Living in the Two Hearts

My Spiritual Insights and Musings

Archive for February, 2017

Midweek Check-up…

Posted by Anne Elizabeth on February 28, 2017

CHECK-UP!

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

“Soon in these Gospels, Jesus will begin His great March on Jerusalem,…but before He goes to Jerusalem, Jesus has many other things to teach His disciples.  However, they simply refuse to listen to His prophecies of His Passion and Death, and what is really waiting for them in Jerusalem.  But they would never forget His teaching, and when these days of darkness are over, they will spend the rest of their lives bringing that teaching to the world.” ~ Fr Clifford Stevens, Homily, Thursday of the 1st Week of Lent.

Are we listening?  Or are we like Jesus’ first disciples, too preoccupied with the coming Kingdom and the glory that will mean for us?

This is the time we have for PREPARATION, because soon, oh so very soon, it will be the time to follow into our Lord’s Passion and Death:

Before Christ’s second coming the Church must pass through a final trial that will shake the faith of many believers.  The persecution that accompanies her pilgrimage on earth will unveil the “mystery of iniquity” in the form of a religious deception offering men an apparent solution to their problems at the price of apostasy from the truth. The supreme religious deception is that of the Antichrist, a pseudo messianism by which man glorifies himself in place of God and of His Messiah come in the flesh. ~ CCC§675

This is largely why it is of utmost importance to really TRY this Lent to reform our lives, beginning one habit at a time.  Did you know, that when a life begins the task of reformation it then undergoes transformation ?  Think about it!  When we begin to change our ways, our habits, and those very things which, unhappily, prevent us from doing God’s Will, suddenly those things become very unimportant as our eyes are opened, LOVE is restored, and holiness becomes the desire of our heart.

When this occurs, then your faith becomes the object of growth and NEW LIFE springs forth.  Translation: You begin to LIVE your faith, practice what you preach, and teach others what you believe.

St James reminds us of the vanity of not practicing our faith when he wrote…

My brothers [and sisters], what good is it to profess faith without practicing it?  SUCH FAITH HAS NO POWER TO SAVE ONE, has it?  If a brother or sister has nothing to wear and no food for the day, and you say to them, “Good-bye and good luck!  Keep warm and well fed,” but do not meet their bodily needs, WHAT GOOD IS THAT?  So it is with the faith that does nothing in practice.  IT IS THOROUGHLY LIFELESS…Show me your faith without works, and I [by my works will show you my faith]! ~James 2: 14-16, Evening Prayer, First Week of Lent, and [RSV]; emphasis added.

So, now the question: How has God Blessed You and Made You Holy?  How many times have YOU called out to God, acknowledging that you can do NOTHING without Him? If you can respond with, “At least a few times”, well done! Hopefully you can respond with more than “a few times”.

I do so sincerely pray that this time of preparation brings about GREAT GRACES within YOUR life.  That others also notice the change(s) in your life.  AND THAT encourages them to do the same.  For it is in the receiving of GRACE that GRACE then is able to flow from you to others.  Kind of like that “pay it forward” idea.  But always remember, you cannot give what you do not have.  So…

“Ask, and it will be given you; seek and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For every one who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.” ~Mt 7: 7-8

LET US PRAY: Lord, I can do NOTHING without You!  Bless me and make me Holy!

Need the skinny again on what Lent is all about?  Visit here and read on…

Further Recommended Reading:

A Tale of Five Popes and a Great Ship

Hosea 6

7 Seals of Revolution
The Season of Faith

Like a Thief…!

What It Means to be Reconciled

How Do You Respond to Mistakes?

Entering the Prodigal Hour

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Week 2, Day 7 of 40…

Posted by Anne Elizabeth on February 25, 2017

40 Days in the Desert

Updated February 25, 2018

Morning Prayer: Tuesday, Week I of Lent: Reading: Joel 2: 12-13 (emphasis added)

Return to Me with your whole heart, with fasting, and weeping, and mourning;  Rend your hearts, not your garments, and return to the Lord, your God.  For gracious and merciful is He, slow to anger, rich in kindness, and relenting in punishment.

The Word of the Lord… Thanks be to God!

