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Summary: Concrete plans have to be made and executed to prepare for thr Final Judgment. Just saying you want to be saved and doing nothing ab out it is hardly enough preparation. Just thinking you live a good live must be supplemented by well designed plans, dedic

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An Attitude of Gratitude

Several places in the Gospels deal with preparedness for the Final Judgment,‭ ‬including this one in Mark.‭ ‬One strategy is to wait for the start of signs to begin preparing.‭ ‬However,‭ ‬the signs won’t necessarily indicate the end of the world and the Final Judgment.‭ ‬Whenever someone or some group interprets the signs and claims to know when the world will end and everyone will be subject to judgment,‭ ‬the prediction is inevitably wrong,‭ ‬yet they continue despite Jesus‭’ ‬statement in the Gospel today that the time is not for us to know.

Another way to prepare is to show an attitude of gratitude for the life God has given us by the setting of our goals..What can we offer in return? We can never adequately thank God for all his gifts, but Scripture tell us that what God appreciates is a humble, contrite heart. Setting goals for humility and contrition then, we know will be in line with God’s will as expressed in the Bible.

Wanting to get on a sports team by losing weight and developing muscles would seem on the surface unrelated to humility. However, if the reason is to show a positive image for a school, where students work hard and play fairly, where they appreciate their education and want to “give something back” to the community, such a goal could be one of humility. Note that some victorious players praise God when interviewed afterwards on television. On the other hand, if the goal is to show that one school can dominate another, that the students in one school are better persons than the ones represented by the other team, the goal would not be a humble one. The beating given a San Francisco fan by a local gang at the Los Angeles Dodgers stadium parking lot is an example of arrogance related to sports, as well as the intolerance sometimes shown to visiting fans all over the nation.

Jesus praised in the Parable the Unjust Servant the careful planning and implementation the servant used to ingratiate himself with his master’s debtors,‭ ‬not the morality of the plan.‭ ‬There is a place,‭ ‬then,‭ ‬for secular planning if it is moral.‭ ‬Therefore,‭ ‬take advantage of secular-‭ ‬based planning techniques in goal-setting to show our gratitude for the opportunity for salvation that Christ gave us.

Secular experts in preparedness stress the notion of setting goals, committing to them because of their importance, and constantly working toward them. Such goals must be clear, measurable and realistic. A person, for example, would not just set a goal to lose weight, but rather, say, to lose a pound per week for a year, or two pounds for six months in order to meet the weight requirement for joining a basketball team.

There must be a willingness to follow best known practices. A personal body trainer says eating nine small meals a day and lifting weights according to a schedule is the best way to lose weight slowly. The "small meals” are specified, as well as the weight- lifting schedule and procedures. Every day the would-be athlete is weighed to check if he has lost weight or remains constant. If the weight goes up, he has done something incorrectly and must make a correction.

The athlete is committed to losing weight because getting on the team is important to him.He does want to represent his school and show it in a positive light, and show his appreciation for his education. He carries around his meals in Tupperware and never misses his weight lifting.

He knows he must eat a fixed number of calories, in small portions several times a day, and as an athlete he must strengthen his muscles by lifting weights.

He makes the team because the rules of the game are clear,generally applied the same way to everyone by impartial officials, and he has met the coach’s weight requirement as well as following all of the coach’s instructions.

Once on the team, girls approach him for dates. They assume he is willing to have sex with them just as part of the date. To turn down such conduct, the athlete needs spiritual goals and practices. He meditates and contemplates for a half hour each day, Pornographic thoughts he lets pass by in his mind like a cloud passes by a mountain. He knows the thought is there, but goes back to the purpose of the contemplation, to give thanks to God for life, indicated by his breathing. He follows up with the suggestions at gratitude.org, where David Steindl- Rast, O.S.B. has a thanksgiving program. In meditation, he realizes that God gave us life to follow Jesus’ teachings, which prescribe marriage and exclude fornication. Each night, we are to write down what we are thankful for and what we are doing to show our attitude of gratitude. Thanksgiving then becomes a year-round observance just as the hungry are hungry year round and in need of food every day.

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