Sister/Professor Joanne this well composed to me “exhortation” points out very well what is going on in the affairs of mankind more poignantly than the Scriptural documentation of how “God’s will” is being manifested in humankind’s “free will,” created in His image and likeness,” illustrated perfectly by this example of the Prophet Isaiah! The one question this brings to my attention clearly is whether or not we are living as “servants of God;” that is the imperative here, which any of us must come to realize about our own individual existence? Because if we are not; then we are serving things not of God and therefore “transgressing Him!” So are we living each day and moment seeking to do His will or not! But sadly we can observe too many are not doing this, and it is plainly seen on this world wide web of folly; an eavesdropping on the world at large!
“Lift up your eyes on high, and see who has created these things, who brings out their host by number; He calls them all by name, by the greatness of His might and the strength of His power; not one is missing” (Isaiah 40:26).
“I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before Me.” (Exodus 20:2-3).
“Thou shalt not have strange Gods before me. Thou shalt not make to thyself a graven thing, nor the likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or in the earth beneath, nor of those things that are in the waters under the earth.” (Exodus 20:3-4)
“I command the rich of this world that they not be lifted up in their minds and that they would not trust upon wealth because there is no certainty concerning it, but upon THE LIVING GOD, who gives richly to us all for our comfort,” 1 Timothy 6:17
God wants us to understand that we must never direct hearts and our worship toward anything that He has created, or view it as the source of our life and blessings. Only the Creator, never the creation; is to receive that honor.
“Eerdman’s Handbook to the Bible succinctly explains the underpinnings of religions that were contemporary with and geographically close to ancient Israel: “The great idolatrous cultures of Egypt and Mesopotamia closely reflected their physical environment. Their religion, like that of their neighbours the Hittites and Canaanites, focused on nature. They had no real concept of a single, allpowerful Creator-God. And so they accounted for the vagaries of climate, agricultural events and the geography of the world around them by means of a whole array of gods” (1973, p. 10, emphasis added).
Our Creator of all things seen and unseen, is separate and apart from all creation, He being Absolute and Divine Perfection; so only the Creator is the one responsible for all that exists and worthy of our worship.
“And take heed, lest you lift your eyes to heaven, and when you see the sun, the moon, and the stars, all the host of heaven, you feel driven to worship them and serve them, which the Lord your God has given to all the peoples under the whole heaven as a heritage” (Deuteronomy 4:19)
Apostle Paul pointed out clearly human futility of placing anything above God our Creator.
“For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles. Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator— who is forever praised” (Romans 1:21-25, NIV).
“I will meditate on the glorious splendor of Your majesty, and on Your wondrous works. Men shall speak of the might of Your awesome acts, and I will declare Your greatness. They shall utter the memory of Your great goodness, and shall sing of Your righteousness. The Lord is gracious and full of compassion, slow to anger and great in mercy. The Lord is good to all, and His tender mercies are over all His works” (Psalms 145:5-9).
“Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men! For He satisfies the longing soul, and fills the hungry soul with goodness” (Psalms 107:8-9).
Peter tells us that God has, “given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers “do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2). of the divine nature” (2 Peter 1:4).
“Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5)
“Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4; see also Deuteronomy 8:3).
Paul explained that “all Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
These words here in this presentation stand firmly as I see them as a testimony of God’s presence and handiwork in our individual lives!
“God knows the workings of our minds and hearts, God knows how aware (or unaware) we are of our own motivations, concerns, strategies, coping mechanisms, personalities, characters, weaknesses, strengths, proclivities, secret longings and dreams, the list goes on.
God is able to navigate that maze far better than even you and I are, for God knows us better than we know ourselves. God knows who each of us is, and is conforming us at our own pace.
God knows how to communicate with each of us in ways we will recognize and understand.”
“God did not call on Isaiah until Isaiah grasped the holiness of God, his own sinfulness, and had received God’s atonement. Out of the overflow of his heart, Isaiah was willing to do whatever God wanted of him, he was willing to hear and receive.”
In a previous writing of mine I delved into this territory of “purpose and mission” in the service of God!
“Take that God given gift and make it a tool for God to allow Him to show you where and when to use it, so you make some difference in His plan not yours. That is where I am, it took too many years to get to this point the HARD WAY getting the bad lumps and things that nearly killed me and beat me up outside and inside, but, this damn Timex watch takes a lick-in and keeps on tick-in. SO FAR! I’ll add how I wish all this crap didn’t happen and I was where I was say 15 years ago maybe even 10, but, that is done and like a priest friend told me talking non-stop to him one day, he said, “what’s done is done.” I also asked this great Priest/Brother/Friend by the major shattering things that had occurred and inspired my motivation to fight though it all and do what is necessary what is God telling me He wants me to do about some of these big issues I’ve somehow been thrust into personally for some reason? All he said was, “wait and see!”
