to a personal knowledge of Jesus back in 1983. Before that I knew "about" God, but I didn't really know him in a personal way. Once I opened my heart to Jesus and began reading the Scriptures and praying every day, my knowledge of the Lord grew. If we know Jesus, we know the Father. It is sad that so many people in the world today deny the existence of God or deny that we can know God personally. Some people make God out to be a distant, uncaring force that created the universe but wants nothing to do with us. We know that God is love and that he cares deeply for us, enough to send His own beloved Son for our salvation. Ask the Lord to give you a deeper knowledge of Himself today.

bserving God's commandments gives us strength. Sometimes we can fall into the false idea that God's commandments are limiting our true happiness. Just the opposite is true: our happiness lies in obeying God's word. It is when we reject God's commandments that we find ourselves weak, directionless, hopeless and discouraged. When we are in union with God's word we will have the strength necessary to overcome all our "enemies," i.e., everything in our lives that comes against us in any way. Notice that God wants us to observe "all" his commandments, not just "some" or "most" of them. It is not enough to accept certain commandments from God and decide to ignore others. The Lord wants all our hearts, not just part of them. He wants total dedication to his kingdom, not partial.

esus changes lives. When he enters someone's life, things happen: healing, hope, salvation, peace, love, joy, new life, and so on. All these things are signs. They show the effect that Jesus has on our lives. Jesus came to give us new life, to set us free from our afflictions, to release us from spiritual captivity to sin and slavery to the devil. Physical healing is a wonderful thing, but even more wonderful is the good news of God's love shown in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus his only Son. Jesus was filled with the Holy Spirit and worked many wonderful signs of healing and deliverance, but the greatest sign he gave was his own resurrection from the dead on Easter Sunday. Spiritual blindness is far worse than physical blindness. To deny the existence of God or to refuse to believe in Jesus leaves a person in a very sad condition. In our modern world there is a mentality that says we don't need God, we can do just fine on our own. It denies that we sin. Let's pray today for all the spiritually blind people, caught up in a self-centered ideology that rejects God and Jesus as Savior of the world. Open their eyes, O Jesus.

ur world worships wealth. It is held to be the ultimate goal in life and the solution to all problems. God's word, however, tells us another story: wealth cannot save us from the justice of God or death. The love of money, Scripture says, is the root of all evil. We still need to deal with money in this world, but we must do so in a way that puts it in its proper place. Money can be used to do good for others. Holy living, or righteousness is what will deliver us from death. Jesus enables us to live holy lives because he sends us his Spirit to dwell in our hearts and souls. As Christians we do not need to fear death, for Christ's death and resurrection has destroyed the finality of death. Jesus has opened the gates of Paradise to those who love him and believe in him. We should not waste our money buying lottery tickets, for that is just getting sucked into the world's worship of wealth. Instead, we should reach out to the poor, buy Christian material to share with others and do other things like that.

od's word is more powerful than we can ever imagine. The entire universe itself, everything material and spiritual, was brought forth by the simple word of God. It takes faith to believe this, which is itself a gift from God. Whatever God wants to happen, happens. "Let there be light," God said, and there was light. God made you and me in his own image. We reflect the glory of God. We shall live forever because of the immortality of the soul we have been given. Even our bodies, after the resurrection, shall live on forever (new, glorified bodies). Unlike the physical universe, however, only human beings have the capacity, free will, to resist what God wants. We call this resistance sin. We are called to renounce anything that fights against God's will for our lives. We should be forever grateful that God created us out of nothing and made us something in Christ Jesus his Son.

he Our Father is the prayer Jesus himself taught us to pray. It contains a summary of what out attitude towards God and others should be. The first focus is praise of God and a petition for his kingdom to come. So often we forget to praise God for all his blessings to us. We are called to be a grateful people, a people of praise and thanksgiving. A grateful heart is a joyful heart. We also ask for our daily bread and forgiveness for our sins. Forgiveness of others is so important, for God will not forgive us unless we forgive others. Finally, we pray for deliverance from temptation, for there is always a danger that we will succumb to temptation and commit sin. Strive to pray the Lord's Prayer every day in the morning. Make it a prayer that comes from your heart, not only your mouth.

