Baltimore: Is this the beginning of the End Times?

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Once again, a United States city erupts into flames for no other reason than hate. Have you ever wondered how we fallen this far? How did we let Satan become such a big part of so many people’s lives? These people who are rioting, they don’t care about Freddy Gray, they don’t care about whether or not there really is a race problem in this country, they only care about hate, and evil, and destruction.

It makes me start to wonder if this is the beginning or even the middle of the end times. Jesus said we won’t know the time nor the hour, but there will be signs. Some of these signs seem to be happening now. We live in a time where people don’t know God, where hate is preached from some pulpits and high political offices.

We always hear that we need to pray. Pray to end this violence, pray to end the riots, but I am beginning to wonder if this will really help. Think of it this way. Many believe when they pray, that God hears them and will answer their prayers. I believe this, and I truly believe that God has answered my prayers, maybe not the way I would have liked him to, but He has answered them. And how has he answered them? In different ways, through dreams, through things I have seen or heard that make me realize He is giving me an answer, and sometimes through some event like when I fell off the truck. But I have also learned two important things: You need to believe, and you need to listen.

What happens if you don’t believe? Then you won’t hear. You won’t know it is God trying to teach you something, trying to help you. Therefore, if we ask God to intervene in these riots, to somehow enter into these people and get them to stop, since they don’t believe, they will have no idea what God, or even that, God is speaking to them.

Satan has prevailed for so long, he has succeeded in keeping God from so many lives, these people have no moral compass. They have no sense of right or wrong, good or evil, only what they have learned from the streets. They have had no leadership, no role models, other than others who also don’t know God. How many generations have we pushed God aside so that many people today don’t know Him?

How do we change that? Is prayer the answer? It certainly won’t hurt, but how else? We hear that the best way to spread the Word is to live it. But I ask the question, would people who don’t know of God, who don’t have that moral compass, even know that you are living the Word, would they follow your example?

Something to think about.

 

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The Safest Road to Hell

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screwtape letters

When you think of Satan what do you think of? Do you think of the pictures we so often see of a creature with horns and a pitchfork? What about when you think of temptation, and how Satan tempts us? Do you think it is through some kind of “In your face” method like taking over your body, as in a possession?

In this week’s edition of the National Catholic Register, there is an article about a recent meeting of exorcists. It seems there is an increase in the number of these being performed throughout the world. But in the article is this warning:

Both Father Barrajon and Father Truqui pointed out that although the devil causes the sensationalism of demonic possession, he is at work in much subtler ways. Possession attracts “lots of attention,” said Father Truqui, “but we should be aware of the more common ways the devil works, through tempting, deceiving, pushing people towards lies.” – National Catholic Register

When I think back to my own past, I know how the devil worked through me. Very slowly and methodically. He turned me to sin, convincing me it was okay, it was alright to do these little sins I was committing, I wasn’t hurting anyone. How wrong he was. I was hurting others in my life, I was hurting myself and most importantly I was hurting the Lord.

Here is a quote from C.S. Lewis’ “The Screwtape Letters” a book of letters written by a head devil to his nephew, helping him along on his way to being a really good devil.

“Indeed the safest road to Hell is the gradual one–the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts,…Your affectionate uncle, Screwtape.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters

How true this is!

Now more than ever

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How many times during your reading of the Bible have you thought about how even though it was written 2,000 or more years ago it is still very relevant to today’s world? Probably it is more relvant now more than ever.

This isn’t the first time I have written about the way we have pushed God from our everyday lives, and I bet it won’t be the last. With that in mind, periodically I look at various chapters or passages in the Bible and see how they relate to today’s world. Now, don’t forget I am not, nor do I pretend to be a biblical scholar, just a frustrated guy trying to understand things.

Today let’s take a look at Psalm 10. I read this last night and immediately it struck me how the first two lines relate so much to today.

1.Why, LORD, do you stand afar and pay no heed in times of trouble?

2. Arrogant scoundrels pursue the poor; they trap them by their cunning schemes.

Doesn’t it seem that God is not paying any attention to all the turmoil going on in the world today? I believe the poor being referred to in this day and age are both the poor in spirit and beleivers who are ridiculed by those non-believers and those with an agenda to remove God even further from our lives than he already is.

3. The wicked even boast of their greed; these robbers curse and scorn the LORD.

4. In their insolence the wicked boast: “God does not care; there is no God.”

The are proud of all the “things” they have acquired, even though they have gotten them without caring about others, without taking care of the poor, without caring who they hurt on the way to the top, all the time not really knowing what the “top” truly is.

5. Yet their affairs always succeed; they ignore your judgment on high; they sneer at all who oppose them.

6. They say in their hearts, “We will never fall; never will we see misfortune.”

7. Their mouths are full of oaths, violence, and lies; discord and evil are under their tongues.

They think because they are successful, they don’t need God, they don’t need to listen to Him, they don’t believe they will ever fail. They will do whatever they need to do to succeed. We who believe give up, we are attacked for our beleifs and crushed and beat down, thinking God really doesn’t care what happens for us.

13. Why should the wicked scorn God, say in their hearts, “God does not care”?

14. But you do see; you take note of misery and sorrow; you take the matter in hand. To you the helpless can entrust their cause; you are the defender of orphans.

Bur God does care and He will take care of those who believe, when we reach the “Top”. The top is the Day of Judgement and and we will either be rewarded, or not. God is watching, He sees what is going on and we can never give up hope, no matter how bad things seem to be.

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If Jesus Could, So Can’t I

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I have a confession to make, I haven’t been to confession this Lent. In fact, I haven’t been having a good Lent at all. I haven’t fasted, I haven’t abstained from anything, I’ve missed Mass and I haven’t done any extra prayers. The funny thing is if I ever needed God in my life more than ever, it is now.

It has been a long, cold, snowy, hard winter and it shows no sign of letting up. Freelance work is extremely slow in coming. I am still trying to get my unemployment, and frankly no one wants to hire someone who is closer to sixty than he is to fifty. Part of the problem is that all I have really done for the last 15 years or so has driven various trucks. Yes I ran my own business for awhile, and those skills can certainly help me, but I just don’t know what I want to do, other than write. But writing isn’t paying the rent.

I haven’t given up on God, in fact, I probably trust Him more than ever. Even with all I have done in the past He is still with me, frustrated with me I am sure, but still here. I guess I am still waiting for that God moment, where He somehow sends me a message telling me this is what you need to do.

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want; he makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters; he restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

I know that the Lord is my shepherd and as long as I trust in Him, I will be alright. He will guide me and make sure I get through this.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil; for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.

No matter how rough things get, no matter how bumpy the path, I will make it through. And I am comforted knowing He is there.

Lead me, O Lord, in thy righteousness because of my enemies; make thy way straight before me.

As I look back over the past few years, I realize, even though right now I am in somewhat of a spiritual drought, I have come a long way. I have a long way to go, but I have come a long way. I haven’t given up, crawled into a hole with a bottle or two and I have plugged along every day, doing my best to keep moving forward.

Today is Good Friday. Just around this time is when Jesus was carrying His cross, where he would be nailed to it. He never gave up, He never turned away, even though He very well could have. He accepted His fate and the pain He would go through. What I am going through is nothing compared to that, not even close.

Like Jesus, I need to continue moving forward, one step at a time, no matter what adversities I face, no matter what pain I am in.

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