30 July 2011
Fatherly Advice - Extracted from Ecclesiasticus / Sirach 3: 17-31:
My child, be gentle in carrying out your business, and you will be better loved than a lavish giver.
The greater you are, the more you should behave humbly, and then you will find favour with the Lord; for great though the power of the Lord is, he accepts the homage of the humble.
Do not try to understand things that are too difficult for you, or try to discover what is beyond your powers.
Concentrate on what has been assigned to you, you have no need to worry over mysteries.
Do not meddle with matters that are beyond you; what you have been taught already exceeds the scope of the human mind.
For many have been misled by their own presumption, and wrong-headed opinions have warped their ideas.
A stubborn heart will come to a bad end at last, and whoever loves danger will perish in it.
A stubborn heart is weighed down with troubles, the sinner heaps sin on sin.
There is no cure for the proud man’s malady, since evil growth has taken root in him.
The heart of a sensible man will reflect on parables, an attentive ear is the sage’s dream.
Concerning Food- Charity towards the Scrupulous – Extracted from Romans Chapter 14:
1 Give a welcome to anyone whose faith is not strong, but do not get into arguments about doubtful points.
2 One person may have faith enough to eat any kind of food; another, less strong, will eat only vegetables.
3 Those who feel free to eat freely are not to condemn those who are unwilling to eat freely; nor must the person who does not eat freely pass judgement on the one who does - because God has welcomed him.
4 And who are you, to sit in judgement over somebody else's servant? Whether he deserves to be upheld or to fall is for his own master to decide; and he shall be upheld, for the Lord has power to uphold him.
5 One person thinks that some days are holier than others, and another thinks them all equal. Let each of them be fully convinced in his own mind.
6 The one who makes special observance of a particular day observes it in honour of the Lord. So the one who eats freely, eats in honour of the Lord, making his thanksgiving to God; and the one who does not, abstains from eating in honour of the Lord and makes his thanksgiving to God.
7 For none of us lives for himself and none of us dies for himself;
8 while we are alive, we are living for the Lord, and when we die, we die for the Lord: and so, alive or dead, we belong to the Lord.
9 It was for this purpose that Christ both died and came to life again: so that he might be Lord of both the dead and the living.
10 Why, then, does one of you make himself judge over his brother, and why does another among you despise his brother? All of us will have to stand in front of the judgement-seat of God:
11 as scripture says: By my own life says the Lord, every knee shall bow before me, every tongue shall give glory to God.
12 It is to God, then, that each of us will have to give an account of himself.
13 Let us each stop passing judgement, therefore, on one another and decide instead that none of us will place obstacles in any brother's way, or anything that can bring him down.
14 I am sure, and quite convinced in the Lord Jesus, that no food is unclean in itself; it is only if someone classifies any kind of food as unclean, then for him it is unclean.
15 And indeed, if through any kind of food you are causing offence to a brother, then you are no longer being guided by love. You are not to let the food that you eat cause the ruin of anyone for whom Christ died.
16 A privilege of yours must not be allowed to give rise to harmful talk;
17 for it is not eating and drinking that make the kingdom of God, but the saving justice, the peace and the joy brought by the Holy Spirit.
18 It is the person who serves Christ in these things that will be approved by God and respected by everyone.
19 So then, let us be always seeking the ways which lead to peace and the ways in which we can support one another.
20 Do not wreck God's work for the sake of food. Certainly all foods are clean; but all the same, any kind can be evil for someone to whom it is an offence to eat it.
21 It is best to abstain from eating any meat, or drinking any wine, or from any other activity which might cause a brother to fall away, or to be scandalized, or to weaken.
22 Within yourself, before God, hold on to what you already believe. Blessed is the person whose principles do not condemn his practice.
23 But anyone who eats with qualms of conscience is condemned, because this eating does not spring from faith - and every action which does not spring from faith is sin.
30 July 2011
King Solomon asked for a discerning judgement—Extracted from 1 Kings 3: 5, 7-12
The Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream and said, ‘Ask what you would like me to give you.’
Solomon replied, ‘Lord, my God, you have made your servant king in succession to David my father…
But I am a very young man, unskilled in leadership.
Your servant finds himself in the midst of this people of yours that you have chosen, a people so many its numbers cannot be counted or reckoned.
Give your servant a heart to understand how to discern between good and evil, for who could govern this people of yours that is so great?’
It pleased the Lord that Solomon should have asked for this.
‘Since you have asked for this’ the Lord said ‘ and not for long life for yourself or riches or the lives of your enemies, but have asked for a discerning judgement for yourself, here and now I do what you asked.
I give you a heart wise and shrewd as none before you has had and none will have after you.’
Be as confident now, then, since the reward is so great. You will need endurance to do God’s will and gain what he has promised.
Only a little while now, a very little while, and the one that is coming will have come; he will not delay. The righteous man will live by faith, but if he draws back, my soul will take no pleasure in him. (Hebrews 10: 35-38)
And there is no limit to the blessings which God can send you - he will make sure that you will always have all you need for yourselves in every possible circumstances, and still have something to spare for all sorts of good works. (2 Corinthians 9 : 8)
Do not be astonished at the sinner’s achievements; trust in the Lord and keep to your duty; since it is trifle in the eyes of the Lord, in a moment, suddenly to make a poor man rich.
(Ecclesiasticus / Sirach 11: 21-23)
Money and strength make a confident heart; better than either the fear of the Lord. With the fear of the Lord a man lacks nothing; with that he need seek no ally. The fear of the Lord is like a paradise of blessing, it clothes a man with more than glory.
(Ecclesiasticus / Sirach 40: 26-28)