Monthly Archives: January 2008

2000 Years of Deception and Error, 8 A: Benedictines, Cistercians, Trappists

Nothing But the Blood of Jesus by Robert Lowry

What can wash away my sin?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
What can make me whole again?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

Refrain
Oh! precious is the flow
That makes me white as snow;
No other fount I know,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

Nothing can for sin atone,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
Naught of good that I have done,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

You will not notice the preaching of and assurance of forgiveness of sins through the blood of Jesus Christ and spending an eternity with our Saviour, when you read the beliefs of any of these Benedictine sites. They will often sound very spiritual, but their goal is not a faith walk with the Lord Jesus Christ, reading God’s Word and being guided by His Holy Spirit. Instead, is a pagan system—an ascetical, mystical approach of works to God, but not the God of the Bible.

First some Bible verses, then I will give the information I found regarding Benedictines, who I thought of as harmless, until I did this research. Not that the men and women are harmful, but the doctrine they believe and promote is from Satan and his kingdom of darkness. It blinds them and keeps them from the Light and Life of the true God and Saviour Jesus Christ.

God’s WORD

“But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.”
—Isaiah 59:2

“Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.”—Acts 3:19

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:”—Ephesians 2:8

“Not of works, lest any man should boast.”—Ephesians 2:9

The History of Benedictine Monks and Nuns
The largest number of Benedictines are Roman Catholics or members of one of the churches of the Anglican Communion, although they are occasionally found in other churches such as the Lutheran church.

There are three groups of Benedictines: Benedictines, Cistercians, Trappists, all adhere to the Rule of St. Benedict as their inspiration in the monastic way of life.

Benedict of Nursia (born in – died c. 547) was born in Nursia, Italy around 480 AD, and founded the Benedictines in 529 AD in Monte Cassino, Italy.

Benedictine refers to the spirituality and consecrated life in accordance with the Rule of St Benedict, which Benedict of Nursia wrote in the sixth century for the communities of monks he founded in central Italy. The Benedictine Rule he wrote became the founding principle for Western monasticism and was adopted by women around the seventh century.

Monte Cassino is the site where Benedict of Nursia established his first monastery around 529. It was constructed on an older pagan site, a temple of Apollo and devastated by the Goths. Benedict smashed the Apollo sculpture and destroyed the altar, but rededicated the site to John the Baptist. Benedict never left after he was established there.

The Rule of St. Benedict can be simplified to “pray and work,” it is said, but it is not prayer as the Bible teaches. More on that later. In the sixth century AD, Benedict combined teachings and ‘wisdom’ of ancient monastics with his concern for daily living for his monks.

“Benedict’s concerns were the needs of monks in a community environment: namely, to establish due order, to foster an understanding of the relational nature of human beings, and to provide a spiritual father to support and strengthen the individual’s ascetic effort and the spiritual growth that is required for the fulfillment of the human vocation, theosis.”

In the Prologue of The Rule, Benedict sets forth what he calls the main principles of the religious life: “the renunciation of one’s own will and arming oneself “with the strong and noble weapons of obedience” under the banner of “the true King, Christ the Lord” (Prol. 3). He proposes to establish a “school for the Lord’s service” (Prol. 45) in which the way to salvation (Prol. 48) shall be taught, so that by persevering in the monastery till death his disciples may “through patience share in the passion of Christ that [they] may deserve also to share in his Kingdom” (Prol. 50)…”

Following are some items the Rule of Benedict covers:

Chapter 6 deals with silence, recommending moderation in the use of speech, but by no means prohibiting profitable or necessary conversation.

Chapter 7 of the Rule of Benedict, divides the virtue humility into twelve degrees or steps in the ladder that leads to heaven.

(1) fear of God
(2) repression of self-will
(3) submission of the will to superiors for the love of God
(4) obedience in difficult, contrary or even unjust conditions
(5) confession of sinful thoughts and secret wrong-doings
(6) contentment with the lowest and most menial treatment and acknowledgment of being “a poor and worthless workman” in the given task
(7) honest acknowledgement of one’s inferiority to all others
(8) being guided only by the monastery’s common rule and the example of the superiors
(9) speaking only when asked a question
(10) stifling ready laughter
(11) seriousness, modesty, brevity and reasonableness in speech and a calm voice
(12) outward manifestation of the interior humility.

