Are The Lions at the Door

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In the past I have written about God giving me answers to questions, sometimes even before I ask them. The latest instance was this week when I was thinking about the Las Vegas shooting. As you know I am convinced we are nearing the end with all that has been happening: earthquakes, hurricanes, mass violence, etc. I also believe many of the problems are due to having pushed God out of the public square, completely turning around our moral compass.

I try to read something spiritual every night, whether it is scripture or some other writing. Lately, I have been reading the Old Testament, the Book of Jeremiah. The other night I opened to Chapter 5 and to my surprise, much of this chapter corresponds with what we are experiencing today.

Background on Jeremiah (from a non-biblical scholar)

Jeremiah was a prophet around the mid-seventh century B.C. and God was using him to warn the people of Israel that they were to be punished for their sins. God had already given them a chance to repent through Isiah but they didn’t. From the Agape Bible Study website:

The Prophet Jeremiah lived about a century after the Prophet Isaiah. The words of God spoken to the people through Isaiah brought the covenant people of Judah and their king to repentance, saving them from God’s judgment … However, God did not send Jeremiah to call the people to repentance but instead to announce that the time for repentance had passed and the judgment that had been delayed had now come.

As we’ll see. even though Jeremiah tries to convince God that there are some good people out there, He will have none of that. After all, God has heard this all before ala Abraham and the whole Sodom and Gomorrah thing. And if you look in Chapter 4, you will see that Jeremiah has protested to God against spreading His wrath,

Then and Now

So how does any of this relate to today? Let’s look at some verses from Jeremiah and how they can relate to what is going on around us. All scripture passages are from the USCCB website meaning that there might be slight variations in the translation you use.

We can begin at the very first verse where God asks Jeremiah to:

Roam the streets of Jerusalem, look about and observe, search through her squares, to find even one who acts justly and seeks honesty, and I will pardon her! – Jer 5:1

What he found were people who tried to make others believe they acted according to God’s will but were not. They were putting up false fronts, preaching false gospels and worshiping false gods. Jeremiah began with the common people and he thought they were ignorant of the law so he decided to talk to the leaders.

Let me go to the leaders and speak with them; for they must know the way of the LORD, the justice of their God. But, one and all, they have broken the yoke , torn off the harness. – Jer 5:5

This was the verse that made me realize that God was sending me some kind of message. Haven’t our political leaders “broken the yoke” and “torn off the harness”? I won’t even talk about those that claim to be good, devout Catholics yet favor abortion and euthanasia. Look at all the politicians out there that worship false gods: power and money are two of those gods. How many have built “alters” to themselves through pork barrel spending? How many truly care about the poor to get them working instead of depending on entitlements to live?

Let me jump ahead a few verses:

For criminals lurk among my people; like fowlers they set traps, but it is human beings they catch. Their houses are as full of treachery as a bird-cage is of birds; therefore they grow powerful and rich, fat and sleek. They pass over wicked deeds; justice they do not defend By advancing the claim of the orphan or judging the cause of the poor. – Jer 5: 26 – 28

Not only do I think of politicians when I read these verses, but I also think of others including business leaders and even some of the leaders of charities and other non-profits set up for the public good. One perfect example is the Planned Parenthood organization whose chairperson takes in $400,000 or so. Even something as noble as The Wounded Warrior Project has been criticized for excessive spending. Am I saying these people are criminals? I guess it would depend on your definition of criminal. But at the least they are taking advantage of others for their own gain.

Lions at our Doors

What happens when we discard God and His teachings?

Therefore, lions from the forest slay them, wolves of the desert ravage them, leopards keep watch round their cities: all who come out are torn to pieces, for their crimes are many, their rebellions numerous. – Jer 5:6

Are there lions, wolves and leopards at our doors? Look around you, they are everywhere waiting to destroy us. This week one named Stephen Paddock decided to shoot and kill hundreds of innocent people. No, we don’t know what his motive was, as of this writing the authorities can’t find one, but even so he was a beast who waited to pounce. There are terror attacks all over the world, some perpetrated by international terrorists, some by domestic terrorists. We can certainly relate these to Jeremiah’s beasts who are waiting to pounce.

God also laments about other sins that we are committing with impunity. Can we deny that adultery, immorality, crime and so many others surround us? All the while turning their backs on the Lord and His teachings fearing nothing, believing they will not be punished.

They denied the LORD, saying, “He is nothing, no evil shall come to us, neither sword nor famine shall we see. – Jer 5: 12

Throughout history we have seen this over and over again. Throughout the Old Testament, but even in modern history. Did the Nazi leadership and many German citizens who believed in Nazi ideology think they would not have to face the wrath of God? No. But it came. Are we here in the United States also thinking this? I believe so.

And when they ask, “Why has the LORD our God done all these things to us?” say to them, “As you have abandoned me to serve foreign gods in your own land, so shall you serve foreigners in a land not your own.” – Jer 5:19

Pay attention to this, you foolish and senseless people, who have eyes and do not see, who have ears and do not hear. – Jer 5:21

The Message

What is the message here? Is there one? I believe there is, the same as it was when Jeremiah first prophesied it almost 3,000 years ago. We have turned our backs on God. We have replaced his moral code with one of our own based on narcissism, materialism and relativism. We care more about ourselves than we do about others. We have created a culture of death, where lives no longer matter based upon your particular perception. And like the ancient people of Judah we too will be punished.

