Can We Hear God’s Voice and Yield to It?

Can We Hear God’s Voice and Yield to It?

By

Brother Lawrence Damien Cos

 

Dear family

 

Today March 25 we celebrate the Feast of the Annunciation i.e. when Gabriel appears to Mary to tell she would become pregnant and a son to be called Jesus. So its nine months to Christmas and no, no one actually knows when the annunciation actually happened. Its celebrated now because Jesus birth is celebrated on December 25. However the church here is not worried about when these events may have happened but what they represent and speak to us now. So what does the annunciation have to say to us in the 21st century? Follow me as I try to answer that question.

 

The story of the Annunciation is found in Luke 1:26-38 when the Angel Gabriel appears to Mary to deliver a message to her from God. He starts off by telling Mary she is blessed above all women to which Mary reacts with fear and wonderment at the greeting. Then Gabriel tells Mary that she has found favor with God and will become pregnant and bear a son that she is to name Jesus. He then goes on to describe the type of man Jesus would be to which Mary asks how will this happen as at this point she and Joseph are engaged to be married and she has had no sexual relations with him or anyone else so therefore in the natural impossible for Gabriel’s words to come true. Gabriel tells her that the Holy Spirit will come upon her so that the son she bears will be called the Son of God. Mary’s response is that she is the handmaid of the Lord and let it be according to Gabriel’s words. Thereby she shows total surrender and submission to the will of God for her without question.

 

We might think that Mary might have thought twice before accepting God’s will for her. After all at some point the neighbors would find out about her pregnancy and I doubt they would have bought her story about being pregnant by the Holy Spirit. They would have presumed there was only one way for Mary to be pregnant and that was either she and Joseph had had sexual relations or she had relations with some other man. At best they would probably have ostracized her, thought of her as a whore perhaps and the son she would bear as illegitimate. At worst they would have stoned her to death for fornication or adultery. Then there was Joseph who would be publically disgraced once the news got out that his fiancé was pregnant especially if he wasn’t responsible for her becoming pregnant. What would he do? Would he call the wedding off? Since they were legally engaged there was only one way to end their engagement which was by divorce so is that what Joseph would do? Would he do what the law said he should do and expose her to the elders of the city so they could take her outside the city and stone her to death? Yet none of those things bothered Mary she said simply yes God do with me as you will.

 

How do we react when God speaks to us? Do we have a long list of reasons why we can’t do it, or its impossible, or God has made a mistake and needs to go find someone else to do the job? Are we ready to talk ourselves out of the blessing God wants to give us or can we like Mary simply say yes Lord do as you will. Gabriel also tells Mary that her relative Elizabeth is in her sixth month of pregnancy. Gabriel had visited her husband Zechariah in the temple to tell him that his wife would have a son known to history as John the Baptist. He doesn’t believe and is struck dumb unable to speak for nine months until the birth of his son. Mary goes at once to visit Elizabeth and receive confirmation of all that Gabriel had spoken to her. Because of the willingness of Mary to accept God’s will for her, Jesus could be born, go on to die on the cross of Calvary and then three days later rise again. Also because of that decision the way of salvation is opened to all who believe and a movement is launched which is still benefiting our world today.

 

It is in accepting the will of God unquestionably that allows him to use us and miracles to happen. On the other disbelief or unbelief closed the hand of God to where nothing can happen. God wants to change us and through us change our world. It will take our cooperation even as it did with Mary for God to use us. Let us be like Mary surrender to do regardless of circumstances and see what God can and will do for a people totally surrendered to him.

 

Comments welcomed

 

Brother Lawrence Damien Cos

 

Lord Make Me Beautiful

Lord Make Me Something Beautiful

By

Brother Lawrence Damien Cos

 

“To be like Jesus,

To be like Jesus,

All I ask is to be like Him,

Through all life’s journey,

From earth to glory,

All I ask is to be like Him.”

