Group photo
Author:
RHOOK20047's Photo RHOOK20047 SparkPoints: (588,183)
Fitness Minutes: (205,792)
Posts: 30,429
12/23/16 4:30 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Fourth Friday in Advent

The Great Lesson of Bethlehem

The prophet Micah says that Bethlehem-Ephratha is “too small to be among the clans of Judah” but “from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel” (Micah 5:2). Micah is himself one of the minor prophets and so it is only appropriate that he speaks of a small city, little Bethlehem, from which the great Messiah would come.

How common this is in the Bible: the reversal of expectations, the little giving rise to the great, wonderful things coming where you least expect them. The stuttering Moses speaks up to mighty Pharaoh, the slaves face down the Egyptian army, tiny David kills the giant Goliath.

And this last connection is the important one here. Bethlehem is the city of David, the city of the shepherd King. When Samuel came to that town to find the new king, he went through all of Jesse’s splendid sons and then was told there was one more, little David out in the fields. And it was this overlooked one whom God anointed.

This just seems to be God’s way, and that's why the Messiah would be born in that tiny town, in an out of the way cave under the earth, because there was no room for him in the inn. Yet, through God’s amazing grace, great things can happen, including the birth of the Messiah.

Looking at the small, insignificant town of Bethlehem teaches us three great messages: greatness comes from smallness, never give up hope, and trust always. With those three convictions in our hearts, we’re almost ready for Christmas.

Let Go and Let God!

Bob Hook

Keep Walking With Jesus-Leader

Hopeful Hearts Breaking Free From Hurts - Leader

Gastric Sleevers - Leader

2018 Summer 5% Challenge for the Shooting Stars Team - EL Leader

Driven by Faith - Leader


 current weight: 295.5 
387
340.25
293.5
246.75
200
RHOOK20047's Photo RHOOK20047 SparkPoints: (588,183)
Fitness Minutes: (205,792)
Posts: 30,429
12/22/16 7:18 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Fourth Thursday in Advent

The King of a Different Army

Yesterday, we explored St. Luke’s telling of the Christmas story, in which the author compares two different kings: one a destitute infant who comes simply and non-violently, and the other a powerful emperor who reigns with force and oppression.

Lest we have any doubt as to which of these kings is more powerful, Luke tells us, “Suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in high heaven, peace on earth to those on whom his favor rests.’”

We should not be sentimental in regard to angels, for the typical reaction to one in the Bible is fear. And we are dealing here with a stratia of these fearsome creatures. That Greek word, translated usually as “host,” literally means army. The only reason that Augustus Caesar was able to dominate the world is that he had the biggest army, but Luke is saying that the baby king actually possesses a bigger army, though it is one that fights, not with the weapons (arma) of the world, but with those of heaven.

It is of these arms and of this man that Luke sings. As we near Christmas Eve, Luke's subversive tale poses a question: Which narrative do you accept? Whose army do you join? Which king do you choose, Caesar or Jesus?

Let Go and Let God!

Bob Hook

Keep Walking With Jesus-Leader

Hopeful Hearts Breaking Free From Hurts - Leader

Gastric Sleevers - Leader

2018 Summer 5% Challenge for the Shooting Stars Team - EL Leader

Driven by Faith - Leader


 current weight: 295.5 
387
340.25
293.5
246.75
200
RHOOK20047's Photo RHOOK20047 SparkPoints: (588,183)
Fitness Minutes: (205,792)
Posts: 30,429
12/21/16 10:30 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Fourth Wednesday in Advent

The True King

St. Luke’s telling of the Christmas story, commences by invoking the first-century’s most powerful man: “In those days Caesar Augustus published a decree ordering a census of the whole world.”

Here the emperor is doing a paradigmatically powerful thing. If you can count your people more accurately, you can tax them more efficiently and you can draft them into the military more expeditiously. So far, this story begins like all other ancient epics, by praising the strong and powerful.



But then St. Luke makes a canny move. He shifts his attention away from Augustus Caesar and toward a poor couple of no notoriety whatsoever, making their way to a dusty hamlet on the fringes of the Roman Empire. In the nothing town of Bethlehem, Mary gives birth to a child, who is wrapped up in swaddling clothes and placed in the manger where the animals eat. The baby is visited, not by courtiers, but by shepherds, who had, at that time, something of the status that street people have today.



Then an angel appears and announces that this destitute infant, to whom Caesar Augustus in Rome would pay absolutely no heed, is in fact the true Emperor: “I come to proclaim good news to you—tidings of great joy to be shared by the whole people. This day in David’s city a savior has been born to you, the Messiah and Lord.”

To say “Messiah” and “Lord” was to imply that a new David had arrived, a new King of the Jews. But as any careful reader of the Psalms and Prophets would know, to say King of the Jews was to imply King of the world—which is precisely why the angel said his message was for “the whole people.”

This true king—simple, humble, vulnerable, and non-violent—would establish an order, a kingdom of God, which stands athwart the order of Rome.


Let Go and Let God!

Bob Hook

Keep Walking With Jesus-Leader

Hopeful Hearts Breaking Free From Hurts - Leader

Gastric Sleevers - Leader

2018 Summer 5% Challenge for the Shooting Stars Team - EL Leader

Driven by Faith - Leader


 current weight: 295.5 
387
340.25
293.5
246.75
200
RHOOK20047's Photo RHOOK20047 SparkPoints: (588,183)
Fitness Minutes: (205,792)
Posts: 30,429
12/20/16 9:16 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Fourth Tuesday in Advent

Joseph the Just

We know almost nothing about Joseph. There are legends and stories, of course, but the Scriptural evidence is, to say the least, meagre. Yet some very powerful spiritual themes emerge in the accounts of Joseph, all of which focus on the birth of Jesus.

Let me highlight just a few figures from Jesus’ family tree. Matthew tells us that the Messiah was descended from Jacob, a great patriarch and hero of Israel, and also a man who wrestled with God. In a lyrical passage from the 32nd chapter of the book of Genesis, we hear that Jacob struggled all night with the Lord and was wounded permanently in the process. I imagine that there are some reading these words who have wrestled all their lives with God, questioning, doubting, wondering, struggling mightily with the Lord, perhaps even bearing spiritual wounds as a consequence. Well, the Messiah came forth from Jacob and was pleased to be a relative of this fighter.



First, we look at the sadness and the quandary of Joseph. He had become betrothed to Mary and this union had been, according to the religious law of the time, blessed by God. And then he finds that his betrothed is pregnant.



There is something terribly universal and contemporary about this scene and about the psychological dynamics involved. An engagement that has to be called off: how embarrassing and difficult that is in itself. What will people say?



But there is more. It has to be called off because of an irregular pregnancy. For someone who is law-abiding and concerned with his status in the community, this would be the profoundest kind of embarrassment. And more to the point, this must have pained him at the deepest emotional level: the feeling of betrayal by one he had loved.

It is a wonderful tribute to the piety and goodness of Joseph that he didn’t vent his frustration in a way that almost everyone would have understood and countenanced. He swallowed his pain and looked to the feelings of Mary. “Unwilling to expose her to shame,” he resolved to divorce her quietly. Still, this must have been an emotional maelstrom for him. At the deeper level, it is a spiritual crisis. What is God up to? What does God want him to do? Joseph can’t see a good way forward.

Then the angel appears to him in a dream and tells him, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home.” Joseph realizes at that moment that these puzzling events are part of God's much greater plan. What appears to be a disaster from his perspective is meaningful from God’s perspective.

Next we read, “He did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took his wife into his home.” Joseph was willing to cooperate with the divine plan, though he in no way knew its contours or deepest purpose. Like Mary at the annunciation, he trusted and let himself be led.


Let Go and Let God!

Bob Hook

Keep Walking With Jesus-Leader

Hopeful Hearts Breaking Free From Hurts - Leader

Gastric Sleevers - Leader

2018 Summer 5% Challenge for the Shooting Stars Team - EL Leader

Driven by Faith - Leader


 current weight: 295.5 
387
340.25
293.5
246.75
200
RHOOK20047's Photo RHOOK20047 SparkPoints: (588,183)
Fitness Minutes: (205,792)
Posts: 30,429
12/19/16 10:07 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Fourth Monday in Advent

God Joins Our Dysfunctional Family

The opening lines of Matthew’s Gospel—and hence the first words that one reads in the New Testament—are a listing of the genealogy of Jesus, the 42 generations that stretch from Abraham to Christ. If the Word truly became flesh, then God had, not only a mother, but also a grandmother, cousins, great-aunts, and weird uncles. If the Word truly dwelt among us, then he was part of a family that, like most, was fairly dysfunctional, a mix of the good and bad, the saintly and the sinful, the glorious and the not so glorious. And this is such good news for us.

Let me highlight just a few figures from Jesus’ family tree. Matthew tells us that the Messiah was descended from Jacob, a great patriarch and hero of Israel, and also a man who wrestled with God. In a lyrical passage from the 32nd chapter of the book of Genesis, we hear that Jacob struggled all night with the Lord and was wounded permanently in the process. I imagine that there are some reading these words who have wrestled all their lives with God, questioning, doubting, wondering, struggling mightily with the Lord, perhaps even bearing spiritual wounds as a consequence. Well, the Messiah came forth from Jacob and was pleased to be a relative of this fighter.



