Freedom From is Freedom For

When do we possess the most freedom?  Do we possess it as we stroll down the avenues of life with not a care in the world, or perhaps freedom comes from the decision to do as we want and not as others command?  I’m sure each and every one of us is at a place in our lives where we have bound a definition of freedom to the very foundation of our perceptions of just what freedom ought to be.  Though, when we do this we incline our very nature to an pursuit of error and sin because of the subjectivity with which we choose our pursuit.  Instead, a freedom from such things as greed, lust, anger, and overall any devilish decision laid upon us, becomes a freedom which disciplines us and yet opens life up in such a way as to become a vessel of an overflowing nature towards God and the life we live.  Our reflective light grants one of distinct proportion whereby we humbly pursue the here and now, and yet we are bound by nothing by the very nature of life as it consistently surrounds us.  At any time we can choose a subjective nature to pursue, but at all times the truth of freedom from patiently awaits our return.

So, what then do we do when challenged by those thoughts and ideas meant to expand our minds and challenge our traditions?  First of all, abandoning a tradition without logical pursuit of total comprehension of the past understandings and reasoning elicits an embrace of hubris and arrogance.  Are we such historical and modern snobs as to think we are above the very rules which once governed people who lived before us?  Do we believe we somehow perceive life better (philosophically speaking) than those who pioneered the effort?  Are we determined to restrict our freedom of good and right to be bound to the error of selling our freedom to the lowest bidder?  Here are some very salient points which should not be abandoned.  We are told, more often than not, liberalism is a matter of questioning and adopting methods of living life which challenge the traditional norms.  This is to say, a person or group of persons, found the traditional thought for circumstances we experience to be hampering for the purposes of change or “progress” and in doing so create new paradigms of practice.  This is common place in areas of technology, medicine, and laws which seek to understand our ever-changing landscapes according to science, religion, and life in general.  However, truth has never changed, which is to say, it requires no liberal thought and practice, but instead is indicative of each and every person to conserve the very nature of the objective truth.  Which is a fancy way of saying “truth is truth” it doesn’t need our further explanation and furthermore it needs no changing of how it is to be perceived.

A perfect example of truth as it just is would be the freedom to tell the truth or the restriction of the lie.  The lie will bind us to a story which is neither correct nor is it proper, even when we attempt to liberate the truth with a desire to spare one’s feelings, we corrupt the beauty of the knowledge of what is.  The lie forms and takes shape, creating in us a narrative which neither truly exists nor a proper perception of the narrative in general.  Which is purely why when confronted with a truthful statement, such as “The Catholic Church was the church founded by Jesus Christ our Risen Lord” isn’t accepted by all Christians.  The subjective truth has distorted the objective authority and created in it a base miscomprehension and ideological miscomprehension of our own ability to unbelieve.  We won’t believe what we can’t understand, furthering an binding to ignorance as the light our lives should follow, rather than accepting what we don’t know and trusting the love of God, which is the truth in life never subject to change or the need to be liberated from its very existence.

Ok, so where does this leave us?  Our freedom from such things as sin, is our freedom for such things as life.  As we all know, “For the wage paid by sin is death”, why would we bind ourselves to a death sentence, unless we believe we know it all?  Knowledge becomes freedom then, freedom from sin, but more importantly as Bishop Fulton Sheen described in “Life is Worth Living”, knowledge doesn’t bind us, but allows freedom to reign and the more we study the less free we become to know error.  Liberalism in through prevents the immutable truth from being fully realized.  The truth is our own personal freedom, regardless of the events which surround all of us, knowing the truth of anything creates in us a perception of right.  When we can know, we are fully in communion with God.  When we learn and embrace what is true and what is right, we can find harmony in life.  Just recently my wife and I were challenged by something personal, which affected both of us in varying ways.  My wife is a formidable force of truth, kindness, and love, but is nevertheless challenged by others who are very close to her.  Their embrace of a subjective reality, and furthermore their liberal pursuit of a life which replaces God and idolizes sin has created a chasm of pain which seeks to sap the strength of all of us in its pursuit to rip and tear apart a family dynamic.  However, her strength isn’t in her ability to be strong, but it is in her freedom gained by her knowledge and embrace of truth.  She loves God, she is fervent in her belief of our Blessed Lord, and in the very nature and context of life she desires this above all else.

Our area of concern is not unlike many who struggle in life and figuring out the curves and bend which seek to corrupt our ways and very pursuit of God’s light.  In the case of my wife and I, we’ve been tasked to accept those who seek a liberal life of excess and idolatry become like a weight, seeking to drag us down so in their misery they might not be alone.  Our struggle has been our desire to pull them from this misery and bring them to the light of truth.  At this point we’ve been unsuccessful, and this person has pulled away from us with a vitriolic fervor and spiteful anger we’ve never seen before.  To be quite clear, we’ve never placed on this individual any circumspect desire to do as we want, but instead we’ve sought to love them and accept them for the person they are.  However, when confronted by their idolizing of a life which embraces sin as a matter of pleasure and then verbally accosted because of their distorted truth, we decided to walk away.  C.S. Lewis once remarked “the doors of hell are locked on the inside” (Problem of Pain) leading us to and understanding, a truth as it were, we make the decision or the choice to push and pull away from the light by our very decisions to embrace sin.  Life isn’t a game whereby we tally points up in a hope or desire to win.  We don’t win heaven, we seek the Living God who is Heaven, and in doing so we embrace the very light and goodness which truth is.  Our struggle is less about what this person chooses to do, and more about how we can love them and pray for them while they insist on doing those things which we can see are desires for sin.

At one level or another, we can see where people want to create a palatable landscape for their desires, for instance the argument of abortion.  The common liberal desire is one where a woman (not the man, because in this new age he no longer has a voice) creates a paradigm whereby she involves herself in the decision to have unwed sex and in the process becomes pregnant.  Since the pregnancy was neither expected nor wanted she faces a dilemma, to keep or kill the baby.  And a baby is exactly what this is, because left to nature, the grouping of cells will grow and a fetus will form and then eventually at full term a baby will be born.  So, how does one mitigate the distortion of truth with performing a grotesque sin, well in the case of abortion, she says it should be a choice up and to the point of birth (in Virginia apparently this means after birth as well).  Her idolization of choice has replaced God.  Her desire for self rather than selfless has created a paradigm where the sacred has become the despised.  No longer free to embrace the love life gives to all of us, she has become chained to the depravity of ignorance and error.  What’s worse is a culture which seeks to congratulate and celebrate sin rather, a society which seeks to cajole the individual instead of seeking a part of the Body of Christ.  No matter the cost, self becomes too important to ignore once knowledge and truth are willfully distorted.  Freedom becomes a mark of distress on an obtrusive age seeking the denigration of love. 

