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Saturday, February 20, 2016

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Deuteronomy 26:16-19
Psalm 119:1-2, 4-5, 7-8
Matthew 5:43-48

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"i firmly resolve"

"Oh, that I might be firm in the ways of keeping Your statutes!" —Psalm 119:5

Is your Ash Wednesday Lenten resolve still firm or are temptations wearing down your self-denial? Our weak flesh is vulnerable to the relentless pressures of temptation. We desire to do what is right, but we don't have the power (see Rm 7:18). Our old, sinful nature rebels against our new, redeemed nature. There's a civil war raging inside us (see Jas 4:1). What wretches we are! (Rm 7:24) "Who can free" us? (Rm 7:24)

Jesus has set us free (Jn 8:36). He freed us for lifelong liberty (Gal 5:1). He shattered the bonds of sin that held us bound and gave us new life and risen power (Col 2:13-14). Praise Jesus!

Yet we still live in human bodies and are weak flesh. We live a risen life (Col 3:1), yet are subject to temptation, just as Jesus was (Mt 4:1ff; Heb 4:15). With the psalmist, we pray to be firm in resisting temptation (Ps 119:5). We must ask Jesus to "increase our faith" (Lk 17:5), for unless our faith is firm, we will not be firm (Is 7:9).

Jesus "is able to help those who are tempted" (Heb 2:18). Ask Him to immerse you in the Holy Spirit (Jn 7:37-39), Who fights against the temptations of the flesh (Gal 5:17). "My point is that you should live in accord with the Spirit and you will not yield to the cravings of the flesh" (Gal 5:16). "So stand firm, and do not take on yourselves the yoke of slavery a second time!" (Gal 5:1)

Prayer:  Father, "I firmly resolve, with the help of Thy grace, to sin no more, and avoid the near occasion of sin."

Promise:  "You will be a people sacred to the Lord, your God, as He promised." —Dt 26:19

Praise:  By learning to practice regular and spontaneous prayer, Roger grew closer to Jesus each week.

Reference:  (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)

Rescript:  †Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, September 28, 2015

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