“What shall we do?”

Upon hearing the proclamation of the Gospel in Acts 2, the people around Peter asked, “What shall we do?” Peter’s response: Repent and be baptized.
This video looks at the surrender to Jesus’ authority, repentance, and baptism.

Lessons From John the Baptist

John heralded [Jesus’] coming by proclaiming a baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel; and as John was completing his course, he would say, “What do you suppose that I am? I am not he. Behold, one is coming after me; I am not worthy to unfasten the sandals of his feet.”   – Acts 13:24-25

From this short passage, we can learn at least three things from St. John the Baptist:

1. We need to be men and women of repentance.

John was preparing the people of his time for the coming of Jesus, the Savior. At this time in history, Israel was deep in sin and needed conversion. The one who would save them from eternal damnation was about to come, so they had to prepare by repenting from this deep sin and turning back to the way the Lord wanted them live. In our time, we know the Savior has already come, and still we sin. The Savior has saved us from eternal damnation, but we so quickly reject his saving work. We need further conversion. We need to repent of our sins daily and turn back to the Lord.

2. We need to call people to repentance.

John the Baptist had a particular awareness about the Lord’s grace that others in his time didn’t have, so he shared that awareness by telling people about the coming of the Savior. So many people in our time have forgotten about the grace of the Lord, so we need to remind them of the power of his mercy. We need to remind others that there is more to life than the world we see around us. There is actually another world that awaits those who have humbled themselves before the Almighty God and who have imitated the Savior by denying themselves, taking up their cross, and following him.

3. We need to point to Jesus at all times.

As you might imagine, John was getting quite a bit of attention for preaching such a radical message. Some even thought he was the Savior. What was his response? “I am not he. Behold, one is coming after me; I am not worthy to unfasten the sandals of his feet.” He redirected all attention to Jesus, the Savior. His life was different from those around him because he knew the Savior was coming and he wanted to be saved. Everything he did and said pointed to Jesus. We need to be the same way. Each of us needs to ask: Does everything I say and do reflect a lived relationship with Jesus Christ? How can I change my life habits so I can better reflect a lived relationship with Jesus? What’s one thing I can do today to begin pointing to the one who has come into the world to save us from our sins?

John’s life was deeply affected by Jesus even before the two met each other in the four Gospels. How much more, then, should our lives be affected, since we have Jesus living within us?

I Will Return to God

This very unconventional song is a powerful expression of the Father’s strong and jealous desire for each individual soul which He has created and redeemed in the Blood of His Son.
Our response to this great love is expressed:
“I will return to my first love.”

20 minutes of an increasingly intense connection of the Heart of God with the human heart.

I will return to God. This is a video companion to the recent post: THE OPEN HEART OF OUR FATHER GOD.

The Open Heart of Our Father God

“His father saw him and was moved with compassion, and ran to him…” (Lk 15:20)

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God’s incomprehensible love of penitent sinners*.  Though the sinner has offended Him so grievously and so often, yet He reproaches him not, but forgives him everything, and restores him to his former rights and dignity of sonship.

– He re-clothes him with the robe of innocence, i.e. sanctifying grace (ROBE) (Lk 15:22).

– He adorns him again with the supernatural virtues befitting the state of divine sonship (RING) (Lk 15:22).

– He enables him to walk justly before God (SHOES) (Lk 15:22).

– He prepares a feast for the converted sinner, giving him the Lamb of God, for the nourishment of his soul, in Holy Communion (FATTENED CALF) (Lk 15:23).

God alone can love this in this way, and to us this sort of love is inconceivable.  Our Lord portrays this narrow-mindedness of ours in the conclusion of the parable.  The elder son cannot understand his father’s joy; he murmurs at it, and refuses to take part in it; and even professes to believe that his father prefers the returned prodigal to himself, the faithful, obedient and industrious son.  By this behavior of the elder son our Lord signifies the jealousy of the Pharisees, who considered themselves to be just, and murmured at the deep interest Jesus took in sinners.  By the father’s answer in the parable our Lord shows how very unjustifiable any such jealousy would be.  The just man ought to think of the great happiness which he has had of being always in the love and grace of God: and if he will try to realize what the infinite love of God is for every soul which He has made, he will rejoice with God as often as a soul which had been lost is found or saved.  As the angels rejoice (Lk 15:10) over the return of the prodigal, so ought we to rejoice over the conversion of sinners!

 

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*Thanks to F. Knecht for his sublime work from which this post is drawn.  None of this post is original.  Its entirety is drawn from “A Practical Commentary on Holy Scripture” by Frederick Justus Knecht, which is currently out of print.

I Won’t Give Up

This prayer of petition goes well with the reflections “IN THE REAR VIEW” on The Spiritual Combat, 5.

Acknowledging personal guilt, acknowledging infinite goodness and might of God.

A tendency will often be, after a fall, to fall in on myself.  It seems the writer of this song recognized that tendency but overcame, rose, and went to God.  This is always the best move after a fall.  Go the the Father who loves.  This is what the lost son did in Luke chapter 15.  Recognizing his desperate situation, he decides: “I shall get up and go to my father” (Lk 15:18).  Persevering and humble faith will rise and go to the Father!

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