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Friday, February 19, 2016

“The great leaders of the people of God, like Moses, have always left room for doubt. You must leave room for the Lord, not for our certainties; we must be humble.” - Daily Bible Reflections February 19,2016


THE CHALLENGE
 
Leave your gift there at the altar, go first be reconciled with your brother, and then come and offer your gift. – Matthew 5:24
 
       During Lent, we find ways to sacrifice. Maybe in the form of abstinence. Or maybe fulfilling a ritual or vow. I guess, at the end of the day, we are all called to go beyond our comfort zone.
       How about a different challenge this Lent? The challenge is to sacrifice our need to be right all the time so that we can grow our relationships. Here are a few examples to show us how this works:
        Your child commits a mistake again. Instead of pointing out the wrong that he did, discover what led to it by listening and understanding.
           Your spouse irritates you for the nth time. Instead of criticizing your partner, find out what his or her real intentions are and seek to understand.
       Your co-worker messed up again. Instead of pointing out the problem, understand where she’s coming from and help her find a solution.
         The basic rule of the challenge? Less pointing. More understanding. Orange Garcia (orange_garcia@hotmail.com)
 
Pope Francis Says: “The great leaders of the people of God, like Moses, have always left room for doubt. You must leave room for the Lord, not for our certainties; we must be humble.”
 
Lord, expand my heart and mind with understanding.
 
St. Conrad of Piacenza, pray for us.
 

Thursday, February 18, 2016

God answers our prayers in His perfect time, in His perfect way - Daily Bible Reflections February 18,2016


PERSISTENCE IN
PRAYER
 
Ask, and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. – Matthew 7:7
 
       The sky was overcast with heavy clouds. I wondered if the clouds were as heavy as the weight in my heart. There were only a handful of people inside the church, but I paid them no heed as I walked right to the front. I glared at the cross as I cried. You said that if I asked, then You will give it to me, I said. I’ve been asking for a long time, but You never gave me anything.
       At the time, I had no money, no job, no replies from the companies I sent my resumés to, and no answer from the God I gave my life to serve. His answer was silence that stretched on for months.
       But the more God kept quiet, the more I kept praying. Sometimes I prayed with faith, other times with doubt and bitter tears, but I never stopped praying. I asked but I also continued to seek for His answer in whatever form it came. I kept knocking on every door of opportunity, until finally, I was led to an open door. Blessings have poured in since.
       So don’t stop asking. Don’t stop seeking for His will. And don’t stop knocking on doors. The answer will come in His perfect time. Karren Renz Seña (karren.s@shepherdsvoice.com.ph)
 
Reflection: God answers our prayers in His perfect time, in His perfect way.
 
Father God, in all things, in all circumstances, may I always continue to seek and understand Your will, not mine. Amen.
 
Blessed John of Fiesole, pray for us.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

“Although the life of a person is in a land full of thorns and weeds, there is always a space in which the good seed can grow. You have to trust God.” - Daily Bible Reflections February 17,2016


YOUR
CIRCUMSTANCES
 
Because at the preaching of Jonah they repented, and there is something greater than Jonah here.” – Luke 11:32
 
       Because I’m used to “Filipino time,” I always cut it close when I go to work. Unfortunately, my new job requires me to clock in a few minutes before my time so that I can replace a workmate on time. It gives the person I work with a chance to have her own break.
       So it wasn’t surprising when my manager called me aside and asked me to come in earlier. From that time on, I’ve tried to do so, even if it meant foregoing breakfast and my other usual preparations. That experience taught me to value being on time more seriously, which is a sign of respect for people here in New Zealand.
    The chance for conversion comes to us through the people and circumstances of our everyday life. The question is, will we heed God’s instrument, or do we wait for a “bigger” or more painful messenger?
       Listen through your circumstances. It might be asking you to change something about your ways. Joyce Sosoban-Roa (jsosoban@gmail.com)
 
Pope Francis Says: “Although the life of a person is in a land full of thorns and weeds, there is always a space in which the good seed can grow. You have to trust God.”
 
Dearest Jesus, soften my heart and enable me to change when You tell me so. Amen.
 
Seven Founders of the Order of Servites, pray for us.
 

Friday, February 5, 2016

“Faith likewise offers the possibility of forgiveness, which so often demands time and effort, patience and commitment.” - Daily Bible Reflections February 5, 2016


GRACE TO FORGIVE
 
So Herodias harbored a grudge against John… – Mark 6:19
 
     “Mama, you should have another baby,” Danica kidded her mom before she left for school. That morning, her parents received a dreadful phone call.
       Danica died in a road accident caused by a reckless jeepney driver. When my friend rushed to the hospital, she saw her husband  quietly crying in a corner of the emergency room. He looked at her and said, “As early as now, let us find the grace to forgive.” My friend broke down.
       During the wake, she told me that they decided not to press charges and instead forgive the driver. “Because we have been forgiven by Christ, we chose to forgive him, too,” she said.
       Unlike Herod and Herodias whose resentment led them to kill John, my friend’s gesture of forgiveness has inspired many to get closer to God.
       Just recently, I bumped into this couple at the mall. I was ecstatic to see the husband carrying a little girl in his arms. With tears in her eyes, my friend told me that God has blessed them with another child.
       Just like what Danica had wished for them the day she died. Marisa Aguas (jojangaguas@yahoo.com)
 
Pope Francis Says: “Faith likewise offers the possibility of forgiveness, which so often demands time and effort, patience and commitment.”
 
Heavenly Father, help me to forgive. Not by my own efforts but only by Your grace can I do this.
 
St. Agatha, virgin and martyr, pray for us.
 