Matthew’s genealogy informs us that Ruth was an ancestor of the Lord. Ruth was not an Israelite, but rather a Moabite, a foreigner. I would be willing to bet that there are some reading this who have felt all their lives like outsiders, not part of the “in” crowd, perhaps looked at askance by others. Well, the Messiah came forth from Ruth the foreigner and was pleased to be her relative.



And then there is Rahab. As you recall from the book of Joshua, Rahab was a prostitute living and working in Jericho at the time of the Israelite conquest of the promised land. Are there people reading these words who feel like Rahab? Who think that their whole lives have been sunk in sin, who have become unrecognizable to themselves? Well, the Messiah came forth from Rahab the prostitute, and he was pleased to be her relative.

The good news of Christmas is that God himself pushed into the dysfunctional and ambiguous family of man. And he continues to join us, even though we, like so many of his Israelite ancestors, are unworthy of him. Like them, we are flawed, compromised, half-finished. But he becomes our brother anyway. That’s the amazing grace of the Incarnation


Let Go and Let God!

Bob Hook

Keep Walking With Jesus-Leader

Hopeful Hearts Breaking Free From Hurts - Leader

Gastric Sleevers - Leader

2018 Summer 5% Challenge for the Shooting Stars Team - EL Leader

Driven by Faith - Leader


 current weight: 295.5 
387
340.25
293.5
246.75
200
RHOOK20047's Photo RHOOK20047 SparkPoints: (588,183)
Fitness Minutes: (205,792)
Posts: 30,429
12/18/16 5:18 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
The Presence of God
“I stand at the door and knock,” says the Lord. What a wonderful privilege that the Lord of all creation desires to come to me. I welcome his presence.

Freedom
Saint Ignatius thought that a thick and shapeless tree trunk would never believe that it could become a statue, admired as a miracle of sculpture, and would never submit itself to the chisel of the sculptor, who sees by her genius what she can make of it. I ask for the grace to let myself be shaped by my loving Creator.

Consciousness
Knowing that God loves me unconditionally, I can afford to be honest about how I am. What are my fears and desires? What do I expect from God? What am I willing to give to God—from my emotions and talents, thoughts and energy? And how do I feel now? I share my feelings openly with the Lord.

The Word
I take my time to read the word of God, slowly, a few times, allowing myself to dwell on anything that strikes me.

Matthew 1:18–24
Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly. But just when he had resolved to do this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet: “Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel, which means, ‘God is with us.’” When Joseph awoke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took her as his wife.
Joseph is faced with a heartbreaking dilemma. His life is in turmoil because he loves Mary so much. Let me imagine for a few moments how welcome the angel’s message must have been to him! How quickly he acts, allowing himself to follow his heart and not allowing his sense of legal obligation to rule.

How often in Scripture does the quiet prompting of the Spirit come from within, in the form of a dream. How sensitive must the dreamers have been, to recognize the Spirit in their hearts. Do I invite the Spirit to prompt me? How ready am I to hear what the Spirit might suggest?

Conversation
Do I notice myself reacting as I pray with the word of God? Do I feel challenged, comforted, angry? Imagining Jesus sitting or standing by me, I speak out my feelings, as one trusted friend to another.

Conclusion
I thank God for these moments we have spent together and for any insights I may have been given concerning the text.


Let Go and Let God!

Bob Hook

Keep Walking With Jesus-Leader

Hopeful Hearts Breaking Free From Hurts - Leader

Gastric Sleevers - Leader

2018 Summer 5% Challenge for the Shooting Stars Team - EL Leader

Driven by Faith - Leader


 current weight: 295.5 
387
340.25
293.5
246.75
200
RHOOK20047's Photo RHOOK20047 SparkPoints: (588,183)
Fitness Minutes: (205,792)
Posts: 30,429
12/18/16 4:05 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Fourth Sunday in Advent

The New Eve

As we near the birth of Christ, it’s worth turning to the beautiful and familiar story of the Annunciation. The angel Gabriel comes to a virgin named Mary to announce she will give birth to a son. Although undoubtedly shocked, Mary responds, “I am the maidservant of the Lord. Let it be done to me according to your word.” Mary abandoned her own plans and acquiesced to what God wanted her to do.



The Church Fathers were fond of describing Mary as the new Eve, the new mother of all the living. In fact, some say the angel’s “ave” ("hail") reversed “Eva.”



What was Eve’s problem? Eve grasped at the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, claiming along with Adam that she would be the criterion of right and wrong, that her will would determine the nature of the good. Every one of our spiritual and moral problems flows from this primordial sin. But when Mary says, “Let it be done to me according to your word,” this spiritual momentum is stopped and then reversed. It is this reversal that allows Christ to be born into the world.

Meister Eckhart noted that every Christian has the vocation of Mary, to bring Christ to birth. We each do this in our own ways and styles, according to the exigencies of our unique vocations. But we do this, Eckhart saw, the same way Mary did: by abandoning our projects and plans, our sense of the good life, and acquiescing to God’s purpose working through us.

Let Go and Let God!

Bob Hook

Keep Walking With Jesus-Leader

Hopeful Hearts Breaking Free From Hurts - Leader

Gastric Sleevers - Leader

2018 Summer 5% Challenge for the Shooting Stars Team - EL Leader

Driven by Faith - Leader


 current weight: 295.5 
387
340.25
293.5
246.75
200
RHOOK20047's Photo RHOOK20047 SparkPoints: (588,183)
Fitness Minutes: (205,792)
Posts: 30,429
12/17/16 4:42 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Third Saturday in Advent

The Return from Exile

Sometimes, as we wait, we can feel like we are in exile. Exile is a huge theme in the minds of the Biblical authors because two great exiles practically define Israelite history: the exile in Egypt and the exile in Babylon. In both cases, God’s holy people, his specially chosen race, was enslaved by a foreign power.

The prophet Baruch, who was the secretary to the prophet Jeremiah, writes from Babylon, from the land of exile. At the time, Jerusalem, the holy city which, had been ravaged by the Babylonians and left abandoned, its temple and walls in ruins. With this in mind, Baruch tells the Israelites to “take off your robe of mourning and misery and put on the splendor of glory from God forever” (Baruch 5:1). With his prophetic eyes, he envisions the day when God would lead his people back home.



In light of Baruch’s prophecy and this long history of exile and expectation, we now turn to the Gospel of Luke. Luke begins by mentioning all of the major representatives of the powers oppressing Israel: Tiberius Caesar, the king of the world; Pontius Pilate, his local representative; Herod and his brother Philip, Roman puppets; Annas and Caiaphas, collaborators.



These were all of the people who were, in various ways and to varying degrees, oppressing Israel. But look how artfully this passage is composed: after mentioning these high and mighty figures, Luke tells us that the word of God came, not to them, but to this odd figure in the Judean desert, this strange and obscure prophet called John.

God’s ways are not our ways. God does not regard people and events the way we do. How strange that he would come to this seemingly insignificant figure!

And what is the message God brings to John? The deliverer is coming! The Messiah! Not just someone who will liberate Israel provisionally and politically, but someone who will liberate them from their ultimate exile, their alienation from the Lord.Israel is going to be definitively saved, brought home to God. So get ready to receive the Messiah.


Let Go and Let God!

Bob Hook

Keep Walking With Jesus-Leader

Hopeful Hearts Breaking Free From Hurts - Leader

Gastric Sleevers - Leader

2018 Summer 5% Challenge for the Shooting Stars Team - EL Leader

Driven by Faith - Leader


 current weight: 295.5 
387
340.25
293.5
246.75
200
RHOOK20047's Photo RHOOK20047 SparkPoints: (588,183)
Fitness Minutes: (205,792)
Posts: 30,429
12/16/16 7:55 A

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
The Presence of God
Jesus, help me to be fully alive to your Holy Presence. Enfold me in your love. Let my heart become one with yours.

Freedom
I will ask God’s help, to be free from my own preoccupations, to be open to God in this time of prayer, to come to know, love, and serve God more.

Consciousness
I ask how I am within myself today. Am I particularly tired, stressed, or off form? If any of these characteristics apply, can I try to let go of the concerns that disturb me?

The Word
God speaks to each of us individually. I listen attentively to hear what God is saying to me. Read the text a few times, then listen.

John 5:33–36
Jesus said, “You sent messengers to John, and he testified to the truth. Not that I accept such human testimony, but I say these things so that you may be saved. He was a burning and shining lamp, and you were willing to rejoice for a while in his light. But I have a testimony greater than John’s. The works that the Father has given me to complete, the very works that I am doing, testify on my behalf that the Father has sent me.”
Jesus points out that John’s message was indeed a light to the people but that now there is a brighter light, which is Jesus. Sometimes we must transition from one wisdom or enlightenment to another. When do we know it’s time to do this? Am I comfortable with the idea that I might need to make such a shift in my spiritual attention?

