Posts Tagged ‘Holy Spirit’

So, You Want To Be A Christian…

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

This weekend’s readings give us many clear instructions on what it means to be a holy Christian.

In the first reading (Leviticus 19:1-2, 17-18), we’re clearly told not to “bear hatred for your brother or sister in your heart.”  Not only are we instructed not to hate, the reading goes on to say that we’re not allowed to take revenge or hold grudges against “any of your people.”

“You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

Assuming that we do in fact love ourselves, imagine what our families and communities would be like if we really did love our neighbors as much as we loved ourself.  How’s that for a goal?  Do you think that it’s achievable?

In case we’re not feeling that great about ourself, Paul’s letter to the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 3:16-23) will remind us of just how loved and valuable we are.

“Do you not know that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?”  If we are in fact temples of God and if the Spirit of God is living in us, we’ve invited God to live within our mind, heart and within every cell of our being.  We are holy because we belong to God.

In this week’s gospel (Matthew 5:38-48), Jesus instructs with specific examples as to how we’re to move away from hatred and revenge and embrace love. Think of how this lesson compares with the norm in our culture:

When someone strikes you on your right cheek,

turn the other one as well.

If anyone wants to go to law with you over your tunic,

hand over your cloak as well.

Should anyone press you into service for one mile,

go for two miles.

Give to the one who asks of you,

and do not turn your back on one who wants to borrow.

Take a deep breath. Just when you might think that you can adopt that teaching, Jesus immediately gives us more:

You have heard that it was said,

‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’

But I say to you, love your enemies.

and pray for those who persecute you.

It’s easy to love people who are like us and who are lovable.  The challenge is to love those who are different from us and those who challenge us and hurt us. They are the very people Jesus asks us to love.

As Jesus looks upon each of us with the loving eyes of a father or brother, we are to love each person we encounter with that same unconditional love. We’re to pray for those who are deliberately hurting and persecuting us.  Our goal is purity of heart.

Is it easy being a Christian? No.  As we take on the mind of Christ and pray for God’s grace, we become more and more Christ-like each and every day.  Love takes over the space where revenge and hatred used to reside.

You and I are the temple of God. As we embrace the Spirit of God living within us, we understand that nothing is impossible.

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Reasons to Boast

Monday, May 31st, 2010

This weekend we’re celebrating the Most Holy Trinity.  This week Paul tells the Romans that we have reasons to boast.  Boasting is good when our pride is the result of our faith in God.

God the Father sent us his son Jesus to show us how to live and how to love.  He showed us that we love each other when we serve each other.  Jesus showed us that through the power of faith, people were healed on a daily basis. Through faith, Jesus was resurrected from the dead.  We learn over and over again about the healing power of faith.

 After Jesus spent time on earth loving us and before he went to heaven, he told us that he would never leave us alone  and that his Father would send an advocate to be with us always – the Holy Spirit.  God is with us every day through the power of the Holy Spirit. Our role is to invite God into every aspect of our lives.

In Paul’s Letter to the Romans (5:1-5), he talks about God the Father, Jesus the Son and the Holy Spirit. As usual, Paul is logical and upbeat as he tells us that we always have reasons to boast (to take pride in or be enhanced by the possession of) – in good times and in times of suffering or pain.

Paul reminds us that our faith leads us to peace with God through Jesus. This same faith gives us access to the gift of grace that is with us always. As Christians, our grace allows us to boast in hope of the glory of God.  We are enhanced by the possession of our faith, hope, love and trust in God.

Paul tells us to not only boast in hope, but to also boast of our afflictions.  Really? Why? 

 We know that we’re enhanced because we’re confident that:

  • Our afflictions produce endurance
  • Endurance builds and creates our character
  • Proven character sustains our hope
  • Hope does not disappoint

Why does hope not disappoint?  Because God’s love has filled our hearts through the power of the Holy Spirit who is with us always.

With each cell of our being filled with God’s love, there is no room for hatred, anxiety or fear.

Through prayer and conversation with God, we’re able to continually replenish and rejuvenate our faith.  Our communion with God provides us with a never ending supply of love and hope to sustain us  through every obstacle that is placed before us.

There is no problem that it so large that it can’t be solved by God as the result of our  faith.

Christians really do have reasons to boast!

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Receiving and Sharing the gift of the Holy Spirit

Monday, May 24th, 2010

Pentecost Sunday marks the 50th day after the resurrection of Jesus Christ and the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the apostles. It also marks the birth of the Christian Church by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Living in the year 2010, it takes grace  to live as a person of faith well over 2000 years after the death and resurrection of Jesus.  Thankfully, when Jesus left earth to go back to live with his Father in heaven, he promised his disciples that his Father would send us ‘The Advocate’  – the Holy Spirit.   Jesus said that the Holy Spirit “will teach you everything and remind you of all that I told you.” 

Maybe it makes sense to fully embrace the Holy Spirit and  call upon this power on a daily basis?

How’s that for a gift! We have God the Father in Heaven along with his son Jesus, we have the words of God as spoken by Jesus to comfort us each and every day AND we have the power of the Holy Spirit to assist us every second of our life on earth.  By calling upon and engaging the Holy Spirit we’re promised that we will never be alone.

Once the apostles were filled with the Holy Spirit, they were capable of speaking in tongues and enabled to proclaim the Good News. Regardless of what language the people around them spoke, they were able to understand God’s message as proclaimed by the apostles.  Through the power of the Holy Spirit, you and I are able to proclaim this universal message to all too.

We’ve been called to live the commandments and the first and  greatest commandment is that we love one another. The Holy Spirit gives us the power to do this every day.

What do you do when something great or exciting happens to you during the week?  Most of us are more than happy to tell everyone about whatever it was. “I got the job!.” “My daughter got into her college of choice!” “My friend has completely recovered from cancer!”

 Christians should be filled with the highest sense of Good News at all times. Why?

  • God sent his son Jesus to tell us first hand of his love for us.
  • Jesus spent time walking the earth and God’s Words spoken through Jesus have been written down for us to learn and use to live our lives in faith, hope and love.
  • We have testimony from those who saw him after his resurrection and believe that Jesus rose from the dead by the power of God’s Spirit.
  • Jesus told his disciples that he’d never leave us alone and that his Father was going to send us the Holy Spirit.
  • “If the Spirit of the one who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, the one who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also, through his Spirit that dwells in you.”  You and I will be resurrected upon the death of our earthly bodies too and live forever with Jesus in heaven! How’s is that for the ultimate long-term goal?

If you and I believe these things, what do we have to be anxious about?  Nothing!

We are filled with the power of the Holy Spirit and have confidence in our heavenly future.

We’re filled with the peace and love of Jesus so it’s easy for us to share those gifts with others.

The Holy Spirit is with us always and Jesus promised that the Holy Spirit “will teach you everything and remind you of all that I told you.”

To say that we’re fortunate  for having  received and embraced this gift is a huge understatement.  We’ve been commissioned by Jesus to share this gift with others. 

 Have fun sharing!

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