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Genesis 6: You are significant!

Do you think you can make a difference in this world? Do you think you can be an instrument of God no matter how insignificant you feel about yourself or your life situation? I have heard people say that no matter what we do, it will make no difference in this world. I sometimes give in to that hopeless thought myself. I can see the world will go on in spite of what I do even though I want to make a significant difference in this world.

There are times I have wondered if it is even possible for God to tell me what to do? Am I that important for God to speak to me? What significant thing can I do in this world? I read the stories of great men and women of history. Their lives were not always that great according to my standards and yet, God used them for great things.

One day with these kinds of thoughts in my mind I visited my friend John. I told him how insignificant I felt we were. But even if we don’t do all that God has called us to do, it is quite all right and God will find a way. He said, “Yes, that is true. God will find a way to fulfill what He has planned, with or without you. You might as well join the party. Why not enter into what God’s plan is when you know God will continue the journey without you if you so choose.”

Then he said, “Remember what Noah did. Everyone around him thought he was crazy. While there were no clouds in the sky and the place was in a drought, Noah thought the land was going to flood and he should build an arc to take cover. While for the rest of the world around him it was senseless, for him, he knew in his heart he should listen to what the Lord had asked him to do.”

While the first look at this chapter only tells us the story of the wickedness of humankind, there is more to the story.

When the story speaks of destruction that was headed his way, Noah does not give in to fear or disobedience. He was not ready to abandon what he believed God was asking him to do. However silly or senseless he looked, he was not ready to give up on what was being asked of him.

The character of Noah is the key point in the story. Therefore, just like in the story of Enoch we see Noah walking with God in righteousness and obedience. He was not ready to fall prey to the pressure of those around him and leave the path God was asking him to take.

It looks like God was planning the flood to cleanse the earth of all the elements that were ungodly. But in reality, the whole story is far more than the destruction of the land. It was the creation of a new future. The end we see was not actually the end of it all. For those with short sight, it appeared destroyed. But for Noah, it was only the beginning of a new world. However significant and unimportant he must have felt before the flood, he surely knew that even when everything looked bleak, when everyone thought he was lost and crazy, that life was just beginning. Because God had just begun a new day.

God’s Solution # 6

You may feel like you are insignificant in this world and your actions do not always matter. However, every bit of what you do matters beyond measure and what you are is fully in the plan of God. If you are discouraged with doubt, anxious with fear, scared of what future holds, the Lord says,”Do not be afraid.” Listen like Noah and do not fall into the worldly pressures. Listen to the inner voice of God and follow.

Genesis 5: Friendship With God!

Every time I think of my family, I think of my grandparents. Their lives were very different from mine. Their standard of living and their way of understanding life was very different. Their lives do not seem as complicated as life is now. Things appear simpler. I never had a chance to see them because they all died before I was born. In spite of the fact that they were faithful, loving, and caring, they all died before I was born. No matter how good they were, my grandparents did not live long enough for me to see them.

When I read the fifth chapter of Genesis, I am awestruck by the length of life for the sons of Adam and Eve. They lived 700 to 900 plus years. The oldest man of the bunch, Methuselah, lived  969 years. In Genesis, the list of people who lived long lives, there is only one person listed who did not appear to actually die. All others even though they lived so long the author is very clear to say they actually died. No matter how good, bad, holy, unholy, man or woman, he or she died.

But then, there is the exception of Enoch. He was said to have lived 300 years and then he just vanished from the face of the earth. One other person who vanished like was the Prophet Elijah. “As they continued walking and talking, a chariot of fire and horses of fire separated the two of them, and Elijah ascended in a whirlwind into heaven.” 2 King 2: 11.

The real focus is not on the vanishing but on the “walking faithfully” with God. The scriptures say that Enoch walked faithfully and then God took him away.

