Do You Have a Thorn?

  Have you ever cried out to God to remove a ‘thorn’ from your life? Even St. Paul experienced ongoing some human weakness, which Scripture calls ‘a thorn.’ Though we don’t know the nature of his condition, it may have been depression, anxiety, a relationship, infirmity, disability, etc…, Scripture tells us that St. Paul reportedly prayed to God 3 times to remove it, but God’s answer to him was this: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”   2 Corinthians 12:9 Be strong. Avoid weakness… The world tells us in so many ways that showing human weakness is not an option, especially to succeed in any area of life. Yet, the Bible has a completely different take on weakness and vulnerability. Sure, we all have times in our lives when we experience various forms of weakness due to medical infirmity, disability, mental health issues, grief, loneliness, relationship issues, financial challenges, or other adverse circumstances. The truth is, we all experience times of weakness, which is just part and parcel of our being human.   Certainly we all have thorns at times that annoy us, distract us, and derail us, from our life-mission to serve God with all our being. A thorn can affect your comfort zone and even leave you feeling alone and devoid of God’s love—even abandoned. Yet most of the challenges we face can bring us closer to God if we let them. Obstacles can enable us to choose between becoming bitter or better. Make no mistake about it, perspective is a conscious choice. We get to choose what we think about, and...

An Extraordinary Opportunity

  As Christians, we have the extraordinary opportunity to strive to live a good life in Jesus Christ. We are called to focus on what is good and right and true. We try our level best to avoid occasions of sin, but in our humanness, we fall time and again through our words, deeds, thoughts and even bad habits. I say ‘strive’ because we are all sinners to some degree. For we all fall short of the glory of God, the Divine plan He has for each of us. Yet the operative word here is strive.  As a striving people, trying to emulate Jesus, we are called to radical faith. The kind of faith that focuses first on getting our own houses in order, figuratively speaking. Secondly, we are called to be fishers of men—that is, in word and deed, to love as many people as possible to help them follow Jesus, ultimately, into eternal life. ‘Jesus said to them, “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.” ‘ Mark 1:17 The example this Scripture gives us is one of becoming gatherers. We are called to gently, through love, not coercion, bring others to Christ while being careful to avoid sin in our own lives. Those who get to Heaven will not be there because of how many rosaries said, church attendance, self-righteousness, eloquent prayers, or works. In actuality, no one deserves to go to Heaven. Since we are all sinners, it is only through God’s generous grace that it is possible for anyone to go to Heaven, as none of us are worthy.  No one will...

If God Is for Us

“If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31) This Scripture serves as a powerful reminder that when God is on our side, when we have given Him control over the details of our lives, we are truly empowered like never before. Empowered to pray with confidence for all that we and our loved ones need, knowing those needs will be met. Prepared to take on the challenges of this world, regardless of circumstances. We are more able to love others, even our enemies and those that are difficult to love.   When you strive to live a faith-filled life, you are in a position to step out with holy boldness, move away from your own worldly desires and needs, to reach for all that is good and right and true. You are no better than anyone else, but your primary focus is on doing God’s Divine Will in your life. That is, doing as much good as you possibly can with complete and utter abandon. You are able to throw caution to the wind and harness the ordinary in an extraordinary way—with patience, courage and love.   Recently I saw a podcast of Joyce Meyer advising her listeners to ‘do it afraid.’ Like the disciples did so many times throughout their ministries, we too, are often afraid to serve God and others with boldness. But remember–faith and holy boldness are gifts of the Holy Spirt who dwells inside of each of us. To be able to proclaim God’s love to others, especially to the unworthy—and aren’t we all?–is one of the greatest privileges we have...