Chapter 39 and 40 regulate the quantity and quality of the food. Two meals a day are allowed and two dishes of cooked food at each…Flesh-meat is prohibited except for the sick and the weak…

Chapter 49 treats of the observance of Lent, and recommends some voluntary self-denial for that season, with the abbot’s sanction.

Cistercians
The Cistercian life was a return to a literal observance of the Rule of St Benedict and the Constitutions of Cîteaux. The first Cistercians settled in 1098, in Citeaux, France, in a remote burgundian marsh (or cisterna in Latin), and determined to live simply and to balance in their lives, common prayer, personal reflection, and manual labor. For guidance they read the Bible, the writings of the Church Fathers, and the documents of centuries of christian monasticism.

The Order of Cistercians wear a white habit with a black scapular/apron, hence the name White Monks. Today there are several types of Cistercians: Common Observance O.C., the Middle Observance, and the Strict Observance (Trappists) O.C.S.O. There are also Cistercian nunneries.

Trappists The Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance O.C.S.O
Trappists are a contemplative Roman Catholic religious order that follows the Rule of St. Benedict. The order began as a reform movement at the Abbey of Notre Dame de la Grande Trappe (hence their informal name) in 1664 in reaction to the Cistercian Monasteries who were not strictly observing their practices. They have a women’s branch, Trappistines.

The Trappists live a life of prayer (Lectio Divina and forms of meditative and contemplative) and penance. To the extent that it is practical, they are expected to remain silent throughout the day and most especially at night. “Strict Observance” does mean stricter silence, certain situations excepted…Meals are usually taken in contemplative silence. The Trappists received greater attention in recent years because of the life and writings of Thomas Merton.

Some Benedictine/Cistercian/Trappist beliefs in their own words.
Prayer
Benedictine prayer embraces the liturgy, lectio divina, quiet prayer, and the many individual calls that wind their way in and out of a day. Prayer is not a stand-alone element of monastic life. Our prayer and our life of conversion intertwine all the way along the journey…Without it, prayer can become a thing-we-do, instead of a person we are becoming…

A Primer on Monastic Spirituality
It is not enough to merely go through the external practice of these observances. In order that you may be united with God in and through these observances, you must realize the significance of what you are doing. The few pages of this Primer will give you the basics, all you need to begin profitably. In time, you can gradually embellish your doctrinal understanding through more comprehensive reading and by means of reflection upon your experience of this life. Before immersing yourself in lengthy volumes about monastic and contemplative life, be sure you master the first simple and basic principles set down in this Primer.

Monasticism in the Cistercian Tradition is a way of Christian love, a specific form of loving life in Christ. We love God in others and in God’s Self. Therefore, we monks live and love community and prayer. We love each other by forming community. We form community by loving God in praying together. Our love toward each other creates community. Our love for God creates prayer. We are a community of prayer. In our tradition, we build a life of prayer and community on three foundations. Let us look at the meaning of each of these.

Mutual Service in Manual Labor
1. Monastic Work
2. Work and the Spirit
Shared Liturgical Prayer
1. The Liturgy
2. On the Practice of Liturgical Prayer
Meditational Scripture
1. Mona – One, Alone
2. Lectio Divina: Theory
3. Lectio Divina: Practice
4. Reading
5. Meditation
6. Prayer
7. Contemplation
8. Prayer in the Heart

to be a Monk
Monks have always believed that happiness is to be found within, in the depths of the heart. So monastics have always sought true happiness in the moral-mystical sphere of right conduct, deeper knowledge of, and union with Reality. Lover and prayer, good deeds and contemplation: these are the elements, variously understood, of monastic life in all ages and cultures. Hence we can say, in broadest terms: to seek one’s happiness in a personal love relationship with the Absolute is to be a monk at heart. Or ahian, to stake your life on the belief that consummate union with ultimate Reality “with all your heart and all your soul, with all your mind and all your strength” is the greatest possible fulfillment in life–this is already to be a monk in spirit.

