The River of God

The River Of God

Guest contributor:   Ed Trego

As a child growing up in small town Kentucky along the Ohio River there were many times we would find ourselves at the river on a weekend, picnicking and swimming. Swimming in rivers isn’t as popular today but in my childhood there weren’t a lot of options. I’ve since found that, in some ways, we can compare God’s will for us to swimming in a river. You can choose to stand on the shore and watch it pass you by or you can get in the water and take part in life.

As we enter the river of God’s will we begin to feel the gentle tugging of God, urging us to follow him. If we stay on the shore and never go in the water, we will never feel this pull, we must enter the river and take a chance on trusting God.

In ankle deep water the tug is quite weak; we may barely feel even feel it. As we go deeper into the river we can feel the tug of God strengthen. At the knees, it’s a bit stronger but still easily ignored if we choose. In waist deep water the current begins to feel stronger and we may experience some fear and uncertainty. We might find ourselves pushing back against the current for fear that we will be swept away. As the water rises to chest level it’s even harder to resist the current. If we fight it we may lose our balance, fall and go under water for a moment.

Once we reach the point where we can no longer keep our head above water by standing on the bottom we have to make a choice:

  • We can go back to shore, pack up our stuff and go home.
  • We can go back to shallower water where we feel more in control.
  • We can tread water.
  • We can swim against the current.
  • Or, we can choose to swim with the current and accept God’s will for us.

If our decision is to go back to shore, God will not interfere with that decision just as he will not interfere with any decision we make. That is the blessing, and in some cases, the curse of free will. While this decision will get us out of the river and back onto solid ground, it will also cost us our relationship with God. If we refuse to engage, then God can’t share his many blessings and guide us to the ultimate happiness that he desires for all of us. Even though this decision will remove us from the pulling of God’s will, the fact that we have felt that will and rejected it will change our life forever. We will always question what would have happened if we had let God take us where he willed.

Going back to shallow water isn’t really much better than leaving the river altogether. At some point we will almost be forced to revise this decision. How can we feel the gentle pulling of God’s will and ignore it? We will eventually either have to choose to participate in His will or leave his will entirely. There are some people who may linger in this half-way state for most of their lives. They never fully experience God’s love for them, but are still longing for that love. What a sad, unfortunate position in which to spend a lifetime.

Treading water will allow us to fully feel the pull of God’s will for us, but we are hesitant to submit our will to his. We want to wait and see, we don’t want to commit. Treading water will work for a while but sooner or later we will tire and be forced to make a decision to either fight God’s will, accept God’s will or ignore God’s will and return to shore.

I sometimes think treading water is the place Satan wants us most. We can pretend that we are living in God’s will but at the same time we are resisting or are indifferent to it. We haven’t completely rejected it but we have refused to fully accept it. By failing to make a decision, we have already made one. We have chosen to reject the will of God for he would have us follow him, not remain indecisive. In the book of Revelation we read God’s message for the Church in Laodicea. “Would that you were cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of my mouth.” (Revelation 3:15-16) They were treading water, failing to decide one way or the other. God wants us to make a choice.

Many of us make the choice to swim against the current, at least at first. We recognize the will of God but we aren’t ready to follow it just yet. We want to push back and follow our own will. In his journey to the Catholic faith St. Augustine knew what it was to swim against the current of God. In The Confessions of St. Augustine he wrote, “O Lord, help me to be pure, but not yet.” And again, “Give me chastity and continence, but not yet.” He knew God’s will but wanted to continue the life he was living rather than accept and follow. When he finally made the decision to accept God’s will, he wrote, “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.”

Too many times we, like St. Augustine, know the will of God but resist due to our own personal, usually selfish reasons. We can only swim against the current for a short period of time. The effort is too much to sustain indefinitely. Satan stands on the shore and laughs at our futile efforts to resist God’s will. There will very quickly come a point when we must either choose to respond to God’s will or give up from exhaustion in fighting it. If we continue to fight, we will drown and Satan will have won. He will claim our souls and we will never know the joy of living in God’s will.

Of course we still have all the other options available. We can go back to treading water, but not for long. We can go back to the shallow water and never experience the many blessings God has in store for us. Or we can leave the river, pack our things, go home and reject God entirely.