All souls are always being tested; but like no other time the process is building to a crescendo by factors that have never existed on planet earth!
“There is no greater love than this: that a person would lay down his life for the sake of his friends.” John 15:13
“24Then Jesus told His disciples, “If anyone wants to come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me. 25For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. 26What will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?” Matthew 16:24-26
“32Therefore everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father in heaven. 33But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father in heaven. 34Do not assume that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.” Matthew 10:32-34
In this present extremely technological age, a very secular materialistic self-centered global culture the occasion of a person absolutely willing to give up his own life so he could allow others to live is even more rare today; but it happens.
God bless you.
Brother in Christ Jesus,
Lawrence Morra III
Sorry this is the first time this happened where I had to split this enormously long reblog response in order to get it through!
In my previous writing I had much more to say about this subject as I relate to it here today, which I think is worth sharing so here it is!
God is the unfathomable and mystery beyond all that is mysterious, the incomprehensible; and look at us so limited and frail what could we actually expect to do in challenging such an awesome power; and teach it a thing or two!! I laugh actually when I think how we humans get so pompous and puffed up with ego and pride that takes us on tangents of folly and at times down some very dark and dangerous roads. I’ve done so, I know what the hell I’m talking about here and only by the grace and amazing love God has for me I’m still here to talk about it, and, offer a better me to Him in return for saving my unworthy ass. He has the plan and I figure He is saying I’m still a part of it and He didn’t give up on me many times, so I better not give up on me either.
I just got the notion of how this world is full of vanity and we even trick ourselves into traps or snares of the devil almost automatically and God knowing all things; yes He is in control, so if He will not allow one thing or another, that is His decision and thanks be to God for His seeing all things and keeping us out of the worst things, and, perhaps allowing some suffering to shock or wake us up. I saw in this notion now how like a fun house in an amusement park with all the fakery and deceptive devises to play with our minds ad perceptions for laughs, we go into that house knowing there is an exit that we are going to come out of, because perhaps we’ve been here before with friends and had fun in the fun house, or we see the strangers coming out the exit laughing and having a good time! But, this life with so much Vanity is a Fun House that has an unimaginable number of possible paths or corridors we can pass through full of trickery and deceptions waiting to draw in the unwary or reckless traveler that will have no exit door or even a trail back to the point we entered by. Another notion comes to my mind of quicksand and how there are numerous pits of that stuff all over this deceptive man made crooked ways of the world, to trap any of us and suck down to the depths of despair or even oblivion.
Crows are smart and very alert wise birds as I’ve observed them not trusting of men or even me, who the wildlife know and trust to a point; because actually many other birds in the wild get to recognize me and don’t fly away, but, wait to see if I have treats and so they have a smidgen of trust toward me. Listen to those crows carefully, maybe they are telling you and others something; they have a special sensitivity to this plane of existence we’re in now. Crows can be mean invading other smaller birds’ nests to steal the chicks or eggs, but, they also kick ass with the birds of prey who do far worse damage to the other animals, so the crows run the bullies off and as I see them they are a sort for equalizer and I like them for that, just wish none of them were mean; but alas we are in the imperfect world. Talk about this plane, I was going to say a few minutes ago that Einstein as I’ve mentioned previously in other writings said that he was “in awe every day,” and that “God doesn’t play dice,” with such an economy of words far beyond the way I am, he said there that he could see how the intricate design and proper place of things is such, because God establishes this order and leaves nothing to chance; and as you said is in “CONTROL ALWAYS.” It’s we who are not in control and screw up many times.
Yes, I do enjoy our natural world, but, I know this is a mere minute fraction of what to expect beyond this where there is no fall or curse upon all things because of transgression, in other words having perfection and bliss constantly will make this seem like hell in my way of seeing things, for example the sad painful struggle of all living feeling beings here especially we humans who create massive pain for the world and all in it!
I know in Scripture it tells us not to love our lives IN THIS WORLD, why; because it is fallen and doomed, so we should want our lives or souls to be where they truly belong and if we cling to the things of this world and start to worship this world or our own lives we will lose them. If we really yearn to be beyond here; and where God dwells, then doing that through Jesus we will save our life; that is the way! We have to for now, take the good with the bad, and do our best; so yes enjoying the good is fine, but, my problem with that concept is many people lose sight quickly of what the hell is really going on, and become deluded or even wayward quickly with the ways of the world, with this world and or themselves; then tripping into the folly and vanity of the Fun House.
