Posted by: reveriewithgod | June 15, 2017

174 – Sincere Love

“Let love be sincere, hate what is evil, hold on to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; anticipate one another in showing honor. Do not grow slack in zeal, be fervent in spirit; serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, endure in affliction, persevere in prayer.” Rom 12:9-12 (NAB)

         These are very good words of advice from Paul. Sincerity is not like a faucet that can be turned on and off at our pleasure. It is like a plant that must be nurtured to grow. Even if you don’t have a green thumb, you can make it grow with the help of God’s grace. God is all truth and goodness, and when we hold onto what is good, through His help, an abundance of grace awaits us, and we can grow anything. Love is a two way street, and when we “love one another with mutual affection”, we are elevating each other to a plane closer to God. Even if the person does not return the mutual affection, we must love our enemy. Thus we can give by example the zeal and joy that is expressed by God’s love. Don’t wait for others to be good neighbors first, “anticipate one another in showing honor.” We lose nothing by showing kindness to others. Sincerity will grow within us, when we are “fervent in spirit”. This is how we “serve the Lord”. When we cultivate God’s grace, we can rejoice in God’s hope, for as sincerity grows in us, we come closer to God in His eternity. The abundance of God’s grace will help us “endure in affliction”, and when we “persevere in prayer” God will answer us. The answer may not always be the one we want to hear, because God’s love is just, and He always knows what is best for us. Yet, He will always answer us with an abundance of grace to handle any situation. God’s love is always sincere, and we should try to make our love just as sincere. Sincere love makes us strong, as we know from the example given to us by Jesus in His passion and death. There is no greater example of sincere love, which a man can show for his fellow man and God, than to give his life for him.

Dennis Higgins (27 May 2017)

Posted by: reveriewithgod | June 1, 2017

173 – Purpose*

We are all part of the Mystical Body of Christ’s Church. Each one of us is a member, a cell in that body, and we are all at various stages of our spiritual journey. God has given each of us a purpose and a path to follow. Our discernment of this purpose and path is one of life’s greatest, never ending adventures. God gives us all of our talents at birth. We may not get the talents we think we want, but there is no one He doesn’t give talents to. With His benevolence and mercy, He guides each of us through the discernment process. We don’t discover all our talents at once, nor do they become fully crafted upon discovery. They don’t come in any particularly logical order, but they do come when God feels we are ready for them. A great example for us is the conversion of Saul. Remember, Saul did not become Paul until God felt he was ready to take that step. For each one of us the material and spiritual journey we take is different, that’s why it is uniquely our journey of adventure and discovery. God is active in each of your lives, your journey, and your discernment because He loves and cares for each one of you. But your heart must be open to Him, you must let Him in, you must have faith in the fact that the pathway He has laid out for you leads to eternity with Him. Is it possible that we will attain status or wealth in this life? Yes it is, but the goal must always be our eternity with God. He is a benevolent teacher, and He will teach you, and test you, not for His knowledge, for God knows all things, but for you to see how well you are doing. He is also all-just, and will never test you beyond your ability to pass that test.

When putting your trust in God to guide you on your journey toward your purpose, you must also take an active part in that journey. And if you do, He will guide you, if you let Him.

Dennis Higgins (15 May 2017)

*Excerpted from a speech given on 28 January 2017

Posted by: reveriewithgod | May 15, 2017

172 – Separate Us From God

“If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but handed him over for us all, how will he also not give us everything else along with him? …What will separate us from the love of Christ? Will anguish, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or the sword? …No, in all these things we conquer overwhelmingly through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor present things, nor future things, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Rom 8:31b-32, 35, 37-39. (NAB)

“If God is for us, who can be against us?” It is Satan who is against us, and we are the only ones who can listen to him. What is Paul telling us? Because God’s love is so great for us, He did “not spare his own Son” to bring us back to Him. Why would we want to listen to someone like Satan who is against us? Only we can separate ourselves from God’s love. We cannot separate God’s love for us from God, because He is pure love. It is Satan who uses “anguish, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or the sword” to try to separate us from God. It is the pure love of God that helps us overcome all these trials and tribulations and conquer the temptations of Satan. Things like death, life, angels, principalities, present things, future things, height, depth, and any other creature, cannot separate God’s love for us from us, but we can use these things to separate ourselves from God. He is a just and merciful God who is willing to forgive us our many transgressions, but love is the two way street on which we must travel. Driving on the wrong side of the road shows neither love for God nor our neighbor. God has given us His commandments, His love, His grace, His mercy, His justice, and His Son, everything we need to seek eternity with Him. Only our pride, bolstered by Satan, can separate us from God in eternity, as it did with Adam and Eve.