What “works” are evidence that God is present? Many people claim to do God’s works and deliver God’s message, but certainly not all of them speak the truth. Holy Spirit, help me discern when what I am witnessing is a work of God.

Conversation
Sometimes I wonder what I might say if I were to meet you in person, Lord. I think I might say, “Thank you, Lord” for always being there for me.

Conclusion
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,
As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be,
World without end. Amen.

Let Go and Let God!

Bob Hook

Keep Walking With Jesus-Leader

Hopeful Hearts Breaking Free From Hurts - Leader

Gastric Sleevers - Leader

2018 Summer 5% Challenge for the Shooting Stars Team - EL Leader

Driven by Faith - Leader


 current weight: 295.5 
387
340.25
293.5
246.75
200
RHOOK20047's Photo RHOOK20047 SparkPoints: (588,183)
Fitness Minutes: (205,792)
Posts: 30,429
12/15/16 10:04 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
The Presence of God
Jesus, help me to be fully alive to your Holy Presence. Enfold me in your love. Let my heart become one with yours.

Freedom
I will ask God’s help, to be free from my own preoccupations, to be open to God in this time of prayer, to come to know, love, and serve God more.

Consciousness
I ask how I am within myself today. Am I particularly tired, stressed, or off form? If any of these characteristics apply, can I try to let go of the concerns that disturb me?

The Word
God speaks to each of us individually. I listen attentively to hear what God is saying to me. Read the text a few times, then listen.

Luke 7:24–30
When John’s messengers had gone, Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to look at? A reed shaken by the wind? What then did you go out to see? Someone dressed in soft robes? Look, those who put on fine clothing and live in luxury are in royal palaces. What then did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. This is the one about whom it is written, ‘See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way before you.’ I tell you, among those born of women no one is greater than John; yet the least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.” (And all the people who heard this, including the tax collectors, acknowledged the justice of God, because they had been baptized with John’s baptism. But by refusing to be baptized by him, the Pharisees and the lawyers rejected God’s purpose for themselves.)
What do I go out to see? What are my true values? What impresses me? Jesus was impressed by John because he expressed God’s values and chose simplicity of life. I ask him if he is impressed by me, and I listen in my heart to what he says to me.

Luke uses a Hebrew poetic form of speaking—with repetition, question, and answer—to emphasize that with Jesus’ ministry a new world order is beginning. I thank Jesus that I know the divine project, which John could not have known. I ask that I may help in the unfolding of God’s intentions for the world. I can be at least a very minor prophet by living the gospel in my place and time.

Conversation
Sometimes I wonder what I might say if I were to meet you in person, Lord. I think I might say, “Thank you, Lord” for always being there for me.

Conclusion
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,
As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be,
World without end. Amen.


Let Go and Let God!

Bob Hook

Keep Walking With Jesus-Leader

Hopeful Hearts Breaking Free From Hurts - Leader

Gastric Sleevers - Leader

2018 Summer 5% Challenge for the Shooting Stars Team - EL Leader

Driven by Faith - Leader


 current weight: 295.5 
387
340.25
293.5
246.75
200
RHOOK20047's Photo RHOOK20047 SparkPoints: (588,183)
Fitness Minutes: (205,792)
Posts: 30,429
12/15/16 8:36 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Third Thursday in Advent



What Should We Do?



Everyone is, in principle, interested in repentance. Whenever that call is uttered in a clear and uncompromising way, people tend to respond. No matter how high they might seem in the society, no matter how self-confident, they ultimately want God.



And so, like those who in the time of John the Baptist, we ask “What should we do? How should we live our lives?” This question, of course, tells us something else about repentance: that it has to do with action more than simply changing our minds.



We know our lives have gone off the rails in different ways, and we want to get them back on track. This is possible only through certain things we do. The spiritual life is, finally, a set of behaviors.



So what does John the Baptist tell us to do? His first recommendation is this: “Whoever has two cloaks should share with the person who has none” (Luke 3:11). This is so basic, so elemental—yet so almost thoroughly ignored! In the Church’s social teaching, we find a constant reminder that although private property is a social good, the use of our private property must always have a social orientation.



Pope Leo XIII wrote in Rerum Novarum, “If the question be asked how must one’s possessions be used, the Church replies without hesitation that man should not consider his material possessions as his own but as common to all.” And then this startling line, very effective for an examination of conscience: “when what necessity demands has been supplied, and one's standing fairly taken thought for, it becomes a duty to give to the indigent out of what remains over.”



An early Church Father, St. Basil the Great, expressed this idea even more radically and in tones that echo John the Baptist: “The bread in your cupboard belongs to the hungry. The cloak in your wardrobe belongs to the naked. The shoes you allow to rot belong to the barefoot. The money in your vaults belongs to the destitute. You do injustice to every man whom you could help but do not.”



So what should we do this Advent, we who seek repentance, we who await the coming of the Messiah? Serve justice, render to each his due, and give to those who are need.





Let Go and Let God!

Bob Hook

Keep Walking With Jesus-Leader

Hopeful Hearts Breaking Free From Hurts - Leader

Gastric Sleevers - Leader

2018 Summer 5% Challenge for the Shooting Stars Team - EL Leader

Driven by Faith - Leader


 current weight: 295.5 
387
340.25
293.5
246.75
200
RHOOK20047's Photo RHOOK20047 SparkPoints: (588,183)
Fitness Minutes: (205,792)
Posts: 30,429
12/15/16 8:24 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply


TODAY’S ADVENT REFLECTION FOR THE 3rd THURSDAY OF ADVENT, 2016
And the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.—John 1:14

That a baby who could fit in your arms is the maker of space and time is the most audacious claim made by any faith ever. So why do we believe it? Because Jesus taught us who he was, and he verified his claims with the most amazing miracle of all time.

Jesus wasn’t put to death for being a political activist. He was put to death for “blasphemy.” By his words and actions, he taught people that he was divine. From the very first days of the Church, the early Christians worshipped him as God.

How do we know those early Christians were right?

Because Jesus rose from the dead.Harvard law professor Dr. Simon Greenleaf set out to debunk Christianity. He thought “everything these people believe rests on their claim that Jesus rose from the dead, but that wouldn’t even hold up in court!”

But the more he researched, the more he ran into a problem. Jesus’ Resurrection would hold up in court. If someone is tried for a crime, if there are eyewitnesses, he’s going to jail. And if every eyewitness is willing to die rather than retract his claim, the person on trial has no hope of staying out of jail! That’s what we have with the Resurrection. Jesus’ first followers didn’t die for a vague “belief.” They died gruesome deaths, from an upside-down crucifixion to being flayed alive, because they had seen Jesus risen from the dead. They wouldn’t have done that for a lie.

Dr. Greenleaf became a Christian.

The love story that is Christianity is the best news imaginable, and the best part about it is that it’s real. Really real. There is a God. And although the story of faith is usually the story of man seeking God, what happened in Bethlehem two thousand years ago is God looking for us. Looking for you.

Let Go and Let God!

Bob Hook

Keep Walking With Jesus-Leader

Hopeful Hearts Breaking Free From Hurts - Leader

Gastric Sleevers - Leader

2018 Summer 5% Challenge for the Shooting Stars Team - EL Leader

Driven by Faith - Leader


 current weight: 295.5 
387
340.25
293.5
246.75
200
RHOOK20047's Photo RHOOK20047 SparkPoints: (588,183)
Fitness Minutes: (205,792)
Posts: 30,429
12/14/16 9:56 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
The Presence of God
Jesus, help me to be fully alive to your Holy Presence. Enfold me in your love. Let my heart become one with yours.

Freedom
I will ask God’s help, to be free from my own preoccupations, to be open to God in this time of prayer, to come to know, love, and serve God more.

Consciousness
I ask how I am within myself today. Am I particularly tired, stressed, or off form? If any of these characteristics apply, can I try to let go of the concerns that disturb me?

The Word
God speaks to each of us individually. I listen attentively to hear what God is saying to me. Read the text a few times, then listen.

Luke 7:18b–23
At that time, John summoned two of his disciples and sent them to the Lord to ask, “Are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another?” When the men had come to him, they said, “John the Baptist has sent us to you to ask, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another?’” Jesus had just then cured many people of diseases, plagues, and evil spirits, and had given sight to many who were blind. And he answered them, “Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have good news brought to them. And blessed is anyone who takes no offence at me.”
The Jews wanted a political Messiah who would dramatically terminate their oppression under Roman rule. But Jesus’ good news was not about war or politics. His message was meant especially for the blind, the lame, the lepers, the deaf, the dead, and the poor. I ask Jesus for the wisdom to avoid getting lost in political issues. I pray for the grace to share my love with those who are marginalized and unwanted by the world.

John has been tossed into prison. As he languishes there, the oil of John’s lamp is flickering. He wonders, did he get it right? Was his ministry a waste? Was Jesus the one he believed him to be? Lord, I can identify with John. I find that the wick of my lamp can quiver and splutter when things don’t go my way. My desire for a world of peace and justice is met by a world of violence and injustice. This Advent day, refill my inner lamp and let me walk in faith and trust.

