Volume 5: Issue 5
Keeping God at the Center of Our Lives
Table Of Contents
Cover Story: Keeping God at the Center of Our Lives:
Keeping God the center of our lives in an ongoing process. It cannot be done once and then forgotten. We have to keep choosing God, day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute.
To live in communion with God every moment of the day is not a practice reserved for the special few whom God calls to live away from the rest of the world, rather, it is an essential component of our call to walk in faith. It is the way in which we bring God back into the world that has rejected him. It is a necessary part of our life in Christ Jesus.
What I am discovering anew is that the foundation for a life in which God
is at the center is, in a sense, nothing more or less than quietness. This
is conveyed so vividly in the life of Jesus, who repeatedly sought times of
solitude in prayer.
If I keep love for others in my heart, regardless of what kind of fearful perceptions I may occasionally allow to overtake me, then I will still be one with God. If I spread an attitude of love and kindness and joy, and sow positive thoughts, actions and feelings, then I will reap a harvest of abundant joy through a closer walk with God.
How do we get back to that place of loving again, that place where God
is our "first love?"
I have repeatedly resolved
to conquer my fears and know that my refuge is God. However, society's
demands as well as those of jobs, authorities, and even well-meaning and
supportive relationships have often competed for the first fruits of my
energies, skills, and time. Too often these external factors uproot personal
confidence in self, as well as upset a resting hope upon God.
Our standing with God has already been decided from the foundation of the world and there is absolutely nothing we can do to change that fact, save turn our backs on God which, I believe, is impossible for a Christian to do. God is at the center of our lives because He chose us to be His own possession! We didn't choose God; He chose us!
It's tough for anyone, I think, to truly keep God at the center of their lives. When the activities of our lives demand our attention and we drift away from the secure feeling we have when we are close to God, we begin to feel lost, insecure and alone. The everyday problems start to pile up and life is no fun anymore. For me, that's when I start to look around and ask myself, "why do I feel this way?" because I remember what it felt like to be loved and secure. Then I see it isn't God who has abandoned me, but I who have abandoned Him.
This is a fictional
story based on real life experiences of those I have worked with or read
about who are gay and struggling to find peace with a God they can believe
loves them. This is Stan's journey and his thoughts written as if he is
speaking to the reader.
The journey of grace begins the moment a person first receives God's free gift of grace for salvation, accepting the sacrifice of Jesus Christ's blood as the atonement for his sin. Now, along with every other believer, we share the privilege of glorifying God by walking in His grace and radiating that grace to others. This is the reason God created us.
I would turn my attention back to God and say "Why are you
doing this to me?" and God always responds to me the same way: "My precious
child, I've been here the whole time you've taken this path away from me.
I can still remember my overwhelming sense of relief when I finally
decided to let go of trying to prove my salvation and just trust God to
be in charge. But it was far from all over.
The physical act of walking the Labyrinth, with its curves and twists and turns, becomes an act of meditation, occupying my body and eventually my mind, as I go within my self, to see what noisy distractions I need to leave behind.
True faith is spiritual hygiene.
Overnight I became the youth "ex-gay" poster child. Speaking nationally at conferences, workshops, youth assemblies, and media outlets. Living blocks away from the gay sub-culture of West Hollywood, the reality of my true change would be tested. After months of struggling with my sexual orientation, I decided I needed to resign from my position with the ministry.
I have come to the conclusion that denial of civil
marriage rights to same-sex couples or differently
gendered people is an act of violence against the
people involved, regardless of whether I believe the
relationship is condoned by my faith or in the eyes of
Overall, the book is a handy introduction to why it is possible to be GLBT and remain a Christian. The arguments are solid and the writing easy to understand for those just beginning to grapple with this dilemma as well as those already well versed on the issue.
The Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith's most recent action against Robert Nugent, S.D.S and Jeannine Gramick, S.S.N.D. follows a long, protracted siege of their professional ministry -- one that was, as well, intentionally destructive of their personal lives. This action should give Catholics pause. But it should not surprise anyone, least of all Catholic homosexual persons.
From The Pulpit:
Jesus tells us that where our treasure is, there will our hearts be also. That sounds wonderful, but there's a warning there, too. Think carefully. What do you treasure? Do you treasure your partner, your job, your house, your car ... money? Wherever our treasure is ... our hearts will be there. But are we treasuring the right things?
One of the fallacies we hold is that doing and being are antithetical
to one another, that if we take time to be -- to be present to our
souls and to our God -- we will accomplish less because we won't have
as much time. In truth, just the opposite is the case.
God's law is not something that we have to make people hate themselves.
Condemnation for condemnation's sake has no place in the Gospel.
The purpose of the God's law is to make the world and our lives the best they could be - to make God's realm real on earth.
Bible Study and Inspiration:
Soft, quiet words, gentle tones,
have a soothing, calming effect on the person who has exploded in a
fury. Grievous words, cutting, wound-inflicting words, insults, cause
their target to become angry. It's as simple as that; but the deep
truths of God's word often are.
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