PARADOXICAL

The faith chronicles

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

 

"God's accuracy"


(Forwarded email)

GOD’S ACCURACY!!!

What an awesome and orderly GOD we have !!!

God's accuracy may be observed in the hatching of eggs.

For example:
*** the eggs of the potato bug hatch in 7 days;
*** those of the canary in 14 days;
*** those of the barnyard hen in 21 days;
*** The eggs of ducks and geese hatch in 28 days;
*** those of the mallard in 35 days;
*** The eggs of the parrot and the ostrich hatch in 42 days.
(Notice, they are all divisible by seven, the number of days in a week!)

The lives of each of you may be ordered by the Lord in a beautiful way for His glory, if you will only entrust Him with your life. If you try to regulate your own life, it will only be a mess and a failure. Only the One Who made the brain and the heart can successfully guide them to a profitable end.

God's wisdom is seen in the making of an elephant... The four legs of this great beast all bend forward in the same direction. No other quadruped is so made. God planned that this animal would have a huge body, too large to live on two legs. For this reason He gave it four fulcrums so that it can rise from the ground easily.

The horse rises from the ground on its two front legs first. A cow rises from the ground with its two hind legs first. How wise the Lord is in all His works of creation!

God's wisdom is revealed in His arrangement of sections and segments, as well as in the number of grains.

* Each watermelon has an even number of strips on the rind.
* Each orange has an even number of segments.
* Each ear of corn has an even number of rows.
* Each stalk of wheat has an even number of grains.
* Every bunch of bananas has on its lowest row an even number of bananas, and each row decreases by one, so that one row has an even number and the next row an odd number.
*The waves of the sea roll in on shore twenty-six to the minute in all kinds of weather.

All grains are found in even numbers on the stalks, and the Lord specified thirty fold, sixty fold, and a hundredfold - all even numbers.

God has caused the flowers to blossom at certain specified times during the day, so that Linnaeus, the great botanist, once said that if he had a conservatory containing the right kind of soil, moisture and temperature, he could tell the time of day or night by the flowers that were open and those that were closed!

Thus the Lord in His wonderful grace can arrange the life that is entrusted to His care in such a way that it will carry out His purposes and plans, and will be fragrant with His presence.

Only the God-planned safe life is successful. Only the life given over to the care of the Lord is fulfilled.


Monday, September 21, 2009

 

Pope Benedict's test for holiness


Pope offers test to see if God is within

VATICAN, Sept. 16, 2009-- There is a way to find out if God is dwelling and working within us, says Benedict XVI: We can ask if we respond to offenses by forgiving and to hatred with love.

The Pope offered this discernment criterion today when he dedicated the general audience in Paul VI Hall to a reflection on Symeon the New Theologian.

The Holy Father said that the 11th-century monk "calls us all to attention to the spiritual life, to the hidden presence of God in us, to honesty of conscience and purification, to conversion of heart, so that the Holy Spirit will be present in us and guide us."

The Pope proposed that attention to our interior growth is "even more important" than the "just" preoccupation with our physical growth.

And interior growth, he explained, consists in "knowledge of God, in true knowledge, not only taken from books, but interior, and in communion with God, to experience his help at all times and in every circumstance."

Confirming Christ

Benedict XVI pointed to something Symeon experienced that confirmed for the monk that God was within him.

He recounted: "[Symeon] began to feel like 'a poor man who loves his brothers.' [...] He saw around him many enemies that wanted to set snares for him and harm him but despite this he felt in himself an intense movement of love for them. How to explain this?

"Obviously, such love could not come from himself, but must spring from another source. Symeon understood that it came from Christ present in him and all was clarified for him: He had the sure proof that the source of love in him was the presence of Christ and that to have in oneself a love that goes beyond one's personal intentions indicates that the source of love is within."

The Pope affirmed that Symeon's experience is important for us today, "to find the criteria that will indicate to us if we are really close to God, if God exists and lives in us."

"God's love grows in us if we are really united to him in prayer and in listening to his word, with openness of heart," the Holy Father explained. "Only divine love makes us open our hearts to others and makes us sensitive to their needs, making us regard everyone as brothers and sisters and inviting us to respond with love to hatred, and with forgiveness to offense." (Zenit)


Saturday, September 19, 2009

 

Txt msgs


It’s only forgetting yourself that you draw near to God. – Henry David Thoreau

Grace fill empty spaces, but it can only enter where there is a void to receive it, and it is grace itself which makes this void.

True love of God must begin with a delight in His holiness. Jonathan Edwards

There is no emptiness of soul ever for those whose life is devoted to God. – William Lawson


Friday, September 18, 2009

 

From Holding Tight to Letting Go


From Holding Tight to Letting Go

by Henri Nouwen

For years I have loved watching trapeze artists. The love began when my then-eighty- nine-year- old father came for a visit. Let’s go to the circus, we decided one day. That evening we watched five South African trapeze artists-three fliers and two catchers. They danced in the air! The fliers soared and all was dangerous until they found themselves caught by the strong hands of their partners. I told to my father that I had always wanted to fly like that, that perhaps I had missed my calling!