Conversation
Sometimes I wonder what I might say if I were to meet you in person, Lord. I think I might say, “Thank you, Lord” for always being there for me.

Conclusion
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,
As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be,
World without end. Amen.


Let Go and Let God!

Bob Hook

Keep Walking With Jesus-Leader

Hopeful Hearts Breaking Free From Hurts - Leader

Gastric Sleevers - Leader

2018 Summer 5% Challenge for the Shooting Stars Team - EL Leader

Driven by Faith - Leader


 current weight: 295.5 
387
340.25
293.5
246.75
200
RHOOK20047's Photo RHOOK20047 SparkPoints: (588,183)
Fitness Minutes: (205,792)
Posts: 30,429
12/14/16 6:55 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Advent: Kissing St. Joseph
Dec 14, 2016 10:25 am



TODAY’S ADVENT REFLECTION FOR THE 3RD WEDNESDAY OF ADVENT, 2016
When my mother’s cousin, Mary, was twelve, she and her friend went to church every day after school during Lent to pray for the souls in Purgatory in front of the statue of St. Joseph. One day, in an excess of zeal, Mary decided that a kiss would encourage the saint to intercede more effectively. She had to stand on tiptoe to reach his lips, but she kissed him. As she let go, however, St. Joseph began to lean precipitously toward her. She called to her friend, but the church was empty. In a panic, she gently lowered the statue to the ground, and running to the rectory next door, rang for the housekeeper. “St. Joseph is on the ground,” she reported earnestly, ”and he needs help.”

Nearly every Catholic church in the world has an image of Joseph, son of Heli, somewhere near the altar. The beloved saint, a sincere and prudent man, who was the protector of Christ and Mary, belongs there because he was chosen by God to be the foster-father of Jesus, and because he is a model of genuine authority.

We know that Joseph exerted familial influence in ways that discharged legal, personal, and religious responsibility: he accompanied Mary to Bethlehem to register for the census as required by law (Matt. 2:4); he oversaw Christ’s birth (Luke 2:7), named him (Matt. 1:25), took Mary and the child to Egypt (Matt. 2:14), and brought them back to Israel (Matt. 2:21); he presented the child to be circumsized (Luke 2:22), and, when Jesus was twelve, brought his family on pilgrimage to Jerusalem for the religious feast of Passover (Luke 2:42). His fatherly care was shared by Mary, who said, “Your father and I have been looking for you,” and recognized by Jesus, who “lived under their authority” (Luke 2: 48-51). And it is certain, we are reminded by Pope John Paul II in Redemptoris Custos, that his professional direction as a master carpenter was honored in the house at Nazareth.

Joseph’s authority finds its prototype in the Trinity. God the Father holds authority for the three persons. We know this because Jesus refers to the Father on several occasions where we see him submitting his will: discovered in the temple, he says, “Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” (Luke 2:49); in the garden of Gethsemane, he prays, “‘My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass me by. Nevertheless, let it be as you, not I, would have it’” (Matt. 26:39); and appearing to the disciples in Galilee, he explains, “All authority in heaven and on the earth has been given to me” (Matt. 28:18). The authority that the Father shared with the Son is mirrored in the Holy Family and in the Church.

Like Joseph, head of the family, Peter was the head of the Church, an analogic reality recognized by Dante in Paradiso XXXII, when he placed al maggior padre di famiglia (136), “the greatest father of a family,” contr’ a Pietro (133), “opposite Peter.” Neither Joseph nor Peter ever affected grinding dominance, because authentic authority is not oppressive: it is open, loving, creative, and sacrificial, and like cousin Mary, knows that it “needs help.”

Let Go and Let God!

Bob Hook

Keep Walking With Jesus-Leader

Hopeful Hearts Breaking Free From Hurts - Leader

Gastric Sleevers - Leader

2018 Summer 5% Challenge for the Shooting Stars Team - EL Leader

Driven by Faith - Leader


 current weight: 295.5 
387
340.25
293.5
246.75
200
RHOOK20047's Photo RHOOK20047 SparkPoints: (588,183)
Fitness Minutes: (205,792)
Posts: 30,429
12/13/16 9:21 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
The Presence of God
Jesus, help me to be fully alive to your Holy Presence. Enfold me in your love. Let my heart become one with yours.

Freedom
I will ask God’s help, to be free from my own preoccupations, to be open to God in this time of prayer, to come to know, love, and serve God more.

Consciousness
I ask how I am within myself today. Am I particularly tired, stressed, or off form? If any of these characteristics apply, can I try to let go of the concerns that disturb me?

The Word
God speaks to each of us individually. I listen attentively to hear what God is saying to me. Read the text a few times, then listen.

Matthew 21:28–32
Jesus said, “What do you think? A man had two sons; he went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work in the vineyard today.’ He answered, ‘I will not’; but later he changed his mind and went. The father went to the second and said the same; and he answered, ‘I go, sir’; but he did not go. Which of the two did the will of his father?” They said, “The first.” Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are going into the kingdom of God ahead of you. For John came to you in the way of righteousness and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes believed him; and even after you saw it, you did not change your minds and believe him.”
Well, which person am I? The smooth but unreliable daddy-pleaser or the guy who, even with a bad attitude, does the job? The kingdom of heaven is not promised to the charmers but to those whose lives would make no sense if God did not exist.

I review the statements and declarations I may have made. I ask God to help me abide by them and to help me accept forgiveness for wherever I have fallen short. God continually invites me to fullness of life. I do not have to be downhearted because I’m aware that I don’t always accept the invitation. Rather, I can be encouraged that God puts trust in me by calling me to serve others.

Conversation
Sometimes I wonder what I might say if I were to meet you in person, Lord. I think I might say, “Thank you, Lord” for always being there for me.

Conclusion
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,
As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be,
World without end. Amen.


Let Go and Let God!

Bob Hook

Keep Walking With Jesus-Leader

Hopeful Hearts Breaking Free From Hurts - Leader

Gastric Sleevers - Leader

2018 Summer 5% Challenge for the Shooting Stars Team - EL Leader

Driven by Faith - Leader


 current weight: 295.5 
387
340.25
293.5
246.75
200
RHOOK20047's Photo RHOOK20047 SparkPoints: (588,183)
Fitness Minutes: (205,792)
Posts: 30,429
12/11/16 4:08 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
The Presence of God
Jesus, help me to be fully alive to your Holy Presence. Enfold me in your love. Let my heart become one with yours.

Freedom
I will ask God’s help, to be free from my own preoccupations, to be open to God in this time of prayer, to come to know, love, and serve God more.

Consciousness
I ask how I am within myself today. Am I particularly tired, stressed, or off form? If any of these characteristics apply, can I try to let go of the concerns that disturb me?

The Word
God speaks to each of us individually. I listen attentively to hear what God is saying to me. Read the text a few times, then listen.

Matthew 11:2–11
When John heard in prison what the Messiah was doing, he sent word by his disciples and said to him, “Are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another?” Jesus answered them, “Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have good news brought to them. And blessed is anyone who takes no offence at me.” As they went away, Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to look at? A reed shaken by the wind? What then did you go out to see? Someone dressed in soft robes? Look, those who wear soft robes are in royal palaces. What then did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. This is the one about whom it is written, ‘See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way before you.’ Truly I tell you, among those born of women no one has arisen greater than John the Baptist; yet the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.”
There is real comfort in this story. John the Baptist, the powerful, austere man who held such a sway among the Jews, still had his moments of darkness. Imprisoned in Herod’s dungeon, he wondered: Am I a fool? Is this all there is? Was I wrong about Jesus? He does not just brood on the question; he sends messengers to Jesus. And Jesus does not send back reassurances; rather, he asks the messengers to open their eyes and see the evidence of Jesus’ life.

“Go and tell what you hear and see . . . the blind receive their sight . . .”! What do I see and hear? Do I see the signs of God’s kingdom breaking through in the world around me? What does it look like? If I don’t see any positive signs, why not? Do I need to look again, or look differently? Am I somehow looking for “soft robes and royal palaces” when God is offering me a prophet?

Conversation
Sometimes I wonder what I might say if I were to meet you in person, Lord. I think I might say, “Thank you, Lord” for always being there for me.

Conclusion
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,
As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be,
World without end. Amen.


Let Go and Let God!

Bob Hook

Keep Walking With Jesus-Leader

Hopeful Hearts Breaking Free From Hurts - Leader

Gastric Sleevers - Leader

2018 Summer 5% Challenge for the Shooting Stars Team - EL Leader

Driven by Faith - Leader


 current weight: 295.5 
387
340.25
293.5
246.75
200
RHOOK20047's Photo RHOOK20047 SparkPoints: (588,183)
Fitness Minutes: (205,792)
Posts: 30,429
12/10/16 9:52 A

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
The Presence of God
I pause for a moment and think of the love and the grace that God showers on me: I am created in the image and likeness of God; I am God’s dwelling place.

