Patience is a Virtue

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Okay it’s day eight and I have written five hundred words each day of Lent so far. Can I make it to forty? I don’t know, but I am going to try. I know today’s post is going to be a struggle. I’m just not in the writing mood today. I suppose I could just copy Psalm 119 but then that would be cheating.

Let’s talk about patience today. This is one of the first things I learned during my journey back, to be patient. this is one of the twelve fruits of the Holy Spirit and I certainly believe it was the Holy Spirit that sent it my way. It was just a little over a year ago that I knew I needed to make a change in my life. Things were not going well and I needed to make some hard decisions. I prayed for answers and they were given to me. At the same time I also learned that I needed to be patient and in time the changes would come.

We had to get out of the house we were in, it needed more work than we could afford to put into it. However we had outstanding debt and no credit so it was going to take a lot of hard work to change things. We were going to have to cut our spending, make some hard choices, including not paying off some of the money we owed people, making them wait a little longer, In other words we ticked some people off. But I knew we could and would bo it. We would get caught up. get our credit score up and be able to move. I knew God had my back, I trusted Him and believed we would do it.

My better half didn’t believe. It took her awhille to see we were making progress and that it would happen. Even for several months after we moved she still had a hard time beleiving we would be okay. But we were and are. I would tell her to have faith, that I was praying, and God was there for us. It was actually kind of funny becasue she would ask me why I needed to read the Bible all the time or go to church every week. I would smile and say “Because it is helping us.” Now she sees. Now she believes. that good things truly do happen when you pray and have the patience to wa.it for Him to act. He may not give you what you want or what you ask for, but He will give you the answers. God knows whats best for us.

In my case I asked God, not to send us a pile of money, only to guide meand show me the way. I asked Him to show me the way out of this mess and He did. I have the next four days off and I will go through my Bible and look at the notes I have made to pick out the ones that helped me. The ones that brought me to the point where I finally trusted in God. The point when I got to the top of the mountain and wasn’t afraid to go down the other side

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Another Day Another Answer

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Isn’t it funny how God just seems to know the answers to your questions? I can hardly count the times over the last six or seven years that God has sent me some kind of sign when I have asked him about what I should do. The latest was last night when I asked Him how to deal with my work situation. (See yesterday’s post)

I try to read either some scripture or other religious reading, and last night something told me to open my bible to 1 Peter 3:13 – 22. Okay something told me to open to 1 Peter, but when I read it I came to this chapter 3 and these passages.

Now who is going to harm you if you are enthusiastic for what is good?

Who indeed? Without sounding cocky or full of pride, I know what is right and what is wrong. I know how to treat people (Treat others as you wish to be treated). As long as I am doing what is right and good I need not worry about the consequences.

But even if you should suffer because of righteousness, blessed are you. Do not be afraid or terrified with fear of them, but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts. Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope, but do it with gentleness and reverence, keeping your conscience clear, so that, when you are maligned, those who defame your good conduct in Christ may themselves be put to shame.

If I am somehow persecuted for doing what is right, for speaking my mind, then so be it. Of course, giving an explanation with gentleness and reverence may not be an easy thing for me to do. I have been known to lose my temper when I see something that is just plain wrong. This is where God needs to give me patience. It is never good to counter anger with anger.

For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that be the will of God, than for doing evil

Unlike so many others in these times, I am not afraid of doing what is right, I follow God’s law. Others do what is right for them, I do what is right for God. I like to call it living with the end in mind. When I’m dead, I am going to be dead for a long, long time. Therefore I want to do everything I can to increase my chances of living with Jesus for eternity. How can I do this? By doing what is right, what is good. I can’t be afraid to do what is right.

For Christ also suffered for sins once, the righteous for the sake of the unrighteous, that he might lead you to God. Put to death in the flesh, he was brought to life in the spirit.

Jesus suffered for me more than I can ever suffer for him. A short while ago I was having some serious back pain and every night I would look at the crucifix by my bed and think no matter how bad my pain gets it will never be as bad as what Jesus went through for us. Thinking of that every night, and offering up my pain to him to ease his suffering, made my pain bearable. This offering must have worked since my back has improved significantly.

I know I will get through this, I know I only need to do what is right in God’s eyes, no one else. If I do that, I can do know wrong.

Thy Will Be Done

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We all know that line from “The Lord’s Prayer”. “Thy will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven.” How do we know what God’s will is? We often hear that instead of asking God what he can do for us, we should ask Him what we could do for Him, what is His will, what does He want from us. But how do we know?

“Everything happens for a reason”, “God has a plan for all of us”, these are other things we hear but we are never told what the plan or the reason is. How do we discern what God wants us to do? We pray, but nothing seems to happen, nothing seems to change, we never receive a sign telling us what we should be doing. Or do we?

Do we get “signs” from God and just don’t realize it? Do we take the time to listen when He speaks? The last couple of weeks have been tough here at the little house on the lake. I still haven’t found a new job, my better half was out of work for a month, we’re behind on all of or bills, my insurance company made me change my meds for my fibromyalgia and they aren’t working and we appear to be in a winter that just refuses to end. Needless to say I am more than just a little depressed. Is this part of God’s plan for me – to make me suffer? What did I ever do? Wait, it’s best I don’t go there.