LOVE is patient and kind; LOVE is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude… it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right. LOVE bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. ~1Cor 13: 4-5, 6-7 (emphasis added)

for God is LOVE. In this the LOVE of God was made manifest among us, that God sent His only Son into the world, so that we might live through Him. In this is LOVE, not that we loved God but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the expiation for our sins. ~1Jn 4: 8b-9 (emphasis added)

For God so LOVED the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God sent the Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. ~Jn 3: 16-17 (emphasis added)

“Jesus came not just to save us from our sin; He came to give us new life as well…He came to make us into a new creation!” ~The Word Among Us, Lenten Issue, 2012; The Gospel, What Is it?

Originally published: Mar 16, 2011

A most amazing lesson was presented to me, TWICE, on the First Sunday of Lent.  First in a devotional I am reading and then, second, in a series of sermons that I received from a very holy priest/monk who is a product of the Boy’s Town system and travels about establishing monasteries across the country, Fr Clifford Stevens.

In both sources, the connection is drawn between the fall of Adam and Eve and the faithfulness of Jesus during His temptation at the end of the 40 days.  Let me show you what I mean…

TEMPTATION OF ADAM AND EVE vs JESUS’ TEMPTATION IN THE DESERT

Now the serpent was more cunning than all the rest…

FIRST TEMPTATION:

[Satan] said to the woman, “Did God say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree of the garden’?”  …the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden; but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden…lest you die’.” ~Gen 3: 1-3

Eating…does this sound familiar?

The devil said to Him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become bread.” ~Luke 1:3

Okay, both are tempted to eat.  The woman has her choice of the finest fruits.  After all, she is in the Garden of Eden (Heaven on Earth!).  So why would she need to eat something God has asked her not to eat?

Why, when Jesus has fasted for 40 days to prepare Himself to face the great tempter, would Jesus need to break that fast just to prove to Satan who He is?

THEIR RESPONSES?

So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took its fruit and ate; and she also gave some to her husband, and he ate. ~Gen 3:6

Woman and Man ate – side note: if she turned and gave the fruit to her husband (Adam), then he had to be standing right there, heard all that the serpent said, and did nothing to prevent the disobedience. HE WANTED IT JUST AS MUCH AS HER.  Thus ALL of mankind fell at this very moment because of  disobedience.

Now let’s see what Obedience looks like:

And Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live on bread alone’.” ~Luke 4:1

When looking up that reference we are reminded of the continuation of that writing found in the Torah (of which Jesus is quoting), in the book of Deuteronomy, chapter 8, verse 3c:

…but that man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord.

The above verse will become very important at the end…

ADAM AND EVE = DISOBEDIENCE

JESUS= OBEDIENCE

The woman saw that the tree was good for food…

SECOND TEMPTATION:

But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not die…” ~Gen 3:4

Kind of like saying, “God really doesn’t know what He’s talking about!” OR “God just said that so you wouldn’t eat His fruit”.

Now, what does Satan say to Jesus regarding God’s sovereignty?

“If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here; for it is written, ‘He will give His angels charge of you, to guard you’. And ‘On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.’ ” ~Luke 4:9b

THEIR RESPONSES?

So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took its fruit and ate; and she also gave some to her husband, and he ate. ~Gen 3:6

Eve and Adam both ate of the fruit…they TESTED their God because they believed the serpent, a fellow creature, over their CREATOR!  Kind of like saying, “See God!  We know better than You!” Now they have ARROGANCE (aka Pride) to join their DISOBEDIENCE.

But Jesus responds differently. He responds with Humility…

“It is said, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.’ ” ~Luke 4:12

Hmm, I guess that means…

ADAM AND EVE = DISOBEDIENCE, ARROGANCE…

JESUS – OBEDIENCE, HUMILITY…

…and you will be like God…

THIRD TEMPTATION: Satan keeps on pressing…

For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” ~Gen 3:5

Kind of like saying…

“To you I will give all this authority and their glory; for it has been delivered to me, and I give it to whom I will.  If you, then, will worship me, it shall be yours.” ~Luke 4: 6-7

Satan promises that Adam and Eve that they “will be like God“, and to Jesus (who IS God) that He’ll have dominion over all the kingdoms of the earth (never minding that Jesus already possesses this simply because HE IS GOD).