Freedom
Lord, you created me to live in freedom. May your Holy Spirit guide me to follow you freely. Instill in my heart a desire to know and love you more each day.

Consciousness
How am I really feeling? Lighthearted? Heavy hearted? I may be very much at peace, happy to be here. Equally, I may be frustrated, worried, or angry. I acknowledge how I really am. It is the real me that the Lord loves.

The Word
I read the Word of God slowly, a few times over, and I listen to what God is saying to me.

Matthew 17:9a, 10–13
The disciples asked Jesus, “Why, then, do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?” He replied, “Elijah is indeed coming and will restore all things; but I tell you that Elijah has already come, and they did not recognize him, but they did to him whatever they pleased. So also the Son of Man is about to suffer at their hands.” Then the disciples understood that he was speaking to them about John the Baptist.
The disciples are bewildered. They believe that Elijah must return before the reign of God comes about. Jesus tries to move them on by telling them that the work of Elijah has already been done by John the Baptist. God moves at a pace that is different from ours. Do I also get stuck and miss the God of Surprises?

What is preventing me from living as if my savior—my Redeemer—has already come? The philosopher Nietzsche remarked that Jesus’ disciples “should look a little more redeemed”!

Conversation
I know with certainty there were times when you carried me, Lord. When it was through your strength I got through the dark times in my life.

Conclusion
I thank God for these moments we have spent together and for any insights I may have been given concerning the text.


Let Go and Let God!

Bob Hook

Keep Walking With Jesus-Leader

Hopeful Hearts Breaking Free From Hurts - Leader

Gastric Sleevers - Leader

2018 Summer 5% Challenge for the Shooting Stars Team - EL Leader

Driven by Faith - Leader


 current weight: 295.5 
387
340.25
293.5
246.75
200
RHOOK20047's Photo RHOOK20047 SparkPoints: (588,183)
Fitness Minutes: (205,792)
Posts: 30,429
12/9/16 7:33 A

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
The Presence of God
I pause for a moment and think of the love and the grace that God showers on me: I am created in the image and likeness of God; I am God’s dwelling place.

Freedom
Lord, you created me to live in freedom. May your Holy Spirit guide me to follow you freely. Instill in my heart a desire to know and love you more each day.

Consciousness
How am I really feeling? Lighthearted? Heavy hearted? I may be very much at peace, happy to be here. Equally, I may be frustrated, worried, or angry. I acknowledge how I really am. It is the real me that the Lord loves.

The Word
I read the Word of God slowly, a few times over, and I listen to what God is saying to me.

Matthew 11:16–19
Jesus spoke to the crowds, “But to what will I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling to one another, ‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we wailed, and you did not mourn.’ For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon’; the Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Yet wisdom is vindicated by her deeds.”
Both John and Jesus reveal what God is like, but they are misunderstood and cruelly rejected. I thank Jesus that he does not despair of humankind. He knows what we are like, yet he also sees what we can become. May I never despair over myself or others.

How much am I willing to put myself out for others, as John and Jesus did? I pray not to be imprisoned in my comfort zones.

Conversation
I know with certainty there were times when you carried me, Lord. When it was through your strength I got through the dark times in my life.

Conclusion
I thank God for these moments we have spent together and for any insights I may have been given concerning the text.


Let Go and Let God!

Bob Hook

Keep Walking With Jesus-Leader

Hopeful Hearts Breaking Free From Hurts - Leader

Gastric Sleevers - Leader

2018 Summer 5% Challenge for the Shooting Stars Team - EL Leader

Driven by Faith - Leader


 current weight: 295.5 
387
340.25
293.5
246.75
200
RHOOK20047's Photo RHOOK20047 SparkPoints: (588,183)
Fitness Minutes: (205,792)
Posts: 30,429
12/8/16 7:40 A

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
The Presence of God
I pause for a moment and think of the love and the grace that God showers on me: I am created in the image and likeness of God; I am God’s dwelling place.

Freedom
Lord, you created me to live in freedom. May your Holy Spirit guide me to follow you freely. Instill in my heart a desire to know and love you more each day.

Consciousness
How am I really feeling? Lighthearted? Heavy hearted? I may be very much at peace, happy to be here. Equally, I may be frustrated, worried, or angry. I acknowledge how I really am. It is the real me that the Lord loves.

The Word
I read the Word of God slowly, a few times over, and I listen to what God is saying to me.

Matthew 11:28–30
In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.” But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” The angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God. And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren. For nothing will be impossible with God.” Then Mary said, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.
Like Mary, I came into the world for a purpose. That purpose probably will not be revealed to me as dramatically as it was to her. Perhaps she heard God’s message so clearly because she was comfortable with silence. Too often I fear the emptiness, the darkness, the silence within me. Yet it is there that the Spirit lives and works, even when my prayer seems most arid. God, help me go daily into the quiet of my heart, to meet you there, in love and adoration.

Mary did not receive the angel’s message as a total surprise; she was ready to engage in conversation with God’s messenger. I turn to God in my prayer and try to see God’s finger at work in my life. I draw inspiration from Mary’s disposition.

Conversation
I know with certainty there were times when you carried me, Lord. When it was through your strength I got through the dark times in my life.

Conclusion
I thank God for these moments we have spent together and for any insights I may have been given concerning the text.


Let Go and Let God!

Bob Hook

Keep Walking With Jesus-Leader

Hopeful Hearts Breaking Free From Hurts - Leader

Gastric Sleevers - Leader

2018 Summer 5% Challenge for the Shooting Stars Team - EL Leader

Driven by Faith - Leader


 current weight: 295.5 
387
340.25
293.5
246.75
200
RHOOK20047's Photo RHOOK20047 SparkPoints: (588,183)
Fitness Minutes: (205,792)
Posts: 30,429
12/7/16 7:39 A

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
The Presence of God
I pause for a moment and think of the love and the grace that God showers on me: I am created in the image and likeness of God; I am God’s dwelling place.

Freedom
Lord, you created me to live in freedom. May your Holy Spirit guide me to follow you freely. Instill in my heart a desire to know and love you more each day.

Consciousness
How am I really feeling? Lighthearted? Heavy hearted? I may be very much at peace, happy to be here. Equally, I may be frustrated, worried, or angry. I acknowledge how I really am. It is the real me that the Lord loves.

The Word
I read the Word of God slowly, a few times over, and I listen to what God is saying to me.

Matthew 11:28–30
Jesus said, “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Jesus invites us to come to him just as we are. He recognizes the busyness of our lives, how we labor and are overburdened, and he draws us into his loving and gentle presence. He wants to listen to all our troubles, and he assures us that his yoke is easy and his burden is light. When we spend time with Jesus, we find rest for our souls. He speaks to us in the silence of our hearts and gives us inner peace.

Sometimes we carry heavy burdens because we want to figure things out on our own, believing there is no one to help us. I pray that people who are weighed down may hear the voice of Jesus. I pray that I may hear it, too, and have the humility I need to ask for and receive help.

Conversation
I know with certainty there were times when you carried me, Lord. When it was through your strength I got through the dark times in my life.

Conclusion
I thank God for these moments we have spent together and for any insights I may have been given concerning the text.


Let Go and Let God!

Bob Hook

Keep Walking With Jesus-Leader

Hopeful Hearts Breaking Free From Hurts - Leader

Gastric Sleevers - Leader

2018 Summer 5% Challenge for the Shooting Stars Team - EL Leader

Driven by Faith - Leader


 current weight: 295.5 
387
340.25
293.5
246.75
200
RHOOK20047's Photo RHOOK20047 SparkPoints: (588,183)
Fitness Minutes: (205,792)
Posts: 30,429
12/6/16 9:06 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
The Presence of God
I pause for a moment and think of the love and the grace that God showers on me: I am created in the image and likeness of God; I am God’s dwelling place.

Freedom
Lord, you created me to live in freedom. May your Holy Spirit guide me to follow you freely. Instill in my heart a desire to know and love you more each day.

Consciousness
How am I really feeling? Lighthearted? Heavy hearted? I may be very much at peace, happy to be here. Equally, I may be frustrated, worried, or angry. I acknowledge how I really am. It is the real me that the Lord loves.

The Word
I read the Word of God slowly, a few times over, and I listen to what God is saying to me.

Matthew 18:12–14
Jesus said, “What do you think? If a shepherd has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety–nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray? And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety–nine that never went astray. So it is not the will of your Father in heaven that one of these little ones should be lost.”
Every Gospel passage tells us something about God. Here I learn that God has a particular care for everyone, especially for those who have gone astray. This is a comfort to me because I often lose my way in life. God is watching out for me always.

I ask the Lord that I, too, may care for the “little ones”—those who are vulnerable and cannot cope with life’s demands.

Conversation
I know with certainty there were times when you carried me, Lord. When it was through your strength I got through the dark times in my life.

Conclusion
I thank God for these moments we have spent together and for any insights I may have been given concerning the text.



Let Go and Let God!

