Fallen Short & Lifting Up

“For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23 Once I was in the hospital for 5 days and had a seemingly constant flow of visitors. They were quite friendly towards the staff, and lovingly acknowledged everyone from the doctors to the maintenance staff. I had so many visitors, in fact, that two nurses pulled me aside, and commented on how outgoing and friendly my friends were. They both asked me where I met my friends. “I met most of them at church,” I said. “What church?” they asked as they pressed for more information. So I told them. I suspect they saw in my friends what I also saw in them: The love of Jesus Christ. It is often said that church goers are ‘saints’ and everyone else are sinners. But that is far from the truth as we all have the capacity and propensity to sin. Some say arrogantly (and blindly) that sin is what others do. These prideful attitudes are pervasive in our culture, but detrimental to both church-goers and the unchurched. Though we try with all our strength, none of us is ‘good’ all the time. We are all flawed to some extent and only human—we need Jesus to be lifting up all who fall short of the glory of God. That reality only gives us more reason to pursue our faith with fervor to be the best we can be in God’s eyes. The truth is that we are all sinners to varying degrees—all of humanity, indeed, and we sin in a variety of ways through sins of omission...

PART I: The New York Travesty

Life and Motherhood Begin at Conception The Reproductive Health Act abortion bill was just passed by New York legislators. To the dismay of many, this ‘progressive’ state legislation went through on Tuesday, January 22, 2019, on the 46th anniversary of Roe vs. Wade, which, in 1973, legalized abortion in the U.S. Tragically, it sets a precedent that will be hard to reverse as time goes on, and it catches on in other states and countries. When will we finally come to understand what science and DNA have already proven: Human life and motherhood both begin at conception?   The Reproductive Health Act, the bill passed in New York this past week is a travesty, one which endangers the lives of both vulnerable pregnant women, and preborn babies, alike. However, according to its name, it is a misnomer. Abortion is, in actuality, an all-out assault on human life that is not about healthcare at all, as it is not health ‘care,’ For decades medical practitioners have taken the Hippocratic Oath, ‘do no harm.’ Nor is abortion ‘just politics’ as many suggest with conventional wisdom, like religion, both topics that ‘should not be discussed.’ Rather, abortion is a life and death moral and legal issue, one relating to end of life decisions, worthy of civil discourse.   What Makes This Legislation Different The Reproductive Health Act is being proudly hailed by some people who think it is ok to take the life of a pre-born baby up until birth. It also allows for anyone to perform an abortion rather than a skilled physicians. This new legislation allows non-physicians to perform abortions...

Seeking God’s Light

http:www.theinspirationcafeblog.net ‘When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows Me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”’  John 8:12 Light. God’s light. Light is vitally important in both the spiritual sense, and the practical sense. The Bible talks a lot about Light. In fact, it is so central to Judeo-Christian teachings, that it is referenced 263 times in the Old and New Testament. Probably one of the most poignant of all usages of the word light is found in the above scripture when Jesus made His seven ‘I Am’ statements found in the Book of John. A Light Illuminating the Darkness We think about light allowing us to see the path ahead of us with confidence. When we speak about light, we think about warmth and comfort and about it illuminating the way, leading us where we are going, as in a lamp for our feet. A light illuminating the darkness. A light at the end of the tunnel. All things eventually come into the light. Some even say there is something wrong if you can’t shine a light on it. For without God’s light, we are lost and living in darkness. The Light of the World In today’s reading, Jesus says, “I am the Light of the world.” In God’s light, there is no darkness at all. Those who follow Him will never walk in darkness, as He shines His light on every aspect of our lives. God knows everything about us, and His people understand the concept of His abiding Light and Love, despite our short comings....
Great Things

Great Things

“The Mighty One has done great things for me and holy is his name.” Luke 1:49 Today’s Holy Scripture is an answer to the question posed by a popular song called ‘Mary Did You Know?’ that came out just a few years ago. The angel appeared to Mary, and was very clear about what was ahead for her, and she said “Yes!’ all the same. In this Bible passage, Jesus’ mother, Mary, spontaneously expounds on her awe-inspiring feelings of gratitude that she has for God’s unsurpassed gift to her and humanity. She is grateful to God for allowing her the privilege to be Jesus’ mother. Yet Mary had a choice. She did not have to say “Yes,” but did so willingly, with some trepidation, and with complete abandon, then went on to become Jesus’ mother and His first disciple. Do Not Be Afraid! Here is the contextual Bible passage for when Mary was approached by God to become Jesus’ loving mother: 29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.” 34 “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?” 35 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the...

Unshakable Joy

4 “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” Philippians 4:4 Joy vs happiness. Happiness and joy appear to be very similar, but they are very different. There are subtle nuances that help us discern which is which. Happiness is a feeling, as one would experience when enjoying job success, the birth of a child, or buying a new home. It is often dependent on what we do, or experience, and is accompanied by temporary positive feelings. The problem with focusing on your happiness rather than joy, is that happiness can be fleeting, while joy is enduring and unshakable. Truth is, happiness, and human feelings, come and go especially in times of adversity, but joy is lasting, and is accompanied by a deep, abiding peace that surpasses understanding.   “Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 4:7   Joy Does Not Change With Circumstances Joy does not change with circumstances, but rather over rides times of struggle, helping you to see the silver linings in every situation, even when life gets difficult and/or complicated. It helps you rejoice in the Lord at all times, putting aside negative, destructive feelings such as fear, sadness, anger and angst, replacing them with the gentle knowing that all is well as you place your trust in Jesus. Unlike happiness, instead of being a feeling, joy is more of a trusting state of mind and a peaceful heart in concert. It is a manifestation of the fruit of having the Holy Spirit with you, one that is stirred into being through...

7 Ways to Tend Your Flock

“…Tend the flock of God in your midst…”   1 Peter 5:1-11 Who’s in your flock? In this life, none of us is an island unto ourselves. We have many people in our lives and different roles in this life: Child, parent, spouse, brother, sister, niece, nephew, friend, even acquaintance… And every relationship is beautifully unique. These relationships we have with the people in our lives, some new, some lifelong, offer so many opportunities to practice patience, to help and love others unconditionally, and even forgive them as needed. In reality, some people we treasure and some we don’t. Yet, as Christians, we are called to love them all to the best of our abilities—which as we all know, at times, is no small task!   At times, our greatest temptation is to think we have little in common with some people, while focusing on our differences. However, we must find a way to normalize commonality. That is, to find a bond of some kind, even if it is just a family bond or ones faith. No, we may not like everyone who enters our life, but we are mandated by Jesus to love them all the same. Divine providence has a lot to do with who comes into your life, and that is how one’s flock comes into being. 7 Ways to Tend Your Flock Understand that relationships are most often mutually beneficial in some way. Accept that God has given you your flock for a reason. Always look for common ground with others. Practice patience with those who are difficult to love. Pray daily for the flock in your midst....