Posted by: reveriewithgod | November 15, 2017

184 – We Have No Excuse

“Ever since the creation of the world, his invisible attributes of eternal power and divinity have been able to be understood and perceived in what has been made. As a result, [we] have no excuse; for although they knew God they did not accord him glory as God or give him thanks. Instead, they became vain in their reasoning, and their senseless minds were darkened. While claiming to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for the likeness of an image of mortal man or of birds or of four-legged animals or of snakes.

      Therefore, God handed them over to impurity through the lusts of their hearts for the mutual degradation of their bodies. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie and revered and worshiped the creature rather than the creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.” Rom 1:20-25 (New American Bible)

     Since humanity proclaims itself as great thinkers, we have no excuse for the lack of recognition of the almighty God. “Ever since the creation of the world, his invisible attributes of eternal power and divinity have been able to be understood and perceived in what has been made.” Instead, our vain arrogance, which led to our downfall from God’s eternity, has led us into the darkness, and further away from God’s eternal light. When we try to destroy Him by science, we only show that the intricate nature of things confirms that there is a higher power. “They exchanged the truth of God for a lie and revered and worshiped the creature rather than the creator, who is blessed forever.” We lie to ourselves by trying to call that higher power aliens, but it is really God the Father almighty, all-powerful, just and merciful, who is the supreme creator. We are afraid of something more powerful than ourselves, because we might have to pay deference to someone greater than ourselves. We have no excuse for using vain arrogance to down play a God who is all benevolence, and mercy. What makes us want to ignore God, what makes us so scared of Him? It is the fact that He is all-just, He will hold us accountable for all our actions. We have no excuse for using something, our vain arrogance, to push us further away from God’s eternal light, joy and happiness for all eternity.

Dennis Higgins  (10 November 2017)

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Posted by: reveriewithgod | November 1, 2017

183 – Whose Image

“Knowing their malice, Jesus said, ‘Why are you testing me, you hypocrites? Show me the coin that pays the census tax. They handed him the Roman coin. He said to them, ‘Whose image is this and whose inscription?’ They replied, ‘Caesar’s.’ At that he said to them, ‘Then repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God.’” Mat 22:18-21 (New American Bible)

     Nothing has changed in all these centuries since the Pharisees tried to test Jesus. We are still trying to test God as if we were smarter than the creator. But as Jesus so aptly said if the image created on the coin belongs to Caesar then return the coin to Caesar, and we should also return to God what He created. We would do well to remember that we were created in the image and likeness of God; therefore, we are obligated to return to God that which He has created, us. But God does not ask us for a blind self-centered faith that many sectarians use to promote themselves. He wishes for us to choose to return to Him by the use of the free will He gave us as a gift. God has given us many tools to help us on the road to His kingdom, and it is up to us to choose and use them. God has set the standards for entry into His kingdom, and we, in our arrogance, should not think that we have a right to change or alter those standards. Towards us He is merciful and forgiving when we fall off the path, but He is also just, and we have to make the effort to stay on that path.

     Whose image are we faithful too? As Paul writes: “While claiming to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for the likeness of an image of mortal man or of birds or of four-legged animals or of snakes. (Rom 1:22-23)” These are images that are contrived by man in his hypocrisy to bolster his human ego in this world. Should not the image and likeness created by God, with His love, goodness and justice, be returned to Him? Our answer will affect where we spend eternity.

Dennis Higgins (26 October 2017)

Posted by: reveriewithgod | October 15, 2017

182 – Compete Well

St. Paul in his first letter to Timothy advises us:

“… Pursue righteousness, devotion, faith, love, patience, and gentleness. Compete well for the faith. Lay hold of eternal life, to which you were called when you made the noble confession in the presence of many witness.

      …Tell the rich in the present age not to be proud and not to rely on so uncertain a thing as wealth but rather on God, who richly provides us with all things for our enjoyment. Tell them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous, ready to share, thus accumulating as treasure a good foundation for the future, so as to win the life that is true life.” 1 Tim 6: 11b-12, 17-19 (New American Bible)

     If we call ourselves Christians, then it is the values of Christ we are supposed to proclaim. Christ’s kingdom is in eternal life. If we compete well for those values – “righteousness, devotion, faith, love, patience, and gentleness” – we are laying hold of Christ’s eternal kingdom in this life. We don’t get to separate, pick and choose, the values we want to pursue; we must pursue them all because they are all intertwined. God has given us parameters to live by that are pleasing to Him. Since He is all just and all good, His parameters reflect that same justice and goodness. Each one of us is an individual, and God knows our individual needs, what is good for us and what is bad for us. He will not give us what is bad for us. But if we continually offend Him, He will pull back from us as He did several times with His chosen people in the Old Testament. Then we have to be careful of what we pursue, if it is bad for us we might just get it.

