Five Keys To Personal Freedom

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five keys to personal freedomFive Keys To Personal Freedom

Spiritual Freedom

Five Keys To Personal Freedom are an important part to healing in our lives. Before I speak about a particular Catholic approach to healing and deliverance I would just like to mention two ministries, which have great credibility among other Christian communities.

Five Keys to personal freedom begins with a healing and deliverance ministry developed by Dr. Charles Kraft. It is explained in a little book entitled “Two Hours to Freedom”. He especially emphasizes healing from the moment of conception until infancy. His position, which I support, is that some deep level attitudes of a painful nature, which many times don’t disappear even after much healing and deliverance, are rooted in the time the embryo is in the womb. The second ministry is founded by Dr. Ed Smith, a family counselor,  he developed a healing ministry entitled Transformation Ministry, formerly, Theophostic Prayer Ministry. His approach involves looking for the source and origin woundedness, which is the root of other significant negative memories.

When the source and origin woundedness is discovered it is relatively easy to heal the other wounds. For example, if you are camping in the mountains and you have built a campfire, and you decide to go hiking but you get lost. You can find your way back to the camp (source and origin wound), by following the smell of the smoke trail from the campfire.

Unbound Ministry:  Most Catholics believe that they are saved, but at times are perplexed by an unsuccessful struggle in the area of emotional woundedness and spiritual confusion and darkness. They are plagued by various pressures of bondage and influences of personal evil operating in their lives. Thus some Catholics believe they are saved but do not understand why in some ways they are really not free. So they rely on the Sacraments, devotional practice, and struggles against temptations to bring about the necessary growth in the Christian life, all wonderful means of growing in grace, but why am I not free in the significant areas of my life?

Unbound Ministry founded by Neal and Janet Lozano provides a format for a successful plan of pastoral and spiritual healing and deliverance. It is a non-confrontational approach and also gives attention to the area of ancestral healing as well. It is non-confrontational in the sense that one does not do combat directly or do fighting with evil spirits but totally focuses on the love and charity of the person who is the recipient of the ministry. The effect of this ministry of mercy and charity results in the experience of a deeper freedom from bondages, oppression, and woundedness in one’s personal life. It also teaches us the truth that in addition to the wonderful freedom one may receive, it also calls us on to a process of transformation and freedom in human maturity and is realistic in inviting us to take up the necessary struggle with the world, the flesh, and the devil in order to keep our freedom and grow in genuine Christian holiness. The essence of the ministry is using the Five Keys of Freedom. One is taught how to listen and respond in five key areas as the recipient seeks greater freedom and helps others to do the same. As mentioned above each key incorporates practical direction on how to respond to the grace which unlocks the door and sets one free.

“Picture a locked door. Opening the door represents liberation from spiritual bondage. The door has five locks, each requiring a key. As a believer in Christ, you have all the keys you   need to be free from the influences of evil spirits.”   (Unbound, pg. 53)

Freedom is so fundamental to our humanity that we are told in Gal 5:1b, “For freedom Christ has set us free,” It is through our union with Jesus the Son of God that we are restored to true freedom. “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom” (2Cor.3:17). The Holy Spirit is the love of God poured into our hearts. (Rom.5:5) He is the Spirit of the Lord; he is the life of God, making his home within us. The Spirit of God brings us into an intimate relationship with our Father and thus restores us to full freedom. “And because you are sons (and daughters), God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying ‘Abba!’ Father!’ So through God, you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son than an heir” (Gal. 4:6-7).

Because of sin, our parents, (even the best of parents) and many others have failed to represent the Father of Love to us. The fruit of original sin causes us to identify more as a slave than as a child of God. We all have areas of our lives that have yet to experience full liberation. These sins, habits, and bondages are the devil’s door to tempt us to think and act as though we were still slaves held in bondage. Freedom is life in the Son of God. The Son has overcome every deception that we have believed about the Father who has always loved us, who has always been present, who has always blessed us. Satan seeking to rob, steal, and destroy, poses as a counterfeit father. Jesus tells us, “He is a father of lies” (Jn.8:44). We know that God’s word has power because it is the Word that comes from God. Deception has spiritual power as well because its source is a spiritual being, the devil who is a liar. Sin entered the world through one man and with sin came the great deception.

Deliverance is removing the power of the lies so that we can hear the voice of our Father that has always been speaking deep within us. Knowing the Father through the Son is our place of deepest freedom; it is where broken humanity is healed, and where we receive all the healing we need at any given time. Unbound ministry lets us experience a deeper life with God and teaches us how to listen and respond in five key areas as you seek greater freedom and help others to do the same. Unbound ministry is really a ministry of Evangelization. Each of the keys incorporates practical direction on how to respond to the grace that unlocks the door and sets us free

The Five Keys to Personal Freedom:

Repentance and Faith: There is no greater deliverance than embracing the grace of one’s baptism in water, by turning from sin and turning to the Lord. Jesus is our deliverer and He is our deliverance. The first key also involves ongoing repentance and conversion as the hidden sins of our heart are revealed.

Forgiveness: If we want to be like Jesus we need to forgive from the heart. Many believers who know that they need to forgive have failed to understand how to access the power of forgiveness that Jesus has given them. As forgiveness is pronounced by faith and the power behind unforgiveness is renounced, it is defeated.

Renunciation: Each Easter Catholics renew their baptismal vows beginning with “I renounce Satan and all of his works and all of his empty promises.” Renunciation is a declaration before the kingdom of darkness that I no longer make a home for sin, deception, and the power behind it. I am no longer in agreement with this lie that has been buried in my heart and my thoughts. Specifically renouncing our enemies brings victory. For example, one  and in the name of Jesus, I renounce lust…loneliness…a spirit of anger…resentment and bitterness…hatred. I renounce the lie that everything is my fault, that I am no good…I renounce the idol of fame and recognition…”

Authority: When the Lord said to Moses, “I will be an enemy to your enemies” (Ex. 23:22), He did not mean that Moses would sit and watch. He meant that as Moses fought, so would to kGod. Moses had God’s authority. In Christ we too have authority over our enemies who seek to destroy us. We can take our stand against them through repentance, forgiveness, renunciation and then declare the truth of their defeat by saying, “In the name of Jesus I command any (or every) spirit that I have renounced to leave me now.”

The Father’s Blessing: The Hebrew sense of blessing means to speak that empower someone to prosper and thrive. They are words that give life and peace. Words carry spiritual power. Ever blessing that the Father spoke to Jesus is ours. The Father reveals to us who we are as we come before him in the Son. What we have longed to hear all of our lives has already been spoken. As we learn to receive His blessing, so we are healed. To be “unbound” means that the obstacles to the gift that has been waiting for us have been removed and the Father’s love and affirmation is made real to us in Christ.

Neal Lozano, Heart of the Father Ministries, www.heartofthefather.com

Freed from the pain we get into the Plan!

In concluding this presentation I would like to share with you the approach I generally use when I pray for spiritual healing with individuals. I primarily use Unbound Ministry and follow the five keys to freedom. I have found this approach very effective and I am grateful to Heart of the Father Ministries for sharing this method with us. I also have been trained in Transformation Prayer Ministry and for a good number of years have found this approach developed by Dr. Ed Smith effective as well. When a person requests spiritual healing and deliverance I set up an initial time for a detailed interview session. I then prepare a ministry plan based on what the person has shared in the first session. The second meeting is designed to use the Unbound Ministry. When the individual has experienced a number of deep emotional wounds I will move to pray directly for those identified areas. I always give careful attention to family bondages and ancestral areas of vulnerability. In light of the wisdom of Dr. Charles Kraft, I specifically check for possible roots or vulnerable issues in relationship to embryonic development and infancy. When a person has experienced deep emotional wounds at the center of their personhood, I will pray for that individual for a healing of a “broken heart”. I do not heal anybody, I do not have a special healing ministry, the solemn glorious truth is Jesus Christ is the healer. Healing occurs in a person when the Lord mercifully acts along with the humble cooperation of a particular individual.

Closing Prayer

Lord Jesus to know you is eternal life. I believe you are the Messiah, the Son of the living God. I love You and I place my trust in You. I am sorry for all my sins and from withholding myself in any way from You. Please forgive me and heal any pain I have caused others. I forgive anyone who has hurt me, and I ask you to bless them. In your Name, Jesus I renounce anything in my life that is not of You that I have welcomed into my mind or heart. Wash me in mercy and fill me with Your Precious Blood and the Holy Spirit. Father, all of my need for love and affection is found in Your embrace. May I never leave my home in Your heart again. By Your grace, I resolve to remain in Your shelter and abide in Your shade, where You restore to me the joy of Your salvation. Amen. (Fr. John Horn, SJ, Director of Spirituality at St. Vincent de Paul Major Seminary, Boynton Beach, Florida)

Christian Hospitality

Christian hospitalityChristian Hospitality

Episode # 47

How are your Christian hospitality skills? Is this something that needs practice or do you have an open door policy and invite people into your inner circle, often? In this episode, Felice Gerwitz discusses how hospitality is a gift but a skill that can improve and grow.  Who knows, you may be entertaining angels!

Thanks to our sponsor the Rebecca Farris the designer of some amazing planners, like the Well Planned Gal Prayer Planner. Check out this wonderful journal at wellplannedgal.com.

Hebrews 13:22 is a warning from St. Paul who says, “Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.”

I know we are all busy and the idea of one more thing often tips us over the edge. Yet, Christian hospitality really begins at home. I know many churches are equipped with various ministries and they all have a very important place. In fact, those ministries are a way for people to connect and grow in faith. In the past, I volunteered to teach many classes at church and for over ten years was very involved. As the seasons of my life changed, I began working on Christian hospitality and ministry in other ways. This podcast reflects one of those ways.

The Bible gives us much food for thought. Jesus was an example when he went to a tax collector’s home, someone who was considered a crook by many because they often charged more than they should in order to keep some of the money. Read Matthews 5:46-48 — here Jesus challenges us to extend our Christian hospitality even to our enemies and one line always gets me, “So be perfect, just as our heavenly Father is perfect.”

How can we be perfect? The Father, our heavenly Father perfects us – -we can’t do it alone. We are such a mess most of the time, one friend calls it being a “hot mess.” How can we minister to others when we can’t even minister to ourselves? Well, with the help of our heavenly Father!

Here is some suggestions.

  1. Pray. Is there someone at church who catches your eye and perhaps someone you should invite out for coffee?
  2. Ask the Lord for guidance. Is there a particular ministry He wants you involved with or something you should join?
  3. Introduce people you think might get along and see if you can connect others.
  4. If you are Catholic and are able, go to daily Mass. Or, no matter what your denomination, take time to sit in quiet and listen to the Lord.
  5. Pray about ways you can be used by the Lord in Christian hospitality.
  6. If you are in a group setting, speak to those you don’t know.
  7. Invite someone you don’t know into your own group.
  8. Invite someone to listen to this podcast — it is a form of Christian ministry and hospitality. Better yet, listen with a friend!

The simple gesture of kindness and hospitality toward a stranger can be turned into something wonderful by the Lord. Take the time to talk to those you don’t know. If you are in prayer about this, the Lord will provide those wonderful “God-incidents” to connect you with those in need.

Remember to fill up! Go to church, pray, read the Bible and be still before the Lord. You can’t give to others if you are spiritually empty yourself.

Let’s pray:

Dear Lord, I thank you for the gifts you’ve given me and to those who are listening to this broadcast. I know that nothing is impossible for you and if you call us to service, you will provide not only for us but for those who we minister to, in Your Name, Jesus. We ask you to send us out in service for You, as your hands and feet. Point us to those who need You the most and let us help in any way that we can. Thank you Lord for giving us the gift of hospitality and bring good for the kingdom of God from our efforts. I pray this in Jesus, Name. Amen.

Freedom From Unnecessary Suffering

Freedom From Unnecessary Suffering

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Freedom From Unnecessary Suffering

Podcast #11

Obstacles and Blocks In Our Spiritual Lives

Freedom from unnecessary suffering is the second presentation on spiritual healing and will concentrate on the obstacles and blocks which exist in the lives of some individuals. This causes unnecessary conflicts of a painful nature. The first consideration will be to look at the beautiful Mercy of a loving God and review the notion of Christian suffering, and its possible role in the life of a person seeking Christian holiness. Then we will briefly look at why Jesus himself healed, and the fact that he bestowed his power to heal and deliver from personal evil on the Church. The question to ask is this, what are some of the access points where individuals can experience negative forces, pain, and disruptions in their personal lives. In spiritual healing three, we will review the type of ministry that is able to bring freedom for Christians, and also review some of the spiritual gifts which are needed to assist this growth in spiritual freedom.

In the scripture, Jesus encourages us to be merciful as our heavenly Father is merciful! A good case in the translation could also say, be compassionate as your Father is compassionate. We see this in the prayer of Daniel, “I prayed to the Lord, my God and confessed, Ah, Lord, great and awesome God, you who keep your covenant and show mercy to those who love you… we have sinned…Justice, Oh Lord is on your side…we are ashamed for we have sinned against you. But to the Lord, our God, belong compassion and forgiveness. (Dan. 9: 4-10)

To show mercy is a praiseworthy thing to do. It suggests that this approach comes first from the head, and not directly from the heart. For example, when a court shows mercy to a guilty party. In some cases showing this kind of mercy is the right thing to do. Compassion on the other hand, is prompted by the heart. It implies feeling another’s pain and their painful condition, and be willing to suffer with them. In others word, we are being asked to love our neighbor as ourselves with both mercy and compassion. This complete understanding describes the Father’s mercy. God is merciful because he has deep paternal feelings for us. This is so beautifully revealed in the biblical story of the Prodigal Son (Lk. 15: 11-32). Jesus who shares intimately the heart of the Father, himself shares this reality with us as he shares himself. We surely realize that God not only knows us intimately but also has deep feelings for us. All our joys, hopes, grief, and anguish are deeply felt by our God who loves with divine and human compassion and mercy.

All Suffering and evil that is or that ever will exist in this world and all of reality is now objectively taken up and transformed through the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, all human suffering introduces a transforming quality initiated through the divine reality rooted in and flowing from the glorified Jesus Christ. This reality is at the center of the Catholic theology of salvation, reparation, restoration, and atonement. In recent years we see this reality modeled in the life and ministry of Padre Pio. He experienced the wounds of the Crucified manifested in his flesh, and it illustrates for us the transforming mystery of healing centered in the Cross. It is a challenge and sometimes hard for us to understand the all embracive and tremendous power available to us in the effectiveness and fruitfulness of the Cross. Yet in the dynamic experience of a living faith, this reality highlights the complete picture of healing in the Church.

Elizabeth Leseur was a French Catholic woman who died in 1914. She and her husband were very much in love. They were from an upper-level background financially. Her husband came under the influence of the Enlightenment and the French Revolution and became an atheist. He constantly pressured Elizabeth to follow his path of belief and abandon her Catholic commitment. On one occasion they made a pleasure trip to Rome, and Elizabeth went to the tomb of St. Peter to offer a prayer. While she was kneeling there she became filled with a special gift of Divine love and a new infused experience of faith. From that point on Divine love, mercy, and compassion filled her soul. Elizabeth records in her journal, “Has my life known any unhappier time than this (various forms of suffering and desolation), And through all these trials and in spite of a lack of interior joy, there is a deep place where all these waves of sorrow cannot touch…There I can feel how completely one with God I am, and I gain strength and serenity in the heart of Christ.” Elizabeth was uniquely transformed by the suffering she experienced in her life.

Back in France, her hidden life of love, suffering, and grace was hidden from others. In raising her children and serving others she became known for her caring wisdom, love, mercy, and good counsel. She experienced a tremendous amount of suffering because of the cleavage in the faith stance between her and her husband. She loved him very much and so experienced much suffering. There were other areas of her life where the suffering of the Cross of Jesus displayed itself. She had breast cancer, which became arrested. She eventually experienced very poor health and internal physical sickness. Eventually, the cancer returned and caused her death. She died in the arms of her beloved husband at the age of 48. Her grieving husband was sorting out her things after her death, and he found her two journals. He sat down and read both of them. As a result he converted to Catholicism, eventually, he went to a seminary, became a Dominican priest, and served in the Church for 20 years.

Why did Jesus perform healing? When Jesus was moved with pity he would heal to express his compassion. The raising of the widow’s son from death to life is an example of his great abundant love, mercy, and compassion. In Mark chapter one he healed the leper for the same reason. Jesus healed to lead others to come to faith in him and to believe that the power and authority he possessed was from God. Recall the paralyzed man let down from the roof. When Jesus saw the faith of the friends who brought him he healed him, and to confound the scribes and Pharisees he also forgave the man his sins. He healed Peters mother-in-law and she got up and served. He healed the centurion’s son from a distance because he had Covenant faith, “I have never found so much faith among the Israelites.” Jesus healed and delivered from personal evil, recall the Gerasene demoniac who used to break chains, and the demons would drive him into places of solitude, their name was legion. They found the man sitting and dressed and sitting at the feet of Jesus and in his full senses. All these manifestations of the power of Jesus were signs and wonders to demonstrate the presence of the Kingdom of God, and they occurred to establish the Kingdom of God on earth. And occur now through the ministry of the Church to establish the Kingdom of God on earth as well.

What are the access points where wounds and negative effects of personal evil are manifested in the human personality?

Most authors identify four access points, however, I would suggest there are five. Briefly, they are as follows:

1) Unforgiveness and childhood trauma (wounded identity and self-image)

2) Unhealthy (dysfunction) or sinful relationships

3) Occult involvement directly or indirectly

4) Family bondages and National sin; 5) Primordial wounds of the heart and severe addictions.

  • Unforgiveness and childhood trauma: There may be certain areas in us where un-forgiveness effectively blocks God’s forgiveness and grace, particularly the grace of healing. It is a consistent and well know experience of confessors and prayer ministers that when praying for healing in the lives of prayer recipients, and a problem is not responding, un-forgiveness is most often at the root. Somewhat related to the area of unforgiveness is trauma. Trauma creates a shock to one’s spirit, at least for a time, and develops a belief system in the mind based on serious misrepresentations or lies which take hold in the mind. This experience can lead to convictions or acceptations about truth which causes us to become vulnerable to wounds or lies about self or others. An inaccurate self-acceptance can profoundly influence one’s self-concept, which can develop thoughts and feelings of self- condemnations, worthlessness, inadequacy, abandonment, and self-rejection. This thinking can make one very vulnerable to the influence of personal evil, and the manipulations of Satan. Thus a person can develop a hardness of heart or a debilitating fear that robs one of the goodness of life.
  • The second access point is unhealthy or sinful relationships. Destructive relationships are not physical and emotional they are also profoundly spiritual. What can be called harmful is when the friendship is not enhancing the God-created good in either person, making it an ungodly relationship. This type of relationship begins to have negative spiritual consequences for those involved. Thus there becomes spiritual baggage or negativity between the two people. This negative spiritual influence is a powerful bondage and opens the door to sin, manipulation, and oppression by the evil one. This type of relationship can unintentionally invite the evil one to come and have significant influence in the relationship. Here we could include all kinds of relationships, but especially unhealthy sexual relationships, pornography, and other abusive relationships.
  • The third access point is occult involvement: This topic itself deserves a specific study. I only mention it here to make us aware of its very negative impact on individuals. Simply put involvement in the occult puts Satan on an equal footing with God; not only a simple creature of his but a creature who in his very rebellion against God, wanted to be like God. It is precisely because we confirm Satan in being Satan when we turn the glory and honor due to God to him. He can get significant power over us, which is more than ordinary influences of evil. By the way, some in our contemporary church life ignore, deny, or dissociate from this truth, certainly to their detriment and possibly to the detriment of others as well.
  • The fourth access point is family bondages: The four common areas in which bondages can come into families are circumstances of life, behaviors, diseases, and habits or patterns of difficulty. Look for consistent patterns which identify spiritual, emotional, and physical difficulties that are repeated in ancestral lines on both sides of the family. Just open your eyes to any episodic happenings by any given individual, especially of a negative or destructive nature. Be aware of the results of adoptions. Sometimes the primordial wounds of the heart exist in the hearts of some who don’t know their parents of origin. You may notice that often you may not be able to find “factual proof” for some of these things. However, the painful and debilitating evidence is expressed in symptomatic behavior. If there is a problem consistent for a long time, it is worthwhile working it down to its roots, through the frequency of repetition. Some issues in healing need to be gradually related to through in-depth un-covering level by level.
  • Addictions and compulsive behavior: In the current literature of human development the primary attention is being given to personality disorders and to alleviate the harm caused by the huge number of multiple addictions prevalent in our society. Some say that addiction is rooted in the mind. However, if this is true the emotional upheaval and spiritual disintegration accompanying cognitive dissonance is also a monumental and painful experience. As many in our Nation are moving away from a God-centered society, the values and behaviors are now more infested with the destructive forces of secularism, individualism, and materialism. Most caring people have become significantly more aware of the massive amounts of compulsive destructive addictions and violence in our country and sometimes in our own families. The contemporary opportunities of asceticism, counseling, and spiritual direction as good as they are in themselves have only made a small dent in the cure and advancement for individuals. One of the reasons why freedom from addictions is so difficult is because of its compulsive nature. Some say where there is addiction there is unrighteousness and sin. For our purposes here it is important to note that addictions easily become a major vulnerable access for the oppression and infestation of personal evil, in addition to feeding off of the hurts and wounds of the heart.

Freed from the pain ~ we get into the plan for the freedom from unnecessary suffering!

Closing Prayer

Lord Jesus to know you is eternal life. I believe you are the Messiah, the Son of the living God. I love You and I place my trust in You. I am sorry for all my sins and from withholding myself in any way from You. Please forgive me and heal any pain I have caused others. I forgive anyone who has hurt me, and I ask you to bless them. In your Name, Jesus I renounce anything in my life that is not of You that I have welcomed into my mind or heart. Wash me in mercy and fill me with Your Precious Blood and the Holy Spirit. Father, all of my need for love and affection is found in Your embrace. May I never leave my home in Your heart again. By Your grace, I resolve to remain in Your shelter and abide in Your shade, where You restore to me the joy of Your salvation. Amen. Fr. John Horn, SJ, Director of the Spiritual life at St. Vincent de Paul Seminary, Boynton Beach, Florida.

Life Goals in Prayer

life goals in prayerLife Goals in Prayer Episode #46

Do you have life goals in prayer? Are you a planner? Do you keep lists so you can check off your accomplishments? Do you make plans or set goals each day? These are all wonderful things, but do you have a goal for your prayer life? In this podcast, we will discuss setting goals daily, weekly, monthly and even yearly for your prayer life and ways to improve each day.

Thanks to our sponsor the Well Planned Gal special planners – and the Prayer Planner is brand new! Visit this website for more information.

Life Goals In Prayer

Planning your day or your goals for work is wonderful but it is also important to plan time for prayer. In these podcasts, the focus has always been time for uninterrupted prayer. When life gets busy it seems that prayer is the first thing to go.

It starts slowly. First, we begin strong. We set aside time to pray each day, we make that prayer time a priority and we look forward to it and then we realize the fruits and blessings that come from our prayer time. Slowly we find we are busier than we expected to be, our well planned day starts taking a downward turn and we learn to make our prayer time shorter, or rush through our prayers, or divide our prayer time in half just to fit it into our already busy and overflowing schedule. Soon we find that prayer time does not take place every day. Instead of moving forward two steps we move backward three…in our prayer time.

Goal setting gives us a target to reach. It encourages us. It gives us something to shoot for and a sense of accomplishment when we do. The goal of making prayer a priority in our lives is one example of a goal

Making prayer a priority is easier said than done. It isn’t just our daily schedule that is the issue it is the enemy that robs our peace or the seemingly endless distractions that happen during our prayer time. Whether the phone rings, someone comes to the door, an unplanned emergency or the kids needing your time. Either way, your prayer time begins to shrink.

Habits are formed through repetition and one of the best bits of advice that I can give you is to make your prayer time a habit. Planning your prayer time similar to planning life goals is important. No one goes to a job without knowing what they are expected to accomplish each day and getting the work done. If we are not good at our jobs we will soon find ourselves without work.

The same without your goals for your prayer time. Let’s take a look at some goals you can implement for your prayer time. Use this as a starting place for setting up your own personalized goals.

Life Goals In Prayer

  1. A specific time to pray each day.
  2. A specific place to pray and read the Bible or a spiritual book
  3. A specific amount of time you will listen for God’s small still voice. If you don’t hear anything don’t worry! Sometimes it is a thought or an idea that comes from the Lord.
  4. Setting up goals for specific activities, for example memorizing Scripture, or reading the book of Proverbs in a month, etc. What would you like to accomplish? When you figure this out, you can set aside time each day to get it done.
  5. Goals for learning. What are you learning? Write down your accomplishments and rejoice! You are moving toward growing stronger in your faith!

Recently I had the opportunity to review the Prayer Journal by the Well Planned Gal, Rebecca Farris. Rebecca by her own admission is a planner and this journal is no different. It maps out an easy way to keep prayer the center of your day. This planner is perfect to schedule your life goals in prayer!

We will discuss five points in this planner:

  1. The planner becomes a keepsake: I love this! I once had a planner that I could look back and see all the answered prayer! This planner allows you to add memories and photos of your family throughout the year. No worries about a crashing computer and lost pictures!
  2. Year at a glance: Upcoming events such as the holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, vacations – it is so nice to plan ahead.
  3. Important Information: Important emails or phone numbers, emergency contacts as well as some favorite websites.
  4. Household, Home Management, Chore charts and Family Routine: Have you ever had a sick day, could someone come in and run your home for you? This planner could be helpful as well as a way to teach your children to handle some of these to-dos! These are double-sided and I love that you can tear the sheets out to be laminated and placed on a bulletin board or on the wall. You can use dry erase markers or use them to teach the children.
  5. Prayer Charts: These are double-sided as well. You can place these in a convenient place to access, or in your Bible.

Rebecca is the queen of organization! Her title is the “Well Planned Gal” – she has great advice like the 15-minute purge. I’ve been doing an abbreviated version of this for years. Mine is five minutes! Whatever I can clean up in five minutes while on the phone, or before I leave the house. These timely and concentrated times can help you feel a sense of accomplishment. In her planner, she suggests: making the beds, tidying the bedrooms, starting laundry, switching it out, folding, putting it away, floors, tiding the kitchen in the morning, afternoon, night time, taking out the trash, prepping dinner, etc. So much more!

Praying the scriptures, as well as the virtues, are listed with scripture references. What’s nice is a lesson in journaling basics, or Journaling 101. This is well worth the price of this journal!

You can write down your Scripture study verses for the week, which is accompanied by a “Going Deeper” page.

One thing I do love is the self-care ideas page. For many years I didn’t think I needed to take care of myself and when I got sick complained that there was not “time” to get sick! This could be avoided if I had put myself on the same level as my kids! I require them to eat right, get their rest –yet didn’t expect the same for myself.

This journal is chock full of tidbits and surprises like the page on helping your children hear from God – a subject near and dear to my heart as I authored the book, “A Few Minutes with God,” specifically for that purpose to help my children learn to spend time in a relationship with the Lord.

Let’s Pray:

Dear Lord, please encourage each of us to free our calendars and make time with you a priority in our life. Thank you, Jesus, for all that you have done for us, I praise you and I thank you for looking kindly upon me! Continue to bless us as we seek a closer relationship with you. Thank you for the ability to plan to spend time with you – for giving us the ability to do this and for helping us to teach our children, especially by example to put you first. I praise you and I thank you for all you have done in my life. I pray specifically for those in need, especially for….

Thank you, Lord for answered prayers and for those we are still waiting to have answered. I pray this in Your precious Name, Amen.

 

Spiritual Healing In Our Daily Lives

Spiritual Healing in Our Daily LIves Spiritual Healing in Our Daily Lives 

Episode 10

Spiritual healing in our daily lives is the topic today is the first of three presentations in regard to spiritual healing in the pastoral life of the Church. The first one is a basic introduction to the developing review and survey of the nature of the charism of healing in the daily life of Christians. The second presentation will be about the specifics of the ministry and the removal of obstacles and blocks in the personal life of some Christians, the third offering will discuss the various approaches to the healing of the whole person.

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Awhile ago when I was in my office a person came in experiencing a high degree of distress and some profound fears. When I asked her what I could do for her she told me that she was experiencing so much internal emotional pain that she could not stand it anymore. After listening for a while, I recommended that she consider having one or two sessions for spiritual healing.  There is a growing awareness among those who are sincerely attempting to live a Christian life and others as well in this post-modern world. That there are some painful things inside them that are causing problems in embracing a meaningful and happy life, which won’t go away and present multiple problems in relationships. Many will take some kind of action to do something about this disruptive pain and some won’t. Some try a variety of self-help methods, others go to counseling, which usually is helpful, but the pain and problems don’t go away.

Spiritual healing in our daily lives often hit a wall…

Most of us are very aware of various forms of breakdowns and destruction in relationships in our modern society. Some families are experiencing painful episodes and broken relationships among its members. Marriages are falling apart at an unbelievable rate. Some people just simply dissociate or ignore their inner pain, and others try various types of addictive behaviors that eventually lead to serious addictions to escape their pain, ie., drugs, alcohol, deviant sexual behaviors etc. All are usually an attempt, consciously or unconsciously, to deal with or hide their pain or embarrassment from themselves or others as well.

Living in the spirit of “the grace of the present moment” there is the need to determine what is really going on in the context of our situation; in our life and in our heart. Therefore, we seek out what the Lord may want to do in our midst or is already doing. Much of religious literature is identifying these times as a wonderful outpouring of the goodness, mercy, and action of the Lord, God Himself. Within the Catholic communion, the last three Popes have made major contributions relating to the Mercy of God. St. Pope John Paul II wrote his third encyclical on the topic of God’s mercy. Pope Benedict’s first major writing was on God’s love for us, and Pope Francis declared a jubilee year of mercy. These contributions all highlight that this time in the world is a tremendous season of God’s Divine Mercy manifested in the Church and in the world. “…on the last and greatest day of the feast, Jesus stood up and exclaimed, “Let anyone who thirsts come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture says: ‘Rivers of living water will flow from within him.’” (Jn. 7: 37-38). The gift of Divine Mercy for the healing of the whole person is an abundance of Mercy for healing within the whole person. It is the compassion of the Lord which evokes the power of love. The extraordinary power of God working within all the dimensions of the whole human person.

Spiritual healing in our lives comes through the life of the Church. What is the nature of healing within the Sacraments? The sacramental system provides a huge amount of healing for every participant and the community as a whole. The Eucharistic presence and celebration is itself the apex of all healing contained in the person of the glorified Lord Jesus. At every celebration of the Eucharist, we experience the complete salvific healing power of the Lord’s love, as we go through in time the very death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus. When the Eucharistic celebration is completed many individuals can witness to frequently experiencing the healing power of Jesus in their personal life. The Sacrament of Reconciliation in addition to divine forgiveness and a new start when celebrated sincerely, lifts off the oppression of the effects of sin as we experience the healing power of the Lord’s compassion and forgiveness.

Some time ago a woman asked to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation. As she began her confession I asked her to give me a quick review of her struggles. Among major emotional abuse from her deceased husband, she had been in and out of mental institutions and told me she had been hearing voices since she was a young girl. She had been under the care of a psychiatrist for a long time. I told her at the end of the prayer of forgiveness it is good to ask the Lord to deliver the person from any other evil, and could I do that with her. Then I said with her a very short prayer to be delivered from every other evil, and in the name of Jesus if any evil spirits are present that they leave her immediately. Several days later she called and said the voices were gone, and then several weeks later I had a conversation with her and she said that she had lost her identity as a person because of all the sin and abuse in her life. And she told me that the Lord had given back her identity as a person, which she considered greater than not hearing the voices anymore.

The Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick through the anointing with sacred oil focuses on physical healing or the preparation of an individual to make one’s Passover into the fullness of the Kingdom of God. Even though a person may not be healed for further life on this earth, every anointing brings the experience of the healing power of the Lord in the grace of the present moment. These three Sacraments relate to healing directly.

The Charism of Healing: There is a direct relationship between an encounter for healing with the glorified Christ in the Sacraments, and the practice of the charism of healing identified in first Corinthians 12: 9. However, the two dimensions are distinct in their relationship with each other. The charism of pastoral healing is designed to alleviate the brokenness in the lives of our brothers and sisters in the Church coming from sin and woundedness from others. It seems that some of the opportunities revealed in the Gospels for using the tremendous healing power of Jesus may have been unintentionally neglected in the contemporary life of the Church. Jesus himself used the “charism of healing” exercised by the power of the Spirit consistently in his ministry to others. The healing that Jesus did was for the most part always connected to his evangelization, his efforts to build the Kingdom of God. When we pray with people outside the sacramental liturgies, we should also do evangelization if the situation calls for it. Many people carry a lot of garbage within, the various wounds of the mind, heart, and spirit. Where the garbage is stored the rats gather, referring to an individuals vulnerability to unnecessary pain and influenced by personal evil. When you get rid of the garbage, the various wounds of the mind, heart, and spirit, the rats go. Also, some individuals have been wounded so much that they experience a “broken heart”. I should mention here that all pain in the heart does not need healing. There exists in the Church in the tradition of the Church an understanding of various degrees of spiritual pain identifying with the pain in the heart of Jesus unto the love-union as a gift from above.

Jesus gave every bit of his power and authority to heal to the Church. “On the evening of the first day of the week, when the doors were locked, where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.” When he had said this he showed them his hands and his side. The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” And when he had said this he breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. “Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.” (Jn. 20: 19-23) This is the Lord’s invitation and commissioning for the Church to exercise the power Jesus gave the disciples after the Resurrection. This gift was given in a magnanimous manner to be exercised in the pastoral and practical daily lives of its members, beyond the sacramental rites of the Church. This power from Jesus can be performed in other forms of ministry, especially in the healing ministry. The pastoral charism for healing can be exercised also in many other areas of the daily life of the members of the Church. For example, when individuals pray with one another for their individual needs. When fathers and mothers pray for their children when they experience hurts in family life or in school. Also in other legitimate gatherings and groups. Certainly, individuals who pray with and for others really need to be well trained and practiced in sensitive, humble, and peaceful ways of serving their brothers and sisters, always seeking permission from those to whom they are offering prayer, and only praying for the things that the recipient requests.

May we pray for the spiritual healing in our daily lives!

Lord Jesus to know you is eternal life. I believe you are the Messiah, the Son of the living God. I love You and I place my trust in You. I am sorry for all my sins and from withholding myself in any way from You. Please forgive me and heal any pain I have caused others. I forgive anyone who has hurt me, and I ask you to bless them. In your Name Jesus, I renounce anything in my life that is not of You that I have welcomed into my mind or heart. Wash me in mercy and fill me with Your Precious Blood and the Holy Spirit. Father, all of my need for love and affection is found in Your embrace. May I never leave my home in Your heart again. By your grace, I resolve to remain in Your shelter and abide in Your shade, where You restore to me the joy of your salvation. Amen

 

 

 

 

Expectant Faith

expectant faithExpectant Faith

Episode 45

Do we really believe that God is listening? Do we have expectant faith when we pray? Do we know beyond a shadow of a doubt that the Lord answers our prayers even if the answer is yes, no or not right now? In this podcast, we will examine the idea of expectant faith and the scriptures that show us that God is indeed listening.

I’d like to welcome you today and encourage you to subscribe and share this episode with a friend. If everytime you listen to this podcast you share the show with a friend, you can help me to reach more people and encourage others that God is indeed real – today – right now in our lives. Subscribing is easy, either subscribe on your smart phone or online at AFewMinuteswithGodPodcast.com – if you are on the website you can use any of the share buttons to email a friend about the show.

Every Christian wants a deeper relationship with God – Matthew 7:8-9 states “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened.

It seems like such a simplistic request, knock and the door will be opened, but if any of you have seen the picture of Christ on one side of the door, and look closely – you will see the knob to open the door is on our side. The Lord – God, is always waiting there for us –we are the ones that won’t turn the knob to allow Him into our lives.

Are we fair weather Christians? Do we rejoice and praise God only when things go well in our lives? Or do we realize that God is there for us especially when we need Him the most?

We are the ones that are too busy –

Look at your life and examine the times you have been too busy for God? Where are the areas you can improve upon?

When my children we little I could barely get through the day let alone time for prayer, and other than daily Mass it was pretty touch and go, and yes, I was struggling. I wish we had things like podcasts back then!

As my children got older, I was able to spend time with God, my journal or pad of paper and the Bible. I would take the time to pray and they realized early on that if they left Mom they would be so much happier because Mommy was happy. Time with the Lord allowed me to put things in perspective and I felt that when I prayed, the Lord answered me, not always as I wanted yet I felt He heard me.

Do you feel the Lord listens to you in prayer?
Why or why not?

Be honest.

I want to assure you that the Lord does hear you and sometimes the answer isn’t what we want. It is yes – no – or not right now. Currently, I’m praying about a particular need and so far the response is “not right now.”

1 John 3: 1

See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and that is what we are. The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.

And Matthew 7:11

If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask him!

We are called children of God – we know this from 1 John 3:1 – and we know in Matthew 7:11 that God gives good gifts to His children – so shouldn’t this tell us that God hears us?

Expectant faith means on a simplistic level to pray to God expecting an answer, we expect the best. Yes, at times it is not the answer we want. Recently when I prayed for an event that was for my daughter the answer was not at all what I expected, yet it turned out to be the answer that God wanted – and in the end, what I realized was best.

More importantly, does God forgive us? When we sin we want to be forgiven. Does God forgive us? Do we have the faith to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that we are forgiven?

Acts 26:17-18

“I will rescue you from your people and from the Gentiles—to whom I am sending you to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.”

Hebrews 4: 15-16

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who in every respect has been tested[a] as we are, yet without sin.  Let us, therefore, approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

God has the power to do all He has promised and then some – the doubters? Those who don’t believe what God said and promised.

Do you have a simple faith – God said it so I believe it? Or a faith that continues to question, are you really there Lord? Can you really answer my prayers, do you really forgive me of my sins?

God has given us example after example in the Bible – in the passage of Lot and his family leaving Sodom and Gommorah – God warned Lot through the angels who came into town that if they did not leave the city would be destroyed. This is in Genesis 19 – The angels also warned them not to look behind and not to stay in the valley –but to escape to the mountains.

However, as they were leaving his wife looked behind and became a pillar of salt. Did she die because she couldn’t leave her old life behind and it was a punishment for wishing for what could not be or because she did not obey – we will never know. These examples in scripture show us:

  1. Place God above all things
  2. Know that God’s Word will come to pass
  3. Punishment for disobedience is death
  4. To have expectant faith – to believe in God’s Word

We tend to mistrust God’s word and yet, God so loved us that He gave us His only son so that we would live eternally with Him.

God is waiting for us behind the closed door – will we open the handle and let Him in?

Is the Lord helping you to realize today how much you need Him?

Think about the following:

  1. How have you failed to open the door allowing God into your life?
  2. Do you accept the fact that the Lord loves you and wants what is best for your life?
  3. Do you heed warnings in your life and trust in God above all else?
  4. Do you accept that God wants to bless you?
  5. Do you realize that God answers prayers?
  6. Do you have expectant faith? The faith that God forgives your sins and answers your prayers?

Let’s pray – Dear Lord, please continue to prepare my heart for You in everything I do each day, thank you for giving me faith – the faith to expect miracles in my daily life, thank you for being at the door and I allow you to come into my life –Lord I chose you today, tomorrow and everyday from now on. Thank you, Lord, for your promises for your love for me and for granting me the desires of my heart and especially for those I now pray…. I love you – and Jesus I trust in You today and always.

Hunger For God

hunger for GodDoes your soul hunger for God? Do you feel that something is missing in your life? Are you unsettled? In this episode of A Few Minutes with God Podcast, we discover what it means to hunger for God and how you can feel your soul!

Hunger For God

Episode 44

Thanks to the sponsor, Media Angels, Inc. and the novel – “A Few Minutes with God,” available here.

The choices we make each day are something we don’t think much about, we just do them. We are creatures of habit, I wake up each morning and expect to drink a cup of coffee, and sit for a few minutes as I wake up. We do things out of habit more so than actually thinking about it — and habits are formed with routine.

We do the things that don’t affect our salvation either way — whether I drink a cup of coffee or not has nothing to do with how I feel about my relationship with God. But, if we take the time to think and contemplate life, often we feel that something is missing. That could be one of the reasons we keep our lives so busy–so we don’t have to think. Because if we do, we may find we are unsatisfied with an element of our lives.

Why?

Man was created to know, love, and serve God, but how do we love someone we do not know? Unless we spend time with God each day and allow Him to be the Lord of our lives, we will always feel unsettled… that there has to be more, and seek after pleasure in places that will leave us empty!

When we think about hunger for God we think of food and drink.

John 6:35
Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst.”

If we come to Him… it is an invitation, and we know it is more than food and drink that our Lord offers up but the offer of everlasting life… we will never thirst. It is a call of eternity with God!

John 7:37-38

“Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’”

Jesus is the living water, he came not only to feed the hungry as he did with the miracle of the loaves and fishes but to feed more than our bodies, to feed our souls. Our hunger for God goes beyond the physical which is why we seem unsettled when we are out of sorts with God.

Ask yourself these questions:

  1. Have I spent time today with God in prayer?
  2. Have I listened to God today in quiet?
  3. Have I read from the Holy Bible?
  4. Have I journaled anything that comes to mind?
  5. Am I open to God’s leading in my life?

Our soul thirsts for God in the everyday matters in our life, in our decisions in our feelings of despair and dismay.

Psalm 42:2 “My soul thirsts for God, for the living God; When shall I come and appear before God?”

Our soul thirsts for God whether we realize it or not, and we seek after something we can’t attain unless we understand this very fact — our love of God is sustained in prayer and when we feel out of sorts we should pray.

Psalm 63:1  “O God, You are my God; I shall seek You earnestly; My soul thirsts for You, my flesh yearns for You, in a dry and weary land where there is no water.”

This journey is similar to when people talk about a “desert” experience. Being in the desert paints a picture of being lost and without water and something that would be harsh, yet this is similar to the state of our souls when we yearn for God and find ourselves lost in the desert of our own making due to our free will – those choices may seem right at the time but they leave us feeling empty.

Self Reflection:

  1. How do I spend the majority of my time?
  2. What do I do daily that brings me joy?
  3. Is this joy short lived?
  4. Is there a purpose to my day?
  5. Do I feel happy when I head to bed at night?

What are some things you can do differently each day to focus more on the end result – life everlasting with God than the here and now?

There are always life circumstances that are important, work, family getting food on the table, what appears to be the simple and mundane can be done with joy if you have God in your life. Each day, each breath we take we can praise and give thanks to the Lord we serve.

Hungering for God means filling our souls with every good thing, in the things we watch on TV, the internet, read, or listen to… are we putting things into our body that will help us grow toward love of God or things that will hinder our progress? When we seek after God all the things that previously seemed so important seem so little in comparison.

It’s like the lady who loved her hair, it was her best asset — yet, when she found out she had cancer and would lose her hair, she happily shaved it off in an effort to combat the horrible feeling of losing it in pieces. Her battle with cancer was successful and when her hair grew back, more beautiful than before she didn’t even care that much. Why? Because she realized the preciousness of life and what appeared so important before was now a minor.

If we change our priorities in life and put God first we can satiate the hunger! We will then grow closer to God and strive to live a life that is pleasing to Him.  The things that were a priority become a footnote – many things still need to be accomplished daily but with God at the head, it all seems to work out for the better.

Matthew 5:6 – Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

By hungering for God we also hunger for righteousness and happily, that is so much more satisfying!

Let’s pray!

I praise you and thank you Lord that any effort we place into seeking a deeper relationship with You is always rewarded so much more than we can imagine. I thank you for putting that hunger for God into my soul — for inviting me to seek you in a greater way! I ask you to help me make you a number one priority in my life, to help me to wake up early enough to pray each day, to help me to think of you last before I go to sleep at night, to help me to see all the ways you help me and are there for me each day. Help me to know you and love you more each day! Lord I ask you for the following intention in my life ….   I thank you ahead of time for answered prayer, and I pray this in Jesus Name. Amen.

Path To Spiritual Freedom

Path to Spiritual FreedomA Path to Spiritual Freedom

Episode 9

A path to spiritual freedom is available to all of us. In light of the human condition, we face many struggles in regard to a reasonable approach to growing in spiritual freedom. Because of original and personal sin, the Church will always need to be renewed and reformed until the end of time. This is one of the reasons why evangelization is such an important consideration. There are other areas as well which usually need specific attention in relation to spiritual renewal and reform in the Church. Over the last five years, I have spent considerable time at six or seven parishes. Several of them which are large have two priests stationed respectively in those parochial communities. Each week less than 15 or 20 individuals celebrated the Sacrament of Reconciliation, and some were repeats. This raises the question as to how the Faithful are relating to the notion of conversion and the sin problem in regard to spiritual freedom.

Conversion and the sin problem are at the heart of sincere effort to grow in Christian maturity. The fundamental issue in this effort is about change. Human change for the better is always a challenge and usually presents elements of painful growth. Many find their best efforts on their own unsuccessful and at times downright discouraging. Powerlessness, helplessness, and failure by purely human effort alone can be very frustrating. Thus the need for abundant amounts of the saving power of grace to accompany sincere human effort. In relationship to prayer for intercession most formal efforts seem to be very generalized, cerebral, and powerless. Therefore, the real issue here is how does one make intercession, reparation, atonement etc. power centered, which brings real change and miraculous results in the lives of those we pray for, and a genuine path to spiritual freedom?

I am going to present the following formula in a simple form and then follow up with commentary: I am very sorry for all the pain and all that has happened to you, the suffering and difficulties in this situation and your whole life. I take 100% limitless responsibility and accountability for all of it. I am very sorry that these things have happened to you. Please forgive me! I love you! And I thank you. This is a beautiful cleansing prayer and is meant to have miraculous results in the person, persons or group for which the prayer is offered.

And now for the commentary: Did you notice the god-like qualities alluded to in some of the statements. For example, “I take 100% limitless responsibility and accountability for all of it? This could be misleading and questionable at first glance. What is the point here? Once you start praying “ I take 100% responsibility etc., you have intentionally and consciously moved from the pure human level or plane to connect directly to the power centered prayer in the  Divine, “ Holy Father keep them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one just as we are. I pray for those who believe in me…so that they may all be one, as you Father are in me and I in you…that they may also be in us…so that they may be one as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may be brought to perfection as one, that the love which you loved me may be in them and I in them.” (Jn.17: 20-26).

From this point on your primary prayer and reality is in and directed to the Divine, thus your prayer now becomes primarily the Lord’s action and will of love for the person or group you are praying for. It is not necessary for you to know the outcome, but by leaving go and surrendering to the Divine, and secondarily praying for the person you are focused on you are releasing the Divine power and activity of Love, CELP (Divine compassionate evoking love power) for that person, and miraculous things may and do happen. The last phrase, “And I thank you” This phrase is a deep revealed knowledge that all human beings are children of the Father.

Created in the image and likeness of God each person is a special person with eternal dignity. No matter what they have said or done. Therefore, in union with the Divine, we acknowledge their eternal existence and honor the dignity of their personhood no matter what. When we do this in union with the Divine we are honoring the God of all creation himself, and we are opening ourselves to receive the powerful love action of God’s healing power for our own needs. The origin of this approach comes from the work of a clinical psychologist who served in a mentally ill prison. In four years all the inmates were healed to the point where they were able to function in society again, and the prison was finally closed.

“Power centered intercession” is a process of cleansing and love. I love you and cleansing my memories as I pray for the individuals and situations that the Spirit of the Lord brings to my mind. “I love you!, cleansing, I love you cleaning memories, I love and cleaning etc. This is the key to the powerful love action of the Divine. This is power centered intercession, atonement, reparation etc. Of course, it would be a mistake to take on personally the guilt or negative elements present in the other person, such as guilt, judgment, or condemnation. This would be a violation of the process and personally destructive for you. It could also block the Lord from acting in a wonderfully powerful way in the person being prayed for and the healing at the same time which could be happening in you.

Path to Spiritual FreedomWhat are some of the beautiful opportunities and positive features of this prayer? When one practices this method of prayer it eventually becomes “second nature”. The light and understanding in the mind increases by the action of the Holy Spirit. There is also an expansion in its meaning and effectiveness for the person or group being prayed for. Because this prayer of intercession is elevated to the level of Divine miraculous power centered intercession, very positive things can happen to the recipient far beyond our hope and expectation. This prayer may be applied far beyond what we may want for the recipient, and we may not need to know or ever know the wonderful things the Lord may do for the recipient, or what means he uses to bring them about. It is in this mode of merciful trust in which we leave go of control, and open the floodgates for many blessings for the recipient and for ourselves in a secondary but very real happening.

This type of power centered prayer may actually become a mission or ministry, as we mature in the practical aspects of engaging this prayer. In the Christian arena, we enter into a dynamic union with the glorified risen Jesus. It the Spirit and Jesus who do intercession for an individual or group. Both Jesus and the Spirit do intercession for us at the throne of the Father, the throne of mercy and grace. (check out Romans 8 for verification in this matter) Participating in this dynamic power union of prayer, we with the Spirit and the Son become the generating power center in operation. We become missionary disciples of Atonement, at one with the Divine in Jesus, making unheard of wonderful changes for specific individuals, and bringing about the building up of the Kingdom of God in many situations. This method is also very effective for us to receive the freedom of forgiveness and healing, in sense we become self-ministers. Unforgiveness is never an issue. If we use this method in a correct manner; forgiveness even in small matters will occur, and in great things, the surprises of the Spirit will eventually become evident. Give an example of a power-centered intercession situation.

Let’s Pray

Lord Jesus, To know You is eternal life. I believe You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God. I love You and I place my trust in You. I am sorry am sorrow for all of my sins and for withholding myself in any way from You. Please forgive me and heal any pain I have caused others. I forgive anyone who has hurt me, and I ask you to bless them. In Your Name Jesus, I renounce anything in my life that is not of You that I have welcomed into my mind or heart. Wash me in mercy and fill me with Your Precious Blood and the Holy Spirit. Father, all of my need for love and affection is found in Your embrace. May I never leave my home in Your heart again. By Your grace, I resolve to remain in Your shelter and abide in Your shade, where You restore to me the joy of Your salvation. Amen.

 

Turning From Sin Toward God

turning from sin toward GodTurning From Sin Toward God 

Episode 8

Father David explains turning from sin toward God in the light of the scriptures and explains that God really does forgive! Join Father David weekly as she challenges us to live our faith in a deeper way.

Turning from sin toward God can be demonstrated in the Bible. In the Gospel of Matthew when Jesus heard that John the Baptist had been arrested he left Nazareth and went to live in Capernaum by the sea. From that time on Jesus began to preach and say “Repent for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Mt. 4:17) Jesus proclaimed that the kingdom of God had already come, and the condition for entering the reign of God was conversion. In the New Testament repentance is usually presented in the context of conversion. A conversion which consists of both interior and exterior notions. When viewing conversion from an interior point of view it means “a change of heart.”  And from an external consideration, it means a change that entails  “living a new way of life.”  The change of heart is primary in the sense that the heart needs to respond to the work of grace, which then secondarily leads to deciding to live a new way of life. In the scriptures, repentance and penance are interchangeable notions. Looking at repentance from a moral point of view it means, “turning from a sinful life back to God.” In the New Testament a “radical change of heart” moves one to a break from a sinful way of life.

Can we turn from sin toward God?

When we hear the word penance in our contemporary society the understanding we usually have is that it means the “sacrament of confession” or “acts of mortification.”  However from a biblical point of view, penance or repentance means, a radical new life in Christ which depends on faith. It is primarily an internal attitude, and it necessarily involves an external manifestation. So penance is not just primarily external practices like fasting, almsgiving, and saying devotions and prayers, but a new way of living which elicits acts of love, mercy, and justice. When looking at conversion from a prophetic point of view it involves a “turning back” and an “experience of compassion.”  On the part of an individual it is a turning away from sin which is ungodly, and on the part of God a gift of compassion which is expressed in  forgiveness. This action of repentance or penance is truly a life-giving Spirit-filled experience within the dynamic action of conversion. Therefore, the demand to do penance is living a new way of life in Christ. ( “De Illis Qui Facient Penitentiam”, Robert Stewart, OFM)

A Penitent is one who is living a way of life which expresses the Christian way of life at a high level of perfection, one who is growing in being completed in living “the Christ-life.” Doing penance is a call to conversion by doing penance which is growing in union with God, and is one who is making the power of God utmost in ones life. In a real sense penance is the way one lives the Gospel, and embraces it generously in growing to salvation. A Penitent lives a life of penance, which is conditioned by a maturation process in the social conditions of one’s life through conversion. For example, Francis of Assisi lived within a penitential culture, in which he  sought contact with God through penance.

Francis experienced two stages of conversion in his life. In the first stage, he gradually went through changes which seem somewhat ambiguous. He tried twice to gain worldly renown by becoming a knight. In the first incident, he participated in a battle between Assisi and Perugia in which he was captured and spent a year in prison. Where he became a totally broken person that took him a long time to rehabilitate. Yet he tried again when he traveled to Spoleto and came across an old battered knight who had nothing. Francis gave him all his new equipment, and now with greater insight into what God wanted from him, he returned to Assisi to face the rage of his Father. Working in his father’s shop where he gave alms to the poor, and at the same time prayed for long periods of time in the caves in the nearby mountain. This first stage climaxed, according to St. Bonaventure, in a life-sized vision of Christ crucified in a cave. Francis was so pierced by the painful rays of Divine love from the suffering heart of Christ that he was totally transformed into a young man filled with great compassion.

In the second stage of his conversion when Francis was still not fully converted, significantly took place on the plains of Assisi when Francis encountered a leper, which he totally abhorred, and embraced him. This event brought about a complete conversion in Francis’s life. From that point on he took care of the lepers in the leprosarium. He says in his writings that from that point on he was a completely converted man, and he “lingered a little and finally left the world.” This stage in his life led to externally renouncing the world by stripping himself naked in front of the Bishop and the whole town of Assisi. “ He stripped naked before the crowd, returning not only the money but also his clothes to Pietro, his father, calling from that day forward, only God his “father”. By this gesture, Francis repudiated his entire past and displayed his intent to “do penance”. Nakedness was a form of humiliation practiced by public penitents. Francis expressed symbolically the rigorous goal of penance: the goal of following Christ in that ancient tradition. Francis had become the penitent. By this act, this conversion…he embraced much more than a simple spiritual change. He made a choice to live, a specific social life as a penitent.

Responding to the ire of his father he returned all the money he was using to restore the area chapels and returned all his clothes to his father. The crucifix in the San Damiano chapel spoke to him and told him to go and rebuild his Church. At this point, Francis received the vision and mission of his call flowing from his total conversion to Christ Crucified and a clear direction for his spiritual journey. ( The Life of Francis of Assisi, Manscelli, pp 55 + )

What does “ lingering a little and then finally leaving the world” mean for us? This meant for Francis and for anyone living in the Penitential culture of the middle ages that this was a call to leave the world he or she was living in and enter some form of consecrated life. Francis lived a life of evangelical poverty for a short period of time. However,  others wanted to be with Francis and do what he was doing. So for Francis and those who joined him they entered a form of consecrated life. There were others who wanted to join him but could not because they were not able, in light of family ties or social situations. He eventually gave them some guidelines and they started to live the Gospel but in a non-consecrated situation. This approach eventually became a Secular Order in the Church for lay men and women who wanted to imitate Francis’s spiritual journey, while handling their God-given responsibilities in the world and also live an evangelical way of life.

However, for us generally speaking, this is a different matter. What does leaving the world mean for us, lay men and women, and also families living in our affluent, busy, and engaging modern society? For us it means prayerfully seeking, no matter what season, stage, or age, we are in at this time of our life; in prayer and the light of the Holy Spirit to seek a clear vision for our life, given to us by God’s mercy and grace. “Leaving the world” in relationship to penance means leaving the worldliness of reality, not leaving active responsible presence in our society.

And consider to seriously evaluate and reorder some of the values and external practices of our life. Francis’s conversion acts as a sign for us, although we have not had a vision of Jesus crucified, but still suffer misery, pain, sometimes rejection and abandonment as we live in this modern, fast-moving, technological world. It may be certain for each one of us that we desire to truly be and live as a Christian in this post-modern world.  Is it possible for us that penance could mean for us a deeper conversion from a life centered on the personal “I” to a life centered on a rich life of grace-centered on God’s loving and caring will for our lives?

Are we able to listen to Jesus preaching to us a life of repentance or penance, not specific actions but a “conversion of heart”, not simply penitential practices but a life lived “in God?” In the course of time, a life lived in a way in which we are molded to the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. May we not be concerned primarily with some kind of external activity or a practice of a particular virtue or set of virtue’s, as with a life according to the form of the Gospel.

Again, what do we mean by penance? Many of us know well the story of King David’s sin with Bathsheba. Through the prophet Nathan, God confronts David over grave sins: adultery and murder. The guilty sovereign responds by confessing his sin to the prophet and to God. Then he humbles himself by exchanging his royal raiment for humble sackcloth. In hopes that the child born from him and Bathsheba, who was gravely ill, would be spared from death; and for a week he lies on the ground and refuses all food. David is performing self-imposed penance in his deep grief for his wrongdoing. His attitudes and behavior illustrate how genuine penance includes both an interior and exterior aspects. Interior penance is a conversion of heart, a turning away from sin and a turning toward God. It involves the penitent’s intention to change his life because he hopes in God’s mercy. We see David’s change of heart shown in his interior attitude and reflected in his prayer of repentance on this occasion, recorded in Psalm 51.

He demonstrates external acts of penance by wearing sackcloth and fasting from all food. External acts of penance include such actions as prayer, fasting, almsgiving, the practice of charity in all its forms, and giving to those in need; recall the story of the Good Samaritan in St. Luke’s Gospel, and other appropriate practices. These behaviors can have several purposes: demonstrating the penitents intention to change; detaching him or her from the things that they love too much; drawing one closer to God; repairing some of the damage caused by personal sin, and participating in the reparation and atonement to God (satisfaction) made by Christ through his death on the Cross and his Resurrection to new life.( NAB – Questions & Answers ) Being a penitent actually has a rich and profound meaning for our spiritual life when they are connected to the interior life of grace and the work of doing the mission. There are two major concepts which are united and operate in the dynamic experience of transforming grace in our lives, two sides of the same coin so to speak. The first is our deepest aspiration to be united with Jesus in being missionary disciples of intercession, reparation, and atonement to the Father and to one another; and the second is also being united with Jesus in the offering of his life as a ransom for the many, the splendid gift of his love-filled salvation. Both of these life-giving realities are intimately entwined through our dynamic and participation and union with our glorified Lord, together fulfilling Jesus’ mission in the establishment of the Kingdom of God.

May we pray!

Lord Jesus to you is eternal life. I believe You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God. I love You and I place my trust in You. I am sorry for all of my sins and for withholding myself in any way from You. Please forgive me and heal any pain I have caused others. I forgive anyone who has hurt me, and I ask You to bless them. In Your Name Jesus, I renounce anything in my life that is not of you that I have welcomed into my mind or heart. Wash me in mercy and fill me with Your Precious Blood and the Holy Spirit. Father, all of my need for love and affection is found in Your embrace. May I never leave my home in Your heart again. By Your grace I resolve to remain in Your shelter and abide in Your shade, where You restore to me the Joy of Your salvation. Amen. (Fr. John Horn)

 

 

 

 

10 Commandments Conscience Check

10 Commandments Conscience CheckCan you use the 10 Commandments for a Conscience Check

Episode #43

In this podcast, we’ll examine if the 10 Commandments can help you check your conscience. How do we know if we are on the right path? Are we doing great? Of course! We don’t sin! That is until you take a look at the list below. I’ve listed each of the 10 Commandments and questions to ask yourself.

First, begin with prayer, ask the Lord to allow us to see what is in our lives that need to be forgiven and perhaps if it is an area where you struggle.

Sin causes us to put off doing what is right and what we should do, and it allows us to make excuses for all the times we are not doing what is right. Are the Ten Commandments just suggestions or are they something we should look at when we examine our conscience? I know that we all struggle because we think, “Well, I’m not an ax murderer so therefore I am a good person,” however, that line of thinking is truthfully not accurate.

Thankfully we do not commit murder but there are other things to look at under the “Thou shalt not kill” commandment.

Using the 10 Commandments helps us form a good conscience. 

The commandments are not suggestions, they are serious. The commandments are so serious that after Moses came down from the mountain and saw the sin happening to the people he had left behind, he broke them. God then gave him the Commandments again!

The first three commandments all deal with the way we consider God. Do we put him first, do we blaspheme His name? Do we keep holy the Sabbath?

Here is a look at the Ten Commandments and ways to consider how you have sinned against God…

  1. I am the Lord thy God. Thou shalt not have strange gods before Me.
    1. Have I denied God in any way?
    2. Have I taken part in non-Christian ceremony or service?
    3. I have agreed with heretical or blasphemous anti-Christian literature?
    4. Have I been faithful in my prayer life?
    5. Have I made fun of God or His teachings?
    6. Have I presumed upon God’s mercy or doubted it?
    7. Have I placed more importance on any person or creature before God?
    8. Have I cared about material goods over God?
    9. Have I been guilty of irreverence – jokes or other conversations that are anti-God.

 

  1. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.
    1. Have I sworn against God?
    2. Have I complained against God?
    3. Have I broken a vow made to God?
    4. Have I angered others so that it makes them swear against God?
    5. Have I blasphemed?

 

  1. Remember that thou keep holy the Sabbath day.
    1. Have I missed Mass or church?
    2. Have I been distracted during church?
    3. Have I been late to church or left early (not due to an emergency).
    4. Have I made others miss church?
    5. Have I done unnecessary work on Sunday?
    6. Have I bought or sold things not of necessity on Sunday?

 

  1. Honor thy father and thy mother.
    1. Have I been disrespectful or disobedient to my parents?
    2. Have I been irreverent to others in positions of authority?
    3. Have mistreated my spouse or children?
    4. Have I mistreated the elderly, the infirmed or the handicapped?
    5. Have I been disobedient or disrespectful of a loved one, a family member?
    6. Have I been disrespectful or irreverent toward the clergy or someone in authority to God.

 

  1. Thou shalt not kill
    1. Have I desired or hastened the death of someone, or caused bodily injury to another person?
    2. Have I oppressed or did I seek revenge on another person?
    3. Did I cause others to fight?
    4. Have I argued with another(s)?
    5. Did I injure anyone else?
    6. Have I been jealous, envious, entertained evil thoughts or hatred against another?
    7. Have I entertained thoughts of suicide, etc.
    8. Do I abuse my body in any way?
    9. Have I harmed my soul by intentional exposure to temptations?

