Advent JOY #1: Don’t Give Up Hope – God Hears & God Answers

Don’t Give Up Hope – God Hears & God Answers: Lessons from Zechariah, Elizabeth, and Gabriel

Are you waiting for an answer to prayer or are about to give up hope?  Join us today as Zechariah, Elizabeth and Gabriel teach us this lesson: Don’t give up hope – God hears & God answers prayer.

Advent JOY

Welcome to the WRAP Yourself in JOY Podcast Season 2 – Advent JOY.  It is based on my book The Joy of Advent: Journey with the People, Events and Prayers at the First Coming of Jesus Christ.

The celebration of ADVENT often surprises me because it comes so quickly. How about you? It was just fall, then thanksgiving, and then within a week its Advent. So let’s prepare our thinking—our mind and heart with plenty of time to find the JOY of Advent this year.

Advent comes from the Latin word “adventus” which means “coming.” When you hear the word “Advent,” you may  think that it refers to the four-week season before Christmas that  focuses on the coming of the birth of Jesus Christ. IT DOES! But the season of Advent is also meant for us to focus our attention on the present coming of Jesus in our own lives and on increasing our desire for His presence every day. So thanks for joining me on this Advent journey as together we reflect on the Scriptures that celebrate the joyful longing for our Savior and ask for more of his presence in our lives.

The People, Prayers and Events

In this podcast, we will discover the people, prayers, and events so important to Jesus’ first coming. You will meet Zechariah, Elizabeth, the blessed Virgin Mary, Joseph, John the Baptist, the Angels, the Shepherds, Simeon, Anna, and the Magi. It’s as if we will travel with them and partake in the most meaningful events in their lives.  We will find three pairs of events related to Jesus’ coming, including two annunciations, two births and two circumcisions. Plus, we will pray the four great prayers of the Church, called canticles: Mary’s Magnificat (Luke 1: 46-55), Zechariah’s Benedictus (Luke 1:67-79), the Angels’ Gloria (Luke 2:14) and Simeon’s Nunc Dimittis (Luke 2:29-32).   Our Joyful journey will take us back over 2000 years to some amazing places. Through the Word of God, Jesus wants us to meet His family and friends and the Holy Spirit will be our guide.

The First of Two Annunciations

For 430 years prior to the birth of Jesus Christ, God had stopped speaking to His people because they had stopped listening to His prophets. Fast forward 430 years and we will drop in on the “first annunciation.” The term “annunciation” in Latin means announcement.  When God began speaking again, He sent announcements through His most important heavenly messenger – the Archangel Gabriel. In Luke 1, we read that the first announcement came to Zechariah. He and his wife Elizabeth served God, trusted him for everything, while they waited and prayed for children which overtime seemed more impossible (Luke 1: 5-7).

In  Luke 1: 8-25, we read that while Zechariah was a priest on duty in the temple, he drew his assignment, by casting lots, to offer incense in the sanctuary of the Lord.   Suddenly, Gabriel appeared and said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will name him John. 14 You will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, 15 for he will be great in the sight of the Lord… 17 With the spirit and power of Elijah he will go before him, to turn the hearts of parents to their children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”

But  Zechariah just couldn’t believe it and said to the angel, 18 “How will I know that this is so? For I am an old man, and my wife is [advanced] getting on in years.” 19 The angel replied, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news. 20But now, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their time, you will become mute, unable to speak, until the day these things occur… 24After those days his wife Elizabeth conceived…” NRSVCE

Gabriel, The Might of God and No Puny Angel

Does Gabriel sound harsh to you?  We have to consider the circumstances: the GREAT Archangel Gabriel had been sent by God to Zechariah. But he responded with “It’s too late. I’m old and my wife is really OLD.” We get the picture—his faith was still strong but he was looking at the circumstances. His wife Elizabeth had passed her time for having children and he was too old too  (i.e. both were likely over 50 years old).  O poor Zechariah—the Archangel Gabriel just couldn’t take his unbelief. With what seemed like one sweep of his finger, he muted Zechariah for the next 9 months.

Gabriel is no puny angel –  “Gabriel” in New Testament Greek means “the Might of God.” In an almost humorous way Gabriel used his might to teach Zechariah an important principle. Since Zechariah’s name means, “the Lord remembers,” Zechariah would have a nine-month “silent retreat” to never to forget “the Lord remembers.”  There may be many possible reasons why Zechariah could not believe Gabriel, including the circumstances or his mental exhaustion from praying so long. Even the presence of a mighty angel didn’t help Zechariah believe.