Bob Hook

Keep Walking With Jesus-Leader

Hopeful Hearts Breaking Free From Hurts - Leader

Gastric Sleevers - Leader

2018 Summer 5% Challenge for the Shooting Stars Team - EL Leader

Driven by Faith - Leader


 current weight: 295.5 
387
340.25
293.5
246.75
200
RHOOK20047's Photo RHOOK20047 SparkPoints: (588,183)
Fitness Minutes: (205,792)
Posts: 30,429
12/5/16 7:55 A

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
The Presence of God
I pause for a moment and think of the love and the grace that God showers on me: I am created in the image and likeness of God; I am God’s dwelling place.

Freedom
Lord, you created me to live in freedom. May your Holy Spirit guide me to follow you freely. Instill in my heart a desire to know and love you more each day.

Consciousness
How am I really feeling? Lighthearted? Heavy hearted? I may be very much at peace, happy to be here. Equally, I may be frustrated, worried, or angry. I acknowledge how I really am. It is the real me that the Lord loves.

The Word
I read the Word of God slowly, a few times over, and I listen to what God is saying to me.

Luke 5:17–26
One day, while Jesus was teaching, Pharisees and teachers of the law were sitting nearby (they had come from every village of Galilee and Judea and from Jerusalem); and the power of the Lord was with him to heal. Just then some men came, carrying a paralyzed man on a bed. They were trying to bring him in and lay him before Jesus; but finding no way to bring him in because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and let him down with his bed through the tiles into the middle of the crowd in front of Jesus. When he saw their faith, he said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven you.” Then the scribes and Pharisees began to ask themselves, “Who is this who is speaking blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone?” When Jesus perceived their questionings, he answered them, “Why do you raise such questions in your hearts? Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Stand up and walk’? But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the man who was paralyzed—“I say to you, stand up and take your bed and go to your home.” Immediately he stood up before them, picked up what he had been lying on, and went home, glorifying God. Amazement seized all of them, and they glorified God and were filled with awe, saying, “We have seen strange things today.”
What an interesting, colorful, humorous, and yet life-changing scene! The man’s friends are not easily put off. They use team effort and creativity to ensure that their paralyzed friend meets Jesus. An encounter happens that heals his body but also frees him from the paralysis of sin. Lord, forgiveness is a pressing need for all. Help me to do all I can to bring people to meet you and know your healing forgiveness in their lives. But help me do it sensitively!

In this miracle, Jesus performs both a spiritual and a physical healing. Am I a spiritual paralytic? What might be crippling me in following Jesus?

Conversation
I know with certainty there were times when you carried me, Lord. When it was through your strength I got through the dark times in my life.

Conclusion
I thank God for these moments we have spent together and for any insights I may have been given concerning the text.


Let Go and Let God!

Bob Hook

Keep Walking With Jesus-Leader

Hopeful Hearts Breaking Free From Hurts - Leader

Gastric Sleevers - Leader

2018 Summer 5% Challenge for the Shooting Stars Team - EL Leader

Driven by Faith - Leader


 current weight: 295.5 
387
340.25
293.5
246.75
200
RHOOK20047's Photo RHOOK20047 SparkPoints: (588,183)
Fitness Minutes: (205,792)
Posts: 30,429
12/4/16 3:04 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
The Presence of God
I pause for a moment and think of the love and the grace that God showers on me: I am created in the image and likeness of God; I am God’s dwelling place.

Freedom
Lord, you created me to live in freedom. May your Holy Spirit guide me to follow you freely. Instill in my heart a desire to know and love you more each day.

Consciousness
How am I really feeling? Lighthearted? Heavy hearted? I may be very much at peace, happy to be here. Equally, I may be frustrated, worried, or angry. I acknowledge how I really am. It is the real me that the Lord loves.

The Word
I read the Word of God slowly, a few times over, and I listen to what God is saying to me.

Matthew 3:1–12
In those days John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness of Judea, proclaiming, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” This is the one of whom the prophet Isaiah spoke when he said, “The voice of one crying out in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.’” Now John wore clothing of camel’s hair with a leather belt around his waist, and his food was locusts and wild honey. Then the people of Jerusalem and all Judea were going out to him, and all the region along the Jordan, and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. But when he saw many Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruit worthy of repentance. Do not presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our ancestor’; for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham. Even now the axe is lying at the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. I baptize you with water for repentance, but one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and will gather his wheat into the granary; but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”
I may feel uncomfortable when confronted with John’s call to repentance, but I let myself listen, acknowledging that I am a sinner in need of God’s mercy. If I cannot admit this, then perhaps Advent is not for me.

God does not want me to receive the Word passively. I work with God, preparing the way in my life, expectant and hopefully watching for God’s approach.

Conversation
I know with certainty there were times when you carried me, Lord. When it was through your strength I got through the dark times in my life.

Conclusion
I thank God for these moments we have spent together and for any insights I may have been given concerning the text.


Let Go and Let God!

Bob Hook

Keep Walking With Jesus-Leader

Hopeful Hearts Breaking Free From Hurts - Leader

Gastric Sleevers - Leader

2018 Summer 5% Challenge for the Shooting Stars Team - EL Leader

Driven by Faith - Leader


 current weight: 295.5 
387
340.25
293.5
246.75
200
CJBAGGINS's Photo CJBAGGINS Posts: 33,381
12/3/16 6:04 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
Thank you for posting these!

emoticon emoticon

cj

What if we woke up tomorrow with only those things that we thanked God for today?


284 Maintenance Weeks
0
75
150
225
300
RHOOK20047's Photo RHOOK20047 SparkPoints: (588,183)
Fitness Minutes: (205,792)
Posts: 30,429
12/3/16 2:17 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
The Presence of God
Be still and know that I am God. Lord, may your spirit guide me to seek your loving presence more and more. For it is there I find rest and refreshment from this busy world.

Freedom
By God’s grace I was born to live in freedom. Free to enjoy the pleasures He created for me. Dear Lord, grant that I may live as you intended, with complete confidence in your loving care.

Consciousness
In God’s loving presence I unwind the past day, starting from now and looking back, moment by moment. I gather in all the goodness and light, in gratitude. I attend to the shadows and what they say to me, seeking healing, courage, forgiveness.

The Word
The Word of God comes to us through the Scriptures. May the Holy Spirit enlighten my mind and heart to respond to the gospel teachings.

Matthew 9:35–10:1, 5a, 6–8
Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and curing every disease and every sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” Then Jesus summoned his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to cure every disease and every sickness. These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: “Go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. As you go, proclaim the good news, ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. You received without payment; give without payment.”
This seems to be a really outgoing Gospel reading: we are to look at the big harvest—the sick, the dead, the outcasts. All the needs of people are part of prayer. It is in care and compassion that the kingdom of heaven comes near.

Lord, the cries of the poor and brokenhearted are evident in the mass migrations daily beamed into my living room. Let me not forget that you summon me today to be your eyes, your ears, and your hands of compassion. May I respond with loving compassion to all who come to me.

Conversation
Jesus, you always welcomed little children when you walked on this earth. Teach me to have a childlike trust in you. To live in the knowledge that you will never abandon me.

Conclusion
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,
As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be,
World without end. Amen.


Let Go and Let God!

Bob Hook

Keep Walking With Jesus-Leader

Hopeful Hearts Breaking Free From Hurts - Leader

Gastric Sleevers - Leader

2018 Summer 5% Challenge for the Shooting Stars Team - EL Leader

Driven by Faith - Leader


 current weight: 295.5 
387
340.25
293.5
246.75
200
RHOOK20047's Photo RHOOK20047 SparkPoints: (588,183)
Fitness Minutes: (205,792)
Posts: 30,429
12/2/16 10:35 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
The Presence of God
Be still and know that I am God. Lord, may your spirit guide me to seek your loving presence more and more. For it is there I find rest and refreshment from this busy world.

Freedom
By God’s grace I was born to live in freedom. Free to enjoy the pleasures He created for me. Dear Lord, grant that I may live as you intended, with complete confidence in your loving care.

Consciousness
In God’s loving presence I unwind the past day, starting from now and looking back, moment by moment. I gather in all the goodness and light, in gratitude. I attend to the shadows and what they say to me, seeking healing, courage, forgiveness.

The Word
The Word of God comes to us through the Scriptures. May the Holy Spirit enlighten my mind and heart to respond to the gospel teachings.

Matthew 9:27–31
As Jesus went on his way, two blind men followed him, crying loudly, “Have mercy on us, Son of David!” When he entered the house, the blind men came to him; and Jesus said to them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” They said to him, “Yes, Lord.” Then he touched their eyes and said, “According to your faith let it be done to you.” And their eyes were opened. Then Jesus sternly ordered them, “See that no one knows of this.” But they went away and spread the news about him throughout that district.
How could these men follow Jesus if they could not see? By hearing his voice, perhaps. Or maybe others led them to him. How did they know what to ask for? They knew they needed physical and spiritual sight, so they asked for more than sight: they asked for mercy. Their faith in Jesus opened their hearts to appeal to him. Their faith touched power in Jesus, and they were healed. They knew their need for God and for others; they did not hide their need and thus were healed.