Monasticism is a very ancient human phenomenon. It began in the East. There were Jain monks in India as early as the 2nd millenium before Christ. Brahmanism gave birth to many monastic movements. Buddha died in the first quarter of the 6th century B.C. and in subsequent generations his philosophy was embraced by Far Eastern peoples. In the Western world there was practically no develed monasticism before the Incarnation. The Essenes and Qumran, dating from the century before Christ in Judaic circles, seems to be the closest, though faint, foreshadowing of Christian monasticism. The monasticism of Western Civilization is a Christian phenomenon.

to Be a Christian
In the history of Western man, to be a monk is first of all to be a Christian.
What does that mean? It means that the Christian monk receives Jesus Christ
as God Incarnate and the unique source of all grace, salvation and holiness.
For the Christian monk, Jesus is the Origin, medium and End of monastic life,
indeed, of all life.

Perfection in love and divine union are seen by the monk as effects Christ
the Savior accomplishes in him. More deeply, complete mystical union
with Jesus is the direct object of monastic life: because this union is
consummate union with God. Becoming one body-person with the Lord
Jesus, the Christian monk is gathered into the eternal generation of the
Son from the Father. Likewise, In Jesus the Son the monk returns to the
Father in the Spirit of Love which eternally unites the Father and the Son.
That Spirit has become the life principle of the risen body of Christ,
including all his members. A monk has a specific life-style. But at
levels deeper than lifestyle the Christian monk is simply a Christian:
a man in Christ, a man being deified by participation in the divine Jesus.

My Comment
It is amazing to me that monasteries and Roman Catholic Parishes, whether 1500 years ago or currently, are so filled with immorality which devastates and destroys lives of folk who seek to know God and follow Jesus. It is also very amazing to me that the same ideologies and practices that have been in the monastic community for almost 2000 years, are part of what we call the emergent church.

God’s WORD

“But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!”—Matthew 6:23

“Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,

“Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

“And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.“—1 Corinthians 6:9–11

“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”—Ephesians 2:10

(For we walk by faith, not by sight:)”—2 Corinthians 5:7

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The Kingdom of Darkness: Satan’s Lie from the Garden to Judgement

As I have researched information regarding the deceptions that have made their way into what is commonly called “the church”, I have been surprised to see a common denominator of similar false beliefs, including mysticism, asceticism, mother/child worship, Queen of Heaven worship and the rosary, in the Roman church, Hinduism, Buddhism, Muslim religion, the ancient pagan religions from around the world, and now the emergent church. As I got to thinking about it,
I realized there must be a common denominator.

The first deception of course was in the Garden of Eden when Satan beguiled Eve saying that God had lied to her and that she wouldn’t die, and that she could be as a god knowing good and evil.

Instead of remembering God’s Words and acting on them, Eve chose the experiential route. She saw the food was pleasant, desired to be wise, took the fruit and ate it. And so did Adam, thereby thrusting us into a fallen world. This was not a surprise to God, and in His great goodness, mercy, love and wisdom, He had already planned a way to rescue the descendants of Adam and Eve.

GODs WORD

“Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?

“And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.

“And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.

“And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.”—Genesis 3:1–6

Skipping ahead to Noah’s generation which God destroyed except for eight people.

“And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”—Genesis 6:5

Some years after the flood, man once again rebelled at God’s Word, and did their own thing. The LORD scattered them.

“And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.

“And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded. And the LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.

“So the LORD scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city. Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the LORD did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the LORD scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth.”—Genesis 11:4–9

A major player in the rebellion seems to be Nimrod whose kingdom the Bible tells us was Babel or Babylon.

“And Cush begat Nimrod: he began to be a mighty one in the earth. He was a mighty hunter before the LORD: wherefore it is said, Even as Nimrod the mighty hunter before the LORD. And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel, and Erech, and Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar.”—Genesis 10:8–10

I found the book Two Babylons by Alexander Hislop very fascinating. The link is online, although unfortunately, the images Rev. Hislop has in his book (still available today) which was written originally in 1853 and expanded in 1858, are not online. Among other items of interest is the mother/child image which is in cultures all around the world as is the worship of “Mary” in the Roman church.

The Queen of Heaven, as the Roman church calls Mary (not the real Mother of Jesus) is someone the Jews also worshipped and is mentioned five times in the Old Testament book of Jeremiah.

