A New Creature In Christ Jesus

February 3, 2014

When I accepted Jesus as my Savior in March 1984, I carried a multitude of baggage inclusive of sexual immorality. From a theological standpoint, I knew The Lord loved me and had died on the cross for my sins. Ultimately, however, I came to realize that it was necessary to know Him on an intimate basis in order to change the course of my life which was headed towards disaster.

Through the years, I have encountered some Christians whom with emphasis informed me that their own lives were free from temptation and that they embraced a Godly existence on an instantaneous basis upon recitation of the sinner’s prayer. To those particular individuals, I commend them all for their strength. My own process was gradual and it took awhile to grapple with the fact that He had made me in His image according to His likeness (Genesis 1:26), and that according to 2 Corinthians 5:10 “So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!” In 1 Corinthians 10:13, He assured me that during periods of temptation “No testing has overtaken you that is not common to everyone. God is faithful and He will not let you be tested beyond your strength but with the testing, He will also provide the way out so that you may be able to endure it.” Eventually I purposed to see myself as God envisioned me and take Him at His Word. In doing so, I reached the place where to please my Savior became of primary importance. And at that point I knew, with every fibre of my being, that I was the new creature in Christ whom The Lord had fashioned and designed.

To Know His Voice

January 31, 2014

To walk in the destiny which God intended for us to have, it is imperative that we come to know His voice on an intimate basis and not those which continually vie for our attention.  It seems that there will always be an influx of individuals who love to declare “The Lord told me you’re to do this.” when in fact that is not the case.  Unfortunately, some will heed to the deception and set out on something which was never of God.

Many years ago, I knew a woman who appeared to have a word from God, for me, on a 24-7 basis.  The Lord, however, knew my heart and as I sought Him for His direction, He revealed to me that the voice and words from this person were not His own.  He said in John 10:27 “My sheep hear My voice.  I know them and they follow Me.”  I will continue to praise Him for that daily.  

The Holy Spirit

January 26, 2014

As Catholics/Christians, our relationship with God through His Son Jesus Christ, is and should be the key element in our lives and the core of our existence. He is our Master, our Savior, our Lord. Clearly He died in order that we may live. However, to effectively sustain that relationship it is vital that we allow the Holy Spirit entrance into our day to day existence.

In John 15:26, Jesus, during the Last Supper, assured His disciples that “When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, He will testify on My behalf.” In the following chapter, John 16:13, Jesus went on to say “When the Spirit of Truth comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own but will speak whatever He hears, and He will declare to you the things that are to come.”

As evidenced in these two verses, the Holy Spirit is the revealer of truth. Neither He or the Son operate independent from each other or apart from our Heavenly Father. Saint Paul stated clearly in 1 Corinthians 12:3 ” Therefore I want you to understand that no one speaking by the Spirit of God ever says ‘Let Jesus be cursed!’ and no one can say ‘Jesus is Lord” except by the Holy Spirit.”

When we yield ourselves to The Lord, and pray to the Father in Jesus’ name, it is the Holy Spirit who responds and will disclose what our Savior wants us to know.

Holiness

January 12, 2014

The world’s diminished moral structure has readily embraced ungodliness as a treasure to be strived for. Unfortunately there are also those within the church who despite their vocal affiliation with The Lord, have pushed holiness aside like an antiquated relic. And yet, the Bible is replete with numerous references to holiness and how God expects us to live. In 1 Thessalonians 4:7, we are told “For God did not call us to impurity but in holiness.” We are further instructed in 1 Peter 1:15-16 “Instead, as He who called you is holy, be holy yourselves in all your conduct for it is written “You shall be holy for I am holy.”

The emphasis on holiness has been largely relegated to a casual mention in our churches and other places of worship. We condone that which The Lord has called unclean as we do not wish to offend or to be ostracized. We speak against certain sins yet we continually vote politicians into office who blatantly put laws into effect that contradict the Word of God.

In 1 Corinthians 6:9, St. Paul warned the church “Do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived…” Our tendency towards deception is again addressed in Galatians 6:7 “Do not be deceived. God is not mocked for you reap whatever you sow. If you sow to your own flesh you will reap corruption from the flesh; but if you sow to the Spirit, you will reap eternal life from the Spirit.”

In response to those passages, though a few will agree, I’ve heard many say “Well, God knows my heart…” “I’m a work in progress.” “God is a God of love. He won’t condemn me.” “I’m a good person which is all God really wants.” “There is no hell and even if it did exist, God is too good to send people there.” There is no conviction but rather a perpetuation of excuses. Yet Jesus Himself said in Matthew 7:21-23 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name and do many deeds of power in your name?’ Then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; go away from me you evil doers.’

God is calling us into a life which glorifies Him. When we choose to adapt ourselves to holiness, He will direct us every step of the way.

Decide To Believe God

December 7, 2013

It would seem like a paradox to say that there are many who believe in God but not God Himself. They know that He exists and He is acknowledged as a Supreme Being but there is no sense of intimacy or familiarity with Him.