Lord, you do not meet me as one of a multitude, but face to face, on my own, where you can test the truth of my words. You meet me and listen to my desire when it is free from the illusions of mass emotion.

Conversation
Jesus, you always welcomed little children when you walked on this earth. Teach me to have a childlike trust in you. To live in the knowledge that you will never abandon me.

Conclusion
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,
As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be,
World without end. Amen.


Let Go and Let God!

Bob Hook

Keep Walking With Jesus-Leader

Hopeful Hearts Breaking Free From Hurts - Leader

Gastric Sleevers - Leader

2018 Summer 5% Challenge for the Shooting Stars Team - EL Leader

Driven by Faith - Leader


 current weight: 295.5 
387
340.25
293.5
246.75
200
RHOOK20047's Photo RHOOK20047 SparkPoints: (588,183)
Fitness Minutes: (205,792)
Posts: 30,429
12/1/16 7:34 A

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
The Presence of God
Be still and know that I am God. Lord, may your spirit guide me to seek your loving presence more and more. For it is there I find rest and refreshment from this busy world.

Freedom
By God’s grace I was born to live in freedom. Free to enjoy the pleasures He created for me. Dear Lord, grant that I may live as you intended, with complete confidence in your loving care.

Consciousness
In God’s loving presence I unwind the past day, starting from now and looking back, moment by moment. I gather in all the goodness and light, in gratitude. I attend to the shadows and what they say to me, seeking healing, courage, forgiveness.

The Word
The Word of God comes to us through the Scriptures. May the Holy Spirit enlighten my mind and heart to respond to the gospel teachings.

Matthew 7:21, 24–27
Jesus said to the people, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. Everyone then who hears these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock. The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not act on them will be like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell—and great was its fall!”
Saint Ignatius remarks that love is found in deeds rather than in words. Jesus praises good deeds over good intentions that are not carried out. I pray to be like a good servant who does the work God invites me to do.

Hearing or reading God’s Word is important, but it is not the end. I take time to let the Word of God settle into the shape of my life. I take care not to let it merely stay in my mind but to let it touch my heart and desires as well. I ask God to help me be present to the Word. My words are part of my response to God, but I realize that it is not just the saying of words that is important. I ask for sincerity and integrity, that my words will become actions that become my way of life.

Conversation
Jesus, you always welcomed little children when you walked on this earth. Teach me to have a childlike trust in you. To live in the knowledge that you will never abandon me.

Conclusion
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,
As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be,
World without end. Amen.


Let Go and Let God!

Bob Hook

Keep Walking With Jesus-Leader

Hopeful Hearts Breaking Free From Hurts - Leader

Gastric Sleevers - Leader

2018 Summer 5% Challenge for the Shooting Stars Team - EL Leader

Driven by Faith - Leader


 current weight: 295.5 
387
340.25
293.5
246.75
200
RHOOK20047's Photo RHOOK20047 SparkPoints: (588,183)
Fitness Minutes: (205,792)
Posts: 30,429
11/30/16 6:49 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
First Wednesday in Advent

The Days are Coming

The earliest Christian text we possess is 1 Thessalonians, written sometime in the early fifties of the first century. Paul tells this little church, which he had founded, to be ready for the coming of the Savior: “Now may God himself, our Father, and our Lord Jesus direct our way to you, and may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, just as we have for you, so as to strengthen your hearts, to be blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his holy ones” (1 Th 3:11-13).

Paul had seen the risen Jesus, and everything else in his life fell away. Everything he had considered central—the law, his livelihood, his own tradition—now appeared to him as “rubbish.” Everything was re-arranged around this new massive reality of a crucified man having come back from the dead.

The Resurrection meant that God was truly the Lord of history, that all of the suffering, anxiety, and injustice of the world would be conquered and that a new, transformed life was held out to us. And so now the obligation was clear and simple: start living life in accord with the coming Christ.

Wait and watch for him, for a new world is undoubtedly coming. Paul almost certainly felt that this new world would fully emerge in his own lifetime, but though he was wrong about that detail, his recommendation is of permanent value.

As Paul tells the Thessalonians, in light of Christ, risen from the dead, the old world is marginalized, disempowered, and passing away. And therefore, those who live in accord with Christ are, in fact, on the winning side.


Let Go and Let God!

Bob Hook

Keep Walking With Jesus-Leader

Hopeful Hearts Breaking Free From Hurts - Leader

Gastric Sleevers - Leader

2018 Summer 5% Challenge for the Shooting Stars Team - EL Leader

Driven by Faith - Leader


 current weight: 295.5 
387
340.25
293.5
246.75
200
RHOOK20047's Photo RHOOK20047 SparkPoints: (588,183)
Fitness Minutes: (205,792)
Posts: 30,429
11/29/16 8:56 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 29
The Presence of God
Be still and know that I am God. Lord, may your spirit guide me to seek your loving presence more and more. For it is there I find rest and refreshment from this busy world.

Freedom
By God’s grace I was born to live in freedom. Free to enjoy the pleasures He created for me. Dear Lord, grant that I may live as you intended, with complete confidence in your loving care.

Consciousness
In God’s loving presence I unwind the past day, starting from now and looking back, moment by moment. I gather in all the goodness and light, in gratitude. I attend to the shadows and what they say to me, seeking healing, courage, forgiveness.

The Word
The Word of God comes to us through the Scriptures. May the Holy Spirit enlighten my mind and heart to respond to the gospel teachings.

Luke 10:21–24
Jesus rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father; and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, or who the Father is except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.” Then turning to the disciples, Jesus said to them privately, “Blessed are the eyes that see what you see! For I tell you that many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, but did not see it, and to hear what you hear, but did not hear it.”
In this scene, Jesus seems to be rejoicing in his disciples, happy that they are with him. He is happy, too, in what God his Father has given to his followers. Jesus rejoices in us just as friends rejoice together and as parents rejoice in the talents and gifts of their children. Perhaps, then, can we rejoice in one another? In prayer we can allow ourselves to be grateful for the goodness, gifts, and faith of others, especially people who are significant in our lives.

I watch Jesus at his prayer. What is it like to see him rejoicing in the Holy Spirit and thanking his Father? At this moment as I pray, the three divine Persons are present with me, and the Spirit is praying in me. Awareness of this can transform my prayer.

Conversation
Jesus, you always welcomed little children when you walked on this earth. Teach me to have a childlike trust in you. To live in the knowledge that you will never abandon me.

Conclusion
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,
As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be,
World without end. Amen.



Let Go and Let God!

Bob Hook

Keep Walking With Jesus-Leader

Hopeful Hearts Breaking Free From Hurts - Leader

Gastric Sleevers - Leader

2018 Summer 5% Challenge for the Shooting Stars Team - EL Leader

Driven by Faith - Leader


 current weight: 295.5 
387
340.25
293.5
246.75
200
RHOOK20047's Photo RHOOK20047 SparkPoints: (588,183)
Fitness Minutes: (205,792)
Posts: 30,429
11/29/16 7:18 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
First Tuesday in Advent

I’m Waiting, I’m Waiting

Advent is the liturgical season of vigilance or, to put it more mundanely, of waiting. During the four weeks prior to Christmas, we light the candles of our Advent wreaths and put ourselves in the spiritual space of the Israelite people who, through many long centuries, waited for the coming of the Messiah.

In the wonderful avant-garde German movie “Run Lola Run,” a young woman finds herself in a terrible bind: she needs to gather an enormous amount of money in a ridiculously short period of time. Throughout the movie she runs and runs, desperately trying through her own frantic efforts to make things right, but nothing works. Finally, at the moment when she finds herself at the absolute limit of her powers, she slows to a trot, looks up to heaven and says, "Ich warte, ich warte" (“I'm waiting, I'm waiting”).

Though she does not explicitly address God, and though there has been no hint throughout the movie that Lola is the least bit religious, this is undoubtedly a prayer. And in the immediate wake of her edgy request a rather improbable solution to her problem presents itself.

Lola's prayer has always reminded me of Simone Weil, that wonderful and mysterious twentieth-century French mystic whose entire spirituality is predicated upon the power of waiting, or, in her language, of expectation. In prayer, Weil taught, we open our souls, expecting God to act even when the content of that expectation remains unclear.

In their curious vigilance and hoping against hope, both Lola and Simone are beautiful Advent figures. “I’m waiting, I’m waiting,” they both exclaim. And so are we.


Let Go and Let God!

