“At Your Command” – Wisdom

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As Paul’s words from 1 Corinthians 3 reminded me yesterday that I am nothing, a nobody without God, he reminds me today that if I want to be wise, I have to become a fool for “if anyone among you considers himself wise in this age, let him become a fool, so as to become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in the eyes of God.”  He also tells us “The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain.”

I wonder how often I thought I made wise worldly decisions only to find out how foolish my choice was. For example, I wanted to be rich when I was young. Having a lot of money would make me someone special, so at least I vainly thought. I found a company that sold me on being rich. I worked to get an insurance license, securities licenses and a real estate license. I made very little money in fact I may have spent more time and money preparing for the job than working at the job. That was pretty foolish on my part because I really had no passion for the work but only for the money. But in a sense, I am wiser today because of my foolishness.

St. Peter in the Gospel today from Luke 5:1-11, was out with his crew fishing all night and had caught nothing. Jesus had boarded his boat to teach the people and then told Peter to put out to deep water and lower the nets for a catch. As I stop here, I ponder a little about what was foolish and wise concerning Peter. FOOLISH – Peter, probably in a winey voice like I use when I think someone is a little crazy reminds the Lord that they have already been in deep water and failed. WISE – Peter does tell Jesus, “but at your command, I will lower the nets.”

Simply, doing what we think on our own is foolish and doing what God says is wise. They caught so many fish, their nets were tearing, their boat was in danger of sinking and they needed help from their partners in another boat. Here, I think comes the greatest wisdom of all. Peter says, “Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man.” To realize a lack of faith in the Lord and humbly repent before God is tremendous wisdom. God is so merciful and His famous words to Peter shows how much He loves us when He said, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.” I am living proof, hook, line and sinker.

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Mike Burke; Thursday, September 1, 2016
“At Your Command” – Wisdom

It Is All About God

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Here is some truth that I have learned. God does not need me. I am nothing. I am a nobody. I understand it and I accept it. Even if something I say might ring out as great wisdom and help someone draw closer to God, I am still nothing and God did not need me to help another. The exciting part about this is that even though I am not needed, God allows me to participate in building His Kingdom. I think back to my very young daughter asking if she can help me wash the car. I did not need her help but allowing her to help her daddy was special and demonstrated love.

In 1 Corinthians 3:1-9, St. Paul wants to make it clear that he was nothing more than one who plants and Apollos was nothing more than one who waters. Paul says … Therefore, neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who causes the growth.” A simple thought for me today is that nothing good comes from me but only by God’s Spirit, love and grace working in me. He loved me so much that He gave His life for me, the nobody writing this reflection, permitting me to become His brother and adopted child of God. I deserve nothing. I am an unprofitable servant. Glory and praise to the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit! Amen, Alleluia!

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Mike Burke; Wednesday, August 31, 2016
It Is All About God

What Is There About His Word?

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Something to ponder from today’s Gospel reading from Luke 4:31-37

In the synagogue there was a man with the spirit of an unclean demon, and he cried out in a loud voice, “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are–the Holy One of God!”

Demons have great power, especially power to harm us. God permits it. My faith tells me that God will make a greater good out of all evil that will glorify Him. In this case …

Jesus rebuked him and said, “Be quiet! Come out of him!” Then the demon threw the man down in front of them and came out of him without doing him any harm.

Believers know the power of the Word of God. Demons know it and we know it. It would seem to me that if we want to rid the evil of the world, it would come to us to entrust in God’s Word and be obedient to His commands.

The people who witnessed this …

They were all amazed and said to one another, “What is there about his word?”

That is something to ponder … “What is there about his word?”

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Mike Burke; Tuesday, August 30, 2016
What Is There About His Word?

The Deadly Dance

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Today’s Gospel story from Matthew 6:17-29, is about the beheading of John the Baptist. Every time I read it I think that in today’s society, no one would ask for the head of another person if promised a request from authority would they? I am not so sure anymore as our society has twisted evil into good and consequently, good into evil.

So, a birthday banquet for the king, very important leaders of Galilee, a lot of alcohol, a seductive dancer, a drunken promise to give the seductive dancer anything up to half of the king’s kingdom, a wife and mother harboring a grudge and a prideful king that could not say no to an unjust request for fear of looking weak. The scene is set and as we know, the victim is John the Baptist.