Hopefully we will choose the right option; swim with the current of God’s will. Anyone who is familiar with swimming in a moving body of water knows that once you figure out the current and use it to your benefit the effort is much less demanding. In many ways choosing to follow the current of God’s will is the same. However, even when we choose to follow God’s will, we can still expect difficulties and challenges. Satan doesn’t give up just because we’ve chosen God. He will continue to tempt, to challenge and to push us in every way possible to make us change our mind. He knows that simply because we chose to follow God’s will there is nothing to stop us from changing our mind. The free will that God has given us will allow us to turn from him again should we choose to do so.

There will be times when we can easily float with the current of God and there will be times when we will have to challenge the rapids Satan places in our path. Our security and our salvation rests in God. As long as we are willing, he will give us the strength and grace to resist Satan and continue to follow his will. Whatever the challenge, God can give us the strength to get beyond it and remain in His will. All we have to do is ask and be willing to accept the help God wants to provide us.

The next time you see a river remember the will of God and pray that he will help us to swim in His blessed current and place our trust, our lives, and our souls in His faithful care. It will be the most important decision you will ever make.

The above meditation is a chapter from Ed’s new eBook “Thoughts of God”. Only $1.99 on Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Smashwords, Sony and other fine publishers.

The Least Among Us

The Least Among Us

Guest contributor:   Ed Trego

Imagine yourself as a young boy, eight or nine years old. Imagine that you and your family are on a hillside in Israel over 2000 years ago. As you look around you see more people than you have ever seen in one place. Hundreds, probably thousands, far more than can be counted in a day’s time. Everyone was there to listen to a man named Jesus speak. He spoke in a way never heard before; of love and acceptance of others. He spoke of the kingdom of God and what was required to enter that kingdom.

Where others had spoken of the righteous entering God’s Kingdom, Jesus spoke of the mild and the meek inheriting the world. He spoke of sadness and hunger being relieved and replaced by joy and plenty. These things were never talked about in this way in the synagogue. To hear the leaders of the synagogue speak one would have to be a member of their elite group to have any hope of heaven. This Jesus talked of acceptance of the poor and the common into the kingdom.

He had been speaking since early morning and it was now afternoon. In fact, it was getting close to dinner time. As you look around, you notice a stirring in the crowd. They seem to be getting a bit restless. Jesus is still speaking and it’s nearing meal time. No one wants to leave and miss what he is saying, but people are getting hungry.

In looking around you also notice that most have nothing to eat with them. Maybe they didn’t think he would talk this long so they didn’t bring food with them. Thankfully, your father had thought ahead. In your bag you had the family meal. Not much, just a couple of dried fish and two or three barley loaves. It is just a light meal, but certainly enough to relieve the hunger.

Suddenly, one of the men who have been with Jesus approaches you. He seems to be looking for something and when he sees your bag he comes over to you. “Son, is that food you have in your bag? If so, please tell me what you have.”

“Sir, it’s just two fish and some barley loaves. It’s only a small meal for me and my family.”

“Jesus has need of it. Will you give it to him?”

What a strange request, why would Jesus want to take your meal. The man can see the hesitancy in your face and says, “The Master needs it to feed the crowd. They are hungry and there’s no place nearby to get food.”

“But sir, what good is this small bit of food for so many,” you ask. “But, if Jesus wants them I will give them to him.” The man takes you by the hand and leads you back to where Jesus is sitting. He looks up at you and smiles. In that smile you see and feel more love than you’ve ever known, even more than your parents who certainly love you with all their heart.

“Sir, if you need my fish and loaves, they are yours.” You say as you hand the bag to him.

“Thank you,” he replies. “Your generous gift will be well used I promise you. Stay and eat with me.”

As you sit down, Jesus takes the food you have given him, holds it up and looks up to heaven. “Father, bless these gifts and bless the one who has given them. May they nourish us both physically and through your goodness, spiritually.”

Jesus places the food in two baskets and asks two of his friends to begin passing it out among the crowd. As you watch, the men give food to more and more people. How can this be? They have given food to at least fifty people and there is still more in the baskets. In fact, you can see that the baskets are completely full of food. You look up at Jesus questioningly but he simply smiles at you as he eats his meal. Soon the people in the crowd begin to notice what is happening and start to realize the miracle that is being performed for them.