 

  1. Thou shalt not commit adultery.
    1. Have I abused my role in my marriage, (marital rights, practicing birth control, or other contraception such as sterilization?)
    2. Have I committed sins against purity?
    3. Have watched indecent movies or internet photos, etc.?
    4. As a single person have I had sex outside of marriage.
    5. Have I worn suggestive clothing, or had thoughts that were impure.
    6. Have I used indecent language, told indecent jokes.
    7. Have I prayed at once to banish bad thoughts or intentions?

 

  1. Thou shalt not steal
    1. Have I stolen anything?
    2. Have I damaged or been negligent with someone else’s property?
    3. Have I refused to repay debt?
    4. Have I cheated my employer or employees?
    5. Have I cheated or defrauded anyone?
    6. Have I gambled to the point that it is an obsession?
    7. Have I refused to pay a bill

 

  1. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.
    1. Have I lied against anyone, causing them harm, spiritually or materially, or ruined their name?
    2. Have I judged others without evidence?
    3. Have I gossiped about other people even if it is true?
    4. Have I been uncharitable in my talk or actions against another?

 

  1. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife.
    1. Have I wanted someone who is otherwise committed?
    2. Have I had unpure thoughts about someone else?
    3. Have I remained alone in another’s company unnecessarily of the opposite sex that is a temptation to me?
    4. Have I been in lewd company and listened to indecent jokes or stories?
    5. Have I boasted or taken delight in past sins?
    6. Have I caused others to sin?

 

  1. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s goods.
    1. Have I wanted something belonging to someone else?
    2. Have I acquired something I know is stolen?
    3. Have I failed to return something I borrowed?
    4. Have I neglected to help someone in need?
    5. Have I failed to make restitution for something I’ve taken?

These sins all boil down to sins of pride, vanity, envy, lust, anger, covetousness, envy, laziness or apathy, gluttony… they lead to boasting, duplicity, ambition over others, contempt for others, anger, and resentment and revenge, stubbornness and obstinacy.

Yes, I feel convicted in researching this and sharing this podcast with all of you to change my own life for the better.

Let’s Pray!

Dear Lord Jesus, I come to you sinful and sorrowful and I ask that You help me through an infilling of the Holy Spirit to stay on the path that leads to You. I know Lord this path is difficult but with Your Divine help I know You will be with me every step of the way. Dear Jesus help keep me from pride, envy, lust, anger, covetousness, envy, laziness, apathy or gluttony. Please help me to do what is right and to hunger for righteousness. I thank you for all the ways You have intervened in my life and I give you permission to be a greater part of my life. Thank you and praise You Jesus! And, I pray this in Jesus Name, Amen.

 

 

 

Reexamine Your Conscience

reexamine your conscienceReexamine Your Conscience 

Podcast #42

Is it time to reexamine your conscience? In the last podcast, we discussed why examining your conscience is important to your spiritual well-being, and how to work at forming a good conscience by exercising it—praying, reading the Scriptures, attending church, and being around people who challenge you to seek God. We will discuss how to do an examination of conscience, the points you should consider, and ways to live a virtuous life.

Reexamine Your Conscience – Part Two

When we rely on our conscience to make difficult moral decisions, and our conscience is not well formed – it is a recipe for trouble. Our conscience is trustworthy only when it is guided by God and Biblical principals.  However, our conscience cannot be contrary to God’s teachings.

Romans 13:5 “Therefore it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience”

And, Paul states in Romans 14:23—“For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.”

Our conscience can be suppressed by sin, and we can make excuses for our behavior through a misinterpretation of what the Bible commands and forbids. If we want to act in a positive manner we must practice being positive. This takes practice until it becomes automatic. The same with our conscience. When we sin we reject God and His authority and rules over us – in time we begin to reject God. Commandments soon become “suggestions,” and we can begin to doubt God … prayers to the Holy Spirit to strengthen us and keep us on the right path–this is so important.

Timothy 4:2 “ Such teachings come through hypocritical liars whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron.”

When I was homeschooling my children, at the beginning of each year my husband and I would have a dinner date and we would discuss the different things we wanted our children to learn. We would also discuss each of our children, their strengths and what we felt were their weaknesses. We would pray and ask God to bless our children and help them improve in an area we wanted to specifically work on.  Often we would pick out a virtue, such as charity, humility, love, diligence. And, each year we worked toward that goal stopping mid-year to check, to see how we progressed and then again at the end of the year. Our children didn’t know we were working on that “character” in their life—but eventually, we began to see the fruits.

As an adult, our Heavenly Father has mapped this out for us in the Ten Commandments, in the Spiritual and Corporal Works of Mercy and by giving us prayer partners and your pastor to hear your struggles and give you advice on how to overcome.

Sometimes we look at our lives and compare it to others and think, “Well, I really don’t do anything wrong.”

1 Corinthians 8:13 “When you sin against them in this way and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ.

The older we get, the more the Lord reveals our sinfulness. Knowing something is wrong and consenting – by our will, to do it constitutes a sin.

I once read that mortal sins – bring death; venial or “minor sins” … lying, willful disobedience, etc. are like a disease, while they don’t bring death they still wound us, and sins of omission

We will look at sins in two parts, sins of omission and the sins of willful practice. Omission is like leaving good on the table—it is the ability to do good, but not doing it. The parable of the barren fig tree is a case in point. The tree was alive, the root was strong, the branches covered with leaves, but year after year there was no fruit.

Our lives must bear fruit. Matthew 22:37, 39 – Jesus replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.”   39–“And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.”

We were made to know, love, serve and worship God. If we do not do this, we are as the parable states in Luke 13:7 – “So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, ‘For three years now I’ve been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven’t found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?’

God knows we will sin and it is just a matter of time before we do each day, but it is those sins of omission – it can start off innocently enough. It is putting off prayer because we are busy, or praying quickly to fit it in because we have more important things to do, or praying—just to check it off the list.

For many of us, our sins are minor yet wanting to live a virtuous life we should look at all sins as a way of leading us further down a dark path.

For example look at the virtues and their opposites.

Virtue Opposite
Diligence Laziness
Humility Pride/ Vanity
Giving Coveting
Chastity Lust
Temperance Gluttony
Meekness Anger/ Wrath
Love Envy

Let’s look at one of these issues, pride, and ways we can sin through this:

  1. Looking down upon others as not as good as ourselves, do we judge others?
  2. Hated others
  3. Refused to think anyone has anything to teach us or our ideas are always better
  4. An abuse of power
  5. Thinking we are always right
  6. Stubbornness
  7. Ambition above all else, no matter who we hurt
  8. Boasting, self-love above others

False humility can also be an area we need to work on.

  1. Failing to use the talents God has given me –thinking I’m not good enough
  2. Avoiding difficult situations because I am not confrontational – even if it is for my own good.
  3. Failure to witness to others

Laziness

  1. Don’t follow 10 commandments because it is too hard
  2. Failing to go to church or pray
  3. Neglecting duties
  4. Using foul language
  5. Being late and causing others to be late
  6. Wasting time my own and others
  7. Watching too much TV, on my ph

Have we fallen into a serious sin that we have difficulty removing ourselves from? Or are we looking for excuses?

People don’t realize that by seeking the occult whether it is in games or the advice of a medium we are opening a door to the dark side.

How can we see the person as hypocritical if our conscience is not well-formed?

Acts 23:1 “… My brothers, I have fulfilled my duty to God in all good conscience this day.”

Acts 24:16 “So I strive always to keep my conscience clear before man and God.”

Let’s Pray – Dear Lord we thank you for giving us the virtues to study and emulate, for giving us good pastors, the church, the Bible and allowing us to surround ourselves with things that are good and worthy of your love. I ask that you watch over and protect us and help us to continue to please you in all that we do. Help us to have a well-formed conscience to know not only what is good or bad but to immediately sense danger if it is the wrong thing –for the sake our souls. Dear Lord continue to bless us and I thank you for this opportunity to praise You and Thank You for all You do in my life daily. Thank you, Jesus. Thank you, Jesus! In Jesus Name I pray, Amen.

 

 

 

 

Renewal and Reform

renewal and reformRenewal and Reform 

Episode 7

Renewal and reform has become somewhat stagnant. The times have changed, for some, the initial enthusiasm has waned or has been lost by a return to past weaknesses, or a more lethargic spiritual life in a very secularized society. The business,  distractions, distress, and fatigue of modern life can easily draw people away from centering on “the hard work” of spiritual growth, human maturity, and generous service to others. It seems like a good time to look at the possibility of reasonably providing new opportunities for transformation beyond the confines of any specific renewal movements. And also consider supporting individuals who may want to make new starts, and at the same time provide opportunities which possibly could serve others in seeking spiritual empowerment for themselves.

The Church’s Grace of Renewal and Reform:

Mentioning again that Pope Benedict XVI said a number of times at the Council that the reality of the Paschal Mystery is the central message of the Council, and combining that statement with the words of St. Anthony of Padua which was, every Christian needs to bring alive the reality of Pentecost in their life before they die. We find ourselves at the doorstep of the possibility of a “new empowerment” of the grace of the Holy Spirit beyond the confines of the renewal movements in the Church. This is a good thing! While not minimizing in any way the on-going good that the renewal movements continue to do. We can try and design an approach that brings about the same reality in a somewhat extended and altered format. A format which also may be attractive at this time in the Church’s life beyond the positive activity of the renewal movements in individuals very busy and active lives. This effort may also give us the opportunity to broaden the characteristics of this new approach, which can include some elements of growth that are not normally considered in the sound methods of the renewal movements. For example, little effective “spiritual growth plans”, power-centered means of intercession and atonement. This type of thing is really about finding ways of effectively evangelizing Catholic culture.

The Challenge:

The challenge presented here is how should we go about designing an effective program or activity that would accomplish the necessary objectives? I know Jesus told his disciples that a wise servant knows how to bring out of his storeroom things, both old and new. Instead of us using one of the seminars in the renewal movement, which we are all familiar with, and which are very effective when focusing on a renewal in the Holy Spirit. We may want to try and adopt a format which approaches “a broader experience which embraces the Churches Grace of Empowerment.” Here we are not speaking of a new catechumenate or a form of the RCIA, these very good programs are far too lengthy. We need something simple which becomes “the new wineskins” to hold the new wine of our hoped for objectives, and considers the full perspective of the Paschal Mystery. What we are seeking is the full impact of the death, resurrection, Ascension, and Pentecost, which is an experience of the full power of the Cross, Resurrection, glorification of Jesus, and empowerment of the Spirit sent by Jesus and the Father at Pentecost. A simple format or program, which brings these crucial graces together as one!

When we give attention to the complete experience of the Paschal Mystery it is necessary to concentrate on “the new life in the Mystery of Christ”. This new life is at the heart of and the core of the form of the Gospel. The starting symbol would be the blood and water flowing from the pierced  Heart of Christ on the Cross. The gift of Paschal spirituality is the gift of Divine Mercy. In this season of Mercy, we seek to live in the new life of the “Power of the Cross” which generates, sanctifies, and consecrates us in the gift of Salvation.

The Lord from the Cross spoke to Francis of Assisi, he had a mystical experience, “Francis you see that my house is falling into ruin, go and rebuild my Church” In a real sense today we have a similar call from the Lord in regard to the Church’s grace of renewal and reform. It starts with a renewed experience of living in “the power of the Cross”. Francis felt that it was truly Christ crucified who had spoken to him. ( Omnibus, 903) His conversion was centered upon Christ on the cross. In Christ on the cross, Francis felt that the deepest and truest root of his choice to be a penitent was touched and made real. The suffering of Christ explained, illuminated, and justified all human suffering. Francis’ conversion fell within the context and sphere of the suffering Christ. It became an effective sign for all those who wanted to abandon their sinful way of life, in order to unite themselves with Christ and in Christ. Francis saw the suffering of Christ was as a superhuman value in the reality of human existence. It was the only power able to give meaning and sense to human suffering, to the point of attracting people to seek this suffering and to accept it freely in order to come closer to Christ and to be one with him in the Father. ( The high priestly prayer of Jesus in John’s Gospel, c. 17) What impressed Francis was the power of the Cross for all who wanted to call themselves Christian, and who wanted their whole life to be freed from living selfishly, as lived independent of God, that is a life not consciously lived in response to God. Therefore, we may want to embrace a life of penance: not specific actions but a conversion of heart, not simply just penitential practices, but a life lived “in God”.

The power of the Cross, the power, and life of the Resurrection, the power and life of the Holy Spirit: The Church’s Grace of Renewal and Reform. Now we need to look at the power and life of the Resurrection. A good approach to this task is to go right to Easter Sunday night: Appearance to the Disciples. “On the evening on the first day of the week, when the doors were locked, where the disciples were for fear of the Jews. Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.” When he had said this he showed them his hands and side. The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father sent me so I send you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. Who sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.” The power and life of the Resurrection, Ascension, and Pentecost was given to them when Jesus breathed on them, for Jesus, who had not gone to the Father when he met Mary Magdalen at the tomb, “Stop holding on to me, for I have not ascended to the Father”. (Jn. 20: 17) Jesus was now fully at the right hand of the Father; exercising his full Divine power of the Resurrection as the Glorified One. Breathing on them he powerfully commissioned them to bring this new life and power to others. He baptized them in the Holy Spirit. Now we turn to what scripture calls the Gentile Pentecost. Peter arrives at the household of Cornelius and begins to tell them about Jesus. Before he could finish, the Holy Spirit fell on the whole household and they began speaking in tongues and prophesying. A short while later Peter is back in Jerusalem, and he is being criticized by some of the Jewish priests who had become converts. So he tells them the whole story, and at the end of it, they say, “we see! The Gentiles have been given “Life-giving Repentance”, just as we have!” (Acts 11:18)

The Power of the Cross

The power of the Cross, the gift of the power and life of the Resurrection, and the baptism in the Holy Spirit: The threefold empowerment as one experience of the Paschal Gift of the Church’s Grace of Renewal. It will be the task of all of us to design a dynamic program which may be called, “The Baptism in the Spirit of the Paschal Mystery.” This approach is verified by a prayerful reading of Scripture, and the core message of Vatican II, which message is the proclamation and centrality of Paschal Mystery.

It seems to me a teaching format which can bring Christians who want to receive or recommit to the Church’s Grace of the Renewal in a fresh manner would be necessary. This program would need to contain the substance of the threefold Paschal graces of empowerment. It would also necessarily be adapted to our busy post-modern society. This program would not follow the current lengthy adult education formats, but probably should be designed to a short seminar style, which could be done on a weekend or possibly a three-day approach. The teachings would not be long, maybe about 20 or 25 minutes with an opportunity for some discussion. At the end of the program prayer for commissioning and empowerment would be necessary. And some suggestions on how to keep the graces of the program while using some appropriate and useful tools for growth would be good. To start the teachings from scratch without some preparation would probably not be wise. Individuals should be ready and open to enter the program; therefore some means of preparation would be a good “jump start.” A life review session with a trained person, who could guide a person to necessary forgiveness or other matters of transformation would definitely be a real plus, but not absolutely necessary. Another possibility is that the person making the seminar would prepare by reading some appropriate scripture or some chosen devotional. What would be the content of the presentations? What basic themes would attract us to this renewal seminar?

Some possible themes for the presentations: We would probably need about nine presentations to do justice to the quality of a renewal seminar. This is where I would invite those who are good at designing faith formation programs. Would you be willing to share your thoughts and wisdom with us? Here are some themes to consider:

  1. What is the Paschal Mystery and its relationship to the Word of God?
  2. Who is the Person of Christ who lives and dwells within the Father’s children who have received water baptism?
  3. How do we want to understand the “power of the Cross”, “the new life and power of the Resurrection”, and “the complete empowerment of the Holy Spirit”?
  4. This is a season when God is being super generous with his mercy. What does it mean to know and follow Jesus in this special time of grace?
  5. As I grow in the love of the Lord, what kind of changes do I need to make in my personal life?
  6. What hopes and desires do I have for the future? What are my expectations?
  7. Once I have a clearer direction for my life, and I am living the Risen Life of Christ, what does it mean to share Jesus with others. Am I interested in small group sharing?
  8. How do I believe the Lord wants me to serve him in gratitude for what he has given to me.
  9. What is the mission in being a Christian?

The Fire Movement: John the Baptist told the people, “I am baptizing you with water for repentance, but the one who is coming after me is mightier than I. I am not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you in the Holy Spirit and FIRE. (Mt. 4: 11) If you have made any contact with “Evangelizing Catholic Culture Podcast. Com”, and may have an interest in small group fellowships this possibility will eventually be available through the podcast. What is the nature of a FIRE group?

FIRE

Fire by its nature has the ability and power to cause destruction; it consumes what it ignites and totally changes the object which it consumes. It is used in numerous ways in the Scriptures: In the story of the destruction of the towns of Sodom and Gamora it is used for destruction, because of the depravity of the citizens of those two towns; in view of God’s judgment it is seen as punishment. However, it is primarily used symbolically in the Word of God. For example, Moses wandering in the desert comes upon a bush burning without being consumed. He is warned not to come any closer because a voice told him that he is on holy ground. In this instance fire symbolically represents the active presence and energetic source of God’s holiness. In the book of Revelation the symbol is used as a purifying agent; it purifies from the dross of sin. Symbolically it will test our work of Christian perfection when the Lord comes, “ it will be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each ones work”(1 Cor.3: 13).   When viewing the work of fire internally in a human person, we see it illuminates the mind, in Ephesians 5:29 it is a light that illuminates and leads us to see the things that are pleasing to God. It illuminates the mind and energies the will as it gives strength to the soul. It warms the heart with the consolations of the Spirit. In relationship to personal holiness, it inflames us with love. And finally, at the Pentecost event tongues of fire appeared over the heads of the disciples. This fire represented the Pentecostal anointing which bestowed on each disciple all that Jesus won for us in the Paschal Event; the passion, death, resurrection, glorification and the sending of the Spirit by Jesus and the Father.

A good number of years back four individuals put together a ministry called FIRE MINISTRY. The reason the acronym “FIRE” was used was the fact that it defined the nature of the ministry. Drawing on the reality that the meaning of the word called upon all the rich meanings of the uses of the word in the Word of God, it identified a preaching ministry and each letter stood for a salient feature in the ministry itself: F stood for Faith, I stood for all the forms of Intercession, R stood for life-giving Repentance, E stood for Evangelization. The FIRE team would set locations in various places, in an auditorium, and schedule a FIRE event. Each individual would give an inspirational talk on the specific topic. It was very popular in the Renewal for several years, but for various reasons, it seems to have lost its attraction.   However, when the four topics are joined as one the word identifies a tremendous process of evangelical transformation, some would use the term Spirit-filled conversion. Taking the dynamic reality of this process of transformation, it is very possible and expedient to identify and apply this work of grace to a fellowship process. In other words, it is the intention of the “Evangelizing Catholic Culture Podcast” to encourage and work toward establishing a “movement” of FIRE Groups as units of growth to provide the development of this fourfold work of formation and transformation. This attempt would definitely be an example of the Podcast’s work of evangelization. “Therefore, we who are receiving the unshakable kingdom should have gratitude, with which we should offer worship pleasing to God in reverence and awe. For our God is a consuming fire.” (Heb. 12: 29)

May We Pray!

Lord Jesus, to know You is eternal life. I believe You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God. I love You and I place my trust in You. I am sorry for all my sins and for withholding myself in any way from You. Please forgive me and heal any pain I have caused others. I forgive anyone who has hurt me, and I ask You to bless them. In Your Name Jesus, I renounce anything in my life that is not of  You that I have welcomed into my mind or heart. Wash me in mercy and fill me with Your Precious Blood and the Holy Spirit. Father, all of my need for love and affection is found in  Your embrace. May I never leave my home in Your heart again. By Your grace, I resolve to remain in Your shelter and abide in Your shade. Where You restore to me the joy of Your salvation. Amen. (Fr. John Horn)

 

 

 

Defining Catholic Culture

defining Catholic Culture

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Defining Catholic Culture

Episode 6

Defining Catholic culture might vary for some. One possible definition of Catholic Culture: In setting up a podcast entitled “Evangelizing Catholic Culture” it is important to try and clarify that some aspects, attitudes, and ideals of Catholic Culture need to be re-evangelized. Most of us have been raised in a Church that has overemphasized the Institutional/Sacramental model of the Church to the detriment of the other three models. Many members of the Church were born and have been raised and possess a restricted idea of the nature of the Church. The institutional model entails high levels of authority, organization, visibility, projects, and encountering Christ in the sacraments, “and make sure you get to church” syndrome. So the next number of paragraphs are somewhat ponderous.

A blended model of defining Catholic Culture 

In the following section, I have tried to present a blended model of the Church in order to get a glimpse of what the Church can be in a broader sense, to see briefly that the Church, some of its operational methods, and it’s cultural expressions’’ really need to be evangelized. Sometimes new wine needs new wineskins in order to manifest vintage quality. The approach I present is an attempt to see that there is a real need to evangelize the Catholic Church in its internal operation and its expression in society of its immediate visible cultural format.

What is the Catholic way of life?

There are a good number of definitions of the word culture. The way I am using the definition here is in the sense of “a way of life.” What are some of the visible elements and components of a Catholic way of life? These elements would consist in specific things which describe what a “Catholic Way of Life” could really look like. First off, it would be a visible organized communal structure with legitimate authority, which exists in our society and is visibly clear to others, both within and outside of its visible reality. It would consist in a world-wide universal ethnicity. Its members would profess a clear set of doctrines based on the Gospel way of life and have different roles in these endeavors. Some would be chosen as leaders, and other would not. The use of authority would be based on the imitation of Jesus as a humble servant of the Father’s mercy and love. Yet many would engage in various roles, works, and ministries. The bond would consist in a living faith in the person of Jesus Christ, the heart of which would be a triune spirituality of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; a plenitude of splendid grace where individuals are drawn by the Father, who is manifested and revealed through the person of Jesus Christ, the splendor of the Fathers glory, personal Lord, and Savior. The relational life of its members would be celebrated in sevenfold sacramental communal rites in which there would be opportunities for encountering the living God in and through the person of Jesus Christ. Its celebration would consist in a dynamic grace-filled worship, individual personal relationships with God, and a multiple series of devotions which would be a prayerful means of a loving spiritual growth and worship of the living God.

defining Catholic CultureExperience of God ~ Spirit of the Living God

There would be a mystical (meaning direct experience of grace) dynamic bond with God and one another in the Spirit of the living God. The members of this Body of Christ would be invited to exercise a missionary zeal, in order to invite and assist others in joining the group identified as the church. The members of this community would have a clear vision of revealed truth as a basis for their commitment and service, and they would be required to reach out generously to others who are poor, broken, and in need of ministry and other types of mercy services. Those who grow into maturity would be called disciples of the Lord, humble servants of mercy, with a call to be missionary disciples of the Lord who would bring a sacrificial transforming love to one another, and all other members of the human community where possible.

The Paschal Mystery: The Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, states that “The Paschal Mystery of Jesus, which comprises his passion, death, resurrection, and glorification stands at the center of the Christian faith, because God’s saving plan was accomplished once for all by the redemptive death of his Son Jesus Christ. Pope Benedict XVI stated during the Second Vatican Council that the most important and central message of the Council: “The Paschal Mystery is at the center of what it is to be Christian and is therefore at the center of the Christian life…” The wonderful works of God among the people of the Old Testament were but a prelude to the work of Christ the Lord in redeeming humankind and giving perfect glory to God. Jesus achieved his mission given him by the Father principally by the paschal mystery of his blessed passion, resurrection from the dead, and the glorious ascension, whereby “dying he destroyed our death and, rising, he restored our life.” For it was from the side of Christ as he slept the sleep of death upon the cross that there came forth, “the wondrous sacrament of the whole Church” (Sacrosanctum Concilium 5, n. 10, 47, 61).

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that “The Paschal mystery of Christ’s Cross and Resurrection stands at the center of the Good News that the apostles, and the Church following them, are to proclaim to the world. God’s saving plan was accomplished once for all by the redemptive death of his Son Jesus Christ (CCC 571). The Paschal mystery of Jesus is a real event that occurred in our history, but is unique: “The Paschal mystery of Christ cannot remain only in the past, because by his death he destroyed death, and all that Christ is–all that he did and suffered for all humankind—participates in the “Eternal Now” as well as divine eternity, and so transcends all times while being made intimately and uniquely present in each specific period of time, as well as in all time.

Cross and Resurrection 

The event of the Cross and Resurrection abides and draws everything toward life.” (CCC 1085) It also explains that “The Paschal mystery has two aspects: by his death, Christ liberates us from sin; by his Resurrection, he opens for us the way to a new life. This new life is above all the justification that reinstates us in God’s grace, ‘so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.’ Justification consists in both victories over the death caused by sin and a new participation in grace. This fact brings about the reality that in Christ we truly are sons and daughters of the Father and brothers and sisters to one another. (CCC 654)

Pascal Mystery – 

All human activity is to find its growth and purification in the Paschal Mystery. Christians believe that all human activity is to find its purification and perfection in the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Man redeemed by Christ and made a new creation in the Holy Spirit, can and must love the very things created by God, in a spirit of thankfulness and reverence, he uses and enjoys them in a spirit of poverty and freedom, he enters into true possession of the world, as one having nothing and possessing all things, for all things are yours, and you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s. Jesus reveals to us that God is Love, and the human perfection of all is the new commandment of love, in this truth is the transformation of all things, including the whole world and the ordinary circumstances of life. Therefore, we share in the cross and resurrection of the Lord Jesus, to whom all power in heaven and earth has been given, and he is at work in the hearts of all through the power of his Spirit. He awakens in us a longing for the world to come, and inspires, purifies, and strengthens each one of us to have generous desires to make our life more human and to achieve this same goal for others. The gifts of the Spirit are manifold; he calls some to directly witness these longings for eternal fulfillment, and he calls others to dedicate themselves to the service of his brothers and sisters here on earth. Yet he makes all free, so that by denying their inordinate love of self, and taking up all earths resources into the life of humanity, all may reach out to the future, when humanity itself will become an offering acceptable to God. ( The Pastoral Constitution of the Church in the Modern World, Lent, vol. II, pp. 331-332)

A Brief History of the Church’s Grace of Renewal and Reform:

I am presenting a selected summary of some of the work and power of the Spirit in the life of the Catholic Church over the last one hundred years, to provide a context for us to understand a little better the working of the grace of renewal and reform in our most recent period of time. Pope Benedict XVI in one of his writings mentions that the Church will always need spiritual renewal and reform because of the human condition and the reality of sin. Pope Leo XIII at the turn of the century in the late 1800’s was concerned about the progressive spiritual movements alive in Europe and the young American nation, and gave scholars permission to carefully study how some of the more positive ideas could further a better understanding for the Catholic laity in regard to the practical application of the work of the Spirit in the realm of the Scriptural, liturgical, catechetical movements, and various other issues in the life and teaching of the Church. He was deeply motivated by an understanding that the Church needed to go through a profound spiritual renewal. For fifty years most of this activity unfolded quietly in the areas of study. This was the time the world was caught up in the devastating period of World War I and II. In the 1950’s many of the Church’s leaders realized that some type of spiritual renewal and reform was most necessary in order to lead the Church forward in adapting to the developments in the modern world. Such as the developments emerging after the turmoil of the two world wars, advances in the industrial revolution, the new discoveries in the sciences, and the various movements of secularization, some detrimental to the life and growth of the Church.

All through the first half of the 20th Century, many leaders in the Church could see that the Lord was preparing for some kind of great spiritual enterprise, which was sorely needed. Pope John the 23rd was elected to the papacy in 1958; a jovial relational leader and open to the work of the Holy Spirit, he proclaimed a surprising worldwide Ecumenical Council which began in 1961 and ended in 1965. He died in the middle years of the Second Vatican Council, and Pope Paul VI was elected to bring the Council to conclusion, and then pastor the many changes necessary in light of the pastoral documents and proposals developed in its four years of preparation. And he was chosen to responsibly guide the implementation after its conclusion. In and of itself the Council was a monumental achievement and an obvious work of Divine grace. However, as central and long-standing as this reform would be in the Church it was by no means the only work and activity of the Holy Spirit in the life of the Church and in other Christian denominations as well.

Also in the life of the Church in the first half of the 20th Century under the inspiration and guidance of the Holy Spirit, a number of spiritual and evangelical movements of a pious nature were developing. Some of these were focused on achieving personal holiness, and others aimed more at catechetical development, humane services, and mercy work. However, at the conclusion of the Council, a surge of the empowering activity of the Holy Spirit also came to the fore in a notable fashion. For example, the Cursillo movement which began in Spain and quickly moved to the United States and other parts of the world. Also Antioch for young people, Focolari and others. However, the one that made the most impact in the United States and worldwide in the Catholic Church was the Charismatic Renewal. This movement leads participants to experience a refreshing empowerment of the Holy Spirit, along with the experience and use of the spiritual gifts of the Holy Spirit. Once this “new anointing” of the Spirit is experienced, it begins a natural and supernatural process which significantly affects one’s personal relationship with the Lord. This effectiveness in grace spreads gradually to all the dimensions of one’s spiritual life, and if one is faithful in developing a life of prayer this actualizing grace positively effects the personal growth of Christian holiness and maturity in all areas of one’s human endeavors. However, this consistency is not always the case. It is like many other opportunities of growth, if one does not foster and focus on a process of conversion, growth in personal holiness, and generous service to others, it can easily lose its vitality. Initially receiving this empowerment should lead one to a deeper experience of a personal relationship with Christ, and to a more attentive awareness of the presence and operation of the Holy Spirit in one’s life. For many over the last 50 some years this has been the case. In fact, this refreshing experience of the Holy Spirit has generated a good number of ministries, special communities, and other forms of service and mercy work in the life of the Church. This podcast is presented to provide a context to consider more specific areas in the life of the Church which may need some significant attention.

May we pray!
Lord Jesus, to know you is eternal life. I believe You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God. I love You and I place my trust in You. I am sorry for all of my sins and for withholding myself in any way from You. Please forgive me as you bring healing to my life, and heal any pain I have caused others. I forgive anyone who has hurt me, and I ask You to bless them. In Your Name Jesus I renounce anything in my life that is not of You that I have welcomed into my mind and heart. Wash me in mercy and fill me with Your Precious Blood and the Holy Spirit. Father, all of my need for love and affection is found in Your embrace. May I never leave my home in Your heart again. By your grace and most intimate love, I resolve to remain in Your shelter and abide in Your shade, where You restore to me the joy of Your salvation. Amen. (Fr. John Horn)

Examination of Conscience

examination of conscience Examination of Conscience

Episode #41

In this podcast, we examine why you should do an examination of conscience and the surprising truth behind why most people avoid thinking about sin! Examination of Conscience is important to our spiritual lives. The truth can set you free.

1 Corinthians 4:4 is a wake-up call for all of us: “My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me.”

If our conscience is the go-to-auto-pilot mechanism that is used in our decision making each day, shouldn’t we think about ways we have strayed and look at ways to get back onto a righteous path? Some believe that you can do nothing to earn your salvation, and this is true. Only Jesus by His life, death, and resurrection can open the gates of heaven, I don’t believe we can accept Jesus and then live our lives in sin.