Freedom of love isn’t a feeling, it isn’t an embrace of self, and it’s not the destruction of life so people can continue to live a life where they can have “good times”.  Freedom of love is above all a choice in life.  God loves us so much, he gave us the free will to choose.  Although he walks with us every step of the way, it is still our choice where go.  So if you can just imagine a parent who walks with you and watches your every move, but in choice says nothing to allow you full control of your decision to love, but must watch as you push them away constantly.  As a father, if my children were constantly pushing me away, I think this would tear me apart, bit by bit.  So, our heavenly father allows us the choice to embrace and love him or not, freedom isn’t about what we do, but rather what we accept.  When we accept God’s love, we naturally choose a life of humility, we choose a life of servitude, we choose a life where God is first, our neighbor is second, and we are last.  We choose an existence where we can know the more we learn about God the less free we become to error.

Painting inside Santa Maria del Popolo.

God needs spiritual warriors who will pray, who will seek truth, and who will stand up to evil.  These people must accept the life of a Christian isn’t always about hugs and kisses, sometimes it’s about struggle and pain.  St. Francis of Assisi thanked God for the pain in his life, as it was a reminder of God’s goodness rather than epidermal understanding of a transient existence.  In other words, Francis could see past his own pain to the greater glory.  Pain and suffering is what we must deal with because sin exists, there is no getting around this.  However, when we know the truth, the truth of eternal existence, then we can see past our own pain and realize when we sin, the greater pain this causes God.

I hope if you know of a cause, a need for spiritual warfare, you will pray and elicit the prayers of the Angels and Saints.  If there is a struggle in your life, you will fall to your knees, and humbly pray.  The most powerful weapon in the arsenal of a Christian is their ability to pray to forgive and for forgiveness.  Prayer is not meant to be a magic force which stops evil from perpetrating its offenses, but in an eternal life, forgiveness is a matter of willfully accepting love, and being a force for eternal goodness.  I will say, words will never cause a person to accept Christ, they might motivate and they might help to bring along, but they will never be the decisive factor in a person’s choice for God.  Instead, the actions we pursue are the very nature of faith, when those who put sin before God are confronted with the actions of goodness, they are immediately confronted with a reflection of their own sin.  This is why sinners hide, this is why Adam sought to hide away from God in the garden.  Remember, God’s goodness will shake the very ground you walk on, and in our sin, we naturally desire to hide our faces, but prayer and love allow us to look up in agape and seek his face.  May God bless you and your family!!!

God is good, all the time, and all the time, God is good!!!

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Either Right or Wrong

Life, for all intents and purposes comes down to the choice of right and wrong.  How we determine right and wrong is a matter of faith, objective truth, and morality created in the understanding of the first two.  This isn’t to say every choice is easy, or every choice will benefit us in one way or another.  Not everything can be a win/win, but in the context of our place in the cosmos and in the earth created by God, we can find joy even on the cruelest of days.  So, right and wrong, a mine field for some, leading to a landscape overwrought with shades of gray, but then for others a starkness of black and white pigments dotting everything seen.  I would put it like having the wool pulled from one’s eyes and suddenly everything makes sense and those things which still mystify can be explained with an understanding only the wise can possess.  This isn’t to say, making a “right” decision is always easy, it’s not for sure, when put into the context of hurting someone’s feelings for the sake of being right, and if we care about them at all, we almost always defer to omission or outright lies.  A more wrong decision can’t be made when we choose to make decisions for others without their consent.  To make a life dedicated to right and wrong, means we aspire to look into the heavens and seek God’s light in all we do.  We embrace agape love and seek the light of truth when we seek “rightness”, and likewise we hide from the voice of God, much like Adam, when we embrace “wrongness” or sin.

So, let’s start with the choice everyone makes daily, sin, a truly selfish and despicable way of life, and yet we all embrace sin as if it were the only flotation device on a sinking ship.  For most of us, we live a rather uneventful life, waking up and going about our days with little a thought on whether we live our lives right-ordered.  We go about pursuing our personal goals, and at the same time, we seek to help those who might need help and by the end of the day, we’re tired and might watch some television before we head off to bed.  Uneventful, right?  Of course, but if we peel back the layers of our day, the ugly truth begins to be exposed.  How many times did our impatience through the day get the best of us, and this impatience cause us to lash out while we’re driving, or fail to stop and render our services to anyone who might need it?  Did we volunteer our time, through the day, perhaps in prayer or in general thanksgiving?  How about when we finally arrived home, did we look at our spouse and tell them how much they meant to us?  Finally, at the end of the day, did we examine our day and give thanks to the Almighty God, with a general realization, our day is nothing without God in our lives?  For most of us, this isn’t something which is a part of our day.  Some might say, you might be thinking it right now, I just don’t have the energy to do all of this every day, or I won’t mean as much if I say it every day, perhaps you just don’t think there is a need to do as much when a little goes a long way.  Whatever the reason, right is based on the objective, and no matter where we stand in life, this objective will remain constant.

Sin doesn’t simply come into the picture like a flash of lightning, set to disrupt the calm of life, instead sin seeps into our very nature and begins to corrupt little by little, and before we are aware, we’ve allowed sin to create its own space in our very soul.  Sin seeks to snuff out the light and keep us in utter darkness, because when we reside in the dark, we delude ourselves into thinking no one can see how utterly wretched we can be.  Wretched is a proper word for sin and those who embrace sin in their daily life, we are all wretched in one context or another.  However, the sin we choose is a matter of choice, not something we’re bound to for eternity, and in our choice we can come to terms with our very nature at any point and choose life, choose goodness, and love.

Love is at the very heart of everything, everything we do, everything we see, and everything we hope to gain in life.  Not one of the Graces given to us by God is removed from love.  Our very lives are centered on a distinct position of love.  Our culture doesn’t exist without the very fabric of family, from parent to child to grandchild, we are all interwoven in such a way as to become a foundational aspect of life which keeps everything moving.  The movement of society is directly dependent on the strength of family.  Take for instance the issues we have in our world today.  From abortion, to homosexuality, to murder and many other moral issues dotting the landscape.  The answer exists in God’s love, and the living example of God’s love is the family.  The family is the single strongest unit in our world as we know it.  It can overcome great obstacles, and the power of a parent teaching their child moral values carries with it more weight than any single act a person can do.   When we give the child moral values to look towards, we essentially teach them to fish for the rest of their lives, and give them spiritual nourishment which will feed them in the rough times which are certain to befall them as we have all experienced.

