Tag Archives: St. Paul

Sunday Devotional: Christ comes for all

Mary with baby Jesus

Isaiah 60:1-6

Your light has come,
the glory of the Lord shines upon you.
See, darkness covers the earth,
and thick clouds cover the peoples;
but upon you the Lord shines,
and over you appears his glory.
Nations shall walk by your light,
and kings by your shining radiance.
Raise your eyes and look about;
they all gather and come to you:
your sons come from afar,
and your daughters in the arms of their nurses.
Then you shall be radiant at what you see,
your heart shall throb and overflow,
for the riches of the sea
shall be emptied out before you,
the wealth of nations shall be brought to you.
Caravans of camels shall fill you,
dromedaries from Midian and Ephah;
all from Sheba shall come
bearing gold and frankincense,
and proclaiming the praises of the Lord.
Today is the great feast of the Epiphany, which celebrates the adoration of Jesus by the magi — an event that, astonishingly and as you just read, had been foretold by the prophet Isaiah, who lived some 800 years before the birth of Christ.
The magi were wise men — non-Hebrew pagans from the East. Bearing gifts fit for a king — those of gold, frankincense, and myrrh — their coming to Jerusalem to pay homage to the king of the Jews shows that they seek in the messianic light of the star of David, the one who will be king of the nations.
The Epiphany, therefore, signifies the manifestation of Jesus as Son of God and Savior of the world — not just the oft-prophesied, in the Old Testament, Messiah of the Jews, but the Savior of Gentiles too, of all humanity.
As St. Paul wrote in his letter to the Ephesians 3:6:

“the Gentiles are coheirs, members of the same body, and copartners in the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.”

It is noteworthy that the magi, as the first Gentiles to find Jesus, were also the first Gentiles to receive His salvific grace. As recounted in Matthew 2:12:

“And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed for their country by another way.”


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Pres. Lucifer is weary, his minion hospitalized for exhaustion

Satan never sleeps. He prowls about the world like a hungry lion, seeking the ruin of souls.

There have been times in the past four years when I’ve been stunned at how the POS and his fellow Demonrats seem indefatigable and relentless in their work to destroy this country. So there is satisfaction in knowing that the battle is taking its toll on our enemies.

O last 2013 press conf A weary Obama at his last press conference of the year, Dec. 20, 2013, before he takes off for a 17-day vacay in Hawaii.

Yesterday, Dec. 21, 2013, as reported by Stephen Collinson for the AFP:

A weary Barack Obama, eyelids heavy, predicted Friday that the restorative power of sleep and the sunshine of his native Hawaii would restore his wilting fortunes after a bleak year. […]

Second term presidencies are always tough, as exhaustion, unmet promises and fading political zeal humble exhausted administrations.

But Obama’s prospects look especially cloudy.

His agenda is comprehensively jammed in Congress. Key initiatives like gun control foundered and Obama’s approval ratings have plunged to record lows.

Meanwhile, his bond of trust with Americans has been compromised.

To keep his Nobel peace prize company on the shelf, Obama earned the “Lie of the Year” title from a major fact-checking organization for claims he made for his health care reform law.

A day before, on Dec. 20, 74-year-old Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) was taken to a hospital and treated for exhaustion.
Despite suffering a minor stroke in 2005, Reid recently said he plans to seek another six-year term in 2016.
Our political opponents don’t ever give up. All the more reason why we must never give up and never give in.
We’re in a pitched battle, friends. Stay fit — physically, mentally, and most important, spiritually! As St. Paul counseled in Ephesians 6:10-16:
“Finally, draw your strength from the Lord and from his mighty power. Put on the armor of God so that you may be able to stand firm against the tactics of the devil. For our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens. Therefore, put on the armor of God, that you may be able to resist on the evil day and, having done everything, to hold your ground. So stand fast with your loins girded in truth, clothed with righteousness as a breastplate, and your feet shod in readiness for the gospel of peace. In all circumstances, hold faith as a shield, to quench all the flaming arrows of the evil one.” 
See also our “Health, Finance & Security Tips” page.

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Sunday Devotional

fog1~from Eowyn’s garden, August 2013~

Here’s a reminder from St. Paul about the sin of sloth, offense against the Tenth Commandment (“You shall not covet your neighbor’s house, you shall not covet  your neighbor’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is your neighbor’s”) and a rebuke against the welfare state and all “social justice” Catholics.