Jesus puts his arm around you and you can again feel that special love you had felt when he first looked at you. “You see, even a small gift can work great miracles. Always remember that there is no gift so small that God cannot use it to do great things.”

I think we are many times like that small boy at the Sermon on the Mount. We don’t believe the gift we have to offer is worthy of God. So we don’t give it. We wait, saying that when we have a gift significant enough we will gladly give it to God. Unfortunately, the gift never gets big enough in our eyes to make it worthy of God so it never gets given. God never has the opportunity to show us the wonders he can do with our small offering.

There is no gift so small that it can’t be a blessing when given to God or in God’s name. Something as simple as a smile can change a life for someone who feels no one cares anymore. A kind word can lift the spirits of a person in distress and help them overcome their problems. Instead of throwing last year’s jacket in the trash, give it to a shelter to help keep someone warm through the next winter. We have so much and we give so little. We should be ashamed!

What small gift have you been withholding because it isn’t good enough to give to God? If you will only give it, he will use it to work wonders. We may never see the benefit of our gift in this world but I believe in the next we will know the greatness that God has done with our small gifts.

The next time you have some small gift that you can give, remember the young man at the Sermon on the Mount. In the hands of Jesus, his gift of a couple of fish and a few loaves fed thousands. There are no limits to what God can do with your gift and there is no gift too small to please God.

The above meditation is a chapter from Ed’s new eBook “Thoughts of God”. Only $1.99 on Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Smashwords, Sony and other fine publishers.

Who Is Your God?

Who Is Your God

Guest contributor:   Ed Trego

“I, the Lord, am your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before me.” (Exodus 20:2-3)

The first of the Ten Commandments seems pretty simple. God saved the Israelites from the slavery of Egypt and they were to worship him and him alone.

Unfortunately, the Israelites couldn’t seem to follow this simple rule. They found any number of gods to worship other than the one true God. Even while Moses was on Mt. Sinai receiving the Commandments, the Israelites were already melting gold and shaping it into a bull for them to worship. In most every place they journeyed, they found other gods to worship. God punished them when they turned from him; they repented; God forgave them and the cycle began all over. You would think that at some point God would simply give up on them and let them go their own way and worship whatever they wanted.

But God loves his people and wants them to share eternity with him. So every time the Israelites strayed, God welcomed them back with open arms.

Things haven’t changed so much since the time of the Israelites and the exodus from Egypt. Today we also find other gods to worship. We may not worship golden bulls or Baal or some of the other pagan gods that the Israelites worshiped but we still have our gods that we put in place of the one true God whom we should worship in all we do. Satan is well aware that we, just like the Israelites, can be tricked into worshiping other gods.

What are our false gods today? In reality, anything that interferes with our relationship with the one true God can be seen as a false god. For some it may be their looks; maybe their car or home. Even our family, that God wants us to love above anyone other than him, can become a false god if we place them on a pedestal above God. Virtually anything can become a false god if we allow it to become the focus of our happiness and satisfaction. True happiness is only attainable through a strong, loving relationship with God.

I think three of the biggest false gods today are money, sex and pride. Each of these can have elements of good and can be used to accomplish good; however, they can very easily obtain god-like status when used for selfish purposes. Satan is aware of our attraction to certain things and will use that attraction to place it between us and God.

“And behold, one came up to him saying, ‘Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?’ And he said to him, ‘Why do you ask me about what is good? One there is who is good. If you would enter life, keep the commandments.’ He said to him, ‘Which?’ And Jesus said, ‘You shall not kill, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, Honor your father and your mother, and, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ The young man said to him, ‘All these I have observed; what do I still lack?’ Jesus said to him, ‘If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.’ When the young man heard this he went away sorrowful; for he had great possessions.” (Matthew 19:16-22)

This scripture has always interested me. There is nothing here to indicate how the young man had gained his wealth or for what purpose he used it. If anything was standing in his way to perfection it was his love of his wealth. He was sad at the thought of selling everything and giving it away. Notice, however, that we are never told whether or not the young man actually did what Jesus had told him he must do to gain eternal life. Even though he went away sad, it’s possible that he followed Jesus’ advice, sold everything he had, gave the money to the poor and returned to follow Jesus.