esus teaches us that being his followers will lead to rejection by the world, but in the end we will find salvation. "If they (the world) hated me, they will hate you," Jesus told his disciples. It is when Christians accept the world's values that the world accepts them as their own. Christian churches that teach that same-sex marriages should be blessed and accepted in the church and civil society, that abortion is fine, and so on have made a shipwreck of their faith. It is no surprize that the world embraces these churches, because these churches teach false doctrine. The most persecuted church in the world, even by other Christian churches, is the catholic church. Why? Because the catholic church has consistently remained faithful in handing on the teaching gave to his apostles. The church is not perfect, and individual members of it sometimes sin in serious ways, but it is still the bride of Christ and his voice to the world.

o fear the Lord means to love him above everything and everyone else. It means doing his will over our will. It means deny ourselves, rather than give in to sin. Every day is filled with challenges to our faithfulness to God. If we fall in some way, whether great or small, we should return to the Lord at once and press on in following Christ. True wisdom comes to those who place God first in their lives. God arranges the events of our lives in such a way that all things work out for our good, when we earnestly strive to do his will. The more we come to know the Lord, the more we will hold him in great awe and majesty. This does not mean we need to feel uncomfortable in his presence, but it does remind us that he is holy and worthy of our greatest worship and praise.

e get the results in life that our actions deserve. Laziness brings poor results; diligence brings positive results. Just as a lazy man who never repairs his house will find it more and more in ruins, so too our spiritual lives can become "ruins" if they are not well-tended. It takes constant effort to maintain our spiritual lives: to guard the doors and windows of our hearts against enemy attacks, to repair broken parts of our lives with God's healing grace, to keep the light of the Holy Spirit burning brightly in our lives. It has been said that the greatest challenge of our day is waking up in the morning and not sleeping in. This may seem like a small victory, but if we succeed in it, then the rest of our day can follow in an orderly fashion. If, however, we regularly "sleep in," there is great danger that this is a reflection of laxity in our spiritual lives as well. Don't let your rafters sag or your house leak. Get to work, with the help of God!

in leads to death: Death came into the world through the original sin of our first parents, Adam and Eve. Mortal sin leads to death of the soul eternally in hell if it is not repented for. The Israelites confessed their sinfulness to God and cried out for him to save them. God has indeed rescued us from sin by sending his Son Jesus. He came into this world to save us from our sins. We, like the Israelites, need to cry out to God to ask him to save us. "Do whatever you think best," they said to God. This is a great prayer, which lets all things rest in God's will. It is foolish to deny the fact that we have sinned when we are clearly aware that we have. It is like a man with cancer telling himself he doesn't have cancer, or a woman who is pregnant telling herself there is no baby in her womb. The Israelites wanted to be rescued "now." Now is the time for salvation. It is unwise to presume that tomorrow is a better day to turn to God, for we may not be on earth tomorrow. We should have a sense of urgency when it concerns our salvation. We should never go to sleep in a state of serious sin, without first asking God to forgive us and confess our sins as soon as possible. May the Lord of Mercy and Love bless you today and keep you free from sin.

ll creation belongs to God: the heavens, the earth, things visible and invisible. Nothing came into being apart from God. There is nowhere God is not present. We can never "hide" from the presence of God. Even the poor damned souls in hell are profoundly aware of God's existence. The world, however, so often seeks to remove God from our awareness by banning prayer in schools and public events. The Canadian government refused to allow prayer for the victims of the air bombing off the coast of Newfoundland. There is a deliberate agenda being put forth by certain political and other leads to "remove" God from our society. We are part of the "everything" that is in the earth. You and I belong to God and there is no changing that. We can, if we choose, refuse to love God and keep his word. The Lord never forces us to love him or obey his word, but he certainly invites us to a relationship of love and obedience. The choice is ours. Before you go to sleep tonight, step outside and look into the heavens and reflect on the majesty of our God. The universive is but a page foreshadowing of the wonderful vision of God that will be granted to those entering the kingdom of heaven.

