by Joshua Harris.
In that place between wakefulness and dreams, I found myself in the room. There were no distinguishing features save for one wall covered with small index card files, which stretched from floor to ceiling and seemingly endlessly in either direction, had very different headings.
As I drew near the wall of files, the first to catch my attention was one that read “People I Have Liked.” I opened it and began flipping cards. I quickly shut it, shocked to realize that I recognized the names written on each one.
And then without being told, I knew exactly where I was. This lifeless room with its small files was a crude catalogue system for my life. Here were written the actions of every moment, big and small, in a detail my memory couldn’t match.
A sense of wonder and curiosity, coupled with horror, stirred within me as I began randomly opening files and exploring their content. Some brought joy and sweet memories; others a sense of shame and regret so intense that I would look over my shoulder to see if anyone was watching. A file named “Friends” was next to one marked “Friends I have Bertrayed.”
The titles ranged from the mundane to the outright weird. “Books I Have Read,” “Lies I Have Told,” “Comfort I Have Given,” “Jokes I Have Laughed At.” Some were almost hilarious in their exactness: “Things I’ve Yelled at My Brothers.” Others I couldn’t laugh at: “Things I Have Done in My Anger,” “Things I Have Muttered Under My Breath at My Parents.” I never ceased to be surprised by the contents. Often there were many more cards than I expected. Sometimes fewer than I hoped.Read More »
Our blessing cup is a communion with the blood of Christ;
And the bread we break, it is a sharing in the body of the Lord.
How can we make a return for all the goodness God has shown?
We will take the cup of life and call upon God’s name.
Precious indeed in your sight the life and death of those you love.
We are your servants, for you have set us free.
Gracious and merciful God, we give you thanks and bless your name:
With all your people, praise and glory to your name.
For you have heard my voice, for you have heard my pleading.
Though death surrounded me, you heard and answered me.
“The Church is looking forward to this springtime of young people. We have confidence in you, we expect a lot from you, because we are fully convinced that…the changes and transformations that humanity and the Church require are in your hands,” said Archbishop José Domingo Ulloa Mendieta of Panama.
“Being holy leads us to break out of spiritual and material corruption, of all that which causes us evil and offends God,” he said. “A saint defends the defenseless – the unborn, but also the born child who is destitute, a saint defends migrants, seeks justice, prays, lives in and loves the community, is joyful and has a sense of humor, is always striving, breaks out of mediocrity, lives the mercy of God and shares it with his neighbor.”
Read more what the Archbishop said; https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/world-youth-day-kicks-off-with-message-have-the-courage-to-be-saints-27126
Early Christians expected suffering. Christ had died on the cross, so there was no higher honor than to imitate that death through accepting martyrdom (witness by one’s blood). The Jewish legacy portrayed, in writings such as the Fourth Book of the Maccabees, the glorious nature of death rather than renunciation of Israel; even without this, Christianity would inevitably have held the martyr’s death in high esteem. As the writer of 1 Peter expressed it, “If you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name.” (4:16).
Nowadays Christians remain one of the most persecuted religious groups in the world. While Christian persecution takes many forms, it is defined as any hostility experienced as a result of identification with Christ. Christian torture remains an issue for believers throughout the world including the risk of imprisonment, loss of home and assets, physical torture, beheadings, rape and even death as a result of their faith.
Trends show that countries in Africa, Asia and the Middle East are intensifying persecution against Christians, and perhaps the most vulnerable are Christian women, who often face double persecution for faith and gender.
Every day we receive new reports of Christians who face threats, unjust imprisonment, harassment, beatings and even loss of family because of their faith in Jesus.
Watch it here; https://www.opendoorsusa.org/christian-persecution/world-watch-list/
Two bombs exploded at a cathedral in the southern Philippines on Sunday, killing 20 people and wounding scores of others, officials said.
The blasts occurred in the morning as people were gathered for Mass at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Jolo, the capital of Sulu Province, said Col. Gerry Besana, a spokesman for the military. The bombs were believed to be homemade. He said one of the bombs exploded inside the church, while the other exploded in a nearby parking lot as congregants panicked and rushed outside.
Read full story; https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/27/world/asia/philippines-jolo-cathedral-bombing.html
Imagine celebrating your birthday like you’re 10 years old again. Full of joy, excited for the year ahead, doing something you love with the ones who make you smile.
