The following reflection is courtesy of PresentationMinistries.com (c) 2014. Their website is located at PresentationMinistries.com
EXTREME HEART MAKEOVER
“Trust in the Lord forever!” Isaiah 26:4
Advent is a time to prepare our hearts for the coming of Jesus at Christmas. Just as a mother has nine months to prepare her home for the arrival of her baby, so we have four weeks to prepare the way of the Lord in our life. A litmus test for our hearts is to compare our lifestyle and our actions against the Word of God. It’s easy to give Jesus only lip-service, and not life-service.
Are you keeping God’s commandments? Jesus says: “If you love Me, keep My commandments” (see Jn 14:21; 15:10).
Are you allowing God’s Kingdom to come? For example, if you are contracepting, when you pray the Our Father, you tell God “Your will be done,” but block His life so that His “Kingdom” cannot “come” (see Mt 6:10).
Are you behaving like an orphan, even though you are a child of God? For example, are you fearful that you can’t feed your family, even though Almighty God has promised to provide for you? (Mt 6:32-34)
There are many other Scriptures by which we can measure our hearts against God’s Word. Does your lifestyle show that your heart trusts in God? Ask the Lord this Advent to give you a new heart (Ez 36:26).
Prayer: Lord Jesus, not knowing Scripture means not knowing You (Catechism, 133). This Advent, I devote myself to knowing You by Your standards (see 2 Cor 5:16). Promise: “None of those who cry out, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of God but only the one who does the will of My Father in heaven.” Mt 7:21 Praise: St. John helped others to grow deeper in faith by the many theological works and tracts about truth that he wrote. (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)
Rescript: In accord with the Code of Canon Law, I hereby grant my permission to publish One Bread, One Body covering the period from December 1, 2014 through January 31, 2015.Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, June 30, 2014. The rescript is a declaration that a book or pamphlet is considered to be free of doctrinal or moral error. It is not implied that those who have granted ecclesial permission agree with the contents, opinions, or statements
The following reflection is courtesy of Don Schwager (c) 2014, whose website is located at DailyScripture.net
Whats the best security against disaster and destruction? In the ancient world a strong city, an impregnable fortress, and a secure house were built on solid rock because they could withstand the forces of nature and foe alike. Isaiah speaks of God as an everlasting rock (Isaiah 26:4). He is the rock of refuge and deliverance (Psalm 18:2) and the rock in whom there is no wrong (Psalm 92:15). Scripture warns that destruction will surely come to those who place their security in something other than God and his kingdom. Jesus parables invite us to stake our lives on the coming of his kingdom or face the consequences of being unprepared when the day of testing and destruction will surely come. When Jesus told the story of the builders he likely had the following proverb in mind: “When the storm has swept by, the wicked are gone, but the righteous stand firm for ever” (Proverbs 10:25). What’s the significance of the story for us? The kind of foundation we build our lives upon will determine whether we can survive the storms that are sure to come. Builders usually lay their foundations when the weather and soil conditions are at their best. It takes foresight to know how a foundation will stand up against adverse conditions. Building a house on a flood plain, such as a dry river-bed, is a sure bet for disaster! Jesus prefaced his story with a warning: We may fool humans with our speech, but God cannot be deceived. He sees the heart as it truly is with its motives, intentions, desires, and choices (Psalm 139:2). There is only one way in which a person’s sincerity can be proved, and that is by one’s practice. Fine words can never replace good deeds. Our character is revealed in the choices we make, especially when we are tested. Do you cheat on an exam or on your income taxes, especially when it will cost you? Do you lie, or cover-up, when disclosing the truth will cause you injury or embarrassment? A true person is honest and reliable before God, one’s neighbor and oneself. His or her word can be counted on. If you heed God’s word and live according to it then you need not fear when storms assail you. God will be your rock and your refuge. Is your life built upon the sure “rock” of Jesus Christ and do you listen to his word as if your life depended on it? “Lord Jesus, your are my Rock and my Refuge. Help me to conform my life according to your word that I may stand firm in times of trouble and find hope in your promises.”