“The children gather wood, and the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead their dough, to make cakes to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto other gods, that they may provoke me to anger.”
—Jeremiah 7:18

“But we will certainly do whatsoever thing goeth forth out of our own mouth, to burn incense unto the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto her, as we have done, we, and our fathers, our kings, and our princes, in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem: for then had we plenty of victuals, and were well, and saw no evil.

“But since we left off to burn incense to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto her, we have wanted all things, and have been consumed by the sword and by the famine.

“And when we burned incense to the queen of heaven, and poured out drink offerings unto her, did we make her cakes to worship her, and pour out drink offerings unto her, without our men?—Jeremiah 44:17–19

“Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, saying; Ye and your wives have both spoken with your mouths, and fulfilled with your hand, saying, We will surely perform our vows that we have vowed, to burn incense to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto her: ye will surely accomplish your vows, and surely perform your vows.”—Jeremiah 44:25

Here are some Bible verses which reference the mystery of iniquity and Mystery Babylon which the Bible says will play a major role, but also comes to its end in the Last Days. I think these verses explain much of what goes on in the politics and religion in our world—part of Satan’s Kingdom of Darkness that he tries to make people think is light.

“For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.”—2 Thessalonians 2:7

Ҧ And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will shew unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters: With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication.

“So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast,
full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and
ten horns.

“And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication: And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.

“And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration.

“¶ And the angel said unto me, Wherefore didst thou marvel? I will tell thee the mystery of the woman, and of the beast that carrieth her, which hath the seven heads and ten horns.”—Revelation 17:1–7

“And he saith unto me, The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues. And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire.

“For God hath put in their hearts to fulfil his will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled. And the woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth.

Ҧ And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory.

“And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.

“For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies.

“And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities.”—Revelation 17:15–18:5

“Babylon hath been a golden cup in the LORD’S hand, that made all the earth drunken: the nations have drunken of her wine; therefore the nations are mad.”—Jeremiah 51:7

“And in the latter time of their kingdom, when the transgressors are come to the full, a king of fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences, shall stand up.”—Daniel 8:23

There is a good mystery: The mystery of godliness!

“And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.”—1 Timothy 3:16

“But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.”—2 Corinthians 11:3

“In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.”—Rom 2:16

Awana: Revisiting “Here and Now”, “Then and There”, and “Eternal Life”

Two of my Awana posts mentioned “Here and Now” and “Then and There”. In another post, Awana/CC, I talked about the misuse of the phrase “Eternal Life” which was substituted for Jesus’ sacrifice for sins.

I may have found the source of the unbiblical use of these phrases in a book written by the Dutch-Catholic Priest, Henri J. M. Nowen, Here and Now:
Living in the Spirit.

This post will be comparing some quotes of Henri J. M. Nouwen’s in his book, Here and Now: Living in the Spirit, with what the Bible says. Henri’s writing sounds very spiritual. Don’t be misled by Henri’s enticing words. The Spirit mentioned in the title cannot be the Holy Spirit as the book is NOT based on the Bible even though he talks of God and Jesus, references the Bible, and talks of Spiritual living. In fact, Henri’s book is full of deceit and lies, but are packaged nicely. It is so sad to me to read what Henri says as it sounds like he never knew Jesus Christ as his Saviour or had assurance that his sins were forgiven and would live with the Lord forever when he died.

GOD’s WORD

    “And this I say, lest any man should beguile you with enticing words.”—Colossians 2:4

    “And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power:”—1 Corinthians 2:4

from Henri J. M. Nouwen’s Here and Now: Living in the Spirit
Inside front jacket cover
(bolded emphasis mine):
The spiritual life is not a life then and there, but a life here and now.

Chapter I Living in the Present
Meditation One: A New Beginning
[p.16]
“… We must learn to live each day, each hour, yes, each minute as a new beginning, as a unique opportunity to make everything new. Imagine that we could live each moment as a moment pregnant with new life. Imagine that we could live each day as a day full of promises. Imagine that we could walk through the new year always listening to a voice saying to us: “I have a gift for you and can’t wait for you to see it!” Imagine. Is it possible that our imagination can lead us to the truth of our lives? Yes, it can!

