Friday, October 27, 2017

Sublime Joy

Seek a blessed joy, and illuminate your paths with happiness.  Essential though is to cultivate contrite hearts and clean minds.  This is when you’re blessed with gifts of the Almighty.  You become true lights and are ideal for doing Christ’s work. Barack Obama (b. 1961), the first African American President of the United States declared, “If you're walking down the right path and you’re willing to keep walking, eventually you will make progress.”  Our walk of faith leads to enlightened hearts.

Joys of the World

The joys of this world are fleeting.  True peace is like a weapon defeating evil.  In this world there’s degradation, sin, and fear.  But in the eyes of Christians their future is bright.  By living according to the promises of God they become faithful, kind men, and women.  They face hardships which are like pin pricks compared to the happiness awaiting them in heaven.

This world is buffeted by the winds of change.  If it isn’t war, murder, or crime, it’s found in the sensual excesses of life.  Some people hold their heads high, walk with their chests up, and are puffed up.  At best this is a way to display of vanity.  Some face struggles with broken hearts, but continue to pretend that all is well.  We can’t depend on the temptations of the flesh to build us up.  We often witness empty praise and double talk.  As if bound by fetters worldly types live in the shackles of fickleness.  A poet and philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–1882) observed, “To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”  Being true to oneself should be the aim of every Christian.

Spreading Joy

It’s beneficial to spread joy and hope in the world.  To be true to ourselves we have to live joyfully.  Being sustained by the Holy Spirit it’s for us to evangelize, and minister to others.  As lights in the world we ought to walk confidently in the midst of wolves.   As we journey through life be filled with the riches of God’s Heavenly Kingdom.  Robert H. Schuller (1926–2015), a Christian televangelist testified, “God flourished my ministry and my career of creative thinking, communicating and writing back 50 years.”  It was Schuller’s belief that Christ blessed his mission.

Comforting Joy

To find comforting joy it’s best to review the teachings of Jesus and his disciples.  Their testimonies mirror the lights of Christian living.  So in faith be steadfast in your understanding of the Word.  For on judgment day we’ll have to give an account about how we lived our lives.  We therefore look forward to his heavenly consolation when our sins are washed away.  We should embrace these spiritual beliefs and be comforted by his blessings.  

Ann Landers (1918–2002), a Chicago Sun-Times advice columnist reminded us: “Expect trouble as an inevitable part of life and repeat to yourself; the most comforting words of all; this, too, shall pass.”  With this realization we know the victory was won, and supreme blessings await us.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Be the Best

How can you refine your personality?  Some people believe you can do so by taking care of your personal needs.  They feel that they must dress well.  The religiously inclined may wear necklaces with crosses dangling on their chests.  Some pay attention if their hair.  Is it black, brown, or blond?  Making sure they are well-groomed they wear the latest styled shoes.  Undoubtedly such dress is beautiful and appealing to admirers.  However, there’s a lot more than dress if you’re to be the best.

Invest in having a well-rounded education.  This leads to emotional, intellectual, and physical development.  In being kind and courteous are good qualities to have.  You may view your personality as having masks of different colors.  Ezra Pound’s Personnae (1909) literally means “masks of actor,” because we’re actors on the world’s stage.  Others may consider it a blessing to have intelligence and to be happy. 

Imperfections as Gifts

Nevertheless we are imperfect.   As we work on improving ourselves we find we’re dogged by weaknesses.  Reconsider your attitudes about these defects and view them as gifts.  Don’t be overly worried but just accept them for what they are.  Maybe you are an alcoholic.  What should you do?  Recognize your affliction by taking responsibility for it.  Seek treatment.  Join Alcoholic Anonymous, and have the courage to speak about your disease.  Share your story as blessings in disguise, and see the stigma melt away.  Your negative gift that was once regarded in a hateful way may well be the catalyst for helping others.