John spoke the truth. He told King Herod that it was unlawful that he married his brother Philip’s wife Herodias. Even though the truthful words of John left Herod perplexed, he liked to listen to John. Are not we all seeking to listen and know the truth? Herodias, who was Herod’s unlawful wife, harbored a grudge against John and wanted to have him killed. It all worked out for her at the banquet as her daughter Salome, after her deadly dance, used Herod’s promise to ask for the head of John the Baptist on a platter at the request of her mother. John’s head was brought to her on a platter.

I am not sure how the crowd reacted. Were they numb? Was there disbelief? Did anyone speak up? Did they celebrate? How about today. Let’s take the killing of innocent children through legal abortion. Are we numb? Is there disbelief? Are we speaking up? Are we celebrating a woman and man’s right to abort? Maybe evil times have really not changed.

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Mike Burke; Monday, August 29, 2016
The Deadly Dance

Keep It Simple, Choose To Love

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   What is too sublime for you, seek not, into things beyond your strength search not.                 Sirach 3:21

I have just been reading this over and over from Sirach. What God tells me not to do is something I try to do too often and it complicates my life. Sometimes I want to know more than I need to know and the pursuit is frustrating. There are times I want to fix, control or manipulate situations. I want to guide the situation to my conclusion thinking it will be good for me and for all.

Why can I not trust God in every situation? I think because I want to find ways to avoid the pain, confrontation, the failure and the humility I need to learn to love and be more like Jesus. If so and so can do it, I should be able to do it. But what if it is beyond my strength? I have been given gifts to use to glorify God. I do not need to seek the gifts of others to glorify God. My competitive nature can get me in trouble and I fight with God’s will and the humility He desires from me.

I have recently noticed an attitude that I am carrying. Others may not notice it but interiorly, it is like a recording on replay that just keeps on keeping on. The judgments I formulate are not from God and have no place in His Kingdom but they just keep coming to mind. Recently with work and personal issues, my crosses seem a bit heavy. As much as I love and trust the Lord, I continue to try to handle them my way. Until I realize that these issues are “too sublime” for me and “beyond my strength”, I will not be at peace. If I believe that my strength is in the Lord, then simply, I will choose to love as Jesus loves. I look forward to another fresh start today. Thank you Jesus.

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Mike Burke; Sunday, August 28, 2016
Keep It Simple, Choose To Love

Boasting & Serving

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The Parable of the Talents was the Gospel reading from Matthew 25 today. It’s the one where a man goes on a journey and entrusts his possessions to 3 servants. To one he gives 5 talents, to another 2 and the last 1. The expectation of the man is that his servants would find ways to use and increase what they were given. When he returned from the journey, the one with 5 made another 5, the one with 2 made another 2 and the one with 1, buried it in the ground and gave it back to his master on his return.

In the most simple of ways, I look at this as using the gifts (talents) God gives us. We are servants also and to serve God, we serve each other. I have always admired athletes and the amazing gifts they have been given. I admire musicians, singers and entertainers who have been given great talents. Sports and music have been two entities that I have enjoyed throughout my life. These athletes and musicians usually work extremely hard to have the success they have achieved. Burying their talents is not usually on their daily agenda.

This Gospel reading was coupled with a passage from St. Paul’s first letter to the Corinthian which said … “God chose the foolish of the world to shame the wise, and God chose the weak of the world to shame the strong, and God chose the lowly and despised of the world, those who count for nothing, to reduce to nothing those who are something, so that no human being might boast before God.” The final words of the passage said … “Whoever boasts, should boast in the Lord.”

Since my journey with Christ, I have been given the gift of humility many times. Sometimes, in ways that are very unpleasant. Every talent we have is a gift from God. How can I ever boast that I worked hard to achieve this or I was smart enough to do that. It is all about God and he receives the glory when I use what He gives me instead of burying it. I would have nothing without His grace and love for me. Today, I am very thankful for all I have been given especially my talents and my crosses. Amen.

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Mike Burke; Saturday, August 27, 2016
Boasting & Serving

Power of the Cross

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Today, St. Paul talks about the cross in his first letter to the Corinthians 1:17-25. He says … “The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” I believe that Jesus gave up everything for me and for you out of love.