What then do we do, when faced with a choice?  Do we run? Do we fight? Do we sacrifice?  Questions, we all face every single day of our lives, probably not dramatic choices, but nevertheless important choices which might affect our very souls.  The other night I was speaking with my wife, and I am most dependent on her opinions and points of view to gauge where I’m at in life.  She is more wise than most and has an ability to cut through rhetoric and get to the meat of any matter.  So, as I’m discussing with her the implications of sin on our souls, it occurred to me, the decision of right and wrong as we accept and as we understand them.  Therein lies the problem, we as a society/culture are creating our own basis of comprehension, which is to say, we’re determining the morality of life rather than God.  We are saying, we are competent enough to forgo an objective moral truth for the ability to utilize our senses as a matter of judgement based in our own experiences.  Our point counter-point discussions are devolving into a context of never-ending decision patterns set to meet our subjective points of view.  This is nutso, this is as silly a point of context as any person can get to.  The day we believe we have the wisdom to redesign the context of morality, is the day we have usurped our beliefs and deigned to be gods of our own making.  This is the level of folly on Greek myths can rival.

My discussion with my wife, above all else, illuminated a concept of black and white, essentially right and wrong.  Not that I’ve ever dismissed the notion of right and wrong, but the decision complexity to approach right and wrong and then embrace one context or the other is absolutely paramount to the love we must all seek as we embrace God’s presence in our lives.  Which is to say, family either is or it is not a priority.  If it is, then we must go to it with a full heart and never look back, and in doing so, we’ve made a “right” choice by embracing a God’s Grace in our lives.  Ok, so back to the overall point of my discussion with my wife, our lives are about life and death.  It’s just that simple, we choose life over death when we choose God.  We choose the paradigm of right over wrong when we choose God.  Jesus didn’t hang from the tree and declare us to be wishy washy about our lives or our faith, instead his deliberate actions to die for us, to declare forgiveness for those who sought to kill him, and instruction by his very example were the point to be made.  Our Blessed Lord, Jesus, wants our fervor for his love, how can we turn away from pure love?  The culmination of my discussion with my wife was, our faith is a faith of pain, of sacrifice, and ultimately of death as it depends for all of us.

Norman Rockwell (1894-1978), “Going and Coming” (detail), 1947. Norman Rockwell Museum Collections. ©SEPS: Curtis Licensing, Indianapolis, IN

That’s right, death, think about your eternity, think about where you want to go, and think about what it takes to get there.  When we go on trips for just a couple of days, don’t we pack entire car loads of suitcases and supplies so we can get to our destination and then get back with as much ease and comfort as possible?  Can you just imagine what we need to prepare for a life of eternity?  Our faith isn’t a matter of packing earthly supplies, but instead it’s about purification of body and soul to stand in what can only be surmised as pure love and goodness.  Although our lives are precious, we are bound to an understanding of death as it relates to the context of life in general.  After we look upon the decisions needed to prepare for an eternal life with God, our first realizations begin to come into context, I’ve not lived a life worthy of goodness and eternal mercy.  However, this is what God is giving us, this is what God’s love is promised to us.  Mercy, in the sight of our sins, forgiveness in the wake of our actions is what is promised to us, if only we would choose.  If only we would choose to accept a “right” and moral way of living, we might begin to realize the frailty of life.  If we can associate a life which is never promised one day more, then we can begin to realize the need of moral rightness as death is always near to us, for a promise of eternal love.

We would never accept evil, if it didn’t smile occasionally!

Rightness is afoot.  Our choices carry with them the weight of life above all else, this is to say, our choices matter a great deal.  A few weeks ago, I woke up to see headlines about a law, which was passed by lawmakers in the state of New York, and in their decision, they declared life as a matter of choice rather than a gift to be protected at all costs.  When the decision was declared, it was met with cheers and celebrations.  The lawmakers were elated, their steps to secure human choice over God’s will moved one step forward in progress.  However, for anyone who values life, for anyone who holds the bonds of marriage and family as sacred, this was more than abhorrent, it was wretchedly sad.  To know a beautiful life, created by the very nature God created ex nihilo, is being destroyed by the very nature is a cataclysmic explosion of sin and we should all weep for those destroyed in its wake.  However, there is hope, we know this, because Jesus existed.  God lowered himself and became a man, that we might know his pure nature is love.  This is what our hope is foundationally secured to.  St. Paul wrote in Corinthians 13:2; “and though I have all the faith necessary to move mountains — if I am without love, I am nothing.”

Love is always the right choice, but love isn’t something Hollywood created to make movies, it is the very nature of being to which God is.  Love is a choice, the choice for right, the choice to place life above all else, even when the other choices we think we have seem more important because of our choice to be selfish.  This is what our choices come down to, putting other before one’s own desires.  The moral teachings of the Bible and the Church are not something to be chosen when they suit our daily habits or needs, they are something which much be embraced daily.  They are a sacrifice for sure.  The sacrifice to put away objects of sin, desires of sin, behaviors of sin, and above all to fold us lovingly into God’s embrace through those sacrifices which are inherent in our free will.

Our choices above all else create in us either a clean hear or a heart of stone, and the harder our heart becomes the more effort it takes on our part and the part of God to crumble the façade which seeks to entomb us in darkness.  Remember this, sometimes God must break our heart in order to destroy the wall which surrounds it, but God is the only one who can mend our broken hearts.  I hope and pray if you have an ability to choose life, you do, it is so very important and the children which can be saved may have difficult roads ahead in their lives, but at least they will be alive to experience God’s greatness in all which is done.  May God bless you and your family!!!

God is good, all the time, and all the time, God is good!!! 

Is Our World On a Wobble?

Our world at any second stands on the brink of destruction, we set poised to face annihilation by people who stand as abject rulers to either prosper a period of peace or anarchy such as those despots of the early 20th century.  We are awash in seas of supposition, where one opinion is as common as the other and everyone has the answer and no one has an answer.  Our streets are overridden with crime, our jails are overcrowded with the criminal.  Our society is a paradox within itself, we castigate those who would commit a crime (especially against us) and yet we purport the need for timeless chances of opportunity especially for the most egregious of sins.  Our politicians rank at an all-time low in the confidence department, and yet we tell them to vote their conscious on whatever vote they participate in.  Our media is so egregious in their decisions to tell a subjective truth, our cynicism reaches new lows of perception when we understand their points of view are based solely on the need to make money.  Christian churches are on the decline in attendance, largely because there is a growing sentiment of exclusion, of boredom with what is perceived as antiquated, because culture has demanded religions of thousands of years conform to ideologies existing for less than a decade.  Finally, our family foundations are eroding faster than we can comprehend, our society has written a new definition of what should be considered a family and why it should be considered a family, and culture’s need for inclusiveness has embraced these changes as though they were the goose which laid the golden egg, and in some projective manner they can see their fortune’s star rising.  Although, belief in the devil isn’t a popular one anymore, it doesn’t mean he isn’t set on the destruction of each and every one of us.  Look at the most basic forms of our society and see how they are in shambles and torn from the very fabric of the love we desire.