So for this one reason, to be sure we are on the right path we should look at our conscience – but exactly what does this mean?  Why did God give us the 10 Commandments if we were not supposed to use them to live our lives? Why the beatitudes? Why virtues?

Because we need a guideline for right living.

1 Corinthians 8:7 states: “But not everyone possesses this knowledge. Some people are so accustomed to idols that when they eat sacrificial food they think of it as having been sacrificed to a god, since their conscience is weak, it is defiled.”

1 Corinthians 8:10 continues on, “For if someone with a weak conscience sees you with all your knowledge, eating in an idol’s temple, won’t that person be emboldened to eat what is sacrificed to idols.”

SO in other words – we must live our lives by example because if you are a professed Christian people will be looking at you and watching – to see if you mess up, and if you do, such as the Scripture above they will take that to mean they too can do what is wrong.

It is a big responsibility for all of us but often we avoid thinking about sin… have you wondered about that?

Why do people avoid thinking about sin? Because if they think about it, they might find that they are annoyed of have a “little check” in their spirit… it is as if like those cartoons of old with the good and bad angel sitting on your shoulder and temptation is in front—the person wanting to do bad, flicked off the good angels.

It was a cartoon of old, but today it is as if we’ve parked our conscience at the door and have decided that all the slogans are good – “If it feels good do it, If it tastes good eat it, If it is fun to watch, watch it. Do what makes you happy, etc.”

These are all in the Bible and they are there to be a guide for living our lives. The following points will help you understand the importance of forming a good conscience so that we can examine it, regularly.

  1. Forming a good conscience is the first step. Do we understand the difference between right from wrong? Is it important to us to do the right thing, or do we think most of life is a gray area? Reading good spiritual books – nothing that is new Age but is grounded in Scripture. Listening to good CDs or radio programs such as this one and the others on the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network.
  2. Our society has lost the senses of sin. If we don’t have a good relationship with God, and His laws (Commandments) it is difficult for us to find true happiness in our life. Our happiness will also be conditional on external things – a peaceful family, money, a job, a home, etc. If we are to find peace, we must have a relationship with the Creator of the universe—and that is God.
  3. What does it mean to examine our conscience? We think about the past, our thoughts, words and deeds –or actions to see if these things that we do are aligned to God’s plan, or the “moral law.” Examining our past will help us learn if we have done or said things that have allowed us to fall into sin. God is waiting to forgive us, and as a Catholic, I can go to confession for grave sins (John 20:21-23 “As the Father has sent me, I also send you… receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them; and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained.”
  4. Look at the temptation in your life and try (with God’s grace) to avoid it. 1 Corinthians 10:13 – tells us that God is faithful and He will not allow us to be tempted beyond our strength – but the key is a relationship with God. If we turn our backs against God we are not giving God permission to enter into our life.
  5. For our own good. Examine and forming a good conscience is the same as teaching children not to touch things that can burn them, or cross the road full of speeding cars. We want our children protected from harm and our Heavenly Father wants to protect us from the harm of eternal damnation. If we are allow ourselves to be open to temptation on the Internet, in movies, and on television—that, by the way, is so full of the occult now it is very difficult to avoid, we allow a door to the “other world” to be open. And this we must avoid at all costs.

Let’s pray.

Dear Lord you have promised to keep us safe, to not let us be tempted beyond our strength, but with temptation provide us with a way to escape so that we can endure – we ask you, Lord, to be our protector. We give you permission to enter into our lives every day, to show us ways we are harming ourselves to allow us to have formed consciences that call evil – evil and good – good. To avoid all those places where temptation abounds, online, movies, books, and television—allow us the grace to pull the plug, to change the channel or walk away. Lord gives us the grace we need each and every day to follow You and Your ways, and will for our lives. And, I pray this in Jesus Name. Amen.

 

 

Following Christ

Following ChristFollowing Christ

Episode 40

Third episode in the series on Christian Living

A life following Christ may not be what you think. In the last two podcasts, a Christian Life, and Christian Life Restrictions we explored first, what it means to be a Christian and second why it is a myth that a Christian life means you in a world of do’s and don’ts instead of true freedom. In this podcast, we explore some of those rules and look at how living a life that follows Christ is indeed a life of freedom.

Please follow this podcast on iTunes, Google Play or anywhere you listen to podcasts! Please share this podcast with a friend!

A Life Following Christ and we will explore the freedom, happiness, and joy that a Christian truly has—not just believers!

We strive to live a life following Christ but what exactly does that mean in the everyday? I know that I fail so many times and with this failure, guilt starts to crop up …

As a Christian, I strive for peace yet many times find myself in turmoil due to things I cannot help or prevent. I know in my heart that all that is good comes from God but often we have trials.

Doesn’t living a Christian life mean living a life free from trials, turmoil and living a life that is truly happy?

First, this isn’t heaven. I know that when I looked at a Christian college friend and saw that her life was one big mess – everything that could possibly go wrong in her life went wrong. And I thought at the time, as a believer but NOT as much as her, she told me her entire life was devoted to God… I thought, “If this is how God treats her I’m not sure I want any part!”

I am using my “college self” as an example of lukewarm faith – faith that is not mature and is not tested by fire.

Christians who do walk around glumly are certainly not encouraging those who are borderline or lukewarm Christians. However, that is not what my friend showed me. She showed me that she was going to praise God in all things.

What about all those rules that the Bible gives us on how we should live our lives. Let’s look at some of the Scripture verses beginning in Ephesians 5 do read all of it I’m going to highlight parts of it:

What is Christian Living?

This verse tells us to be imitators of God.

Be Imitators of God

Ephesians 5:1-2 Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.

 How do we do that? How can we walk as an imitator of a Divine being? Only with the grace of God and His Holy Spirit. Friends, are we really open to God’s will in our lives? Truthfully? I struggle with this daily especially if I am praying – as I am right now for a solution to two problems that have nothing to do with me, and everything to do with my family. There is nothing I can do, it is out of my hands, but I do know and believe that GOD is victorious in all things and for Him, the problem is very minor.

All I can do as a Christian is try to imitate God, with the help of the Holy Spirit… be obedient no matter what the outcome and continue to walk in love (not because I want to but because I will myself to – out of love.)

Ephesians 6-11

“…for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light (for the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth), trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord.  Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them…” 

I surely do not want to walk in darkness – and I love the thought that we are children of Light which is goodness and righteousness and truth! That makes me so happy – and that is what it means to walk as a Christian.

In Ephesians 20-21, the verse mentions something I talk about often because I have seen the impact in my life when agreeing to do this…

“…always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father; and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ.”

Thanking God when things are going wrong is something that is a good habit to get into. Each night we try very hard as a family to sit down, pray and thank God for the day. Even if one of my sons says, “I’m thankful that today is over.” He is at the very least still thanking God.

Galatians 5 explains the fruit of the Spirit.

Galatians 5:22-25

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things, there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.”

And Luke 6:43 

“…For there is no good tree which produces bad fruit, nor, on the other hand, a bad tree which produces good fruit.”

Who doesn’t want to have love, joy peace, patience kindness, gentleness, and self-control in their lives? If this is a life following Christ, then sign me up! In addition, the verse in Luke explains that a bad tree cannot produce good fruit. So many times we hear, you will be able to identify other Christian’s by their good fruit. Is this something they can do on their own? No—it is by the grace of God and through the Holy Spirit. So, what about people who are not Christians but “good people?” I’ve always wondered what that meant. How can you be good without God?

The Lord once showed me through a very personal example that we cannot put Him in a box. There are people who do not yet know God but seem to have God in their heart. Are they truly saved? That is a question for the Almighty. A person that I knew, who I would call “a good person,” embraced Christianity at some point in his life and it was through the example of someone he loved. This is a happy ending and many times these endings remain unfinished.

I recently spoke to someone who was making excuses for a spouse who is an unbeliever. He explained the same thing as above, that being a good person was important and it was not up to him to judge. And, I agree, that judging is the job of God. Yet, today in another conversation he explained how his spouse loved a show that centered on a medium – and I explained that mediums typically get their information from the “dark side.” He didn’t believe this and explained that while he didn’t agree with Ouija boards and that could open a dark portal this was different. I directed him to speak to our pastor—this is something that he needs spiritual guidance on, and I am not in the position to give it to him.

Yes, we should love our neighbor as yourself and show others the love of God, but friends do not compromise your faith, even for a loved one.

Colossians 3 explains in detail how to live a life following Christ

Colossians 3:1-4 urges us to put on our new self –our Christian self, one that is focused on a life that is waiting for the time we will be reunited with Christ.

Put On the New Self

“Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.”

We are urged to put aside all of the sinful and “evil practices” as believers…

Colossians 3: 8-11

“But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices, and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him—“

Colossians 3: 12

Continues with the verse that explains we’ve been chosen by God. In the last episode of A Few Minutes With God I discussed the belief that many have that as Christians we are restricted because of all the rules, but I explained that it is, in essence, a gift – that faith is a gift that we receive if we are open to receiving, because again—a reminder, we have free will.

“So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful…”

Look at the verse above and rejoice! Please take the time to look at the words and see which ones speak to you – if you can add the verses I shared today to your journal – write them out, study them and let them penetrate your heart. The Bible spells out the way to live a life as a follower of Christ – and it is so wonderful. It is truly a blueprint for living life to the fullest!

Let’s pray—

Dear Heavenly Father, I thank you for the gift and the joy of being called by You to a life following Christ –as a Christian I pray you allow me to have a Holy boldness to proclaim Your Name to others and to allow me to walk, each day on the path of righteousness. I ask that you hear all of the needs deep within our hearts, especially for those we now pray…  I ask that you answer our prayers, Lord and you bless those for whom we pray. Please help us to forgive, help us to have all the fruits of the spirit, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control and more – we want every good thing you have for us! Thank you for giving us the time today to spend a few minutes with You and I praise you in everything. I pray this in Jesus’ Name. Amen.

 

 

Importance of Evangelization

importance of evangelization

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The Importance of Evangelization

Podcast 5

In this episode, Father David tackles the importance of Evangelization and how we, as Christians can follow the calling. If the Lord has indeed offered us the challenge, how can we say no? Join Father David weekly as he offers us food for thought.

Show Notes: Importance of Evangelization

In recent years within the Church there has been a clarion call to advance the mission of the Church to “Go, therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I  am with you always until the end of the age”. (Mt.28: 18-19) Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures, and he (The risen Jesus) commissioned them to preach repentance for the forgiveness of sins.

You are witnesses of these things. And behold I am sending the promise of my Father upon you, but stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.

The basic ways to do evangelization are programmatic evangelization and personal one-on-one relational evangelization, or small group evangelization. It is a matter of learning how to share our faith, whether we do this in opportunities in programs such as Christ-Life or Christ Renews His Parish.  Or in one-on-one situations or in small group fellowships.

Our Baptism calls us to Evangelize

By the very nature of our Baptism, and subsequently through our personal relationship in Jesus through faith, we are called to witness to His Resurrection and share with others the Good News of Salvation in Christ. Evangelization is one of the major responses of the Church to offset the moral degradation, secularization, and dehumanization of the human person present in our world today in addition to proclaiming that the risen Jesus Christ is our personal Lord and Savior.

Most sincere Catholics want to be holy, but they don’t want to talk about it or to share their faith with others. A missionary spirit and zeal for the Gospel can be hard to find among many of us. We certainly try and live a holy life and witness to the resurrection of Jesus by giving a good example (situation of Kateri Tekakwitha). It is possible that not all of us are called to do personal evangelization because we may not have the natural and spiritual gifts to do it, but some are, and to different degrees depending on our situation. However, at least all of us should be willing to be trained to do personal evangelization. It is good to learn how to do faith sharing in any situation., ie. various parish, congregation, small groups or with our children and other relatives.

All the Popes over the last 70 years have encouraged Catholics to share their faith with others in various situations where personal evangelization is appropriate. Pope Francis recently has consistently encouraged Catholics to reach out to others in every possible way. Also, he warned pastoral workers to be careful and avoid “spiritual selfishness” By that he meant that they should not always be putting personal effort into spiritual things with a  self-centered mindset which attitude concentrates it is all about me, my personal holiness. (The Joy of the Gospel) In Evangelii Nunciandi on Evangelization Pope Paul says, we should expect to personally experience in evangelizing or sharing our faith,  a fresh forward impulse capable of creating with those whom we share the undying strength and power of Pentecost, a new period of sharing the Good News in a way that is understandable and inspiring.

When we share our faith or seek to evangelize another person, what is it we should share?

The first thing that we should consider in a prayerful spirit is this: The glorified risen Lord Jesus is already present in me, and in the person, I am going to speak to. This should give me a certain amount of inner peace. Realizing what is going to happen to the person I am sharing my faith or evangelizing depends primarily on the work of the Lord in that person, and the person’s ability to respond. Therefore, we humbly approach the relationship with a discerning spirit seeking inner light for guidance and direction.

So what is the content which we are going to share? I am going to share what I personally understand and believe about the inner experience of my personal faith in the Lord Jesus. This doesn’t mean that I have all my Catholic doctrine at my fingertips, but should know where the books are that I can refer them to. We should be able to share our personal experience of the risen Christ, and how he is present and active in my personal life. It is also important to experience what the Holy Spirit is doing in my life. St. Anthony says in his writings that every Christian should ultimately end up fulfilling in their lives the full experience of Pentecost. When Peter was asked by those witnessing the outpouring of the Spirit at Pentecost, what should we do brothers to receive this experience? He responded, ”Repent of your sins, believe in Jesus of Nazareth, and you will receive the power of the Holy Spirit.”

So I am going to share with another person that my personal experience of faith is the reality of my personal relationship with Jesus as my personal Lord and Savior. That Jesus has given me a personal understanding of God as my Father, and a rich and full life in the Holy Spirit. I know that God loves me, and I am his beloved son or daughter; he has revealed his mercy and goodness in my personal life. I know that I am a sinner and realize it more and more every day. As a result, with his help, I have changed my life through life-giving repentance, forgiveness, and an experience of a new life with the Lord and the Holy Spirit. This gift has led me to a rich and new life of faith and love. My life is not always easy but with this experience of a new faith, I see new growth in my life each day. In other words, I am really different than I used to be, and the peace and joy of the Lord is permanently in my life. I have been truly empowered by the merciful gift of the Holy Spirit.

importance of evangelizationThe Acts of the Apostles could be called the model for evangelization.

There are so many scriptural accounts in the first part of the Acts of the Apostles, which proclaim and identify the significant features, and principles of Spirit-filled evangelization. These stories and events portray God’s purposes of salvation and nothing stands in the way. Of the four marks of the Church, the last one being Apostolic, we see the clear operation of the power of the “Apostolic Charism” in miraculous operation. We see an enlightened work of the Holy Spirit about an experience of the Lord Jesus and his saving power, which results in many people coming to a new faith. New Christians repeating in various ways that God became man in the person of Jesus that we might receive Salvation. That Jesus through his life, death, and resurrection has reconciled us to the Father and saved us from eternal damnation because of our sins. He rose from the dead and ascended to the right hand of the Father, and they sent the Holy Spirit as a gift living within us to assist us in our Christian growth in holiness, and given us the ability to share this Good News (Gospel) of salvation with others. The Acts of the Apostles, by prayer, deeds and words, witness and demonstrate in the power of the Spirit the core truth of Salvation in the person of Jesus Christ.

Attitudes that hinder individuals from doing evangelization:

  1. Thinking that my good example as a Christian is all I need to do for evangelization.
  2. Fear of being rejected, made fun of, making a fool of myself, people won’t listen.
  3. Thinking that I have to know Catholic doctrine very well.
  4. My life is not what it should be; I am not worthy to share the Gospel with others.
  5. I am a sinful person; I would be a hypocrite to share spiritually.
  6. I do evangelize—I always “preach to others” and nag those I know to go to Church.
  7. A lack of trust in the Lord that he will be working in the person or group I speak to.
  8. Laziness or I need deep personal spiritual renewal myself.

Helpful or useful in evangelizing or faith sharing.

  1. Just share simply the good things God has done in my life
  2. That I am sincere in following the Lord and willing to change those things that hold me back.
  3. It is good if I am aware of the presence of the Lord in the event, and open to his gifts.
  4. I believe in God’s personal love for me, and in the events of my life.
  5. To know that I am not focusing on my perfection and holiness, but on the wonderful ways, the Lord has worked in my life.
  6. I understand that I learn by practice and making mistakes. I should know that I don’t always share my whole testimony, but only as much as fits the situation I am in, and the specific persons need.

A general format for giving my personal witness or testimony.

  1. What was my life like in the past that led to a change? (specific elements).
  2. What happened that made me change my life. (describe the change).
  3. What is my new life of faith like now? (give evidence)

A life of prayer is what helps me share my faith and do personal evangelization.

Christian Life Restrictions

Christian Life RestrictionsChristian Life Restrictions
Episode 39

Christian life restrictions are the norm, right? Christians have no fun, Christians have so many restrictions placed on their shoulders, people think it is a list of do’s and don’ts. Christianity is much more than that, and living a Christian life can bring us true freedom. In this episode, we will explore these restrictions and see if there is any truth in the accusations that Christian life is full of rules.

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Show Notes: Christian Life Restrictions

Those of us who consider ourselves Christians do live by a right and a wrong. We believe, through our formed conscience that things are either one way or another. You will find many who consider that to be a form of restriction.

Why be a Christian? What’s in it for us? I don’t want to follow a list of do’s and don’ts – being a Christian is no fun.

Is this true? Let me share with you the truth, that being a Christian and living a Christian life is indeed freeing.

It always amazes me when I hear people who say there is no God because there is no right and wrong and everything goes – well, actually when you get right down to it, that isn’t true. If you ask this same person who believes there is no right or wrong (a moral relativist) if someone broke into their house and stole their computer, money and jewelry if they would be okay with that, they would say, “No! That isn’t fair. They broke the law.”,

How can you have laws, what is considered a law of the land, and not have a moral law? What is the difference? A movie worth watching is God’s Not Dead. In this film, the main character is a college student, a Christian, who takes a class on philosophy with a professor who is an atheist. The first thing he does is require each of the students to fill out a sheet of paper with the words, “God is Dead,” sign it and turn it in because he does not want to deal with the arguments that follow along the line of Christianity in his classroom.

One student refuses to sign this paper and is challenged by the professor to take the end of the class period, in the subsequent weeks and “prove’ that God is truly alive. These arguments come up, and one of them is that rules serve us all and protect us. They are not restrictive to those who are morally right. They only restrict those who want to do what is wrong.

Christian Life Restrictions–No! It is a gift.

Ephesians 2:8:

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.  For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.

Through God, we are saved and this is an amazing gift – I’m not sure how you can say a gift is a burden.

  1. A Gift
  2. A Choice
  3. A Blessing
  4. Allows for Freedom From Sin
  5. Opens the gates of heaven

What makes me realize that while God gave us a choice and allows us to make up our minds, many are so biased in their belief.

If Christianity is restrictive in that we cannot do certain things, I would say that everyone is under restrictions in some way or another.

For example, just because you want to run a red light you can’t do it – unless you want to harm yourself or someone else. If you want freedom of speech you can’t just go out and make a racist remark or defame someone else (well these days people are doing this but you should not!) Our society has norms and the evil one is disrupting those norms by causing dissension.

Just because I don’t agree with you—it does not make me wrong. There is a set of boundaries in our world. We can’t travel without a visa or passport, we can’t travel without paying for a ticket, we can’t use a credit card without paying for our bill. Our world, our lives, in essence, are bound by rules and regulations, so why shouldn’t faith also have some guidelines?

When God handed down the 10-Commandments he asked Moses to spread the Word. These are the guidelines we use to lead our lives. These guidelines set us free – they bring us peace, joy and happiness.

Just like any good parent, our God watches over us – it is amazing the same people who accuse Christians as having their freedom restrictive are themselves, restrictive parents. Would any parent allow their child to play in traffic, to play with matches or to stick their fingers or worse in an electrical outlet? No. And why is that? Because of imminent death. Does that mean the person is too restrictive, not the person is loving?

The same way for a Christian we have a God who cares about us and wants us to have everlasting life.

We can never understand the mind of God or anything about God other than reading the Bible, our interpretation and allowing the Holy Spirit to enter our lives in a deeper way. The Bible does talk about how we should live, and we will discuss that in the next podcast.

CS Lewis recounts in his book, Mere Christianity, which I recommend every Christian read, that when he was an atheist he rationalized his belief about why Christians were wrong based upon a set of notions that he later found were false. And, one of them was moral relativism, that there is no right or wrong. That is the crux of this is free will – we have the intellect to decide for ourselves.

Those who believe Christianity is too restrictive are the same people who want to defy all that is good and holy. Or they say that Jesus was a good man but not the Messiah. How can you be good and a liar? Jesus said He was the Son of God – either He is who He said or He is not.

Freedom of regulations does not bring us joy in and of itself. Giving children limitations and rules allows them to flourish. Those who break the rules often find themselves in trouble doing things they should not to the harm of their bodies or their souls or both.

True freedom is knowing we are loved and loving others. The rules help us to live lives that are God-honoring and honoring to each other. What is wrong with Thou shalt not kill? Thou shall not commit adultery? Honor thy Mother and Thy Father? Honor Thy Neighbor? I think we would all agree there is nothing wrong with wanting to live the best lives we can.

Further, the commandments begin with, “I am the LORD your God: you shall not have strange gods before me. (Exodus 20:2-6; Deuteronomy 5:6-10), 2. You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain. (Exodus 20:7; Deut 5:11)
3. Remember to keep holy the Lord’s Day.

God is love and while again, we are so limited in our own understanding and human usage of words for a Divine being, we know that he saved us from eternal damnation by sending His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ to set us free and the Holy Spirit to reign with us always.

Eternal life can only be found in the true God. Let’s pray.

Dear Lord, I pray in the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit…I thank You for the gift of freedom, the gift of free will, the gift of faith, the gift of opening the gates of heaven by Your death and resurrection. Thank you for setting us free, for giving us a renewed gift of faith—for allowing us to believe in Your Divine Providence for our lives and those of our families. I am blessed that You have called me to live a life that is honoring to You but I can only do this by Your grace in my life, so I pray for an outpouring of Your love and grace to fill me. Please Lord, hear my petitions which I now pray__________________________, I ask that as a community of believers, all those who are listening to this broadcast, that we join together in prayer for each other and for our personal needs. I thank You for all that is good and Holy and I praise You with every breath I take, In Jesus Name I pray. Amen.

Frequent Personal Prayer Time

prayer time

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Frequent Personal Prayer Time

Podcast #4

A Frequent personal prayer time

Prayer time is one of those things that often escapes us. In this episode, Father David explores setting up frequent and personal prayer time so that you can grow closer to God. Join Father weekly as he explores timely topics and digs deep into the scriptures.

Show Notes: A Frequent and Personal Prayer Time

In one of Jesus’ journeys to the temple in Jerusalem he stood up in the midst of the people and he cried out, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me! Let anyone who believes in me come and drink, and rivers of living water will flow from within him.” ( Jn. 7: 37 )

From the pierced heart of Jesus flows streams of living water. Knowing the Heart of Jesus and loving him is the same thing. A life of prayer is rooted in the heart of the One who keeps asking, “Do you love me?” If we do not love him we end up being strangers to our own and God’s heart. It is through prayer that our relationship with the One who first loved us grows and deepens. The goal of having a good personal prayer time is to learn to live a “ life of prayer.” This type of personal prayer is centered on, “the grace of the present moment.”

Prayer time in the midst of family business.

There are four siblings in my immediate family; three brothers and one sister. All three of us brothers have a great love and respect for our sister, Ruthann. Near the top of my list is the fact that she remained single and took excellent care of my father and mother until they passed away. My mother died at 84 and my father at 96; he needed extended and intensive long-standing care until he died. Recently on one my trips back to the family homestead, she told me that she was very grateful to me because after she had made a great conversion and renewal in the Holy Spirit I told her this. If you want to grow more quickly in holiness and prayer you need to build into your daily schedule a frequent or daily personal prayer time. She said I did what you suggested, and I will never regret it because it has proved to be so true for me.

“Listen! I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come into his home ( I will come into him!) and eat with him, and he will eat with me. To those who win the victory, I will give the right to sit beside me on my throne, Just as I have been victorious and now sit by my Father on his throne.” ( Rev. 3:20 ) This passage highlights intimate love, union, and sharing in the victory of the glorious eternal life. Knowing the methods of prayer is not enough to establish a rich prayer life, but the inner dynamics of a heart to heart relationship with the Lord is what is essential. Without a meaningful prayer life, dealing with the experience of the daily issues of our existence will often leave us quickly scattered,  or over-invested in intense and stressful ways.

What keeps you away from prayer time?

Is there anything keeping me from entering into a journey of frequent prayer and union with the Lord? If today the Lord is knocking on the door of my heart, is there anything keeping me from opening the door wide and inviting the Lord in? If I understand that the Lord has an abundant love for me, what could hold me back? Francis of Assisi exhorted his brothers, “pray always and do not lose heart! ( ER, C. XXII, n. 28-31 )

For all of us establishing a frequent or daily prayer time is hard work, and we can usually find many other things to do before we want to do that. We live in a society that thrives on being busy and provides many distractions for us. Also, some experience a real desire to pray often because of special grace they received in some spiritual program or experience; filled with a new found joy and desire they may neglect prayer and sort of lose interest, then their desire for prayer and growth in holiness gradually diminishes.  If we stick with our efforts to grow in prayer, our taste for prayer and personal holiness will gradually grow stronger. And the graces and favors of the Holy Spirit will noticeably increase.

The Practical Aspects of designing a Personal Prayer Time

May we look at the specific elements that can be useful in assisting us in designing a desired plan for a prayer time. It is important to do this in a way that best fits our vocation and life situation at the present time. Some individuals pace of life and schedule largely determines how they bring this time into their daily schedule.  Some people pray better in the morning when the day is just starting; others pray better when the day is drawing to a close. Each of us is different so we should choose the time that best suits us.

The setting for prayer time:

It is helpful to pick an environment that is conducive to prayer. There may be a chapel available that makes the situation peaceful for me. For those whose mission it is to raise families a nice basement family room where it is quiet and all the electronic devices are off, including the cell phone is desirable. I may want to keep a notebook handy where I can jot down key insights. If I do journaling it is probably not a good time to do it all the time. Sometimes journaling during prayer time can draw us away from the more important things the Lord may want to do with me doing my special time with him. Each individual should determine that for himself or herself.

Many find that secondary aids are used to get one started in prayer. The Church has always favored using the Word of God. The scriptures, the Gospel stories or the letters of St. Paul, are particularly useful because they are especially inspired by the Holy Spirit. A good devotional book or something from the life of a saint is also noteworthy. If I am musically gifted and can sing I can use my talents to begin praising. Beginning one’s prayer time with praising is helpful in opening my spirit to the movements of grace in my heart and mind. It also gets my mind off of myself and other distractions.

If I never had a frequent or daily prayer time before, it may be good to start it in a reasonable length of about 15 to 20 minutes. The focus of my prayer at the beginning should be on God and not on myself. I may start with praying and asking the Lord for the grace to have a blessed time of prayer. Then make a peaceful but conscious effort to empty my mind of distractive thoughts and considerations. After a short period of silent reflection, it is good to share with the Lord what is in your heart. During the main part of my prayer, I should be particularly attentive to what the Lord is showing me as I place myself in a listening mode. The Lord will “speak” to you and also the Holy Spirit may inspire you with light and insight about what you reflected on in your heart, those things he has brought to you in prayer. Choose what is most important to you, and make a choice to be influenced by the insights or lights in regard to action or choices which may have a particular bearing on certain aspects of my life. At times, if appropriate, I may seek the Lord about the events or issues of the current day. Towards the end of my prayer time, I may want to thank the Lord for the graces given to me in my prayer time and ask the Lord if there is anyone I should briefly pray for before I finish my time.

Some concluding reflections: My personal prayer time is my special opportunity to have a conversation, communication, and communion with the Lord. It should be a peaceful time for prayer. It is uniquely my time! Therefore, I need to trust in the Lord’s love for me. He really wants to and delights in being with me. The Lord will take the initiative to give me the graces I need to prayer well. The Lord will also lead me to lengthen my prayer time when it is time. The key thing is that during my time with the Lord, relax and let the Lord lead the way my prayer time unfolds.

Christian Life

Christian lifeWhat does it mean to live the Christian life? What does the Christian life look like? If you walk along a busy city street Christians are not easily identified. They look just like everyone else. Or do they? In this podcast, we explore what it means to be a Christian, what we have to “give up” to become a Christian and how the blessings overwhelming triumph any perceived restrictions.

In this three-part series we will discuss:

  1. What does this mean
  2. What does this do for us
  3. What does this mean for the rest of our life?

Thanks to our sponsors, Like Arrows – a wonderful movie on family life.

For a Christian life has meaning, it has a purpose and all that happens in life is not wasted. The first step is often some type of profession of faith in God. As I’ve discussed many times we can’t have faith, or love a God we don’t know. God is amazing and He reveals Himself to us. We can’t possibly know anything about God unless He shows us!

Think about that.

John 15:16

You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.

Somewhere along the line, whether it was a faith passed down by our parents (for me I say thank-you mom and dad it is because of your faith, and love of God that I had a hunger in me at a very young age to know more about God.) For others who grew up without faith, it was a profession of faith, perhaps accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior at a church or with a friend. I did what I considered a re-acceptance of God with a college friend and prayed a salvation prayer with her. In essence I recanted past sins and asked the Lord into my heart in a deeper way, pledging fidelity to Him, and Him alone. Some people call it being “born again.” A personal relationship with God.

John 3:1-21

I believe that God calls us and we have the ability to answer the call with a yes – or a no. And that is in essence what we are called to do – as my pastor says, “Make the fundamental option.” It is fundamental in our walk with God it is fundamental in how we live our lives it is fundamental in everything we do.

We can do nothing without God. Just try it. We long for peace in our hearts and we long for a happy life but a life devoid of God even if you have all the material things of this world do not bring you happiness. We often look at what we don’t have instead of looking at what we do have. (Think about this, pray about this!)

God said we can do nothing without Him (John 15:16)

You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.

This passage talks about bearing good fruit that will last – we can not do this apart from him.

John 15:5

 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me, you can do nothing.

It doesn’t say – you can not do much, it says you can do nothing apart from me. Is this restrictive? Truly for those who believe it is very freeing – which I will discuss more in the next session on what Christianity DOES for us…

Friends, each day is new – each day lived as a Christian is an experience of walking not alone but with God alongside us—He will never leave us.

As a Christian spend time with Him each day, allow God to reveal Himself. We will never fully understand as we are limited with human intellect but we can and should allow the Lord to fill us each day with every good thing relying on Him and asking His help daily.

As my pastor often teaches us to pray – Lord, I love You as You Know Yourself to Be— not as I understand but as he reveal…

Let’s pray:

Dear Lord, I do pray to love you as You Know Yourself to Be – it is difficult to comprehend all that it means to be a Christian, and in my brokenness I am limited but I do not want to limit your providence and will in my life. Lord I profess you as Lord and Savior as the great, I AM – I ask that you come into my life in a deeper way, each day. I give you permission to reside in my heart, in my will, in my life. I thank you for calling me, and allowing me to bear good fruit that will last, and doing this with You. I never want to be apart from you Lord—please Be a part of my life. I pray for those in my life who are apart from you, those who have wounded me, and those I still need to forgive. I ask for the grace to be healed of any injustices or illness and I pray this in Jesus Name. Amen.

