Category Archives: Bible

Sunday Devotional: Was blind and now I see

Ezekiel 12:2

[Y]ou are living among a rebellious people.
They have eyes to see but do not see
and ears to hear but do not hear,
for they are a rebellious people.

And when a people are rebellious, with eyes that do not see and ears that do not hear, the result is the upside down world we live in where evil is called good, and good is called evil (Isaiah 5:20) because “the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers” (2 Corinthians 4:4).

We were amply warned by prophets and saints for the times in which we find ourselves. Humans are experts at lying. Every day and in every way, we find yet another case of monumental deception. (Go here and scroll down to a list of fakery that’ll take your breath away.)

So how do we acquire the eyes that see — the spiritual sight that penetrates the dark webs of deception which surround us?

How does one go from “I was blind and now I see“? (John 9:25)

The answer is Christ.

Always.

John 8:12

I am the light of the world, says the Lord;
whoever follows me will have the light of life.

And when you follow Him . . . .

Ephesians 5:8-14

Brothers and sisters:
You were once darkness,
but now you are light in the Lord.
Live as children of light,
for light produces every kind of goodness
and righteousness and truth.
Try to learn what is pleasing to the Lord.
Take no part in the fruitless works of darkness;
rather expose them, for it is shameful even to mention
the things done by them in secret;
but everything exposed by the light becomes visible,
for everything that becomes visible is light.
Therefore, it says:
“Awake, O sleeper,
and arise from the dead,
and Christ will give you light.”

May the light of Jesus Christ our Lord be with you!

~Eowyn

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Sunday Devotional: ‘Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed’

Exodus 17:3-7

In those days, in their thirst for water,
the people grumbled against Moses,
saying, “Why did you ever make us leave Egypt?
Was it just to have us die here of thirst
with our children and our livestock?”
So Moses cried out to the LORD,
“What shall I do with this people?
a little more and they will stone me!”
The LORD answered Moses,
“Go over there in front of the people,
along with some of the elders of Israel,
holding in your hand, as you go,
the staff with which you struck the river.
I will be standing there in front of you on the rock in Horeb.
Strike the rock, and the water will flow from it
for the people to drink.”
This Moses did, in the presence of the elders of Israel.
The place was called Massah and Meribah,
because the Israelites quarreled there
and tested the LORD, saying,
“Is the LORD in our midst or not?”

John 20:24-29

Thomas, called Didymus, one of the Twelve,
was not with them when Jesus came.
So the other disciples said to him,
“We have seen the Lord.”
But he said to them,
“Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands
and put my finger into the nailmarks
and put my hand into his side,
I will not believe.”
Now a week later his disciples were again inside
and Thomas was with them.
Jesus came, although the doors were locked,
and stood in their midst and said, “Peace be with you.”
Then he said to Thomas,
“Put your finger here and see my hands,
and bring your hand and put it into my side,
and do not be unbelieving, but believe.”
Thomas answered and said to him,
“My Lord and my God!”
Jesus said to him,
“Have you come to believe because you have seen me?
Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.

Led by Moses, the Israelites witnessed and experienced the following miracles:

