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“You Count with God”

Psalm 87: 6: “The Lord shall count when He registers the peoples, ‘This one was born there.’” Among all the people who have ever been or will be born, where do you rate? So high that God Himself counts and takes note of you. An even better thought is that He actually doesn’t just call you ‘this one,’ but calls you by name, as Jesus says in John 10: 3. With God you are not just a number, not even a pronoun, but a child of His, noted by Him and loved by Him.

“Joyful John”

John 3: 29: “He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice. And so this joy of mine has been made full.” There were two recorded instances where John the Baptist rejoiced over Jesus: here, toward the end of his earthly life, and before he was born, when his pre-natal self rejoiced when Jesus’ pre-natal self visited him (or, looked at another way, when Mary visited Elizabeth [Luke 1: 39-45], an event the Church celebrates today) Perhaps this is one of the things that made John so great: He knew when to be joyful, so His life began and ended with joy!

“Jesus Calling”

Psalm 24: 7: “Lift up your heads, O gates, and be lifted up, O ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in!” Today is Ascension Day, one of the seven primary feasts of the Christian Year. This Psalm is read because for centuries the Church has seen this as Jesus knocking on the gates of heaven at the end of His ascension and first earthly stay. But it is also seen as Christ knocking on the gates of the nations and the hearts of individual believers, letting us know that He has won the battle over sin and death, and we should now allow Him entrance into our lives as conquering King and Savior. How long will you keep the gates shut?

“Focus”

Luke 12: 31: “But seek for His Kingdom, and these things shall be added to you.” Do not fall into the trap of thinking this passage focuses on getting rich or being provided for. Jesus didn’t. Over and over here He says, “Don’t be anxious! Don’t worry!” Never does He say, “Beware of poverty!” The issue is, focus on doing things God’s way, and the rest will be taken care of. Don’t make God’s Kingdom solely about the fiscal or the physical. First and foremost, the Kingdom of God is about much deeper issues,

“By Is at It Again”

James 1: 25: “One who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual does, this man shall be blessed in what he does.” Where Moses ends, James begins. Looking ‘at’ or ‘into’ the word is good; we should all do it more. But God did not give us the word just so we could look at it. You can look at an airplane all you want, but you won’t get anywhere. But if we fly by means of that plane, the sky’s the limit. He brought us forth ‘by’ the word (v. 18) and we abide ‘by’ it, as well.

“Little Word, Big Difference”

Deuteronomy 8: 3b: “Man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord.” To live ‘on’ something refers to sustenance: some live on meat and potatoes, billions live on rice, maybe more live on pizza. But Moses uses the word ‘by’, which goes deeper – to live ‘by’ something goes to direction, motivation, and inspiration. We may live by our wits, or live by the sword – but all should live by the word. It doesn’t just sustain us, it leads us, motivates, us, and inspires us. Bread is good, word is better.

NEW TEACHER

Do you remember your favorite teacher in Grade School? Or in High School? Everyone has a favorite teacher who, at one point or another, had a great impact on his or her life; a teacher that inspired us, encouraged us and even pushed us to work harder to achieve our dreams. Most likely, a teacher’s encouragement has given us direction and opened our eyes to the abilities we have within us which we never knew we had! For many of us, as a child we saw our parents - Dad and Mom - as our first teachers. They both guided us through our growing years, patiently teaching us right from wrong. They lovingly taught us to differentiate good from bad. They slowly instilled in our young minds the understa

7th Sunday of Easter: "New Teacher"

Acts 16:9-15 Psalm 67 Revelation 21:1-2; 22-27 John 14: 23-29 In the gospel today, Jesus said, “He who does not love Me does not keep My words.” It is a pretty plain and simple message. If we do not love Him, we do not keep His word. Even if we are intellectual or knowledgeable, even if we pray and are pious, but if we have no love, then, whatever we do amounts to nothing. St. Paul said in 1Corinthians 13 to re-quote, “Even if speak with the tongues of angels and of men, even if I move mountains, even if I give away all my possessions to feed the poor, even if I give my body to be burned, even if I sell bestseller books, even if I have thousands of followers in social media, even if I am

“Goodies Overload”

Psalm 23: 5b: “My cup overflows.” Lovin’ it! Just be advised that before you get the overflowing cup, you first have to follow the shepherd to the green pastures (no biggie), quiet waters (very chill), then go with Him down the paths of righteousness (hmmm, let me think about this), followed by the valley of the shadow of death (wait a minute now, let’s don’t go crazy with this), and finally follow Him to the table with your enemies – and forgive them. Only then do you get the cup/fountain. Ready? Go!

“War Games”

Romans 14: 19, 20a: “So then let us pursue the things that make for peace and the building up of one another. Do not tear down the work of God.” Has war and violence ever been so popular? Not just prevalent, but popular! Check the ratings of video games and entertainment programing across all platforms, and you’ll find the violent and gory to lead the ratings. This is not God’s plan. We are expected to build each other up, not ear each other down. Remember, that person you’re messing with is the work of God!

