DOES GOD EXIST IN THE 21ST CENTURY

 

GOD THE CREATOR OF ALL
I BELIEVE IN GOD THE FATHER ALMIGHTY
MAKER OF HEAVEN AND EARTH

As we prepare for Advent, a season of waiting on the Lord, I humbly ask us to reflect on the need for God in this world more than ever. We remember the birth of Christ over 2000 years ago but we must invite Him today and everyday into our hearts. We must assist in this birthing in our hearts by preparing a suitable place for him to reside. In that first Christmas the Christ child was placed in a manger because there was no room in the Inn. Is there room in your heart for the Christ child today? Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior of the world Alleluia!

Throughout history and culture, dependant mankind, noting his limits, attempts to create gods to meet his needs, like harvest god for crops and fertility god for children. The Christian God is fully perfect and complete in Himself, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. God is that Supreme Being that is being itself had no beginning and has no end. Yes God exists in the 21st Century! He needs nothing. Everything but God is dependent on something else, the baby on Mom and Dad, the chair, the carpenter, the cook on the ingredients from her garden…you get the idea.

Man continues today to fill up that lack of wholeness with substitute gods such as money, pleasure, and power. It is in our very nature to seek completion. These fake gods will fail us like always. St. Augustine says it best, “our hearts are restless until they rest in God.”

Back in the New Testament era in Acts 17 when travelling through Athens St. Paul remarked that the people were very much into worshipping gods (temples to Appolo, Poseidon, and Aphrodite) and even had placed an altar to an unknown god who Paul explicitly told them is the Christian God he represents.

Men of Athens I perceive that you are in every way religious. For as I passed along, and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription, ‘To an unknown god.’ What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you” The unknown God of the Greeks is he in whom “we live and move and have our being,…the God who made the world and everything in it.”

Some people will argue against God because of all the evil in the world. They argue, if a God exists He would never allow it to happen. That is a pretty simplistic dismissal of God who we live and move and have our being. It shows a lack of understanding of the effects of sin in this world. There are consequences to sin, sometimes heinous ones. God never wills sin but He also respects our free will. Sometimes, the evil, God allows brings a greater good, like conversion, reconciliation and forgiveness. What some perceived as the humiliating, shameful death of Jesus became our lifeline to eternity.

Some reject Jesus as divine. They get hung up on the transcendence of God and can’t believe a God so above and superior to man could ever stoop so low to become man. I suggest they read the passage from Phillipians Chapter 2 to see God’s great love for us that he would humble us to save us.
PHILLIPIANS 2:6
Who though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God something to be grasped. Rather, he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; and found human in appearance, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross. Because of this, God greatly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

God’s transcendence is consistent with God being immanently present in all things as creator. He can reveal who he truly is to us in a singular human life (Jesus Christ) without diminishing himself in any way. Why should God be excluded from His creation? He certainly wasn’t excluded in the Garden of Eden in walks in the cool of the evening accompanied by Adam and Eve. (Genesis 3)

God was certainly present in the Old Testament Book of Exodus as he delivered his people from slavery in Egypt. . In the book of Exodus, God overawes Egypt’s Pharaoh, who is representative of the paganism of the nations. God destroys the Egyptian army in the Red Sea, sustains Israel in the wilderness, and eventually delivers them into the Promised Land.

God incarnate in Christ Jesus, the second person of the Holy Trinity, employs his omnipotence in a different way. His triumph comes about through suffering and death of His only begotten Son. God is intimately involved in His creation. He has a lot invested in us in a very complex, salvation plan evolving over centuries. God takes upon himself and overcomes the consequences of human evil, suffering, and death. In return he gives all human beings offers of grace, the forgiveness of sins, and participation in eternal life.

Some say faith is less reliable than science. I say what about the daily leaps of faith each day such as that when you flush the toilet it won’t overflow.. that you won’t fall and break your leg on the way to your car…that there is a road to take you to your destination…that your destination exists…that the bridge you cross will not collapse under you…that your family will still be there when you return…and so forth How is faith in God any less reasonable than the daily leaps of faith we make?.

When people dismiss or ignore God’s existence and involvement in this world they ignore His graces and dismiss His support for times of stress, grief, despair, and reject the inspiration to pray for others in need, especially loved ones who may have taken a wrong turn on their journey “home.”
CLOSING PRAYER FROM PSALM 145
I will extol you, my God and king;
I will bless your name forever and ever.

Great is the LORD and worthy of much praise,
whose grandeur is beyond understanding.

The LORD is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger and abounding in mercy.

The LORD is trustworthy in all his words,
and loving in all his works.

LORD is just in all his ways,
merciful in all his works.
My mouth will speak the praises of the LORD

and will bless his holy name forever and ever.

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THE WRATH OF GOD WHERE IS IT??? IT IS HERE NOW!!!