Personal Reflection

I hope after listening to the podcast, you will reflect on the powerful message to Zechariah and Elizabeth and to us in the first part of Luke 1: God hears. God answers.  Don’t give up on God.

Have you ever prayed for something so long that you gave up? Have you ever received more than you expected – just as you were about to give up?  St. Jerome wrote about Zechariah: “Your prayer is heard…that is to say you are given more than you asked for. You prayed for the salvation of the people and you have been given the Precursor” [John the Baptist] (Souvay, 1910, The Catholic Encyclopedia – Zacharias). You see while Zechariah was praying and waiting and giving up on prayer all those years, he did not know that God was preparing Joseph and Mary and so, he had to wait just a little longer.

 Prayer Points

Consider these prayer points because Jesus wants to share His joy while you wait for His answers:

(a) Ask Jesus for a  new and fresh prayer encounter with Him. Ask for new joy and to experience His presence while you look for everyday miracles.

(b) Take Time. Make a point to take some quiet time every day to listen to the Lord, read LUKE 1 and stay connected to the joy of the Lord

(c) Converse. Share with Jesus what you are waiting for. Then keep an open attitude to receive heavenly surprises JOY. (For example, you could pray: Jesus, I have given up on… Please give me new insight. Show me the little places where I see your hand at work.)

(d) Start an ADVENT PRAYER Journal. Why not record your prayer and conversation with Jesus this Advent?  You may be surprised at the transformation to JOY you receive and will want to record during Advent.

(e) Thank God. Let the Lord know that you trust your life and circumstances to Him and Thank Him. For example, Dear Jesus, thank you for the beautiful example of Zechariah and Elizabeth. They waited and You answered. Thank you for the joy of Advent and your anticipated coming to earth. Thank you for loving me and remembering the important things in my life, even when I think you have forgotten me. Nothing is too difficult for you.  I give you my doubts, disappointments and lack of trust. Help me to pray always and never give up (Matthew 18: 1).  Help me to take the time to hear you speak in your Word. Come into my heart even deeper. Jesus, I trust in You.  In the Name of the Father, Son & Holy Spirit.  Amen

Links

You can download a Bookmark of prayer points from the Advent JOY Podcast #1 at my website: WRAPYourselfinJOY.com.

Check out more podcasts here!

Click here to find the book: The Joy of Advent: Journey with the People, Events and Prayers at the First Coming of Jesus Christ.

Episode #9 –Stop the Worry & Grab the Plunger

Do you have a plunger handy? “What does a plunger have to do with finding the joy and stopping the worry?” A lot! We all need plungers for messy situations - for the sudden, unexpected events, joy busters or "stuff" that can ruin our day, take our time or energy, and steal our JOY. Today you will be reminded of all the JOY maintenance tools that we have covered in our Find the JOY podcast Series. You can stop the worry and grab the plunger. #podcast

Do you have your JOY plunger handy? We all need plungers for messy situations that can ruin our day, take our time or energy, and steal our JOY. Join us today and grab a summary of JOY maintenance tools from our Find the JOY Podcast series that can help maintain true JOY. You can stop the worry and grab the plunger.

Grab the Plunger

Do you have a  plunger handy? “What does a plunger have to do with finding the joy and stopping the worry?” A lot! We all need plungers for messy situations – for the sudden, unexpected events, joy busters or “stuff” that can ruin our day, take our time or energy, and steal our JOY.  Today you will be reminded of all the JOY maintenance tools that we have covered in our Find the JOY podcast Series. Plus you will hear about the next Podcast series: Advent JOY. It’s never too early to start an Advent JOY Journey.

Tool #1 -Declarations of God’s Love for YOU

Look to the Love of the Trinity. Tool #1 -Declarations. Biblical JOY is rooted in the love of the Trinity-Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Everyday remind yourself of these truths: God LOVES ME and offers ME fullness of JOY. Jesus loves me offers me His complete JOY. The Holy Spirit loves me & produces in your life.  I am invited into their LOVE ( John 15, Psalm 16, and Galatians 5).

Tool #2 – The 5-Minute More JOY Prayer Guide

God  is a Niagara Falls of Love. To Receive more Love and JOY from God, follow the prayer guide with the thee four prompts: Ask, Receive JOY, Thank and Read Scripture.