I wondered whom we walk faithfully with every day?  I am sure it is someone whom we love or at least someone who we are happy to be in the company of. He or she is going to be a friend or loved one. I am convinced that when we are walking faithfully as God’s friend, chosen by God, we will also be taken to heaven just like Enoch was taken.

I believe time flies when we are in the company of those whom we love. Time stands still when we are with those who also love us. A day is like thousand years and a thousand years is like a day. This applies to Enoch because his days on earth stopped forever. When God is in our lives, that is what happens to us. When God becomes a friend, and not a judge, master, teacher, father or mother, we are transported to a realm beyond human comprehension. I am jealous of Enoch because his earthly escapades ended well. While others lived longer and longer, like Methuselah, Enoch lived a short life but walked faithfully with God. That is better than living longer and longer without the true friendship of God.

So I am glad my grandparents and parents are now with God. Maybe they lived like Enoch, a true friend of God. The Lord didn’t have a reason to keep them here on earth for a long time. In the end, I am convinced, there is no reason to be scared of death. Being with God is nothing to fear.

God’s Solution  # 5 Loneliness Solved!

Every time life gets hard because we are lonely and lost, the Lord says, “Please walk with me.” Enoch did. If life gets to be too hard to bear it alone, remember you don’t have to bear it alone. The Lord says, “I am with you always.”

You can walk with God in faithfulness and your life will become easier and more meaningful. This is not calling for extraordinary measures in life. Walking with God and living life faithfully as a friend of God only requires focusing on living one day at a time. Like the lilies of the field and the birds of the air that have given their trust to God, we are to live without fear of death or fear of damnation but rather trust our friendship with God.

Genesis 4: Healing From Cain Syndrome

It was not a good day for the children of Adam and Eve. Cain and Abel thought they were doing the right thing in life. But things didn’t go as expected. Frustration lead to anger. Anger lead to fear. Fear lead to murder. The endless moments of backsliding were devastating for Cain.

Is there anyone who does not feel frustrated and upset when things do not work out as planned? It is easy to blame failure on someone else when things do not go our way. We might say someone stood in our way, or there were obstacles beyond our control. Frustration and anger that are produced as a result of failure are hard to deal with.

Over the years I have found that many of us fall into this trap and don’t know how to deal with our own failure. Failure doesn’t mean it is not possible for us to succeed or change. Just because the first or second attempt at a task does not go as planned, does not mean what happens in life is cursed or completely lost. Intentions can be good. But it does not mean what we do with the best of all intentions will play out well in the end.

Haven’t you heard that ‘the road to hell is paved with good intentions?’ This is the story of Chapter 4 of Genesis. Cain and Abel, both wanted to do the right thing. Cain and Abel wanted to please God. However, they found out quickly that pleasing God was not a one-time act. It was a series of things. It was daily living and not just an offering and a prayer.

The deeper question for us is should we be concerned about pleasing God? Or should we just focus on living life to its fullest as it comes? Living a life filled with deceit, untruthfulness, fear, jealousy, and anger will go beyond just one or two events or situations in our lives. Those negative tendencies will set the tone for everything we do. Sin is lurking at our door when these vices move just under the surface of our being.

The scriptures point to our own temptation for retaliation against another when faced with opposition, disagreement or discomfort. Personal revenge is quick and easy but forgiveness goes deeper and further. In Matthew 18: 21-22, Jesus talks to Peter about the need to forgive farther and deeper rather than holding on to vengeance and anger.

Maybe the whole story is about our willingness to forgive ourselves in the first place, to accept that we can fail and we might not do things right all the time. It is alright not to be perfect in everything we do as long as we try to do our best. Other people’s best may not be what we should aspire for but rather our best. Our best should be our only concern.

Our individual best is what God wants from us. Because we can only do what we are capable of doing. We are on a slippery slope the moment we compare what we can do with another’s best. That was the tragedy of Cain. He could not stop comparing himself to his brother.

