Strong Roots and a Good Foundation

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Let’s change course for a post or two since I am sure you are tired of hearing about my signs. Don’t worry though, I have plenty more of them to share. Today I want to talk about Jeremiah 17: 5 – 10.

Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose hope is the LORD. He is like a tree planted beside the waters that stretches out its roots to the stream: It fears not the heat when it comes, its leaves stay green; In the year of drought it shows no distress, but still bears fruit.

This is one of those passages that you need to read more than once to get the meaning. Not that you won’t get anything from it when you read it just once, but each time you read it you’ll get more. What does it tell us? To plant trees near water? Not exactly. It tells us to trust in the Lord and no matter what happens we will be okay.

When we trust in the Lord we are like a tree planted near the water. The tree will flourish because it has a good water supply. The roots will stretch to the stream and it will be strong and healthy. Because it is so strong, it will be able to withstand any stress that may come upon it, for example a drought. It will also be able to withstand storms, wind and ice. All because it has a strong foundation – the root system. This is no different with us.

If we have strong roots – if we believe in God – we will be able to withstand stress as well. In this case it is the stress brought on by Satan. Satan will try everything to get us to sin. He wants us for himself, he doesn’t want God to have our souls. He will do everything in his power to take over our souls. The harder we fight to keep sin and temptation away, the harder he will fight to get us to sin. But if we have strong roots, like the tree planted next to water, we will be able to withstand anything that Satan throws at us. God is our water. He is the one who gives us the strength to fight Satan We just need to ask for his help.

To reward everyone according to his ways, according to the merit of his deeds.

God will reward or punish us for the deeds we do. Remember how I say “Live with the end in mind”? This is God’s plan for us – to spend eternity with him. Since He is the one who decides, we need to do what He wants. We need to get that water to make those strong roots.

“Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock. The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and buffeted the house. But it did not collapse; it had been set solidly on rock. And everyone who listens to these words of mine but does not act on them will be like a fool who built his house on sand. The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and buffeted the house. And it collapsed and was completely ruined.” – MT 7:24 – 27

Build your house on a solid foundation.

Taking the Narrow Gate

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How often when faced with a choice do we opt for the easiest one? How often do we follow the crowd and do what everyone else is doing, even if we aren’t sure it is the right thing to do? Or to follow along with Jesus’ teaching and take the broad road in order to go through the wide gate? More

A Little Bit of a Ramble

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In my last post, I referred briefly how I began my journey back to the Catholic faith after a rather long absence. It began when I fell off the back of a truck, and a heavy piece of equipment that came behind me narrowly missed me. Someday I will write about the incident in more detail. After this happened I figured I was lucky this did miss me, even though it was coming right for me. A miracle? Luck? Divine intervention? I don’t know, but it sure got me thinking. More

Enter Through the Narrow Gate

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Yes, you wandered into temptation. But remember, you don’t often find temptation on the sure and straight path. Do you see where you left that path?

How many times do we stray from the straight path? How many of us don’t even now what the straight path is? If we don’t know what the straight path is, how can we follow it?

I think back to my past, when I strayed from the straight path and I realize I didn’t know what the straight path was. I didn’t learn what the straight path was until a few years ago when I began to read the Bible and came across

13 “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road broad that leads to destruction, and those who enter through it are many. 14 How narrow the gate and constricted the road that leads to life. And those who find it are few. – Matthew 7:13-14

This is where the “straight path” comes from, here and Luke 13;24, the narrow path or gate, being the path we need to stay on to enter Heaven.

I had left the faith, I didn’t study the Bible, I had never even read it as far as I can recall. so I had no idea what the straight path was, nor how to stay on it. I don’t recall ever learning about this in any CCD class or any where else. Now, this is not to say it wasn’t taught and I just wasn’t listening, the point is I didn’t know about it. If you don’t know about something, how can you follow it? I would like to think these things are covered in the religious education programs we have today, but I don’t know for certain.

Now I am certainly not blaming anyone for my not knowing these things, I take full responsibility for it, it was my choice to not learn my faith, I guess my point is it is up to us to learn these things. But, more importantly, if we don’t know where straying from the straight path will lead us, or keep us from, then why would we ever get back onto it?

Who am I to Judge

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matthew7_1

In my last post I wrote how I had done something I never had before, gave money to a street person. I wrote how it reminded me of  Matthew 25: 44 – 46 and “What you did for the least…” I have been reflecting even more on this over the last couple of days.

As I said I never did this before, mostly because I figured either the person panhandling was either scamming people or they were going to use the money for something they shouldn’t. The title of the post “There but for the grace of God” was intended as a reminder for me that this could be very well be me, and for a time I was close to this. What I have been thinking abut since then is who am I to judge these people? If it were me who was begging, would I want to be judged? Someone driving by me standing on the corner doesn’t know my story, they don’t know why I would be forced to panhandle, they would make assumptions, just like I have always done.

Too often we are quick to judge, whether it is the panhandler on the corner or the new person at our workplace, we make assumptions based on who knows what. It might be their looks, their clothes, the way they talk, the color of their skin, any number of things we judge someone on, all of which could be wrong. And by doing this, we forget what Jesus said:

“Judge not, that you be not judged.  For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get.” – Matthew 7:1

I don’t know what this person did with the money, it isn’t important. Maybe he bought a bottle, or maybe he bought a meal or maybe he used it to help him out of whatever problem he has gotten himself into. Certainly I hope he made a good decision and used it wisely, but then, who am I to judge?

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Ask and it will be given you

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Today at Mass, there were two young children in the pew in front of us with their parents. It was quite evident that three of the four really didn’t want to be there, the two kids and the father. It brought me back to when I was young, I didn’t want to be there either. This started me thinking about how my life has changed, especially in the last year.

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