Tool #3 – Four Biblical Affirmations

True JOY is based in the Trinity and involves Body, Mind, Soul and Spirit. The JOY Affirmations are based on the definition of JOY and can be repeated everyday: (1) God LOVES me (John 15: 9-11);( 2) God is NEAR to me; He is with me always (Psalm 139: 1-6, Matthew 28: 20); (3) God is my HELP; He is FOR me (Isaiah 41: 10, 13); and (4) The Holy Spirit PRODUCES JOY in ME; I will exude God’s JOY (Galatians 5: 22-23).

Tool #4 -The WRAP Method for JOY

WRAP Yourself in JOY & Scripture every day. Read and pray Scripture with the WRAP template for hearing God can conversing with Him: W=write down the words that arise out of a Bible reading; R=reflect on and enter into conversation with the Jesus over the words; A=apply what God is speaking in the message, and P =praise and pray to receive the grace needed to respond. Finally, REST and RECEIVE God’s JOY, Love & peace.

Tool #5 – Praise God with His Attributes from Scripture

JOY and Praising God are connected. You can use praises such as these: O Lord, You are Awesome (Deut. 10:17), Jesus, You are Forgiving (Ps. 103: 1-2), God, You are Beautiful (Ps. 24: 5) Lord God, You are Merciful (Ps. 103: 4-5), God, You are Mighty God (Ps. 89: 8) or use Praise Bursts – I love You Jesus, I praise You Jesus, etc. See the free bookmarks for many suggestions for praising Gon on the WRAPYourselfinJOY.com website.

Tool #6 -The Plan and TIP

Stop Joy Busters with a Plan and a TIP. Follow these steps: 1) Be Aware- Notice when your heart is troubled and your joy is diminished; 2) Understand the source of the joy buster/ JOYbusting; and 3) Take Action to reject joybusting instead of spiraling down into a pit of negativity (Rev. Timothy M. Gallagher, The Discernment of Spirits: An Ignatian Guide for Everyday Living . Use TIP: (1) THANK. Recall something for which you are grateful and thank Jesus for it.  (2) IMAGINE. Picture Jesus with arms outstretched, you give Him your JOY Buster and you receive His peace instead.(3) PERSIST. Persist in remembering the JOY or loving emotions of your thanksgiving to reset your brain neurons to JOY.

Tool #7 – BEGIN AGAIN

Start over if you fail in resisting JOY busters. Give your weaknesses to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Commit your worries, anxieties, and cares to the Heart of Jesus. Using Holy Imagery, put your worries, fears, frets and more into His Sacred Heart and leave them there. Begin Again.

Tool #8 – The Philippians 4 Plan to Stop Worry

Arrest WORRY as it cannot add even an hour to your life according to Jesus. Paul tells us exactly what to do to arrest worry in Philippians 4: 7-11: 1) PAUSE—make up your mind to STOP worrying, 2) Pray for your needs, 3) Thank God for his blessings with every petition, and 4) Receive God’s peace.

 Tool #9 – Keep a JOY Journal

Record your JOYS in a Journal. Using a notebook or notes app on your phone, record your JOY thanksgivings daily so you can always give God praise, offer thanks and be ready to share them.

Tool #10 -Find the JOY, Stop the Worry, a Grab a Plunger with a Prayer Partner or Prayer Group

Don’t go it alone. Find Friendship JOY. Go to church. Study how to find true JOY in Scripture with a friend or small group. Pray with a friend to find more JOY every week and have them pray for you. It will make a huge difference in your life. You will be able to stop the worry and grab the plunger.

ADVENT JOY

Next, I will be podcasting a series on Advent JOY. Please join me as week meet the people, events, and prayer at the first coming of Jesus. You can go to my website and subscribe at https://wrapyourselfinjoy.com/ so you can follow the podcast and learn more about Advent JOY.

You can download a Bookmark Summary of all the JOY Maintenance Tools from Podcast #9 at my website: WRAPYourselfinJOY.com.

Check out more JOY podcasts here!

Find the WRAP Yourself in JOY book by clicking here.

Episode #8: Arresting the Big JOY Thief – WORRY

How is your worry level lately? Worry is not just a JOY Buster. It's a big JOY thief and it brings on fretting. In only a few dances with fretting, you will be exhausted and any JOY you once had will be greatly challenged. Join us today and discover how to arrest the big JOY thief Worry, stop the fretting and rest in God’s love for you.#podcast

How are you at arresting the Big JOY thief -WORRY? Worry is not just a JOY Buster. It’s a big JOY thief and it brings on fretting. In only a few dances with fretting, you will be exhausted and any JOY you once had will be greatly challenged. Join us today and discover how to arrest the big JOY thief Worry, stop the fretting and  rest in God’s love.