Dennis Higgins (11 May 2017)

Posted by: reveriewithgod | May 1, 2017

171 – Need Not Fear

“This is the destiny of those who trust in folly, the end of those so pleased with their wealth…. [We need] not fear when others become rich, when the wealth of their houses grows great. When they die they will take nothing with them, their wealth will not follow them down. When living, they congratulate themselves and say: “All praise you, you do so well.” But they will join the company of their forebears, never again to see the light. For all their riches, if mortals do not have wisdom, they perish like the beasts.” Psalm 49:14, 17-21 (NAB)

This Psalm is one of the wisdom psalms, and warns against becoming enamored of wealth, or wealthy people. God wants us to join him in eternity and whether we make it or not depends on how much we let God into our heart. If we become enamored of wealth, we are pushing God out of our heart to make room for the love of wealth. God is not against wealth, only the effect it can have on our commitment to Him. As the Psalm warns us – our earthly “wealth will not follow” us into eternity. Our place in eternity depends on how much wealth we have stored up with God in eternity, not here on earth. This is the folly – we worry about our wealth on earth, which is mortal, and not the wealth, our love of God, in eternity. Mortality is limited; eternity is forever, think of it this way, if we compared the limited time we spend on earth, with being unhappy in eternity, would it not be a long time to be in darkness. God is not against wealth, but He warns us that it has its pitfalls. We need to be aware of that, and be vigilant about the directions we are making with our life. “If mortals do not have wisdom, they perish like the beasts.” God has given us His commandments, His love, His grace, His mercy, His justice, and His Son, everything we need to seek wisdom. Only on Satan’s path do we create and trust folly. If we make God the center of our life and follow his word, then we need not fear our destiny in eternity.

Dennis Higgins (26 April 2017)

Posted by: reveriewithgod | April 15, 2017

170 – Be Penitent

“But to the penitent he provides a way back, he encourages those who are losing hope! Return to the Lord and give up sin, pray to him and make your offences few. Turn again to the Most High and away from sin, hate intensely what he loathes… No more can the dead give praise than those who have never lived; they glorify the Lord who are alive and well. How great the mercy of the Lord, his forgiveness of those who return to him!” Sir 17:19-21, 23-24 (NAB)

     A penitent person is one who is ”expressing remorse for one’s misdeeds or sins”.1 God is merciful, and has given us a way back to Him. We can express that remorse by confessing our sins and saying an act of contrition. That contrition can be of two kinds; it can be perfect or imperfect contrition. Perfect contrition is when we are sorry for our transgression because we have offended God. Imperfect contrition is when we are sorry for our transgression only because we have hurt someone, or are afraid of God’s punishment. But our contrition must be sincere in any case. Then follows an act of penance. An act of penance is a physical act to show sorrow for our transgression. It could be prayers or some other action, like apologizing to someone, but it is some way of sincerely showing that we are taking responsibility for our actions.

     “No more can the dead give praise than those who have never lived”; waiting until we have passed away is too late to be penitent for our sins. Also, if you have chosen to turn your back on the Lord in this life, you are not really among the living. “They glorify the Lord who are alive and well”, and living within the statutes of the Lord. God created us to live in eternity with Him, Satan persuaded Adam and Eve, through pride, to turn away from God. Unlike Adam and Eve, who were in God’s eternity and lost it by their sin, we have our mortal lifetime to make that choice. But beware, we know not when death will come, be penitent now, great is “his forgiveness of those who return to him!”