The love we seek in life is as basic to us as breathing.  Look at anyone who was forced to live a life seeking love but never finding it.  The history books are replete with examples of tyrants who turned away from love and even our society at large now has an attraction to those who would seek personal gain over altruistic unselfishness.  This machine is so large, I would imagine, like myself, most of us don’t have a solution to stop it.  Like shouting into the storm, our voice won’t ever be heard, our common sense understanding of the problem will become lost in the myriad of other problems we will face in a single day or week.  We can’t slowdown of course, because slowing down is like stopping and stopping means our attempt to get ahead in this life has now become defunct, and for anyone who’s ever lost a job or been on the rough end of a job search, this is an awful place to be.  Bills pile up, stresses increase, our own self-identity is questioned leaving our self-esteem in tatters.  Stopping must never be allowed, a rest is all we can give ourselves, and even then it’s more like a nap.  We work in jobs we don’t necessarily like, we create paradigms of justification for poor decision-making, and above all we risk losing those things which have the potential to give us the most joy in life.  Our family. 

Our families are there to support us, to guide us through those tough times we choose to endure.  Our families seek to prevent us from making monumental mistakes and hurting ourselves as well as others, but what our families should do above all else is love us.  They love us with unconditional responses binding us in eternity.  Those family members wither when we choose to turn away from them, when we castigate them for not thinking everything we say and do is of a solid gold nature, and yet we deride them for not following us like lambs to the slaughter.  We punish them through our passive aggressive natures and diminish their self-worth by blaming them for failing to love us the way we envisioned, rather than the unconditional means with which they offered us.  Their willingness to stand by our side at any level of a storm, indicates their love, our willingness to push them away for failing to know what we are thinking or to have the courage to tell us “no” is like abandoning a child on a cold night to fight the devil alone.

Here is where our society has diminished itself to, a ripping apart of the fabric within our families and culture, to give us a perception of no hope.  As if we hang by a string, above a chasm of uncertainty and despair, knowing within ourselves, one false slip will send us into the abyss never to return.  Nothing could be farther from the truth, nothing could be more false, and as a great deception many believe the lies told on behalf of the devil. 

Where then do we go, if where we are at is so bad?  First of all, slow down, stop, and look down.  Recognize, the power to move the mountain is in the faith you have in God.  The ability to realize a joy and a peace at the very center of your being, at the very nature of our soul, is the embrace of knowing God is there within us.  God sees what is happening to each and every one of us, and the culture we create.  Compassion is what is needed, the love of all people is warranted, and the ability for us in our love and compassion to say “no” to each sin we encountered is a must.  I know people who are hurt, who are alone, who are dismayed, and who are just plain angry in life.  I was each of these at one point or another, and I can say with experience, there is a light, there is a truth, and there is a love seeking us all if only we would look up from the shadows and recognize what it is.  All cannot be made to fit our desires, but we can all be made to recognize the purpose needed in a single step we take every day.

Our society seems to be bound for hell in a handbasket at any second, but is this really true?  Look at the details, where the devil is in them, there is also a second and more venerating portion.  The portion of God, who is the very nature of being itself (as Thomas Aquinas makes in Summa Theologica), the portion of the tragedy we face as the blessings we are given as a result.  From the most simplistic desire to help, to a point of truth which won’t fade or be destroyed, regardless of the attempts to do so.  So is our world actually on a wobble, yes and no.  It stands to wobble and destroy all, concerning those who seek truth within themselves, but for those who find God in all things, the wobble is an effect of a faithless rabble hoping to upend those truths set forth for each and every one of us.  Take for instance, the vast number of vocal Christian beginning to stand up for their faith, the movement is inspiring, the number of people willing to stand up and resist the media machine bound for destruction grows by the day.  Look at the programs which minister to the down—trodden or to the incarcerated, they grow as the believers of Christ dig in for a spiritual fight against an unseen enemy.

Some say, we should turn away from a modern age and become centered on the principles we know.  St. Francis of Assisi, considered by some to be the finest example of a Saint, renounced what he was promised for a life of struggle and poverty.  Even when Jesus is asked by the rich man what he still lacked, Jesus instructed him, in order to be perfect he must give away all his possessions (Matt 19:21) undoubtedly scripture inspiring a young St. Francis.  So, is this the answer?  Maybe for some, maybe for those who seek a life, embracing these very understandings is what they need.  For those of us with families, what do we do?  We can’t very well give away all our possessions and quit our jobs?  No, this would be most irresponsible and foolish.  Taking a story literally can sometimes be the best medicine, but looking into the essence of what was being conveyed carries with it the ability for all of us to become “fishers of men” as Simon/Peter was beckoned with by Jesus on the shore of the Galilee.  (Matt 4:19)  Our desire to stop this machine, this massive wheel of society which turns unforgivingly towards, what seems an impending destruction, requires every person, on a singular scale to walk in the footsteps of Christ.  This is to say, to embrace what he was doing on this earth, to understand the Lord of all made himself small that we might understand his love for us, and even unto death we watched in agony, and knew his life is what we must go towards in all we do.

In all we do, in all we see, we must put God at the very top.  This instructs us to place God as the focal point of our lives, especially the role of the family as it pertains to all we do as we interact with those who are so willing to unconditionally support our lives and decisions.  From this most basic level of understanding, from the singular actions we take each day, an up swell begins to occur.  The hedonistic life/lie begins to erode itself, because a lie is nothing more than a movement of the shadows to fool us into believing a truth cannot exist.  On the day when our earthly life ceases to exist, we are alone with our creator, we are looking into the face of God, and we are subject to his love.  We, through our life and the choice made, have determined if we embrace who loves us, or we beg for entry into a pit of ice and despair which seeks to burn us in our solidarity and sinful desire to put self above others especially God. 

When we can begin to make decisions which suit us and our lives with a purpose larger than life itself, love, then we can begin to order our lives in just such a way as to lay a foundation of principled decisions.  This will manifest itself in such things as elections, what money is spent on what entertainment is provided, and the influences our culture embraces.  When enough people are willing to just stop watching, voting, and participating in a lifestyle full of poor choices, we will find even the most hardened of businesses will have no choice but to capitulate.  The people, the consumers, the voters, the every person has the power to change what is happening, but without the presence of God in our lives, without resting our weary hearts in God’s goodness, we will follow the machine to perdition.    

It took me sometime to realize just what I had standing before me, a life full of love, if I was just willing to accept my own arrogance as the hindrance preventing me from realizing the depths to which I must go in order to fully know a joy so warming and kind as to be a spiritual nurturing like none other.  A truth which is so resolute, I can know no other truth, and a reality so sobering, I cannot turn my head to anything else no matter how hard I try. It wasn’t until I understood what was standing before me, did I realize, how disjointed I’d become in my pursuits of self.  An alignment of painful realities set my focus to stand before what I know to be truth, and to shout it from the roof tops if possible.  Since I’m a very private person, my blog was one of the first steps in this process, exposing a truth of sin in my life and a dereliction to faith was the only way I knew I could, through action, represent a redeeming quality of love.  This isn’t to say, I’ve mastered anything yet, I see the path I must walk, and I find it difficult to stay on the path most days.  However, when my foot steps onto the gravely pebble laden path, I sense a rightness and centeredness to my life, which makes my heart leap at just the thought.