  1. The ten plagues of Egypt:
    • Water turned to blood (Exodus 7:14-25).
    • A plague of frogs (Exodus 8:2-14).
    • A plague of lice (Exodus 8:17-18).
    • A plague of flies (God sent “grievous” swarms of flies upon all the people and houses of Egypt, covering even the ground, except in the land of Goshen where the Israelites dwelled fly-free. -Exodus 8:20-24).
    • Murrain, an infectious disease, killed all of Egypt’s cattle (Exodus 9:3-6).
    • A plague of boils with blisters (Exodus 9:8-12).
    • Thunderstorm of hail (Exodus 9:13–35).
    • A plague of locusts covering all of Egypt, so that the land was darkened with them (Exodus 10:12-15).
    • A plague of of darkness “which may be felt” so that “they saw not one another” covering all of Egypt, but not the land of Goshen (Exodus 10:21).
    • Death of all first-born in a single night, which spared Israelite first-borns (Exodus 11:1-8; 12:29-30).
  2. The burning bush that was not consumed (Exodus 3:3).
  3. The cloud resting on the Ark of the Covenant (Exodus 13:21-22; 33:9-10; 40:36).
  4. God appeared in the cloud (Exodus 16:10).
  5. Aaron’s rod changed into a serpent (Exodus 7:10-12).
  6. The parting of the Red Sea (Exodus 14:21-31).
  7. The parting of the Jordan river near the city of Adam (Joshua 3:14-17).
  8. Manna (bread) from the sky (Exodus 16:14-18).
  9. Drinking water provided the Israelites:
    • Sweetening of the bitter waters of Marah (Exodus 15:23-25).
    • Water from the rock at Rephidim (Exodus 17:5-7).
    • Water from a rock in the desert (Numbers 20:7-11)
  10. Complainers consumed by fire at Taberah, which stopped in response to Moses’ prayer (Numbers 11:1-3).
  11. Enemies of Isralites consumed  by fire, and swallowed by the earth (Numbers 16:35-45).
  12. Aaron’s rod “brought forth buds, and bloomed blossoms, and yielded almonds” at Kadesh (Numbers 17:1-11).
  13. The walls of Jericho fell down at God’s command (Joshua 6:6-20).
  14. The sun and moon stayed motionless (longer day) to enable the Israelites to win a crucial battle (Joshua 10:12-14).
  15. A mega hailstorm destroyed the Amorite army (Joshua 10:12-14).

Despite having personally seen and experienced the countless AMAZING miracles, not only did the Israelites constantly doubt God, with tiresome repetition they periodically rebelled from God to worship false idols, that is, demons.

But God repeatedly forgave the Israelites.

Imagine, then, how much He loves us, who believe in Him although we haven’t witnessed the Israelites’ miracles, nor have we seen or touched Him like doubting St. Thomas, but love Him with our whole heart, our whole soul, our whole mind, and with all of our strength.

So the next time you doubt or falter or despair, take heart.

He loves you very, very, very much.

So much that God Himself did this for you.

May the peace and love of Jesus Christ our Lord be with you!

See also:

~Eowyn

Sunday Devotional: ‘His face shone like the sun’

Matthew 17:1-8

Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother,
and led them up a high mountain by themselves.
And he was transfigured before them;
his face shone like the sun
and his clothes became white as light.
And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them,
conversing with him.
Then Peter said to Jesus in reply,
“Lord, it is good that we are here.
If you wish, I will make three tents here,
one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”
While he was still speaking, behold,
a bright cloud cast a shadow over them,
then from the cloud came a voice that said,
“This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased;
listen to him.”
When the disciples heard this, they fell prostrate
and were very much afraid.
But Jesus came and touched them, saying,
“Rise, and do not be afraid.”
And when the disciples raised their eyes,
they saw no one else but Jesus alone.

My eyes brimmed with tears reading the above passage from Matthew, my heart is filled with wonder and awe.

Imagine if you and I had been there, waking up from sleep and seeing our Lord Jesus Christ transfigured — His face shining “like the sun,” His clothes “white as light” .  . . .

And talking with two long-departed men, Moses and Elijah — visual evidence that there is life after death.

Then, to top it all, we hear the voice of the Father: “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.”

Do you long to see our Lord as much as I do?

A little-known, panned-by-critics (of course) 2016 gem of a movie, Risen, about an unbelieving Roman soldier’s search for Jesus’ body following His resurrection, captures well our Lord’s warmth, love, and unspoken understanding.

Here’s the scene of when Clavius, the Roman Tribune, saw the risen Christ for the first time.

It is said that Mel Gibson, who just had a newborn son out of wedlock with a woman young enough to be his granddaughter (he’s 35 years older), is planning to make a sequel to his 2004 The Passion of the Christ, about the Resurrection.