Through afflictions Christians have been known to develop a deeper love and understanding of God.  By this inspiration his saints are able to mature in their faith.  Some cancer patients minister to suffering patients at hospitals.  They view their newly found afflictions as stepping stones to unique vocations.  Their outlook is more than just coping with an ailment.  These afflictions that are gloomy and hopeless to some have caused them to discover what they are doing as valuable.  It’s right to praise such patients for their dedication to the sick.  Their services bring hope, encouragement, and strengthen the vulnerable. 

There are some who view having imperfections as a bad thing.  A comedian and actor Carrie Snow observed, “Technology … is a queer thing.  It brings you great gifts with one hand, and it stabs you in the back with the other.”  Was Carrie referring to the conflicting faces of media?  Through the mass media we learn of opinion leaders’ contributions. But after a while their names may be dragged through dirt by some of the same commentators who had praised them.  Like in life we’re presented with the good, bad, and ugly, but the wise learn from these situations.  Technology - whether radio, TV, cable, or, the Internet has its imperfections, but ought to be viewed as gifts.  God-faring people benefit from what’s best in the media.

Care & Respectability

At birth we’re blessed with a myriad of gifts.  Even brain-damaged children have them to share with us.  Our tramps that are belittled have gifts and are also God’s caretakers.  Law abiding citizens dislike criminals running rampantly in their cities and will do anything to stop them.  Why don’t we bury anxieties we nurture about the afflicted?  Why be upset about situations you’re unable to control?  However, God is always in control.  In life there are struggles, but we’re blessed with grace and goodness to see them through.  Many situations aren’t as menacing as they seem. We need prayers and understanding to handle them.  It’s for us to promote good values and morals in our world.

It’s best to refine your personality also by being good-humored.  With persistence we’re able to touch what’s authentic in life.  Be good Samaritans, help the less fortunate, and focus on our good Shepherd, the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  Allow him to refine your personality and you’ll know what it means to be the best.  

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Be Well Again

Are you a damaged human being?  What are your ailments?  Constant headaches, low energy, aches, pains, tense muscles, or are you nervous with cold and sweaty palms?  Are you walking around with clenched jaws?  Do you grind your teeth?  Are you suffering from heart palpitations, anxiety attacks, ulcers, and having violent outbursts of anger?  Do you have a mental health problem, eating disorders, or, are you losing weight?  Then, you may be worn out by the demands of the world.

You may have a lack of appetite, hooked on alcohol, drugs, or cigarettes.  Maybe, you are pacing the floor, fidgeting at home and work.  But, you can’t seem to settle down.  Because of your behavior, you are unable to marshal your thoughts and focus at work.  You may be afflicted with chronic diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure, chronic renal failure, or, congested heart failure.  These may well be signs that you are burnout, bored, emotionally spent, and unappreciated. 

Other symptoms showing that you are worn out are when you aren’t sleeping well at night, have no sexual desire, and have fears going to work.  These afflictions may well be because of the rat race you are caught up in.  Constantly popping pills, and suffering from infections you’re unable to keep away from the doctors because of stress.

Do you have a competitive spirit?  That’s what the world taught you from childhood.  “Be the best you can.  The sky is the limit.”  That was how you were coerced in joining the bandwagon of competitors.  Now you’re in overdrive, working 16 hours per day, hooked on technological devices, and you can’t find time to read a book. Being overweight, and having bad eating habits, physical activities aren’t a part of your daily routine.  You fail to take the warning from a quotation anthologist Terri Guillemets (b. 1973), who said, “If your teeth are clenched and your fists are clenched, your lifespan is probably clenched.”  Now, you are paying the price.

Bringing About Change

A British philosopher Bertrand Russell (1872–1970) observed, “One of the symptoms of an approaching nervous breakdown is the belief that one’s work is terribly important.”  You’ve always felt this way.  Yet, you didn’t realize there was a price to pay with keeping up with the Joneses.  Your life is in disarray.  It’s time for you to slow down and smell the roses.

