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Thursday, February 24, 2000

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James 5:1-6
Psalm 49
Mark 9:41-50

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cut it out!

"If your hand is your difficulty, cut it off!" —Mark 9:43<br> "If your foot is your undoing, cut it off!" —Mark 9:45<br> "If your eye is your downfall, tear it out!" —Mark 9:47

Jesus did not mean for us to literally maim ourselves, but He exaggerated to drive home the point that we are to resist sin even to the point of shedding our own blood (Heb 12:4). Moreover, Jesus may have been revealing to us something about human nature: in some areas of each person's life, one must be careful not to overindulge but to abstain. This is the great insight of the Twelve Steps Programs.

For some, one drink is too many. Maybe you don't have a problem with drinking, but you can be in trouble if you have a TV, begin to gamble, eat one candy bar, drink one cup of coffee, go into a store with a credit card, access the Internet, etc. We will never be free if we don't come out of the denial that certain things in our lives must be completely cut off. The Lord could grace us to control our use of these things, but it seems that instead He has decided to call us to abstain in certain areas.

Know your calls to abstain, cut out what God wants out, and be free. It's better to abstain than to remain a slave. It's better to abstain than to lose your soul.

Prayer:  Jesus, You alone can free me (Jn 8:36). I accept You as Lord and Liberator.

Promise:  "The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts." —Jas 5:4

Praise:  Giving her smoking addiction to Jesus in an intense way, Connie was not only freed of the desire to smoke, but of all ill effects that habit had produced over the years.

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Ralph J. Lawrence, July 28, 1999

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, August 3, 1999