     If we must pursue wealth, let us pursue God’s wealth, and He will “richly provide us with all things for our enjoyment.” If we compete well in doing “good, to be rich in good works, to be generous, ready to share,” then we are “accumulating as treasure a good foundation for the future” in God’s eternity. Wealth is not evil in itself. It is how we handle and pursue that wealth that is the danger point. We need to compete well for God’s wealth “so as to win the life that is true life”, life in God’s eternity.

Dennis Higgins (10 October 2017)

Posted by: reveriewithgod | October 1, 2017

181 – Nothing In / Nothing Out

St. Paul in his first letter to Timothy warns us about quest for wealth:

“For we brought nothing into the world, just as we shall not be able to take anything out of it. If we have food and clothing, we shall be content with that. Those who want to be rich are falling into temptation and into a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires, which plunge them into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is the root of all evils, and some people in their desire for it have strayed from the faith and have pierced themselves with many pains.” 1 Tim 6: 7-10 (New American Bible)

      Wealth is not evil in itself. It is how we handle that wealth that is the danger point. The temporal comfort that wealth brings is the snare that can bring down our soul from union with God. It is temporal wealth that can change our focus from life with God in the next world to our comfort in this world. Comfort, that we cannot take with us into the next world. We did not create the soul that brought us into this world, so we brought nothing in. Temporal goods do not follow us out of this world when our soul departs from this life, so when we leave this world we take nothing temporal out. So what is at stake for us? Is it temporary comfort in this life, or eternal comfort for eternity? That should be an easy decision to make. But with only temporal experience available for us to understand, the concept of eternity is sometimes hard to grasp. Wealth can bring instant gratification, but imagine if that gratification never ended, that would be our eternity. The only wealth that will follow us is spiritual wealth, which we earn in this life. But again nothing in – nothing out. If we do not earn spiritual wealth from God to take with us into the next world, we may wind up with an eternity in hell. Paul is giving us a warning – only our spiritual soul at the time of our death goes into eternity. The final judgment of God will be determined by our choices during this life. The wealthy can get into heaven, but the road is fraught with many perils. We should concentrate on spiritual wealth for eternity; remember if we put nothing in, we take nothing out.

Dennis Higgins (24 September 2017)

Posted by: reveriewithgod | September 17, 2017

180 – The Word Of God

As Paul writes in his first letter to the Thessalonians:

“As you know, we treated each one of you as a father treats his children, exhorting and encouraging you and insisting that you walk in a manner worthy of the God who calls you into his Kingdom and glory. And for this reason we too give thanks to God unceasingly, that, in receiving the word of God from hearing us, you received it not as the word of men, but as it truly is, the word of God, which now is at work in you who believe.” 1 Thes 2:11-13 (NAB)

Our knowledge of God, “one who surpasses the power of the human tongue, who exceeds the comprehension of the mortal mind”1, can never be fully understood by our limited knowledge.

“God transcends all creatures. We must therefore continually purify our language of everything in it that is limited, image bound or imperfect, if we are not to confuse our image of God – “the inexpressible, the incomprehensible, the invisible, the ungraspable: – with our human representations.”2

There are two ways of knowing God, by examining His creations and His revealed Word. ”Ever since the creation of the world, his invisible attributes of eternal power and divinity have been able to be understood and perceived in what he has made. Rom 1:20 (NAB)” He created man out of love, and without that love, man vanishes. After man sinned, God did not take away that love from us, but He treated us as a “father treats his children, exhorting and encouraging [us] and insisting that [we] walk in a manner worthy of the God who calls [us] into his Kingdom and glory.” In caring for His children, God has used His revealed Word to prepare a way for our salvation.

Because of the limitations of our language in discerning God, He has slowly revealed Himself to us in stages with the revelation of His Word in scriptures and through traditions, to prepare us for the coming of the incarnate Word, Jesus Christ, who is our savior. Enlarging our knowledge of God was also part of Jesus’ mission. But our life must be more than just hearing the Word of God. Paul tells us in his letter to the Romans: “For it is not those who hear the [Word] are just in the sight of God; rather, those who observe the [Word] will be justified. Rom 2:13 (NAB)” We must not only have faith in God and hear His Word, but listen to what His Word is telling us and be active participants in the Word of God.