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Is there anything that you are praying for fervently? Let go and let God - Daily Bible Reflections February 4, 2016


NEW YORK, NEW YORK!
 
“Take courage...” – 1 Kings 2:2
 
       Will I be denied again, just like I was 20 years ago?
       If it were up to me, I wouldn’t apply for a US visa again and subject myself to a possible rejection. Besides, the New York trip would happen in May, at the peak of production of our annual devotional books.
      But deep in my heart, I heard God tell me, “I am in control, don’t worry.” Still, I didn’t want to raise my hopes too high. When my office mates would tell me I was sure to get it, I’d always say, “It’s up to God.”
       Even up to the time I was walking to the consul’s window, I was telling God, “Lord, let Your will be done. If it’s Your will that I go and if the trip will benefit the company, then I’ll go. If not, then it won’t matter much to me.”
       I was that detached. I just prepared the documents needed. I wanted God to manifest His will, minus any desire on my part. And God made His will known.
       After a few questions, the lady consul said, “Congratulations! Your visa is granted!”
       So off to New York I went, and it was an awesome experience that, God-willing, will open the doors of Shepherd’s Voice Publications to international business. Tess V. Atienza (theresa.a@shepherdsvoice.com.ph)
 
Reflection: Is there anything that you are praying for fervently? Let go and let God.
 
Lord, Your will is my desire. Let me know it and I’ll follow. Amen.
 
St. Joseph of Leonissa, pray for us.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

“Always know in your heart that God is by your side; He never abandons you!” - Daily Bible Reflections February 3,2016


HOME COURT
ADVANTAGE
 
A prophet is not without honor except in his native place and among his own kin and in his own house. – Mark 6:4
 
       Home court advantage is a term in sports where the home team has a psychological advantage over their opponent because they’re playing in familiar facilities and in front of supportive fans. This was evident at the NBA Championship in 2014 when the San Antonio Spurs defeated their opponent, Miami Heat, in their home court. Their victory was even sweeter because their own people cheered and celebrated with them.
    In contrast to today’s Gospel, Jesus didn’t have a home court advantage. He wasn’t welcome in His own native place. He was rejected by His own people. And in some accounts of the Gospel, they belittled Him, saying He was only the son of a carpenter. Someone even said, “Can any good come from Nazareth?”
       With this story, Jesus teaches us to focus on our vision and mission even when challenges and disadvantages come our way. This includes rejection from those we expect to support us. When this happens, we should cast off rejection and move forward to pursue the will of God for us and for the benefit of others as well. Just like Jesus, let us continue to pursue the good fight even if we don’t have a home court advantage. After all, God is always on our side. JC Libiran (CoachJCLibiran@gmail.com)
 
Pope Francis Says: “Always know in your heart that God is by your side; He never abandons you!”
 
Lord, let me live my life not according to how the world tells me but  according to Your ways.
 
St. Blasé, bishop and martyr, pray for us.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

God is good at bringing out the good in the bad - Daily Bible Reflections February 2,2016


Feast of the Presentation of the Lord
 
DON’T WASTE YOUR
SUFFERING
 
Because he himself was tested through what he suffered, he is able to help those who are being tested. – Hebrews 2:18
 
       I used to be a gambling addict. I went to casinos and wasted all my money there. I even went to the extreme of pawning some of my stuff. It was tough. Not only was I penniless, my life was also heading for a wreck. But by God’s grace, He made a way to rescue me. I found myself back in His arms.
       I thought that my gambling years were a complete waste of time, thinking that nothing good came out of it — until I started sharing my story.
     Every time I share about my dark and painful past, people are touched. Some who struggle with addiction decide to change their lives and return to God’s embrace. Now I know why I had to go through it.
      The world needs real people who will share real stories of overcoming failure and suffering. Because when we hear an average guy winning his own battles, we think, “If God did it for him, He can also do it for me.”
       Have you failed in life? Have you suffered much?
       Share it with another person.
       Don’t waste your suffering. Velden Lim (veldenlim@gmail.com)
 
Reflection: God is good at bringing out the good in the bad.
 
Jesus, use my pain to lift someone up today.
 
St. Joan de Lestonnac, pray for us.
 

Monday, February 1, 2016

“Even if the life of a person has been a disaster, even if it is destroyed by vices, drugs or anything else — God is in this person’s life.” - Daily Bible Reflections February 1,2016


CHOOSE YOUR PAIN
WISELY
 
“And now you suffer ruin because you are a murderer.” – 2 Samuel 16:8
 
       It was tiring just to watch Joe breathe. He has severe emphysema —an incurable lung condition, often caused by prolonged smoking. By the way he breathed, you’d think he was having an asthma attack 24 hours a day. Joe hasn’t gone out of his room for five years now. He just lies in bed the whole day, staring at the ceiling, mumbling to himself.
       “I brought this on myself,” he said. “I’m suffering now because I didn’t have the commitment to stop smoking even if everyone was telling me to stop. So I smoked for 40 years... Oh, if only I can turn back the hands of time!”
       I’ve realized one thing about life. You can never escape pain.
    But you can choose between two types of pain: the pain of  commitment or the pain of regret.
       The first pain weighs a kilo, but the second pain weighs a ton.
     Joe did not choose the pain of commitment. There were probably many times when he tried to stop. But he wanted to be cool. He chose the pain of regret.
 Friend, choose your pain wisely. Bo Sanchez (bosanchez@kerygmafamily.com)
 
Pope Francis Says: “Even if the life of a person has been a disaster, even if it is destroyed by vices, drugs or anything else — God is in this person’s life.”
 
Dear Jesus, grant me the grace to choose the better path so that I will not regret later.
 
St. Ansgar, bishop, pray for us.

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