Gibson should know that the sequel has already been made, and it’s called Risen.

If you haven’t seen it, I urge you to. You won’t regret it.

Here’s the link to watch the movie in its entirety: http://ffilms.org/risen-2016/

And may the peace and love of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you!

~Eowyn

Sunday Devotional: Season of Lent begins

Genesis 2:7-9, 3:1-7

The LORD God formed man out of the clay of the ground
and blew into his nostrils the breath of life,
and so man became a living being.

Then the LORD God planted a garden in Eden, in the east,
and placed there the man whom he had formed.
Out of the ground the LORD God made various trees grow
that were delightful to look at and good for food,
with the tree of life in the middle of the garden
and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

Now the serpent was the most cunning of all the animals
that the LORD God had made.
The serpent asked the woman,
“Did God really tell you not to eat
from any of the trees in the garden?”
The woman answered the serpent:
“We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden;
it is only about the fruit of the tree
in the middle of the garden that God said,
‘You shall not eat it or even touch it, lest you die.'”
But the serpent said to the woman:
“You certainly will not die!
No, God knows well that the moment you eat of it
your eyes will be opened and you will be like gods
who know what is good and what is evil.”
The woman saw that the tree was good for food,
pleasing to the eyes, and desirable for gaining wisdom.
So she took some of its fruit and ate it;
and she also gave some to her husband, who was with her,
and he ate it.
Then the eyes of both of them were opened,
and they realized that they were naked;
so they sewed fig leaves together
and made loincloths for themselves.

Michelangelo's Temptation and Fall

The Fall of Adam and Eve is a mystery wrapped in a conundrum. For, having everything in that bucolic first garden, including and especially the unimaginably sublime gift of seeing and conversing with the Creator (Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day” –Genesis 3:8), they still chose disobedience and betrayal.

All because of the sin of grandiose narcissism — of wanting to be “like gods,” who will determine for themselves “what is good and what is evil” although they already knew right from wrong for, as the Book of Jeremiah 31:33 says, when God created humans, He placed His law within each of us, written in our very hearts.

But our first parents wanted to be their own gods, that is, with their own conception of right and wrong. And that is nothing other than a contravention of the First Commandment (“You shall have no other gods before me.” –Exodus 20:3). Another way to say “wanting to be their own gods” is “Do as thou wilt” — the motto of satanist Aleister Crowley and the church of Satan, and the zeitgeist of our time.

That first sin by our first parents was so cataclysmic that it fundamentally changed the natural order of the world.

A door was opened to chaos; henceforth a price must be paid for being human. Where once was joy and ease, there would be banishment, toil, pain, hardship, sickness, disease, and eventual death (“with painful labor you will give birth to children“; “by the sweat of your brow”; “for dust you are and to dust you will return”). Humankind’s relation with other creatures and the physical environment turned askew as “visible creation has become alien and hostile to man.” 

So cataclysmic is the breach that human nature itself became perverted. Henceforth, all of Adam’s progeny would be born “tinder for sin” (fomes peccati) with the stain of Original Sin, an inclination to evil. As St. Anselm lamented¹:

“I fell before my mother conceived me. Truly, in darkness I was conceived, and in the cover of darkness I was born. Truly, in him we all fell, in whom we all sinned. In him we all lost.”

¹St. Anselm: Basic Writings, translated by S. N. Deane (La Salle, Illinois: Open Court, 1961), p. 24.

So immense was our first parents’ Fall that only God Himself, in the person of the Son, could make amends — by becoming incarnate, only to be tortured, to suffer, and to die on a cross.

Jesus loves us this much

And so we come to Lent.

Since Jesus prepared Himself for His public ministry in 40 days, Christians imitate Him with prayer and fasting during this time of Lent to prepare for Holy Week. In remembrance of how Christ our Lord was tortured, suffered, and died for our sins, we are asked to make a sacrifice during Lent by surrendering something that gives us pleasure, and/or by doing something good that we don’t ordinarily do.