nly in heaven will we be free from temptation, as it is a spiritual reality that we cannot escape from. Even the holiest of men and women experienced temptation at various stages in their lives. Some are tempted at the beginning of their conversion, some later on, still others experience violent temptations near the end of their lives. The good news is that God never allows us to be put into situations that we cannot escape from. Being tempted is not at all the same thing as giving into the temptation. Jesus himself was tempted, and he certainly never sinned in any way. Scripture also teaches us that each of us has a point beyond which cannot bear the temptation. We should never, though, deliberately put ourselves into situations where we know we will be tempted. Behind every temptation is a tempter: satan. He is very brilliant and knows our weak points and he will strive to exploit them as much as God allows him to. Remember how God allowed satan to harrass and "tempt" Job to curse God, but Job refused to? So, don't be discouraged when you are tempted; it is just a reminder of our fallen nature and the presence of our enemy, the devil. In the name of Jesus we have victory over every temptation!

od tells us to sow good seed in order to reap a harvest of unfailing love. Now is the time to seek the Lord, not tomorrow. We should never put off the kingdom of God and holiness for a future date, for we never know for sure that we will live beyond this day. Righteousness means right living, in union with God's word. It can be very challenge to live a holy life in today's world, which is so full of unrighteousness. We see it all around us: perversion, violence, injustice, and so on. All these things bring a harvest of corruption and lead to eternal loss. Jesus is coming back again, not as as gentle, merciful savior, but as a just judge who will execute final judgement upon all the people on the earth. Sin and all forms of unrighteousness will not continue on forever on our planet. The end is coming to satan's dominion on earth! Christ has conquered him and when he returns in glory, the prince of this world shall be cast forever into the eternal fire, nevermore to persecute the children of God. Let's sow the good seed of righteousness today and wait for a harvest of love.

oday is Thanksgiving Day in Canada. We are especially thankful for Jesus being our Good Shepherd. Out of love for his flock he willingly gave himself up to death for our salvation. This shows how much Jesus cares for each one of us and even the most hardened sinner, for Christ did not come to save people who are virtuous but sinners, and all of us have fallen short of God's glory in some way or another. As our Shepherd, Jesus guides us and leads us to green pastures. He will not allow the wolf, ie, satan or false prophets, to lead us astray. We can, however, choose to wander away from our Shepherd and the flock (church). In that case, Jesus tells us that he goes out in search of the lost and straying sheep in order to bring them back to safety, for apart from Jesus we will grow weak and eventually experience the sadness of sin and separation from God. Thank God today for Jesus, who loves you so much and is always seeking to bless you and help you experience the joy of walking in God's will.

od gives us leaders to maintain justice and righteousness. Unfortunately, not all those who are in positions of power use it properly. The lure of richess, popularity and personal gain has led many leaders astray, including various kings of Israel. David was a man after God's own heart, even though he did have a serious fall in having the husband of Bathsheba killed and committing adultery with her. God punished David, but he did not abondon him, nor does he do so with us. Whatever responsibilities God has given to us we are called to exercise with care, in the spirit of justice and righteousness. The history of the church is full of holy men and women who were in positions of power, including kings and queens, who lived exemplary lives. They were concerned with the poor and the spread of the Christian faith. They did their best to root out evil from their kingdoms. Let's pray for our leaders today, that they will have the courage to stand up for what is truly right, noble and just in our world.

here is a time for speaking and a time for listening. The wisdom of God instructs us to be attentive to God. Speaking too much and in a way that is empty leads to ruin. A wise person is teachable; a fool is not. A wise person accepts the limitations that God places on him, while a fool always seeks to go beyond the boundaries God has set for our own good.