To walk in the good life that The Lord has planned for us, we must choose to believe Him…sum and total. His Word contains provisions that not only provide for our needs, but also the fulfillment of the dreams and desires that He has placed in our hearts. He said in Jeremiah 1:12 “I have watched over My Word to perform it.” And in Romans 4:3 “For what does the scripture say? Abraham believed God and it was credited to Him as righteousness.”

Our decision to believe God and take Him at His Word is indeed powerful and can change the very course of our lives.

The Parable Of The Talents

November 25, 2013

Beginning in Matthew 25:14, The Lord speaks of the man, whom before he embarked on his journey, entrusted property to his slaves and gave them talents, each according to their ability. Upon the man’s return, he settled his accounts and was pleased when two of the slaves informed him how they had invested the talents. The third servant admitted that his own fear prompted him to bury his talent in the ground. For that, he was exiled from the household while the other two slaves were blessed with more for their efforts.

In the last number of years, this story has reminded me of those who squander their lives and do absolutely nothing with the gifts and talents bestowed on them by God. Each one of us was created with a specific purpose that has been designed to impact the world and to bless those around us. Indeed, it is His desire that we walk in that for which we have been called and it is He alone who can bring it to pass…to prepare the opportunity…provide the necessary funds…and open doors that no one can close. Indeed, to follow God’s express will and not that suggested by another, will surely bring about the words “Well done My good and faithful servant.” (Matthew 25:21).

Our Delight In Him

November 13, 2013

In Psalm 37:4, we are told “Delight yourself in The Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.”

As a good father longs to bless his children, so it is with God. When it comes to Him, there are many with the misconception that The Lord is concerned only with our basic needs and has no regard for our aspirations. Yet they fail to realize that it is He who placed those same dreams in our hearts which He yearns to fulfill. All that He requires is an intimacy with Him. When we truly align ourselves with God, the desires of our heart coincide with His Word. As we focus on The Lord, and discover our joy in Him, He alone can open doors and present opportunities to us which the world deems as impossible.

I was married for the first time at 48, and prior to that, there were many who told me that to find a husband at that age was a daunting task, even for God. I disregarded their comments and instead sought Him with a fervency…not for His Hand, but rather His Heart. In essence, I delighted myself in Him and in the midst of that all, He blessed me with a man who walks in His ways.

Trust In The Lord

November 5, 2013

So many times, particularly during a fiery trial, we hear from well meaning individuals “Trust in The Lord and whatever will be will be.” However, when we search the Bible, there is nothing that alludes to or substantiates the latter, common part of that phrase.

God’s Word is replete with the promises that He has made for those that have put their confidence in Him. For example, in Psalm 37:3, we are told ” Trust in The Lord and do good. So you will dwell in the land and be nourished in safety.” Psalm 40, Verses 1 through 3 proclaim “I waited patiently for The Lord. He inclined to me and heard my cry. He drew me up from the desolate pit out of the miry bog and set my feet upon a rock making my steps secure. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in The Lord.” Isaiah 53:5 states “For He was wounded for my transgressions; He was bruised for my iniquities. Upon Him was the chastisement that made us whole and by His stripes we were healed.”

Whatever our issue may be, we already have the assurance in His Word of a victorious outcome. As we yield our hearts to Him, we will see those promises made manifest in our lives.

God’s Word

November 3, 2013

As Catholics, the Word of God needs to be put first and foremost in our lives.  So often, we faithfully adhere to the traditions of our Faith, but we fail to pursue a true intimacy with our King of Kings and Lord of Lords.  Our Savior loves us and has called us unto Himself.  Joshua 1:8 clearly states “This book of the law shall not depart out of your mouth: you shall meditate on it day and night so that you may be careful to act in accordance with all that is written in it.  For then shall you make your way prosperous and then you shall be successful.”

When we allow Him full access into our lives and choose to operate in His love, then indeed He can bring about the awesome purpose for which He created us for.

Joyous Catholic

October 20, 2013

When I left the Catholic Church in February 1995, I had no inclination to return – from all that I had observed, former Catholics remained just that – former Catholics. I knew that I needed to grow in the Word and not long thereafter I started to attend a non-denominational church in Rockland County followed by one in New Jersey.

From April 1998 to June 2008, I was a member of what is referred to as a mega-church here in New York City. Though my husband and I were both on volunteer staff, I began to feel a distinct uneasiness. For years I had heard from evangelicals as to how there was no spiritual accountability in Catholicism and that people were essentially free to do as they pleased. However, in this particular atmosphere, as well as others, I was forced to observe how many of its’ congregants lived lives in direct contrast to God’s Word. The sanctuary was devoid of God’s presence and many individuals knew little about the risen Savior. It was then that I began to long for the holiness, order, and adherence to the Word of God, all of which are rudiments of our Catholic faith.

In 2008, The Lord began to deal with me about a return to Catholicism. Rather than immediate obedience, I instead shared this with friends and then concluded, based on their comments, that I had not heard Him. But The Lord is so gracious for He continued to speak to my spirit until finally, in September 2011, I could no longer deny His will for my life. My homecoming was joyous and I knew that my steps were ordered by a loving God.