 

Dear Family

Back in my Evangelical days I used to sing the above song a lot. Then would come the trials, tests etc. and it seemed that was never going to happen. Seemingly it seemed I was in a tomb all my dreams and visions dead and myself not doing much better. I think many of us have at times desired to be like Jesus, or perhaps like St. Peter, St. Paul, St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta or one of the other saints or holy people who have passed before us as examples for us to emulate and try to follow as best we can. We pray, we fast, we seek God, we learn his Word, we contemplate and meditate and perhaps even go on retreats yet nothing seems to change and it seems we are at a standstill going nowhere fast. We are going through the motions, making a lot of commotion, but there doesn’t seem to be any locomotion or very little at best. We want to hurry up the process but instead we move along at a snail’s pace if at all. It seems we are stuck in neutral and wondering where is God in all this?

 

As I have continued through this journey I am on I seem to have in some respects to have hit a plateau. Life still goes on, my monastic practices are still happening, I am still a believer and Catholic and yet at the same time seemingly in some ways at a standstill. In the past I would have been in a panic thinking I had lost my fervor, or perhaps committed one to many sins so God was either ready to do a number on me or had turned his back on me. Perhaps he was about to vomit me out of his mouth as he threatened to do to the Laodiceans in Revelation 3:16. So I would go looking for every possible sin I could think of that I may have committed, redouble my efforts to be a better Christian only in many cases to seemingly fail again. That was yesterday but not today. Today I have a new perspective. Let me explain.

 

Now as I sit here at my desk typing this the view out my window is the same as it has been for the fourteen years I have been here giving a sense of God’s beauty, serenity and peacefulness. It reassures me in one sense that nothing has changed and life goes on as it always has. Same with my apartment, the same pictures hang on the walls, the furniture is still in the same places everything normal. Yet I am restless. Part of that is my old man. While I may have been fine being in my home before being a monk praying etc. now someone has told me I can’t leave my home and so now I want to leave and get out. However I won’t I’ll be a good boy and stay home plus since all the churches, restaurants, parks, beaches etc. are all closed due to the pandemic there is nowhere to go. So here I am but that is cool. God is doing something good.

 

As I sit here I am thinking about a caterpillar and a butterfly. A butterfly is a beautiful creature that God has made. However how did it become one? It started as a caterpillar. The caterpillar is alive and well eating and enjoying life. It then makes and enters a cocoon where it becomes invisible to the outside world. Seemingly to the casual observer it might seem that the cocoon is in fact a tomb where nothing is happening and the caterpillar seemingly dead. However reality is all together different. For inside that cocoon transformation is happening and new life is being created. Then as it struggles to get out of its cocoon/prison it gets stronger. Finally it emerges as a beautiful butterfly ready to fly away and face life. However it needs to be noted here no one can help it. If someone were to slit the cocoon to help free the butterfly it would emerge to weak to survive on its own and would die very quickly. The struggle is what enables the butterfly to emerge strong as the beautiful creature God made it to be and go on and fulfill its destiny.

 

In the same way Lent can be that cocoon for us or that plateau we seem to be stuck on. All may seem to be dead and nothing happening but that is only an illusion. On the inside God is moving and transforming us from something ugly (a caterpillar maybe) to something beautiful like a butterfly. There will be trials, tests and yes even death along the way. There may be rejection, betrayal and death to many of our dreams we thought were from God or the way we thought things should be. Yes it may be Lent now, Holy Week is coming and also Maundy Thursday and Good Friday and Easter Vigil where we are invited to keep watch at the tomb. However that is not the end. Easter Sunday is coming and with it resurrection. We will arise with Jesus as new people transformed by the power of God while in our cocoons to be bright shining examples of Christ who will be empowered by the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. This to prepare us for Ordinary Times so we can live extraordinary lives in ordinary times and transform our world for the better by living in and being the living Christ to all who we encounter. As we approach the end of Lent and the beginning of the Easter Season let us remember the words of the Bill Gaither song

 

Something beautiful, something good
All my confusion He understood
All I had to offer Him was brokenness and strife
But he made something beautiful of my life

 

That brothers and sisters is Gods purpose for all of us to take our brokenness and strife, our yuckies and rottenness, and make something beautiful out of our lives that he can display in his trophy cabinet. (Malachi 3:17) To be a people he can show off to the world proudly as to what God can do. God is raising up an army which will not be defeated but will triumph victoriously as peacemakers until all the world is covered in the realm of God’s rule, justice and peace eternally and just one united rainbow, human family made up of all races, peoples, groups living together in peace and harmony eternally.