I am constantly moved by the courage of my circus friends. At each performance they trust that their flight will end with their hands sliding into the secure grip of a partner. They also know that only the release of the secure bar allows them to move on with arcing grace to the next. Before they can be caught they must let go. They must brave the emptiness of space.

Living with this kind of willingness to let go is one of the greatest challenges we face. Whether it concerns a person, possession, or personal reputation, in so many areas we hold on at all cost. We become heroic defenders of our dearly gained happiness. We treat our sometimes inevitable losses as failures in the battle of survival.

The great paradox is that it is in letting go, we receive. We find safety in unexpected places of risk. And those who try to avoid all risk, those who would try to guarantee that their hearts will not be broken, end up in a self-created hell. C.S. Lewis wrote in The Four Loves:

To love at all is to be vulnerable…if you want to make sure of keeping your heart intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket of your selfishness. But in that casket-safe, dark, motionless, airless-it will not change. It will not be broken-it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable… The only place outside of Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from the danger of love is Hell.

In so many ways, the more we insist on control and the more we resist the call to hold our lives tightly, the more we have to deny the reality of our losses and the more artificial our existence becomes. Our belief that we should grasp tightly what we need provides one of the great sources of our suffering. But letting go of possessions and plans and people allows us to enter, for all its risk, a life of new, unexpected freedom.

How can we live with greater willingness to let go? Another step in turning our mourning into dancing has to do with not clutching what we have, not trying to reserve a safe place we can rest in, not trying to choreograph our own or others’ lives, but to surrender to the God whom we love and want to follow. God invites us to experience our not being in control as an invitation to faith.


 

Faith minus the consolation


I texted this to a friend today:

It could be that we are being called to love and serve God without the usual charismatic consolations (which are many and varied). It seems that this is a time of testing if we are mature enough to relate with God in a new (higher?) level.

May the grace of God (because everything is grace) sustain us so we could get successfully to that new level of faith.


Thursday, September 17, 2009

 

Enshrining God's word


I believe I need to enshrine God's word. Each time I am struck by inspiration, or any passage or word of God that helps me or encourages me whenever I'm down, I should remember the word in my heart by blogging it here in a special way at least, or making some kind of artwork, so I won't easily forget, because man that I am, I find it so easy to forget God's gifts and promises, especially His crystal-clear words in the Bible. Just like spending the holy hour, I believe this effort is worth ever millisecond wasting time on. For art from God's counsel, everything is useless, useless in keeping me want to live for one more second, useless in making me happy keeping that delicate balance I aim for in life.


Thursday, September 10, 2009

 

Sadness vs. sorrow


Making a Decisive Decision to Change

(God’s Armor, Mother Nadine, Intercessors of the Lamb)

A point of discernment is that once we get the light and make a decision, the temptation will come from the enemy to change that decision. This temptation can come in many different ways and will often come when things get pretty stormy. It can come when it doesn’t look like we made a good decision because all of a sudden, things aren’t going right or going according to how we think they should be going. St. Ignatius Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits, cautions us here, “In time of desolation we should never make any change, but remain firm and constant” (The Spiritual Exercises, 318). Never, never turn the ship around in the middle of the storm. We are to never change our discernment while it’s stormy. When we are at peace, when we are calm within ourselves, we may find then that we need to change course. We may find it wasn’t the best discernment and that we need to re-discern because the enemy is involved somewhere, and it’s not bearing good fruit. Don’t be afraid to make that change and re-discern. When there’s peace within us again, nine times out ten we will know that we’re right on course. We would not have wanted to change our course in the storm only to find we were on the right track initially.

For example, if we are angry, satan would like us to call up that person we are angry with right then and there to get this talked about. This is not a good time because we are not at peace. There is a justified anger that comes from the Holy Spirit; it’s a controlled anger. If it’s our own emotional anger, we may not have the control, and then we may strike out, causing hurt and further division. Many things could happen when we are getting into uncharted waters during the storm. So we must be careful of what we say and how we move, especially when we don’t have peace. We always have to wait until we can shift back into neutral, into peace. We need the breastplate of righteousness firmly in place. Then the fruit will always be peace. We wait for that little peace branch to come back. We wait for the Dove to bring it back into our hearts. We don’t want to get into enemy territory.

There are a few little guidelines about consolation and desolation that are helpful to know because they are tools of God, but they can also be used by the enemy. Desolation is always from the enemy, and its effect will always take us further away from God. Consolation will always bring us closer to God.

Sometimes we recognize desolation when we’re really despondent, but we need to spot it before we get dragged to the bottom. Here are some manifestations of desolation: negativity, discouragement, self-pity, anxiety, turmoil, restlessness, impatience, tepidity, and complaining. Negative feelings are dangerous; they are not of God and can lead to deep desolation. These are not of God, and we need to come against them.

Discouragement is another manifestation of desolation and will draw us to the belief that maybe God doesn’t love us or that God has abandoned us. We have to be careful here. It can lead to self-pity because in desolation all of a sudden the focus changes to myself. We are in dangerous spiritual waters when this happens. We need to focus totally on the Lord. When we start to focus on ourselves, self-pity can come and bring sadness with it. St. Teresa of Avila used to say “God deliver me from frowning saints”. Sadness is not of God, so if we recognize these things happening within ourselves, we know that the enemy is working.