If only you can accept who you are, you will find every reason to do what God wants you to do. Figuring out God’s will goes hand in hand with recognizing who you truly are. Because what is expected of you is what you already are capable of. Everything else you feel is called Cain Syndrome.

God’s Solution #4

So what solution did God come up with to get us out of the quagmire of self-doubt? Forgive yourself! Then you can do what God wants you to do. Do not compare yourself to others and lose no sleep over what you can not do because that’s not what God expects of you. What is expected of you is simply what is already within you. Paul had to remind the people of Corinth “Do you not realize that Jesus Christ is within you?” (2 Corinthians 13: 5). If you think you can’t forgive yourself for being human and that your life is a failure, remember what God says, “My grace is sufficient for you.” This is just the beginning of divine grace showing you a better way.

Genesis 3: The Beginnings Of God Moments!

Everything God created, the flowers, the fruits, the lions, the squirrels, and everything else, was found to be beautiful and good. There was no reason to be afraid of anything in the garden. After all, it was a garden, a place where all life was put together with a purpose and order. When it was completed, it was beautiful. There was no picking and choosing for the first humans.

But then God comes into the scene and gives these parents of us all, a rule. Interestingly, this first rule becomes the key feature of the human condition. The rule gives them the freedom to make a choice. Humans were given permission to like, dislike, to judge and misjudge, to decide for themselves what it is that they want to do with their lives.

The modern world thinks the ability to choose is a sign of freedom. The number of choices we have makes us feel that we are a free people. Western democracy is considered the epitome of freedom because we can choose to be what we want to be. I have heard parents tell their children, “You can be what you put your mind to. The sky is the limit! You can choose whatever you want.”

There is great joy is choosing whatever we want. However, there is the burden of responsibility in our freedom to choose. To be able to choose what we want is not a bad thing but not to accept the consequences of our choices shows immaturity. Some people may call the consequences curses while others might call it part of the choices we make.

When we reflect on the choices our first ancestors made to eat of the tree that was forbidden, the only rule that they were not to break, we find that they chose to do what they thought was right. They suffer the consequence of their choice by being thrown out of the garden and more. Even though the story does not end there, there was an immediate response, consequence and end result of their choice.

In 1 John 2:16 the author speaks of “the desire of the flesh, the desire of the eyes, the pride in riches” that confront us every day. It simply points to the fact that no matter what we do, in the end, every choice we make, no matter how attractive, has consequences that will have to be dealt with.

The fruit of the tree awaits us in different forms and shapes, as it did for the first parents. Just like Adam and Eve in the story of creation we face difficult decisions, big or small, every day. For a child, the gravity of the matter is that of the child and for an adult, the matters are more serious. But the decision we have to make, regardless of age or gender, comes every moment.

The Bible gives us a glimpse into the struggles we will go through. The story of long ago is also now. The enmity between Godly things and earthly things. Our choices will take us to situations that we might regret without serious thought and reflection. But at no point does God leave us alone even though we make our decisions based on what we are exposed to and what in our ignorance we believe it to be true.

Parents set examples for their children. Here, in the story of Adam and Eve, we see how poor choices can lead us to totally unexpected consequences.

Even though one might feel cursed by the consequences of a choice made, as referenced in verse 17 of Genesis 3, we will soon find we are not left alone to figure out a solution on our own. We are assured again and again that with the angels on our side we will win the battle in the end. In the book of Revelation 12: 7, it is revealed that we will not fight this battle by ourselves, but with the Angels designated for the task and with us.

In the end of Genesis, we find the incredible freedom we are given and how everything we do comes with a consequence. If we are true to God, even the worst choice we make is not the end of it all. There is more to live for beyond the worst endings we have conjured up in our limited knowledge. The end result of our choices can still be the beginnings of God moments.

God’s Solution #3

Whatever ends badly, God can turn it around and make it better. His solution to the wrong choices we make is to make them part of God’s plan of Salvation. In saying “All things work together for good to them that love God,” (Romans 8: 28), Paul helps us understand this principle. God’s solution to man’s wrong choices is simply to be creative with a new situation. We will be given another opportunity to right the wrong and do better, with God’s help.