For Lent, I’m giving up chocolates. What are you giving up for Lent?

And may the love and peace of Jesus Christ our Lord be with you, always,

~Éowyn

Demonic Left’s curses on Trump backfired

2 Timothy 3:1-6, 9, 13

But mark this:
There will be terrible times in the last days.
People will be lovers of themselves . . .
not lovers of the good . . .
lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God . . . .
Have nothing to do with such people.
They are the kind who worm their way into homes . . . .
But they will not get very far because . . .
their folly will be clear to everyone. . . .
deceiving and being deceived.

Last night’s Academy Awards show continued its ratings drop, the second lowest in the history of the awards, with 4% fewer viewers than last year (2016), which itself had 6% fewer viewers than the 2015 show. The 2015 Academy Awards show, in turn, had ratings that were a 16% drop from 2014. (Source: The Daily Lion)

Does anyone see a trend?

As expected, this year’s Academy Awards show was saturated with anti-Trump jokes and criticisms of his policies on illegal aliens and a temporary visa ban on people from terrorist-exporting countries in the Middle East. As former Governor Mike Huckabee puts it:

Last night, ABC aired yet another Hollywood awards ceremony in which incredibly wealthy, attractive and privileged celebrities congratulated themselves on being oppressed and misunderstood. They again left the walls of their gated mansions with their armed security guards and traveled past heavily-armed police into the walls of the Kodak Theater, where they hectored us about how terrible guns and security walls are. This year included an extra layer of lectures on open borders and welcoming all migrants to come on in, from people who won’t let you get within 200 yards of them unless your name is on the VIP list.

But the Academy Awards ended in an epic fail when Warren Beatty and an embalmed Faye Dunaway were given the wrong envelope and so announced the wrong movie, La La Land, as Best Picture, which a PriceWaterhouseCoopers accountant corrected with an envelope containing the name of the real winner, Moonlight — a more PC movie about two black homosexuals.

Two nights before the Academy Awards show, on February 24, witches and occultists in various locations across America performed a ritual at midnight, the darkest hour, to put a curse on President Trump. As the New York Post reports:

Witches around the world are expected to cast a mass spell at the stroke of midnight Friday “to bind Donald Trump and all those who abet him” — as Christian groups are urging prayer to combat this “declaration of spiritual war.”

The spell is to be performed “on every waning crescent moon until [Trump] is removed from office,” according to a Facebook page dedicated to the paranormal stunt, which involves setting ablaze an “unflattering” picture of the 45th president….

After lighting a white candle, the spell begins with the words: “Hear me, oh spirits/ Of Water, Earth, Fire, and Air/ Heavenly hosts/ Demons of the infernal realms/ And spirits of the ancestors. I call upon you/ To bind/ Donald J. Trump/ So that he may fail utterly/ That he may do no harm/ To any human soul/ Nor any tree/ Animal/ Rock/ Stream/ or Sea,” is to be said when lighting the orange candle.

Practitioners are then asked to burn Trump’s photo with the orange candle while “loudly” chanting, “So mote it be!” or Trump’s famed catchphrase, “You’re fired!” over and over, according to the instructions published this month by “magical thinker” Michael Hughes on Extranewsfeed.com.

At the end of the ritual, demonstrators are to “blow out orange candle, visualizing Trump blowing apart into dust or ash.”

But the curse backfired, as seen in the disastrous conclusion of the Academy Awards show two nights later.

This is not the first time a curse on Trump has backfired. According to WND:

The far-left feminist blog Jezebel, named after the biblical queen who mandated the worship of Baal and Asherah instead of God, published a gushing story in September 2015 about “Brooklyn Witches” of immigrant descent cursing Trump because they “wholeheartedly believe that Trump and the rest of the GOP are garbage.”

Trump evidently overcame the curse, along with everything else in his way, to win the presidency a year later.