Then I realize a few things. First, I am still here and that’s a plus. I also realize that losing my job was really God’s way of telling me maybe it was time for me to stop working 14 hours a day, driving 700 miles and constantly being in pain from the lifting I did every day. I also have more time to write, something I always have wanted to do although right now it isn’t paying the bills. And despite the problem with the med change, most of me feels better, at least I can stand up straight again. I also realize the fibromyalgia was impairing my driving somewhat (combined with the long hours and lifting), so maybe God was giving me a sign.

We might not always know what God wants from us, we might not always know what He is trying to tell us, but you can bet He is there. We only need to listen.

Pray then like this:

Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, On earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread;  And forgive us our debts, As we also have forgiven our debtors; 13 And lead us not into temptation, But deliver us from evil.  For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father also will forgive you; but if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. – Matthew 6: 9 – 14

Growing in Faith: A Bible Study Guide for Catholics Including Reflections on Faith by Pope Francis

You Can Understand The Bible: A Practical And Illuminating Guide To Each Book In The Bible

The Gospel According to Matthew (2nd Ed.) (The Ignatius Catholic Study Bible)

When I am Called to Duty God

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This post will be a little different than my usual discourse. Yesterday, two Boston firefighters died in the line of duty while fighting a fire in a building on Beacon Street.

The firefighters killed were identified as Lt. Edward J. Walsh, 43, of West Roxbury — a father of three — and Firefighter Michael R. Kennedy, 33, of Hyde Park, a U.S. Marine veteran who was single. – Boston Herald

I was a firefighter for over twenty years, although not on a full time basis like these two. I know what it is like to be in a burning building, the heat, the smoke, the confusion. These two heroes (and hero is not a word I use very often) like every other firefighter, whether full-time, part-time or volunteer, did what we all do. They ran into a burning building to save lives. The same building others were running out of.

This is a heck of a way to die, and anyone in the business knows it could happen, and it would be very painful. Yet, it wouldn’t stop us, and even now it won’t stop any firefighter from doing the same thing. I ask everyone to pray for these firefighters, their families and firefighters everywhere. Most of the time no one gives a thought to them, they only see them hanging around the firehouse, not doing anything. But remember, they are the first ones to respond, at any time of the day or night.

Here is what is known as the “Firefighter’s Prayer

When I am called to duty, God,
wherever flames may rage,
give me strength to save a life,
whatever be its age.
Help me embrace a little child
before it is too late,
or save an older person from
the horror of that fate.
Enable me to be alert,
and hear the weakest shout,
quickly and efficiently
to put the fire out.
I want to fill my calling,
to give the best in me,
to guard my friend and neighbor,
and protect his property.
And if according to Your will
I must answer death’s call,
bless with your protecting hand,
my family one and all.

Father Knows Best

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Once again I find myself having to admit to myself that God actually does answer our prayers. Throughout this blog I have mentioned several things which have happened to me during the course of my life which can only be explained by the fact that God truly does exist and that He listens to us and answers us.

If only one thing happened, or even two, I could chalk it up to coincidence, heck, even three things, but the incidents keep piling up. Too many for them to be mere coincidences or luck or anything other than the intervening of God. I know there are those who will read this who don’t believe in God, and that is their prerogative, I won’t argue, I won’t even try to persuade them, I only know what happens to me and what I believe.

I am not one who just accepts things as fact. When something happens, I look into it, research it, try to find explanations. When you exhaust all methods and find no explanation you have to accept it is God who is reaching into your life.

The latest example of God answering my prayers has to do with a family matter involving my daughter, her son and her ex-husband and a custody battle. I won’t bore you with the details, other than to say it was my grandson who was in the middle and who was the one being hurt the most. I prayed that God would help the situation and somehow open my ex-son-in-law’s heart and make him stop this nonsense so all could go on with their lives. I told God I would accept whatever His will was, and that I would trust in Him to make the right decision. This week He made a decision. Again, without going into the history, let’s say I truly believed that my grandson would be better with my daughter.

A few weeks ago the father dropped the case, stopped fighting it and it was all done. This week my daughter told me my grandson was going to live with his father for the next few months. My initial reaction was this would not be good but then I remembered my prayer. I believe this is God’s plan, that He thinks it is the best solution. For the record my daughter remarried and nw has a house with five kids, two with the new husband, one with the first husband and two belonging to the new husband and the situation there is less than perfect.

When one truly trusts in God, you have to believe He acts in the best interest of all. I have to trust that God answered my prayers, He entered into both my daughter and her ex-husbands hearts and made this happen. My daughter told me that the reason her ex dropped the case was because he realized this wasn’t the best for their son. Isn’t that what I prayed for?

Do I trust my ex-son-in-law? Not really, there is quite a history of deceit there, but I do trust in God. He hasn’t been wrong before and I don’t think He is wrong now. What will happen in a few months? I can’t say, only God really knows for sure, but I will continue to pray and continue to believe.

I lift up my eyes to the hills. From whence does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. He will not let your foot be moved, he who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The Lord is your keeper; the Lord is your shade on your right hand. The sun shall not smite you by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life. The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and for evermore. – Psalm 121