The first step is seeing your doctor for treatment.  Take your medications as prescribed, and follow his instructions.  Maybe, you should have counseling, but remember not to keep God out of the picture.  Pray.  God will provide for your every need.  Then, you’ll find knowing our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ brings peace, love, joy, and hope.  It isn’t that you will no longer have problems, but with this spiritual grounding he’ll help you from having bad experiences.

It isn’t that you won’t become ill, but through the Lord’s grace you’ll put sickness in its proper perspective.  Christians suffer.   Some saints suffer willingly for redemptive purposes.  But some have prayed for healing and were healed.  It’s important in your Christian walk to bring all things, good and bad before the Lord.  Then, your life will be blessed, for we were never meant to be competitive.  In the Lord’s eyes all gifts are equal.  There are numerous talents in Christ’s body.  An eye can’t say to a foot, “I’m more important than you.”  We’re all talented in our own ways.  So heed this advice for your well-being.               

Friday, October 13, 2017

Wondrous Love

Acts of love bring joy to precious hearts.  While performing these acts people look at the fruits of God’s grace.  These are accomplished by believers when showing Christ’s love to all people.  His grace which flows from heaven sustains souls, and causes the unification with the Holy Spirit.  This is the good news of the Gospel. 

With faith we find security in Christ.  Tullian Tchividjian (b. 1972), a professor of Theology and pastor remarked, “Believe it or not, Christianity is not about good people getting better.  If anything, it is good news for bad people coping with their failure to be good.”  What great news is this for those who have fallen short of his gracious love!  It’s through Christ’s redemption that we’re able to succeed in life.

Sow Love

We must love our neighbors as ourselves, by sharing warmth and tenderness in relationships.  It’s Christ’s love that makes hope blossom like new petals after a rainstorm.  But this revelation has to be nurtured. Through trustworthy deeds we’ll come to know his beauty.  Such a wondrous love is beyond comparison because it’s sowed deeply within our hearts.  It’s found at the cross that shows Christ’s promises.

An author and aviator Anne Morrow Lindbergh (1906–2001) wrote, “For happiness one needs security, but joy can spring like a flower even from the cliffs of despair.”  How wonderful is God’s security in believers’ lives!  Billy Graham (b. 1918), an evangelical preacher wrote, “God proved His love on the Cross.  When Christ hung, and bled, it was God saying to the world, ‘I love you.’”

Love & Serve

We must always put love into practice while serving it to all mankind.  This calls for humble hearts and a positive outlook.  Such loving has to mean the love of God, and has to be authentic.  This is vividly demonstrated in the Eucharistic celebration – the Supper of the Lamb, when Christ is lifted high in adoration.  The poor, needy, and neglected are all welcomed at his feast.  In participating we put into practice his promises, and supreme love that comes alive. 

Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929–1968), a Baptist minister and leader of the African American civil rights movement, observed, “The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by bad people but the silence over that by the good people.”  People’s failure to sow love and making their voices heard are surely the sort of tragedy to which King was alluding.

Recreated Love

Desmond Tutu (b. 1931), a South African retired Anglican bishop stated, “You don’t choose your family.  They are God’s gift to you, as you are to them.”  Their love is universal.  At the sublime level it’s one of connectedness.  People promote this truth when they step forward to do their part in the communities where they live.  This goodness is created, recreated, nurtured, and blossoms into amazing realities.  It’s holy and expresses the eternal blessings of our Creator. 

Recreated love is a true gift for all living souls.  Albert Camus (1913–1960), a French author and philosopher captured this best when he noted: “Without culture, and the relative freedom it implies, society, even when perfect, is but a jungle.  This is why any authentic creation is a gift to the future.”  Cycles of creative forces keep pushing us forward to tap into the dawning of a newer and better world.  This comes through the recognition and acceptance of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit working in our midst.  

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

A Boundless Love

In this world the beauty of love is all around us.  With nature for sure, when we’re graced by the golden rays of the sun and lush foliage in parks.  For months strolling along the beach we see the crushing waves on sunlit days.  In winter just looking at ice-covered mountains gracing the skyline is delightful. 