Can your worry and rejoice at the same time?

Have you ever pondered the question, “Can you worry and rejoice at the same time?” Today, you will find the answer. We will especially tackle what to do with WORRY because it will not only take your JOY but your peace as well. Worry’s companions are anxiety and fear so, dealing with worry will help you stop these thieves too.  You will learn the four actions to take to replace worry with JOY, stop the fretting and rest in God’s love, all while responding with gentleness.

God Can Give You His JOY

I used to worry about everything. But when my house burned down and my husband died, I eventually stopped worrying. The worst had happened to me—more than I could imagine or worry about! But God got me through it all, and in the process, I learned to TRUST HIM. He took all my tears, counted them and kept them in his heart.  Psalm 56 says this:  O God, You have kept count of my tossings [wanderings]; You put my tears in your bottle.   Are they not in your record?…  This I know, that God is for me. 11 in God I trust; I am not afraid.”  So God put all my tears in a bottle, kept them in his heart, gave me his joy AND I took it !!!

Do Not be Overcome with Worry

In Matthew 6: 25-34, Jesus tells us not to worry about even our most basic needs of food, water, and clothing. He didn’t say we should shirk our responsibilities of trying to make a living, but he told us not to be overcome with worry — even for our basic needs. God so beautifully takes care of birds of the air and clothes the flowers with great splendor, how much more will He take care of you? In fact, Jesus said worry will not add “one single hour to your span of life.”

Worry Skips Ahead of God’s Provision

Worry focuses on what can go wrong, what might go wrong, what will likely go wrong in the future. It skips ahead of God’s provision and can sap you of your JOY, strength, and your peace. The problem with worry is that it leads to fretting.

Fretting

The Bible says NOT only to stop worrying, but to stop fretting. The Hebrew word we translate as fretting includes the idea of firing up rage, kindling anger.  The Merriam Webster Dictionary defines a FRET as a worry, annoyance, or discontentment that “gnaws at you” and “involves an irritated state of mind”(www.dictionary.com/browse/fret).  Fretting takes worry to a new level. It eats away at your peace. It will eventually be expressed in outward anger or other ways.

Physical Impact on Your Body

Worry as well as fretting, fear and anxiety can have a physical impact on our bodies. According to medical research, worry, fretting, fear, and anxiety have been linked to indigestion or digestive disorders, fatigue, sleeplessness, ulcers, heart problems, skin ailments, lack of concentration and addictions, to name a few physical symptoms and outcomes (For example: www.webmd.com/balance/guide/how-worrying-affects-your-body.

Actions

St. Paul in Philippians 4: 4-7 tells us what to do. (1) Make a decision to rejoice in the Lord—return to JOY and seek JOY from the Lord instead of sitting down in a puddle of worrying and fretting. (2) Pray for your needs and the needs of others.  (3) For every need you express in prayer, offer a related thanksgiving.  (4) Receive God’s peace.

Walk in Gentleness

In Philippians 5: 5,  St. Paul sandwiches between v. 4 and v. 6 these words: ”Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near.“ The USCCB Online Commentary says: The Lord is near “echoes the perpetual presence of the Lord with us (i.e., Psalm.119:151).” Fretting and worry can turn to rage or anger quickly. But when you practice being gentle, you shut down your stronger, harsher, angry JOYbusting responses.

 Note. If you continue to experience excessive worry, anxiety or fear, please do not hesitate to see a professional—a medical doctor or counselor. In fact you should in these cases. Sometimes we need more professional help for our bodies and our lives, and God is with us in this plan too.

You can download a Bookmark to help you Arrest WORRY from Podcast #8 at my website: WRAPYourselfinJOY.com.

Check out more podcasts here!

Find the WRAP Yourself in JOY book by clicking here.

 

Episode #7 – Begin Again and Defeat JOY Busters

Are you defeating JOY Busters? OR Are you JOYbusting in response to all those situations, people and communication that steal your joy? Join us today as we continue our focus on how to defeat those JOY-sapping experiences and BEGIN AGAIN. #podcastEpisode #7 –Begin Again and Defeat JOY Busters

Are you ready to Begin Again and Defeat JOY Busters? OR Are you still JOYbusting in response to all those situations, people and communication that steal your joy? Join us today as we continue our focus on how to defeat those JOY-sapping experiences and BEGIN AGAIN.