We live in an immoral world perhaps like never before. We sacrifice our young in the womb; we approve of same sex couples marrying, we have sexual harassment and sexual abuse, acknowledged but excused, a past president was impeached for lying about a sexual liaison outside his marriage, and current president bragging about his sexual predatory behavior Where is the wrath of God? I asked. How much can He take!

Didn’t God cleanse creation back in the days of Noah and start over? But maybe I was missing something. I turned to St. Paul’s letter to the Romans to find out more about the wrath of God. My answer came in the first chapter copied below.

“The wrath of God is indeed being revealed from heaven against every impiety and wickedness of those who suppress the truth by their wickedness. For what can be known about God is evident to them, because God made it evident to them.

Ever since the creation of the world, God’s invisible attributes of eternal power and divinity have been able to be understood and perceived in what he has made. As a result, they 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 degrading passions, 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.” Romans 1:18

I also found this quote of Pope Benedict XVI in my research.

Anyone who begins to live and grow away from God, who lives away from what is good, is turning his life toward wrath. Whoever falls away from love is moving into negativity…. When God inflicts punishment, this is not punishment in the sense that God has, as it were, drawn up a system of fines and penalties….‘The punishment of God’ is in fact an expression for having missed the right road and then experiencing the consequences that follow from taking the wrong track and wandering away from the right way of living.” POPE BENEDICT XVI (CARDINAL JOSEPH RATZINGER)

 

In summary then, God’s wrath does not mean that He is some out of control person throwing a temper tantrum. Rather, it is that God is holy and the unrepentant sinner cannot endure His holiness; the sinner experiences it as wrath. This wrath of God then is the revelation of the total incompatibility of unrepented sin before the holiness of God and the holiness to which we are summoned. We are all sinners subject to this wrath.

They suppress the truth by their wickedness (Romans 1:18). Suppression of the truth is the sin that leads to every other sin. Those who wish to remain in their wickedness rationalize and excuse and ignore their God given conscience, the divine spark given at their creation.

Deep within his conscience man discovers a law which he has not laid upon himself but which he must obey. Its voice, ever calling him to love and to do what is good and to avoid evil, sounds in his heart at the right moment. For man has in his heart a law inscribed by God, Moral conscience (CCC #1776-1778)

GOD’S WRATH IS PRESENT TODAY! God has been pushed to the margins, denied, ridiculed, mocked and suppressed by man made laws and moral relativists who make up their own truth.. .

Decades ago people began making their own independent decisions on sexual behavior apart from God’s plan of intimacy and procreation within the sanctity of marriage. For over 60 years now our decadent society has celebrated promiscuity, pornography, fornication, cohabitation, and contraception.

Through the use of contraception, we severed the connection between sex, procreation, and marriage. Enter the homosexual community and its demands for acceptance. The wider culture, now debased, darkened, and deeply confused, cannot comprehend the obvious: that homosexual acts are contrary to nature. This is what happens when God finally has to say to a culture, if you want sin you can have it—until it comes out of your ears!

We have become so collectively foolish and vain in our thinking and darkened in our intellect that as a culture we now “celebrate” homosexual acts, which Scripture rightly calls disordered. When sex, marriage, and family go into the shredder, an enormous number of social ills are set loose. We often fall into the trap of judging those who are imposing the acceptance of the homosexual agenda as a major root of the problem in this country. In reality, this is a fruit of the problems that led God to removing His blessings from us in the first place.

No, the sexual revolution led to weaker families, fewer children, abortion on demand, and the beginning of the end of a healthy and functioning society. Having made that bed, God turned us over and gave us the direct evidence of His handing us over to ourselves with the acceptance and celebration of homosexuality.

The more and more we send God the message that we really don’t care that He is an instrumental part of our lives and culture, the more likely He will be to eventually give us what we desire – as stupid as that desire may be.. We may be among the few that asks God to deliver us unfortunately it is more than our prayers it is also our actions, our witness to the truth, our defense of the TRUTH or do we sometimes go along to get along.

If the country as a whole continues to act in defiance by the way we act and the people we elect to represent us have no moral core then God will continue to allow us to live under our own decadent “wisdom.” May God help us all!

PRAY FOR YOURSELVES. PRAY FOR YOUR NEIGHBOR. PRAY FOR YOUR COUNTRY
REPENT AND BELIEVE IN THE GOSPEL.

CLOSING PRAYER
PSALM 119
Blessed those whose way is blameless, who walk by the law of the LORD.
Blessed those who keep his testimonies, who seek him with all their heart.
They do no wrong; they walk in his ways.

You have given them the command to observe your precepts with care.
May my ways be firm in the observance of your statutes! Then I will not be ashamed

I will praise you with sincere heart as I study your righteous judgments. I will observe your statutes; do not leave me all alone.