God loves us, so he wants us to be successful. In our society today money is often equated with success. Does that mean that having lots of money is an indication that God has blessed the rich? It certainly may be a blessing, but we can turn that blessing into evil by misusing it. What of those who gain riches illegally or through unfair treatment of others? While God may bless us with money, he expects us to obtain it honestly and use it properly.

First Timothy, chapter 6, verse 10 is frequently misquoted when the discussion turns to money and its place in our life. “For the love of money is the root of all evils; it is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced their hearts with many pangs.” All too often the first four words of the verse are omitted, leaving “Money is the root of all evils”. With this omission this verse is often used to indicate that anyone with money must be evil. Even some politicians foster this misconception by pitting the rich against the poor for their own political gain. There is nothing wrong with having money or being rich. People of wealth have used their money to begin and support numerous charities, benefiting many. Universities benefit greatly from endowments from the rich, helping to provide scholarships and financial aid to those deserving of it. We used to hear stories celebrating these philanthropists and their generosity. It seems all we hear about the wealthy today is negative. People seem to have the idea that one person’s wealth necessarily means someone else can’t be wealthy. They forget that wealth is not a finite item, it can be grown through proper investment and provide many others the opportunity to increase their own wealth. Rather than envy or deride the wealthy for their success, we should look to how it was gained and how it is used. If gained honestly and used properly, we should applaud their success and even look to them as possible examples to emulate.

Of course, there are also those who have made their money through dishonorable means and cling to it rather than use it for the good of others. Unfortunately, these are the ones we hear of most often. For every story of wealth being used for the good of others, there are several told of how the rich got their money from the hard work of others. They refuse to recognize the great good accomplished by many of the wealthy. The fact is there is both good and evil in everything, including wealth.

“For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the pride of life, is not of the Father but is of the world.” (1 John 2:16)

Sex and personal sexual gratification is another false god many people allow to interfere with their relationship with God. Human sexuality is a tremendous blessing from God when experienced as intended. The love, devotion, and oneness shared in the sexual life of a committed couple in a sacramental marriage are God’s intentions for the proper use of human sexuality. The problem arises when it is used for selfish gratification and pleasure. Sex itself isn’t the issue; sinfulness occurs in the misuse of God’s blessing.

Sex was never intended to be a spectator sport. Nor was it intended to be part of random encounters or traded for favors or money. The intensity of the emotion and love inherent in the properly exercised use of sexuality is one of the greatest blessings God has given mankind. When experienced as intended, within the bonds of a sacramental marriage, human sexuality is beautiful. Unfortunately, sex has been perverted by the open flaunting of sex in fashion, film, stage, music and most other aspects of our lives.

Sex, in its’ proper environment, provides an extreme physical and emotional high for the couple. This pleasure was intended by God. It not only helps solidify the covenant of marriage, it is the only appropriate means of procreation of humanity. It is perhaps the extreme high experienced by a couple in a truly loving, faith filled marriage that others are trying to find in their casual, meaningless sexual encounters. In a jealousy-driven effort to attain the beauty of sex as God intended, they pervert it into a sinful, lustful act of selfishness and degradation.

Sex is everywhere today. In books, magazines, movies, and on TV, it’s there, right in our faces. When we shop, sex is used to entice us to buy this particular dress or shirt or shoes or whatever we are shopping for. Some of the stores in our malls are virtually pornographic in their store front ads and displays. It’s not unusual to see glaringly sexual clothing even for pre-teen children. Multiple marriages, with multiple partners during marriage seem to be the norm for many of those who are considered heroes and stars of the entertainment industry.

Pornography is rampant in society today. What used to be the “family hour” on network television has disappeared and has been replaced by sexual innuendo, as well as barely hidden references to sexual activities of all types. The relationships that are depicted are more likely to be adulterous than sacramental in nature. Bed hopping is common and open presentations of sexual encounters, both heterosexual and homosexual, are the subject of the comedy in many popular sitcoms. In the sitcoms of today, those who refuse to engage in wanton sexual activity are portrayed as fools and the brunt of vicious jokes. Cable television and movies are even worse since they can be more blatant in the graphic presentation of sexual activity. Open, promiscuous sexual lifestyles are presented as the norm with few examples of committed, married relationships. In many cases it seems the more depraved the act, the more it is “honored” in the film industry.

“Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” (Proverbs 16:18)

In our society we are taught in many ways that pride is a good thing. In some ways pride can be useful. It can motivate us to do better. It can help us resist temptation in some instances. It can serve to push us a little harder to do something to which we have committed. Sometimes our pride won’t let us quit when our body or our mind says we can’t go on. In these cases pride can be a good thing. It can be help us to be a better person. However, pride is also a very dangerous thing. Remember, Satan used pride to tempt Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. All of humanity suffers the results of their pride.

Job’s pride put him in direct conflict with God. When tested, he complained to God and his friends of his hardships and blamed God. God replied to him, “Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge? Gird up your loins like a man, I will question you, and you shall declare to me. Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?” (Job 38:2-3) The Lord continues to question Job for the next four chapters of the book of Job. If you want to understand humility in your relationship to God and his creation, read Job 38 – 41. It is quite a lesson on exactly how little we understand of the true nature of God and his creation. If you can still be prideful after reading those chapters, you should probably read it again. You’ve obviously missed the point.

Pride can very quickly degrade most anything, regardless of its’ potential good, to sinfulness. Even the good of providing for the needy can become sinful if pride enters.

“Thus, when you give alms, sound no trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward. But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your alms may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward.” (Matthew 6:2-4)

This same principal applies to most anything we do. If you sing in the choir, or usher, or assist in the readings, is it to praise God or for the attention you receive? If you give large sums to the building fund, is it to get your name mentioned in the church bulletin? If you donate to a university, is it to help those who need it or to get a building named for you? If you knew that no one would ever know the good that you do, would you still do it? We need to understand that our purpose should always be to please God, not other people. We must always keep in mind that regardless the blessings, talents and success we may have, they come from God. Even doing good can become a false god when done for the wrong reasons.

Money, sex, pride; three of the greatest obstacles to keeping our focus on the one true God, rather than our selves. Those are only three, there are many others. Only you can say what interferes with your worship of God. Whatever that is, put it in its proper place. God should always be first in our lives. Everything, family, friends and self, especially self, should come after God. In this way we can be assured that we know who our God is and keep Him in the place of honor in all aspects of our lives.

The above meditation is a chapter from Ed’s new eBook “Thoughts of God”. Only $1.99 on Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Smashwords, Sony and other fine publishers.

Live Like You Are Dying

Live Like You Are Dying

Guest contributor:   Ed Trego

And he told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man brought forth plentifully; and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’ And he said, “I will do this: I will pull down my barns, and build larger ones; and there I will store all my grain and goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; take your ease, eat, drink, be merry.’ But God said to him ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you; and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.” (Luke 12:16-21)

Are you saving goods for yourself or are you saving to honor God in the use of the many blessings he has given you? The rich man in the scripture was obviously more concerned with worldly goods than with heavenly reward. The price he paid for his foolishness was great.

How would you live your life differently if you knew that your life would be taken tonight, or tomorrow, or next week? Are you prepared for the reality that one day it will be required of you? We all must die, and we do not know if that will be in an instant or many years from now. Is your focus on yourself and your earthly pleasures and desires or is it on your heavenly home? How we live today will decide how we will live in eternity.

If you were told that without doubt you will die in three days what would you do? There are essentially two choices; you can become depressed and wait in horror and dread as death approaches or you can thank God for the opportunity to perhaps correct some areas of your life in preparation for death. That choice is yours today just as much as it would be if you had a date certain for your death.

Would you reach out to those you may have hurt in the past and try to reconcile with them? There are always relationships that suffer due to our selfishness and desire to take care of ourselves first. But that isn’t the way it was meant to be. When asked what the greatest commandments were Jesus replied, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the law and the prophets.” (Matthew 22:37-40) There is nothing in these commandments that mention love of things; only God and your neighbor.

We have a tendency to care more for our possessions than for our friends, family, and even God. How many times have you failed to take part in a family event because work got in the way? Have you ever skipped Mass on a Holy Day because you just didn’t have the time? If we won’t take the time to care for our family and God, of what value is our goods. Can they truly bring us happiness or just the temporary illusion of happiness? We sometimes act as if we don’t really know what true happiness is. When we depend on our money and our possessions for happiness we are proving that we have a misguided concept of happiness.