The Grace Of The Present Moment Part II

the grace of the present moment

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The Grace of the Present Moment Part II

Podcast #3

The grace of the present moment part two is still about living in God’s grace. However, the first reflection on living in the Grace of the Present Moment or “hearing the voice of the Lord” was a little heavy.

Biblical teachings for living in grace:

What I attempted to communicate was the context of what this gift entails; the pastoral theological context for the purposes of understanding. In this second reflection, I would like to discuss some of the biblical principles that enable us to put our understanding into action as we live in the grace of the present moment.

In Marks, Gospel Jesus speaks about the parable of new wine being poured into new wine shins, “Likewise no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the skins are ruined. Rather new wine is poured into fresh wineskins.” (Mk 2: 18-22)  Applying this scripture to represent the Bridegroom who is now present in a direct and personal way for the purposes of our personal transformation.

What does this transformation require?

And this transformation requires direct action by the Lord to bring about both the gift of the new wine of the Spirit and changes in the new wineskins. It is not just a matter of interior change by the new wine of the Spirit, but also a significant change in the personality and character of the person. The whole person has to change when coming into contact with the voice and action of the Lord. The whole person benefits; both spiritual growth and human maturity takes place. Holiness is wholeness! This is our focus when attempting to live in the grace of the present moment.

Living In The Grace of the Present Moment takes living in grace.

Viewing the issue of living in the grace of the present moment, may we reflect on three significant considerations of this reality. Within the context our growth in the grace of the present moment we can identify the following: 1) The wisdom of developing a daily or frequent personal prayer time; the building of a deep personal relationship with the Lord, 2) The challenge of learning how to do “spiritual warfare” against the negative forces of the world, the flesh and the devil, and 3) The need to develop an action plan in order to focus and maximize our spiritual growth and human maturity; the construction of a flexible spiritual growth plan.

1 Jn 2:16

“I write to you, young men, because you are strong and the word of God remains in you, and you have conquered the evil one. Do not love the world or the things of the world For if anyone loves the world the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, sensual lust and enticement of the eyes, and a pretentious life is not from the Father but is from the world.” (1 Jn 2:16). The meaning of the world in this negative sense is the power of the world under the influence and direction of the evil one.

God shows us his love as we are living in the grace of the present moment:

In Ephesians chapter six, St. Paul gives us the basic principle for doing spiritual warfare against the world, the flesh and the devil. “Finally draw your strength from the Lord and from his mighty power. Put on the armor of God so that you may be able to stand firm against the tactics of the devil. For our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens. Therefore put on the armor of God, that you may be able to resist on the evil day, and having done everything to hold your ground. So stand fast in faith with your loins girded in truth, clothed with righteousness as a breastplate, and your feet shod in readiness for the gospel of peace. In all circumstances hold faith as a shield, to quench all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit which is the word of God.” (Eph.6:10-17)

Our struggle is not with flesh and blood.

The Roman soldier, fully armed with his shield his breastplate and helmet, would have been a familiar image in the ancient world. The Ephesians are to prepare themselves to live the Christian life as the Roman soldiers prepared themselves for combat, but instead of armor and weapons, they are to use what God gives for our protection: truth, righteousness, faith, and salvation. Our struggle is not with flesh and blood, for Christians in every age have experienced persecution at the hands of other people.  But Paul insists that the enemies to fear are the forces of evil in the universe, forces which assail the Christian like an army of invaders. (commentary on Ephesians in the NAB}

The Church today is just getting around to looking seriously at the presence, operation, and benefits of the “spiritual gifts of the Spirit.” Charisms are graces of the Holy Spirit which directly or indirectly are used for the benefit of building up the Body of Christ. They are to be accepted with gratitude by the person who receives them and all members of the Church. (CCC 799) The spiritual gifts of discernment and the discernment of spirits are essential to determine what spirit is influencing us in and at the present moment of time.

“We belong to God, and the whole world is under the power of the evil one (the meaning of the term “world” in the negative sense). We also know that the Son of God has come and has given us discernment to know the one who is true. And we are in the one who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ.” (1 Jn 5: 19-20); Charismatic gifts in  Corinthians, (1Cor 12:1-14: 25). In Ephesians 1:18 Paul prays a beautiful prayer for believers, that we may have wisdom and revelation—gifts from the Holy Spirit—to understand more fully the hope of our own call and the greatness and glory of God. In Ephesians 4: 7-13 we see identified the spiritual gifts for an apostolic mission, witness, and service. Gifts given…” and he gave some as apostles, others as prophets, others as evangelists, others as pastors and teachers to equip the holy ones for the work of ministry for building up the body of Christ.

Are you engaged in spiritual growth and human maturity?

Each baptized Christian needs to be very proactive in engaging spiritual growth and human maturity; the new wine of the Spirit is poured into new wineskins, the attitudes, behaviors, and maturity of our human person, as we travel on our personal journey of our life. The fundamental choices and decisions primarily take place in the midst of the grace of the present moment! In order to support our growth in Christian holiness, it is essential to develop a daily or frequent personal prayer time. This is the context where we learn how to read the movements the evil one who may be trying to confuse us, or using our personal weaknesses and vulnerable areas of our lives to lead us into sin or other modes of darkness. Again Pope John Paul II reminds us that spiritual combat is a secret and interior struggle in which Christians engage daily temptations and opposition from the “spirit of the world”, our personal weaknesses, and the works of Satan.

Discernment is needed to exercise the spiritual gifts:

I present here a few simple tips using a good discernment or exercising the spiritual gift of the discernment of spirits. When you feel something going on psychologically where negative or compulsive dark thoughts are affecting your mind make prayer your first response. If we sense something taking place in our spiritual realm, where we are sort of out of sorts also turn to prayer and ask the Lord to give us insight and give us a picture to what is going on, and then wait patiently for positive inspiration from the Holy Spirit. Try to recall something positive which came to you in regard to your personal intimacy with the Lord, something based on liberating truth and not just on our personal feelings. Evil spirits just hate to be confronted with the truth, or praises of Scripture or turning to the Lord and praising him. A Christian has a spirit given gift or ability to distinguish between what is from our human nature, and what is from the Spirit of God, and what is from a demonic source or presence. Do not be afraid to use the anointing or gift that God has given you! Take authority in the name of Jesus over what you sense is coming from the dark side of things. Do not be surprised if “things” clear up and peace returns. Don’t forget to be thankful for the freedom you receive, this pleases the Lord.

God acts on our behalf and we can simply pray, using spiritual warfare:

In the Name of Jesus, I bind this negativity (or whatever is plaguing you) and command it to leave. Continue to praise the Lord and ask Him to fill you with His love, His peace, and His joy.

 

 

 

 

 

God Keeps His Promises

God Keeps His PromisesGod Keeps His Promises

Episode 37

The small plaque hanging on my wall has a picture of Noah’s ark and the words, “God keeps his promises.” That is such a powerful reminder to me since Easter Sunday just passed. God’s promises are not like ours. How many times have you promised a friend, a child or even your spouse to do something and were unable to fulfill the promise? In fact, this is why I hesitate to make promises because I don’t want to let those I love down!

The worse thing is a child who reminds you of those hurtful words, “But, you promised!” God’s

God’s promises are true.

God’s promises are everlasting.

God keeps His promises:

Show Notes:

Genesis 24:7

“The Lord, the God of heaven, who brought me out of my father’s household and my native land and who spoke to me and promised me on oath, saying, ‘To your offspring I will give this land’—he will send his angel before you so that you can get a wife for my son from there.

Genesis 28:15

I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”

God keeps His promises!

God Keeps His PromisesOur relationship with God is sometimes one-sided. It is based on what God can do for us. What is in it for me? I want this Lord, give me that Lord. We are like children, in fact, we are children His children. However, we don’t have to be petulant like a pouty or spoiled child! We must realize that God is steadfast and unchanging. We are the only ones who can change and hopefully for the better.

God calls us into service like He did the apostles. He asks us to be His hands and feet to others. He wants to bless us and provide for us in abundance. Not necessarily with money but definitely with His grace.

Deuteronomy 1:11

May the Lord, the God of your ancestors, increase you a thousand times and bless you as he has promised!

The Lord’s promises are vast –
He promised safety to Noah and his family, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob the promised land. He promised deliverance to Moses, He promised a land of milk and honey to the people Moses brought out of Egypt.

Exodus 33:1

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Leave this place, you and the people you brought up out of Egypt, and go up to the land I promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, saying, ‘I will give it to your descendants.’

When the people of Egypt rebelled against God in the desert turning back to the worship of their idols, God did not hesitate to punish them.

Numbers 14:23

…not one of them will ever see the land I promised on oath to their ancestors. No one who has treated me with contempt will ever see it.

Our God is a just and righteous God. He is merciful but He will not be mocked. We serve an almighty God and I don’t want to turn my back on Him or let Him down in any way.

  1. Spend a few minutes in prayer with God each day.
  2. Read the Bible.
  3. Write in your journal.
  4. Follow the 10 commandments
  5. Listen to worship music

We can balance the busy lifestyle we lead with time for God and He will more than abundantly provide for us in amazing ways! Each day try to follow the five steps above and your day will be much improved. Look for the promises of God in your life each day, and rejoice! God keeps His promises, He really does!

Dear Lord, I thank you for each day you give us, each day is truly a gift we can not comprehend or appreciate. Each day you fulfill your promise to us by offering your life, death, and resurrection to open the gates of heaven. You have given to us freely and I give you my life, my will and my hope that someday I will be with you in heaven. Lord, I pray for those listening to this podcast that you bless them and bring them to a closer walk with you, and I pray this in Jesus Name. Amen.

*Scripture verses from BibleGateway.com

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Living in the Grace of The Present Moment

living in the grace of the present moment

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Living in the Grace of the Present Moment  ~ Episode 2

Do you live in the past? Or are you living in the grace of the present moment? In this episode, Father Tickerhoof takes on this topic head on and explores what it means and how we as Christians can change our look at the past and live a new life in Christ. He explains how to listen to the voice of the Lord, personally, literally and clearly.

Show Notes: Living in the grace of the present moment

Last year I was living in St. Petersburg and assisting the chaplain core at Bay Front Trauma Hospital. The Catholic chaplain on the core shared a talk she gave to graduating physician assistants. She spoke with them about how important it was to live in the present. In the process of her speech, she said something to this effect. If you live your life in the past you will never be able to live fully in the present, and if you live your life primary in the future you will not be able to fully live in the present. She apparently suggested to them that they should try to live fully in the present. Of course, we need to receive wisdom about the past and we need to reasonably to plan for the future.

She encouraged them to live a balanced life fully in the present and give special attention to live in the grace of the present moment. I am sure that at some time we have met individuals who are always looking to the past, proclaiming how good it was in the past, usually preoccupied about their life, events, and experiences of the past Sometimes a fearful rigidity can emerge that betrays a great deal of insecurity. Then on the other side of things, we can run into individuals who are always saying what they are going to achieve in the future. We may be a little uneasy with their preoccupation about the future because we sense a dissociation from living in the present, and have an awareness that many of the things they may be planning and thinking about in the future surprisingly may not really happen.

We want to please the Lord in all things!

The grace which the Lord gives to us to respond to him and live our life primarily comes to us in the present moment. A good reason for this is that God gives us the power and ability to respond to him and to the responsibilities of life exclusively in the general context of the present moment. This is naturally and supernaturally the way he created us as human beings. Love as the hallmark of life reveals itself in the human activity of the present moment. We can communicate about the past and the future but we actually live engaged in the present moment. Therefore, if God gives the abundance of his grace in the present ambient of our lives then we want to be very attentive to that reality, in view of the fact that God’s will for my life is revealed in that context. One of the main goals for personal salvation is the knowledge of God’s will in all things, and generously and gratefully living that out to the best of our ability. Surely we want to try and please the Lord in all things.

Living in the grace of the present moment means listening for the voice of the Lord.

In view of the above reflection may we look more closely at the notion of listening to and hearing the “voice of the Lord.” What does it mean to listen to the voice of the Lord? God speaks to us all the time through Sacred Scripture, liturgy, people, circumstances, events and in other ways. Some would say when you do all the things that Catholics do and follow all the teachings of the Church then you will know what the voice of God is all about. These things do communicate God voice to us; however, there is much more to personally and literally hearing God’s voice in our daily lives.

I am aware of the cautions which St. John of the Cross and Ruth Borrows, a Carmelite sister, present in their writings in regard to special spiritual favors and the practice of the spiritual gifts. When situations involve immaturity, superficiality, or initial spiritual experience, individually or culturally, there can be a problem. However, this does not justify “throwing out the baby with the bathwater.” The real question is if you do not know how to listen to the Lord, to hear the word of the Lord and discern it, or the voice of God, why not? There is nothing to be ashamed of, but many well-intentioned and serious Christians do not know how to listen to the Lord. It is very clear that it is God’s merciful intention to intimately speak to every baptized disciple of Christ. It is important to know how to maturely hear and listen to the “voice of the Lord.” What I mean is God speaking to us personally literally and clearly.

Are you living in the grace of the present moment?

“To hear the voice of the Lord” is a natural and supernatural experience, which is important to appreciate and understand for the sake of personal holiness and other reasons as well such as, good discernment, good communication with others, a fruitful prayer time, to know and experience his personal love, to know his will, to receive guidance and direction etc. So then how should we personally try to grasp this notion, especially in our personal lives, pastoral ministry, and Christian service?

The context within which we grow and mature in the practice of listening to the Lord is reading the revealed Word of God and the inspired teaching of the Church. The dynamics of knowing how to listen to the Lord’s word need to be practically taught to individuals; a seminar is needed on the podcast. For example, the practical elements of learning how to follow inspirations from the Lord in our minds and know how to receive “his word” in our heart. We have been naturally created by God to learn how to do this. We have been gifted by our Baptism in water. We can easily learn how to identify the presence and movements of God in our souls. Know the awareness of the presence and grace in our interior life. God is Spirit and Jesus the Glorified Lord, relates to us in our spirit through his active presence, and through the insights, inspirations, and power of the Holy Spirit. This experience of grace in us is humanly intelligible, though a mystery it may be. What a joy it is to understand that we can practically know the Lord and his active presence in our hearts, our lives, and in our relationships, and thus experience communication with the Lord.

living in the grace of the present momentThe great news is that the Lord created us with exterior and interior receptors to be able to receive and understand the movements of the Holy Spirit in our communication with the Divine. For example, if we are walking down the street by ourselves we should not be surprised to realize we are talking to ourselves about many things. This is the same interior faculty in which the Holy Spirit is able to infuse or form words in by the action or work of the Spirit when we give prayerful attention to this reality. The saints experienced this reality frequently and the Church identifies this mode of communication as “locutions.” It is important to know what are the Lord’s methods of communication. We can also receive direct revelation in our understanding as well as in many aspects of communication by the Lord through various forms of inspiration, including the circumstances of life, and yes sometimes even in our dreams.

Of course, any communication from the Lord needs to be tested and discerned, St. John tells us to test every spirit…”

1 John 4:1 – Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.

It is not easy to become good at discerning the word of the Lord. We need to relax and be patient with ourselves and realize that it is okay to make mistakes. A good to sense of humor goes a long way. We always need to ask ourselves the question: is what I believe to be the word of the Lord coming from the Lord, my unredeemed part of me, or from a deception by Satan. The devil is good at mimicking the various communication gifts of the Spirit. St. Paul reminds the Corinthians that Satan presents himself as an “angel of light”. It takes a great deal of humility and practice to mature in hearing the word of the Lord and knowing when and how to act on it in a manner that is pleasing to God. The divine/human interplay in grace through the spiritual activity of conversation, communication, and communion with the Lord is what we mean by hearing the word of the Lord and listening to it as he speaks to us, giving us various forms of guidance and direction in a given situation.

The obvious question would be how do we make this happen?  Is there some button we may push? In an attempt to make a response to this question I will only mention briefly a few things about this wonderful possibility. The first and probably the most fundamental point is that the Lord in his great love and mercy for us created us naturally for interaction and communication with Him. An involved and mature communication with God in our life and ministry presupposes that we walk closely with him in all the moments of our daily life, especially in our prayer time. Praying always is one way of expressing this reality. Mary is identified in spiritual writings as the attentive Virgin who is always open and receptive to divine communication. Depending on the situation sometimes the Lord takes the initiative and sometimes we are able to do that. The door to this relationship is a life of prayer. This process is enhanced by an active life in the Holy Spirit, and a practical ability to use the gifts of the Holy Spirit which pertain to what is going on in a given moment or situation, particularly in personal prayer or the context of a ministry situation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

God’s Mercy

God's MercyGod’s Mercy IS Everlasting

Episode 36

God is good. And God is merciful. But do we really understand the amazing power behind the Mercy of God? In this episode, we will discuss God’s mercy and the fact that He can forgive your sins if you just let Him.

Thank you to …the movie Like Arrows. This family-friendly movie deals with marriage, children and aging in grace as a couple. You will love this movie! Look for it at a theatre near you, and save some money to buy the DVD for your home library!

Do we trust in God? Do we trust in His mercy and forgiveness? If we do we wouldn’t walk around with the burdens of the world on our back. We’d be happy and joyous and hopefully, after listening to today’s episode we will all feel that way.

Forgiveness of sin is a funny thing and it combines so many elements of the human nature. One is guilt, we are guilty we sin. The second is blame. We often blame others for our sin and it isn’t our fault. The third is unforgiveness, we can’t forgive others or ourselves.

The greatest of sinners can go to the feet of Jesus and beg for mercy and He will grant it! We are made up of body, and soul. For more information about this – go here for a balanced view that Catholics and Protestants agree upon. It is the soul that is wounded when we sin. Our souls live beyond this life while our bodies die. It is for this reason that our faith in God’s love and mercy are so important.

If we appeal to the mercy of Jesus he hears us! God is compassionate and He wants us to repent. He wants us to go to Him with everything. With all our hurts, with our failures, with our sins. Especially with our sins. God will grant us more mercy and grace than we can ask for – because He is God.

This calls to mind the Prodigal Son – Luke 15:11-32 This young man had it all riches and a father who loved him. He threw all of that away to live the life he wanted without his family and obviously in sin.

He had to reject his family in order to live a life of sin. We too reject God in order to sin.

My mother left me this book that was one of her favorites. I read it over the course of three years because it was the diary of a cloistered nun from Poland. It had so much information that I digested slowly over time. The book is The Divine Mercy by Sister now Saint Faustina, In it she says that the Lord asked her to write:

“…before I come as a just Judge, I first open wide the door of My mercy. He who refuses to pass through the door of My mercy must pass through the door of My justice…”

This makes so much sense in the light of who God is – He is mercy and He is justice.

If we don’t repent, turn back to God and ask for His mercy then we must expect His justice. I would rather ask for mercy and the grace to “sin no more.” The scriptures are filled with Jesus healing people.

Bible.org has a wonderful explanation of the places in Scripture where Jesus healed as well as a comparison of the different accounts in Scripture that not only showed the authority of Jesus to heal as the Son of God but also His ability to forgive sins, the most important aspect. The authority to forgive sins from Matthew: this is a great reference from Bible.org. 

God's MercyWhat would we rather have, the forgiveness of our sins or the healing of our bodies? I hope we all say mercy from God to justify us, to make us clean to grant us mercy. This is such an important part of God’s plan for us, His Mercy. His mercy is Divine, His mercy is more than we can understand.

God’s arms are always wide open we are the ones who won’t step into His embrace. We turn our backs, we say…not right now God but maybe in a little bit. We are always busy. I think being busy is one of the greatest sins we have – we are too busy to deal with the important things in life and the most important is the love of God, then our spouse, then our children, then our friends. I think most of the time we have it wrong putting work above all things.

God’s mercy endures the ages. We only have to lay down our sins and ask for His mercy, that brings excitement and joy to my heart!

Let’s pray.

Lord, you have given us your love and mercy and for this, I am forever grateful! Thank you for opening wide the door of your mercy! Lord, I place my trust in your mercy, I find comfort in the fact that you delight in me trusting in Your mercy and You will grant me more graces than I ask for! I find comfort in the thought that you will not judge me harshly if I trust in Your mercy. Thank you, Lord, for your mercy… Jesus, I trust in You, today and Always. Amen.

 

 

Jesus Rose From The Dead

Jesus rose from the deadJesus Rose From The Dead

Episode35

Jesus rose from the dead! Why is it that people still don’t believe that Jesus was the Son of God and rose from the dead? As CS Lewis said, “Jesus was either a liar, a lunatic, or the Lord.” Which is it? In this podcast we explore what over two thousand years of history say about this amazing occurrence.

John 20: 29

Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed. 

Jesus said to him, “Because you have seen Me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” 

Thanks to our sponsor, LD Entertainment and our featured movie The Miracle Season, if you have a chance to catch this in theatres please do, I highly recommend it! Also, on DVD when it comes out later this year.

What a mess our world is in when we still have people who claim that Jesus did not do what he said he would.

John 2:18-20 

“The Jews then said to Him, “What sign do You show us as your authority for doing these things?” Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” The Jews then said, “It took forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?”

Jesus was referring to Himself – that he would die and on the third day rise again from the dead. And, if this was not true why does the Bible depict so many who saw him afterward and who later died for him?

Even if you don’t believe the Bible the fact that there are so many Christian followers still today over two thousand years after He lived and died shows us that it happened. Today, all over the world there are martyrs for Christianity. No one will give up their lives for an illusion. Obviously, God does what He says.

Faith is based on things that are believed and unseen.

I have a link to a website that has a spread chart with the scripture references as well as the people who were eyewitnesses – http://factsandfaith.com/the-witnesses-who-and-how-many-people-saw-jesus-alive-after-his-crucifixion/

One of the most read scripture is Matthew 28:1-10 – the two women who saw Jesus on Sunday morning, Mary Magdalene and the “other Mary” thought to be the mother of James. They then went back and reported it to the disciples. Jesus appeared to the disciples, he appeared to the two men on the road to Emmaus, and on and on.

Some say it is made up or hallucination, but all those people? Remember Thomas, he didn’t believe and said he wouldn’t until he had touched his wounds.

Faith is a funny thing, for some, it is a given and for others, it is a hard pill to swallow.

Why does this matter? Because showing that Jesus did not raise from the dead, the entire premise of the Christian faith – that Jesus died for us, for our sins so that we could be justified by His grace and unfathomable mercy!

People need Christianity to go away so that they can feel free to do what they want. Well, news alert! Christianity isn’t going anywhere. Believers are here to stay, and not the lukewarm ones, you know the people that go to church and cut you off in the parking lot – I’m talking about the ones who pray in church, the daily communicants all over the world, those who join prayer chains outside of abortion clinics, those who volunteer in homeless shelters those who put their faith in action.

Since I’m Catholic I’ll address those of my own faith, the Christmas or Easter Catholics, those who for some reason feel the need to go to church on those two days and yet abandon their faith the entire time in between. Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy you are there, but I spend my time on those days praying for all of you and that you will come back.

Faith is more than attending church – although we should. It is more than saying your prayers, and we should do that as well. Faith is an actionable term. Would you die for Christ? Would you die if your life was threatened and in order to save it you had to abandon your faith?

I love the movie God’s Not Dead – the first one where a young man’s faith is challenged by an atheistic professor. He loses the support of his girlfriend, his family and yet is conflicted that God is not dead, He is very much alive and He should stand up for his beliefs in a way that challenges modern-day convention.

That, in a nutshell, is the world in which we live. A world that tells us that Jesus did not raise from the dead. A world that points fingers at Christian’s and accuses them of mental unbalance if they hear God – how does this happen?
It happens because we are silent. Well, I’m silent no more, and I pray that all of you rise to the challenge as God asks you to – maybe it is to one person in line at the grocery store who notices the cross around your neck. Maybe you are like my son who doesn’t like to talk about his faith but does the sign of the cross on his forehead before he goes up to bat, even though most of the people in the stands are unbelievers or various denominations of Christian. Whatever that is, however you are called I ask that you stand up for Christ.

He lived.

He died.

He was buried.

He rose on the third day.

I believe it.

Dear Lord Jesus, I thank you for your life, death, and resurrection. I thank you for taking on the burden of my sins. I thank you for coming for the salvation of all mankind. I say yes to you Lord, I say yes in the belief that you died and rose and are here with me now. I pray for those listening to this broadcast that you infill all of us with the power of your mercy and your holy spirit so that we may spread the good news and live lives according to your most perfect will. Amen.

Love of God

love of GodLove of God

Episode #34

What is the love of God? There are many attributes given to God, but one of the most common is God is love.  How does that translate to us, and how can we embrace God’s love in the everyday? If God is love, why do I hurt so much? In this podcast, we explore the scriptures that discuss God’s love and ways to be open to the love of God in our daily lives.

Thanks to our Sponsor! The Movie – The Miracle Season

Show Notes: Love of God

Love is one of those words that is overused. I love coffee, I love chocolate, I love you. It has become diminished by books, movies, and television shows. People say it without meaning it. Love is difficult in the human sense, it is messy it is sometimes not returned and it hurts when those we love the most don’t return the love we have for them.

There are different types of love and for the purpose of this podcast, we will concentrate on Agape love – the one discussed in the New Testament and the one attributed to God’s love.

Love is the greatest attribute we can give to God, and why shouldn’t we the scriptures proclaim that he is love, 1 John: 4-8 – “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love…”

Love is fundamental to all human beings it is the one thing we crave, to love and be loved but also the one thing we so abuse in our brokenness. I remember a friend telling me that when she heard God described as a loving Father she could not relate because her father never told her he loved her. We use words to describe God – his attributes, but we are limited by our language in describing the supernatural. God is the creator. His love is amazing and if we can take a moment to discover, to meditate and to be still before the Lord, He and only He can fill us with the wonder of His love.

We hurt those we love the most, yet God is steadfast. God by his very nature is pure and perfect love. He is unchanging. It is due to His love for us that He gave the ultimate sacrifice and that is life – He gave up His life for us so that we could have everlasting life with Him.

No greater love… John 15:13 – “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”

This love of God is known as Agape, and it is a self-giving love. It is not something that comes naturally to us and that is why it is designated to God because he exemplifies this. There are various interpretations of Agape love – but one I love is that God loves us because He wills it.

God loves the sinner but hates the sin. The scriptures are filled with instances where Jesus commands his disciples. He expects our fidelity and says, “If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love.” John 15:10

Does this mean God stops loving us?

This is where we look to the scriptures for our answers.

1 John 4:15-17 – “And we have come to know and believe the love that God has for us. God is love; whoever abides in love abides in God, and God in him. In this way, love has been perfected among us, so that we may have confidence on the day of judgment; for in this world we are just like Him.”

To remain in God’s love there are conditions but ultimately the Lord loves us even through sin. We are the ones that turn our back on Him, He is always waiting with hands outstretched, inviting us into true happiness. Ephesians 2:4-5 states “But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ, even when we were dead in our trespasses. It is by grace you have been saved.”

And, Romans 5:8 – “But God proves His love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

So many of us get glassy-eyed, our minds wander and we may not realize the significance of the words… which is why I’ll ask you to use the show notes and go over the scriptures, read them, study them, journal about them and their impact for your life and the life of those you love.

I believe that God is love, His love is everlasting, all-encompassing and His love never changes. God’s love for you is unconditional – He wants you to change if you are in sin for yourself – but nothing we can do will ever change God. It doesn’t matter who you are, where you live, what type of car you drive. God’s love doesn’t hinge on what you do for Him. However, if we love God we will serve Him not in a mediocre way but with all we’ve got!

If you’ve never experienced God’s love, that is what I will pray for you today.

Dear Lord, I pray that You touch the hearts of those listening, that You open minds to truly understand how much You love all of us. I ask that You allow us to experience Your everlasting love, oh God– that You take us where we are but offer, through Your help and grace to encourage us to be better, to strive for holiness, to strive to listen to your small, still voice and align our plans to your plans. I ask that you help us to discern Your will for our lives, for the mission you’ve laid out before us, for the work we currently do and will do in the future no matter what our station in life– whether we are single, a wife, a husband, or clergy. Lord, I thank You for Your love for us, Your people. I know You care about me, and that You love me. And I feel blessed to know that I can count on this love all the days of my life until You call me home. Amen.

More Scriptures to study about the love of God:

John 13:34

1 John 4:10

Ephesians 2:4

 

 

Hope

hopeHope For A Christian

Is hope an option for a Christian, is it rooted in optimism, or is it rooted in the knowledge that our hope is connected to our faith and in this way we can be assured that the Lord will walk the path of life with us? In this podcast, we explore what the meaning of faith is for a Christian.

Thanks to our sponsor, Media Angels, Inc. A Few Minutes with God, The Journey Begins

a few minutes with God

Show Host Notes: 

As Christians, we are called to live with joy in this world, so we need the virtue of hope. Hope is a virtue, it is something that some people have in abundance and others have to work towards. For example, the Cardinal Virtues are known by past civilizations and we teach them today are Justice, Temperance, Prudence, and Fortitude. Not until Christianity did we hear the term, “Theological virtues,” and these are Faith, Hope, and Love.

We are encouraged to have hope – not optimism. Why is that? Anyone can be optimistic. Optimism is more on chance that maybe things will turn out well and maybe they won’t. That is not what Christian Hope stands for at all. It isn’t a chance that things will work out. It is a knowledge that if they don’t work out, God is with us.

Therefore, hope is rooted in faith – faith is when we entrust ourselves to another – we place our trust in God. Faith is a relationship I have faith in Jesus I have faith in God myself. Hope is rooted in the belief of a future good.

Hope for a Christian is rooted in maturity. A Christian believes that God’s promise is rock solid! Hebrews 6 is amazing, read all of it, but for our purposes, I want to read you a section:

Hebrews: 3-20

When God made his promise to Abraham, since there was no one greater for him to swear by, he swore by himself, saying, “I will surely bless you and give you many descendants.” And so after waiting patiently, Abraham received what was promised.

People swear by someone greater than themselves, and the oath confirms what is said and puts an end to all argument. Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of his purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, he confirmed it with an oath. God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope set before us may be greatly encouraged. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.”

This hope is not in ourselves – in our abilities, in what we can do without God, or that we don’t need God. No, this hope is a claim that we need God because our faith tells us that the truth is God has promised us this hope and … “we have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.” God doesn’t lie!

Hope is this trust looking forward to the future. This relationship with Jesus, our trust in God – He won’t fail me. And hope is the knowledge that God will be with me…it is personal!

The opposite of hope is despair. Despair is the thought or belief that we don’t have Him and that He is not here or us, or worse that we can not trust God because I don’t believe he will walk with us through our issues or problems… but he will!

These two Scriptures should help:

Romans 8:24-25

 “For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.”

and this one, I love from Romans 8:31 “If God is for us, who can be against us”

And we have the hope of the Resurrection! At the end of time we will be raised, those of us who believe, we live in the “Easter” of hope – that is the Risen Christ. God has paid the price and we as believers reap the benefits. It is a belief that we will have eternal life with Christ. It is only possible by the hope that God gives us.

We long for this hope when we look at Jesus on the Cross when we see a cross without Jesus on it when we see the empty tomb at Easter or the risen Christ in pictures. Jesus has conquered death — yet we still worry and doubt. The resurrection showed us the future or what will someday be our future, life in heaven with God. We should not fear, we should know that it will come, in God’s perfect timing.