I will ponder your precepts and consider your paths.
In your statutes I take delight; I will never forget your word.

JESUS IN SCRIPTURE IN THE BEGINNING WAS THE WORD

As we approach the birth of Our Lord, I am beginning a series of posts entitled JESUS IN SCRIPTURE that will continue throughout 2018. “Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Jesus,” according to St. Jerome, Biblical Scholar in 4th century who translated Bible into Latin. (Latin Vulgate)

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God,

and the Word was God.
He was in the beginning with God.

All things came to be through him,
and without him nothing came to be.

What came to be through him was life,
and this life was the light of the human race;

the light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness has not overcome it… JOHN 1:1-12

He was in the world, and the world came to be through him, but the world did not know him. He 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…

REFLECTION:
He was in the beginning…Jesus is the Word made flesh…the Word Incarnate….God becomes man…Through Him comes Life….And this Life is the Light of the World ….the world is dark since the Fall…darkness cannot keep out the Light….those who choose Light become children of the Light….and testify to the Light…and become children of God…all in heaven and on earth await in anticipation for the Incarnation…the word made flesh…how do I await my Savior and Lord….

INTRODUCTION TO JESUS’ PUBLIC MINISTRY

Not much is known about Jesus’ child hood, adolescence, and emerging adulthood in his home town of Nazareth. We do know the Holy family were all devout Jews honoring and worshiping God according to Jewish practices, especially holy days like Passover, Feast of tabernacles, Pentecost and the like.

Mary and Joseph would have provided for their family in traditional roles of feeding and caring for their child. In his human nature Jesus would be learning and not taking any “divine” short cuts as he assisted his earthly adopted father, Joseph, in his carpentry trade.

We know from before and after Jesus began his public ministry he was a devout man of prayer and worship and a student of scripture. Not only did Jesus grow in earthly wisdom but his intimacy with His Father grew spiritually as he prepared to fulfill his heavenly Father’s mission.

Jesus’s coming on the public scene is foretold by John the Baptist, a distant cousin of Jesus who leapt in his mother’s womb when Mary visited her cousin Elizabeth. Now they meet once again. While Jesus has no need of baptism of repentance for he has no sin to repent, he presents himself to John and says, “Let it be for now.” Jesus’ baptism in the Jordan foreshadows the baptism of water and Spirit that later will cleanse men of their sins. “Behold the Lamb of God!”

JESUS BEGINS HIS PUBLIC MINISTRY

MARK 1:1-11 THE BAPTISM OF OUR LORD
John (the) Baptist appeared in the desert proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.
People of the whole Judean countryside and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem were going out to him and were being baptized by him in the Jordan River as they acknowledged their sins…

(JOHN 1:26-32) The next day John (the) Baptist saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.”… (MATTHEW 3:14-17) After Jesus was baptized, he came up from the water and behold, the heavens were opened…the Spirit of God descended like a dove… And a voice came from the heavens, saying, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”

REFLECTION:
John proclaims a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins….John prepares the way for the Christ….Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world…Jesus is the sacrificial lamb who will sacrifice himself for us that our sins may be forgiven…repent and believe in the Gospel…the sinless one takes on the sins of the world…the Spirit of God descended upon Jesus, full of grace….The Father affirms…”This is my beloved Son with whom I am well pleased…
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SEVEN DEADLY SINS CATHOLIC CHURCH TEACHING

 

INTRODUCTION
Recently, I posted blog on the existence of the devil and hell because so often in today’s world these facts are ignored or dismissed by otherwise practicing Christians and their pastors. I have already taken up the notion in past posts of “once saved always saved’ as nonsense. We are all called to daily conversion. If we deny we are sinners then too we deny Jesus Christ because there would be no need of a Savior.

The Church has always taught the reality of the devil, and the possibility of being eternally damned along with him as a result of the spiritual warfare he wages against us. It is absolutely disastrous to deny or ignore the devil’s existence. Satan hates each one of us personally, and is always plotting and working against us, seeking our eternal damnation. .

The devil studies us very carefully, taking note of our strengths and weaknesses, our habits and inclinations. He shrewdly chooses the particular temptations best suited to overcome us, all the while striving to work behind the scenes without us suspecting anything. It is our duty to guard against this threat and use the spiritual weapons and defenses the Lord provides us through His Church.

The Church speaks of the “Seven Deadly Sins,” which are anger, envy, gluttony, greed, lust, pride, and sloth or laziness. Every human being is weak or easily tempted in at least one of these areas, so these are usually the focus of the devil’s attacks.
COMMENTARY SEVEN DEADLY SINS
ANGER (WRATH)
The devil wants us to nurse grudges and refuse to forgive other people, to become impatient with their failings, to overreact to the things about them that annoy us.
MEEKNESS – Where the sin of wrath is about quick temper and unnecessary vengeance, the virtue of meekness focuses on patiently seeking appropriate resolution to conflicts, and on the ability to forgive and show mercy.