 

As always comments welcomed

 

Brother Lawrence Damien Cos

The Apocalypse Is Happening Now

John Brown brotherlawrencedamien@gmail.com

12:54 PM (6 hours ago)

 
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The Apocalypse is Happening Now Will We Hear Its Message?

By

Brother Lawrence Damien Cos

Dear family

Continuing on Lenten journey today I am reflecting on the Book of
Revelation and what it may mean for those of us now in the age of
Coronavirus. In my evangelical days I saw the Book of Revelation as
pointing to the last days just prior to the return of Christ to this
earth to establish his kingdom. I saw it pointing to a time of wars,
nuclear holocaust, and destruction of earth as we know it now and all
in all as a bad time I didn’t want to be around for and definitely
hoped that I would be ready to be “raptured” out at any moment so I
would miss the great tribulation I believed was coming. I have for
many years now been changing my views and coming to see God as love
who always act in love and with our best interests at heart, As this
pandemic has struck worldwide and find myself under quarantine in my
home the first thing that strikes me is this happens right in the
season of Lent which is a penitential season of self examination,
making things right, so we can be ready for the resurrected Christ,
the power of Pentecost to be able to live a extraordinary life in
ordinary times. As I consider this I come to see Revelation in a whole
new light. I have come to see it not as a book of terror but as a book
of hope. A book whose message if listened to can lead to a new age of
life, healing and the reign of God and God’s peace over all the earth.

The word apocalypse means unveiling. The current pandemic is unveiling
what is wrong with our present world. We have injustice, we have wars,
terror is falling from the skies in many places as bombs and missiles
fall from the sky killing many. We have polluted our rivers, streams,
oceans as well as the air we breathe. Yes greed runs rampant and the
rich seem to be getting richer while the poor get poorer. Diseases
also run rampant with no seeming cure and hate and fear are prevalent
throughout our world. We want to believe we are right and everyone
else is wrong. We fear that which is different and we don’t
understand,  The apocalypse comes to show us all that and that is
good. For it reveals our shortcomings so we then can become partners
together with one another and with God to fix what’s wrong and bring
in a new age.

That is how I am seeing the Book of Revelation. It starts off telling
us we are kings and priests. Then it tells us of the coming of Jesus.
Then it goes on to describe seven churches which were existent then
and I believe are still here now showing both their strong points and
inviting them to repent and change. Then it proceeds to describe a
world where chaos and evil seem to rule unchecked and supreme. The
anti Christ, the beast, and the false prophet seem to be having a
field day and everything is going their way. However intervention
comes. Jesus descends from the clouds with all his saints dealing with
the devil, antichrist, and all who oppose him and establishing his
kingdom over all the earth. Taking a figurative look at this I see
Jesus and his people coming together. In Zechariah 14;4 and following
it says when Christ returns his feet shall touch the Mount of Olives
and it shall be split in two. The word used for olive here refers to
yielding and illuminating as in olive oil used in lamps to give light.
Thus as Christ (meaning anointed one) touches the Mount of Olives it
splits in half making a path yielding and illumination. For what
purpose does this split take place for? Zechariah 4:5 says a valley
shall be formed through which the people of God can escape, Then in
that day when this happens  in Zechariah 4:8-10  it tells us  that
living waters shall flow from Jerusalem, everything shall live and the
Lord shall be king over all the earth. In Revelation 19:15 that when
Christ returns with his saints a sharp sword shall go out of his mouth
with which to strike the nations and prepare for Christ to rule them.
He does this to smite or knockout foreigners or those opposed to God
so he can establish his kingdom. In Hebrews 4:12 it tells us that the
word of God is living and powerful like a two edged sword piercing and
dividing soul and spirit and discerning thoughts and intents of the
heart. So why do we need discernment now?