2 Thessalonians 3:7-12

Brothers and sisters: You know how one must imitate us. For we did not act in a disorderly way among you, nor did we eat food received free from anyone.
On the contrary, in toil and drudgery, night and day we worked, so as not to burden any of you. Not that we do not have the right. Rather, we wanted to present ourselves as a model for you, so that you might imitate us.
In fact, when we were with you, we instructed you that if anyone was unwilling to work, neither should that one eat.
We hear that some are conducting themselves among you in a disorderly way, by not keeping busy but minding the business of others. Such people we instruct and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to work quietly and to eat their own food.

~Click map to enlarge~

St. Paul was indefatigable in bringing the Word of Christ to both Jews and Gentiles. Through his missionary activity and writings he eventually transformed religious belief and philosophy around the Mediterranean Basin.
Paul’s missionary travels — preaching and establishing Christian nodes and communities — can be grouped into three. As seen in the map above, he traversed the Mediterranean region, in a time when travel was arduous, laborious and dangerous.
The 14 letters (Epistles) attributed to Paul in the New Testament were written during 10 years of his missionary journeys. It is possible that Paul also traveled to other countries like Spain and Britain. Among the writings of early Christians, Clement of Rome said that Paul was “Herald (of the Gospel of Christ) in the West” and that “he had gone to the extremity of the west.”
That is why St. Paul is called the “Apostle to the Gentiles.” Without the work of Paul, formerly the sinful Saul of Tarsus, you and I might not be Christians.
Paul was beaten, arrested and imprisoned on more than one occasion. Neither the Bible nor other sources say how or when Paul died, but Ignatius, probably around 110, writes that he was martyred. According to Christian tradition, St. Paul was beheaded in Rome during the reign of Nero, on June 29, AD 67 — the same day as St. Peter was crucified upside down.
Shortly before he was martyred, St. Paul had written to St. Timothy these famous words:
“I am even now ready to be sacrificed, and the time of my dissolution is at hand. I have fought a good fight; I have finished my course; I have kept the faith. As for the rest, there is laid up for me a crown of justice which the Lord, the just judge, will render to me in that day: and not only to me, but to them also that love His coming.”
For all these reasons — the sinful pre-conversion Saul, the Apostle to the Gentiles, teaching us about Jesus’ New Covenant — I love St. Paul with all my heart. I hope that, should our time darken to that point when Christians are persecuted as in the days of the early Church, I too will “finish my course,” “keep my faith,” and stand “ready to be sacrificed.”
For the conversion of Saul of Tarsus, see “The saint whom Christ struck blind.”

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Sunday Devotional

Holy Spirit1

Beloved: I remind you to stir into flame the gift of God that you have through the imposition of my hands. For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice but rather of power and love and self-control. So do not be ashamed of your testimony to our Lord, nor of me, a prisoner for his sake; but bear your share of hardship for the gospel, with the strength that comes from God.

Take as your norm the sound words that you heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. Guard this rich trust with the help of the Holy Spirit that dwells within us.

– Second Letter of Saint Paul to Timothy {2 Timothy 1:6-8, 13-14}



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The Face of Evil

I don’t normally write about crime on Fellowship of the Minds, unless the particular crime has political dimensions or implications.

While trawling for news on the Internet this morning, I came across this face. I physically recoiled upon seeing the image, as it is a face of such utter malice and cruelty (look at those eyes!), it reeks of evil.

Gary Ridgway March 2011Can you guess whose face it is?




How about this? Do you recognize him now?

Gary Ridgway 2003He is, of course, Gary Ridgway, the notorious Green River Killer, said to be the most prolific serial killer in American history.

During the 1980s and 1990s, Ridway murdered numerous females, most of them prostitutes and runaways, in the Seattle-Tacoma area of Washington State. The press gave the killer the Green River Killer nickname after the first five victims were found in the Green River. He strangled the women, usually with his arm but sometimes using ligatures. After strangling them, he would dump their bodies throughout forested and overgrown areas in King County, often returning to have sexual intercourse with the corpses.

In November 2003, Gary Ridgway was convicted of, and pled guilty to 49 charges of aggravated first degree murder as part of a plea bargain that would spare him execution in exchange for his cooperation in locating the remains of his victims and providing other details. He later confessed to nearly twice that number but steadfastly refused to speak to the media about his crimes.

Ten years after his conviction, Ridgway is in the news again.

Michael Harthorne reports for Seattle’s KOMO News Radio, Sept. 16, 2013, that from his maximum-security unit at the prison in Walla Walla, Washington, where he is serving life without parole, Ridgway is now speaking to the media, specifically to reporter Charlie Harger.