This Christmas season, starting the 25th of December ushers in another wonderful time in our lives, a rebirth of our lives after a winter of darkness and cold.  God is light and in him there is no darkness (John 1:5), in the light there is warmth and in this warmth we find a loving desire to fulfill those life choices which help to purify us, that we may walk in Heaven, during the cool of the evening, with God.  Many programs on television seek to tell us to be kinder, more helpful, and generous to those who need these loving behaviors, but most often they don’t say why.  For many, being compelled to do one thing or another, should have a sense of purpose not just an idle command from people we neither know nor would trust to do anything in our best interests.  So in this instant, they are right to try and help guide us towards a sense of compassion and charity for all, but the reason is Christ.  The reason is the will of God is something so wonderful, as we should never stop ceasing to seek the pathway to God’s goodness.  There is nothing which is as pejorative as a person who might have the power to affect a loving change in the life of a single person and chooses not to out of a sense of self-reliance.  So, if faced with a situation where giving your last dollar, your lunch, or your time give it for God nothing more and nothing less.  Don’t let a fear of the unknown debilitate your sense of right.  If you’re already doing this, then please pray for those who need your action and guidance, that they may find your kindness by direct or indirect action.

For unto us a child is born, (Isiah 9:6-7), our world isn’t wobbling, it is where we placed it.  With every action you take, seek to put this world in a direction more suitable to love in Christ, more suitable to seeking the objective truth in everything you seek, and more suitable to embracing those who seek and embrace but are too afraid to say it aloud.  May God bless you and your family this wonderful Christmas season!!!

God is good, all the time, and all the time, God is good!!!

Should We Not All Be Equal?

In our modern cultural circles, a hubris arises, and within the context of social order we find people creating paradigms of equality.  Sometimes, these consist of economic equality (socialism), or social and economic equality (communism with socialistic economies).  The hubris which comes from such day dreams, is a continued approach which determines their efforts will surely succeed in triumph, even though every major attempt has failed prior to now.  Their one underlying question, “Shouldn’t we all be equal?” finds enthusiastic ears willing to force an equality of outcome for the purpose of subjective justice.  There are few things wrong with this pursuit though.  I want to briefly touch on them, so I can put into perspective, equality as an outcome is the most unjust outcome ever deigned as a solution to the problem of poverty.

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First, let’s tackle the concept of what poverty actually is, and why “the poor will always be with you” (Matt 26:11).  There are sectors of every population, either by circumstance, choice, or condition which remain below an acceptable societal standard for economic subsistence.  By choice, they choose to work in a job which pays very little, either because a lack of education, or by societal barriers placed on them from poor choices (e.g. prison record preventing someone from working).  At any rate, choice is a factor larger than is capable of describing in many cases.  Sometimes, a circumstance, a loss of job or debilitating injury, without a financial security net, causes induced poverty.  This again stems from an indirect choice, but ultimately wasn’t the choice of those who succumbed to the poverty conditions.  Finally, as a population’s wealth increases, there will always be a poverty level well below and average income distribution, but as the standard of living increases so too will the standard for poverty.  Take for instance, the poverty level has increased, in the U.S. for a family of four by over $20k in the last fifty years.  Whereas other, less industrialized nations, still have a poverty level below the US 1968 poverty level.  So, what does this tell us, subjective standards of poverty as based in the position and placement of local analysis.  The poverty stricken people now, live better than the poverty stricken people fifty years ago.  This isn’t to imply, charity is going away, but instead to give familiarity to the paradigm of subjectivity to explain the perspective we find ourselves in, in today’s world.

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Equality of choice, is a foundational need for every society.  The choice of whether or not to seek ambitious desires, to protect one’s life, to speak against injustice and so forth.  What culture, all across the world seems to be struggling with is those with and those without, as a means for cultural destruction!  It is argued, those who make exorbitant wages shouldn’t, and those who make very little, should make more, but very often when pressed as to why this social manipulation should occur and poor answer is given.  Social equality, must be a measure of the choices a society makes in regards to an individual’s choice, for instance, the choice in what secondary education is sought.  Perhaps and equality of prospect, in one’s decision on how to grow wealth; in our culture, with a little extra money, anyone can invest what they have, at a risk, and potentially grow their wealth to increase their own standard of living.  The key to understand is, at their risk, everything is at your risk. Your health, your wealth, your, faith, and your family’s sense of direction are always at some risk, but this is the benefit of choice, the ability to make a decision which will either benefit or create detriment for yourself and those around us.

Equality is a subjective term, a term which in today’s lexicon, and with it carries a negative connotation, as in the “have’s and have not’s”, but more importantly it assumes an objective authority determines the measure of equilibrium to determine right and wrong.  With so many people denouncing traditional methods of objective stances, such as morals, ethics, and societal norms, the landscape is moving rapidly with little or no thought given to such dramatic decisions.

When I was a bright-eyed teenager, set to put the world aright with all of my ideas, I knew the past regimes of the Nazi’s and other socialistic economy nations had failed.  Though, the Utopian concept of a “needs” being provided for by the state, wasn’t altogether unappealing.  My mentality at the time was one of relativistic ideals, which is to say, I wanted everyone to have what we as a society considered to be basic standards.  So, let me stop there and at least give one argument for experience.  There is a reason, young people should not make decisions which affect millions, they simply don’t have the experience needed to weigh the decision(s) properly, within the context of life and general experience.  The man I was at 28 was a completely different person than the perceived man I was at 18.  The ideologies I purported were just simplistic explanations bent on watering down complex issues in order to make them more palatable for myself and the people I talked with.  At the end of the day, I was asked a question about perceived rights as they related to the choices we make, in my arrogance, I fell head long, into the trap.  His question was simple, why is it ok to take from people who’ve worked hard for their earnings, and give to others who haven’t.  Now, simplicity aside, this is what he boiled it down to.  A legalized version of theft, and once I started looking at the rippling effect of people taking what I have worked so hard for, because the state said it was ok, is as evil a proposition as using tax dollars to pay for abortions.  At any rate, a decision to give our earnings should be ours to make, and the more consistent we are about standards of giving, the more expectation certainty people will have with what they should have and shouldn’t have.

INDIA MOTHER TERESA

The largest charitable organization in the world is the Catholic Church, but this is overshadowed by the complex and disgusting issues of abuse within the church.  However, context once again is key to understanding the whole issue.  First, to place equality on all people in the church, and expect all people to act according to the equality of status is silly at best.  When one person or a group of people act heinously, is it fair to condemn a church with a church body of over a billion people?  Is it fair to hate America because of the actions purported upon detainees at Abu Ghraib, or is it wise to lump an entire group into one contingent, much like I did as a youth with my desire to fulfill ideologies as a means of explanation?  The equality comes only in perception of who we are and why we’re here, but this is where equality is no more.  Some people are meant to be kings, and some are meant to be the King’s servants, where is the equality now?  If a king serves his people as a good steward, is not their life better and are they not capable of being joyful in God?