God is calling us to a new thing and way of living different than
before. He is through illumination and new light showing us a path
which if we will take can lead to a new day. In revelation 21st
chapter it speaks of the New Jerusalem coming down out of the sky.
Jerusalem means city of peace. In Revelation 22:1-2 it says that a
river of living water flows from the throne of God which is in the New
Jerusalem watering trees bearing all manners of fruit and whose leaves
are for the healing of every nation, As we read on in this same
chapter there will be no more curses but only light. Finally God’s
realm will be manifested on earth and all who want to be a part can
be. However it is a choice which we can either reject or accept. This
is what I believe the Coronavirus apocalypse is about. It is unveiling
all that is wrong so we can fix it with God’s help. It is calling us
to embrace a new vision and dawning where once more living water and
healing can flow forth and everything can live. It is calling us in
the spirit of Elijah, John the Baptist, Jesus and others who have gone
before to help prepare the way of the Lord and prepare the way for the
coming of his kingdom, Thus the apocalypse is calling loudly and
asking how will we respond? Will we hear its calling and message
embracing it and bring change? Will we ignore it as we have in the
past and have to keep going through the same things over and over
until we get it? The choice is ours how will we choose?

As always comments welcomed

Brother Lawrence Damien Cos

 

10 Biblical Reasons Why The Church Should Support Gays

Dear family.

In a few months, in June, those in the LGBTQ community will be celebrating Pride month, and our pride in who we are. Many from within the LGBTQ culture, as well as straight Christians, look to their faith for answers on what this all means, whether one can be gay or LGBTQ and Christian, and how to engage our world in an increasingly pro-LGBTQ culture.

Many Christians believe that homosexuality and anything else close to it is immoral, which has lead to a long history between the church and LGBTQ people that is fraught with tension, pain and sometimes violence.  Those who believe that homosexuality is a sin often point to several well-known Scripture passages from the Old and New Testaments.  Most of the Christian debate about human sexuality has centered on interpretation and emphasis of these passages, however, are they right?  Is there another understanding that can help guide LGBTQ people in their understanding of the Bible, and how God truly sees them?  There are so-called "clobber" verses which are used by those who believe homosexuality is wrong. However, is their interpretation and understanding correct?  It may surprise some to find out that these clobber passages aren't the only Scriptures that can guide faithful Christians as we seek to have a godly understanding of sexual and gender identity and orientation.

Read more10 Biblical Reasons Why The Church Should Support Gays

Ten Commitments to Compassionate Christian Living

Dear Family

I was surfing on the internet and came across what were called "Living Humanist Values : The Ten Commitments." They are based on the Ten Commandments found in the Bible but taken from a humanist standpoint and non religious platform. While I do not endorse Humanism necessarily I think the article makes some good points which can be equally to those of us seeking the Compassionate Christ and to follow that image. In that respect I offer it here along with my thoughts on it for us to consider and if we like might want to consider doing some if not all in our lives. It is not to be considered laws or rules that we have to obey but signs that can help us on our way to becoming more like Christ. Join me now in what I hope will be an exciting adventure for us all.

Read moreTen Commitments to Compassionate Christian Living

Why Do We Celebrate the Feast of Saint Michael and all Angels

Dear Family,

On September 29, in the Roman Catholic Church, Episcopal/Anglican Church, and many other church traditions, we will celebrate the Feast Of Saint Michael and all Angels.  So why does the church have this celebration?

First, to remind us that we have spirits we can call on, to help us through this life.  The word angel means messenger, so angels are messengers of God to us.

As the writer of Hebrews reminds us, angels are ministering spirits sent to minister to those who are heirs of salvation.[1] So we have them here to call upon and have them assist us.  However the church doesn't stop there, as it also recognizes on this day, the rank of Archangels, namely Saint Michael the Archangel, Saint Gabriel and Saint Raphael.  So who are these characters, and why does the church choose to honor them today?  Furthermore what does it all mean for us in the 21st century?  Come with me as we explore further and answer that question.

Read moreWhy Do We Celebrate the Feast of Saint Michael and all Angels

Over a Half Century and What Have I Learned?

Dear Family,

This past May I celebrated my 71st birthday and in October I will celebrate 53 years in ministry which is cool.  So what have I learned in all that time? Am I smarter now than I was then? Actually no.  I have gotten dumber in one respect.  In my teens and early 20's I thought I had all the answers and was ready to change the world.  Now I am amazed at how much I don't know and how more there is for me to discover and learn.  Yet on the other hand I think I have learned a few things along the way that I would like to share here.  I pray you all will enjoy this and find it helpful.

Read moreOver a Half Century and What Have I Learned?

What is God’s View of Compassion?

