Thursday, 29 August 2013

How to enter Heaven

A man dies and arrives at the Gates of Heaven where he meets St Peter.

“Hello there …” says the Saint, “welcome to your final destination. You’ll like it here … it’s all about love. Can you spell love?”

“L … O … V … E …” says the man.

“That’s great,” replies St Peter with a smile, “you can come in!”

At this point the telephone rings and St Peter answers it. After a while he says to the new arrival:

“You’ll have to excuse me a minute … there’s something I have to attend to … it’s those Catholics … they’ve lit all the incense and set off the fire alarms … and they keep arguing about which type of Mass is best … I have to go and sort them out!

“Can you stay here at the Gates for a while until I return?”

Moments later a woman arrives at the Gates and the man recognizes his wife.

“What are you doing here?” he asks, “you’re quick to follow me … I haven’t even had time to Rest In Peace and here you are following me …”

“Well … yes …” she mumbles, “after your funeral … the hearse was speeding to the pub and it got off the road … and here I am …”

“Oh …” he replies, remembering a lifetime of nagging.

“What’s it like here?” she asks her husband, “does it need re-decorating? I've seen some lovely wallpaper ..."

He raises his eyebrows and says nothing.

"Don't be like that ..." she goes on, "is it easy to get in Heaven?”

“Very easy …” he replies, “this fellow, Peter, is very easy going … all you have to do is spell a word and you’re in …”

“That’s great …” she smiles enthusiastically.

“Can you spell Rachmaninoff?”

Ha … That’s a good one. I’ve never heard this joke before!!!

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: God smiles when we laugh. Laughter is good for you. It releases dolphins within us which tickle us from the inside, and make us laugh more! Dolphins are good for your health.

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Three Wishes

There I was face to face with St Peter. He looked at his computer monitor and said. “Yep … your credentials are OK. You’ve made it. Welcome to Heaven!”

I smiled silently.

“We like our guests to be very comfortable here” continued the Saint, “and not feel too disoriented from where they come from. So you’re allowed to go back to earth for a short period and bring with you three items from down there which will help make you more comfortable up here.

“I have to enter them on the computer … so, what will they be?”

I stopped and thought for a few moments. Three items … what could I bring from earth which will make my eternity here more pleasant … as if that were possible.

I saw him smile at that last thought.

Perhaps I could bring my MP3 player with all my music collection … that would be nice.

He frowned a little and was about to type when I added … “Oh … it’s got Latin hymns on it too …” He said nothing and I saw him type in the reflection of his spectacles.

Perhaps I could also bring my DVD collection of all those movies I never had time to see …

He interrupted my thoughts by saying, “Whilst you’re thinking about this can I also tell you that you can bring three people from down there to share Heaven with you. Who will they be?”

“Three people?” I thought, “but I know more than three people whom I’d love to see in Heaven for eternity.

“My wife … my children, my extended family, my friends, and all my Blogging friends whom I’ve ‘met’ through the Internet. There’s many more than just three people I’d like here with me.

“But … but … their lives are so inter-dependent. If I bring my wife here, who will look after the children left behind? And is it right and fair to bring young children here before they’ve had a chance to live life? How about my extended family … I can’t bring one and leave the others behind?

“This is so unfair!”

“Sit down,” said the Saint sternly, “you think it is unfair because you see things through human perspective. You analyze and measure things your way; often in a possessive manner.

“You say things like my wife, my children, my parents and my friends … as if these people belong to you.

“No one and nothing belongs to anybody and everything belongs to God.

“God gave life and only He decides when it ends and whether people come here or … the other place.

“You humans often complain when a young life is taken or when someone leaves dependents behind with seemingly no one to care for them.

“You forget that God is there to care for them, and He leaves plenty of opportunities for those people left behind to take on the task He has set them.

“Whilst everyone has his allotted time on earth, whilst there, their main job is to do His will so that when their turn comes they end up here!

“You understand?”

I nodded meekly.

“Now tell me,” he continued with a smile, “which Latin hymns do you have in your collection?”

“Not everyone who calls me 'Lord, Lord' will enter the Kingdom of Heaven, but only those who do what my Father in Heaven wants them to do.” Matthew 7:21.

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Desperate Prayers

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Impossible


When Christ hung dying on the Cross, despite His earlier betrayal, arrest, humiliation, beatings and torture; despite suffering the most painful of death and being taunted and tormented by His enemies, He still had love in His heart and asked for forgiveness on behalf of these people.

We are asked to do the same. We are asked to forgive others just as He forgave. When we recite the Prayer He taught us we seek His forgiveness and promise to forgive others.

