The word of God is living and effective,
sharper than any two-edged sword,
penetrating even between soul and spirit,
joints and marrow,
and able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart.
No creature is concealed from him,
but everything is naked and exposed to the eyes of him
to whom we must render an account. (From Saturday's first reading)
Reflection for Saturday:
Where will the blade of Jesus strike next?
The word of God is living and effective.... Jesus is the Word of God (as the first few verses of the Gospel of John explain), living and effective.
Jesus is sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating even between soul and spirit.... He is a blade that cuts into the heart of the matter, and it hurts if we are in sin, especially if we don't want to let Jesus heal the destruction that sin is causing.
No creature is concealed from him .... No one can hide from Jesus. When we feel convicted of our need for repentance, we are feeling the work of the holy blade. When we act on it by becoming willing to let Jesus cut out what he did not give to us, we experience the joy of new freedoms -- freedoms that we did not realize we needed and have been longing for.
Many, many people today are not willing to let Jesus do this for them. They want to be their own god. They do not want to face their need for change.
Judy grew up in a faith-filled, Catholic home. As a teenager, she made a pledge to Jesus to delay sex until after marriage. However, in her late twenties, she dated an atheist and gave into his pressures and "logic" for having sex. After that, she stopped going to church. She began hiding from Jesus and the sharp blade that continually pricked her conscience. Several years and a few more atheist boyfriends later, she is stuck in a relationship that feels like love but offers no permanent commitment, she has lost her interest in having a family, and she is still avoiding church. She is still trying to ignore the prick of the blade.
This story is being lived out in almost every Christian family. Perhaps you know someone like Judy, someone who is trying hard to ignore the invitation by Jesus to repent and discover (or rediscover) a much better way.
Eventually everyone -- absolutely everyone -- must render an account. Jesus is Lord, after all, and even those who don't accept his Lordship come face to face with the Truth at the moment of their death. What will happen to each "Judy" in your life when their time comes?
We should care deeply about the condition of the souls who are rejecting Jesus and his ways. I once had a vision of Jesus crying over a friend of mine who was dying yet still refused to turn to him. If you feel like crying over the state of an unbeliever's soul, you are united to the tears and suffering of Jesus.
When I was a child and first learned about heaven and hell, I thought, "Well, I should be nice to those who are headed for hell, because their earthly life is the only chance they have for goodness and happiness." As an adult, it motivates me to pour endless hours into Good News Ministries.
Patricia is one example of a success story. She returned to Jesus after she became a subscriber to Good News Ministries in 2002. A year ago she became a monthly contributor and explained why: "Your ministry has brought me back to God and the Catholic Church. I have been reading GNM for years and should have contributed sooner. I am just recovering from a very difficult time in my life, divorced after 31 years of marriage, and GNM has given me daily strength and wisdom to move forward. Thank you and your staff!"
Thank YOU, Jesus! Thank YOU, Holy Spirit, who changes people's hearts so they will become open to Jesus changing their lives!
Inside the Ministry: Planning our 24th year
Ralph and I founded Good News Ministries 24 years ago. January 30th is the anniversary of the birth of GNM. This ministry is meant to continue even after both of us have gone Home to the Lord.
To keep up with the growing need to bring salvation to an increasing number of people who have been turning away from Christ, the GNM team cannot be satisfied with the status quo of what we've been doing. And to give up after I'm unable to do the work would be even worse.
Therefore, as mentioned in last weekend's newsletter, we are adding two much-needed, part-time staff members: an assistant webmaster to take over the webwork I've been doing, and a media assistant to expand the outreach and number of our podcasts and videos. Please keep these two men in your daily prayers for Good News Ministries.
I will introduce them to you after they get started. Hopefully soon!
I am extending the successful end-of-year fundraiser, moving it up from a maintenance-level of support (keeping GNM going as it has been) to a mission-level of support (keeping GNM growing). We are already 70% of where it needs to be. God will provide! A few people reading this are being called to go the extra mile as his distributor. Please pray for them.
2019 is to be a year of turning more work over to others so that I can take better care of my parents, honor my husband by taking some of that caregiving off of his shoulders, and reduce the stress that's been affecting my health as I head into the age of mid-60s.
It is to be a year of getting back to my first love: sharing what the Lord has taught me, because it's not meant to benefit me alone but is given to me for the sake of others. I need to do more writing, make more videos, and record more podcasts.
There's a book about the Father's love ("30 Days to the Heart of the Father"), abandoned since August, which people are waiting for me to finish, because what they've read so far has helped them tremendously. There's a Lenten ebook and online retreat ("40 Days to the Passionate Heart of Jesus") I hope to be able to prepare.
In nearly every weekday Mass, the Lord inspires me with an idea for a video and podcast that would help a lot of people if only I had time to record them. Pray for me, that I am able to do the Lord's will and only the Lord's will.