Let us pray – Praise you Jesus that you have risen and in this, you give us everlasting hope. You give us the hope that surpasses all understanding, please give us the grace to understand and to be strong, the grace not to despair, the grace to believe that you are there for us always and walk alongside us. Continue to give us the faith and the hope that we can do all things through You! I praise you and I thank you always, Amen!

Faith

faithFaith – Is A Gift – or is it?

Is faith a gift given to only a chosen few by Almighty God? Or is it freely given to anyone who wants it? In this podcast, we explore the faith and the hope that it brings.

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a few minutes with God

Hebrews 11:1 states:

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”

Do you believe in God? In Jesus Christ? In the Holy Spirit? Do you believe the words in the Bible are true? All of them? Do you believe that when God says something it will happen? Do you believe in miracles? In everlasting life? In heaven? In Hell? Do you trust in the Lord? Do you believe, by faith that you can entrust yourself to God? That He will be there for you?

You may enjoy this podcast on Praising God

Faith Takes Work

If you answered these with yes – then, you have the gift of faith. This is a gift of believing without seeing. Even those who were witness to the miracles that Jesus performed during His life on earth turned their back on Him in His hour of need. Faith takes work!

The gift of faith is very tightly connected to prayer. God is a gentleman, He doesn’t force things upon us, He has given us free will. If we ask for faith in prayer, He will grant it. Matthew 21:21-22

Is faith a spiritual gift or is it a gift called “saving faith,” that is a profession of faith we say when we accept the Lord into our lives? (Ephesians 2:8-9). The answer to both is yes they are gifts, and they are freely given but not all accept them from the Lord.

Faith is a gift of the Holy Spirit, but who receives it? If you read all of 1 Corinthians 12 it explains the gifts of the Spirit. We have the capacity to have all of the gifts, but do we want them? Spiritual gifts are given to Christians who will use it to help others, the “body of Christ.” If you look at Hebrews 11 it shows “Faith in Action.” “By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.” And, so it continues on in verse 5… “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”

God will give you faith!

So, there is your answer, if you earnestly seek God he will give you faith, and with faith, you can do so much – you can please God and you can do things through God’s grace and blessings.

Faith includes trust, a trust that what the Lord teaches, through the faith handed down to us through the years as well as the words in the Holy Bible, are true. Do we believe all that the Lord, Jesus taught us when He walked to the earth? Faith comes with a demonstration of this amazing gift. It is accompanied by works. Not so that we can boast as the Scriptures say, but so that we can thank the Lord for all that he has done in our lives.

One of my favorite verses is Matthew 17:20  “He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

Faith takes trust

Faith takes trust, and trust takes work. It takes relationship. It includes honor!

Read all of Hebrews 11 – it is an amazing testament to the faith that was given in abundance to those who then served the Lord. As a gift of the Holy Spirit faith is powerful. It brings with it an extraordinary hope of the promises, the power and the blessings and grace that come to those who serve the Lord according to His will. Faith allows people who are ordinary in every way to lead an extraordinary life. Without faith, these ordinary people, such as Noah could not have completed the amazing task set out before him.

God gives all Christians saving faith – that is salvation, but the additional gift, the spiritual gift of faith will allow us to walk on a path that is closer to God and in essence, will help us to find His will for our lives. We can pray for others and expect answered prayer. We can pray for healing and expect miracles. Who wouldn’t want this? I know I do!

Is the Holy Spirit prompting you to reach out to someone in need? To pray for them or to intercede? Sometimes someone comes to mind out of the blue, and we think about them. When this happens, pray for them there may be a reason the Lord is asking you to do this, however, step out in faith and do it! If the Lord asks something of you and you do not feel you have enough faith to deal with it, ask the Holy Spirit for more faith! He will grant it.

 

Praise God

praise GodPraise God

Episode 31

Is it a challenge to praise God for everything? It’s easy to praise Him when things go well, but when they don’t it is more difficult. In this episode of A Few Minutes with God we explore how praising God will turn everything around for you, your loved ones and those you meet each day.

Thanks to our sponsor, Media Angels, Inc. A Few Minutes with God, The Journey Begins

a few minutes with God

Praise God Daily

Each day we journey through life with a schedule that is full and a life that at times seems to hold little joy. In fact, even if we are happy, often we can’t stop to smell the roses because the next to-do must be done on the list. It is difficult to keep a positive attitude when things go wrong and if you are like the rest of us, things go wrong most of the time each day.

I spoke to a friend the other day and the first words out of her mouth were, “It’s been that kind of day.” She didn’t need to elaborate; I knew exactly what she meant. We’ve all had that kind of day! Life happens and we are caught in the wave of despair often when things fall apart.

So, I am going to challenge you on several fronts in this podcast one is giving you homework assignments. If you have kids, you can do this with them.

Keys to Happiness, Praise God

  1. Look up praising God in the Scriptures. One of my favorite quick and easy website to use is BibleGateway.com here you can find Scripture verses topically. I did a quick search and found 134 references to the words “Praise God” and one of my favorites is Psalm 150.
    1. Psalm 150: 1-6
      Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens. Praise him for his acts of power; praise him for his surpassing greatness. Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet, praise him with the harp and lyre, praise him with timbrel and dancing, praise him with the strings and pipe, praise him with the clash of cymbals, praise him with resounding cymbals.
      Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.
      Praise the Lord.
  2. Pray this list of your favorite Scriptures that praise God – go to these each day and read them. Just reading about praising God first thing in the morning can change your day.
  3. Too busy? You can pray anytime during the day. How? By just saying, “I thank-you and I praise You, Jesus.” It’s that simple. Whenever things are going well or wrong, Praise God.
  4. How about a litany of praises? I looked up the meaning of the word litany on Wikipedia and found this: a “litany, in Christian worship and some forms of Judaic worship, is a form of prayer used in services and processions, and consisting of a number of petitions. The word comes through Latin litania from Ancient Greek λιτανεία (litaneía), which in turn comes from λιτή (litê), meaning “supplication”.” You can write your own litany that can be something like this…
    1. Praise You God You are the Almighty One
    2. Praise You, God, You are the King of Kings
    3. Praise You God You are the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End
    4. Praise You God You are all loving
    5. Praise You God You are Merciful and Mighty
    6. Praise You, God, You are the Comforter, my Rock, and my Fortress
  5. I want to challenge you to praise God for the next 30 days. Habits are formed for some as early as 18 days or a little more than two weeks to up to two months, sometimes longer. What better way to create a habit of prayer, of praising God by actually doing it. If you think you will forget put a calendar reminder out to do it!

This challenge will make you and those around you happier. When we are happier and how can we not be if we are constantly praising God and thanking Him for the good and the bad, it will change us and those around us.

Let’s pray…

Dear Heavenly Father, God the Almighty One, we praise you and we thank you for all you have done in our lives. We were a thought in your mind until the day we were born, you’ve been with us every step of the way in our lives. You’ve journeyed this path with us, right beside us. While we sometimes wonder if you are there, we know in our hearts we are not deserted and we are truly loved. I thank-you, God and praise you God and will praise you until I draw my last breath. I thank you for the gift of faith for truly my life would not be so rich without it. I thank you and I praise you – and I pray this in the Name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Where is God In The Midst Of Tragedy?

where is God in the midst of tragedyWhere Is God In The Midst of Tragedy?

Episode 30

We often hear of a horrific event and we think, “Where is God in the midst of tragedy?” The news is all around us. Our phones send us alerts, and we have instant access to information and the availability of 24/7 news coverage. Days after any tragedy there is a constant barrage of television coverage. While this is understandable it can take a toll on our nerves and those of our loved ones.

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a few minutes with God

Show Notes:

When tragedy strikes there a sense of shock, disbelief, heartache, and sadness. When something senseless happens like the recent high school shooting, anger is added to the mix.

I remember the Columbine tragedy, the Challenger disaster, the Twin Towers – hijacked planes, the First Baptist Church massacre, the mass shootings in Las Vegas and now the tragic shooting of teens and one teacher at a high school in Parkland, Florida…

Where is God in the Midst of Tragedy?

How do we deal with this senseless act of violence?

So many times we want to ignore it we want to pretend it didn’t happen and we bury the emotional pain and trauma. Especially if we are removed in the sense that it didn’t happen to us. When the situation is closer to home, when it happens to us with a death of a loved one or an accident we often have all of the same feelings, only deeper.

When something happens that is an accident, or if an illness of a loved one is long, we tend to deal with it differently. Accidents happen, they are a way of life, the same with illness and death. If you’ve lived you’ve experienced it, none of us are unscathed this side of heaven.

Evil is real and the enemy is strong, but not as strong and victorious as our God. Free will gives us all the chance for great things. However, some turn their backs on good and opt for evil.

But God is here, He is real, He answers prayer. However, he answers prayers as He wants to in His perfect will and in His time. Friends, we can’t make God into our own image. We can’t expect Him to answer prayers according to our will.

I want to leave you with three points when you wonder where God is in the midst of tragedy…

  1. Identify the grief you are feeling and deal with it.
  2. Realize all evil is not from God, however, we can’t blame Satan. Yes, evil begins with sin, but we are capable of choice – we must take responsibility for our actions. We have free will.
  3. God is good all the time. We need to remember this. All that is good is from God.

Let’s pray—and keep those who are directly effected by this tragedy in your care, Lord – we pray for the families, for the first responders, for all the children effected, for the town, for those who heard about it in the media. Keep us in your care Lord, protect us and allow us to focus on you. And we pray this in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

 

Letting Go Letting God

Letting Go and Letting GodLetting Go and Letting God

Episode 29

Letting go and letting God takes an effort. Let’s face it, life is so unpredictable and most of the time we just can’t keep up! It can a chaotic topsy-turvey existence one spent lamenting and clinging to the what could have beens, what could I have done different or what is the next thing that will surely break me?

In this episode, I share how life experiences can be an enjoyable ride (for the most part) with hills and valleys but the assurance that God is never far!

Sponsorship – Media Angels, Inc.

a few minutes with GodA Few Minutes with God

This book explains how to hear the small still voice ~ God, in your life. Great as a gift or for tweens-to-adult.

Show Notes: Letting Go and Letting God

Yes, life happens and most of the time it can be something as small as a tiny child spilling a drink at dinner time or perhaps even a speeding ticket. But even those things can send us over the edge and in this episode, I really want to hone in on one important fact. We need to allow God to be God in our life.

For those of us with older children now, we wish for those days long gone of the spilling of drinks at the dinner table. Little kids little problems, big kids big problems!

How do we prepare when life  is out of our control? We pray, your will and we let go and let God. Let’s face it most things that “just happen” are out of our hands. People don’t plan to lose money in the stock market, people didn’t plan for the economic crash in 2009 – or whenever that affected your family. For us it was 2009 when my husband who owned his own business found work scarce. He is a builder working in the construction industry in Florida. We watched as storefronts closed, motorcycle and auto stores (the smaller ones) closed shop and the streets and the stores were like ghost towns. I remember walking into a sporting goods store at one point and there was no one as far as the eye could see, around!

We must have faith that things will get better…

Hebrews 11:1

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

We have faith because that is all that is left. We have faith because the Bible tells us that it takes conviction of not seeing the evidence and still believing.

I recently had a miraculous event I want to share with you. I have five children and the second oldest went to college nearby. She lived at home, finished in 3 years and the cost was very affordable for our income level at the time. Now, with my 4th child in college – she received a partial scholarship, thank-you Jesus and my 5th child about to go to college I was beginning to worry.

Lord we can’t afford both of them in college at one time. What do we do? I remember having a frank discussion with them about the possibility of taking out student loans. One of my children became very stressed by this… we’ve talked about not getting into debt for years! Part of the issue resides in majors – as in finding colleges that offer what they want to study, as well as those that will offer them a position on a baseball or softball team.

And, so we prayed. Over Christmas when my daughter was home from college, we gathered and discussed this situation. We decided to storm heaven as a family, each night we would pray for the situation and pray God’s will. Within, day four or five, I can’t remember, both of my children received full tuition, books, and meal plan offers. I couldn’t believe it. It seemed too good to be true. Seriously Lord – no debt. (Living costs in these states are much more reasonable than some of the other places we looked at!) Yes, they were different states but they are within 6 hours of each other.

But then reality set in … one college is 17 hours away from my house and the other is 23 hours away! Oh, Lord, that is so far away… and then I remembered. Let go and let God.

We want everything our way – we think we will be happy when we get our way but in reality, we always have another demand another request that we are asking the Lord. Of course, we should pray for everything, but we need to remember that when we pray it may not all work out the way we’d like. Letting go and letting God be God, is sometimes difficult… okay, for me it is hard.

Letting Go and Letting God takes work!

Here are some practical ways to allow the Lord to work in your life:

  1. Trust: That He has the perfect outcome in His time
  2. Freeze: Don’t make rash decisions. If you are “letting go and letting God” you don’t have to make any immediate choice – just let it be and pray.
  3. If we’ve given our Lord our problems we can expect great things to happen, not necessarily how we wish or plan – but His perfect will, so much better than ours!
  4. Thankfulness: Praise God that His answer will be miraculous, thank Him ahead of time.
  5. Hope: Without hope we are in a sad state. We can always hope but we also need to put things in God’s very capable hands.

Letting Go and Letting God means letting go of the outcome WE want, and allowing God to bring about His perfect will.

He is in charge, He has the answer, He knows what is best for my children, for me, for my husband, for my extended family. He knows my heart, He knows my prayers – in fact He knows them before I even ask!

Letting go and letting God takes faith – the faith that surpasses all understanding.

Philippians 4:7

And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

So, my prayer for you today and one that I will pray myself is for the grace to know that God’s plan is so much better than ours.

Answered Prayer

answered prayerAnswered Prayer

Episode 28

How often are we the recipient of answered prayer? We pray, unceasingly. We ask the Lord for the deepest desires of our heart and sometimes we actually have our prayers answered. Many of us are like little children when we feel that God has not answered prayer. We pout and stomp when we don’t get our way. We say things like, “God doesn’t hear my prayers,” or “I don’t hear God at all, ever!” How do we work on our prayer life, our relationship with God, and get closer to the Creator of the universe in a way that is possible given the fact that we are merely human? In this episode, we explore how even answered prayers don’t always turn out the way we hope! Sometimes the answer to our prayers are even better.

Thanks to our sponsor, Media Angels, Inc. A Few Minutes with God, The Journey Begins

a few minutes with God

Show Notes:

Jeremiah 29:11
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Show Notes: Answered Prayer

  1. Answered prayer is not always what is best for us. If we call God Father – Abba Father, then He knows best.
  2. Answered prayer sometimes is a “yes” but seems like it is a “no.” When God says yes to us, it may actually be a no to the way we hoped He would answer and a turn in what is, in the long run, a better direction.
  3. Answered prayers can be something we never thought about and ultimately we believe God didn’t answer our prayers.
  4. Turning from spoiled little children who want our own way into warriors of faith.
  5. Your will Lord, not mine. The best way to pray and seek God in all that we ask.

Combating Fear

combatting fearCombating Fear

Podcast # 27

Combating fear is something we all want. Do you worry about things? Join the club –  don’t we all? But in this episode I am going to discuss fear, the result of worry and how we, as Christians, armed with the promises of God can combat the fear and turn it to victory!

Thanks to our sponsor, Media Angels, Inc. A Few Minutes with God, The Journey Begins

a few minutes with God

Show Notes: Combating Fear

Fear gets us nowhere. It is a dead-end street that has us walking the same path again and again. It is the place that the enemy would like us to remain in because let’s face it — fear is a bondage. Fear is from the enemy.

2 Timothy 1:7

For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love, and self-discipline.

Yet, God built us to fear if we sense danger. Fear does in essence help to protect us – if we sense something instinctively it can help us to survive. Fear is natural, it keeps us away from those things that could hurt us or bad choices.

The bible also tells us that “fear of the Lord is the beginning of all understanding,” how do we take that verse? What we fear is the judgment of the Lord. If you are a follower of Christ and want to do His will – you should not fear judgment, but you should remember it as you live your life.

God is our light – He is the guiding beacon in the midst of our fears. We can have the courage to deal with the things that happen in our lives and what that takes is praying to overcome the fear. Prayer and reading Scripture verses and memorizing some can help. Another help is using acronyms to help us.

When speaking about fear in the spiritual sense, when we allow worry to cloud our thoughts and overtake our lives realize we are giving the spirit of fear permission to reside in us. The first step is in renouncing the spirit of fear.

In the Name of Jesus, I come against the spirit of fear and I renounce it – I do not give fear dominion in my life. I break any chains of fear in my life and offer it to you, Lord. Lord, I give you permission to come into my life with joy, the joy that surpasses all understanding and that reigns in the knowledge that you are in control of my life.

Here are some wonderful scriptures to write in your journal under the title of “Combating Fear” and pray, say, and memorize these wonderful scriptures:

  1. 1 John 4:18: “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.”
  2. Proverbs 29:25:  “Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.”
  3.  Matthew 10:31  “So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”
  4. Proverbs 1:7 “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.”
  5. Psalm 23:4 – “Even though I walk in the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff comfort me.”
  6. Psalm 91:14 – “Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him.”
  7. Romans 8:30-31 – “And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified. What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?”
  8. Psalm 118:6: “The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?”
  9. Psalm 27:1: “The Lord is my light and my salvation–whom shall I fear?”
  10. Luke 1:30: “But the angels said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God.”

If you are fearful and have never repented of the spirit of fear, let’s pray! (Prayer at the end of the audio.)

 

Relationship with God

relationship with GodIt’s All About Your Relationship With God

Episode 26

Do you have a relationship with God? In this world, there are so many variables that happen every day, every hour and every second. What is your Relationship with God? How do you make it work in your busy day with your crazy schedule? Do you set aside time to put God first or is He an afterthought? In this episode, I explore how to deepen your relationship with God before a crisis happens.

Thanks to our sponsor, Media Angels, Inc. A Few Minutes with God, The Journey Begins

a few minutes with God

Show Notes:

Relationships take time, they take energy, they take focus, they take determination. Relationships with others are sometimes heavy lifting because let’s face it  – humans are imperfect. So, how do you have a relationship with God? How does that work? How do you determine how much time you spend or how much focus you can put into it?

A relationship with God takes time on our side – God is always there for us – God is omnipresent. He is always there, he is outside of time and space. I think that is why I love the scripture

John 1:1-3

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him, nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.

It is one of those mind-blowing scriptures that tells us that with God there is no time – the Word of God is Jesus – He came into being by the Holy Spirit – Luke 35 in response to Mary saying she was a Virgin states: … “The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the Holy One to be born will be called the Son of God.”

We want a relationship with the God who was at the beginning of creation – who created the world – who is present with us, the triune God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

That seems so out of our capacity, doesn’t it? How can we mere mortals have a relationship with God?

  1. God calls us – He is always near, waiting for us to listen, to seek to learn. We can do this in so many ways, through the Bible or through some of the ways I’ve explained in previous podcasts.
  2. We must be open to His call – if we are in sin, if we are away from God in some way, we must repent and be open to forgiveness allowing the Lord to work in our lives.
  3. God is present in all things, but especially when we call upon His Name when we adore Him in prayer, at Church, when we pray and ask for His grace to get through the day. When we ask for forgiveness or tell Him we are sorry and repent. (Psalm 46:1)

A relationship is built upon many things:

  1. Time
  2. Love
  3. Trust
  4. Honesty
  5. Respect
  6. Openness
  7. Similar focus

These things can also apply to God.

He is always there for us, are we there for Him?

He loves us unconditionally. Can we say that we love Him even when things go wrong?

He is trustworthy. Are we equally trustworthy to Him?

He is honest. We can count on Him. Can we be honest with Him and can He count on us?

He is open with us – we know where He stands – what He offers us. God does not push or force Himself upon us, we are the ones who put up blocks in our relationship with Him. Are we open to God? Does He know where we stand?

Do we have a similar focus? God wants our salvation. He wants us to be with Him in heaven for all time. Is that our focus? Do we want the same thing?

Ask these seven things of the Lord – ask Him to help you to have the time, give you the love, the trust, the honesty, respect, openness to share your heart and similar focus on heaven. And He will. A relationship with others takes so much work but with God, it is surprisingly easy.

I invite you to deepen your relationship with God – let’s pray.

Dear Lord, I ask you to bless the listeners and invite them to a deeper relationship with you. Help them Lord to have increase their time each day, to be more productive so they have time to spend and I ask you, Lord, to give your love to them in overflowing. Give them trust, honesty, respect, openness to share their hearts with you. Give them a focus on heaven. A laser-sharp focus for heaven. And grant us your will, Lord. I want a relationship with you and I pray this for each person listening today – and I pray this is Jesus’ Name. Amen.

 

 

 

Journal How To

 journaling how toJournal – How-To

Episode 25

Do you keep a journal in the traditional way or do you keep a journal as a tool to jump start your Christian walk? Journaling is an amazing way to see the truth, answered prayers and your spiritual growth. There are many ways to journal and there is no definitive way, however, in this episode, we discuss ways to journal.

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Answered Prayer Through Journaling

answered prayer through journalingAnswered Prayer Through Journaling?

Episode 24

Only when I began journaling did I see answered prayers. Have you found that by journaling to see answered prayers you can actually see that God has listened to your pleas? In this episode, I discuss journaling as a tool as well as the blessing that I found within the pages.

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Show Notes: Answered Prayer Through Journaling

In today’s show notes, I want to ask you some questions to gauge your interest in journaling.

  1. Do I feel that God hears my prayers?
  2. Do I know how many times the Lord has answered my prayers?
  3. I have journaled in the past and …
  4. Journaling has been a passion of mine because …
  5. I’ve never tried journaling but would consider it, because…

Have you ever journaled? If so you know the impact it can have on your life and those around you. By documenting the answers to prayers, it helps us to see that the Lord hears us. In addition, it helps us by allowing us a snapshot back in time. Was there a desperate prayer, or one you really wanted answered? Was it answered? Was the answer all you hoped it would be or did it fall short.

No one said Christian life is easy, but it certainly is blessed and by journaling, you can keep an eye on ways you need to improve your relationship with God. There are many different ways you can journal. In the next episode of A Few Minutes With God Podcast, we will explore some of those ways.

Chose Happiness

chose happinessChose Happiness – the Best Choice

Episode 23

Happiness is a choice and the way we chose to live our lives is also a choice. We can choose to live our lives miserably or decide that today we chose God and therefore all we have left is to rejoice. No matter what your life circumstance the Lord knows your situation and is there to help.

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Show Notes:

Are we happy because of life circumstance or are we happy because we choose to be which is not dependent on our lives or our circumstances?

Joy transcends all understanding – Joy is given to us by the Lord, however, happiness is a choice we can make. We can select that as an option each day. Is it really depends on what is happening in our lives? Yes, but then how about we take charge, chose for God and chose to be happy. In this way the Lord can bless us with the joy that does transcend all understanding and our lives will change for the better. I promise!

  1. Chose Happiness the basis of all other choices
  2. We chose to be happy because of all the Lord has done in our lives.

1 Timothy 6:17
Verse Concepts
Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy.

Psalm 16:11
Verse Concepts
You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.

Psalm 21:6
Verse Concepts
For You make him most blessed forever; You make him joyful with gladness in Your presence.

Psalm 111:2
Verse Concepts
Great are the works of the LORD; They are studied by all who delight in them.

Time Well Spent

time well spentTime Well Spent

Episode 22

Time well spent makes us happy. If we feel accomplished, if we do things on our “lists,” it makes us feel that we’ve spent our time well. Most of us say we need more time each day, we can’t finish out tasks, we run out of time. How can we add more time to our days?

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When I look at my day I think, “What is the best use of my time each day?” Other than with my friends and family the best time is with God. How can you fill up without the One who truly gives us that grace to get through each day? Who do you spend time with and is that time well spent? In this episode, we explore how you can make the time. Let’s strive to make the most out of every minute of every day.

Look at your day, how can you incorporate time well spent? We all say we don’t have enough time each day!

  1. Identify the time wasters. Relaxing is wonderful for everyone and we don’t need to “produce” every day! However often we say we don’t have enough time for prayer because we don’t use our time wisely.
    • What are the things in your day that waste your time
    • How can you avoid the time wasters
    • Does making a list help you
    • We all waste time, and often we all need a break, so enjoy
  2. What is the one thing you can avoid? Is there something on your list that you can eliminate or reschedule in your day so that you can make more time?
    • Social media
    • Emails in the morning or afternoon
    • Shopping without a list
  3. Can you make 5-10-15 minutes or more to spend with God in prayer? Look at your lists above and see where you can add more time to your day. Five, ten or fifteen minutes helps tremendously! Time well spent with God is so helpful in our day. Often we leave prayer time to night time. Praying in the morning, the first thing you do — will change your life and is truly time well spent.
  4. Who do you spend the most time with? Is it family, friends, virtual friends? Ist it fictional characters in books? Truthfully, sometimes we let virtual friends take the place of real ones. I have good friends online, some I’ve never met in person. Nurture your friendships but remember the one who will fill you with faith, love, and joy.
  5. How can you make that time productive? Spending it with God first will increase your productivity all day long.
  6. Can you be a witness or a blessing from the Lord to someone in your life? Do you ask God to use you each day? Do you see the people in your life as a blessing? How can the Lord use you? How can you be an example of God’s love to others?

 

God’s Grace

God's GraceGod’s Grace is Sufficient

Episode 21

God’s grace, is it sufficient for you? Or do you rely on the world for the help you need? In 2 Corinthians 12:9 we read the passage that many sermons are built around, but how do we apply this to our life? In this episode, I’ll explain how I strive to have more of Him and less of me in my life.

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How do we live a grace-filled life when most of the time we can hardly get out of bed without being overwhelmed with all that needs to be done each day? Now that my children are older I’ve taken on some extra activities that put me in the path of people from all walks of life. Some are Christians, others are not, but it is hard to tell the difference. Years ago a good friend of mine used to be asked all the time, “What is different about you?” She carried the joy of Jesus Christ with her wherever she went. She was my writing partner and while we each attended different churches, she was an evangelical Christian and mostly attended non-denominational churches, I am a Catholic. We agreed on the solid foundation that without Jesus there can be no joy in your life.

Jill showed the love of Jesus in her life. She showed others that even if she was under a life burden she would still praise God. Jill loved her children unconditionally as she loved her friends and even her acquaintances. She didn’t live a life without hardship. She went through a painful divorce, bankruptcy and she died suddenly in 2007. Before she died she told me she would soon be homeless if things didn’t change in her life. Yet, she told me she was not worried – she had God. And, instead of being homeless, God took her home. I have never publically told that story before, and while I still miss her tremendously I am happy for her because I know that as she lived she was an example of God’s grace being enough.

It is the inspiration from friends that we surround ourselves with that we too can learn about that joy and that grace should be sufficient for us. That grace that surpasses anything that we can earn or attain in this world. Remember friends, it is in Him that we can have true life. As I record this episode it is the end of November and I approach the Christmas season with a sense of expectancy in the true miracle of the birth of Christ, but also in the miracle that we can be, by example for each other.

2 Corinthians 12:9

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

Another Day

another day another chanceAnother Day, Another Chance

Episode 20

Another day. Have you ever had a horrible day and wondered how you can make it to the next one? In this episode, we explore our feelings when all things happen at once and our ability to cope only with the grace of God.

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Show Notes:

References – Bible verses: Biblegateway.com

Show Notes: Another Day: Another Chance

  1. This is the day that the Lord has made – let us rejoice!
  2. God is a God of second chances.
  3. Nothing is impossible for God.
  4. Everything is a gift from God – Ecclesiastes 5:18 Behold, what I have seen to be good and fitting is to eat and drink and find enjoyment in all the toil with which one toils under the sun the few days of his life that God has given him, for this is his lot.
  5. Faith takes trust: Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

No matter how bad the day is or if you’ve messed up in some way. Go to the Lord, repent. Ask Him for forgiveness and rejoice! Tomorrow is a new day, let us rejoice and be glad.

Scripture References:

Proverbs 27:1 – Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring.

Psalm 16:11 – You make known to me the path of life; in your presence, there is fullness of joy; at our right hand are pleasures forevermore.

Colossians 3:23 – Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for me.

 

Living Well

living wellLiving Well

Episode 19

We hear the term all the time. Live well! What exactly does that mean? How can we as Christian’s live well in Christ? Is there a way to live our lives without becoming legalistic in terms of “if I do this – God will do that.” In this episode, we explore the meaning of living well and living for Christ.

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Show Notes: Living Well

Living well is a cliche, but for some living well is a way of life. If we were sitting all together in a room and I asked you, “What does living well mean to you?” I’m sure the answers would all be different. For some it is financial freedom, for others, it might be finding your true love. For some, it might mean peace within their family or having a loved one who has strayed come back to the Lord.

Living well ultimately can’t happen without wisdom. The wisdom to discern right from wrong and the wisdom to understand that living well means so much more than materialistic acquisitions or ambitions. People think that living a Christian life means compromise but it is so far from the truth. Christianity is not a set of rules and regulations that bind us, however, these ideals set us free.  The fear of Christianity is that if you follow Christ you will lose everything! I remember a faithful girl who was a friend of mine in college, she lead me through the salvation prayer although I followed the Lord, I never professed it in prayer – in that way. Everything that happened to her was horrible! Her new car was totaled. Her major included many sciences and looking into the microscope made her queasy. To an immature Christian, it would appear that following Christ equals problems! However, she showed me Jesus in a real way by the reactions to the disasters in her life. She showed, by her example, how to live a good life when all is falling apart in your world.

However, the focus on living well, in this present age, takes work. It takes learning how to pray and listen. We’ve discussed this on episodes of A Few Minutes With God Podcast, it means taking the time out of our day to spend time with God. Learning how to pray includes learning how to listen. It means seeking God’s word in the Bible and meditating on the meaning. (Ask the Holy Spirit to help you! This is a grace that the Holy Spirit bestows upon us that is there just for the asking.)

Living well means sharing your faith, learning from others with a deep faith and asking those hard questions. What does it mean to live well for Christ, and how can you live in the world without being of the world. Living in the world means living out your vocation in life – is it as a wife or father, a son or daughter, a sister or brother? Is it as a friend? Is it as a co-worker. It also means living a life that doesn’t compromise or succumb to the temptations of this world. Will we sin? Of course, but it is what happens after we sin that separates us from those who do not believe.  Repenting for our sins and asking forgiveness rather than taking pride in our sinfulness. Those who are the most vehemently opposed to Christianity are those who carry around great sins that are unconfessed. These sins are a burden and the only way they can live with these sins and call evil good is to put down others who think differently.

Living well means not putting down those who oppose us, but praying for them daily. It means avoiding those who would lead us to temptation by staying far away, even if it means changing jobs or removing ourselves from those who are toxic in our lives. If a situation is a dangerous one we should seek help or advice from someone trusted.

Living well has nothing to do with wealth or an accumulation of things, this has nothing to do with living. The world will tell you that living well is a wonderful vacation, a spa day or a shopping spree. Yet, what happens once you return from that fabulous vacation, spa day or shop? The real world awaits. Things break. Work is still waiting for use each day. So, isn’t it better to embrace each day, be thankful for what we have or don’t have and focus on living for the Lord?

Living well does not guarantee we will no longer have trouble. It does mean that the trouble will ultimately be fleeting. No matter how wonderful the things of this world are that nothing compares to the love of God. Living well means praying for God’s wisdom to follow His roadmap for living a good life through the words in The Bible. Do you take each time to read the Word?