He also taught us to "Love one another as I have loved you". A Commandment no less.

Yet, when we consider both of these teachings from our Lord, to love one another and to forgive whatever hurt is done to us, we cannot help but wander whether it is at all possible.

When Christ forgave on the Cross and loved as He has loved it was a Divine God who forgave and loved. Not a mere human like us. Can we, humans, possibly love and forgive as He?

Christ knows full well that what He asks us is impossible for us to achieve. Yet He asks all the same.

Being human we are subject to all human failings. When we are hurt we often feel resentment, ill-will and perhaps vengeance and forgiveness might be very difficult an emotion for us when the pain is still fresh and raw. And in time, as the memories of the hurt and pains come back we may still find it hard to forgive. Or, if we find it in our hearts to forgive, as many indeed do, the memories bring back that pain once again and, at the very least, we feel hard done by.

To forgive totally, as Christ did, is not within our grasp because we are not as Divine as He.

And to love unequivocally, all those within our circle of acquaintance, never mind our enemies, and to turn the other cheek is certainly not within our powers. No matter how much we try, there will always be one person whom we do not like, who rubs us the wrong way, whom we'd rather avoid. Yet we're asked to love one another as He has loved us.

Impossible.

So ... what are we to do? Are we doomed to failure? Unable to forgive totally and to love without reservation?

Our response to Christ's Commandment is to try as best as we can to obey it. Through gritted teeth perhaps, we should try again and again to forgive and to love. The memories of the hurts done to us will return, but these should not stop us from forgiving again and again.

We will probably fail ... often. But this should not stop us from trying. We will never achieve the same level of forgiveness and love as Christ, but His example should urge us on to try harder.

Saints did not become Saints because they were necessarily good at all times. They were often sinners who kept on trying.

God knows our human nature. He knows our failings and weaknesses. He knows we cannot achieve the impossible.

But in His Divine love and mercy He will welcome us with open arms for eternity with Him ... just because we kept trying and never gave up.

Sunday, 4 August 2013

Messages


Isn’t it annoying when you’re waiting for an important letter and the postman never comes. Or he delivers a lot of bills and adverts but not the letter you want.

I accept that sometimes he has no letters for me. When that is the case, why can’t he ring the door bell and tell me he has no letters for me?

After all, when I check my computer it tells me there are no new messages on the server. So why can’t the postman?

And why doesn’t God say to the world “I have no new messages for you. The message is the same as it ever was. I love you so much that I sacrificed my only Son, Jesus, for you.” (John 3:16).

The devil on the other hand, well … he’s always got new messages for us. New temptations. New ways to lead us astray. New ways to rebel against God.

Or is it perhaps that God is telling us daily His Good News of our salvation, by His Grace, through Jesus – and we’re just not listening.

Now here’s a thought!

Thursday, 1 August 2013

God's Invitation

 
Someone asked me whether God wants everyone to come to Him, and, since He knows everything, if anyone refuses to follow God’s Word, then did this man really have a choice, or was it pre-determined that he would not follow God.

Pre-determination and free will have been debated by Christians and non-Christians for years.

Here’s my view on it.

God's invitation is to everyone - without exception. When He invites us to love Him, He wants us to choose freely - without any pressure on His part to influence our decision. We choose to love Him and come to God through Jesus Christ: "I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one goes to the Father except by me.” John 14:6.

Of course, some choose not to accept the invitation. They decide to walk away from God. Not to believe in Him and in Jesus as His only Son. That is their free choice.

God in His infinite wisdom knows our decision before we even make it - but He does not influence it in any way. He knows that some people will not believe in Him.

In certain cases He allows this to happen.

It's like you being in a helicopter watching two cars coming at an intersection. You know they will hit each other. Yet you do not influence or change the outcome.

There are times however when God does try to influence our decision. Give us a nudge in the right direction, you might say.

Note that I say “influence” and not force our decision.

Why He does that only in some cases we really don’t know.

A well known example of His influence is the manner He “encouraged” Paul on the way to Damascus. I suppose Paul could still have walked away and not followed God’s Word; although I doubt many would have done so under the circumstances! Paul chose to accept God and the rest, as they say, is history.

Today God does nudge some of us in the right direction.

How?

Perhaps through chance meetings with someone who might talk to us about God and encourage us to accept His Word and take up His invitation to love Him.

Maybe He allows certain things to happen in our lives which make us turn to Him.

But the fact is that He does talk to us. He does encourage us to come to Him through Jesus Christ. Perhaps some of us just aren't listening.

But here’s the important distinction to remember. God tries to influence us to accept His Word. He encourages us.

But He never forces us.

We are free to choose to love Him, or not.