Read chapter 1 "A Passion For Compassion" first

Chapter 2 

"…and none of the condemned things are to be found in your hands. Then the LORD will turn from his fierce anger, will show you mercy, and will have compassion on you. He will increase your numbers, as he promised on oath to your ancestors- 18because you obey the LORD your God by keeping all his commands that I am giving you today and doing what is right in his eyes." (Deuteronomy 13:17:18 NIV)

Read moreWhat is God’s View of Compassion?

A Passion for Compassion

INTRODUCTION

Recently many of my friends and I have been discussing compassion and the compassionate Christ. What is it, what would it look like are questions we have asked ourselves and discussed with each other. One important issue we need to address and think about is how do we bring the reality of a compassionate Christ into our world and let it change it for the better. It is good to think about it, talk, get ideas but that is not enough. If all we do is dream about what may be possible nothing will ever change. We need to put feet to our prayers, our thoughts, ideas and so forth. We need to have a passion for compassion.

Read moreA Passion for Compassion

What Can We Learn From St Mary, The Mother Of Jesus?

What can we learn from St. Mary the Mother of Jesus that can apply to us today? Is she relevant to us today? Does she have anything to say to us now that will help us today? Recently I have been studying about Mary and trying to understand, venerate and honor her properly. The following is a study I believe God gave me on the subject.

1. ACCEPTANCE OF THE WILL OF GOD FOR HER

"Behold, I am the handmaiden of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word". (St. Luke 1:38 New American Bible St. Joseph Edition)

Read moreWhat Can We Learn From St Mary, The Mother Of Jesus?

What is Solitude and How Can We Practice it?

Dear family

As I believe most of you know I am a monk and a member of a monastic community called "The Community of Solitude". So what is solitude? It is my belief that the whole universal church is called to spend periods of time in solitude seeking God and yet for me and other monastics this has a special call and meaning. So let's dig a bit and see what we can find that may help us all in our seeking God and coming to understand God's will for us and the journey we are on to Jesus and eternity.

Read moreWhat is Solitude and How Can We Practice it?

What Does it Mean to Receive Jesus?

Sixteen years ago at Thanksgiving 2002 I began a journey that would ultimately take me from the Evangelicalism of my younger years to my becoming a Catholic in 2008 which I still am. During that time as a man dedicated to following the "Word" and Jesus I have had a problem and wrestled over seemingly contradictory means of what it means to be a Christian and how to be one. Evangelicals would say accept Jesus as your personal savior and you're saved. However I see in places like Matthew 25 where Jesus teaches it's by our works that we will be judged and our eternal destiny decided. Many might say the Bible contradicts itself and this is one of these contradictions. However I am inclined to believe there are no contradictions in the Bible simply things I do not understand. The following then is a result of praying, seeking answers and trying to understand what the Bible is saying and seeking reconciliation between seemingly to opposing points of view. Its represents sixteen years of seeking and is presented here as my views at the moment and as food for thought that we might wish to consider.

Read moreWhat Does it Mean to Receive Jesus?

Is Zionism Christian?

Recently the US under president Trump moved the its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in Israel sparking a lot of concern, consternation and violence by those opposed to the move mainly Arabs. Part of the problem as I see it is something called Zionism and the belief on the part of many that we have to back Israel 100% right or wrong as this is what God requires. This lead to a promise made in 1917 to the Jews of a promised home land. After World War II in 1948 without consulting the people then living there (Palestinians) the United Nations arbitrarily decided to create the nation of Israel. The Palestinians living in this land were moved into refugee camps with a promise they would also be given a home land of their own. That promise was never kept and the Palestinians remain in refugees camp leading too all the current problems there in the Gaza Strip and in the Occupied Territories. However is this what God wants? Is God solely on the side of Israel? Do Christians have to support Israel blindly because God allegedly does? Is Zionism of God?

Read moreIs Zionism Christian?

What Is Ascension Thursday/Sunday?

