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Inspirational Image of the Day

G-MM™: Meditation Moment

The Free Press WV

Holy Spirit, divine Consoler, I adore You as my true God, with God the Father and God the Son. I adore You and unite myself to the adoration You receive from the angels and saints.

I give You my heart and I offer my ardent thanksgiving for all the grace which You never cease to bestow on me.

O Giver of all gifts, I beg You to visit me with Your grace and Your love and to grant me the gift of holy fear, so that it may act on me as a check to prevent me from falling back into my past sins, for which I beg pardon.

Grant me the gift of piety, so that I may serve You for the future with increased fervor, follow with more promptness Your holy inspirations, and observe your divine precepts with greater fidelity.

Grant me the gift of knowledge, so that I may know the things of God and, enlightened by Your holy teaching, may walk, without deviation, in the path of eternal salvation.

Grant me the gift of fortitude, so that I may overcome courageously all the assaults of the devil, and all the dangers of this world which threaten the salvation of my soul.

Grant me the gift of counsel, so that I may choose what is more conducive to my spiritual advancement and may discover the wiles and snares of the tempter.

Grant me the gift of understanding, so that I may apprehend the divine mysteries and by contemplation of heavenly things detach my thoughts and affections from the vain things of this miserable world.

Grant me the gift of wisdom, so that I may rightly direct all my actions, referring them to God as my last end; so that, having loved Him and served Him in this life, I may have the happiness of possessing Him eternally in the next.

All this I ask in the name of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, in whom I have all faith,
Amen.


1 Corinthians 15:50-55 (ESV)
What Happens after We Die?

I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.

Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet.

For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:
“Death is swallowed up in victory.”

“O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?”


Notes on the Scripture

In this passage from one of Paul’s greatest works, his first Epistle to the Corinthians, he write a wonderful and powerful poetic prophecy of our eternity.

Christians are often rather hazy on exactly what will happen to them after they die, and indeed, there is not some sort of specific blueprint of the afterlife in the Bible. We know that a day will come when Christ will judge all of the people in the world, forgiving all who have died in His grace and bringing them into heaven. But what happens to our bodies? Will we look the same? Will it be “us”?

Here is one question about the afterlife, at least, to which we have a firm answer. Our bodies are perishable and will decay when we die. Our flesh cannot inherit the kingdom of God, because the kingdom of God is a kingdom of that which cannot perish. We shall be changed.

The victory of Christ over death is the central tenet of Christianity. Christ promised us eternal life, if we would believe in Him; and most Christians see the miracle of Christ’s resurrection as the linchpin miracle that proved He was “the real thing.” But the resurrection of Christ’s body was a special case, brought about so that others could see Him and touch Him, to know that it was really Jesus. The rest of us will not be resurrected; the eternal life we will find in heaven is a different thing from the physical resurrection of Christ.

So this is what we know. We will have a spiritual body that will be better than the earthly body where we live now. (And I, for one, can see some room for improvement!)

We always have some fear of death, because we do not know exactly what will happen at the moment we die. But we should be at peace, for God has promised that He will take care of us. Change always makes people uneasy, even nervous. But Christ has proven to us that He is victorious over death, that death will have no “sting” for us. We are going to know a peace and joy we have hardly been able to glimpse during the best moments of our lives.

G-MM™: Meditation Moment

The Free Press WV

Almighty God, heavenly Father, who makes it possible for me to work and who gives every creature its food, declaring your glory and showing your handiwork in the heavens and in the earth; Deliver me, I pray, in my work, from coveting material goods, from falling into the temptation of serving mammon and putting money in the forefront of my life. Help me to perform the work which you have put at my hand, in truth, in beauty, and in righteousness, with singleness of heart as your servant, and to the benefit of my fellow men as well as myself; for the sake of your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who lived and died only to serve us.
Amen.


Matthew 11:28-30 (ESV)
Know Peace in Your Life

At that time Jesus declared, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.

Come unto me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.


Notes on the Scripture

This passage is a wonderful moment of Christ’s love and peace. He combines the messages of how we should come to Him as children with the message that, when we do, we will find peace and rest.

The burden of living can become terribly heavy. We are weighed down by worries about money, health, marriage and love, family members, politics, crime — we all know how difficult life can be for us, and for others. We have adult worries; children, who are (hopefully) shielded from most of the cares of the world do not yet have to shoulder such burdens, and we think of them as playing, carefree, on a warm spring day.

But Christ tells us that if we come to him with the innocence of children — if we set aside all the sordid lessons we have learned and think we need in order to meet ”harsh reality“ — He will protect us. Because Christ’s burden is light, ever so much lighter than the weight we take onto ourselves.

Because, what is the burden of following Christ, really? We are all going to die — it isn’t like we will succeed in beating reality. So, how taxing is it simply to love the God who gave us all we have? Is it really so very difficult to love other people and forgive them, or to stop lusting after someone else’s spouse, or to tell the truth?

The kicker is that studies have repeatedly shown that Christians live longer and happier lives than atheists and agnostics. We will not find heaven on earth by following Christ, but life itself is better; and best of all, we will find heaven — in heaven!

G-MM™: Meditation Moment

The Free Press WV

Flood me with your Spirit, O God. Drown Satan in a deluge of your mighty power! Shake the foundations of hell. Let the beauty and love of Christ pour through me like a cataract. Let me wield the Sword of Faith. Renew me, empower me, purify me this day to your Great Commission.
Amen.


1 Peter 3:8-12 (ESV)
Being Called

Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing. For
“Whoever desires to love life
  and see good days,
let him keep his tongue from evil
  and his lips from speaking deceit;
let him turn away from evil and do good;
  let him seek peace and pursue it.

For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,
  and his ears are open to their prayer.
But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”


Notes on the Scripture

Think for a moment about what “being called” means. Someone cries out your name as a request that you come to them. Calling is verbal. It is a request from someone you cannot see to do something, hear something, perhaps learn something. As a child, a parent stood at the back door while you were playing to call you home for supper.

A God who we cannot see calls us, as individuals, to come and be saved. We do not hear a voice, because it is a spiritual calling, and we hear it with our spirit. We are informed that the time has come for us to change what we are doing. God calls us to come to him, like a parent calling a child to get off the railroad tracks, because a train is coming.

Why else would we pray, or read the Bible, or go to church? Something we do not hear with our ears calls us. It may be faint. Sometimes we may not be sure we have even heard it, but consider: Are you insane? If you have once prayed, if you have even once wanted to read the Bible, your spirit has heard the voice of Christ. Why else would you do these things?

This is the central theme of Peter’s epistle. Sometimes we limit the idea of “calling” with becoming an ordained minister or full-time missionary. But Peter says no. The more important calling is the call to belief. By our call, and by answering our call, we have become members of a “holy nation” that transcends the temporal world of countries, languages, races, genders, and denominations.

But what, exactly, were we called to? Peter gives us a number of attributes of our calling: the first, “unity of mind”, could fill a book, for brotherhood in Christ is contaminated by pridefulness. Christians have reviled and even killed each other throughout history. And these sins have had an ill effect, for many people mock the very word “Christianity” for this very reason.

God calls us to live in unity. Can we force others to bless us and call us brother and sister? No; if they are called, they will come to that conclusion eventually, but it is not our calling to revile others. It is our calling to bless.

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