e reap what we sow. If we sow good seed, we will reap good fruit. If we sow evil seed, we will reap bad fruit. This truth applies not only to individuals but to towns, cities, states, provinces, nations and the whole planet. Living a godly life brings many blessings. Living a life of wickedness eventually results in sadness and eternal misery, if the person does not turn to God for mercy before it is too late. We are living in a time of God's mercy, but a time is coming, and I believe it is coming soon, when God's justice shall visit this earth in a way it has never been seen before. The Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah for their wickedness, yet there are many places in the world that are far more wicked that these ancient cities were. Today is the feast of St. Faustina Kowalska, the Apostle of Divine Mercy. Jesus told her that she would prepare the world for his Second Coming, and that she was holding back the just hand of God from punishing this world through her prayers. Our world so often denies the reality of sin and the punishment it deserves, yet at Fatima the Blessed Virgin said "War is a punishment from God for sin." Scripture itself testifies that all wars begin in the human heart. Let's choose righteousness today and renounce evil.

he devil works on our minds by sending us thoughts that are contrary to God's word. This is how he tempted Eve in the Garden of Eden. He was casting doubt on the word of God. Satan is alive and well today and sowing seeds of corruption into the minds of this generation through false teachings, even in various churches, and proposing diabolical doctrines that undermine the authority of God's word and the teaching of his church. We personally can experience the devil's foul perverting thoughts, even when we are striving to live a good Christian life. The first thing we need to do is resist the thought and refuse to allow it to lead us into sin. We must arm ourselves with God's word, the sword of the Spirit, to fight corrupt arguments and pretentions. The more we grow in holiness and effectiveness in God's kingdom, the more we will likely find ourselves targets for the enemy. It is actually a good sign that we experience trials and temptations, for it means we must be doing something that is a threat to the kingdom of darkness. Hold fast to God's word. If you fall, immediately ask God for mercy and forgiveness, get up again and keep fighting!

he closer we come to God, the more we are made aware of his awesome holiness. He is not, as a popular song suggests, "a slob like one of us." He is absolutely sinless, pure, holy, undefiled, merciful, just, loving, and on and on and on. We cannot fathom the wonderful reality of who God is and how holy God is. God calls us to imitate his holiness. We know we will never be equal to God, nor are we expected to be. It was the pride of Lucifer that led him to want to be "greater than the Most High." There is a real spiritual movement in the world today that seeks to remove God from our society in every way possible. The church teaches that the coming of the Antichrist will reveal a false spiritual agenda, that will lead people to commit apostasy (denying the Christian faith) in order to "reap the benefits" of a self-appointed "Messiah" to the world who will establish satan's rule for a period of time. In the end, Christ will return in glory and judge the living and the dead and establish the fullness of his kingdom on earth as it is in heaven.

od gives governments power. It is the responsibility of those who make laws to ensure the common good of all society. Denying the rights of certain groups of people, e.g., the unborn, is seriously wrong and cries out to heaven for justice. The church teaches that we should have a "preferential option for the poor." This means that we should be especially concerned with the poor in our church and society. Jesus identified himself with the poorest of the poor: "Whatever you do to the least of these, my brothers, you do to me." Here in Canada we are seeing legislation that oppresses the poor rather than help them. In the USA, wealthy citizens are given tax breaks but not the poor. "Money makes the world go around" is like a constant philosophy in today's world. If people don't have money, they are considered worthless by many. We must see in each human being the face of God and recognize the dignity that is owed to each man, woman and child, simply because they are human beings, made in the image and likness of God. We must see Jesus in others, especially in those who suffer in any way. God will not let go unpunished, in the end, those who deliberately exploit the poor and trample their rights to the ground. For the poor are truly God's people.