The enemy can use good things to destroy us. He can use our devotions and pious practices. I’ve seen people at prayer. It looks good, but if we speak to them or disturb them in any way, they become very upset. Look at the fruit. For heaven’s sake, don’t sit in their church pew! We can see spirits are working here, using good people who are doing what we would say are good things.

Fear is also one of satan’s main tools. When we’re afraid, we’re not going to focus on the Lord. We lose our peace, get anxious, can become angry, upset, and unkind. The bottom line is that we’re going to violate charity, the commandment of Jesus to love one another as He has loved us.

All of this is opposed to the personality of the Lamb. The Lamb is meek, is humble, is gentle. Jesus is everything satan is not; they are totally opposite. So we need to fight against this, particularly if we have developed habits. It takes time to develop a habit, good or bad. As we become aware of our bad habits, with the grace of God, we can move very easily into developing good habits. It really doesn’t take that long to develop good habits once we become aware of it, examine our motives and our actions, and decide to change. We have to take a look ar ourselves, as well, to see why we are acting or reacting the way that we are.

Sadness and unrest come from the enemy. Remember the rich young man? “He went away sad, for he had many possessions” (Mk. 10:22). He was saddened. He wasn’t ready to leave his earthly treasures behind. Sorrow and sadness are not the same thing. We can see the difference when we look at the fruit or the results from a particular attitude or situation. Jesus said “You can tell a tree by its fruit” (Mt. 7:20). Sadness will lead us into depression and self-pity; these are not of God.

On the other hand, sorrow is healthy and produces deeper love and understanding. It causes spiritual growth and calls us to action. Jesus said “My heart is filled with sorrow to the point of death” (Mk. 14:34). The heart of Jesus sorrowed, and ours will, too, if we remain with the heart of Jesus. We have to allow for grieving time, for that pain. There are a lot of abortions, the loss of precious babies. There is a lot of sorrow over the things going on in Rwanda. Sorrow is not of the enemy, for it produces good fruit. Sorrow is of God. Sorrow and joy live side by side in the soul. There is no conflict there. If we watch the fruit, we’ll be able to tell.

A thought can also be known by its fruit. What kind of fruit is this thought producing within us? Then we can tell pretty much who is behind this partuclar thought. We have to watch carefully over our thought life. If we fell some sadness or unrest about a decision we have made, feel free to re-discern it. It’s okay to make a mistake. We are human and are limited, so we’re going to make a lot of mistakes. But don’t deny the mistakes or pretend that they’re not there, for to build one mistake upon another would be foolish. Rather, we need to go back and re-discern our thoughts and decisions right away and tell the Lord about our mistakes. It’s okay. This is humility and it’s dealing with truth. Whenever we walk in truth, we walk in freedom. Satan cannot touch us when we’re in that freedom and light.

Once again we go back to the image of the child because a child is free. Children are not perfect in the sense of doing perfect things. The spirit of perfection that many of us have is not of God. God alone is the perfect One. Children are imperfect. They really don’t do anything well; they don’t do everything right. They’re little. They do the best they can. That’s all God asks of us: that we do the best we can, but it isn’t going to be perfect. We’re going to fall into the mud puddles. We’re going to disobey, but when this happens with our own children, we don’t love them any less. No, we put them in the bath tub, clean them up, and discipline them “Don’t do this again”. But we don’t stop loving them. God never stops loving us. He’s calling us to this union. This is important for prayer warriors more than ever before: we must exchange our heart for His heart, we must move in His perfect will. Satan cannot break through and attack us when we’re in that kind of union.

So don’t hide from the Lord. Whatever we do, don’t hide from the Lord. Always go back to Genesis 3 to see the personality of satan and his tactics. It’s all there. Adam and Eve hid. They hid, and our all-knowing, all-loving God said, “Where are you?” (Gn3:9). We have to remember that if we keep hiding, we’re not going to know ourselves or who we are. So never hide from the Lord. We may have many mechanisms for running and for hiding: busyness, talking on the phone a lot, watching TV, reading good books, whatever; anything to avoid prayer, anything to avoid that face to face dialogue meeting with the Lord. We know what are own personal ways of running and hiding. We have all sorts of ways of avoiding Him. So we must be careful that we’re not running or hiding from the Lord.

God works slowly, always respecting the dignity of the person. He loves us. He desires that we remain pure in Him. He wants us to make precious care of our heart. He wants us to belong only to Him. This is our area of greatest protection: our unity with the Father. So “stand fast, with… righteousness as your breastplate” Eph 6:14 for the Lord desires to work through us. We have already been given so many weapons to protect us and help us to stand fast!


Wednesday, September 02, 2009

 

Wings or net


“A spiritual writer once wrote: ‘If God will ask you to jump off a cliff, you have to do it. Because if you believe, either He’ll give you wings to fly, or He’ll catch you.’”


 

Rope and hem


"When you reach the end of your rope
You will find the hem of his garment."


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