Dennis Higgins (15 September 2017)

  1. William A. Jurgens, The Faith of the Early Fathers, vol. 2, # 1125, p. 92.
  2. Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1994 ed., (New York: Doubleday, 2001) 22 – 42.

 

Posted by: reveriewithgod | September 1, 2017

179 – Woe To You

As Jesus said to those in power:

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisee’s, you hypocrites. You pay tithes of mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier things of the law: judgment and mercy and fidelity. But these you should have done, without neglecting the others. Blind guides, who strain out the gnat and swallow the camel!” Mt 23:23-24 (NAB)

     The scribes and Pharisee’s were more worried about tithes to be collected, than judgment, mercy, and fidelity to the law. Without the weightier things of the law they were blind shepherds leading the flock. Gnats and camels were considered unclean and not to be eaten, but straining out gnats was more important than keeping someone from eating a camel. They were hypocrites because their priorities were in the wrong place, like today in the secular world, many are more worried about the language of someone than the crimes being committed around them. And some in the flock are not averse to following their lead. But Jesus said to His followers:

“Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘let me remove the splinter from your eye,’ while the wooden beam is in your eye? You hypocrite, remove the wooden beam from your eye first; then you will see clearly to remove the splinter from your brother’s eye.” Mt 7:3-5 (NAB)

     We are preoccupied with the faults of others and ignore our own shortcomings. Woe to us when we act like the scribes and Pharisee’s, as Jesus said of them: “…do not do as they do, for they do not practice what they preach. Mt 23:3b (NAB)”

     The secular world questions God and His judgment all the time. This is a God who is all just and merciful and does not separate mercy from justice, for he is both. In judging others we sometimes focus on mercy to the exclusion of justice. Mercy without justice is just arrogance, for our concern becomes how others will perceive us rather than what is right. Woe to you hypocrites who think you know better than God what is important to fidelity to His law: “For who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has given the Lord anything that he may be repaid?” Rom 11:34-35 (NAB) Our trust should be in God, at least. He knows what He is about.

Dennis Higgins (25 August 2017)

Posted by: reveriewithgod | August 15, 2017

178 – Wisdom

     When God told Solomon he could have whatever he asked for, Solomon asked for wisdom.

“So God said to him: ‘Because you have asked for this – not for a long life for yourself, nor for riches, nor for the life of your enemies, but for understanding so that you may know what is right – I do as you requested.’” 1 Kgs 3:11-12 (NAB)

    Solomon received wisdom beyond what anyone had ever had before. God also granted him many of the things he did not ask for. All He asked for from Solomon in return was for him to keep His statutes and commandments. Oh, that we had the wisdom to ask God, not for earthly riches, but spiritual riches like wisdom. God asked nothing more of Solomon than what He asks of us every day, to keep His statutes and commandments.          

    The lesson we should learn from this, is that we should fill our hearts with spiritual things that we can take with us into eternity, which is more likely to get a positive response from God, rather than asking for material things that we can not take with us into eternity. God is more interested in our eternal happiness, for that is why we were created and that is why He sent His Son to redeem us; our material happiness on earth is not His primary concern. Although, like Solomon, those things can be attained, but that depends on how we respond to God.

     Let us remember, we are mortals living on earth and not in eternity with God because Adam and Eve turned their backs on Him. Adam and Eve did not find wisdom because they were blinded by their pride. What God asks of us now is not to turn our back on Him, as Adam and Eve did, but to use wisdom, which God is willing to give to us, to choose eternity with Him. Wisdom is there for us; we just have to be open to it to receive it. The eternal reward of joy for using God’s wisdom far outweighs the non-existent joy promised by Satan, for hell is not a joyful reward for using our pride.

Dennis Higgins (2 August 2017)

Posted by: reveriewithgod | August 2, 2017

177 – The Lie

When speaking of the mustard seed:

“It is the smallest of all the seeds, yet when full-grown it is the largest of plants. It becomes a large bush, and the ‘birds of the sky come and dwell in its branches.’” Mt 13:32 (NAB)

     The parable of the mustard seed is about the Kingdom of heaven, but the image of the “mustard seed” can be used in another application. It can also be used as a metaphor for the Lie. A Lie may start out small, like a mustard seed, but no matter how small we think it is, like a mustard seed, it has a life all of its own, and it will grow to the size of a large bush. As it grows larger, it invites other lies to come and nest in its branches, and they too take on a life of their own. Although at first it may be hard to swallow our pride and tell the truth, for it may have a bitter taste at first, the more we tell the truth, the less bitter it becomes, and soon takes on the taste of something sweet, for we have told the truth and don’t have to be bothered by the guilt of not telling the truth. While we think we can get away with a Lie, the truth always comes out, because the Lie has grown so much of its own accord, we forget all the details of the original Lie, and thus become trapped by it.