I think one of the best ways I can love God is to embrace my crosses and realize that God permits them for a greater purpose and ultimately for His glory. So instead of complaining or feeling down about things, I rejoice not only in the cross of Jesus but in each of my crosses.

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Mike Burke; Friday, August 26, 2016
Power of the Cross

God Is Faithful

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I am home very late from a dinner with three of my former high school softball players that I coached. We have been meeting regularly and it is such a blessing to reminisce and to share our lives today. They have all done, and are doing, wonderful things in their lives and I am very proud of them.

We talked a little about perfection tonight that has me pondering. I was told that I am very hard on myself trying to be perfect which is something I can never achieve. I think I would agree with that but I do want to strive to be perfect as our Heavenly Father is perfect. I fail so often. Trusting God and His mercy comes to mind. When failing, I have no one else to turn to but God who loves me even as the failure I often am. He also loves me equally when I succeed. That’s our amazing God. Today’s first reading in 1 Corinthians 1:1-9 has St. Paul telling us that “God is faithful.”

God is faithful and He proves it to me often. I know that I am undeserving of the continuous blessings I receive. God knows my internal bad attitudes, my non-loving thoughts, my struggles with habitual sins and all that I would consider as negativity in my life. Yet, I receive graces that allow me to not only be loved by Him but by others, especially my 3 very dear friends tonight. He also allows me the grace to love and tonight I am thankful to be able to share my love for others.

It was interesting talking about situations in our lives, where people have caused bad things to happen and the thoughts of revenge are so prevalent. I offered a suggestion to pray for the ones who have hurt us. And that prayer needs to be sincere that God will bless our enemies abundantly with His love. It is very difficult but we ask God to “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” Since God is faithful, we should also strive to be faithful to Him by loving others.

It was a great evening, I am blessed, I am loved, praise God!

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Mike Burke; Thursday, August 25, 2016
God Is Faithful

Come And See

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I once heard it said that curiosity can lead one to great sin. But in today’s Gospel from John 1:45-51, I think some curiosity led Nathanael to Jesus. Philip had told Nathanael that they had found the “one” about whom Moses wrote in the law. I can relate a little to Nathanael’s reply because I can come back with some dingers when questioning what someone tells me. Nathanael says … “can anything good come from Nazareth?” Ouch! Philip says … “come and see” and that feeds into Nathanael’s curiosity.

Jesus tells Nathanael a few things about Nathanael. I laugh again because I think of our own human nature when one thinks they know more about someone than they actually do. But Jesus’ words were true and Nathanael asks … “how do you know me?” Jesus tells Nathanael … “before Philip called you, I saw you under the fig tree.” Those words would not mean too much to me as maybe many would have seen me under a fig tree, sleeping, praying or resting. But Nathanael’s response leads me to believe that the fig tree that Jesus was talking about had to do with the heart of Nathanael. I think those words of Jesus spoke directly to his heart so profoundly that Nathanael replied … “Rabbi, you are the Son of God, you are the King of Israel.”

Jesus, may our hearts always be open to accept your Word. When our hearts are open to you, you leave no doubt that you are the Son of God, the King of Israel and our Lord and Savior. Amen.

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Mike Burke; Wednesday, August 24, 2016
Come And See

Thankful

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I am feeling very thankful today. I have been trying to cling to Jesus, run from Jesus, speak to Jesus, avoid Jesus and I think one might understand that my mind is always on Jesus but my actions do not always reflect Him.

Today was a fresh start. It is a day to walk in the light and out of darkness. There is so much peace in my life when I really focus my actions to reflect how Jesus might speak, listen and act in situations. Watching people smile, laugh, express appreciation and one of my favorites, hug, brings joy to me. Even the stress of some difficult situations seem to find its place in the order of peace.

Many of us Christian bloggers, I think, blog to share our experiences along with the wisdom, knowledge and understanding that the Holy Spirit has given us. I learn much through what I read from your blogs. But today, I am very thankful for the encouragement that so many bloggers give to each other. I have experienced much of that lately and have read many comments of encouragement of others. I was inspired by today’s first reading from St. Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians in 2 Thess 2:1-17. He prayed … May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who has loved us and given us everlasting encouragement and good hope through his grace, encourage your hearts and strengthen them in every good deed and word.” I conclude with a hearty AMEN.

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Mike Burke; Tuesday, August 23, 2016
Thankful