“Changing Times”

Luke 8: 27: “… He was met by a certain man from the city who was possessed with demons; and who had not put on any clothing for a long time, and was not living in a house, but in the tombs.” What’s the difference between the time of Jesus and today? Back then, a person living in the tombs and not wearing any clothes was considered demon-possessed. Now, you’d get a sponsored lifestyle blog, reality series, and a three-picture deal with a major studio. Plus a seven-figure book deal. (But don’t go cemetery shopping, this is not a good thing.)

“Perception”

Wisdom 13: 5: “For from the greatness and beauty of created things comes a corresponding perception of their Creator.” When you see the wonders of God’s creation, does it elicit from within you praise? Of course! How about when you see an artistic masterpiece, or an architectural marvel, or a colossus of engineering? “Nah, that’s just man’s handiwork.” Yes, but how great is the God Who made the man who made the masterpiece? Who gave him the understanding, the skill? Either way, how great is our God!

“Hold it Fast!”

Luke 8: 15: “The seed in the good soil, these are the ones who heard the word in an honest and good heart, and hold it fast, and bear fruit with perseverance.” You’ve probably had lots of the seed of God’s word sown in your heart. The thing with a seed is it takes a while to sprout, before it ever even breaks through the soil. If you want to bear fruit you have to hang on to that seed as long as it takes, and don’t let worry or temptation steal it away. Persevere, be patient, hold on tight, and you’ll see fruit.

“Workin’ for da Man”

Colossians 3: 22, 23: “Slaves, in all things obey those who are your masters on earth, not with external service, as those who merely please men, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men.” Having a bad day at work? Yeah, it happens. But before playing the blame game, remember who sits in your boss’s chair, I mean throne. The Lord of your life (and of your workplace) arranged that impossible task, that irritating co-worker, that conflict in schedule – perhaps, all to give you a chance to overcome, to shine, and to do it in humility and love. So get to work - and don’t forget to thank your boss!

5th Sunday in Easter: "New Commandment"

Acts 13:44-52 Psalm 145:3-13 Revelation 21:1-6 John 13:31-35 We have the Risen Lord who has the victory over everything. No matter what happens, we can always come before the presence of God Almighty. In behalf of our nation, lay our petitions and supplications before the Lord Our God. Jesus said that the ability to bind and lose has been given to His Church. During the elections, you might have the right candidates or the not so right candidate there; what matters is that we come before heaven and the Lord our God in behalf of our nation. What changes the course of our lives and of this nation is our relationship with our God. Of the many things that we can learn from our Scriptures tod

“Vindication”

Luke 7: 35: “Yet wisdom is vindicated by all her children.” To cap off this week’s Daily Office Memos, Jesus contrasts the contradictory and downright foolish wisdom of the Pharisees, who had rejected God’s wisdom for themselves (v. 30), with the wisdom of His followers who are marked by finding and doing His will with delight. The Pharisees pass on confusion to their followers, while those who wisely choose obedience to Jesus vindicate that wisdom in their lives. Let’s be those guys!

“Delight”

Psalm 40: 8: “I delight to do Your will, O my God; Your Law is within my heart.” Knowing God’s will is one thing, doing it is another. The key? Learn to love it. How do you get to love it? God’s law within your heart will show you all the upside of following the Lord. Righteousness, peace, joy in the Holy Spirit – what’s not to love?

“Anytime?”

Luke 6: 39: “And He also spoke a parable to them: ‘A blind man cannot guide a blind man, can he? Will they not both fall into a pit?’” Sometimes when seeking God’s will we may ask advice from an outside source. That’s not always a good plan, if the source isn’t viable. There’s a beer ad on a certain highway that reads, “Kahit kailan” (anytime) then at the bottom says, ”Never drink and drive.” I’m confused! What happened to kahit kailan? Let the lesson be learned: God’s instruction can be trusted; man’s wisdom can lead you into a pit.

“Mystery Solved”

Colossians 1: 27, 2: 2b, 3: “to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. … attaining to all the wealth that comes from the full assurance of understanding, resulting in a true knowledge of God’s mystery, that is, Christ Himself, in Whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” Everybody loves a mystery, and everybody loves wealth. Both are involved in this issue of God’s will for you. First of all, one mystery God wills us to know is that Christ can be, should be (2 Corinthians 13: 5) within us. Secondly, God’s promised wealth and treasures have to do with something much grea

“Enter Trust”

Wisdom 3: 9: “Those who trust in Him will understand truth, and the faithful will abide with Him in love, because grace and mercy are upon His elect, and He watches over His holy ones.” Once we realize that God has a will for us and wants us to understand it we have to develop trust, for sometimes His will may be challenging or downright strange. Never mind, we must trust in His grace, mercy, and shepherding heart, and continue to abide with Him in love.

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