Thursday, February 14, 2019
Welcome to another installment of our blog… I am still working on “perfecting” my faith and falling deeper in love with Jesus everyday. Growing up in a fairly religious family and attending a catholic elementary school built a foundation of prayer and worship that has stayed with me in to my adult years. I’m very fortunate to have been born into such great family but there are some drawbacks. My faith had never been tested. It was automatic. It was almost on auto pilot for most of my younger years. I didn’t know anything else. I wasn’t until my adult years that my faith and love for Jesus Christ was questioned. That foundation proved to be solid and, after the all the questions, Jesus Christ lives in the center of my life as the quarterback in this game of life.
While reading this weeks gospel Luke 6:17, 6:20-26 I was reminded of why my faith in Jesus seems to grow when I am faced with my greatest challenges. I have always felt like an underdog. Like I have had to work a little harder than everyone else to get my fair share. It may not be true but thats just a feeling that I have lived with. I’ve noticed that I ‘d go through a season where it seems like nothing is going my way. Challenge after challenge with no break in sight. Then I end up asking God.. “why me”? Why does it seem like I get the short end of the stick sometimes?? I’m doing what I consider to be the right things. I pray (all the time) I read the Bible and I even go to church when I don’t always feel like it... “why me?”
In this reading Jesus is addressing a large crowd of people and his disciples. He says “How blessed are you who are poor: the kingdom of God is yours.” I don’t know about you but... It puts me at ease to know that Jesus is looking out for the underdog. He is speaking to the guy that doesn’t have it all. Poor... have you been there? Spiritually or financially, either one can leave you feeling hopeless and alone. How wonderful is it to know that when you are feeling poor, the blessings of the lord are still there. He said “the kingdom of God is yours" Not in the future. Right now. Amazing!!! In my life, money and material things have come and gone. Jesus always been there for me. Ups and downs of life... Jesus is still right there. People come into my life for a season and people go. Yet, Jesus is always still there.
Jesus goes on to to say “Blessed are you who are hungry now: you shall have your fill. Blessed are you who are weeping now: you shall laugh.” I love the way he says “ hungry now”! Listen guys, right now things may not be exactly the way you want but, if you have enough faith in Jesus your challenge will turn around. How incredible is it to know that your current situation is not your ending point? If you are hungry now.. hang on, your meal is coming. If you are spiritually struggling and weeping, hang on, your time is coming. I’m sure we have all prayed for a life that is without some of the challenges or struggle but, it is in those moments when we see exactly who Jesus is and what he means to us. It is In those moments that Jesus reveals to us, who he really is and how great he truly is. Without any doubt, I can say that It has been during the times when I was the weakest and felt the most alone that my faith and trust in the lord was the strongest. As I get a little older I have learned to accept that there are some things that we simply can not control. What we can control is who we put our trust in. We can trust the lord.
Wednesday, February 6, 2019
This week’s Gospel reading is from Luke. It’s the story of Jesus telling the fisherman Simon Peter to “put out into deep water” and once again cast his nets for fish. This was even though Simon Peter and his crew had experienced a really bad day fishing and the men were already washing their nets and putting them away. Of course, when Simon Peter listens to Jesus and heads out a little deeper to throw out his nets one more time, the nets become so full of fish that the boat nearly sinks. Simon becomes ashamed of having doubted Jesus’ instructions, so much so that he asks Jesus to leave him. But Jesus tells Simon not to worry, and that from that point forward Simon and his friends will be catching men. Bigger and better game than they had originally hoped for, in other words.
I love this story, because I feel like I have gone through this. There have been times in my life when I’ve been packing it in, so to speak, “washing my nets” and telling myself that there is no hope. And sometimes when I have gotten to that point, I’ve received what I feel is divine encouragement to keep on going and see what can be made out of what has gone wrong.
I think that the worst thing that can happen to us is to give up hope. That’s a lack of faith that I’ve been guilty of many, many times. But when I take a step back, I can see that God is always there. This doesn’t mean that bad things haven’t happened in my life, or even that I have felt that things “worked out in the end”. That’s not the case. Some things are just bad results. Sometimes people die too young. Sometimes relationships break and are never mended. Sometimes people lose their job and don’t get a better one. Life is rarely if ever a Hallmark movie. But I do believe, and it is my experience, that God works all things for good, even bad things. Most often, seeing that that is true is difficult. And it requires a lot of perspective, and very often a lot of time.
But if you’re putting your nets away, thinking the day is done, the game is lost, and no fish can be caught, please stop for a moment. Please consider listening to God’s encouragement to take one more step and see if a good thing can come from a bad one. Please consider throwing out your net again. God will be on your side, I promise.