I love how you remind me again of how God doesn’t share some or actually many things with us and I know why partly, because look what Lucifer did and look what many humans are doing in this world with power and high technology, gifts of intellect he gave to us already, that are immediately concocted or fashioned into weapons or means to overpower others and control them! Evil will take what God gives to us always for maligned purposes, like what happened in the Garden with Adam and Eve; they had it made in the shade, then the serpent tricked them into going awry taking something good and making it something bad or using it or abusing it, perverting what God gave, gives to each thing He creates its own distinct purpose and characteristics, but the master of lies wants to twist and ruin the perfection and beauty that God puts forth due to Free Will because genuine love can only come from Freedom of one’s own heart; and so many humans are now minions of that antichrist or opposing the God mind-set. He can’t trust us with so much! Would a parent out of love give to his or her child explosives, or the keys to a vehicle and say go see what you can do with that! Like I say, I see how we are given this opportunity by God’s merciful grace to even be so blessed to have this time to get our acts together; and then all depending, “we will get all we need or what we deserve” in due time!
I know you read this today but nice to share anyway! “The Lord’s calling, vocation, always presents itself like this: “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”
Yes, a vocation demands self-denial, true sacrifice. But how pleasant that sacrifice turns out to be, “gaudium cum pace,” joy and peace, if that self-giving is complete!
First of all we should worry about what God will say; then, in the second place, and sometimes not at all, you may “consider” what others might think. “Whoever acknowledges me before men,” says the Lord, “I too will acknowledge him before my Father who is in heaven. But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father who is in heaven.”
“For all your learning, for all your fame, your eloquence and power, if you are not humble, you are worth nothing. Cut out, root out that self-complacency which dominates you so completely. — God will help you — and then you will be able to begin working for Christ, in the lowest place in his army of apostles.” catholicexchange.com/15-leadership-lessons-saint-josemaria-escriva/
It’s not really about what gifts one has, but, what they have done with them that matters to God in the end when all is said and done. So, it is a serious point here about our talents you brought up. What follows is how the Apostle Paul spoke to this point explaining it this way.
“We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.” (NIV, Romans 12:5-8)
Also, applicable is the story of the king who gave his three sons each their own plot of land to see what they could do with it and he went away telling them in five years he would return to see what each had done. Upon his return five years later there was some unhappiness as each son asked their father the king what he thought about what they did and who did better.
“the oldest son spoke up, “But father,” he said, “which one of us did the best?”
“The best?” the king asked, “What do you mean ‘the best’?”
The youngest son replied, “Which one of us made the best use of our land? Which one of us did what was best for the kingdom?”
The king stared at his sons a few moments. He answered, “You all did.”
His sons were outraged. The middle son cried out, “But you told us you would be testing us! You wanted to see what we would do with our gifts!”
The king nodded. “You’re right. I did.”
The oldest shook his head, “Then who passed the test?”
“You all did.”
The youngest looked close to tears, “But how?”
The king sighed and stared at his sons. He explained, “I gave each of you a gift, and each of you did what you thought was best with it. You’re grown men, and you took what I’d taught you about my kingdom and used what you were good at, what you enjoyed, and the land that I had given you to better the kingdom and strengthen its subjects. Each of you chose something different – as each of you are different and enjoy different things – but each of you chose something that was beneficial to my kingdom. It was never a competition to see who would do the best, but to see what you would do with what I had given you; whether you would truly contribute to the kingdom.”
“It took his sons a moment to understand, but when they did they were overjoyed. The king hadn’t meant for them to work against each other, but rather to encourage, strengthen, and work with one another. When they realized this, they were relieved, and more than happy to continue working for the benefit of the kingdom.” newspring.cc/articles/the-parable-of-the-three-sons
“Satan Fears People who put God in the first place in their lives”
I wrote the following in a recent essay that again is something that fits here as I see it in my heart; perfectly!
We all have the capacity to be Saints or Devils! Often people get the idea that only some very special persons can become what most people would agree is a “Saintly Great Person doing God’s work on earth.” Jesus did select and inspire the Apostles that followed Him becoming the 12 Disciples of Christ from a varied cross-section of men, some of which had been brutes while others more congenial souls who were hard working but they had no extraordinary skills. Neither religious, nor refined, they were ordinary people, just like you and me.
God bless you.
Brother in Christ Jesus,
Lawrence Morra III