Monday, May 13, 2013

Your Plans For Tomorrow

They were sitting there,  at a conference, when my grandfather looked at grandma with a big smile on his face and said, “Mama, I’m going home”; and plop, his face dropped into his soup. They say, grandma just sat there and giggled for a moment, before the reality of it all hit her. Without warning, grandpas body quit and his spirit was in heaven.

I have heard what seems like a million stories over the years, about how he/she was just sitting there, when they didn’t wake up or come home, they were found dead. In perfect physical condition, running everyday; they sat down on the couch and died. Surprise Surprise !!

I remember waking one evening, I was sitting on the edge of my bed, When I heard an almost audible voice, “call 911”. Then POW a horrible pain hit me in the chest and neck. I walked out of my room, looked at my daughter and said, “call 911” . All I remember is the paramedics asking questions I couldn’t answer; I couldn’t talk. It all seemed like a dream… but I also had that still small voice whispering; You are not going to die, not tonight. 

Below you will find today's devotional that inspired all this…

But First:

(James 4:13-17 NLT) "Look here, you people who say, "Today or tomorrow we are going to a certain town and will stay there a year. We will do business there and make a profit." {14} How do you know what will happen tomorrow? For your life is like the morning fog--it's here a little while, then it's gone. {15} What you ought to say is, "If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that." {16} Otherwise you will be boasting about your own plans, and all such boasting is evil. {17} Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it."

(James 5:1-3 NLT) "Look here, you rich people, weep and groan with anguish because of all the terrible troubles ahead of you. {2} Your wealth is rotting away, and your fine clothes are moth-eaten rags. {3} Your gold and silver have become worthless. The very wealth you were counting on will eat away your flesh in hell. This treasure you have accumulated will stand as evidence against you on the day of judgment."


Plans of Tomorrow
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1 by Os Hillman
Monday, May 13 2013
"You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes." - James 4:14b

A group of workplace believers meet at my office every week for fellowship, study, and prayer. One man attended our group for several years. Jim was well liked and in good health. One Thursday he showed up as usual. The next morning I received a call, "Jim is dead! He died in his easy chair last night!" Jim had no prior problems and there was no indication he was about to go be with the Lord. Naturally, it came as a shock to us all.

Whenever things like this happen close to home, it brings us face to face with our mortality. A friend of mine said he was challenged by someone to do an experiment. He challenged him to live his life for one year as if it were the last year he would live. He responded to the challenge and did as proposed. It changed his life forever. He began to focus on different priorities and people when he viewed life in these terms.

James gives us a perspective on viewing tomorrow.

Now listen, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money." Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, "If it is the Lord's will, we will live and do this or that" (James 4:13-15).

Life is fragile. Consider where you are investing your time and energies. Someone once said they had never heard anyone on his deathbed say that he wished he had made more money in his lifetime or he wished he had made a certain deal. Usually it is something like, "I wish I had spent more time with my kids." Ask the Lord to give you His priorities for your life.

Saturday, April 27, 2013



1) What is forgiveness?

Forgiveness is our decision to accept God's grace to let go of the hurt due to sins committed against us and to express this by acts of mercy and love toward the offender (see Lk 15:20-24).

"Forgiveness is the restoration of freedom to oneself. It is the key held in our own hand to our prison cell" (Pope John Paul II).

2) How often must I forgive?

70 x 7, that is, indefinitely, always (see Mt 18:22).

3) Are there any sins committed against me which I don't have to forgive?

No. The Lord calls us to forgive all sins — even rape, murder, abuse, adultery, etc. We never have the occasion to forgive others for their character, attitude, or motives. We are not to judge these things.

4) When I forgive, am I condoning sin?

No, the Lord forgives all our sins and condones none of them (see Jn 8:11).

5) Must I forgive if the person offending me isn't sorry?

Yes, for-giveness is before-giveness — to give pardon before asked forgiveness or even if never asked forgiveness.

6) Must I forgive if a person continues to hurt me?

Yes. While hanging on the cross, Jesus forgave His enemies even as they continued to spit at Him and blaspheme Him (see Lk 23:34).

7) If I forgive a person, do I stay in an abusive situation?

No. You free yourself to obey God and remove yourself from an abusive situation until it is changed. If you do not forgive, you will often enable others' irresponsible behavior by becoming co-dependent.

8) How do I forgive?

None of us can forgive by our own power. "To err is human, to forgive divine," and we are not divine. However, the Lord promised us His divine power to forgive. Therefore, forgiveness is our decision to accept God's grace to forgive.

9) What if I don't want to forgive?

We should pray and ask the Lord to change our hearts.

10) How quickly must I forgive?

Immediately (Mt 5:25). We're in a self-made jail and at a stand-still in our relationship with God until we forgive.

11) What if I forgive and not forget?

Forgetting offenses against us does not mean we have amnesia but that there is no special sting in us when we remember offenses. If it hurts us to remember offenses against us, either we need healing or have not truly forgiven.

12) How do I forgive myself?

The Bible does not speak of our forgiving ourselves. Not forgiving ourselves is a symptom which will take care of itself if we truly forgive others and receive prayers for healing.

13) What if I don't forgive?

1. We "give the devil a chance to work on" us (see Eph 4:27).

2. We are handed over to the torturers (Mt 18:34). These torturers are such things as fear, loneliness, depression, frustration, anxiety, and self-hatred.

3. We cut ourselves off from receiving forgiveness (Mt 6:12, 15), healing (Sir 28:3), prayer (Mk 11:25), worship (Mt 5:23-24), and Christian community.

4. We lose our appetite for prayer, the Scriptures, the Mass, and Christian fellowship. We become spiritually anorexic.

5. If we persist in unforgiveness, we cut ourselves off from God forever and thereby damn ourselves.

14) How do I know if I have forgiven?

Forgiveness is not a feeling but a decision. Moreover, forgiveness is not only praying for those who have hurt us or treating them politely. We know if we have made the decision to forgive when we show it in acts of love and mercy to those who have offended us. For example, the father of the prodigal son threw his arms around his son, kissed him, gave him gifts, honored him, and celebrated his return (Lk 15:20-24). By God's grace, we must go and do likewise. Even if the persons we need to forgive have died, we should give love and mercy to their family members.

Right now, decide to accept God's grace to forgive all who have sinned against you in any way. Say: "By God's grace, I decide to forgive ___ for ___." Fill in the blanks and repeat this statement until you have forgiven everyone who has ever offended you. Then thank Jesus forever for the miracle of forgiveness.

(For more teachings, order our pamphlet, Unforgiveness is the Cause.)

Nihil obstat: Rev. Edward J. Gratsch, July 29, 1996.
Imprimatur: † Most Rev. Carl K. Moeddel, Auxiliary Bishop and Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, August 6, 1996.

The Nihil obstat and Imprimatur are a declaration that a book or pamphlet is considered to be free from doctrinal or moral error. It is not implied that those who have granted the Nihil obstat and Imprimatur agree with the contents, opinions, or statements expressed.