Moloch, Baphomet, Madonna

The creature who calls herself “Madonna” also placed a curse on Trump, which also backfired. In an interview with Harper’s Bazaar, Jan. 10, 2017, the creature said:

On election night I was sitting at a table with my agent, who is also one of my very best friends, and we were truly praying. We were praying. She was on her computer. She’s friends with someone who was working on Hillary [Clinton]’s campaign and was getting blow-by-blow reports, and at one point she was like, “It’s not looking good.” It was just like watching a horror show. And then she was reading from the Quran, and I was reading from the Zohar*. We were doing everything: lighting candles, meditating, praying, offering our lives to God forever, if only. I went to sleep, and since that night, I wake up every morning and it’s like when you break up with somebody who has really broken your heart. You wake up and for a second you’re just you, and then you go, “Oh, the person I love more than anything has just broken my heart, and I’m devastated and I’m broken and I have nothing. I’m lost.” That’s how I feel every morning. I wake up and I go, “Wait a second. Donald Trump is the president. It’s not a bad dream. It really happened.” It’s like being dumped by a lover and also being stuck in a nightmare.

*Note: Zohar is one of the books that make up the Talmud, and the foundational work of the Kabbalah.

trump-wings

Followers of Christ, please continue to pray for President Trump!

See also “2016 presidential election was a spiritual war, and it’s ongoing”.

H/t Ken R.

~Eowyn

Sunday Devotional: ‘I will never forget you’

Matthew 6:25-34

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life,
what you will eat or drink,
or about your body, what you will wear.
Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?
Look at the birds in the sky;
they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns,
yet your heavenly Father feeds them.
Are not you more important than they?
Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life-span?
Why are you anxious about clothes?
Learn from the way the wild flowers grow.
They do not work or spin.
But I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor
was clothed like one of them.
If God so clothes the grass of the field,
which grows today and is thrown into the oven tomorrow,
will he not much more provide for you, O you of little faith?
So do not worry and say, ‘What are we to eat?’
or ‘What are we to drink?’ or ‘What are we to wear?’
All these things the pagans seek.
Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness,
and all these things will be given you besides.
Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself.
Sufficient for a day is its own evil.”

flock_of_birds

Do you, like I, sometimes fret about what lies ahead in your future? Will our finances be secure? Will our health be preserved or our illnesses be cured or at least managed? How will our families and loved ones fare? How will we manage in our old age, alone, without family or friends?

One attribute that distinguishes us from animals is that humans have a sense of time — of past, present, and future. Being human, we think about the future, and if we are sensible and prudent, we plan for that future. As we should, because when God made us, He gave us many gifts and expects us to fully use them, including the wisdom of forward-planning and the intelligence to make those plans.

The above passage from Matthew 6, therefore, is not a permission or excuse to live recklessly and fecklessly. Rather, Matthew 6 is a reminder that, after we have, to the best of our abilities, planned for our futures, we are to entrust the rest to God. As Isaiah 49:15 reminds us:

Zion said, “The LORD has forsaken me;
my LORD has forgotten me.”
Can a mother forget her infant,
be without tenderness for the child of her womb?
Even should she forget,
I will never forget you.

So the next time you and I find ourselves fretting about what the future will bring, say these 5 words:

Jesus, I trust in You.

I will be with you always

And may the peace and love of Jesus Christ our Lord be with you, always,

~Eowyn

Sunday Devotional: Who are our ‘neighbors’ and our ‘enemies’? How are we to ‘love’ them?

In Matthew 22:36-39, a Pharisee asked Jesus, “Master, which is the greatest commandment of the Law?”

Jesus said to him, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second resembles it: You must love your neighbor as yourself.

More than 14 years ago, after a journey that took some 10 years, I returned to Him. Since my coming home, I can honestly say I have loved the Lord, my God, with my whole heart, my whole soul, my whole mind, and with all my strength.

But, knowing all the foibles of fallen humanity — foibles of which I amply partake — and the darkness of the human heart, I have not been able to “love my neighbor as myself.” Knowing my own wretchedness, I don’t even love myself with my whole heart, my whole mind, and my whole soul!

