C. S. Lewis once provided a powerful image of the difference between heaven and hell.
He described hungry people sitting at a huge banquet loaded with delicious food. Every person had a meter-long fork and knife attached to their hands (that’s about three feet long).
The scene in hell was one of anger, frustration, and fighting as people scrambled to feed themselves. They could reach the food with the long knives and forks, but they were too long to feed themselves. The conflict, screaming, and unfulfilled hunger continued for eternity--that is hell.READ MORE
What prompts you to make the decisions you make? When confronted with a decision, whether one that is more trivial and mundane or one that is more significant and profound, we rely on guidance. That guidance can be the result of impulse and passion or the fruit of the interior voice of conscience.
Decisions made on impulse and passion can be misguided and erroneous. Decisions based on conscience, or the moral voice within, will reflect the depth and maturity of our soul work. A more contemplative soul will make more contemplative decisions. A less developed conscience will make decisions based on the individual’s level of development.READ MORE
“Do nothing out of selfishness; rather, humbly regard others as more important than yourselves....” (Philippians 2:3)
Pride and ego are hard things to control. We see how others act or dress and think we are superior to them. We idolize our own self-image. But, if we truly believe everything is a gift from God, we recognize all the people that God has put into our lives as gifts! We are grateful for how they enrich our lives. Pray everyday for the people in your life: your family, your friends, and those who make you angry.
Most of us have now learned to live with "voice mail" as a necessary part of our daily lives. But have you ever wondered what it would be like if God decided to install voice mail?
Imagine praying and hearing the following:
Thank you for calling Heaven. For English, Press 1.
For Spanish, press 2.
For all other languages, press 0.
If I work for five hours, I expect to get paid for five hours. If I work for two, I expect to get paid for two. What if we worked for a company that paid everyone the same amount regardless of how long they worked? How would we feel going home with the same pay for working eight hours as my co-worker did for working only two hours? Secular wisdom would have a huge problem with this and a visit to the Labor Board would quickly pursue. But this is God’s wisdom and God’s ways.READ MORE
"So the last will be first and the first last." (Matthew 20:16)
You've heard the saying "It's not where you start, but how you finish." This certainly applies to this Bible passage. We have a responsibility not only for our own lives, but for the lives of others as well. We are called to generously share our gifts with others, not hoard them for our own use. Our sincere gratitude and cheerful generosity will help us live "God-centered" lives and not "self-centered: lives.
The great violinist, Niccolo Paganini willed his marvelous violin to the city of Genoa on condition that it must never be played.
The wood of such an instrument, while used and handled, wears only slightly, but set aside, it begins to decay. Paganini’s lovely violin has today become worm-eaten and useless except as a relic.READ MORE
What right do we have to limit the amount and degree of forgiveness we show to others when we are so desperately in need of it ourselves? In not wanting someone who hurt us to downplay or forget the gravity of their wrong, we cling to anger, resentment, and wrath as a way of maintaining control. It is a way to acknowledge and express our deep hurt. We fail to realize that in doing so we hold ourselves hostage to these destructive feelings and actually become mired in the bondage of sin. All we gain is further alienation from ourselves, others, and especially God. We are no longer free but tethered to all of this unresolved negativity. Don’t we really want to let it go? The fact is that we need to.READ MORE
“For if we live, we live for the Lord, and if we die, we die for the Lord; so then, whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s.” (Romans 14:8)
This is the essence of stewardship — everything we have and everything we are is a gift from God. We aren’t “owners” of anything, we are merely “stewards” of the gifts that God has given us, especially our very own lives. Pray to God daily and ask Him how He is calling you to live the life that He intended for you.
I hope this week's "pastor's Pen" will give you a laugh.
A man has been lost and walking in the desert for about five days. One hot day--actually, they’re all hot--he comes to the home of a community of Irish missionary priests.READ MORE
“You, son of man, I have appointed watchman for the house of Israel...”(Ezekiel 33:7)
Many of us are generous with our gifts.However, many of us are not generous in proportion to the gifts we have been given. How often do we give at the minimum level required? Remember, the Lord calls us to nurture and develop our gifts. He calls us to be generous with all the gifts He has given us, especially the one that means the most to us.