Ridgway claims that the number of women he had killed is closer to 85 and says he’s speaking out because he wants to help bring closure to the families of his unidentified victims.

Writing about the Nazi Holocaust, the late political theorist Hannah Arendt coined the expression, “The banality of evil,” which is certain to live on, long after Arendt herself is forgotten.

The dictionary defines banality as commonplace, triteness, lacking in originality.

Harger said, “The strange thing about Gary Ridgway is if you didn’t know the depravity, if you didn’t know the evil that this man committed, you would have no clue when you talked on the phone with him. This man sounds like he would be a perfect neighbor.” As Harger would later recall, it took a moment to realize he was speaking to the voice of evil.

He said Ridgway would talk about murders as if he was reading the phone book. He would describe a victim’s head falling off her decomposing body like he’s describing taking his dog for a walk. “He has no emotion about it,” Harger said. “For him, it’s like talking about what he had for dinner last night. There is no connection there.”

Harger also says it’s clear Ridgway continues to be deceptive: “Gary Ridgway is absolutely playing me; he’s playing everybody when he talks. I don’t think Gary Ridgway can even comprehend the truth.”

Harger thinks Ridgway’s true motivation for finally speaking out is an attempt to “up his count” — to make it look like he killed as many people as possible — a number he now puts as high as 85. I think he wants to show the world that, ‘Here I am, Gary Ridgway, the truck painter from Kenworth, the guy who everybody thought was slow since elementary school, somebody who couldn’t hold a candle to Ted Bundy. But, here I am, and I’m the best at something.’”

Gary RidgwayEvil not only can be banal, sometimes evil can even appear beautiful. St. Paul did warn us that “The Devil may appear in the vesture of the Angel of Light.”

But age has a way of unmasking even the most banal or beautiful.

Born on Feb. 18, 1949, Ridgway was almost good-looking at age 33.

At age 54, when he was convicted of 49 murders, the bespectacled Ridgway looked banal, commonplace, unoriginal, and nondescript.

But like the Picture of Dorian Gray in the attic, the passage of time has a way of carving a person’s face to match his/her soul. At age 62, Gary Ridgway’s face has finally caught up with the blackness of his soul.


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Sunday Devotional: Mercy

lightning clouds

I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and arrogant, but I have been mercifully treated because I acted out of ignorance in my unbelief. Indeed the grace of our Lord has been abundant, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. […]

Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. Of these, I am the foremost. But for that reason I was mercifully treated, so that in me, as the foremost, Christ Jesus might display all his patience as an example for those who would come to believe in him for everlasting life.

To the king of ages, incorruptible, invisible, the only God, honor and glory forever and ever. Amen

– 1 Timothy 1:13-17

wowFrom Eowyn’s garden, August 2013

For St. Paul’s story of mercy and redemption, see “The saint whom Christ struck blind,” July 1, 2012.


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Blaspheme like it’s 2008: Obama compared to Jesus Christ, again

For a political party that’s uniquely hostile to Christianity but not other religions, it is strange to say the least that the Democrats don’t hesitate to invoke the Lord’s name when it suits their purpose. The best case in point is the Democrats’ deification of Obama in 2008.

Writing for WND, Sept. 3, 2012, Drew Zahn reminds us of these grotesque examples:

  • Maggie Mertens, associate editor of the student newspaper Smithsophian at Massachusetts’ Smith College, wrote that “I will follow him” because “Obama is my Jesus”.
  • Even the Dutch were similarly stricken with the messianic zeal. Extolling Obamacare, an editorial in the Dutch newspaper Politiken in 2009 actually declared that “Obama is, of course, greater than Jesus.”
  • Obama himself encouraged the idolatry. In a speech on January 7, 2008,  at Dartmouth College just before the New Hampshire Primary, the POS told the gullible students: “A light will shine through that window, a beam of light will come down upon you, you will experience an epiphany, and you will suddenly realize that you must go to the polls and vote” for Obama.

Flash forward to today. To quote Yogi Bera, it’s déjà vu all over again.

The streets surrounding the 2012 Democratic National Convention site are dotted with vendors selling Obama-themed merchandise. David Weigel of Slate.com came across a photo calendar made by James Hickman and being hawked by Hickman’s nephew.

Weigel writes that most of the calendar’s months are filled with photos of Obama and factoids about the history of black Americans, but for the August entry (the month of Obama’s birth), the page features Obama’s purported short-form birth certificate and the words, “Heaven Sent: For God so loved the world, that he have his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life – John 3:16.”

