If you are looking for my blog titled, The Contemplative Catholic Convert, you are at the right spot.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

I Believe: Forty Meditations on the Nicene Creed -- The Fifth Meditation


Creed Statement: I believe in one God, the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all things visible and invisible.

Today’s focus: Almighty


A throne was there in heaven, and on the throne sat one whose appearance sparkled like jasper and carnelian . . . From the throne came flashes of lightning, rumblings, and peals of thunder. Seven flaming torches burned in front of the throne . . . (and) four living creatures . . . do not stop exclaiming: "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God almighty, who was, and who is, and who is to come (Revelation 4:2-8).

            For seven fear-filled years, the Midianites spread terror across Israel. Bands of marauders ravaged villages, slaughtered men, women, and children, and stole their possessions. Israelites lived like hunted animals, hiding in caves and along cliffs. Gideon was one of those Israelites. Then one day, as he threshed his meager wheat harvest, an angel called to him, “The Lord is with you, O champion” (Judges 6:12).

            But Gideon answered, “If the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us?” A moment later he added, “And where are the miracles we’ve heard about all our lives?”

            It’s easy for me to point a finger at Gideon and marvel that anyone could think the days of God’s miracles were over. Yet, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve thought, “God answered my prayers in the past, but how can I be sure He will do it again? God took care of us before, but will He do it now?”
 
            Like Gideon, I believe in the almighty God of the past, but I’m not so convinced He’s the same God of the now – or the future.
 
            What nonsense. If you remember the text in Judges, Gideon, along with three hundred men armed with nothing more than clay pots, torches and their faith, won a miraculous victory for Israel. (See Judges 6 and 7).


            What are our Midianites? Chronic Illness? Unemployment? Divorce? Terrible loneliness? If faith teaches us anything, it’s this: God is never limited by time or resources. What He opens, none can close. What He shuts, none can open. God is our Almighty Father. Compassionate. Involved. He knows the number of hairs on our heads, the thoughts in our hearts, and our words before they cross our lips. A sparrow won’t fall to the ground without His knowledge – and you and I are of much greater value to God than a sparrow (Matthew 10:29-31). And even if our prayers go unanswered, sometimes for decades, the truth remains: God is good. All the time, and in all circumstances. He will never leave us alone, but will walk beside us even through our storms.

            It’s easy to recite Creeds and believe in past answers to prayer. But when the doctor’s report takes our breath away, when floods engulf our homes, when fires consume our livelihood – the words of the Creed, “I believe in . . . the Father almighty,” can be an unyielding rock and a declaration of victory for those who trust Him – even to the jaws of death.
 
            Gideon believed the days of God’s mighty works were over. Let’s not make the same mistake. Our God and Father is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

Prayer: Lord, I need You. Be my shield and companion, my strength and tireless resource. Be my comfort and guide. I lose focus when life’s storms shake my faith, when windstorms uproot my confidence in Your might and mercy. Send Your Holy Spirit into my heart and nurture my trust in Your everlasting power and love. Amen.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Latest YouTube study in 1 Peter -- lesson 25

There is a reason the Holy Spirit warns us against complacency. Against spiritual sleepiness. Because our infernal enemy never sleeps. He always probes our weaknesses, tests our defenses, distracts our attention from the spiritual war around us. We look at this war in lesson 25. You can find it here: http://youtu.be/9DVwtW9JJGA

Friday, January 9, 2015

Lesson 24 in 1 Peter uploaded to YouTube

Sometimes one of the hardest things to believe is that God cares for us. That He 'really' cares for us. We look at that question in lesson 24 in my YouTube through 1 Peter: http://youtu.be/XOZknkD7Sgw



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Wednesday, January 7, 2015

I Believe -- Forty Meditations on the Nicene Creed -- the Fourth Meditation


 This is the next of the forty meditations. You can find the book on Amazon. Follow this link here. (Also available on Kindle)
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Creed Statement: I believe in one God, the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all things visible and invisible.

Today’s Focus: The Father


[Jesus] came to what was His own, but His own people did not accept Him. But to those who did accept Him He gave power to become children of God, to those who believe in His name, who were born not by natural generation nor by human choice nor by a man's decision but of God (John 1:11-13).



            Sixty years. That's how long it's been since my father abandoned me. The day is tattooed into my memory. I remember where I sat and what I was doing when Mom told me Daddy would never be coming home.

            My father was never there when I had problems with school, or friends, or when I started dating. He never attended my school plays or high school football games. He never showed up at my Boy Scout award ceremonies, never saw me graduate high school or college, get married, and raise children. When I searched for him years later, he wrote back a scathing reply and ordered me to leave him alone.

            As my four-year-old mind tried to absorb Mom’s words that somber day in 1954, I didn't know my heavenly Father was there, sitting on the couch with me. I didn’t know He embraced me as I walked to Dad's closet, took his wallet, and hid it, hoping to force him to stay with us. I didn’t know God stood beside me during my teen years when I got snared in a revolving door of drugs, sexual sins, brawls and thefts. I didn’t know He wept with me as I sobbed on my sister’s shoulder, "I never had a father. I never had a father."


            “I believe in one God, the Father Almighty.”


            There are times no other words speak more powerfully to my emotions than “God, the Father.” Sometimes I sense Him so near I can feel His warmth. When I meet Him in prayer, I can feel Him draw me into His arms. If I listen carefully, I hear Him whisper, “I will never leave you. I will never forsake you.”

            What do you think about when you think about God as your Father? Perhaps your relationship mirrors mine. Maybe it was better, or much worse. Whatever the memory, of one thing we can be certain: Golgotha’s hill proves for all time and into eternity, “Even if my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will take me in” (Psalm 27:10).  Through Isaiah God promised, “Can a mother forget her infant, be without tenderness for the child of her womb? Even should she forget, I will never forget you. See, upon the palms of My hands I have written your name; your walls are ever before Me” (Isaiah 49:15-16).

            As we recite those simple words of the Creed – The Father – we remind ourselves the God of the universe is our Father.

            Why do we sometimes doubt that?


Prayer: (From Psalm 103): Lord, You are compassionate and abounding in love. As high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is Your love for those who fear You. For the sake of Christ’s sacrifice, You remove our transgressions from us as far as east is from west. As a father has compassion on his children, so You have compassion on those who call to You for mercy. Have mercy on us, Father. We are Your people, born by faith in the atoning blood of Your Son, Jesus. Amen.


 

Friday, January 2, 2015

Lesson 23 in 1 Peter now uploaded to YouTube

St. Peter has much to say about servant leadership. We look at it in lesson 23 of our study. You can view it here: http://youtu.be/8wJXTpc4h4g