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Thursday, September 22, 2005

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Haggai 1:1-8
Psalm 149
Luke 9:7-9

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"Is it time for you to dwell in your own paneled houses, while this house lies in ruins? —Haggai 1:4

At this moment in history, the body of Christ is in intensive care, in serious condition. Most Christians have never even seen the Church as Jesus created it to be. The parts of Jesus' body are separated from one another. The Spirit is stifled. Sin disfigures Christ's bride. Many of us are turned off by the Church's ugliness.

We don't try to restore Christ's body to its God-given beauty. Rather, we abandon the Church and focus our attention on our own paneled houses (Hg 1:4). We focus on the same things the unbelievers live for, a comfortable life-style and worldly pleasures. However, this way of life does nothing for the Church or for ourselves. We work hard for that which the world considers important, but we are not satisfied or exhilarated (Hg 1:6).

"Vanity of vanities! All things are vanity!" (Eccl 1:2). Our money always seems insufficient. We earn wages for "a bag with holes in it" (Hg 1:6). Our lives deteriorate "through illusion and desire" (Eph 4:22). When we let Christ's Body, the Church, fall into ruins, we as members of that Body also deteriorate. But as we build up Christ's Church, we see our personal lives likewise transformed.

Prayer:  Jesus, may I love the Church as You do and lay down my life for it (Eph 5:25).

Promise:  "Sing to the Lord a new song of praise in the assembly of the faithful. Let Israel be glad in their Maker, let the children of Zion rejoice in their King." —Ps 149:1-2

Praise:  Martha showed a profound depth of God's love when she opened up her heart and home to her widowed sister's children upon the occasion of that sister's death.

Reference:  (For a related teaching, order our tape Church in America on audio AV 115-1 or video V-115.)

Rescript:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, February 8, 2005

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