I’m certain Satan thoroughly enjoys and encourages our mistaken view of what constitutes happiness. If he can keep our focus on material sources of happiness we are less likely to pay attention to the true source of happiness. There is only one happiness that is worth striving for and that is the happiness of eternal life in the presence of God. Satan will try any trick available to shift our focus to ourselves rather than God or our neighbor.

In today’s society, Satan has developed his skills in this regard to nearly an irresistible force. Everywhere we turn we are told that the path to happiness is a new or bigger car; a bigger house; more “toys” such as televisions, telephones, computers, etc. In many cases our society teaches us that we can never be happy unless we are obtaining more and more and more stuff. Never mind that once we get it we may rarely use it and it will become obsolete in a very short time. Oh well, if it’s not the newest anymore we’ll just have to get the newest and discard what we thought we wanted last month.

Perhaps if we knew we were facing death we would reorder our priorities and consider those things that matter most. Maybe we would strive for those things that can bring us true happiness instead of just material satisfaction.

When a death occurs we always hear things like, “I wish I had told her how much I loved her”, or “I sure wish we could have gotten things right between us before he died”. Maybe taking care of these things right now would go a long way to making life better and more fulfilling rather than regretting that we didn’t do these things when it’s too late.

When you leave the house do you tell your spouse you love her or him? When you go to sleep do you remind them of your love? Perhaps hold them close for a minute or two just to feel the love between you? When we walk out the door we never know for certain whether or not we will ever return. People die in car wrecks, of heart attacks or from other causes every day with no warning. Wouldn’t you want the last words your loved one heard from you to be words of love”

Do you have children? So many times one hears mothers and fathers scolding their children about some infraction of a rule, sometimes quite harshly. While discipline is necessary and should be used to help the right development of children, it can be overdone. What if you send your child off to school after one of these events and they never return? Do you want the last words your child heard from you to be words of scolding or words of love. Even when correcting children it can be done in a loving manner. We should always ensure that our children know of our love more than of our dissatisfaction with their behavior.

If we only knew, we could make sure those we care for were reminded of our love. We could give that extra few dollars to the church or a charity. We could reach out to someone we have wronged to ask forgiveness. Perhaps give forgiveness to that someone whom we feel has wronged us and we’ve been unable or unwilling to forgive.

Death will take us all at some point. We will not normally know when. Oh, we may have some idea if we are diagnosed with a terminal illness, but even then we won’t usually know the day or the hour.

When death comes, all the “toys” we have will mean nothing, someone else will be playing with them tomorrow. The big bank accounts are of no use, someone else will be spending the money. That great summer home on the lake we worked all those extra hours to afford may have to be sold to take care of the ones we leave behind. If we could only get those extra hours of work back, maybe we could have used that time for those things that really matter rather than the material things that will pass away.

Most of all, maybe we could have taken some of the time we spent searching for the material happiness we thought we wanted and used it to better our relationship with our God. An extra hour at a bible study rather than watching the ball game on TV could make the difference between a mediocre relationship and a family relationship with our Lord and Savior. A few more dollars to support the poor of the church rather than buying that new car that wasn’t needed could go a long way to helping someone get their life back on track. While we may never know the good our contribution did, we can be sure that it had a beneficial effect.

Jesus gave up his glory for a while to join the human race. He felt pain, loss and suffering in his life. He ended his life on a cross alongside thieves. He didn’t work for a bigger home or nicer clothes. He devoted his humanity to providing a means for us to regain our proper relationship with our God. When it was done, he returned to the Father and still devotes his efforts to helping us along our way home to him.

We certainly can’t be like Jesus, but we can strive to imitate him as best we can. We can work more for eternal happiness than for material happiness. We can love better and forgive more and help more than we do. All of these things will eventually bring us far more happiness and satisfaction than a bigger house, newer car or fancier clothes.

If we can focus on those things that bring true happiness we can face death, whenever it comes, calmly and with a certain knowledge that we have lived our life in a manner worthy of one who has been adopted by God. We can go home and know we will be welcomed with open arms.

“Come, O blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was in prison and you came to me.” (Matthew 25:34-36)

The above meditation is a chapter from Ed’s new eBook “Thoughts of God”. Only $1.99 on Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Smashwords, Sony and other fine publishers.

