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

Monday, June 29, 2015

Hebrews Lesson 6 on YouTube

Rarely do Christians turn from Christ overnight. It happens by degrees. A compromise with sin here, a nursing of some bitterness there . . . We look at that somber truth in this 6th lesson through Hebrews.  Find it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bixCYqPxkjE

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Remember Elijah

An open letter to all my online friends who are faithful to Jesus Christ: 

Write this down in the flyleaf of your Bible: “Remember Elijah.” Here is what I mean by that:

The time will come when it will be illegal for anyone to say some of the things being said here and elsewhere about our national sins, about living righteously before God, and of God’s impending judgment.  And we might think ourselves alone because we do not hear or read words of encouragement from those of like Christian faith.

Remember Elijah.

Having just come off the mountain, exuberant with the memory of God’s powerful response to the false prophets (1 Kings 18), we find him in the pits of despair and fleeing for his life from the politician’s wife.

“They have torn down Your altars,” he cried out to God, “They have killed your prophets, and I alone am left.”

But remember God’s response to Elijah: “I have kept for myself 7000 who have not bowed their knee to the culture.” (1 Kings 19:10,18 – my paraphrase).

You and I enjoy the encouragement we provide each other online. But life in American culture has undergone a slow and inexorable shift away from Biblical truth. The time will come that the words of Christ-honoring Christians will be effectively silenced in the marketplace.

We, too, will soon feel alone – some of us will feel the emotion more intensely than others. But WE ARE NOT ALONE. God will always keep for Himself the remnant who hear His voice, and follow Him. 

Be encouraged. There are millions of us out there. Let us pray for each other every day.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Remember Uzzah

To Obey is Better Than to Sacrifice (1 Samuel 15:22)

If you read about Uzzah’s death only in 2 Samuel you’ll miss a critically important piece of supplemental information. 

In the sixth chapter David and “all the house of Israel were celebrating before the Lord.” They placed the ark of God on an ox cart to bring it to Jerusalem. But as they drew near the city the oxen stumbled and knocked the ark off balance. Uzzah the priest reached out to keep it from falling. But “the anger of the Lord burned against Uzzah, and God struck him . . . and he died.”

If that’s all we know, then we should have some questions, not the least of which would be: Why did God kill His priest for trying to protect the ark?

But take a look at the same story in the 15th chapter of 1 Chronicles, especially verses 11-15. After Uzzah’s death, David again decided to bring the ark to Jerusalem. But this time: David called for . . . the priests, and for the Levites . . . and said to them . . . because you did not carry it at the first, the Lord our God made an outburst on us, for we did not seek Him according to the ordinance.”

“. . . for we did not seek Him according to the ordinance.”

In other words, sacrifice and celebration in our worship and work for God is fitting and proper for anyone who calls God “Father” and Jesus “Lord.” But God also demands those things be done in obedience to His revealed will. Only after Uzzah’s death did the priests insert poles into the rings of the ark and then carry it on their shoulders – as Moses commanded half a millennium earlier (see Exodus 25:10-14 and Numbers 4:6-15).

The Holy Spirit tells us through the prophet, Samuel: Surely, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams. For rebellion is no less a sin than divination, and stubbornness is like iniquity and idolatry.”  (1 Samuel 15:22-23)

God is always serious about our obedience to His commandments – even while we worship and work for Him.

Remember Uzzah.

Friday, June 19, 2015

In Him Alone

Need some good news? Here is the link to my Good News about our God YouTube videos. Each is less than five minutes. 

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to . . . . stand firm. (Ephesians 6:12-13)

No one old enough to read is unaware of the evil ravaging across our nation like a tsunami, leaving in its wake destruction, mayhem, and death. I do not need to itemize the things happening around us today.

Every day.

Day after day.

I also know how easy it is to start seeing life through the prism of fear, apprehension, and yes, even dread about tomorrow. I know how easy it is to do that because I found myself moving in that direction once again, this time after reading the latest reports of Satan unleashed in the South Carolina church massacre.

That evening as I prepared for sleep, I opened my Bible to John’s gospel and read what Jesus said to His own: “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

Life and peace and fear and dread are deeply rooted in this equation: If we are living ‘in the world’, we have good reason to live with fear. But if we are living ‘in Christ’ we have good reason to even stare death in the face and spit in its eye.

“And they overcame him (Satan) by the blood of the Lamb, and the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death.” (Revelation 12:11)

Christian, stay in Christ!

In this world we have nothing but tribulation. Please! Pray for each other that we stay in Christ. It is in Him alone – in Him alone – will we receive supernatural peace . . .

Even in the midst of the tsunami.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Let Me Count the Ways

If you have read my Prayer Strategies blog (www.prayerstrategies.blogspot.com) you know I use a number of prayer ‘tools’ during my time with the Lord. One of those strategies is the use of ‘canned’ prayers, which I often modify to better fit my need to draw close to God.

This morning Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s poem dropped into my thoughts. I modified it for myself (I hope she wouldn’t mind ;-).  I also hope you will find it useful for your own time of prayer.

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I want to love thee to the depth and breadth and height
my soul can reach, even when I feel I’m out of your sight.
I want to love thee to the end of my being and
above the level of every day’s most quiet need,
by sun and candle-light.
I want to love thee freely. I want to love thee purely.
I want to love thee with a passion useful for Thy kingdom,
even in my griefs, and with child-like faith.
I want to love thee with the breath, smiles, tears, of all my life; and, if you choose, I want to love thee even better after death.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

What Does it Mean?

Moses was dead. Joshua would take the people into the Promised Land. In chapter three of the book by his name, Joshua ordered the priests to carry the Ark into the middle of the Jordan River. As their feet touched the bank, the waters separated and the people crossed to the other side. Then God told Joshua to take 12 stones from the middle of the Jordan where the priests stood, and lay them down in the place they were to all set up camp for the night.

“Let this be a sign among you” God continued, “so that when your children ask later, saying, ‘What do these stones mean to you?’ then you shall say to them, ‘Because the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord . . . So these stones shall become a memorial to the sons of Israel forever.”(Joshua 4:6-7)  A memorial. A point of reference. A looking back to the place from where we have come so we can better understand where we are now; and where we are going.
1300 years later a gospel writer wrote of another memorial, another point of reference also involving a stone: “But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they came to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared. And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb. . . (Luke 24:1-2)

And when our children ask, "What does this stone mean to you?" we do well to tell them from where we have come, so we -- and hopefully they -- can better understand where we are now; and where we are going.

What does that stone mean to us?