rophets are not usually popular. Sometimes they are publicly ridiculed, falsely accused, imprisoned and even killed. Mel Gibson received all sorts of threats when he announced he was making a movie on the Passion of Christ. Many powerful people in Hollywood wanted nothing to do with Gibson. Some companies told Jim Cavezel, the actor who portrayed Jesus, that he would never work in Holllywood again if he took this job with Gibson's movie. Both these men are prophets in our modern world. They are not afraid to stand for the truth in spite of the consequences. Jesus himself said, "woe to you when all speak well of you, for this is what they did to the false prophets." You see, false prophets are welcomed by the world because what they teach is no threat: there is no call to repentance, to conversion, to forgiveness. The Holy Spirit works through true prophets and calls people to love God and turn away from sin and all forms of evil. If we refuse to listen to God's prophets, the Lord will allow us to have our own way and we will become like "the neighbouring peoples," and worship false gods, live in sin, and so on. God calls us today to choose to listen to his word and obey it, for in doing so we find life.

esus said, "It is finished," when he was dying on the cross. He came to earth to take away the sins of the world. All he asks us to do is to put our faith in him, be baptized and follow his commandment of love for God and one another as he has loved us. What good news this is! I was visiting a minister recently in his parish and his secretary remarked to me, "I'm so glad he did it for us!" She was very joyfull about what Jesus has done for our salvation. We do not need to die for our sins: Christ has done it for us. He has opened the gates of paradise to us. We must have an attitude of expectancy, joyfully waiting for the return of Christ. Then there shall be no more tears, no more sorrow, no more suffering, no more injustice, but perfect love, joy, peace and happiness with God and the angels and saints. Salvation is a gift that we must always be grateful for and never take for granted. It is not a license to sin. We must persevere in faith, hope and love as we wait for the fullness of God's kingdom to come.

any of the saints disciplined their bodies. St. Francis of Assisi apologized to his own body near the end of his life. He called his body "brother ass." He apologized for the excessive fasting and hardships he put his body through. There are two extremes we should avoid: One is pampering our bodies and allowing ourselves to be mastered by its desires. The other is punishing our bodies to the point where we do damage to them, e.g., excessive fasting. Paul knew that, even though he was an apostle, he was still in danger of being led astray by the lures of the flesh. We live in an era of indulgence and an "anything goes" attititude. I believe God is calling us back to the cross, back to simplicity, back to purity. Our Lady said at Fatima to the three children to whom she appeared, "most of the souls in hell are there because of sins of the flesh." Pornography leads so many men to spiritual destruction and the disintegration of their marriages. It is a diabolical attack on humanity and an exploitation of women. We can be disqualified from the prize of eternal life. There is a false teaching going around in certain Christian churches that, as long as you have accepted Jesus as your Savior, you will never be in danger of being eternally lost. This idea is totally contrary to what Jesus taught. Only those who persevere in faith and love will be saved. God's word talks about the fact that he will forgive the unjust who turn to him for forgiveness, but he will punish the just who turn away from him.

ave you ever felt ashamed of Jesus or his words? I know that many times I have failed to be a witness for Jesus out of fear for what others think. The Lord has really helped me to be more bold in this area, though I still find myself in situations were I feel pressure not to "stand out" as a Christian. Jesus wants us to be proud, in a healthy sense of the word, of being his disciples. He does not want us to be led by the world, but rather to lead the world to him by sharing his word. There is absolutely no valid reason why we should be ashamed of Christ or his words. Just think of who Jesus is and all he has done for us. He loved us so much to become one of us, to take our sins upon himself and have them nailed to the cross in his own innocent body. He is coming again to judge the living and the dead. His judgement will be swift and absolutely just. Let's be proud of who we are, in a healthy sense of the word, as followers of Christ. St. Paul said he would not boast of anything except to cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. Do we boast of the cross, or ourselves? We thank you Jesus, for all you have done for us and for your wonderful words. Help us to be proud of you.

