Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Do Good Parents Produce Good Children?

Do good mothers and fathers produce good children? Yes and no.
  Some children who have gone astray came from very good families. I remember reading about Franklin Graham, one of the sons of the famous Rev. Bill Graham. He rebelled against his good and decent parents and went astray for some time. He later repented, turned back to God, and is now the head of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.
  Then there are some children whose parents were absent or neglectful who turned out to be good, responsible citizens. Jim Daly, President of the Focus On the Family ministry, grew up in foster homes. Dr. Ben Carson grew up poor, in a single parent home, but became a renowned neurosurgeon due to the love and nurturing of his mother and the grace of God.
  So I think that although it's more likely that good mothers and fathers will  produce good children, it's not guaranteed.  After all, we are all created by our Heavenly Father, who is perfect in every way, and yet we rebel against Him and His Will for us.
  People compliment parents when they have polite, well-behaved children, and rightly so. But it's good to remember that when children go astray, it's not necessarily the fault of their parents. And children can't blame their poor upbringing for the problems in their lives. We all have been given the gift of free will and with God's grace can become good, responsible adults despite our upbringing.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

The Answer to the Problem of Terrorism

People hope and pray for peace in the world. The Sandra Bullock movie "Miss Congeniality" poked fun at the Miss America pageant contestants always saying what they most wanted was "world peace." But as we see day after day in the news reports, our world is far from peaceful.
  The scourge of terrorism throughout the world has caused people to focus even more on the problem of evil in our world. Most people look to our governments to protect us and solve the problem. But governments don't have the answer because it's a spiritual problem. The remedy for terrorism in the world is for people to turn back to God, return to church and pray for peace.
  Yes, we need to disarm and defeat those who commit these heinous acts against innocent men, women and children. But that has to be combined with turning back to God.
  It's not that God is punishing us for our lack of faith by allowing terrorism to reign. It's that the lack of faith throughout the world has removed us from God's blessing and protection. That fact was aptly illustrated by the author Jonathan Cahn in his riveting book The Harbinger where he showed how the Islamic terrorist attack on the United States on September 11, 2001 was the result of so many Americans turning away from faith in God.
  The answer to the problem of terrorism is we have to fight for peace, work for peace, but most of all turn back to God and pray for peace. May all our churches be filled, as they were after 9-11 in the U.S., not just after a terrorist attack but each and every day.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

The Wisdom of Fr. Benedict Groeschel

The following is one of my favorite teachings from Fr. Benedict Groeschel and very appropriate after celebrating Pentecost:
“Realize more and more that the spiritual life is essentially the work of the Holy Spirit.
Our participation, although it may appear to be a very active struggle to do good—to ‘press on,’ in the words of St. Paul—is ultimately a cooperation with the Holy Spirit.
Our essential task is not to do things for God, but rather not to resist God’s trying to do good things for us.
Holiness is his work. Our task is to avoid resisting Him.
Many people waste a great deal of time and effort doing what they want on the spiritual road instead of letting the Holy Spirit lead:  they must do this, they must be there, they must learn some other things.
This is not really following Christ; it is walking beside Him and making suggestions.”
Fr. Benedict Groeschel
Priest, psychology professor, speaker, writer, servant of the poor

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Commitment to Christ

This Sunday the Church will celebrate the Feast of Pentecost, remembering the day the Apostles, the disciples of Jesus and the Blessed Mother were baptized in the Holy Spirit.
It's also a day to recommit ourselves to Christ and ask for the Baptism in the Holy Spirit or more of the power of the Holy Spirit for ourselves.
  The following is a prayer from the Life In the Spirit Seminar guidebook to help us prepare for Pentecost.
Do you renounce Satan and all wrongdoing?
Do you believe that Jesus is the Son of God,
that He died to free us from our sins, and that He rose to bring us new life?
Will you follow Jesus as your Lord?
Lord Jesus Christ, I want to belong to you from now on.
I want to be freed from the dominion of darkness and the rule of Satan, and I want to enter into Your Kingdom and be part of your people.
I will turn away from all wrongdoing, and I will avoid everything that lead me to wrongdoing.
I ask you to forgive all the sins that I have committed.
I offer my life to you, and I promise to obey you as my Lord.
I ask you to baptize me in the Holy Spirit.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Can You Be Good Without God?