ENVY
Satan tries to use the sin of envy against us by getting us to compare ourselves with others, to adopt an “entitlement mentality,” and to consider ourselves better than those around us.
KINDNESS (CHARITY) – is the virtue which counters the sin of envy. Envy is in contradiction to God’s law of love. It manifests itself in our unhappiness at someone else’s success or good fortune. Conversely, kindness and brotherly love manifests itself in the unprejudiced, compassionate and charitable concern for others.

GLUTTONY
We Americans compared to most people are very self indulgent. The devil has found gluttony to be a fertile field for his evil seeds. He tempts us to overdo life’s legitimate pleasures, to disdain or reject sacrifice and self-control, and to ignore other people’s poverty or suffering.
TEMPERANCE – The virtue of temperance or abstinence counters the sin of gluttony. To be gluttonous is to over-indulge. On the opposite hand, the virtue of temperance is centered on self-control and moderation.

GREED
Satan tempts us to want more money and possessions, more technology and convenience, and more luxury and leisure—when we should instead be concerned with storing up treasure for ourselves in heaven.
GENEROSITY – is the virtue that is counter to greed, the sin of immoderate desire for earthly things. Generosity focuses on appropriate concern for earthly things and a willingness to give freely and share with others from our blessings and abundance.

LUST
Lust is a particularly fertile field for the devil’s seeds. Satan is constantly tempting us to misuse sex, to glorify and expose our bodies, and to treat other people as objects for our own pleasure.
CHASTITY – Chastity is the counter-virtue to the sin of lust. Chastity embraces moral wholesomeness and purity, and in both thought and action treats God’s gift of sexuality with due reverence and respect.

PRIDE
Pride is the sin which transformed Lucifer, the greatest of all the angels into the hideous creature of Satan.
Misery loves company and so the devil delights in using this sin against us. He wants us to think, “I’m superior to others, I know what’s best for me, and no one is going to tell me how to live my life”—causing us to reject the God-given authority and saving power of the Church.
HUMILITY – Humility is the virtue that counters pride. Pride is a sin based on undue and inappropriate appreciation of one’s self worth. Conversely, the virtue of humility is about modest behavior, selflessness and the giving of respect. “It was Pride that changed angels into devils; it is humility that makes men as angels.”. – St. Augustine

SLOTH
Sloth is the desire for ease. Sloth, as a capital sin, refers to laziness in matters of Faith. The slothful person is unwilling to put out the effort to take advantage of the means of salvation, prayer, sacraments, almsgiving etc. Satan wants us to settle for being good enough—for that may eventually allow him to turn us against God.
DILIGENCE (PERSEVERANCE) is the virtue which acts as a counter to the sin of sloth.. Diligence combats laziness and encourages appropriately zealous attitudes toward living and sharing the Faith.
CONCLUSION FIGHTING BACK
The devil in his wiles uses many methods to snare us into one of the seven capital sins, such as poisoning relationships especially in families, distracting us with life concerns, too busy to notice God or call upon Him, inflating our egos so as to feel superior and want more attention, power, wealth, sex, our idols today. Above all Satan does not want us to worship or obey God.

How do we fight back these seeds of destruction! The most potent weed-killer against Satan’s evil seeds of spiritual destruction is humility. The more we humble ourselves, the more God’s grace can be at work within us, helping us overcome our faults and grow in holiness.

What spiritual fertilizer is available to us? First, the Sacrament of Reconciliation to clean up, wash up our souls and receive nourishment for the future. We wash our cars afterall…The devil is getting no foothold in my soul and when he tries again we are going to wash him out again and again….

Sunday Mass and worthy reception of Holy Communion is essential. By receiving Jesus, and loving Him in our heart on earth, He will be no stranger when we get to heaven. Throw in a daily Mass or two as well. Other valuable tools are reading the Bible, start with the Gospels, don’t try to read the Bible from beginning to end. It wasn’t intended to be read that way, set aside prayer time, seeking God’s guidance in all our decisions, learning more about our Catholic faith, submitting to the authority of the Church on moral and religious issues, praying for the conversion of sinners and for the souls in purgatory,

When we pray for others we are expressing the virtues of Faith, Hope, and Charity. We acknowledge God’s goodness and mercy and accept His sovereignty and Divine Providence. The devil is out there but as Jesus told us over and over again, there is nothing to fear.

God’s grace is sufficient for us. How do we know; God told us it was, “a thorn in the flesh was given to me, an angel of Satan, to beat me, to keep me from being too elated. Three times* I begged the Lord about this, that it might leave me, but he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.” I will rather boast most gladly of my weaknesses, in order that the power of Christ may dwell with me” (St. Paul)
2 Corinithians 12:9.