God wants to use each one of us – spend time each day in prayer and ask Him to come further into your life. Let’s pray – Dear Lord Jesus, I praise you in all things and I thank you for all things. I thank you for the small and the large inconveniences, and I thank you for the gift of life. Mine and those you’ve brought into my life. I ask you, Lord, to help me understand the meaning of living well through you, help me in my Christian walk and help me in all I do, let it bring you all the glory and honor you deserve. And, I pray this in Jesus’s Name, Amen.

Scripture verse references:

Matthew 6:34

Psalms 16:11

Overwhelmed – Find God!

Overwhelmed Find GodOverwhelmed? Find God!

Episode 18

Overwhelmed, find God! When you are overwhelmed that is the perfect time to find God. In this episode, I’ll discuss how you can find God even when you are under pressure, busy or overwhelmed by life. It is the perfect way to get refreshed in a hurry and continue on with your schedule. This sure-fire way has been my go-to for years, and when I actually *remember to do this, it has been a lifesaver.

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Thanks to our sponsor, Media Angels, Inc. A Few Minutes with God, The Journey Begins

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Other episodes you may enjoy on our sister network, and my podcast Vintage Homeschool Moms.

No time for Mom

Depression During The Holiday

Show Notes: Overwhelmed? Find God.

Spiritual Side:

  1. Identify why you are overwhelmed. Writing helps
  2. Ask for an infilling of the Holy Spirit.
  3. Renew your commitment to the Lord.
  4. Ask the Lord to give you more of HIM and less of you.

Practical Applications:

  1. Ask God to help you find answers
    • Simplification
    • An answer to a pressing problem
    • Cutting back
    • Saying, No!
  2. Find God in the simple things
    • Sit and listen
    • Enjoy the outdoors
    • Watch the antics in nature
  3. Ask God to use you.
    • To be an answer to someone else’s prayers
    • To be His hands and feet
  4. All God asks for is our love – that’s it!

Rejoice, the Lord is waiting for you to ask, and He is ready to answer. You can find the Lord even when you are overwhelmed and especially when you are so busy — like during the Christmas holiday. The Lord has an answer. The Lord hears you. It is that small still quiet voice. Are you listening?

Divine Appointments

Divine Appointments

Episode 17

Have you missed Divine appointments? Have you experienced one? What is a Divine appointment? All this and more will be discussed in this podcast.

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What is a Divine Appointment?

It is a time when the Lord allows you to meet someone who you can help – perhaps by sharing the Lord, something He’s done for you – or perhaps just listen and pray for someone. You will know it is from the Lord because:

  1. The person will say, “How did you know?” or something similar.
  2. You can’t remember saying that –or you feel lead by the Lord to pray for the person.
  3. The person expresses an improvement in their situation – perhaps you’ve helped them by praying, or shared a situation with them that the Lord is urging you to share and it is just what they needed to here. Or, perhaps you tell them about the Lord and lead them to a prayer of acceptance of the Lord Jesus as Savior!

Have you experienced one?

  1. Someone has helped you through a situation and you feel so blessed by it.
  2. Someone responds to a need without you even sharing you had this need.
  3. A person calls who you meant to call – possibly lead by the Lord because the Lord has put you on this person’s heart… and that person helps you in some way.

How can you hear the Lord to intercede for someone else?

The entire theme of these podcasts is listening to the Lord – hence the name of this podcast – AFMWG … are you spending time daily in prayer? Are you growing in your walk with the Lord each day? I heard a wonderful sermon where the pastor taught if you are not moving ahead you are moving behind!

Keep praying and asking the Lord to use you – to use you to intercede for others in prayer, to use you in ministry to others, however, you feel prompted to be used by Him. If you have someone you can pray with for discernment if it is something big – like street ministry (share Sue Ellen’s invitation to me…) etc. do pray with a pastor or friend.

Keep an open mind – hearing the Lord takes practice if we are so busy talking it is hard sometimes to discern HIS voice over our own.

Know by the fruit if you mess up – if you reach out and someone is not open to hearing anything or you don’t feel like you are helping that was from YOU and not the Lord. It happens – just learn from this experience but don’t shut the door! It is better to be a fool for the Lord than to just be a fool!

Sometimes a person may not be ready to hear and you are only planting seeds – just quietly pray first before calling or approaching a person and the best advice I can give you is to say nothing unless you are prompted by the Lord to speak! Sometimes the best advice is no advice and just a listening ear… (share Gina’s listening ear to me!).

  1. You keep thinking about this person – and you pray for them, but the Lord keeps bringing this person to mind. This may mean you need to reach out to them – check in and say, “hi!”
  2. If you do reach out – listen!
  3. Pray as the person talks – ask the Lord to give you the words HE wants you to say

Share the story about “Mary” – waitress – led her to the Lord.

Heavenly Father, I ask you to let me know when I should be your hands, your feet and your voice to someone in need. Father, use me to do your will – use me to help others – use me to be an intercessor in prayer by calling someone to mind who needs prayers. Lord help me to learn to discern your small still voice so I can know it is from you and not my own thoughts. Lord I pray for all who a, e listening today, that you send your Holy Spirit with every good gift – renew the gifts of the Holy Spirit in their lives, stir up the Spirit to minister to others, and I pray this in the precious Name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Answers From God

Answers From GodAnswers From God

Episode #16

Do you want answers from God? Does God know a better solution to your problems – even better than anything you can come up with? In this episode, I share what the Lord has done in my life and how His amazing ways are so much better than mine!

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Show Notes:

Please help me share this podcast! Please help us out – Please help share this episode with your friends! And, please give this show a star rating on iTunes (search for A Few Minutes With God Podcast) or any podcast app on your smartphone. Thanks so much for helping share this show with your friends!

Where do I start? First, I want to remind you that this podcast does have a purpose and that is to encourage you daily to spend a few minutes –hopefully, longer, with God! Do you spend time each day in hearing God’s small still voice? I hope so!!

Do you trust God? Dumb question right? Of course, we trust God – He is the Almighty the Creator of Heaven and Earth – He died on the cross, rose from the dead, and has opened the gates of heaven… we trust God, even our money says, “In God we trust.” But do we really? In our life we’ve been taught to be self-sufficient to get up and produce, we are not slack! We work hard to let go and let God.

So then why do live lives that are burdened, or worrisome, or hold on to past hurts? Why do we look at the godly people in the past – the Saints of the Bible – or the people in our lives and say, “I can’t be like them.” Recently there was a major decision I needed to deal with… I gave it to the Lord, I asked Him to take the burden away, I put out many fleeces to the Lord – please Lord show me, please Lord tell me what to do, please, Lord, please Lord.

How He wasn’t sick of hearing from me, I’ll never know!

And this went on for some time. In fact, the easiest way to deal with this problem was not to deal with it at all. As the time grew closer when I finally needed to address the issue, my husband and I prayed and we decided to give it to God. Even if we did not like the outcome. Without going into a very, very long story… we had decided it was time to downsize, yet our home was still quite full. Where were we moving to Lord? Help us Lord to find a perfect home where everyone could fit – one that was in our price range, one that could accommodate construction vehicles for my husband’s business…

So, I began looking and what I found were some gorgeous properties that were in and out of our price range and yet, not one could accommodate our family. Either it had space in the home but not the yard or vice versa. So, our prayer went something like this – Lord take it. Take it all, I can’t deal with this any longer. You can have everything, our property, and possessions… and then tragedy struck! My father went in for a routine physical and within a few weeks was gone!

I was devastated. Life came to a screeching halt – but I heard one very clear message – the Lord was telling me not to worry, that the outcome would be better than anything I could imagine. Are you kidding? I’m a writer. I can imagine some really great things! After this quick commercial break, I’ll share with you the outcome and how when the Lord makes a promise He over delivers!

Friends, God works in mysterious ways, Amen? He does – He works on His own timing, not ours. This prayer about our house – what to do, do we stay or do we sell – do we move out of our area – how do we make it all work? This prayer went on from about 2009 to 2017 when the solution finally came. The clearly showed us through a series of events that we were to stay in our home – and I still can’t believe it!

It was not even an option I considered. And that is another long story.

God is amazing and He only asks a few things.

  1. Pray
  2. Everything is a Gift
    1. We give all to Him
    2. It’s not our anyway, everything is a gift from God
  3. Unite our will to His
    1. God knows best
    2. That we agree that whatever happens He will take care of it
  4. That we listen
    1. That small-still-voice will speak to our heart
  5. Prepare for the worse and hope for the best
    1. Releasing things into God’s hands
    2. Allowing Him to work in our lives.
  6. Thank God ahead of time
    1. We thank God in advance for answered prayers
    2. We thank God in advance even if our prayers are not answered in the way we would like to hear.

Let me pray for you –

Dear Lord, I don’t know what is going on in the hearts and minds of the listeners but You do and You have a perfect plan for each of our lives. Lord we release all things to You, all of our possessions and all of our wants and needs –we give them to You because we know You love us more than we will ever know or comprehend, You love us with a pure love and know what is best for us. We ask Lord that You hear our prayers and that You answer them in a way that is better than anything we can imagine Lord – I ask this for those listening today just like You answered my prayer in that way. I praise You ahead of time and thank-you for your perfect will for our lives and I pray this is the precious Name of Jesus, Amen!

 

 


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Infusion Of Joy

infusion of joyInfusion of Joy

Episode #15

Want more joy in your life? In this episode, I discuss the joy that surpasses all understanding and how it is there for the taking….

Sponsor: Media Angels, Inc. Novels – Truth Seekers Mystery Series available on Amazon. Three novels for tweens!

Thanks to our sponsor, Media Angels, Inc. A Few Minutes with God, The Journey Begins

a few minutes with God

Welcome to another episode of AFMWG Podcast – I pray that today’s podcast is uplifting for you! I can’t wait to share with you something that happened to me this morning, in fact when I was praying about it… I really felt lead to share this with you today, while it is fresh in my mind…
Share This Podcast:

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Show Notes: Infusion of Joy

Like many of you, I have had a rough time dealing with some life issues. Whether it is concern about my children, praying for college choices, scholarship offers, SAT results, great performance on the field and in the classroom, safety for my sons and husband on the job site, the news that I need a tooth extraction because perhaps the infection has entered the never, or bone—or a more important concern for my in-laws who were displaced from their destroyed house after hurricane IRMA, as well as the repairs, although minor happening at my own house, some shingles that blew off one section of the roof, a fried softener panel, and washing machine, some lights and fans that blew, an so on – there is always something to be concerned or worried about in our life…right?

I’m sure if you listed out all your concerns I’d say to you – oh, my gosh. How can you handle it? You must be depressed!

Last night my husband and I prayed for all of our needs, and I prayed specifically that the Lord would take the BURDEN off of my shoulders and put it at the foot of the cross for Him to deal with …

I know as a Christian I do not need to carry any burdens. I understand the Jesus died once and for all for my sins so that I could rejoice someday in heaven, I know that this is not heaven… yet, I’m made of human flesh and bones and I continue to fall time and time again under the heavy burden of life! When I woke up this morning I was joyful – I had no idea why. I wanted to sing praises from the top of my lungs. It was the joy that surpasses all understanding. Friends we don’t have to carry our burdens and in just a few minutes I will share with you a short prayer that you can pray each day to remind yourself of this very fact.

So, how do you pray for an Infusion of JOY?

Joy is a gift it is a pure blessing from the Lord it isn’t something we can select for the day. Sure, we can ask, “Lord, today I’d like to be joyful.” Or we can purpose to be joyful by deciding today I will praise the Lord and chose joy. However, when you are in the midst of problems and YOU are joyful then you know that you know that you know – that it is a gift from the Lord.

How does this happen? I’m going to share with you the prayer my husband and I prayed. Before I share this prayer with you, let me say that I know that Jesus died once and for all and He has risen – He is no longer on the cross.

I also know that with God there is NO time – I know I’m getting a little deep philosophically and theologically – but it is true. God has no beginning, middle or end. We are the finite creatures – you and me, but not God.
So – when I say, “I put this at the foot of your cross.” I am talking about the past. If God truly died for my sins (before, the finite creature I am was born)… then I can go back, theologically speaking and put my sins at the foot of the cross.

Make sense? I hope so!

Here is our prayer…
Dear Lord Jesus, we praise You and we thank You. We thank You for all the things that happened today, the good and the not so good. We praise You in all things and we ask that You continue to show us Your way, to make crooked paths straight. We ask that You help us to know Your will in all that we do in our lives. Dear Jesus, we give you all of our burdens, we take them off of our backs and put them at the foot of Your cross for You to deal with. Perfect love casts all fear (1 John 4:18) and we ask that You take away all fear and uncertainty away from us and allow us to TRUST your perfect will for our lives. Thank-you Jesus for dying for us and rising from the dead so we could have everlasting life. Thank-you Jesus, thank you!

Let’s look at this prayer –

  1. Praise God. He deserves all of our praise, in the good and in the not so good
  2. We ask that he straightens our paths. That if we’ve sinned against him he makes our path straight. We ask that God calls to mind any place we need to ask forgiveness of Him for the wrongs of the day.
  3. We give God our free will and by our free will we place all our concerns at His feet.
  4. You give all your problems to the Lord – put your burdens at the foot of the CROSS
  5. We pray any scripture verse that comes to mind – if we are fearful we pray against that – if we are depressed we pray against that – whatever comes to mind, ask the Lord to take it away from you. “In the Name of Jesus, I come against depression and put it at the foot of your cross.”
  6. Jesus is risen. He is alive. He is no longer nailed to the cross – and He can purify us because He loves u. We trust in Him, He is our Abba Father, the beginning, and the end, the Name above all Names. He loves us so much and He has our best interests in mind.
  7. We continue to praise Him in all things and continue it into our day!

I hope this prayer helps you – I pray that you wake up with the joy that surpasses all understanding!

Let’s pray together now…

Dear Jesus, I pray for those who are listening to this prayer. Lord, I know that You hold us in the palm of Your hand, that You know the number of hairs on our heads, that You have our best interests in mind – and the most important is eternal life with You. I rejoice for that time, Lord! Until then, I ask that You call to mind anyways we have offended you _____________ I give You of those incidents and I ask for Your forgiveness. Dear Lord, You are worthy of all of our praise and I praise You right now, I praise You and I thank You, Lord Jesus. Thank-you for all You have done for me, for my family, for those close to me and those who are far away from You. I ask a blessing on all of those listening today, that You enter their hearts in a powerful way – that You make yourself evident to them. I ask You to give them a gift, the Joy that surpasses all understanding…the Joy that only comes from uniting our imperfect will to Your Perfect Will… I thank You for this gift and I ask that You bless us in the Name of Jesus, Amen.

 


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Blueprint For Making MAJOR Decisions

blueprint major decisionsBlueprint For Making MAJOR Decisions

Episode #14

Using a blueprint for making major decisions.

Every once in awhile making major decisions is a must, and having a blueprint for making major decisions is important. Decisions such as where do I go to college, should I change jobs, should I write a book – should I do another podcast? Those are some of the decisions I’ve had to make in my life. In this episode, I’ll discuss a blueprint for making those major decisions in your life!

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Major decisions can hold us captive! What do we do? Where do we turn? Oh if God would only answer us clearly we could make good decisions, quickly! How does this happen? It happens with lots of perseverance and prayer as well as some of the steps I’ll share with you.

So, if you listened to the previous podcast – episode 13 you will hear some of the same points mentioned except with a few powerful additions. Making a big decision includes those that can impact you for the rest of your life – I remember when praying for a spouse, I finally gave up. The choices were slim and in my town, truthfully with teaching full time I had no time – and my workplace had one single guy who I was not interested in – at all.

It was difficult to think about my future and I finally said, “Lord if you want me to be single forever that is fine with me – your will Lord, not mine.” I gave it to Him. I could not make decisions at that point – such as moving to another town, closer to some college friends.

Well, the Lord took care of it by having my now husband move into the same town to teach school, he and I went to the same college and while I knew him, I did not know him that well. But, I did think he was awfully cute – and I still think that 38 years later!

This blueprint for making major decisions is a process I’ve used with some additions and modifications throughout the from years. The hard knocks of life and real-life experiences have caused me to fine tune my list. When do I use this blueprint for making major decisions? When I had to make those big decisions – what do I do about college, a job – which one to take – what do I do about homeschooling Lord –should I or shouldn’t I? Lord, should I write a book? Lord, should I podcast? I will tell you in those times I did not turn to the Lord first – no, I’m not perfect – often things fell apart!

I’m quick to jump into a new idea and often the Lord is there to catch me. In those big decisions, we need to give our ALL to Him and he will not let us down.

Blueprint Making Major Decisions:

Here are some helpful tools to use in praying for those major decisions.

  1. Pray specifically for your decision.
    • God knows, but do you?
    • Stress creates havoc on nerves, be single-minded in prayer
  2. Be open to God’s will in your life.
    • Sometimes it may not be specifically what you want to hear.
    • Sometimes God’s will is different than our own
    • Sometimes we think we “hear” God, but need confirmation
  3. Give it to the Lord
    • Praying and seeking God means leaving it at His feet
    • Try not to dwell on it further
    • Let go and let God
  4. Ask the Lord’s guidance
    • Pray for guidance
    • Seek outside help, friend or a pastor
    • Look for guidance in the Bible
  5. Read Scripture
    • Pray specifically, and read through Scripture
    • Sometimes the Lord answers prayers in verses you’ve read 100 times before
    • Be open to the Lord’s word and your prayer request
  6. Pray specifically for your need and ask the Lord to give you the gift of knowledge about what to do.
    • Many gifts fo the Holy Spirit
    • Ask the Lord for the Gift of Knowledge, peace, joy
  7. Our subconscious listens and often when we are in tune with God
    • Ideas will come into our minds, miraculously
    • We can pray and think about thoseWrite anything down that comes to you.
  8. Write anything down that comes to you.
    • Keep a journal
    • Be sure to take “co-incidences” with a grain of salt (more in the audio)
    • God-incidences do happen but keep our eyes focused on Him, not just the events
  9. Look into your options
    • Research
    • Be informed
    • If needed visit the place or seek more information.
  10. Seek counsel if you continue to be stuck.
  11. Ask the Lord to direct you
    • We are constantly praying in this situation, however ask for direction if you are still “stuck”
    • Praise Him ahead of time.
  12. Continue to read Scripture
    1. Believe that the Lord talks to us through His word.
  13. Pray about any thoughts
    • Ask the Lord to confirm thoughts that come to mind
    • Confirmation can be through others or the Bible
  14. Do you have peace of mind?
    • Peace is a sign from the Lord that it is right.
    • If you are stressed or agitated keep praying!
  15. Be careful with signs – continue to journal
    • Continue to journal
    • See #8 above.
    • Sometimes we look for those God-incidences and while those are wonderful, we want to use caution.
  16. Make an informed decision.
    • Don’t just go on feeling, especially if this is a major decision.
    • Think wisely with your head – and your heart.
    • Sometimes you just know-that-you-know!
  17. If you can’t make a decision… wait!
    • Satan rushes, God leads
    • Pray and continue to read scripture.
  18. Once you make a decision trust in the Lord and give it to Him.
    • Surrender to God.
    • Have peace about the decision.
  19. Ask the Lord to go ahead of you and prepare the way.
    • Praying for intervention
    • Praying for those involved in your decision.
  20. If you make a mistake learn from this and regroup.
    • Go back to the Lord and ask Him for help – again!
    • God can make crooked paths straight
    • If it was the wrong decisions look at this as a learning tool
  21. Give all the glory and praise to God!
    • God deserves our praise for the little and big things in our lives
    • Praise conquers all! Continue to praise God in all of the success in your life
    • Continue to praise God in all the failures in your life!

 

Make your decision for the glory of God – not for ulterior motives, sometimes we want the Lord to bend to our will – and sometimes the Lord allows those mistakes to teach you that HIS way is best. Use all of these methods as a tool but not a miracle guide – it is a blueprint and blueprints are meant to be added onto and revised. This list can be used to add your own revelations from the Lord.

The main idea here is don’t jump or be hasty with your major decisions – rely on the Lord and He will not only make your paths straight He will guide you along the way!

 


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Blueprint for Making Decisions

blueprint making decisionsA Blueprint for Making Decisions

Episode #13

Do you have a blueprint for making decisions? You should, because all of us make decisions 24/7 – but how often do we take our decisions – even if they are small to the Lord in prayer? In this podcast, I discuss a blueprint for making decisions with prayer.

Thanks to our sponsor – Media Angels, Inc. 

Sponsor: Media Angels, Inc. Novels – Truth Seekers Mystery Series available on Amazon. Three novels for tweens!

Thanks to our sponsor, Media Angels, Inc. A Few Minutes with God, The Journey Begins

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Decision making is always tough, but sometimes, for the little things, in particular, we often put God in a box, and don’t want to “bother Him” with the little things or we feel it is too silly to ask. Nothing is too little or too big for our God – He is the Almighty One – ready to hear the prayers from the hearts of His children. How many of you pray for a parking spot? I know I did and even had my children join in prayer. What a wonderful example of the power of prayer and the power of asking God for everything, every decision.

Today we will discuss those prayers that involve making a decision. I believe this is a blueprint that will help you tremendously. I will share in podcast 14 a more in-depth prayer blueprint for making major decisions through prayer.

Blueprint For Making Decisions

  1. Pray specifically for a need.
    • Of course, God already knows but it helps us to fine-tune our ask
    • Shows us whether a decision is necessary or not
  2. Give it to the Lord – and do not dwell on it further.
    • Allowing God to be God of every aspect of our lives
    • Giving it to the Lord allows us to release our needs into His hands
    • Accepting God’s will in our life
  3. Read Scripture –
    • Daily, and when in prayer for a decision more often
    • Listen after you pray
  4. Pray specifically for your needs and ask the Lord to give you the gift of knowledge about what to do.
    • Gifts of the Holy Spirit are many, ask for specific gifts
  5. Our subconscious listens and often when we are in tune with God
    •  Ideas will come into our minds, miraculously
    • We can pray and think about those ideas.
  6. Write anything down that comes to you.
    • Journal ideas as they come
    • Write down pertinent scripture verses
  7. Look into your options
    • Being informed is important.
    • Research your options
  8. Pray about any thoughts that come to mind and ask the Lord to confirm these.
  9. Do you have peace of mind?
    • Peace about a decision is a sign from the Lord that it is right.
    • If you are stressed or agitated keep praying!
  10. Make a decision.
  11. If you can’t make a decision… wait!
    • Pray and continue to read scripture.
  12. Once you make a decision trust in the Lord and give it to Him.
  13. Ask the Lord to go ahead of you and prepare the way.
  14. Give all the glory and praise to God!

Remember, this is only a blueprint – you can never put God in a box, He is worthy of all the glory, honor and praise – we are only His instruments. Use this blueprint to help you in your decision making and often it will just come naturally. Reaching out in prayer is a sign that you are open to God’s will in your life. I pray the Lord blesses you in your decision making and helps guide you on your path!

 

Your Will Lord

Your will LordYour Will Lord

Episode #12

How often have we struggled against what we want and what actually happens in our life? In this podcast, I explore the difference between wishing for another time, another place or another life -and ways to embrace the life you have.

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Thanks to our sponsor, Media Angels, Inc. A Few Minutes with God, The Journey Begins

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Help us by sharing

Please help us out – Please help share this episode with your friends! And, please give this show a star rating on iTunes (search for AFMWG) or any podcast app on your smartphone. Thanks so much for helping share this show with your friends!

Show Notes: Your Will Lord 

  1. Life happens
    • Often when things happen in our lives the first words we utter are, “Why me, Lord?”
    • How do we combat our self-pity?
  2. When tragedy strikes
    • Regrouping
    • First things first
  3. Out of control
    • Losing control
    • Understanding
  4. Our of our control
    • God’s got this
    • Moving over and letting God
  5. The difference between real and perceived struggles
    • What can you do?
    • What can’t you do?
  6. Allowing God to work in our lives
    • Letting go
    • Allowing more of Him and less of us
  7. Only one right way?
    • Who is right?
    • Who is in control?
  8. How to deal with the stress
    • Always stress
    • Handling stress well
  9. One thing
    • Most immediate
    • In the right order
  10. Coping
    • Short term
    • Long-term

Asking Forgiveness

askingforgivenessAsking For Forgiveness

Episode #11

Asking forgiveness is never easy. Have you hurt someone you love or someone close to you? Do you have trouble asking for forgiveness? In this episode we will explore how asking for forgiveness can set yourself and others free.

Sponsor: Media Angels, Inc. Novels – Truth Seekers Mystery Series available on Amazon. Three novels for tweens!

Thanks to our sponsor, Media Angels, Inc. A Few Minutes with God, The Journey Begins

a few minutes with God

Show Notes:

Please help us out! Share this episode with your friends and please give this show a star rating on iTunes (search for A Few Minutes With God) or any podcast app on your smartphone. Thanks so much!

Reminder: First, I want to remind you to spend a few minutes with God each day – I hope your prayer time has increased as these broadcasts are a reminder to pray and LISTEN to that small still voice. In order to hear God, we must spend the time.

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Show Notes: Asking For Forgiveness

The Bible is filled with verses about the tongue!

James 3:8 – But no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless, evil, full of deadly poison.

Matthew 12:36-37: I tell you on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words will you be justified, and by your words, you will be condemned.”

  1. If we pray and really take a few minutes with God and really think about that verse in Matthew – we will give account for every careless word. Ouch!
  2. How are we expected to tame our tongue?
  3. Have you asked for forgiveness? It is never easy.

When we mess up it is time to get on our needs and pray. It is also time to ask those you’ve hurt to forgive you.

Asking for Forgiveness

The Bible says …

The word of God is sharper than a two-edged sword – Hebrews 4:12

The difference between: “I’m sorry.”, or “Please forgive me?”

  1.  I’m sorry you are basically keeping all the power or intent in your corner. You are apologizing but it really is one-sided – what if the person you say you are sorry to does not forgive you or release you from that hurt?
  2. “Please forgive me,” you are asking the person to release you from the hurt – to join you in the process of repairing the relationship and bringing healing to you both.
  3. Asking for forgiveness can set you free, is a sign of humility, and allows the Lord to be Lord of your life.

Asking for Forgiveness — a call to action:

Pick up the phone, write a letter, an email or text message someone today. Ask for forgiveness and take charge of your life for Christ.

God bless and I pray that the Lord blesses you today and allows you to be set free!

 

 

Forgiveness

forgivenessForgiveness

Episode #10

It isn’t a feeling, it isn’t something we want to do, but it is totally freeing! In this podcast learn how a situation in my life turned into a blessing when I understood the true meaning of the gift of forgiving others.

Sponsor: Media Angels, Inc. Novels – Truth Seekers Mystery Series available on Amazon. Three novels for tweens!

Thanks to our sponsor, Media Angels, Inc. A Few Minutes with God, The Journey Begins

a few minutes with God

Ministry Books :

A Few Minutes with God &

Secret Code Time

Show Notes: Episode 10 – Forgiveness

Forgiveness – that is such a beautiful word – in this episode, we will explore the difference between forgiveness as a feeling and as a decision.

Please help us out – Please help share this episode with your friends! And, please give this show a star rating on iTunes (search for AFMWG) or any podcast app on your smartphone. Thanks so much for helping share this show with your friends!

Show Notes: Forgiveness:

  1. Misunderstandings, lies, and false accusations bring hurt to both parties. No one is left unwounded.

 

  1. I had to make a decision to forgive.
  2. Once you can make a decision to forgive you ask the Lord to help you.

The prayer I prayed asking for forgiveness:

Dear Lord, I know I am a sinner and only redeemed by your grace and what you did on the cross and resurrection for me. I know that only through your grace can I forgive my friend. I know you love this person and I ask you to give me that love – the love you have for

Dear Lord, I know I am a sinner and only redeemed by your grace and what you did on the cross and resurrection for me. I know that only through your grace can I forgive my friend. I know you love this person and I ask you to give me that love – the love you have for them, because Lord I cannot do this on my own. I pray to forgive this person as you have forgiven me, and to love this person, and I pray this in Jesus Name, Amen.

  1. Forgiveness became a feeling.
  2. Praying a blessing on our “enemies” works!

Another Prayer:

Dear Lord, I know I am a sinner and only redeemed by your grace and what you did on the cross and resurrection for me. I know that only through your grace can I forgive my friend. I decide in the Name of Jesus to forgive – because I’ve been forgiven. I know you love this person and I ask you to give me that love – the love you have for them because Lord I cannot do this on my own. I pray to forgive this person and to love this person, and I pray this in Jesus Name, Amen.

Do you have people in your life that have annoyed you – that have hurt you? And you know in your heart that you have been wronged? Let’s pray – let’s give that to the Lord today and allow the Lord to free you as He has freed me!

Dear Lord, I know I am a sinner and only redeemed by your grace and what you did on the cross and resurrection for me. I know that only through your grace can I forgive my friend. I decide in the Name of Jesus to forgive – because I’ve been forgiven. I know you love this person and I ask you to give me that love – the love you have for them because Lord I cannot do this on my own. I pray to forgive this person and to love this person, and I pray this in Jesus Name, Amen.

Let’s go forth – you and me, together proclaiming as the apostles did – what the Lord has done for them!

Scriptures on forgiveness:

Colossians: 3:13 – Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.

Matthew: 6:14-15 – For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

What are your favorite forgiveness scriptures? Make a list of these and pray them when you have difficulty forgiving.

 

Author Erin Odom

erin odom authorNewly Published Author Erin Odom with Felice Gerwitz

Podcast #8

Erin Odom, author!  Hear how newly published author, Erin Odom received her first book contract. Here she discusses getting “found” by an agent who signed her to a contract at Zondervan, publishers. In this episode, Erin shares her success first in blogging, then in obtaining an agent and finally in holding that copy of her published book in her hands!

Erin Odom, author of Just Making It: Hope for the Heart of the Financially Frustrated, published by Zondervan, a division of HarperCollins Christian! She blogs at Thehumbledhomemaker.com Erin blogs about motherhood, homemaking, healthy living and family finances.

Show Notes: New Author Erin Odom

Here is her new book:

Just Making It: Hope for the Heart of the Financially Frustrated,

  1. Blog in 2011 started a blog – htttp://www.thehumbledhomemaker.com
  2. Self-publishing books – available on her website and Amazon
  3. Grew passionate about writing and sharing money saving tips.
  4. Wrote several other books- self published
  5. Contacted by other publishers – didn’t feel it was right
  6. Christian literacy agent contacted Erin, because of her blog.
  7. Researched the agent.
  8. Prayed – God said, walk in this… his timing was right. Signed with the agent.
  9. Sent in a book proposal when God’s timing is right. Almost two years later. Sent to her agent.
  10. Within a month book offers came in – Erin accepted the contract with Zondervan.
  11. Practical tips:
    1. Compelling book idea meet a need
    2. To be able to write
    3. To have some type of platform

 

Podcasting Tools

podcasting toolsPodcasting Tools

Episode #6

You may think that podcasting tools only means the microphones, the soundboards or what is the best computer program to use in creating a quality product. Well, while those things are important it is the “tools” you use beforehand that makes a significant difference. In this episode of Writing and Podcasting Advice, Felice tackles the tools of the trade and what she uses almost every time she prepares to create a new podcast.