My Comment: On what is he basing his comments? It sounds like his spirituality depends on the person and has nothing to do with how the Lord can give us a new heart. Imagination does NOT lead us to the truth. That is a flat out lie if God’s Word is true.

God’s WORD

    “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.”—John 16:13

    “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”
    —2 Corinthians 5:17

    “And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.”—Revelation 21:5

    “But they hearkened not, nor inclined their ear, but walked in the counsels and in the imagination of their evil heart, and went backward, and not forward.”—Jeremiah 7:24

    “Yet they obeyed not, nor inclined their ear, but walked every one in the imagination of their evil heart…”—Jeremiah 11:8

    “And ye have done worse than your fathers; for, behold, ye walk every one after the imagination of his evil heart, that they may not hearken unto me.”—Jeremiah 16:12

    “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”—John 8:32

Meditation Two: Without “Oughts” and “Ifs” [p.17, 18]
The real enemies of our life are the “oughts” and the “ifs.” They pull us backward into the unalterable past and forward into the unpredictable future. But real life takes place in the here and the now. God is a God of the present. God is always in the moment…When Jesus spoke about God, he always spoke about God as being where and when we are…God is not someone who was or will be, but the One who is, and who is for me in the present moment. That’s why Jesus came… He wants us to discover God right where we are, here and now.

My Comment: The Bible says the real problem is our sin nature and Satan. We need to repent! Then we can know God, the God Who the Bible says is eternal. God was in the past (that’s when Jesus died), He is and He is in the future.

The BIBLE

    “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”—Jeremiah 17:9

    “And they went out, and preached that men should repent.”
    —Mark 6:12

    “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”—John 10:10

    “But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.”—John 20:31

    “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.”—Revelation 1:8

Meditation Four: Here and Now [p. 19, 20]
To live in the present, we must believe deeply that what is most important is the here and now…It is not easy to remain focused on the present. Our mind is hard to master and keeps pulling us away from the moment…If we could just be, for a few minutes each day, fully where we are, we would indeed discover that we are not alone and that the One who is with us wants only one thing: to give us love.

My Comment: What is Henri’s focus/bottom line? Why is his goal to live in the present and the “here and now”? That was not Paul’s goal.

GOD’s BOOK

    “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”
    —Philippians 1:21

    “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”—Hebrews 13:5

    “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.”—Titus 2:13

    “And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.”
    — Revelation 21:6

Chapter V Disciplined Living Meditation Three: Eternal Life [p.69 ]
Eternal life. Where is it? When is it? For a long time I have thought about eternal life as a life after all my birthdays have run out…But the older I become, the less interest my “afterlife” holds for me. Worrying not only about tomorrow, next year, and the next decade, but even about the next life seems a false preoccupation. Wondering how things will be for me after I die seems, for the most part, a distraction. When my clear goal is the eternal life, that life must be reachable right now, where I am, because eternal life is life in and with God, and God is where I am here and now.

The great mystery of the spiritual life—the life in God—is that we don’t have to wait for it as something that will happen later. Jesus says: “Dwell in me as I dwell in you.” It is this divine in-dwelling that is eternal life. It is the active presence of God at the center of my living—the movement of God’s Spirit within us—that gives us the eternal life.

My Comment: I don’t understand what Henri is trying to say. He is talking about eternal life apart from the One Who gives us forgiveness of sins and a hope for the future. Eternal life is NOT our goal. The Lord Jesus, the One Who we love because He first loved us, died in our place so that we might have eternal life. It is our goal to be with Him, and one day, not here and now, but when the Lord calls us home or Raptures/Redeems us from this life, we will live with Him forever. But Jesus Christ is our focus and Who we love and serve.

GOD’s WORD

    “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.”
    —John 5:39

    “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.”
    —John 17:3

    “And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life.”—1 John 2:25

    “And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.”—1 John 5:11

    “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.”—1 John 5:13

    “And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.”—1 John 5:20

New Year Thoughts

“This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope.

It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.

They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.

The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will
I hope in him.

The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him.

It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD.”—Lamentations 3:21–26

I like the start of the new year because it seems like I get a new start, if only for a few hours or minutes. I like the Lamentations’ verses because they tell me that God’s mercy and compassion is new every morning, so every day can be like the beginning of the new year because my GOD is FAITHFUL.