     There is another problem with the Lie. In order to make the Lie believable, we have to convince ourselves that it is the truth, but therein lays a bigger and more dangerous Lie, for now we are lying to ourselves, not just those around us. This Lie only makes it harder to distinguish what the truth really is, and brings us a false sense of security that the Lie fosters in us. Not being able to tell the reality of truth from the fiction of the Lie makes living life in this world even more difficult. If we make friends with the truth, not the Lie, life becomes simpler, because we are not always correcting ourselves, for there is nothing to cover up.

Dennis Higgins (1 August 2017)

Posted by: reveriewithgod | July 17, 2017

176 – Produces Much Fruit

“Jesus answered them, ‘the hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Amen, amen, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will preserve it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there also will my servant be. The Father will honor whoever serves me.’” Jn 12:23-26 (NAB)

     Christ uses an agricultural metaphor to predict his death and resurrection, and the effects of His resurrection upon mankind. He is that grain of wheat that falls to the ground and dies, and if He does not die, then nothing can happen, the gates of heaven do not reopen to mankind. When He dies, He goes to shoal, where all the souls of those who have died before Him are waiting for the gates of heaven to be open to them, but not to those who have been condemned to Gehenna for their grievous sins against the Lord God. With His resurrection and victory over death, He produces much fruit, as He leads all the souls there, those that are ready to meet God in eternity, to their creator as the Lord had promised Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

     The next part of His words deals with mankind and our part in this covenant with God to get us into eternity with Him, now that the gates have been reopened for us. We now have a choice. We can seek the pleasures and rewards of this mortal and finite life, and forsake the rewards of eternal life; or seek rewards that will last us for all eternity in the next life. What a choice! Seek rewards that will die with our bodies, for those rewards are the pleasures of our mortal bodies; or seek the rewards that will last for all eternity, for our souls are eternal. Jesus makes it very clear, “whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there also will my servant be. The Father will honor whoever serves me.” Christ said we must pick up our cross and follow Him, but He also said that He would help us carry that burden. Pride got Adam and Eve expelled from eternity with God, will it also keep us from entering eternity with God? Satan would be quite happy if it did, but that would be a bad choice of friendship. Dying to the pleasures of this world produces much fruit and joy in eternity for all eternity.

Dennis Higgins (15 July 2017)

Posted by: reveriewithgod | July 1, 2017

175 – All May Be One

Jesus prayed, at the Last Super, lifting His eyes up to heaven, saying:

“I pray not only for them, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, so that they all may be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us, that the world my believe that you sent me. And I have given them the glory that you gave me, so that they may be one, as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may be brought to perfection as one, that the world may know that you sent me, and that you loved them even as you love me.” Jn 17:20-23 (NAB)

     The importance of this prayer is not just that we must believe that Jesus is the Christ and that God sent Him, and that His sacrifice was out of great love for us, but that “all may be one” with Him and God the Father. What does it mean to be one with the Son and God the Father?

     If God is present in the tabernacle, that lies in the sanctuary that is our body, then “we are one” with the Son and God the Father as they are one. In other words, if we fill our hearts with God, then we are one with Him and His divinity. This is the “perfection as one”, as are all things that are in total union with God.

     But there is another “one” at work in this prayer. It is that, as believers, we are all one together. Not multiple sects of belief, for if God is one so should we be.

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower. …Remain in me, as I remain in you. Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on its own unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in me. I am the vine, you are the branches.” Jn 15:1, 4-5a (NAB)

     There is only one true vine, Jesus Christ, the head of His church, and we the body of that church are the branches on that vine. Christ made a promise to Peter when He said: “…I will build my church [singular], and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. Mt 16:18b (NAB)” And to the apostles He said: “The Advocate, the holy Spirit that the Father will send in my name – he will teach you everything and remind you of all that [I] told you. Jn 14:26 (NAB)” It was God’s intention that the Holy Spirit guide and protect His one Church so that we, His adopted children, may be of one body in union with Him.

Dennis Higgins (20 June 2017)

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