Genesis 1: Divine DNA

I dare say, God is like every other parent in the world. We share God’s DNA. God plans for the birth of a child, and the life beyond. He has already carved you in His palms. The whole creation, especially mankind, was not an accident that God regretted. It’s like you and me when we named our children before he or she was born. Did you not wonder before your child was born, how he or she would look like? Is he going to be more like you or your spouse? What will he become when he grows up? All these dreams and hopes, I am sure I am making God more like a human, must have been in God as well.

I say so, because God, in the end, created you just like him. Image of God, the character of God, was imprinted into a human soul. God claimed each and every person, for that reason everything He did, as God’s special work. Everything was found to be good and worthy of God’s love and care.

The whole story of the first chapter of Genesis is simple, God planned you and for you. You did not just happen and God does not ever regret who you are. You became part of God’s DNA. There may be some genetic mutation in the body, but not in the spirit we share with God. It is eternal and was planned to remain essential to the human condition. Psalms 102: 25 speaks about long ago, God planned every detail of what you are and your surroundings will be.


Like others in St. James Parish, on Sundays I kneel and sincerely confess my sins to our most merciful God.  I long ago memorized this Confession of Faith knowing I have been forgiven and go on to participate in the Holy Eucharist.  Recently, as I pondered that Sunday’s Confession of Faith, it occurred to me ask myself, “What is my duty as a Christian, wasn’t it to be more?  I couldn’t honestly admit that I truly loved my neighbor as myself.

I hardly knew my neighbor at all and suspected she might not be wholly lovable. Living alone in the adjoining half of the duplex Fr. Jos arranged for me to rent, I knew she must comply with the terms of the lease as do I.  She is rarely home and I assumed she spent much time with the fellow whose bright red pickup was often in her driveway.  Once or twice when I saw the familiar truck I tentative rang the doorbell and asked if he would carry a heavy parcel from my car and he always willingly did so.

How nice, I thought, maybe Kim and I could be friends.  She seemed to be cordial enough but always preoccupied and never seemed to be home.  Further, she appeared to usually be too busy to take a turn at moving the joint trash container to or from the curb on trash pick-up day.  When I decided to have a ton of gravel delivered to be spread on my side of the front area near the building and asked if she wanted me to order enough for us both, she declined although once commented that she had noticed me spread the gravel on my side and then around the tree in our joint front yard.  But did that mean we were really neighbors?  Our landlady arranged to have the lawn mowed but we are expected to remove the leaves that fall from the tree in Autumn.  I don’t know what kind of tree it is, but the leaves didn’t turn a lovely shade of red or yellow this past fall.  They just clung to the branches until one day I walked out the front door to an unexpected sight.  On her side of the walkway, there was a tiny cluster of leaves bunched neatly together.  My side was covered with at least an ankle-deep heap of leaves blanketing my whole side of the walk.  How, indeed, could this have happened, particularly since she was rarely home?  After calming myself down from righteous indignation, I grabbed several large plastic lawn bags and spent several hours gathering the leaves into said bags and was off to the recycling center near Lone Pine and Battlefield that Vickie had introduced me to.

So much for the leaves, but I didn’t forget the neat little bunch still remaining on the other side and so life went on.  That is until a few weeks before Christmas when my cell phone rang as I wandered the aisles of Aldi’s.  It was Kim inquiring if I was at home and to which I advised her of my current whereabouts.  In response she replied that there had been a delivery for me that had been left with her and I should pick it up.  After hauling my groceries from the car I rang her doorbell.  Immediately the door swung open and before me stood Kim, attired in a tee shirt and sweat pants.  My eyes were drawn to the gray tee shirt that had the word “Jesus” displayed on the front!  The only words I can recall saying were, “You’re Christian?!”