John 3:16 refers to Jesus Christ as the Son of God. But the calendar, with Obama’s purported birth certificate and a photo of the POS with sunlight streaming down on his profile, implies the “heaven sent” is not Jesus, but Obama.

In a separate video posted by James Hickman, he urges Americans “to get out and vote for” Obama and that “I give up love and everything to Obama.” Hickman’s speech is immediately followed by Obama adoring signs: “I love you President Obama! God bless you!” and “God has spoken … another 4 yrs!”

I have a better Bible quote for Hickman and all the Obama idolators:

“And no wonder, for even Satan masquerades as an angel of light.” -2 Corinthians 11:14

H/t FOTM’s Grouchy Fogie


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Angel over Aurora

Last Sunday night, many people gathered in a vigil to remember the 12 people murdered by “Joker” James Holmes in that Century theater in Aurora, Colorado.
In the skies directly over the vigil, a huge angel appeared in the cloud formation.

Click image to enlarge

Crystal Fuller took the photo as the vigil was ending, but didn’t notice the image of the angel at the time.
After Fuller had posted the pic on Denver’s ABC7NEWS Facebook wall with the remark “crazy cloud,” one of her friends, Barbara Masias said it’s an angel. That was when Fuller saw it too. [Source]
There is a psychological phenomenon called pareidoliais, which refers to the human inclination to perceive a pattern or meaning where it does not actually exist, as in the “man in the moon” — seeing human features on the moon.
But given how little we humans actually know about the world — what with multiple dimensions, black holes, the mysterious dark matter that cosmologists say constitute the bulk of our Universe, not to mention the notion of multiple universes — who’s to say the Angel over Aurora is mere pareidoliais?
After all, St. Paul did warn us in his letter to the Ephesians:
For our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens.
Can’t see the angel? Look again (I’ve outlined the angel with blue dashes). There’s even a halo!

~Click pic to enlarge~

To the twelve who were murdered so brutally and senselessly in that darkened theater:

May you rest in His peace


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How to know when you're doing God's will

As a follower of Christ, my most fervent wish is that I am doing His will.
But how do we know that we are doing His will? I like what Michael Brown of Spirit Daily says:

While on earth, you will never reach perfect relaxation. It is a place of testing and a place of mission. The word mission means a “calling.” God has called you to something. Let it be what He has in mind, not what you do. Here, you will find peace.

When you are at your best, when you feel like the “real you,” you are fulfilling your mission.

You are fulfilling your mission when you are focused but at peace, clear of mind, loving, generous, merciful, understanding, firm when you need to be firm, healthy of body, full of energy, without anger, or fear, strong in your conviction, disciplined. You are at your best and fulfilling your mission when you are in the Will of God.

You won’t feel at your best every day. No. But it is in the striving (with balance) that we reach peak moments. “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing,” says 2 Timothy 4:6.

God does not judge by the standards of the world. And often, He judges not by our “accomplishments,” but by how much we try; He judges our earnestness. He sees our motives. He wants to see how hard we fight past temptation and disappointment and discouragement.

A pure heart is worth more than election (to the highest high office).

Heed not the judgments of the world. You’re at your best when you are striving (but not straining) in the cause of love and the Will of Christ.

“Not that I have become perfect yet: I have not yet won, but I am still running, trying to capture the prize for which Christ Jesus captured me. I can assure you my brothers, I am far from thinking that I have already won. All I can say is that I forget the past and I strain ahead for what is still to come; I am racing for the finish, for the prize to which God calls us upwards to receive in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:13-14)


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Monday Devotional

Starting the week right, with the Lord….

Ephesians I:3-14

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavens, as he chose us in him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and without blemish before him. In love he destined us for adoption to himself through Jesus Christ, in accord with the favor of his will, for the praise of the glory of his grace that he granted us in the beloved.
In him we have redemption by his blood, the forgiveness of transgressions, in accord with the riches of his grace that he lavished upon us. In all wisdom and insight, he has made known to us the mystery of his will in accord with his favor that he set forth in him as a plan for the fullness of times, to sum up all things in Christ, in heaven and on earth.
In him we were also chosen, destined in accord with the purpose of the One who accomplishes all things according to the intention of his will, so that we might exist for the praise of his glory, we who first hoped in Christ. In him you also, who have heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and have believed in him, were sealed with the promised holy Spirit, which is the first installment of our inheritance toward redemption as God’s possession, to the praise of his glory.

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