t. Mary Euphrasia once said, "A soul is of more value than an entire world." Indeed, if we had all the riches of this world, all the pleasures, all the power, but lost our souls, our lives would be in vain. Jesus wants us to focus on what is eternal and not be consumed by material things. To follow Jesus, in many ways, means going in a totally different direction than this passing world. Jesus teaches us that our true riches lie in the kingdom of heaven, not on this earth. Every person we meet is precious in God's eyes. We should be concerned about their spiritual well-being, even more than their physical or mental well-being. Food, shelter and clothing are very important, but even more important is being in a loving relationship with God. It is so easy for us to get distracted by things, pleasures, our own ambitions, the lure of riches, success, peer pressure and so on. It takes concerted effort on our part not to be swept away in the current of this world. May the Lord help you to stand firm in your faith in him today.

esus wants to expand our horizons. So often we limit the Lord as to what he can do in our lives. We do not ask God for much because we do not belive he can or wants to do much for us. We can settle for mediocrity, when the Lord is calling us to want the best for our lives, especially our spiritual lives. In his relations with us, there is really only one thing God cannot do: force us to love him. Other than that, all things are possible with God. Jesus places the condition needed for all things being possible: "Everything is possible for him who believes." We may say, "of course I believe, I'm a Christian." True, but so often, even as Christians, we may have an intellectual belief in Jesus and in Providence, but we don't really believe deep down that God is serious about providing for our needs, our healing, our spiritual renewal, our relationships, our finances, etc. "Lord, I believe, help my unbelief," a man once said to Jesus. We should ask the Lord to give us greater faith: a faith that will help us "walk on the water" of this world's trials and temptations. Miracle power is what went forth from Jesus and still continues today "for those who believe." What do you want Jesus to do for you? Have you asked him to help you? We must have trust in the love Christ has for us and his ability to help us, to bring light where there is darkness, life where there is death, healing where there is illness. Through it all we are called to surrender to the will of God, which is perfect, and strive to live out God's will in our lives. Come to Jesus today and ask him to do something for you and believe that, if it is good for you, he will do it. He may not do it in the timeframe or way in which you ask it, but he will do something good for you, because he loves you.

n any relationship, communication is important. When we are trying to help others come to know and follow Christ, it is important that they can relate to us somehow. Paul wanted to be able to relate to anyone in order to help them find salvation. It is not a matter of not having strong convictions or simply going along with what everyone else does. It is a way of being flexible and adaptable to every person we meet, for we are all unique. Paul wanted to "win" the weak and "save" as many people as possible. Winning and saving should be part of our daily vocabulary. Actually, we cannot win or save anyone ourselves: it is the power of Christ working through us that can touch peoples' lives and bring them healing and salvation. Many animals have the ability to adapt to their natural surroundings in order to protect themselves from predators and also help them to be better predators themselves. We also should be able to "blend in" with the world in order to meet people where they are at and minister to them as we are led by the Holy Spirit. We should not limit the way God wants to reach people. I have been led to evangelize in neighbourhood pubs, where people responded warmly to my testimony and took our website card. Go where the Lord calls you to go and do what the Lord calls you to do. If you are open, he will take you to places you never dreamed of going to.

t every mass we say, "Lord, I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word and I shall be healed." We say this before receiving Jesus in holy communion. The woman who said to herself "If I only touch his cloak, I will be healed," had great faith in Jesus. When she did touch his cloak, she was instantly healed by Jesus. Jesus knew that healing power had gone out from him. Jesus wants us to approach him with great faith in his power to heal us, set us free from sin, addiction, and everything that leads us astray. Spiritual healing is the most important kind of healing. Christ did not come to earthy simply to heal people of diseases and cast out demons: he came to set us free from sin and the penalty of sin by dying on the cross and rising on the third day. The woman who touched Jesus was desperate and lonely. Jesus wants to be our best friend. He wants us to bring all our problems to him and leave them at his feet. "Pray, hope and don't worry," was the advice Padre Pio used to give people who visited him. "Everything is possible for the one who believes," Jesus said. "With God, all things are possible," the word of God tells us. What would you like Jesus to heal in your life today. Reach out and touch him now: He is present and will bless you.