Bob Hook

Keep Walking With Jesus-Leader

Hopeful Hearts Breaking Free From Hurts - Leader

Gastric Sleevers - Leader

2018 Summer 5% Challenge for the Shooting Stars Team - EL Leader

Driven by Faith - Leader


 current weight: 295.5 
387
340.25
293.5
246.75
200
ELIZACG9's Photo ELIZACG9 SparkPoints: (205,877)
Fitness Minutes: (62,751)
Posts: 22,994
11/28/16 8:44 A

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
emoticon


Take time to THINK...It is the source of power.Take Time to READ..It is the fountain of wisdom.
Take time to PRAY..It is the greatest power on earth. Take Time to LOVE and BE LOVED..It is a God-given privilege.
Be FRIENDLY, It is the road to happiness.. take time to LAUGH..it is the music of the soul.
Take time to Give it is too short a day to be selfish.. Take time to DO CHARITY..
it is the key to heaven.
I live in El Paso, TX


Total SparkPoints: 205,877
200,000
212,499
224,999
237,499
249,999
SparkPoints Level 22
RHOOK20047's Photo RHOOK20047 SparkPoints: (588,183)
Fitness Minutes: (205,792)
Posts: 30,429
11/28/16 7:48 A

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
MONDAY, NOVEMBER 28
The Presence of God
Be still and know that I am God. Lord, may your spirit guide me to seek your loving presence more and more. For it is there I find rest and refreshment from this busy world.

Freedom
By God’s grace I was born to live in freedom. Free to enjoy the pleasures He created for me. Dear Lord, grant that I may live as you intended, with complete confidence in your loving care.

Consciousness
In God’s loving presence I unwind the past day, starting from now and looking back, moment by moment. I gather in all the goodness and light, in gratitude. I attend to the shadows and what they say to me, seeking healing, courage, forgiveness.

The Word
The Word of God comes to us through the Scriptures. May the Holy Spirit enlighten my mind and heart to respond to the gospel teachings.

Matthew 8:5–11
When Jesus entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, appealing to him and saying, “Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, in terrible distress.” And he said to him, “I will come and cure him.” The centurion answered, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof; but only speak the word, and my servant will be healed. For I also am a man under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes, and to my slave, ‘Do this,’ and the slave does it.” When Jesus heard him, he was amazed and said to those who followed him, “Truly I tell you, in no one in Israel have I found such faith. I tell you, many will come from east and west and will eat with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven.”
The centurion was an officer of the imperial army, a man with power and status. He was begging a favor from a penniless itinerant teacher and declaring himself unworthy even to entertain Jesus in his house. Jesus was amazed, not merely at the trust of the man, but at the fact that his love for his servant led him to cut through all the barriers of rank and race. Lord, so much of my life is structured by social conventions and barriers. Give me the grace to listen to my heart and reach out to those that I can help.

This miracle is unusual for two reasons. Jesus was not actually present when the healing took place: he spoke the word, and the centurion’s servant was healed. The servant did not even have to hear Jesus speak the word: it was enough that the word was spoken. Do we realize that when we speak God’s word, someone, somewhere, may find healing?

Conversation
Jesus, you always welcomed little children when you walked on this earth. Teach me to have a childlike trust in you. To live in the knowledge that you will never abandon me.

Conclusion
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,
As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be,
World without end. Amen.



Let Go and Let God!

Bob Hook

Keep Walking With Jesus-Leader

Hopeful Hearts Breaking Free From Hurts - Leader

Gastric Sleevers - Leader

2018 Summer 5% Challenge for the Shooting Stars Team - EL Leader

Driven by Faith - Leader


 current weight: 295.5 
387
340.25
293.5
246.75
200
RHOOK20047's Photo RHOOK20047 SparkPoints: (588,183)
Fitness Minutes: (205,792)
Posts: 30,429
11/28/16 7:47 A

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
MONDAY, NOVEMBER 28
The Presence of God
Be still and know that I am God. Lord, may your spirit guide me to seek your loving presence more and more. For it is there I find rest and refreshment from this busy world.

Freedom
By God’s grace I was born to live in freedom. Free to enjoy the pleasures He created for me. Dear Lord, grant that I may live as you intended, with complete confidence in your loving care.

Consciousness
In God’s loving presence I unwind the past day, starting from now and looking back, moment by moment. I gather in all the goodness and light, in gratitude. I attend to the shadows and what they say to me, seeking healing, courage, forgiveness.

The Word
The Word of God comes to us through the Scriptures. May the Holy Spirit enlighten my mind and heart to respond to the gospel teachings.

Matthew 8:5–11
When Jesus entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, appealing to him and saying, “Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, in terrible distress.” And he said to him, “I will come and cure him.” The centurion answered, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof; but only speak the word, and my servant will be healed. For I also am a man under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes, and to my slave, ‘Do this,’ and the slave does it.” When Jesus heard him, he was amazed and said to those who followed him, “Truly I tell you, in no one in Israel have I found such faith. I tell you, many will come from east and west and will eat with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven.”
The centurion was an officer of the imperial army, a man with power and status. He was begging a favor from a penniless itinerant teacher and declaring himself unworthy even to entertain Jesus in his house. Jesus was amazed, not merely at the trust of the man, but at the fact that his love for his servant led him to cut through all the barriers of rank and race. Lord, so much of my life is structured by social conventions and barriers. Give me the grace to listen to my heart and reach out to those that I can help.

This miracle is unusual for two reasons. Jesus was not actually present when the healing took place: he spoke the word, and the centurion’s servant was healed. The servant did not even have to hear Jesus speak the word: it was enough that the word was spoken. Do we realize that when we speak God’s word, someone, somewhere, may find healing?

Conversation
Jesus, you always welcomed little children when you walked on this earth. Teach me to have a childlike trust in you. To live in the knowledge that you will never abandon me.

Conclusion
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,
As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be,
World without end. Amen.



Let Go and Let God!

Bob Hook

Keep Walking With Jesus-Leader

Hopeful Hearts Breaking Free From Hurts - Leader

Gastric Sleevers - Leader

2018 Summer 5% Challenge for the Shooting Stars Team - EL Leader

Driven by Faith - Leader


 current weight: 295.5 
387
340.25
293.5
246.75
200
ELIZACG9's Photo ELIZACG9 SparkPoints: (205,877)
Fitness Minutes: (62,751)
Posts: 22,994
11/27/16 5:48 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
emoticon


Take time to THINK...It is the source of power.Take Time to READ..It is the fountain of wisdom.
Take time to PRAY..It is the greatest power on earth. Take Time to LOVE and BE LOVED..It is a God-given privilege.
Be FRIENDLY, It is the road to happiness.. take time to LAUGH..it is the music of the soul.
Take time to Give it is too short a day to be selfish.. Take time to DO CHARITY..
it is the key to heaven.
I live in El Paso, TX


Total SparkPoints: 205,877
200,000
212,499
224,999
237,499
249,999
SparkPoints Level 22
RHOOK20047's Photo RHOOK20047 SparkPoints: (588,183)
Fitness Minutes: (205,792)
Posts: 30,429
11/27/16 2:49 P

My SparkPage
Send Private Message
Reply
The Presence of God
Be still and know that I am God. Lord, may your spirit guide me to seek your loving presence more and more. For it is there I find rest and refreshment from this busy world.

Freedom
By God’s grace I was born to live in freedom. Free to enjoy the pleasures He created for me. Dear Lord, grant that I may live as you intended, with complete confidence in your loving care.

Consciousness
In God’s loving presence I unwind the past day, starting from now and looking back, moment by moment. I gather in all the goodness and light, in gratitude. I attend to the shadows and what they say to me, seeking healing, courage, forgiveness.

The Word
The Word of God comes to us through the Scriptures. May the Holy Spirit enlighten my mind and heart to respond to the gospel teachings.

Matthew 24:37–44
For as the days of Noah were, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day Noah entered the ark, and they knew nothing until the flood came and swept them all away, so too will be the coming of the Son of Man. Then two will be in the field; one will be taken and one will be left. Two women will be grinding meal together; one will be taken and one will be left. Keep awake therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. But understand this: if the owner of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour.
There are tough images here: floods, capture, thieving. These are frightening, life-changing events. We have one life, and it is precious and fragile. We need to be in tune with Jesus constantly, ready for whatever comes our way, not sleepwalking through life.

Lord, make me present to your daily appearances in my life. As the poet Tagore says: “He comes, comes, ever comes.” Lord, do not let me miss you, even in my ordinary routine.

Conversation
Jesus, you always welcomed little children when you walked on this earth. Teach me to have a childlike trust in you. To live in the knowledge that you will never abandon me.

Conclusion
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,
As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be,
World without end. Amen.


Let Go and Let God!

Bob Hook

Keep Walking With Jesus-Leader

Hopeful Hearts Breaking Free From Hurts - Leader

Gastric Sleevers - Leader

2018 Summer 5% Challenge for the Shooting Stars Team - EL Leader

Driven by Faith - Leader


 current weight: 295.5 
387
340.25
293.5
246.75
200
Page: 1 of (1)  

Report Innappropriate Post

Other CC (Catholic Critters) General Team Discussion Forum Posts

Topics:
Last Post:
11/12/2018 2:45:05 PM
11/12/2018 2:46:19 PM
5/14/2018 1:24:21 PM
9/2/2017 9:43:11 AM



Thread URL: https://www.sparkpeople.com/myspark/team_messageboard_thread.asp?board=0x1017x65688661

Review our Community Guidelines