Dennis Higgins (23 March 2017)

  1. American Heritage Dictionary, 1978 ed., s. v. “penitent.”
Posted by: reveriewithgod | April 1, 2017

169 – Do To Others

“Do to others as you would have them do to you….                                                         Stop judging and you will not be judged. Stop condemning and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven. Give and gifts will be given to you; a good measure, packed together, shaken down, and overflowing, will be poured into your lap. For the measure with which you measure will in return be measured out to you.” Lk 6:31, 37-38 (New American Bible)

     The second greatest commandment is to love thy neighbor as thy self. It then makes perfect sense to “Do to others as you would have them do to you”. For if you love yourself, then you would not intentionally do harm to yourself. But what if you do not love yourself, can you not do harm to your neighbor as well? Would not harming your neighbor seem “ok”, if you can do it to yourself? I mean – “what’s the harm, what is good enough for me is good enough for my neighbor, right”. That is a very self centered answer, is it not? It is not very thoughtful toward your neighbor, on whom you are passing judgment in his ability to withstand temptation, and who might not have the strength of will that you think you possess.

     But how do we love our neighbor as ourselves? Luke gives us the answer. If we stop judging and condemning our neighbor, then we do not put ourselves in the position of being judged or condemned by them. The Lord’s Prayer, given us by Jesus Christ, says that we must forgive to be forgiven, words directly out of God’s mouth. Remember the good works we do to our neighbor go before us and makes us rich in what matters to God. (Lk 12:20-21) If we forgive and give to our neighbors with justice, “gifts will be given to you” in heaven, measure for measure, towards our place in heaven, “For the measure with which you measure will in return be measured out to you”. In other words, if you “do to others as you would have them do to you’, it has its own rewards, not only on earth, but also in heaven.

Dennis Higgins (15 March 2017)

Posted by: reveriewithgod | March 15, 2017

168 – Delay Not

“Say not: “I have sinned, yet what has befallen me?” for the Lord bides his time. Of forgiveness be not overconfident, adding sin upon sin. Say not: “Great is his mercy; my many sins he will forgive.” For mercy and anger alike are with him; upon the wicked alights his wrath. Delay not your conversion to the Lord, put it not off from day to day. For suddenly his wrath flames forth; at the time of vengeance, you will be destroyed. Rely not upon deceitful wealth, for it will be no help on the day of wrath.” Sir 5:4-10 (New American Bible)

     “Delay not your conversion to the Lord.” For it has been said by Christ many times – You do not know when the thief will come (Mt 24:42-44), or when the bridegroom will arrive (Mt 25:10-13), or when the owner will return from his journey (Mk 13:33-37), or the parable of the rich fool who stored all his wealth in a big barn, ”But God said to him, ‘You fool, this night your life will be demanded of you, and the things you have prepared, to whom will they belong?’ Thus will it be for the one who stores up treasure for himself but is not rich in what matters to God.” (Lk 12:20-21) “Rely not upon deceitful wealth, for it will be no help on the day of wrath.”

       Yes, God shows mercy in the forgiveness of sins when repentance is sincere. Don’t be overconfident that you will have time to ask for forgiveness in the future. Even if you receive additional time to repent, sincerity is not something that you will be able simply to turn on when you need it. Sincerity is like a plant that needs water to make it grow, water which you must actively collect with your hands when it rains. It takes time to nourish such a plant. Complacency can become a habit, and habits are hard to overcome. At judgment time, you are judged by the actions and deeds you have sent before you, there will be nothing from what you have left behind. Once you are before the Lord, there is no plea-bargaining, your trial is over, and it’s time for judgment. Delay not your conversion to the Lord; it could cost you much more than what you think you have gained by delay.

Dennis Higgins (23 February 2017)

Posted by: reveriewithgod | March 1, 2017

167 -Shall Not Bear Hatred

     “You shall not bear hatred for your brother in your heart. Though you may have to reprove your fellow man, do not incur sin because of him. Take no revenge and cherish no grudge against your fellow countryman. You shall love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.” Lev 19:17-18 (New American Bible)

     Although this statute, “shall not bear hatred” from Leviticus, has been around for centuries, and preached from every pulpit at almost all church services, in today’s world it seems to apply only to socially correct matters. There is a different standard for the political and the business arena. There are those who claim to be God fearing, but for whom this statute has no place or meaning in their every day life, it is only for social appearances and status that they have to love their neighbor without hatred. How sad that is for humanity in this day and age, especially in this country that God has blessed with wonderful accomplishments, that we can turn our back to God when we don’t get our way; we can be as vile as we want towards our neighbor with impunity.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your heavenly Father… For if you love those who love you, what recompense will you have? So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Mt 5:43-45a, 46a, 48 (NAB)