Equality, seems to be and ideological imperfection, as a result of poorly thought out ideals translated into even worse contextual pitfalls.  To say we are equal, is only true when describing the human condition; we are all human, we all seek life and a way to live life which meets whatever expectation(s) we see fit for our lives.  This is where equality ends.  Some people are born to affluent families and continue the affluent life, passing their wealth on to their offspring and so on and so on.  Some people are born lowly and poor, in conditions which neither seem fair nor right.  Equality has nothing to do with this, choice has everything to do with it though.

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Choice is a confounding and yet simple concept, a choice to do one thing or another can have ramifications which last a lifetime, or the choice of another might be the deciding factor over how we respond to a specific situation.  The affluent family may be this way because of the decision by some previous generation helped to foster an increase in wealth and further their affluence, or it could be just sheer luck which allowed for just such a circumstance.  The choices of the poor family could consist of poor job choices, poor money management, and in some cases a family unwilling to do the hard work to ensure future generations would no longer be poor.  In many cases the results of what we see today in either affluent or poor sectors of our societies are as a result of choices made years ago.  Choices which were given to us out of equality, but by making the choices have created two different paradigms.  The first being the paradigm of the poor, an inequality is realized because the rich have what is desired, a way to pay for things.  The second, is perfect equality, because someone, somewhere along the line, worked hard and put into motion the circumstances laid before the world at the time of the perception.  On any level though, taking what is rightfully someone else’s either by inheritance or by choice, is absolutely wrong.  Of course, the examples used are not everyone’s opinion, nor are they the only opinion, but they are an opinion which validates those in our culture who wish to right a perceived wrong by committing wrong choices themselves.

The hard truth to all of it is, we may never be wealthy, or celebrated for our contributions in life or to our society at large, and in a world where everyone makes a video, writes a blog, does something to get noticed, it has become harder to achieve a subjective standard which keeps moving constantly.  A standard which sets into motion, seeming obtainable measures of success, but at the very same time indicates working to achieve those measures is a matter of opinion rather than the standard.  Placing ourselves at the behest of the proverbial mob indicates we no longer want to make decisions for ourselves, and essentially we want someone to make these decisions for us.  If we don’t trust the neighbor down the street, who else is there, I bet you guessed it already, the government.  A figurative body which seeks to legislate our lives, but neither has an inkling of faith nor cares who you or I are.  A body, which is notorious for making poor decision, and a body which creates counterproductive measures of law to restrict the citizens it is making decisions for.  For instance, I pay my taxes every year, but I have no way of knowing what my tax dollars are going to.  I have no way of preventing further tax dollars from being misused, except by election (there’s your equality), and no matter how hard I try, if my candidate isn’t elected, decision made for me by the newly elected official, may run counter to anything I want or think is correct.  My equality comes from the right to make the decision, not the decision itself or the outcome, and in the heightened atmosphere of charged anger and perceived inequality, people now want to force equality on every level, this is nonsense.

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If we are to live a life of joy, and focus on the light of Christ, we need to remove the notion of equality from our minds as results are concerned.  We have what we have because of God’s Graces.  Look at your spouse, your kids, your entire family, and realize without God, there would be nothing.  If anyone of us were wrongly convicted of a crime, and nothing we said or did would remove this burden from us, what then do we do?  Do we give up on life, or do we work harder?  I have never been to prison, so I can truthfully speak to the conditions of the prison and its inhabitants, but at the same time, I can legitimately speak of anyone else’s condition or circumstances.  I can only speak of which I know, and every time in my life, where hard choices were to be made, my principles and morals given to me by God, my parents, and my spouse have allowed a resolute focus on God’s love to allow joy to permeate throughout everything I do.  Regardless of any shortcoming I seem to meet as a result of another’s decision, I’m not looking to create an equal playing field, I am looking to enrich my understanding of God through the struggles I face.  He walks with me in every step I take, he never leaves me, if this isn’t something to be joyous about nothing is.

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When we focus on those things in life which actually have some meaning, and matter at the heart of what’s important all the other stuff in life seems to melt away into a trivial pursuit of self.  Can’t you remember a time where you were worried, possibly about a loved one, and when you found out they were fine, you realized nothing else in the world mattered at that moment.  Not whether, a wealthy person made more money than yourself, or if you didn’t get something you believe everyone else did.  Instead, your love transcended your ability to worry about the stuff of this world, and carried you to a place where all becomes clear and allows an embrace of your love with the love of another, as God lifts both of you up.

I hope the pursuit of equality in everyone’s life is a pursuit of love, and a measure of making sure opportunity to love is available, it is the only one which matters as an equal choice in our lives.  If you’re ever unsure about your pursuits of equality, think about the understanding needed to perceive the condition of another person, if after you’ve placed yourself in their shoes, walked the miles, and still see a measure of inequality, then love and discernment has granted you a special place to ascend.  Always make good choices, and stop worrying about the perceptions of another, except those things which cannot be changed, and know either by choice or by circumstance we’ve all been equally placed in our positions by God.  May God bless you, and your family!!!

 

God is good, all the time, and all the time, God is good!!

You Hear But You Do Not Heed!

Take a step back from your reality today, look at the world around you.  Look at the news, which runs now constantly.  Look at entertainment, focused on filling up every nook and cranny of your time.  Look at art, hardly any of it focused on an ethereal and transcendental elevation of our reality, but instead a deluge of abstract figures and paintings, of nature and a pantheistic pursuit designed to make us feel comfortable, and above all celebrations of mediocrity.  Stories seem unoriginal now more than ever, movies are remakes of once celebrated ground-breaking forms of art sometimes once and twice over.  The criticism each person faces by exposing their art has more to do with an inability to have perfected an art form which required decades to master, and the public’s immediate expectation let down (any Star Wars movie after Return of The Jedi as a perfect example).  This constant criticism of an audience which no more has an ability to critique because of their own deficiencies in the education of art have led studios and executives to pursue the benefits as a means rather than the goal of entertainment.  The inexplicable problem which inherently comes forth is, the quality is poor, and in our deepest recesses we all know it, but since we paid so much for what we are seeing we feel personally obligated and willing to sit through and endure this nightmare simply by personal duress of this obligation.  We’ve all allowed our standards to take a back seat, this includes the executive to the teenager willing to pay.  This is just one facet of our society willing to degrade a standard to have instant satisfaction, and for what?  Jesus, in his words to the disciples said, “Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock. The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and buffeted the house. But it did not collapse; it had been set solidly on rock.  And everyone who listens to these words of mine but does not act on them will be like a fool who built his house on sand. The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and buffeted the house.
And it collapsed and was completely ruined.”