THEIR RESPONSES:

So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took its fruit and ate; and she also gave some to her husband, and he ate. ~Gen 3:6

BOTH  Adam and Eve wanted to be like God, both wanted the power, the knowledge and…what?  DOMINION?  They already had this:

Then God said, “Let us make man in Our image, after Our likeness; then let them HAVE DOMINION over the fish of the sea [Yes, Bruce, Man does ‘own’ the ocean and all the fish in it], and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over ALL THE EARTH, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.” ~Gen 1:26 (emphasis added; catch the movie reference?)

So if the Man and Woman already have DOMINION over God’s creation, why do they think they will get more by disobeying God?  Again, referring to the post on Ash Wednesday, Satan CANNOT give what Satan DOES NOT have!

Adam and Eve gave up EVERYTHING to believe A LIE, from the father of lies (cf Lk 8:44c), and ate of the fruit God had forbidden them to eat.  DISOBEDIENCE…IGNORANCE.

God SAID they would “die” if they ate of the fruit.  But they CHOSE NOT to LISTEN to the WORD of GOD, thus in their disobedience, arrogance, and ignorance they were BANISHED from the sight of the Lord – OUT OF THE GARDEN OF EDEN – which is separation from God – ETERNAL DEATH.  Spiritually, they DID DIE.

Think WE are any different today?  Think again!


Now the response that is made with OBEDIENCE, HUMILITY, and… WISDOM…

“It is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only shall you serve.’ ”~Luke 4:8

Jesus displays not only OBEDIENCE and HUMILITY, but also WISDOM in knowing that it is BEST TO LOVE GOD and NOT EMPTY PROMISES.  Thus the “angles ministered to Him” (cf Mark 1:13c),  after Satan departed and “Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee…” (cf Lk 4:14), to begin His public ministry.

ADAM AND EVE = DISOBEDIENCE, ARROGANCE, IGNORANCE = Separation from God

JESUS = OBEDIENCE, HUMILITY, WISDOM = Living in union with God

Now, which one do YOU want to follow?

Luke 4:16-21

Remember that reference to the Torah Jesus made, about man living “on every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord”? Well you have two examples of what that means.  The first is the example of DEATH, Adam and Eve’s DISOBEDIENCE, as a result of NOT LISTENING to the “Words of the Lord”, while the other is an example of LIVING because of Jesus’ OBEDIENCE to God’s words.

For we have not a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect was tempted as we are, yet without sin. ~Hebrews 4:15

The question YOU just need to ask yourself is:  Will I be obedient this moment and LISTEN to the voice of the Lord, or will I turn my back on Him and do my own will (disobedience), because really, I do know what is best! (Arrogance…Pride)

Personally, I would rather LISTEN to the voice of the Lord so that I may gain HUMILITY, WISDOM, and learn OBEDIENCE in the process.  Thus…

WEEK 2, DAY 7 of Lent:

Remember that list of 5 things you made last week?  For the first week you chose ONE (1) thing and asked God to Bless Me and Make Me Holy every time you found yourself doing that ONE (1) thing.  Well, this week you are going to add your SECOND (2nd) thing.  As you did last week, continue to repeat for your one thing, but when you find yourself doing your SECOND (2nd) THING…STOP!… take a deep breath and say: Lord, I can do nothing without YOU. Bless Me and Make Me Holy.

Humility is the KEY for this week.  For with Humility comes Wisdom and Wisdom always encourages us to seek the Will of God which will always demonstrate OBEDIENCE.  Thus making us more and more like Christ as we progress towards Holiness. Lord, I can do nothing without YOU.  Bless Me and Make Me Holy.

Speak with WORDs of Love: Father in Heaven, You know how much I struggle to be obedient and  to do Your Will.  Help me to strive to better this week than I did last week.  Help me to Love You with all my heart, all my soul, and all my strength.  For I can do NOTHING without You!  Have mercy, and Bless me, Oh my Lord, Jesus.  Amen!

Empty me, Oh Lord in HUMILITY and fill me with Your Charity.

Need the skinny again on what Lent is all about?  Visit here and read on…

Further Recommended Reading:

7 Seals of Revolution
The Season of Faith

Like a Thief…!

What It Means to be Reconciled

How Do You Respond to Mistakes?

Entering the Prodigal Hour

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