But in our daily lives there are other loves that are more personal.  We all face them on our journey through life.  These are the people we love - our fathers, mothers, aunts, uncles, cousins, neighbors, and friends.  We’re attracted by their smiles, laughter, dress, education, and intellectual prowess. These abundant blessings reveal themselves in unexpected ways.  Wayne Dyer (1940–2015), a self-help author and motivational speaker observed, “Doing what you love is the cornerstone of having abundance in your life.”  Much of this beauty that surrounds us is within our reach to enjoy.  One of America’s founding fathers and principal author of the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826) realized, “Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom.”   This truth is captured in beauty, wisdom, and honesty of our daily lives.  We can access these gifts by doing good deeds. 

Faithful Love

It takes dedication to be in love.  When we reach out for such joy we come to a place where there’s God.  His blessings are found in the kindness we show others.  It’s wondrous love at its best that may be evasive, but through persistence we’re able to capture it.  This love is all around us.  Keep on professing your faith which points to eternity.  You’ll then become secured in your walk as you encounter God’s deep and lasting love.  Such an undertaking brings joy to your souls.  A cosmetic surgeon and author Maxwell Maltz (1889–1975) wrote, “Man maintains his balance, poise, and sense of security only as he is moving forward.”  We do so by displaying this sort of love.  It’s always on the move and embraces everything in its path.

Love of Christ

A screenwriter Monica Johnson (1946–2010) captured the essence of faith when she testified: “God is so unique in giving His people ways of fellowship, witness, and remember what a mighty and merciful God He is.”  Christ’s love is surely through his Word of Truth. It reveals itself by loving the poor, hungry, and homeless.  The Holy Spirit deepens this love and reveals these great blessings.  All we have to do is look to the cross, the symbol of hope, life, resurrection, and salvation.  Walk therefore like saints growing in humility.  You’ll be having hearts of flesh formed through the Spirit of Truth that comes from the Good Shepherd himself.

Love of Creation

Rabindranath Tagore (1861–1941), a Bengali author and artist believed, “Love is the only reality and it is not mere sentiment.  It is the ultimate truth that lies at the heart of creation.”  Tagore has cleverly touched on the pulse of love’s nature.  Christians encounter these through the symbols of God surrounding us.  Such liberty involves beauty that cleanses our hearts and minds.  New hearts are formed and nurtured.

With community love we care for people in villages, cities and towns.  It honors the Lord’s commandment to love our neighbor as ourselves.  By this commandment we sow love in all places through the fruits of the Spirit.  Love creates and recreates - and as it does, blesses everything else in its path.  It’s the ultimate beauty of life that can be best described as boundless.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

By Special Authority

You’re a leader, and by a special God-given authority you’ve to energize your organization.  This means finding ways to deal with assignments that appear as though they don’t have a chance of succeeding.  It’s for you to diagnose these problems.  Your responsibilities must not be seen as a power play, for you’re working for the welfare of the church.  You aren’t carrying out a private agenda but are doing your job for the goodwill of all concerned.  Vince Lombardi (1913–1970), a football player, best known as the head coach of the Green Bay Packers, wrote, “The achievements of an organization are the results of the combined effort of each individual.”  Thus, you have to realize like in football, every church member is gifted, and through their gifts there will be success.

Maximize Potentialities

People ought to be treated as adults.  Listen carefully to them, and hear what they are saying.  All things don’t necessarily work out as planned, but there’s always another point of view.  It’s for you to motivate your workers to be happy about what they’re doing, and urge them to higher and higher levels of performance.  That’s why it’s essential to keep tabs on the heartbeat of the group.  In this way you’ll know more about each parishioner.  By so doing you’ll be best able to promote the church’s growth, and parishioners’ competence. Take things a step at a time and build on each success.