“Yes,” she calmly replied as she handed me a lovely poinsettia.  “Our landlady always does something wonderful for us a Christmas and this is for you.”

Talk about being embarrassed.  Kim is my neighbor!  After offering a “Merry Christmas” to each other I took my poinsettia and returned to my side of the duplex.  It was then I accepted that Kim is a hardworking Christian woman who spends many hours working and what free time she has, enjoys it with a person who means a lot to her.

While the leaf issue remains unresolved, everything else fell into place.  The next Sunday as I knelt for the Confession of Faith, I really listened to what I was saying and have a renewed understanding of who and what my neighbors are.  My neighbor is Kim next door.  It is the African American truck-driver down the street.  It is my old high school classmates I have lunch with once a month and long-time tennis pals I also occasionally share a meal with.  It is the homeless man blessed enough to have a home at Eden Village and the homeless women to which I donate a few personal items each month for the Safe to Sleep Project.  It is the native American children the “Wrapped in Prayer” knitters made sweaters for one year and regularly make prayer shawls for the ever present unfortunates that struggle with illness.  And, thanks be to God, it is the wonderful people of St. James Parish who are more than neighbors, they are my family.

By Louanna H. LeCompte

Don’t Make A New Year Resolution!

We are a few days into the New Year. I don’t know how many of you have made a New Year resolution. But if you have, that’s a good thing. If you haven’t made a new year resolution, I think that is good as well.

Sometimes facing life as it comes is the best resolution of all, i.e., not to think about all that you are going to do and not doing; not to worry about all that might happen in life but always worrying about it regardless. No matter what the resolution is, we have a tendency to go the opposite direction and then regret because we went the opposite direction. Just like the new year, let there be a new day every day. God blesses every day and therefore, let us make it blessed by living in it. The only resolution needed in the new year, even though I said not to have one, is to live the day as it comes.

On that account, let us have one resolution, and that is to live every day joyfully. Let no one take your joy away. Even when things go wrong, life hasn’t gone wrong at all. Because we don’t know what is ahead of us and let not the past weigh us down too much. Let this year be a year filled with surprises as it happened to the people of Israel at the birth of Jesus.

Living Life Every day!

We are moving forward. With every New Year, we are advancing to the greatest of all the mysteries in the world, the fullness of Christ in our lives. What that means is no matter how the New Year turns out to be, we are still on a journey to realize the potential and possibility of God in our lives.

This also calls us for a journey of awareness through the things that happens in everyday life in the New Year. Christ’s cause will be advanced to its fullness regardless of our cooperation. Therefore working with God will be a good thing to do, because it helps us to be on track in life.

Every surprise that comes along the way will help us to live in the moment and live for the day. Not for the future and life eternal. It is a shame if we are preoccupied with life eternal and forget what is present here and now. Just because of the preoccupation for life after, we forget to live life present.

So make a resolution in life that every day will be the best day of your life. If every day is lived out as the best day as possible, then every day of the future will be better than the day before. So no worries. Live joyfully.

Christmas Is Here To Stay!

Today is Christmas. Christ was born as a human child two thousand years ago and today we celebrate that birth again. The reason Jesus is celebrated, I believe, is because he celebrated the lives of those around him.

Regardless of the rules and regulations, he had to follow he never failed to keep them aside when it came to caring for another human soul. His concern for the other was not for life eternal, but life present. He lived with and for those who around him at the time. Therefore his life became meaningful for those who came after him.

Life eternal is defined quite differently by Jesus by his living it fully. Birth of Jesus defined the possibility of a fuller life without fear for the future. Christmas opens the doors for the fullness of living as human beings. That means it can be in any life situation we are in, whether it is in poverty, wealth, clarity or confusion.

Christmas is here and now in whatever you find yourself to be in. Merry Christmas. For Christ was born at the most inconvenient time, place and people. Still, made it to resurrection in the end. We all have a chance to make it to the end regardless. Live fully and therefore we can love fully.