MotherTheresa

Cardinal Sarah, wrote in his book “Power of Silence” about listening to the voice of God, within the silence of our hearts, indicating the rightly ordered understanding of God, ipsum esse subsistens (the very nature of being), as residing in the quietness of our hearts and we must intently and lovingly listen if we want to hear what he is saying.  At the same time, St. Thomas Aquinas points out this imprint of God in all of us, is what causes us to inexplicably drive towards him in all we do, even if we fail to recognize what it is we do.  So, when we choose sin or rather sinful paths to walk down, we understand more fully, the free will to sin is our choice to hear and not heed the loving words spoken to us.

Have you ever been in a situation where you friend, spouse, children, or boss has stated “I told you this would happen” and for whatever reason, you still chose the path which led to failure, or sometimes victory?  Often times, the plight of a parent is seeing a more developed picture of the world than their children, because of poor decisions and failing to listen, and we seek to instruct the child in right behavior and appropriate responses with a picture of failure as a deterrent for poor choice.  Just to have the child fail to do what was advised, and an “I told you so” situation arises, where in hopes by the parent the child will learn from this failure.  Failure, such a negative word, many papers and books have been written about the context of failure as it relates to great catastrophes an then even when it helped to build the character of a person as they ascended the ladder of their career.  However, failure is by definition, “lack of success”, according to Google.  Placed into the simple context of life, we then have to ask ourselves, what is success?  Is success obtainable in a world with such lofty goals in criticism, and yet such mediocre goals in performance?  Are we only as successful as the world says, or is there a more objective standard in which to hold our actions and effects as we run through this life of never-ending pitfalls and slippery slopes?

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The answer to any question, as simple as it may sound to anyone, is God!  God is always the answer, and placed into proper context of any situation, the answer is most appropriate.  For instance, your pregnant wife looks at you, eight and a half months in, uncomfortable and ready for this ordeal to be over soon, and she stares at you and asks the ever mindful question “do I look fat to you?”  Red lights start going off in your brain, images of people sliding down poles to man stations as sirens are going off whirls the imagination of your mind, and as you being to speak images of “Jaws” biting you in half suddenly take the forefront of your mind’s eye.  When you stop for a split second and think about God, and then all makes sense, the waters have calmed, it was just a flounder and not a man-eating shark, and you say “sweetie, you have a baby growing inside of you, you are so beautiful because of God’s gift to you”.  Before anyone thinks, this is mush and sounds cheesy, they would be so right, if you didn’t mean it.  However, your focus on God’s Graces in your life, center your responses and create in you a clean heart willing to example his light in a reflective manner towards everything you do.  Do be afraid to sound silly when speaking from the heart, this is where God is in all of us, and to speak from the heart, lovingly and humbly, is listening to God’s voice and echoing what is being said.

St.FrancisofAssissi

Over the vast expanses of time, we have all read and seen examples of God’s light shining from those who would place their hearts in a position for complete destruction and still were unafraid.  Those people who pushed to show what they heard, no matter what people criticized them for, because deep down they knew the truth, they knew the voice, and it contained within themselves a solidarity of purpose reliant on an unmitigated sense of veracity.  However, when people can listen to God and the works of art which are delivered in such a beautiful manner, it gives us all a glimpse at the potential we all hold as a matter of hearing what is required of us as we live our lives.  From the person we see standing on the corner with a sign that says, “Will work for food” to the relative who insists on telling you about a “great opportunity you would be stupid not to get in on”.  All goodness has an ability to stare in the face of difficulty and be unflinching as a result.

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We never seem to heed the advice given by those who love us the most.  I am as guilty of this as anyone, and although I am better than I once was, at times my hubris gets the better of me, and my belief in my own ability indicates my lack of trust in others.  Which is to say, I feel as if I know better than a person who has given advice based on years of experience, especially when I have no experience at all.  The very arrogance I have displayed among friends and family over the years is astounding, because at its very worst, I attempted to disguise my arrogance under a vale of duplicity.  All the while, thinking no one can possibly know, but finding out years later, although people never said a word to me, they always knew and in my self-reflection I surmised, I must have looked completely foolish to them.  This is all as a result of listening by not heeding the advice Jesus gave us on down to the friend who only ever desired to see my happiness.  Just like when you watch a person and for some inexplicable reason, you can tell they are being untruthful, or at the very least they are not telling the entire truth, I was exposed even if they didn’t know what was being exposed.  Trust was cleaved in two, and it would take me years of hard work, pressure, and a fervent desire to meld the two halves back together.

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When Jesus spoke to his disciples about the impending fate he would suffer at the very hands of one of his own, the Apostles failed to heed his warning.  So after his crucifixion, they for fear of their own lives, sought refuge in hiding.  They huddled together, minus Judas and Thomas (Thomas not yet there and Judas hung from a tree himself by his own hands), and lamented what their lives meant at this point and what they must do from this point forward.  Then all of a sudden, as if always there, Jesus sits among them.  They are astounded, they know all too well, he died upon that cross in a place known as “the skull”, Golgotha (Gospel of Mark), where he would spend the remaining hours of his earthly life in agony.  In Luke’s Gospel, we see two other men who will meet the same fate, and although one of them rebuked Jesus, the other who knew of him, listened to God’s voice and spoke true as his exclamation of Jesus’s innocence and what’s most important his truthful words “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom” indicate, although he failed to listen to God’s voice in his sin, he listened finally and heeded what was being said.  His reward, “paradise”, but for those Apostles who remained a fire would need to be lit, literally, and as the Holy Spirit descended upon them like a flame, they were eternally given the words of God to listen and heed.  They walked to the ends of the earth and spoke of the good news, which was Jesus.  To this end, they would all die but John, and they would all do so surrounded by darkness but as the brightest reflections of light possible.

At the end of our lives, we may not all have a chance to reflectively look back on what we did right and especially what we did wrong, in the hopes of rectifying those mistakes of sin we embraced as a matter of selfish pursuit of success.  Instead, death may come quick, death may come as an unfair guest to a game which we thought we were winning, while all along, we never had control of for one instance.  Death may be the sweet release of a life which sought to hamper every effort we had at making a better life for ourselves, it may even be (like JOB) a systematic disintegration of everything we’ve known and loved.  However, this isn’t the end, and listening to advice (morally and principally sound advice) has never and will never be a means to prevent a person from enjoying life, instead it is a means of direction for a path filled with joy, even in times of struggle.  Often times, when we see pictures of natural disasters or inexplicable events, testing the very nature of our faith.  We still see victims who have chosen to listen to the voice of God, and heed what they know to be true.  A life built in pursuance of love of God, is a life where no matter the struggle, a pure focus on what is true, always carries the day.