God’s Whisper

Gods Whisper

Guest contributor:   Ed Trego

And he said, “Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore the mountains, and broke in pieces the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice. And when Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out stood at the entrance of the cave. (1 Kings 19:11,13)

Have you ever just sat? Doing nothing, just sitting in a quiet place. Perhaps by yourself or even with others, but quietly, not talking, just sitting. Letting your mind wander, not really concentrating on anything or thinking of anything. If you have, I suspect that your thoughts turned to God at some point. Maybe you didn’t think specifically of God but of his creation; perhaps the sound of the wind through a tree, or a bird singing. Especially when sitting outside on a beautiful, warm, spring day you will surely notice the wonder of the world around you. If so, you are giving glory to God, for you are enjoying is the result of his loving creation.

I remember going to my wife’s family farm not far from the small town where we met, were married, and lived for a while. Her family had lived there and tended the land for generations. It was always a great treat when we got in the car on a Sunday after Mass and headed to the farm. The kids were excited about being able to run freely around the farm. Maybe fish in the pond or even ride “Ol Joe”, the farm work horse. I looked forward to the wonderful meal I knew we would have and the chance to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Dinner, as it usually is on the farm, was always around one or two in the afternoon and the rest of the day was for whatever we chose to do. Many times I chose to put a lawn chair under one of the huge old trees and just sit. Not really thinking, not paying much attention to anything. I don’t think I realized it then but what I was truly doing was opening myself up to God and his many wonders.

So many experiences of God were available to me during these times. The smell of newly mown grass or hay; the song of a bird in the trees; the smell of the apple blossoms in the small orchard; the joyful sounds of my children loving the freedom of openness, all for their fun and exploration.

My favorite of all was when my wife would come and sit beside me, holding my hand. Not talking, just feeling the love pass through our fingers; the love that God has blessed us with throughout our life together.

It’s been many years since I’ve been able to visit the farm. The family is gone now and the farm is owned by a small farming conglomerate. But these memories are still as fresh in my mind and real and treasured as if it were just yesterday.

I’ve come to understand that the peace and quietness of those summer afternoons is something that we, as humans, desperately need and seldom achieve. Our lives are so full and they seem to be getting fuller with each new advance in technology. We are so wired, connected and tied to others that we have very little opportunity to truly get away from it all.

Are you old enough to remember when you left home and didn’t get any phone calls until you got back? There was no such thing as voicemail so you didn’t even know if you’d missed a call while you were gone. It didn’t seem to matter, if it was important they’d call back.

Now we take our phone with us. Not only our phone, but email, texts, facebook, the internet, news and sports alerts and on and on and on. We are never disconnected.

Our well-being as humans, our relationship with each other, and our relationship with God require us to disconnect from the pressures and stresses of daily life. We need the quietness to listen to our inner selves and to hear the whisper of God. If we never get away from our daily grind we risk missing the call of our God. Have you ever tried to hear a whisper in a noisy room? We have to shut out the noise to hear the whisper. God rarely shouts; he speaks softly to us in the quietness of our soul.

In today’s world finding that quiet spot and time can be difficult. But if we are to truly live and know God we must find it. It doesn’t have to be a farm, or any specific place. It can be a quiet time in our home. A time without the TV, radio, computer, stereo or the ever present mobile phone blaring at us. Get rid of the distractions, take some deep breaths, relax and just sit quietly. Listen to God. Reflect on what God has done for you today, yesterday and over the years. Thank him for the many blessings he has given you. Consider the times you’ve perhaps turned from God and ask his forgiveness. But don’t do all the talking, because God has things to say as well. As important as we all think we and our thoughts are, God’s are far more important to our lives.

Listening to God isn’t like listening to your spouse or a friend. There may be a “conversation” but not usually in the sense we think of conversation. I think a better word is “communion”. We need to strive to be in communion with our God at every opportunity. As you learn to listen to God you will be better able to seek his guidance and direction in your daily life. You will want to be in constant communion with him, because that is what our heart truly desires. In The Confessions of St. Augustine, he wrote “for you have made us for yourself, and our heart is restless until it rests in you.” Take the time, make the effort to listen and get to know God. It will be the best time you’ve ever spent.

Be still, and know that I am God. (Psalms 46:11)

The above meditation is a chapter from Ed’s new eBook “Thoughts of God”. Only $1.99 on Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Smashwords, Sony and other fine publishers.