Show Notes. Podcasting Tools

  1. Ideas notebook – use technology – such as a smart phone – I also use a calendar and create ideas for upcoming podcasts in groups of 4 or more per month. You can use a word processing software or some people like Evernote.
  2. Script: I outline each show – making sure to add information such as where to find the show notes, o to how get the pdf I might create for the show or even where to get more information, perhaps an extra audio or opt-in for a sample product. This is typically written in a word processing software. If you want to collaborate with someone you can use the Google Docs free software with a Gmail account.
  3. Recording room. A friend used to record her songs in the bathroom because of the amazing acoustics in that small space. I use a room with carpeting and wall hangings that absorb the sound … you don’t want anything that causes reverberation or echoing that can cause a horrible sounding audio.
  4. Interviewing: I use paid software like InstantTeleseminar (affiliate link here). What I like – you can use your cell phone to call in, interview one or multiple people at a time, and add an intro, and outro music or commercials – and download the finished product to your own computer! It is awesome. The downside, the audio sounds like a phone call.

Another alternative is to use Skype – some people prefer this. I don’t personally use Skype but I’ve been interviewed by people who do – You can look at your windows or mac computer for apps to record the conversation on your computer. You may need to combine tracks with your own audio editor.

  1. You can record on your iPhone or Android phone. Recently one of my podcasters sent me an audio recorded on her iPhone and I was shocked at the great quality of the audio. She doesn’t have the most recent phone, either. It worked great. Look for recording apps in your app store. You may be surprised at the quality results. We’ve come a long way in the improvement of software.
  2. Recording microphones. My two personal favorites are simple USB plug in microphones. The first is a Samson CO1U Studio condenser mic. I use this with a cover (to prevent the “popping” typical of saying an “p” word. This mic is awesome for interviews or presentations. It will pick up sounds across the room, so you will get audience background noise – laughter, clapping, etc. The second is the audio-Technica ATR2100-USB. You have to hold this microphone close to your mouth for good quality audios but the plus side, you can’t hear background noise. It is a very good quality.
  3. Recording software. There are so many options I’m not sure where to start. You can use an online option like InstantTeleseminar however if you want to record on your computer two free software can not be beat! The first is audacity, the second is GarageBand standard on a Mac. I use both a PC and a Mac. The Mac quality for recording is wonderfully rich. I tend to use the Mac and save it to a mp3. You plug in your microphone and go! This software also allows you to edit. Visit youtube for videos on step-by-step solutions.
  4. Album Cover Art. Here you need a graphic artist or someone that understands good quality cover art. iTunes standard at this time is 1600x 1600 dpi or 2400×2400 dpi. This has changed recently, in the not so distant past the dimensions were 1400×1400 – this is something we keep track of with all of our podcasters on this network and others I run.
  5. ID3 Tagging. Each audio must be tagged. It is similar to adding a byline to a document so that you add your copyright information. I use ID3Tagger software but there are many out there.
  6. Add or submitting your podcast to the iTunes store. One way to do this is going to be answered in storage. Are you storing your audio on your own website/server, or are you going to use a storage company such as Amazon S3, Libsyn, or Blubrry. These submissions to iTunes, GooglePlay, Stitcher, TuneIn, etc. are very important and must be done correctly. Your correct feed submission is important as well. *we handle this for all our podcasters
  7. Graphics – must use copyright free for any marketing or social media campaign. Also, we recommend to our podcasters that each episode should have a special graphic or picture. My favorites are Depositphotos,
  8. Image editing online – Canva, PicMonkey, or install GIMP (which is like Photoshop). You can subscribe to Adobe online tools or Microsoft products. I have moved to a yearly subscription over purchasing the software since it is less expensive and keeps me up to date with the latest improvements. I use Microsoft publisher but there are a few steps I go through to get the finished product. It is a software I’m comfortable with having used it since 1992 – yes, that long, so it is second nature to me.
  9. Email – many use MailChimp because it is easily integrated into WordPress websites, I use ActiveCampign.

Software links: Podcasting Tools

Subscriber software: here

How to publish podcasts using WordPress: more information here

More free podcasting tools here

 

 

Disclosure:

This post may include affiliate links where I may receive compensation via click-throughs, however I use other things that are often not affiliates as well.

True Happiness & Joy

true happiness and joyTrue Happiness and Joy — Finding God’s Will

with Felice Gerwitz

Podcast #9

True Happiness and Joy God’s will. The repentant thief on the cross that asked for forgiveness from our Lord, comes to mind as I consider true happiness and to some that may seem really odd – I mean he was dying – right? But, he realized – okay at the very end – but still, he realized he was wrong and he repented and he believed

Sponsor: Media Angels, Inc. Novels – Truth Seekers Mystery Series available on Amazon. Three novels for tweens!

Thanks to our sponsor, Media Angels, Inc. A Few Minutes with God, The Journey Begins

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Show Notes:

So for those of us today – what can we learn from this?

  1. Our life no matter where you currently are on your walk in faith is a choice. You have hope and you have options.
  2. When we compare our lives to both of the thieves on the cross – which one is most like you? Are you repentant or still set on going your own way?
  3. Perhaps you are on a cross – whatever that may be in your life – you are hurt from rejection – love – loss – death – financial difficulty – it is weighing you down to the point that you can’t go on – that cross is just too heavy!

Finding true happiness – true joy depends on finding God’s will and allowing HIM to minister to us…

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Mediation: True Happiness & Joy Finding God’s Will

  1. List your burdens – what is wearing you down right now?
  2. Release them to the LORD – put them in a prayer box with your family and pray for them every night – DO NOT TAKE THEM BACk – they are His not yours.
  3. Picture yourself on the Lord’s lap – you are a child. Allow Him to minister to you
  4. Allow the Lord to fill you with His peace. Be quiet before Him.

Finding joy is a decision. It is like forgiveness  – which is the next podcast – Finding Forgiveness with Grace (10)

But finding joy is making a decision for one minute – fifteen minutes – one hour – one day to seek Joy in the little things (podcast –finding God in the little things) – and smile when these things happen.

So – how are you finding Joy in the midst of God’s will?

If you haven’t figured it out already? The solution?

  1. Understanding that everything happening in your life is NO surprise to God. He knows it, He sees it, He understands it.

Please understand that God does not zap us from heaven on His throne with bad things – however, He allows free will to happen.

I share a very personal experience in this episode about how the Lord spoke to me through prayer. Yet, I ignored the very evident facts that the Lord presented.

God allows us to suffer due to our OWN decisions – so clear now. Right?

  1. Deciding to unite our will to God’s – God if this is your will for me – this sickness, this financial issue – this problem that I cannot overcome – then I embrace it as your will for me right now.
  2. Being in tune with God – how can you hear HIM and HIS perfect will if
    1. You will not ask
    2. You can not hear Him
    3. You will not listen

Our Lord is a just and righteous God – He is loving and understanding – He is slow to anger – He is the Almighty the King of Kings and Lord of Lord’s – He is the maker of all that is GOOD and that includes us – our lives are no surprise to almighty God and he wants the best for us – but being in his will is like swimming in the stream of righteousness and goodness instead of in the opposite way. Go with God’s flow and He will open those doors of your heart, fill them with every good thing and give us the joy that surpasses all understanding the Joy that comes from Loving, serving and being in the will of God!

Podcasting Ideas

podcasting ideasPodcasting Ideas – It’s More Than Just Talking

Episode #5

I’ve talked to dozens of people who have considered hosting a podcast but few last beyond a couple of episodes. In this podcast, I discuss different ideas and how to create a lasting impression on your listeners as well as grow your base. Listen as I share what I’ve learned since launching a podcast almost ten years ago and ways to keep your ideas creative.

Sponsor Media Angels, Inc.

Interested in the book to help you launch your writing career? The Information In A Nutshell Series:

Writing and Publishing or Business Tips and Taxes for Writers. Do you have a child who is a budding author? Try Reach For The Stars! All available on Amazon.

Writing and Publishing

Show Notes: Podcasting Ideas

Product Podcasting Ideas:

  1. If you have a product, such as a book or a class consider teaching aspects of your book or class in each podcast.
  2. Use the podcast as a launching spot for trying new book ideas. If the idea is successful you will know by audience feedback.
  3. Use the feedback from your audience to create a new product.
  4. Test your new product on your audience – tweak before selling.
  5. Use your podcast to jump start sales, promote your upcoming book and suggest pre-sale orders

Service Podcasting Ideas

  1. Are you a consultant, or service provider? Use the podcast to show our knowledge on a topic where you consult.
  2. Use your podcast to create interest in a social media group you host. Begin a line of questioning in your podcast that you answer in your social media group, or privately through consultation.
  3. Podcast about your services – what is it that you do, explain.
  4. As an author-consultant, I interview special guests that my authors would want to know more about such as someone who knew about setting up book signings at big retailers, award-winning authors, agents, and publishers.
  5. What successful guest can you host who will bring value to your audience and help share your show?

Void In My Life

 filling the voidFilling The Void In My Life

Podcast #8

In this episode, we discuss filling the void in my life – and that is a life without a real handle on what this life is all about. Many people try to fill their lives with things – so many things that don’t ultimately make them happy. Material possessions are fleeting. Even relationships come and go, but the one constant that never changes is God. Do you have a void in your life that needs to be filled? Listen to this episode with Felice Gerwitz

Sponsor: Media Angels, Inc. Novels – Truth Seekers Mystery Series available on Amazon. Three novels for tweens!

Thanks to our sponsor, Media Angels, Inc. A Few Minutes with God, The Journey Begins

a few minutes with God

Show Notes: Filling The Void In My Life

At one point or another in our lives we go through a crisis that begs the questions why am I here – why do I exist – what is this life all about… For a Christian the answer is easy – or easier, we were created to love and know God – to seek him in our daily walk and to seek his perfect will for our lives – but still, even with the answer the solution may still be evasive too us.

It’s like a kid doing a math problem. If he has the problem and the solution that doesn’t mean he knows HOW to work out the problems – or do the steps necessary to get to the final answer. The same for us as Christians.

Many people in the world – whether you are a Christian, a Jew, an Agnostic or Atheist will at some point in their lives face a crisis. No one is free from trouble in their lives.

When I say, some don’t have a life purpose, the focus is not on a daily list of to-dos

I’m not talking about:

  1. A plan for the day/week/year
  2. Schedule
  3. Goals, Ambitions
  4. Family, Friends, Colleagues
  5. True love

I am talking about being lost in a world with so much to do, so many distractions available to us at the tips of our fingertips. Many times, this feeling of being lost leads to depression – there may be a series of events or life circumstances that have added to the burdens of daily life and maybe you are one of those people carrying this burden in silence and grief.

Maybe these people I’m referring to are your friends, your neighbors, co-workers, or even members of your own family.

How does this void happen? What can you do about this? How can you fill this void in your life? Let’s take a quick commercial break and we’ll tackle this when I come back…

Sponsor – Media Angels, Inc. and the book – A Few Minutes with God – you can purchase it in Kindle or Book format on Amazon.com

Check out the book – A Few Minutes With God

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Looking at the why can help in finding a solution – it is like that math problem I spoke about where you have the problem and the answer but not the solution…

Filling The Void: Ask yourself these questions:

  1. When was the last time you were truly happy?
  2. Fill in the blank: Everythign will be better when _______________ happens.
  3. Happiness and joy happens when I do ____________________

Just doing this small exercise can be very telling – right?

  1.  often times happiness is equated with an event. A new baby, a wedding or proposal, a raise in a job or perhaps even a success, materially or with some type of award.

Often we seek happiness and joy in the wrong places – success, kids, spouse, family or the material things in our life …

  1. Everything will be better when…

whatever that crisis is we want or need to look on the other side just for our own peace or self-preservation to get through the hard times – this is good and it does help us, but know there will always be some type of crisis in our life. Some type of void even after the crisis passes

  1. happiness does not equal an event and until we realize that true happiness, joy, and peace only comes from GOD then, we will succeed and fill that void.

St. Augustine said, “You have made us for yourself, Oh God and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in you.”’

How do we fill that void?

Let’s first spend quiet time with God – right? The whole purpose of this podcast series to spend time with God. In the next podcast – True Joy and Happiness in God’s Will I will give you a list of ways to meditate on this concept. But, right now – this is the foundation – find that time to spend in quiet with HIM – allow HIM to come in and fill that void.

Study these Scriptures: Filling The Void

Job 8:13-15 – putting our hope in things that do not endure – explore what that means for you.

Luke 12:18-20 – we store up our treasures and yet these are material things – but what happens when the Lord calls us home? Have we worked out our treasures in Heaven?

John 1:16 – , or His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace…

 

Friends only in spending time with God in complete silence can we hear HIS small still voice, I pray you hear His voice, because he is calling you to a deeper and more filling life – with HIM in the midst of your life and in all you do!

Mini Retreat

A Mini Retreat To Refresh Your Soul with Felice GerwitzA Mini-Retreat To Refresh Your Soul with Felice Gerwitz

Sponsor: Media Angels, Inc. Novels – Truth Seekers Mystery Series available on Amazon. Three novels for tweens!

Thanks to our sponsor, Media Angels, Inc. A Few Minutes with God, The Journey Begins

a few minutes with God

Are you weary with the burdens of everyday life? A mini-retreat might be just what you need in order to become refreshed. In less than five minutes a day you can become renewed and ready to continue onward. In this episode, Felice shares how she breaks up an hour into a time of praise, prayer, Scripture and praying for others. In addition, she shares her unique way to set up a prayer journal, keeping in mind praise and thanksgiving before prayer petition.

 

Remember to share this podcast with your friends and be sure to give us a star rating on your favorite podcast app or online!

Thanks to our sponsor – Media Angels, Inc.

Check out the book – A Few Minutes With God

Show Notes: Mini-Retreat

  1. What is a retreat?
  2. What is the perfect retreat for you?
  3. What is one thing that is holding you back?
  4. The power of concentrated prayer.
  5. Listening is the key to finding the answer.
  6. Give it time.

Do you have an hour? This is how I divide one hour of prayer time into a mini-retreat with the Lord.

First fifteen minutes: spend time in praising God, whether it is in prayer or singing, rejoice in the Lord. He is worthy of all our prayers!

Second fifteen minutes: listen… journal your thoughts, jot down scriptures to look up–but not yet! Just be with the Lord… He will lead you.

Third fifteen minutes: Read Scripture. Look up the verses that came to mind during your quiet time. Slowly allow the words to sink in – close your eyes and think about what you read.

Last fifteen minutes: Prayers of petition. Are you praying for something specific? Is there a concentrated prayer request that you bring to the Lord daily? Focus on this prayer and seek the Lord’s wisdom.

End with praising God – praise is important to begin with and end with. In praising God we are thankful for all He has given us and we can begin our day (if our retreat is first thing) or continue our day with happy thoughts about His love and goodness…no matter what is happening in our lives.

Podcasting Basics

Podcasting Basics with Felice GerwitzPodcast Basics with Felice Gerwitz

Episode #4

So, you think you want to podcast? Where do you begin? In this episode, longtime podcaster, Felice Gerwitz shares the information she’s learned through the years. Her first podcast, the Information in a Nutshell(TM): Writing and Publishing Show began in 2008. Learning the ropes through trial-and-error, using a phone to record and a shoe-string budget, her show ranked as one of the top shows in the writing and publishing space. Technology has now improved to bring cutting edge sound and a wonderful variety of possibilities.

Sponsor Media Angels, Inc.

Interested in the book to help you launch your writing career? The Information In A Nutshell Series:

Writing and Publishing or Business Tips and Taxes for Writers. Do you have a child who is a budding author? Try Reach For The Stars! All available on Amazon.

Writing and Publishing

Show Notes: Podcasting Basics

Having passion and drive is a necessity, yet it is important to know what to say and when. An outline of your show and show notes is helpful, yet not necessary for everyone. Some podcasters like a more natural approach while others may read word-for-word from notes. Having a to-do list or a check list may be helpful as well since there are many moving parts to creating a podcast. A good microphone and computer are important and there are free online resources for recording. Yet, without a good outline or information, people may not tune back week after week. One way to understand the process is by listening to some experienced podcasters. As you listen to their shows, listen with a critical ear and see if you can catch any of the points in their presentation.

Listen to experienced podcasters here, here, here and here for ideas.

 

How to set up your episode: Podcasting Basics

Either create a podcast series or a stand alone episode

  • Break down the time, and what you want to say – approx 20-60 minutes.
    • Play intro
    • Welcome the listener
    • Give the episode and show name
    • Give the episode number
    • Give information about where to find the show notes
    • Give information about how else to listen to the show
    • Ask for a star rating on iTunes or Google Play, etc.
    • Body of your podcast – pre and post commercial
    • Play your commercial
    • Thank your listeners and tell them, again – where to find the show notes
    • Give a call to action
    • Play the outro

 

 

Finding God Every Day

Finding God in the Every Day with Felice GerwitzFinding God in the Every Day with Felice Gerwitz

Do you have a daily schedule? It’s time to add finding God to your list. The Lord’s voice is something we seek, whether in quiet time or in prayer. What should we do? What does God want us to do? What is God’s will for us, today, tomorrow or next year? How do we find God? In this episode, Felice Gerwitz discusses how we should seek God every day.

Sponsor: Media Angels, Inc. Novels – Truth Seekers Mystery Series available on Amazon. Three novels for tweens!

Thanks to our sponsor, Media Angels, Inc. A Few Minutes with God, The Journey Begins

a few minutes with God

Show Notes:

Whether it is finding God in the rainbow, or the beautiful sunset – to finding God in the person sitting next to you in church, your life will become joyful if you look. In addition add journaling time to your day. When you journal you can see, more clearly the Lord’s work in your life. Study the following scriptures in finding God in the every day – 1 Kings 11-12 and Isaiah 41:10

Share this podcast with your friends! Use the social media buttons above or email the link to a friend. Please give our podcast a rating on iTunes or Google play or any podcast app. We appreciate you, our listeners!

Thanks to our sponsor – Media Angels, Inc.

Check out the book – A Few Minutes With God

Show Notes: Finding God Every Day

  1. Seeking God – praying
  2. Look for blessings
  3. God incidence or coincidence
  4. Seeing God in the people around you
  5. Watching and listening
  6. Showing by example
  7. Ending your day with thanks

 

1 Kings 11-12

The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.”

Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.

Isaiah 41:10

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Should You Podcast

Should You Podcast?- Advice in a Nutshell with Felice GerwitzShould You Podcast?- Advice in a Nutshell with Felice Gerwitz

Episode #3

As an author and publisher, I realized very quickly that without a platform I could not sell books. In this episode, I share podcast advice for those seeking a way to use this amazing online platform. Here is a short quiz you can ask yourself to see if podcasting is right for you.

This is a four-part series with different aspects of podcasting covered.

Sponsor Media Angels, Inc.

Interested in the book to help you launch your writing career? The Information In A Nutshell Series:

Writing and Publishing or Business Tips and Taxes for Writers. Do you have a child who is a budding author? Try Reach For The Stars! All available on Amazon.

Writing and Publishing

Show Notes: Should Your Podcast?

Are you ready for the challenge?

  1. Who should podcast?
  2. Why should you podcast?
  3. Can you answer these questions honestly?

Score and outcomes are given in this broadcast.

    1. Do you have a service or product to sell?
    2. Are you passionate about your work?
    3. Are you passionate about your message?
    4. Can you explain things clearly to others?
    5. Do you have a call to action – something you’d like the listener to do?
    6. Can you be brief in your explanations?
    7. Do you have resources to share?
    8. Do you have success stories to share?
    9. Do you have an hour to devote to podcasting each week?
    10. Do you have time to promote your podcast?

Prayer Time – Overcoming Distractions

overcoming distractions

Prayer Time – Overcoming Distractions

Spend Time with God

Podcast #5

Prayer time and overcoming distractions isn’t easy. Do you want to spend time with God and find yourself overcome by distractions? We all have and we can end our time frustrated and angry or take charge. In this podcast Felice suggests ways to turn that distraction into a praise report.

Sponsor: Media Angels, Inc. Novels – Truth Seekers Mystery Series available on Amazon. Three novels for tweens!

Thanks to our sponsor, Media Angels, Inc. A Few Minutes with God, The Journey Begins

a few minutes with God

Show Notes: Overcoming Prayer Time Overcoming Distractions

  1. Feel left behind
  2. Not enough time
  3. Speed of life is sometimes unmanageable
  4. How do you slow down enough so that you can focus on God?
  5. How do you combat distractions?

Categorize Distractions:

  1. Personal
    1. Something that has been bothering you
    2. Something you struggle with
    3. Something you feel guilt over
  2. Duty
    1. Kids or spouse
    2. Household
    3. Work
    4. Meeting or appt.

 

Set up your prayer time with a methodology – like any of these ways where you feel the most comfortable…

  1. Praise and worship
  2. Proclaiming and glorifying God in words
  3. Singing
  4. Prayer

 

Writing Talk

writing talkLet’s Talk About Writing with Felice Gerwitz

Podcast #2

Want a short cut way to getting your book in print? In this episode of Writing and Podcasting Advice, Felice explains her journey and how to avoid the same mistakes. The process may not be simple, yet seeing your work published is rewarding once you know the process.

Visit our Sponsor – Media Angels, Inc

Sponsor Media Angels, Inc.

Interested in book to help you launch your writing career? The Information In A Nutshell Series:

Writing and Publishing or Business Tips and Taxes for Writers. Do you have a child who is a budding author? Try Reach For The Stars! All available on Amazon.

Writing and Publishing

Show Notes: Writing Talk

Basic steps to getting published

  1. Know your market – your reader
  2. Research
  3. Do you want a publisher? Research agents and publishing companies. (If not skip down to #7)
  4. Fiction? Write it and then submit it
  5. Non-Fiction – you can write a query letter
  6. Learn to write a query letter
  7. Self Publish (option for those who decide not to seek other publication)

Of course, there are many steps in between. In this episode, we cover some basics and will delve into specific details in upcoming episodes.

Don’t you wish it was easy? In hindsight, the best advice I can give you is to market first. Do you speak to small groups? Do you know something that no one else does? Do you have information that someone needs? These things make the best books.

Knowing your market is very important. If you write something ouside of your frame of reference – while not impossible it will take an inordinate amount of time (jumping online to research is not a guarantee of good information.) Authors that travel to exotic locales – wait until you get the five or six figure book deals

That’s what I love about podcasting – it helps me stay in touch with my audience but also gives me the clarity and focus to be share ideas that are would not make it into a full book – think of podcasts as bite-sized information – next episode #3 will be an overview of podcasting.

So why did I write a book on writing and publishing?I was asked to speak on the topic of writing and publishing at a large conference and decided in my research to recommend some tried and true books – all about 400+ pages as well as some new books – went to the library, hopped online to purchase a few and what I could not find anything new or inspiring to a new author –

I was asked to speak on the topic of writing and publishing at a large conference and decided in my research to recommend some tried and true books – all about 400+ pages as well as some new books – went to the library, hopped online to purchase a few and what I could not find anything new or inspiring to a new author.

  1. It was easy to read and not break the bank
  2. Takes about the same amount of time to read as if we had a one-to-one meeting about writing and publishing
  3. It didn’t overwhelm the reader – one of the books I found at the library talked about distribution woes!
  4. A few but important resources
  5. Give authors info

How To Plan Your Prayer Time

how to plan your prayer timeHow To Plan Your Prayer Time #4

with Felice Gerwitz

Do you know how to plan your prayer time? If you take the time to plan once – and the rest becomes automatic. Are you trying to form a new habit? A time – quiet time with just you and God? In this podcast Felice explains ways to make your time with God highly effective and it takes one very special ingredient. Are you ready to spend time with God, today? Are you spending time to plan spend time with God?

Sponsor: Media Angels, Inc. Novels – Truth Seekers Mystery Series available on Amazon. Three novels for tweens!

Thanks to our sponsor, Media Angels, Inc. A Few Minutes with God, The Journey Begins

a few minutes with God

Show Notes: How To Plan Your Prayer Time

SO, what’s the plan? How are you setting up your prayer time with God?

  1. Do you have a special chair?
  2. Do you like to pray Indoors or outdoors?
  3. Up on your bed? (too comfy for me!)
  4. Can you set up a specific time?
  5. Little kids – early in the am or late at night? Nap time? – when kids got older they remembered how much nicer I was when I had my prayer time!!
  6. Role model – parents with their Bible’s open in common areas when their kids wake up!

 

  1. Whether you are happy OR upset – bring that to the Lord – either way begin by praising HIM – use Scriptures such as … or you can use extemporaneous prayer – You are the Lord of Lords, you are the Almighty, the King of Kings – I praise you and I thank you, I thank you Lord for _____
  2. If you are a singer – sing! Praise God in song… allow yourself to think about the words – singing allows us to get into the presence of God –it lifts us…brings us joy.
  3. If you are not a singer – proclaim and praise God longer… don’t go to the Scriptures right now… If you want to proclaim certain scriptures get those out ahead of time and write them out – read from a journal rather than the Bible – right now our focus is to allow our minds to calm down and be in a place where we can pray and be still before the Lord – we want to listen but first we need to unload our baggage all the things on our mind – any emotions whether it is fear, anger, hatred – when do we stop? When we feel hope – joy – forgiveness – calm.
  4. Ask the Lord to come into your heart. If you have a prayer request you can ask it – if you just want to spend time with the Lord and be available to Him – just be still, close your eyes and listen.
  5. Give Him time – don’t expect anything – but you will be blessed whether you hear anything or not!!

Journal what you thought during your quiet time – is it random or is it specific? If it is confusing or chaotic – take it to the Lord – ask him for clarity. Typically, random or chaotic thoughts are not from the Lord unless it makes sense to you!

The Lord doesn’t bring us guilt or make us feel bad – I so love that!! God is a good God – He gives us HOPE

  1. NOW pull out your Bible – read through a passage or two that maybe came to mind during your quiet time, or perhaps something is drawing you to read a specific page.
  2. Journal if you want to add these passages.
  3. No end with praise and worship again – thank the Lord.

 

Writing and Podcasting

writing and podcasting adviceThe Writing and Podcast Advice Show with Felice Gerwitz

Are you ready to launch that new book idea or your very own podcast? Look no further. On the Writing and Podcasting Advice Show you will learn the basics on how to get started with your very own project. Felice Gerwitz is your personal advisor and here to help you. Are  you ready? Let’s make this year your very best.

Sponsor Media Angels, Inc.

Interested in book to help you launch your writing career? The Information In A Nutshell Series:

Writing and Publishing or Business Tips and Taxes for Writers. Do you have a child who is a budding author? Try Reach For The Stars! All available on Amazon.

Writing and Publishing

Show Notes: Writing and Podcasting Advice

I love helping entrepreneurs. Since 2002 I’ve worked with aspiring authors as an author-consultant and absolutely love helping people in the publishing process. I’ve advised a Catholic ministry on starting a publishing company and just finished our second mega-book project with nineteen different testimonies apiece. In the process of working on other people’s works as well as my own I’ve made my fair share of mistakes.

This podcast is to help you avoid them!

I am the author of nineteen books and the one that focuses on what I do here, is in the information in a Nutshell Series: Writing and Publishing – in this book I give you a nutshell version of what it takes to write and publish a book. It is very brief and like sitting with me for four hours where I share exactly what you should know to get your book published.

So, what is your project?

  1. Do you have a book idea?
  2. Do you want to publish a work that is already complete?
  3. Are you interested in finding good ideas?
  4. Do you have a great idea for a podcast? I am looking for talent!

There are many people out there more talented than I am in writing, publishing OR podcasting but the difference between many of them and myself? They are sitting around thinking about it and I DID IT!

So, let’s get going – you and me. Join me weekly on this broadcast and let’s get that project in front of the widest audience possible!

Planning Time For God

planning time for GodPlanning Time For God Podcast #3

How do you love someone you don’t know? By getting to know them and planning time – just like you do with God. In this episode we’ll explore God’s love and how we can learn to deepen our faith by spending time with God.

Sponsor: Media Angels, Inc. Novels – Truth Seekers Mystery Series available on Amazon. Three novels for tweens!

Thanks to our sponsor, Media Angels, Inc. A Few Minutes with God, The Journey Begins

a few minutes with God

Thanks to our sponsor, Media Angels, Inc. A Few Minutes with God, The Journey Begins

a few minutes with God

 

Show Notes: Planning Time For God

  1. Can you love someone you don’t know?
  2. What is the best way to get to know someone?
  3. How is your faith strengthened in prayers?

 

Commitment to Pray

Commitment To PrayA Commitment to Pray

with Felice Gerwitz

Are you ready? Today’s challenge is a commitment to pray. However, will you find the time? In today’s broadcast, Felice shares how you can begin with one minute, add another and another until you reach your goal of spending time with God each day.

Sponsor: Media Angels, Inc. Novels – Truth Seekers Mystery Series available on Amazon. Three novels for tweens!

Thanks to our sponsor, Media Angels, Inc. A Few Minutes with God, The Journey Begins

a few minutes with God

Show Notes: Commitment to pray

  • Beginning steps to listening to the Lord and how to prepare to enter God’s presence.
  • Do you need more of Jesus in your life?
  • It is no accident you are here!
  • Can you make a commitment – today?
  • Be still before the Lord. The Lord will pour out an abundance of blessings during this time!

First, there are some decisions to make:

  1. Are you a Christian – if not, consider becoming one today.
  2. How much time will you spend in prayer?
  3. How can you rearrange your schedule to make it happen?
  4. Do you need daily reminders? This handout contains information on receiving daily reminders: AFMWGod- Podcast Handout

 

 

 

 

 

What is A Few Minutes With God?

a few minutes with GodPodcast #1  -What is A Few Minutes With God?

Do you spend a few minutes with God daily? In this podcast you’ll meet Felice Gerwitz, who hosts this weekly broadcast.  She discusses what she means by, “A Few Minutes with God.” To her, it is a time to reflect on the most important moments of your life and be she will share the challenge, to be open to listening to what the Lord has planned for you.

Sponsor: Media Angels, Inc. Novels – Truth Seekers Mystery Series available on Amazon. Three novels for tweens!

Thanks to our sponsor, Media Angels, Inc. A Few Minutes with God, The Journey Begins

a few minutes with God

Show Notes: A Few Minutes With God

  • Challenge: listening to the small still voice of our Lord.
  • Our focus — giving time to the LORD
  • A deeper desire to know him better.
  • This podcast if first and foremost about God the Father – God the Son, Jesus, and God the Holy Spirt
  • IF you have always loved the Lord OR if you are a new Christian OR if you don’t know the Lord – WELCOME – I pray this podcast will encourage you to a deeper walk
  • Commit or Recommit your life to the Lord: Lord Jesus, I need You and I know I am a sinner. I thank You for dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of my life and receive You as my Savior and Lord. Thank You for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life. Take control of all of my life. Make me the kind of person You want me to be.
  • Handout – AFMWGod- Podcast Handout

  • It is JESUS that saves and brings us to the Father –  this is my first step – but it is not my final step! He wants so much more of us!

When you tune in weekly:

  1. A desire to be still and know God through listening
  2. A desire to plan time for this to happen
  3. A desire to understand and discern God’s still small voice – how do you know it is really God who is speaking to you? How do you know you are not making it up?
  4. A desire to act upon the message – how are you going to implement what the Lord is urging you in prayer? How will you do HIS will – how will HIS will work in your life?

Scriptures: —Exodus 3:13-15

We as Christian’s believe that Jesus is our Savior but the son’s focus was always to bring us to HIMSELF so that HE could bring us to the FATHER – our God – ELLOHEEM – Jehovah GoD.—“I AM WHO I AM”—only belongs to HIM.  .

– in Luke – 24: 32 on the walk to Emmaus we read – “Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?”

Read the book – A Few Minute with God 

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