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As we are in this Advent season, a time of waiting, and time of listening for the sound of Christ’s birth, we should be reminded of the lessons we seek to teach our own children.  To seek God in all we do, to seek love in every action performed, and in order to recognize, we must listen as much as anyone if we want to live a life in heeding of the words Jesus spoke.  So, when you go out and purchase a gift for your spouse or your kids, think about the implications of what you give them.  Of course, people want the latest or newest gadget, especially if makes their life easier (I know my wife would always like something that sparkles and she isn’t satisfied with the sparkle in my eyes apparently), but is this really the gift they need in their lives?  Don’t give the gift they want, at least not always, but give the gift they need, as a parent you are their protector and guardian, they need guidance from you every day of the year and especially during those occasions where their own inability to listen creates tension.  For your spouse, they are your other half, a union created in a covenant with God.  To be one with one another, it is always best to put your spouse’s needs above your own, but with it, you create a bond to strengthen love day-by-day.  I am reminded of the story of the Gift of the Magi, a wife with hardly any money seeks to buy her husband a gift, her only option, to sell her hair to acquire enough money for the purchase of a chain for his gold watch.  When he arrives home, he can see her hair is gone, he sits her gift upon a table, and she begins to open it when she realizes, it was a set of brushes for her beautiful hair.  Unshaken by all of this, she proceeds to hand him his gift.  A beautiful silver chain for his gold watch, but he looked at her with love in his eyes and set down the box while saying, “I sold my watch to purchase those brushes for your beautiful hair”.  The lesson from this simple story being, both were willing to give what was precious to them for the benefit of the other.  Although it amounted to very little in the material sense of the transaction, their love deepened by the acts of unselfish desire to unconditionally love one another.  The story is called Gift of the Magi because, the Magi were wise men who desired to give what they had to the King of Kings, and in doing so, and this made them wise beyond measure.  The story is similar in a vein of wisdom, the loving couple wisely gave gifts for the pursuit of happiness in the other.  Unselfishly they put the other before their own desires, willing the good of the other in life, especially when it is our spouse, is the very essence of love in action.  Every great saint, every great disciple, and every great apostle embodied the very nature of listening and heeding the words Christ spoke.  Remember, you are loved greatly, God is in your heart, listen to what is spoken to you, and heed it in every possible way.  I pray God blesses you and your family!!!

 

God's light

 

God is good, all the time, and all the time, God is good!!!

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Truth2Freedom's Blog

The mindset in postmodernism is that objective truth does not exist. But in post-truth, the person believes that objective truth exists, but they subordinate truth to their preferences, or their comfort. In other words, one doesn’t care that truth exists or what the truth is if it doesn’t line up with one’s preferences. "There is but one straight course, and that is to seek truth and pursue it steadily" - George Washington letter to Edmund Randolph — 1795. Faith in Jesus Christ is our response to God's elective purpose in our life. These two truths--God's initiative and man's response--co-exist throughout the Bible. The gospel is "the message of truth" because truth is its predominant characteristic. Salvation was conceived by the God of truth (Ps. 31:5); purchased by the Son, who is the truth (John 14:6); and is applied by the Spirit of truth (John 16:13). To know it is to know the truth that sets men free (John 8:32). Believers are people of the truth (John 18:37), who worship God in spirit and in truth (John 4:24), and who obey the Word of truth (John 17:17). People have rejected, neglected, redefined, and opposed God’s truth for centuries. Some cynically deny that truth even exists or that it can be known by men (John 18:38). Others foolishly think that denying truth will somehow make it go away. Truth determines the validity of one's belief. Believing a lie doesn't make it true. Conversely, failing to believe the truth doesn't make it a lie. The gospel is true because Jesus is true, not simply because Christians believe in Him. His resurrection proved the truth of His claims and constitutes the objective basis of our faith (Rom. 1:4; 1 Pet. 1:3). Truth is our protection and strength (Eph. 6:14). Throughout history, people have tried everything imaginable to gain favor with God. Most turn to religion, but religion apart from Christ is merely a satanic counterfeit of the truth. At the heart of every false religion is the notion that man can come to God by any means he chooses--by meditating, doing good deeds, and so on. But Scripture says, "There is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved" (Acts 4:12). That name is Jesus Christ, and we come to Him by confessing and repenting of our sin, trusting in His atoning death on the cross, and affirming His bodily resurrection from the grave (cf. Rom. 10:9-10). There is no other way to God. False religious leaders and teachers talk much about God’s love, but not His wrath and holiness; much about how deprived of good things people are, but not about their depravity; much about God’s universal fatherhood toward everyone, but not much about his unique fatherhood toward all who believe in His Son; much about what God wants to give to us, but nothing about the necessity of obedience to Him; much about health and happiness, but nothing about holiness and sacrifice. Their message is full of gaps, the greatest of which leaves out a biblical worldview of the saving gospel and replaces it with the worldview of postmodernism with its dominant ethical system of relativism. The Bible describes mankind in the end times: “always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” (2 Tim. 3:7). Spiritual answers cannot be deduced by human reason alone (1 Cor. 2:14). It’s not that spiritual truth is irrational or illogical, but that human wisdom is defective, because it’s tainted by man’s sinfulness, and unable to perceive the things of God. That is why the Bible is so important. It gives us the answers we can’t find on our own. It is God’s Word to mankind. Scripture is divinely revealed truth that fills the vacuum of spiritual ignorance in all of us. Post-truth is the word of the year for 2016 and also the philosophy of the day, According to the dictionary, “post-truth” means, “relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.” Simply put, we now live in a culture that seems to value experience and emotion more than truth. In a “post-truth” world, people make choices based on emotion and experience rather than objective fact. So in a post-truth world, truth is irrelevant. What exactly is a post-truth culture? It’s a culture where truth is no longer an objective reality. It has become subjective. It’s what’s true for me—my beliefs, my opinions, determine my truth. So in our post-truth culture, man determines truth. Man makes himself the ultimate authority. This starting point, which rejects God’s Word and the idea of moral absolutes, makes truth subjective. Truth will never go away no matter how hard one might wish. Christianity is grounded in objective truth. “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32). Objective truth exists because we have God’s Word. In the Gospel of John, Jesus says, “Sanctify them by Your truth. Thy word is truth” (John 17:17), and Paul and James describe the Bible as “the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15; James 1:18). The Psalmist says, “The entirety of your word is truth” (Psalm 119:160). Jesus Himself said, “For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice” (John 18:37). When Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except by me” (John 14:6), He wasn’t expressing His personal belief or opinion. He was speaking the truth, a fundamental reality that doesn’t change from person to person. It doesn’t matter if our culture thinks all roads lead to God. The truth of the matter is “no one comes to the Father but by [Jesus].” This blogs goal is to, in some small way, put a plug in the broken dam of truth and save as many as possible from the consequences—temporal and eternal. "The further a society drifts from truth, the more it will hate those who speak it." - George Orwell

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