"ho do you say I am?" is the important question Jesus asks every one of us. People have all sorts of different answers to this question. Some say Jesus never existed. Others say he was only a good man who got into trouble with the religious leaders of his day. Others, like St. Peter, say he is the Christ, the Son of the Living God. Who do you say Jesus is? Do you know him in a personal way, or is he just a figure in history. Do you know that you can really know Jesus intimately. Ask him to reveal himself to you as you read the gospels prayerfully. Invite him to come into your heart and forgive you all your sins. Do whatever he tells you to do. Jesus became a man to die and save us from our sins. He remained fully God even while he was on earth. He had the power to heal people, forgive their sins, walk on water, raise the dead and cast out demons. He continues to do all these things through his mystical body on earth: the church. The church is God's family on earth, called by Jesus to do the things he did, and even greater things (as Jesus himself said). How can we do greater things than Jesus? This is because Jesus was limited in his earthly ministry and his disciples had not yet received the gift of the Holy Spirit, whom Jesus and the Father would send after his death and resurrection. The Holy Spirit gives us the very power of God; a power than can work miralces, heal, cleanse from sin, raise the dead and move mountains into the sea. With God's Holy Spirit within us, all things are possible.

esus said that he came to serve, not to be served. Paul says something similar. He was willing to surrender his freedom in order to make himself a servant of all for the sake of Christ. His burning desire to see everyone come to know and love Jesus was what caused him to see everything else as "dung." In our societies, so often the emphasis we are supposed to be concerned with is self: putting our own needs before those of others. The gospel has it turned upside down: put others needs before our own. This is why the wisdom of God is considered foolishness by the world. There are so many ways that you and I can serve others. It may be literally serving the poor meals or helping them find meaningful employment, housing, education and so on. Or it may be spiritual instruction: leading others to come to know the word of God and apply it to their lives. However God calls us, we should respond generously to the needs of others. For, in serving others, we are serving Christ: "Whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers [and sisters] you do to me."

ur thoughts, words and actions have repercussions. Just as a stone dropped into a still pool of water causes ripples to flow across the entire pond, so our sins cause ripples in the lives of our family, friends and society. Sin can destroy much good, as God's word teaches us. Wisdom also has an effect on our world: it can resolve conflicts, bring peace and harmony and help people to live as brothers and sisters. Each day we are faced with numerous choices. Sometimes we face tempation to commit some kind of sin. What do we do with these temptations? If we are wise, we will see them for what they are and reject them as evil. When we received the Holy Spirit into our lives, we received the Spirit of Wisdom. If we are open to the Spirit to lead us, we will grow in wisdom, grace and knowledge of God. If, on the other hand, we resist the Holy Spirit and give in to sin, we will fall from God's grace and favour and lose any good we have done. The choice is ours. Let's choose wisdom today and reject sin.

in leads to division: separation from God and separation from others. The people of Israel created a golden calf, which they worshipped as God. Moses was furious with them. He taught them, through breaking the two tablets of the commandments, that they had broken their fellowship with God by breaking his commandments. There is a great danger in our own times of worshipping our own golden calves: the pursuit of sinful pleasure, the pursuit of riches in a greedy way, the pursuit of power over others in a domineering way. The idol of self is alive and well in our world. The New Age movement makes each person their own god. Rather than seeking to do God's will and love and serve him, many false teachers seek that we must discover the "god within." Jesus teaches that we must die to ourselves, take up our cross and follow him. God's commandments are not meant to be burdens to us, but sources of true freedom and happiness, just as the laws of the road are meant to protect drivers, not harm them. It is when we choose to ignore these laws and, for example, drive above the speed limit, drink too much and drive, etc., that we cause problems, even death, for others or ourselves. Sin leads to death. Love of God leads to true life.

