Readings 20141216

The following reflection is courtesy of PresentationMinistries.com (c) 2014. Their website is located at PresentationMinistries.com

INTO THE DUMPSTER

“The lowly will hear me and be glad.” —Psalm 34:3
Throughout much of our lives, many of us develop the illusion that we are naturally good-hearted, loving, and kind people. We pretend that about all we want out of life is to help people. Although various circumstances in our lives seem to indicate a self-centered, egotistical attitude in us, we ignore these details. Usually somewhere around middle age, we may realize by God’s grace that we have spent our whole lives thinking about ourselves and seeking our own pleasure, even at others’ expense. We now begin to realize we are egomaniacs, like most other people. Now we have the opportunity of a lifetime — the opportunity to repent.

This Advent, the Lord wants to fulfill in your life the prophecy of Zephaniah: “Then will I remove from your midst the proud braggarts, and you shall no longer exalt yourself on My holy mountain. But I will leave as a remnant in your midst a people humble and lowly” (Zep 3:11-12). The Lord wants to clean house — your house, your heart. It may seem that He is removing everything from your heart, but He will leave behind within you a remnant “humble and lowly,” which does no wrong and speaks no lies (Zep 3:12-13).

Let the Lord clean your house before Christmas. Let Him clean it as it’s never been cleaned. Let Him throw out tons of self-deception, pride, and selfishness. Pray: “A clean heart create for me, O God” (Ps 51:12).

Prayer: Father, may I not spend what remains of my earthly life on human desires, but on doing Your will (1 Pt 4:2). Promise: “When John came preaching a way of holiness, you put no faith in him.” —Mt 21:32 Praise: David, who was physically blind, came to “see” and accept Jesus as his Savior in the last minutes of his life. (For a related teaching, order our tape on The Necessity of Confession for Renewal on audio AV 70-1 or video V-70.)
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
What kind of future are you preparing for? Jesus encourages us to think – to think about the consequences of our choices, especially the choices and decisions that will count not just for now but for eternity as well. The choices we make now will affect and shape our future, both our future on earth as well as in the life of the age to come.

Repaying a debt of gratitude and showing respect where it is due
Jesus tells a simple story of two imperfect sons to illustrate the way of God’s kingdom. The father amply provided for his sons food, lodging, and everything they needed. Everything the father had belonged to them as well. The father also rewarded his sons with excellent work in his own vineyard. He expected them to show him gratitude, loyalty, and honor by doing their fair share of the daily work.

Converting both heart and will to do what is good and pleasing to God
The “rebellious” son told his father to his face that he would not work for him. But afterwards he changed his mind and did what his father commanded him. The “good” son said he would work for his father, but didn’t follow through. He sought his own pleasure, contrary to his father’s will. Now who was really the good son? Both sons disobeyed their father – but one repented and then did what the father told him. Jesus makes his point clear – Good intentions are not enough. And promises don’t count unless they are performed.

A transformed heart filled with gratitude and respect
God wants to change our hearts so that we will show by our speech and by our actions that we respect his will and do it. God offers each one of us the greatest treasure possible – indestructable peace, joy, and friendship with him in his everlasting kingdom. We can lose that treasure if we refuse the grace – the free gift of God’s blessing and strength – which the Lord Jesus has won for us through his victory on the cross. The Lord Jesus fills us with the gift of the Holy Spirit who works in and through us for the glory of God. Do you seek to please God and respect his will and loving plan for your life? Allow the Holy Spirit to to fill your heart with the peace, joy, and righteousness of God’s kingdom (Romans 14:17).
“Lord Jesus, change my heart that I may only desire that which is pleasing to you. Help me to respect your will and give me the strength, joy and perseverance to carry it out wholeheartedly.”

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