To love my neighbor as myself is difficult enough. But in Matthew 5:43-48, Jesus tells us we must do even more:

“You have heard that it was said,
You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.
But I say to you, love your enemies
and pray for those who persecute you,
that you may be children of your heavenly Father,
for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good,
and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust.
For if you love those who love you, what recompense will you have?
Do not the tax collectors do the same?
And if you greet your brothers only,
what is unusual about that?
Do not the pagans do the same?
So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

The above passages from Matthew 22 and Matthew 5 leave us with these questions:

  • Who are my “neighbors”?
  • What does “loving” my neighbors mean?
  • Who are my “enemies”?
  • What does “loving” my enemies mean?

Alas, most priests, if not all of the priests whom I’ve heard, don’t define or explain those terms — which is puzzling because the answers are given, of course, by Christ Himself.

In Luke 10:29-37, in response to the question “And who is my neighbor”, our Lord replied with the parable of the good Samaritan:

“A man fell victim to robbers as he went down to Jerusalem from Jericho. They stripped and beat him and went off leaving him half-dead. A priest happened to be going down that road, but when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side. Likewise, a Levite came to the place, and when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side. But a Samaritan traveler who came upon him was moved with compassion at the sight. He approached the victim, poured oil and wine over his wounds and bandaged them. Then he lifted him up on his own animal, took him to an inn, and cared for him. The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper with the instruction, ‘Take care of him. If you spend more than what I have given you, I shall repay you on my way back.’ Which of these three, in your opinion, was neighbor to the robbers’ victim?” He answered, “The one who treated him with mercy.” Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”

Note that Jesus did not identify the robbers as our “neighbors”. Our “neighbor” is the man who “fell victim to robbers” who himself had done no wrong.

In Leviticus 19:17-18, it is said:

“You shall not bear hatred for your brother or sister in your heart.
Though you may have to reprove your fellow citizen,
do not incur sin because of him.
Take no revenge and cherish no grudge against any of your people.
You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

And so, Luke 10 and Leviticus 19 give us the definitions we need:

  1. From Luke 10’s parable of the good Samaritan, we learn that our “neighbor” is anyone we encounter in our lives, even strangers, who find themselves in foul circumstances through no fault of their own.
  2. From the parable of the good Samaritan, we learn that to “love our neighbor” means to treat those who are in need “with mercy,” that is, with kindness and compassion, and to provide assistance.
  3. But the “neighbor” in the parable of the good Samaritan was a man who fell victim to robbers through no fault of his own. What about people who find themselves in foul circumstances through their own fault? This is where “love your enemies” comes in.
  4. Our “enemies,” therefore, differ from our “neighbors” in that “enemies” are those who knowingly do wrong.
  5. That, in turn, implies that, unlike our neighbors, we are not to treat our enemies — those who knowingly do wrong — with mercy, kindness, compassion, and assistance.
  6. But we must still “love our enemies”. So how are we to love our enemies? As Leviticus 19:17-18 instructs, to love our enemies means that:
    1. We “rebuke” them: Rebuke is defined as “to criticize sharply“.
    2. We bear no hatred for them in our hearts.
    3. We do not seek revenge: Revenge is not the same as to mete out justice — revenge is defined as retaliation in kind or degree; to mete out justice is defined as “the maintenance or administration of what is just especially by the impartial adjustment of conflicting claims or the assignment of merited rewards or punishments”. (Just is defined as “morally upright or good”.) Unlike the impartial meting out of justice, “revenge” has an emotional component, which is where “hatred” comes in.
    4. We do not bear a grudge: Once justice is rendered, we let it go.
    5. We pray for them — that they repent and return to God.

Recognizing the above definitions, to “love” our “neighbors” and our “enemies” is a task that is neither simple nor easy. When we falter, just remember this:

Jesus loves us this much

Offered in humility and love,

~Eowyn