The following reflection is courtesy of Don Schwager (c) 2014, whose website is located at DailyScripture.net
Is your hope in this present life only?
What about the life to come after our physical death? God puts in the heart of every living person the desire for unending life and happiness. While physical death claims each of us at the appointed time, God gives us something which death cannot touch – his own divine life and sustaining power.
God does not abandon us to the realm of the dead One of the greatest examples of faith and hope in everlasting life with God is the testimony of Job in the Old Testament. God allowed Job to be tested through great trial and suffering. In the midst of his sufferings Job did not waver in his trust of God. In chapter 19 of the Book of Job, he exclaims:
“For I know that my Redeemer lives, and that at the last he will stand upon the earth; and after my skin has been thus destroyed, then in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see on my side, and my eyes shall behold, and not another” (Job 19:25-27).
King David also expressed his hope in the promise of everlasting life with God. In Psalm 16 David prays, Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure, because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead, nor will you let your faithful one see decay. You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand (Psalm 16:9-11 NIV translation ).
We wait with hope for the Lord to raise us up to everlasting life Jesus made an incredible promise to his disciples and a claim which only God can make and deliver: Whoever sees and believes in Jesus, the Son of God, shall have everlasting life and be raised up at the last day (John 6:40)! How can we see Jesus? The Lord makes his presence known to us in the reading of his word (John 14:23), in the breaking of the bread, and in his church, the body of Christ.
The Lord Jesus reveals himself in many countless ways to those who seek him with eyes of faith (Hebrews 12:2, 11:27). When we read the word of God in the Bible Jesus speaks to us and he reveals to us the mind and heart of our heavenly Father. When we approach the table of the Lord, Jesus offers himself as spiritual food which produces the very life of God within us (I am the bread of life, John 6:35). He promises unbroken fellowship and freedom from the fear of being forsaken or cut off from everlasting life with God. And he offers us the hope of sharing in his resurrection – abundant life without end. Do you recognize the Lord’s presence in your life and do you long for the day when you will see him face to face? The Holy Spirit is the key to growth in faith What is faith and how do we grow in it? Faith is an entirely free gift which God offers us through his Son Jesus Christ. We could not approach God if he did not first approach us and draw us to himself. The Lord Jesus gives us his Holy Spirit who works in us to open our ears to hear God’s word and to respond to it with trust and submission. The Holy Spirit is the key to our growing in faith. The Holy Spirit is our teacher and guide who makes our faith come alive as we cooperate with his help and instruction.
To live, grow, and persevere in faith to the end we must nourish it with the word of God. Augustine of Hippo (354-430 AD) said: I believe, in order to understand; and I understand, the better to believe. Jesus promises that those who accept him as their Lord and Savior and submit to his word will be raised up to immortal life with him when he comes again at the close of this age. Is your life securely anchored to the promises of Christ and his everlasting kingdom of heaven?
“Lord Jesus Christ, your death and resurrection brought life and hope where there was once only despair and defeat. Give me unwavering faith, unshakeable hope, and the fire of your unquenchable love that I may serve you joyfully now and for ever in your everlasting kingdom.”
The following reflection is courtesy of PresentationMinistries.com (c) 2014. Their website is located at PresentationMinistries.com
PRAYER ON THE OTHER SIDE OF DEATH
“Those who trust in Him shall understand truth, and the faithful shall abide with Him in love.” Wisdom 3:9 Today the Church calls us to pray for the dead, since we believe death does not necessarily mean immediate entry into heaven or hell. The Bible indicates this when Paul mentions the Corinthian practice of baptizing the dead by proxy (1 Cor 15:29). Also, Judas’ providing sacrifices for the dead is considered “excellent and noble” (2 Mc 12:43). In addition to these Scriptural references, the Holy Spirit has taught believers over the centuries to pray for the dead and has confirmed this practice by repeated prophecies.
Even so, most people are confused or at least doubtful about praying for the dead, and therefore we pray only sporadically for the dead, if at all. The Lord would have us be “clear about those who sleep in death” (1 Thes 4:13). He does not want us to yield to grief or apathy but wants us to be clear about praying for the dead and to pray with commitment. “Do not continue in ignorance, but try to discern the will of the Lord” (Eph 5:17). Read the Scriptures we have just mentioned, since faith comes through hearing the Word of Christ (Rm 10:17). Ask the Spirit to teach you everything and guide you to all truth (Jn 14:26; 16:13). Don’t spend your time in an interior doctrinal debate but listen to Him. “God is a God, not of confusion, but of peace” (1 Cor 14:33). Let the Lord speak to you and show you new things in His Word. He will show us how to pray. “The Spirit too helps us in our weakness, for we do not know how to pray as we ought; but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us” (Rm 8:26).
Prayer: Jesus, by Your resurrection-victory over death and by the power of the Holy Spirit, may a dead relative of mine be sanctified completely and enter Your kingdom. Promise: “No one who comes will I ever reject.” Jn 6:37 Praise: Praise Jesus, “the Shepherd, the Guardian” of our souls! (1 Pt 2:25) Praise Jesus, “the Resurrection and the Life!” (Jn 11:25)
Rescript: In accord with the Code of Canon Law, I hereby grant my permission to publish One Bread, One Body covering the period from October 1, 2014 through November 30, 2014.Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, April 24, 2014. The rescript is a declaration that a book or pamphlet is considered to be free of doctrinal or moral error. It is not implied that those who have granted ecclesial permission agree with the contents, opinions, or statements