I was watching a news show where they were talking about a recent poll about the decline of morality in the United States. It showed that morality was at an all time low. Two of the commentators thought the cause was the decline in church attendance with the subsequent lack of training in morality. But one commentator thought that you could be a good, moral person without God.
  I have read about this trend, especially in the rising numbers of atheists and agnostics. I listened to a talk given by Jennifer Fulwiler, a popular blogger and former atheist who said that many atheists are very good, moral people.
  So where do we learn what is good and moral behavior. Is it common knowledge?  That can't be true because people disagree in many areas of morality. Is it built into our DNA?  That can't be true because if it were there would be no people who do harm to others. Our knowledge of what is good and moral, at least in western society, actually comes from our Judeo-Christian heritage.
 The United States was founded by Christians and our laws are based on Christian principles. The laws governing Europe, Canada and South America all had their source in Christianity and Judaism. It was Christianity that civilized the world; and Christianity came out of Judaism since Jesus was a Jew.  So even though a person may not have faith, or may have just some sort of "spirituality", their sense of right and wrong come from the Judeo-Christian heritage of their country.  Because of this, I think the two commentators who thought the cause was the decline in church attendance were correct.
  Everyone thinks children are innocent, which they are in so much as they are not old enough to sin. But every person is born into this world with the seeds of sin in their soul. Those seeds are going to sprout because no man or woman is perfect. What keeps those seeds of sin from growing and spreading and destroying the man or woman is the grace of God. Without God's grace we are doomed to be slaves to our sinful tendencies. Oh yes; we can sometimes resist some sin. We can do some good. But without God our sinful natures tend to take over. Without God the temptations of the evil one defeat us. Without God our innate selfishness overcomes our thinking and we rationalize our behavior.
  Without God, our ideas of what is right and what is wrong are just our ideas. We don't know for sure whether they are right or wrong for everyone. Only God can tell us what is the real truth. If it were not for God revealing Himself in the Judeo-Christian heritage and showing us what is truly right and wrong, good and bad, we would all still be uncivilized barbarians like the radical Islamists.
  So let no one say they can be good and moral without God. It is an impossibility.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Is Jesus the Conductor of Your Life?

Many years ago I came upon a statue of Jesus with his arms outstretched. It reminded me of a conductor of an orchestra. Since then I keep it on my dresser to remind me every day to look to Jesus as the conductor of my life.
  Each of the musicians in an orchestra plays an instrument. They are each trained in how to play their instrument. Although each musician is skilled in playing their own instrument, they need a conductor to play a particular musical composition together in harmony.
  So it is with each of us. We each have gifts, natural and supernatural, and talents, given to us by God. We could each decide how and where to use these gifts and talents, but then we would be the conductor of our lives, not God. Our part in God's great orchestra would not be fulfilled.
  In order to do God's Will, we must pray and seek His guidance each and every day; and then follow where He leads. Let Jesus be the conductor of your life. (see God's Will or My Will, January 12, 2016)

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

God Reveals Himself in Nature

 God’s Word is often revealed in the natural world.  The Bible says:  “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament proclaims His handiwork.”  Psalm 19:2 NAB.
  Even people who cannot read or who are uneducated can understand some truths about God by examining nature.

  Take a seed.  Contained in even the tiniest seed is the fullness of the plant that seed will become.  All the seed needs is air, food, water and sunlight to grow to fulfillment.

  In the same way, even before science discovered genetics and the DNA of each cell, God was showing us through the seeds in nature that the seed of human life, the embryo, contained the fullness of the person.  Not just a hope or a promise, but the whole person contained in that little seed. Those who believe that it's morally acceptable to abort a child deny this truth. It's a child, not a choice. It's a person.