od is faithful to his promises. He made the rainbow a sign of his covenant that he would never again destroy all the living things on the earth with water. Even when we are unfaithful to God, he remains faithful to us. In Jesus, God established a new covenant. This new covenent is a covenant sealed with the blood of Christ. It is an everlasting covenant. Through his death and resurrection, Christ has opened the gates of paradise for us. When we believe in him, and accept him as our Savior and are baptized, we become God's children, are given eternal life, have all our sins washed away and are made memebers of God's family: the church. The next time you see a rainbow, remember the new covenant God offers all people in his only beloved Son Jesus.

t. Paul did not preach the gospel in order to gain financial rewards. He even did not take the opportunity to ask for legitimate compensation for his ministry. He was totally focused on proclaiming the good news of Jesus that everything else was of secondary importance. To know Christ and love him was central in his life. He did not get distracted with worldy concerns. What a great example Paul gives to us today, who are so in danger of using our ministries to gain money for ourselves, rather than for building up the kingdom. The scandal of certain televangelists in bilking trusting viewers out of their money stands in stark contrast to Paul's life and ministry. "It is better to give than to receive," God's word tells us. There is no happiness in a life that is constantly focused on self. The secret of JOY is Jesus - Others - You. Jesus first, others second, ourselves last.

od provides for his people. When we dedicate our lives to doing his will, he will take care of all of our needs. For those who dedicate their entire lives to his service as preachers of God's word, St. Paul proclaims that these people should be supported by the gospel. The ministry of proclaiming Christ to the nations is an awesome task. We should not seek finiancial rewards in themselves, but it is only right that servants of God should receive recompense for their ministry in order that they may look after their material needs, family, education, and so on. Just recently I have been led by the Lord to let go of my business of website optimization to pursue full-time ministry in music. This is the mission statement I made after prayer: "Our mission is to proclaim the name and message of Jesus with music, videos and drama to bring spiritual freedom and healing to the world." God calls all Christians to proclaim the gospel, although not all are called to leave everything behind in order to concentrate full-time on ministry. Keep trusting in the Lord for all your needs.

esus told his disciples to give the crowd something to eat. Jesus could have performed a miraculous feeding of the crowd without the involvement of his disciples, but he chose to have them assist him in this wonderful sign of God's providence. The Lord also asks us to do our part. Whatever gifts, talents, time and treasure we have, God calls us to give it to others in service. He will do the multiplying. We need to surrender ourselves to the Lord and he will transform us and our gifts and bless others in the process. What is God asking you to give him today? Do you have a talent you have not been using or developing? Are you concerned with the poor? "Give and it will be given unto you," Jesus said. The more we give to others in Jesus' name, the more we will experience the blessing of God in our own lives as well.

e don't usually think of fear as a positive thing. Instead, it is often associated with weakness. God's word today proclaims to us the truth that "fearing" the Lord leads to wisdom. The Lord does not want us to view him as an angry tyrant, but he does want us to come before him with humility and awe at his majesty. He also wants us to avoid sin, for if we choose love of God over sin we are putting the fear of the Lord into practice. Today is a good opportunity to reflect on our view of God and our attitude before him. Do we think we have God all figured out? Do we realize the awesomeness and the mystery of God? Do we have a personal knowledge and relationship with the Lord? "Ask, and you will receive," Jesus said. If we ask the Lord for wisdom, he will give it to us. If we ask for a deeper knowledge and relationship with him, he will give it to us. We just have to be open, humble and persevere in prayer.

esus said, "And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life" (John 3:14-15). By His cross and resurrection, Jesus has set us free from the power of sin and death. Jesus calls us to have faith in Him and the victory He won for us on the cross.
St. Francis of Assisi prayed this prayer when he visited churches: "We adore You, O Christ, and we praise You, because by Your Holy Cross You have redeemed the world." The fruit of sin is death. The fruit of the cross is eternal life. The Precious Blood of Jesus, the price of our salvation, was poured forth upon the cross. Ask the Lord to deepen the power of the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ in your life.

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