     If we actually followed Christ’s example, we would sit and have a meal and talk to our neighbor about our differences, especially someone we thought was a grave sinner. The arrogance of hatred seems to be running rampant in today’s world, where the only acceptable way to deal with someone we disagree with is hatred, carried to anger, ultimately to violence. Love is a shallow word to many today, for only the appearance of love is necessary. When Christ forgave his persecutors, it did not make what the persecutors did right. God commanded us from of old that we shall not bear hatred and false witness towards our neighbor, and He has made it clear that doing so will not get us through the gates of heaven.

Dennis Higgins (18 February 2017)

Posted by: reveriewithgod | February 15, 2017

166 – If You Choose

“If you choose you can keep the commandments; it is loyalty to do his will. There are set before you fire and water; to whichever you choose, stretch forth your hand. Before man are life and death, whichever he chooses shall be given him. Immense is the wisdom of the Lord; he is mighty in power, and all seeing. The eyes of God see all he has made; he understands man’s every deed. No man does he command to sin, to none does he give strength for lies.” Sir 15:15-20 (New American Bible)

       When God created Adam He gave him a free will, because He wanted mankind to choose to be with Him. Satan doesn’t want you to choose to be with Satan, he wants you to choose not to be with God. He doesn’t care about the pain you will suffer in his house; he only cares about you not being with God in eternal joy. It is up to you to choose eternal life with God or eternal death with Satan. The pathway God has laid out for you will lead you to eternity with Him. You cannot fool God, for He sees into the deepest recesses of your heart. What you choose will be given to you.

       “If a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand; that is the end of him. Mk 3:25-26 (NAB)” Satan will never lead you to truth, because he would be speaking against himself and his house. God will only tell you the truth because He is all truth, and He wants you to be full of joy eternally with Him. God can never command you to sin or condone your sinning, but he “understands man’s every deed”, and if you ask God with sincere repentance, He will forgive your transgressions. The pathway you choose to follow is the house that God will give you at the final judgment. To say that you never had a choice in life is to deny your humanity. No other species has the gift of choice (free will) from God. Every moment of your life is a choice, and you must make the best of those choices. If you choose to be with God then you must follow His statutes, for it is His Kingdom you wish to enter. It is for you to choose your eternity either by living up to or not living up to the standards God has set for entry.

Dennis Higgins (12 February 2017)

Posted by: reveriewithgod | February 1, 2017

165 – Live Just As He Lived

“[Jesus Christ] is expiation for our sins, and not for our sins only but for those of the whole world. The way we may be sure that we know him is to keep his commandments. Whoever says, “I know him,” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps his word, the love of God is truly perfected in him. This is the way that we may know that we are in union with him: whoever claims to abide in him ought to live [just] as he lived.” 1 Jn 2:2-6 (New American Bible)

     Jesus did not die for just the Jews or just for His followers, but for everyone. It was God’s plan to have everyone with Him in heaven from the beginning. Adam’s sin made it difficult for humanity to fulfill that plan, for his sin closed the gates of heaven for everyone. God sent His Son to open the gates for everyone, but humanity is still plagued by the sin of pride or arrogance, which lost us paradise in the first place. So, God gave us statutes to guide us in what we must do to be with Him in eternity. Again, it is His eternity and He gets to make the rules on what we must do to enter. His Commandments are about how to show love to our neighbors, they are not restrictions on our freedom. This is why when saying, “I know him” without keeping his commandments, makes us liars, because His Commandments are acts of love towards Him and our neighbors. Hatred, like pride, is a restriction on our freedom; sin is what takes our freedom away from us. Living within the boundaries of the Commandments is what gives us security and in security there is freedom. Satan does not care about our freedom, only that we don’t make it into God’s eternity. Hell is eternity without God, and that is what hatred earns us.

   Reparation for Adam’s sin, the opening of the gates of heaven, not only required someone from humanity, but someone divine. So, God sent His Son to redeem us. Not only did Jesus take on our humanity to redeem us, but He also showed us how to live in that humanity within the boundaries of God’s Commandments. “Whoever claims to abide in him ought to live [just] as he lived.”

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