Why do so many of us stop celebrating as the years pass? Birthdays come and go – maybe there’s a dinner involved, a few cards, some well wishes online. We move up one number, and it’s business as usual.
What would it look like to really celebrate our years again – to begin shifting our focus from the fear of aging, to the rich, full lives God is calling us into as the years pass?
“Why grow old gracefully?” Says a beautiful, wrinkle-free woman, “I intend to fight it every step of the way!”
But what does God say about it all? If we listen to the One Who created us, we will hear all about grace and goodness; not fear and resistance.
He reminds us more than once in His Word that growing older is an honor. “Gray hair is a glorious crown…” Proverbs 16:31 CSB. The more years we live, the more experiences we’re given to learn from, and the more wisdom and perspective we gain to see life in new and beautiful ways. When we see someone in their later years (or when we look in the mirror and it’s us!) let’s remember what a gift that is.
And while the media leads us to believe that youth somehow has more value, the truth is, we are treasured by God at every age. Not only that, but He gives us specific gifts to share with the world in every season of our lives. In Titus 2:3-5 CSB, Paul reminds the older women of their great purpose – that by living reverent lives of love, self-control, purity and kindness, they will bless and nurture the hearts of the younger women and their families. The generations to come depend on our willingness to share what God has given us.Read More »
Laura was born in Santiago, Chile, in 1891. Her father was a soldier. When civil war broke out, her father took Laura and her mother to another town across the mountains in Argentina so that they would be safe. Laura’a father died when she was only two years old.
Laura’s mother, Mercedes, had to find some way to support Laura and her new baby sister. After working as a cook for several years, Mercedes took a job in the Quilquihué Hostel. The owner of the hostel, Manuel Mora, propositioned Mercedes, promising to pay for Laura’s education in exchange. Laura soon entered the Hijas de Maria Auxiliadora (“Daughters of Mary Help of Christians”) School, where, under the care of the nuns, she began to take a deep interest in the Catholic faith.
Laura was smart and did well at school. She loved learning about her faith and spent a great deal of time in prayer. On the day of her First Communion, she wrote, “Oh, my God, I want to love and serve you all my life” in her notebook. Because of her deep religious interest, she was not well liked by her classmates. Some of her classmates shunned her for her piety. She spent most of her time praying in the school’s chapel. She prayed every day for her mother’s salvation and for her to leave Manuel Mora.Read More »
“Love is the law of God. You live that you may learn to love. You love that you may learn to live. No other lesson is required of Man.” ~ Mikhail Naimy.
John Harper was born to a pair of solid Christian parents on May 29th, 1872. It was on the last Sunday of March 1886 when he was thirteen years old that he received Jesus as the Lord of his life. He never knew what it was to “sow his wild oats.” He began to preach about four years later at the ripe old age of 17 years by going down to the streets of his village and pouring out his soul in earnest entreaty for men to be reconciled to God.
As John Harper’s life unfolded, one thing was apparent…he was consumed by the word of God. When asked by various ministers what his doctrine consisted of, he was known to reply “The Word of God!” After five or six years of toiling on street corners preaching the gospel and working in the mill during the day, Harper was taken in by Rev. E. A. Carter of Baptist Pioneer Mission in London, England. This set Harper free to devote his whole time of energy to the work so dear to his heart. Soon, John Harper started his own church in September of 1896. (Now known as the Harper Memorial Church). This church which John Harper had started with just 25 members had grown to over 500 members when he left 13 years later. During this time, he had gotten married but was shortly thereafter widowed. However brief the marriage, God did bless John Harper with a beautiful little girl named Nana.
Ironically, John Harper almost drowned several times during his life. When he was two and a half years of age, he almost drowned when he fell into a well but was resuscitated by his mother. At the age of twenty-six, he was swept out to sea by a reverse current and barely survived, and at thirty-two, he faced death on a leaking ship in the Mediterranean. Perhaps, God used these experiences to prepare this servant for what he faced next…Read More »
Sing a new song unto the Lord;
let your song be sung from mountains high.
Sing a new song unto the Lord,
Yahweh’s people dance for joy.
O come before the Lord.
And play for him on glad tambourines,
and let your trumpet sound.
Rise, O children, from your sleep;
your Savior now has come.
He has turned your sorrow to joy,
and filled your soul with song.
Glad my soul for I have seen
the glory of the Lord.
The trumpet sounds; the dead shall be raised.
I know my Savior lives.
*Read More »