August 4, 2014 · 11:17 am
Reading the scriptures is a great safeguard against sin.
—–sayings of the desert
The importance of a proper perspective on life can never be overstated. I once heard the story of an old Navajo Indian in Arizona who became a very wealthy man when oil was discovered on his land, but wealth did not change him. He went on living just as he had before while the money piled up in the bank. Every now and then, however, the old man would visit the bank and say to the banker, “Crops all dried up; sheep all dead; cattle all stolen.” The banker knew exactly what to do. He would take the old man into the vault, seat him at a table, and place several bags of silver dollars in front of him for him to count. After a while the man would come out and say, “Crops fine; sheep all alive; cattle all back.” Why the change? He had simply reviewed his resources and reminded himself of what he had to fall back on. This is what believers must do when the pressure comes. When we feel like complaining and murmuring, let us remember who we are in Him and what He has promised us for times of stress.
Not many people who read these words will have an oil well that pours money into your bank account everyday’ but we have something far greater. We have the wealth of the Creator. His promises can relieve all anxiety and stress to those who trust Him.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
——Jesus of Nazareth
October 29, 2013 · 9:54 am
His name was Bede, also known as Venerable Bede, and he was the father of English history. Bede was truly a master of multiple disciplines, but he is most remembered as the man whose lifelong mission was to bring people closer to God. Bede never traveled more than 30 miles from his Northumbrian Monastery, and from that community he wrote more than forty books covering a wide range of subjects. For all of his 62 years he valued nothing more than his mission.
“The Venerable Bede Translates John” by James Doyle Penrose
Bede said, “He who will not willingly and humbly enter the gate of the Church will certainly be damned and enter the gate of Hell whether he wants to or not!” These strong words establish his doctrine of salvation. The key words to anyone’s faith walk are willingly and humbly. Without this conviction we fail to enter the gates of heaven and live a miserable earthly existence as well.
Scripture proclaims, “Listen! I am standing at the door, knocking; if you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to you and eat with you, and you with me.” (Revelation 3:20) God’s word is crying out for us to willingly let Him into our lives. He has prepared such a good life for us, and yet it is our choice to neglect or accept His invitation. Salvation, the Christian way, is never forced upon any soul, but it must be received and received willingly.
The second word that Venerable Bede uses is humbly. Jesus said in the parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector, “for all who exalt themselves will be humbled, but all who humble themselves will be exalted.” Clearly, our Lord articulates to us that acting in humble submission is the key to eternal justification and a peaceful life all the days of our lives. A person who lives humbly not only receives riches in the hereafter but lives without the earthly scourge of excessive pride. This type of pride leads to untold sin and grief.
The word of the Church Father is that the neglect of this simple formula leads to eternal condemnation and a miserable earthly existence. We would do well to give heed to the words of Jesus, “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” Our world cries for rest, and peaceful rest at that. Jesus offers this life to all who come to Him.
A man who was born of questionable parentage, and died a criminal’s death offers us this gift of peace by the power of His resurrection. Some 700 years later a humble Monk who never traveled more than 30 miles from the place of his birth repeats this invitation in very simple words. Let us not complicate the salvation of the Christ, but merely accept willingly and humbly.
Filed under Ascetics, Bede, Christian Journey, Faith
Tagged as Bede, Christ, Church Father, God, Jesus, Pharisee, Pharisee and the Publican, Venerable Bede
December 4, 2012 · 6:46 pm
Choices – they seem unending, especially at Christmas. The Scriptures can be our guide as we observe the way God chooses and the way he challenged others to choose. From the very beginning when Adam and Eve chose their own way over God’s provision, each person who has ever lived has faced that decision.
Martha, out of self-righteous frustration, reprimanded Jesus because he would not condemn her sister, Mary, for not helping her with chores. Jesus simply tried to help her understand that Mary, in choosing to simply sit in His Presence and internalize his every word ,had indeed chosen “the good part.” Mary chose the part that never goes away, never gets old – the part that is eternal.
The rich young man expected a quick, easy answer from Jesus. He needed to know how to inherit eternal life. He could not imagine that inheriting eternal life could be any more challenging than inheriting his father’s wealth. But Jesus told him he would have to make a choice between what the world could give and what God could give. The rich young man chose the part that goes away – the part that is temporary.
The Christmas narratives portray God’s nature by the choices He made.
- God chose a teenage peasant girl, not a daughter of a ruling Pharisee.
- God chose a carpenter, not a king.
- God chose Nazareth, not Jerusalem.
- God chose a stable, not a palace.
- God chose a feeding trough, not an ornate cradle.
- God chose shepherds, not rabbis.
- God chose to show his star to Gentiles, not Jewish royalty.
- God chose poverty, not wealth.
- God chose humility, not position.
- God chose service, not recognition
- God chose earth, not heaven.
This Advent, this season of endless options, is a perfect time to evaluate our decisions, to align our choices with the eternal and holy and divine. Jesus told us that a good person with a heart full of good treasure makes good choices, lives a good life, recognizes holiness, and lives in the Kingdom of God. He told us that choices reveal our souls, our decisions come from what dominates our hearts, and our lives mirror the Master that controls them.
- Reflection – Consider each decision you make this season in light of God’s decisions in the Scripture.