And as I stated at the very beginning of this rather lengthy post, I believe it may already have started.

What can we do?

This leads to the obvious question: What if anything can we do? I wish I had a good answer, but I don’t. Like Jeremiah, I am frustrated that so many don’t seem to care (not that I am any kind of prophet). We are surrounded by people who have eyes but do not see, and ears that do not hear. Not that there aren’t any good people out there. We see them any time there is a tragedy like what happened in Las Vegas or after the hurricanes and other natural disasters. The people come out in force, but too many of them, go back into hiding when the crisis is over. The crisis isn’t over.

Can we as individuals turn the tide? Can we make a difference? Although every day it gets harder and harder to believe I like to think we can. The one thing we can do is simple. Let me take a quote from Mother Teresa and change one word. “If we can’t change a hundred people, then change just one.” We need to live our lives as good Christians and maybe by setting and example we can change one person. one person will see how we are living and try to do the same.

And what is the first thing we need to remember? We need to live with the end goal in mind, and that goal is to spend eternity in Heaven.

If you can't feed a hundred people, then feed just one. - Mother Teresa

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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.

A Wayward Catholic meets a Southern Baptist

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Today I had to write a sample for an editing project I bid on. As you probably know, if you read this blog, that is how I am trying to make a living. If I am awarded this project I think it is going to be rather interesting. It involves taking transcripts of sermons giving by a real life Southern Baptist preacher and rewriting and editing them. Needless to say, a Southern Baptist and a Wayward Catholic, while not polar opposites, certainly have different approaches.

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It’s All About Our Choices

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In my last post I talked about free will, and how God has given us free will allowing us to make our own choices, whether good or bad. He will stand by and watch what happens, leaving it up to us about what we will do. Satan on the other hand, will do whatever he can to get us to sin, this is called temptation.  But even when he tempts us, we still have free will and we can choose to not sin, we can choose good over evil. It isn’t always easy, but we can do it.

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you – James 4:7

Often when something bad happens to us, we  say “God is testing me” but does He? Does God test us to see how we will react, to see if we choose good over evil? The answer lies in scripture:

Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted with evil and he himself tempts no one;  but each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire.  Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin; and sin when it is full-grown brings forth death. – James 13 – 15

I suppose we could say God tests us indirectly. By giving us free will, and not interfering, He will see what we will do in any situation, but he doesn’t do the tempting. The other thing we need to remember is what I have written at the top of this blog:

No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your strength, but with the temptation will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. – 1 Corinthians 10:13

While God won’t interfere, He will always give us a way out. It is up to us to make the right decisions, to choose good over evil. Unfortunately today there are too many people who don’t know the difference between good and evil. The lines have become blurred, what used to be black and white is now grey, the lines are blurred.

A perfect example of this is abortion. We can argue when life begins, personally I believe life begins at conception. But through the years many have blurred that line convincing people that life begins at “birth”, when that little slippery thing comes out of a woman and suddenly turns into a human being. Before that it wasn’t alive, it wasn’t human, or at least that is what the pro-choice people would like us to believe. It is a grey area. How can we kill something that isn’t alive?

The majority of people now believe it is okay to kill someone who isn’t wanted. They only think of themselves with nary a thought of the life they are ending, truly the most innocent of all of us. Yes, I know, it’s freedom of choice, but what about the baby’s choice, don’t they get a choice? And the next thing which is happening is euthanasia, you are old, you are sick, you have some kind of issue and someone decides you are no longer contributing, well, let’s put you out of your misery. We have become a throw away society, even when it comes to human life.

Yesterday was the Feast of the Annunciation. This is when it is believed the angel came down from heaven and told Mary she would bear a son, and she would call him Jesus. What if Mary had decided she didn’t want to have a baby? What if she decided it would be too much trouble, or couldn’t afford a baby just yet and had an abortion? We should all be thankful she wasn’t pro-choice.

Have you ever wondered who we have killed through abortion? Could one of those millions of babies been the one who could have cured cancer? I guess we’ll never know.

Well, there I go on my soapbox again. The point is, when you make everything grey, when there are no more lines, we no longer distinguish between good and evil. Satan wins, temptation wins because we have no way to determine what is a sin or not. Those of us of a certain age can remember one of our many mottoes from the ’70’s, “If it feels good, do it.” For how many of us was that when our own lines blurred? If it felt good it couldn’t be wrong. How wrong we were, and look where it has gotten us today.

The Prodigal Son

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How many of us are like the Prodigal Son? How many of us are like his brother? I am referring to today’s Gospel reading from Luke 15:1-32 which has this parable.

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Take Time to Listen

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Today’s Gospel reading from Luke 10:38 – 42 is about Jesus entering the house of Martha and Mary, and how Mary sat at Jesus’ feet hile Martha did all the work. We all know how that is don’t we?

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It’s Common Sense

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Wouldn’t it be nice if we all just got along?  There would be no war, no strife, no violence. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could just pick up a book and have all the secrets we need to do this? We do. More