Today is forty days since we celebrated Easter and the glorious resurrection of our Lord Jesus from the grave. Now He is preparing to return back to the father and no longer be visible to the disciples and others whom He has just spent the last forty days with teaching and instructing them. The disciples fail to grasp the real significance of what is about to transpire. Their minds are focused on Jesus restoring the kingdom back to Israel and getting rid of the hated Romans. However Jesus has something altogether different in mind. As He is standing there spending the last few moments with his disciples His thoughts are all together in a different direction from those of the disciples looking forward to a future event that He wants His disciples to wait for. So why is this day important? Why does Ascension matter and what does it mean for us today in the 21st century?

Read moreWhat Is Ascension Thursday/Sunday?

What is a Progressive Christian?

In recent years there has been a rise of Conservative Evangelicalism which has to pass itself off as the legitimate and only form of true Christianity. Theirs is faith-centered in a personal relationship with Jesus, and following a conservative theological understanding of the Bible, as well as a politically conservative agenda.

Their idea is to make us a "Christian" nation as they claim our forefathers intended. However, there is another movement which stands in sharp contrast.  It is called the Progressive Christian Movement, which can serve as an antidote to the right wing Conservative Evangelical view, in particular.  It can also point us to a different view of the Bible and the teachings of Jesus and how they apply in the 21st century.  So what are Progressive Christians and where do they come from?

Read moreWhat is a Progressive Christian?

What Would it Take to Have Another Pentecost In Our Day?

We have made it through Easter, encountered the risen Christ and are moving from there. The next two events are Ascension Thursday (or Ascension Sunday if the church doesn't have Thursday services) and the ten days later is Pentecost which then leads to the beginning of Ordinary Times, which lasts to the beginning of Advent on the last Sunday of November.

So what is the significance of these holidays, and what can we learn from them, both as individuals and as the family of God united together?

Read moreWhat Would it Take to Have Another Pentecost In Our Day?

Whose Report Will You Believe?

We have gotten through Holy Week and celebrated Easter and now its Easter night.  The disciples are all sitting behind locked doors debating a message they had received earlier in the day.  Certain women had gone to the tomb early in the morning to anoint the body of Jesus.  When they arrived they found an empty tomb.  According to John, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb, found it empty, and ran back to tell Simon Peter and John about what she had found, and claiming that someone had moved the body, and she had no idea where they had taken him.

Read moreWhose Report Will You Believe?

What Is Good Friday?

Today we celebrate Good Friday, the day on which our Lord, Savior, and Master was crucified and buried.

What is the significance of this day?  Some may see it as a sad time and see no reason to call it good.  Others may say that Christ couldn't have died on Friday as that would be only two days to Sunday instead of the three days the scriptures say He was in the tomb.  Others would seem to believe that Jesus died to establish as legalistic a church as what He sought to replace in the Pharisees interpretation of Judaism.  Maybe not 613 laws as the Pharisee's had, but none the less still a bunch of rules and regulations to have to follow if we want to be "true" Christian.  However is that the real message of Good Friday, or is there something else we are supposed to get from Good Friday?

Read moreWhat Is Good Friday?

Matthew 25 Translation for the 21st Century

Dear family

Enclosed find a 21st rendition of the words of Jesus found in Matthew 25 I found on the internet. I believe they have a very pointed message for our time. Any comments would be welcomed.

Brother Lawrence Damien Cos

I was molested and you didn't believe me
I was LGBTQ and you dehumanized me
I was non white and you stood over me
I was a woman and you discounted me
I was a sick child and you uninsured me
I was poor and you gave my money away
I was seeking justice and you silenced me
I was handicapped and you mocked me
I was a refugee and you locked me out
I was a stranger and you banned me

Matthew 25 (2017 Translation)

What is the Baptism of the Dead Mentioned by Paul?

by Brother Lawrence Damien Cos

“Otherwise, what will they do who are baptized for the dead, if the dead do not rise at all? Why then are they baptized for the dead?”

 Dear CG family

Enclosed find my latest article on Baptism for the Dead. It stems from a discussion we had in Sunday school class last Sunday as we continued our discussion of the book of I Corinthians and last week we were in chapter 15. The issue of baptism of the dead was raised and questions were asked about what Paul might mean here. This is an attempt to address that issue and the questions raised. Thought others than just my Sunday school class might have wondered about this also so am sharing here in the hopes you may be blessed by it and perhaps even learn something. As always any comments are always welcomed.

Read moreWhat is the Baptism of the Dead Mentioned by Paul?