Margaret Mead (1901–1978), a cultural anthropologist observed, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”  Committed leaders move their followers forward as they work at implementing what’s best for their congregations, and the world at large.

Lack of Control

Leaders must be people-oriented.  In the church there’s no room for tyrants, bullies, or autocrats.  With dictators organizations die.  It’s the kiss of death even with benevolent leaders who lead by whim.  Let leaders move away from being ego-centric, but democratic, and work in the interest of their flocks.  Dr. Seuss (1904–1991), a writer and cartoonist warned, “Only you can control your future.”  Spirit-filled leaders always lead in the best interests of their congregations.

Be Inspirational

Leaders’ role is to help people.  To do so effectively they must take ample note of relationships within their churches.  They should lead by example by changing outmoded methods that no longer works.  They ought to stimulate growth by expressing their sincere beliefs in humanity.  Let parishioners be energized by their apostolic zeal. By the Holy Spirit they would move away from the narrowness of self-absorption.  In so doing, they will motivate others for the general good.

Lee Haney (b. 1959), a former professional bodybuilder said, “Exercise to stimulate, not to annihilate.  The world wasn’t formed in a day, and neither were we.  Set small goals and build upon them.”  Haney’s message is encouraging.  Some may look for giant steps to be successful, but it’s always wise to remember good results may often come in small doses.  Your goals as leaders are to build on little achievements until projects are successful.  Remember, “Strive and persevere when the going is rough, because at the end of every dark cloud there may well be a silver lining.”


Tuesday, October 3, 2017

God's Glorious Attributes

God has extraordinary glorious attributes and with his saints and angels there’s extreme joy.  It’s so, because they strive for perfection.  Happiness from God is like a flame of fire enlightening our lives.  This ideal is found in the workings of the Holy Spirit.  This is a great gift, symbolic of his transcendent glory.  God’s image is beyond all created wisdom, as the Creator and Father of Lights.  He’s the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

God’s attributes were noted by Benjamin Franklin (1706–1790), a founding father of the United States, who explained, “A house is not a home unless it contains food and fire for the mind as well as the body.”  It’s the Holy Spirit who provides this fire and food to believers.

Perfect Bliss

With God there’s perfect bliss.  Christians expect eternal rest after leaving their earthly domain.  We’ll praise him without ceasing.  Hunger and thirst will be no more, for we’ll be recipients of his precious gifts.  Believers walking in the spirit are fearless.  We’ll eventually discover the full nature of our amazing lives.  Christians demonstrate this willingness by the things they do.

Believers are known for having steadfast spirits.  Our experiences continue to deepen when we walk as spirit-filled evangelists.  A mythologist and lecturer in Comparative Religions, Joseph Campbell (1904–1987) observed, “Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors where there were walls.”  Campbell captured the essence of Christians’ earthly journey where nothing is impossible with God.

Sight of Excellency

God’s wisdom is indescribable and he’s known for infinite grace.  Believers walking in his footsteps often demonstrate an apostolic spirit.  It’s one of harmony revealed as fire at Pentecost where there was a religious awakening.  Christians create trails like those envisioned by Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–1882), an essayist and poet, who advised, “Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”

God’s Goodness

Contemplating God is remarkable, for we’re able to experience his goodness, and mercy.  This power is found in his boundless love.  He’s the fountain of goodness that tends the wounded, before we’re able to recognize them.  As Christians it’s good to witness about his character, for this is a weapon believers’ use when they confront unbelievers.  Our Lord’s resurrected power was for all to see in the Risen Christ.

In our pastoral outreach let us show love for other souls.  Be industrious, for that’s what God expects of us.  With the anointment of the Holy Spirit we’re enlightened to walk in his ways.  Our approach to Christianity has to be Christ-o-centric.  His followers have to be obedient as true disciples.  Booker T. Washington (1856–1915), an African American educator wrote, “Character is power.”  Inevitably, faith-filled lives would best exemplify the character Christians must have.  God’s goodness and mercy shine through them in amazing ways.