JOYbusting

Reacting to JOY Busters with more JOYbusting responses leads downward on a path of negativity? In Begin Again-Defeating JOY Busters, Part 2, we will discuss the choices each one makes in responding to those situations that seem to steal our JOY.  You can choose to respond with more JOYbusting, or you can follow a new plan.  Even in unwise reactions that you later regret, you can choose to leave the past behind and say, “I BEGIN AGAIN.”

The Plan to Stop JOYbusting

According to Fr. Timothy Gallagher and based on St. Ignatius of Loyola’s guide for rejecting troubles of the heart, each of us can follow this plan to defeat the JOY Busters:

  • BE AWARE of your troubled heart and loss of joy (e.g., JOY Busters).
  • UNDERSTAND your not-of-God responses that further block your joy (JOYbusting).
  • TAKE ACTION to reject the responses such as quarrels, outbursts of anger, profane talk, bitterness, overindulgence, sleeplessness, over-sleeping, withdrawal, or gossip.[i] Take the actions (summarized in TIP) as explained in Podcast 6 : Defeating Joy Busters, Part 1.

Begin Again and Defeating Joy Busters

Fr. Timothy Gallagher, O.M.V. in his book Begin Again: The Life and Spiritual Legacy of Bruno Lanteri recommends that we should always BEGIN AGAIN. That means we do not allow ourselves to be overcome with discouragement. If you are confronted with opposition or self-condemnation and other JOY Busters or JOYbusting, remember these words: Begin Again. “Seek always to keep your poor heart in peace, and encourage it, and always to serve God with holy joy…. Say with boldness, “Now I begin, and go forward constantly in God’ service. Do not look back so often, because one who looks back cannot run…. Begin [again] every day, because it is for every day, even for every hour of the day. Begin Again.”

Remembering Graces and St. Teresa of Avila

Psalm 34 psalm invites us to “taste and see” that the Lord is good. His love is healing. He will never reject or despise you. Never! He loves you completely and is the only answer to a troubled world. Please remember this.  Saint Teresa of Avila, also called Saint Teresa of Jesus,  says that in trials its easy to forget and not remember what God has done for us. She describes these forgetting tactics: During the “very bitter trials of my soul… all the favors the Lord had granted me were forgotten. There remained only a memory to cause pain; they were like a dream. [T]he devil… knows that in remembering the graces received, we find strength against his present temptation, and for this reason, he tries to lead us to forget” (The Collected Works of Teresa of AvilaThe Book of Her Life, 2nd ed., 1987).

JOY Journal

You will learn to create a JOY Journal that can help turn your life into one of positive thanksgiving. Your JOY Journal can be a small note card. For example, I have often added a special scripture to a small card.  Then every time I wait in line, I read it and  record a thanksgiving for new JOYs and Blessings. Or you can use an inexpensive spiral-bound notebook (4” x 6” or 5” x 7” sizes work great) or open a Notes app folder on your cell phone and print on the cover or folder: “JOY JOURNAL.

You can download a Bookmark to help you Begin Again and Defeat JOY Busters from Podcast #7 at my website: WRAPYourselfinJOY.com.

Check out more podcasts here!

Find the WRAP Yourself in JOY book by clicking here.

Episode #6 – Defeating JOY Busters

Would you like to stop the JOY Busters in your life? Everyone faces those times, circumstances and people that seem to break up, overpower, block, or steal their JOY. But you can stop the impact on your JOY. You can become AWARE of your JOY Busters, UNDERSTAND their sources, and TAKE ACTION to stop their impact on your JOY. Join us today and discover the actions or TIPs you must take to stop the JOY Buster’s effect on your life. #podcast

Episode #6 – Defeating JOY Busters

How are you at defeating JOY Busters? Everyone faces those times, circumstances and people that seem to break up, overpower, block, or steal their JOY. But you can stop their impact on your life. You can become AWARE of your JOY Busters, UNDERSTAND their sources, and TAKE ACTION to stop their influence on your JOY. Join us today to discover the actions you can take to defeat JOY Buster’s and stop their effect on your life.

A JOY Buster

What is a JOY Buster?  You know!  Merriam Webster defines a buster “as a person or thing that breaks up, overpowers or eliminates something.” So, a JOY buster breaks up, overpowers, blocks, or steals your joy.

Flash Prayer

In Matthew 11: 28-30, Jesus says:  “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. When you feel your JOY is busted, why not start with a flash prayer (once called ejaculations) like this one: “Jesus, I give you my burdens, weariness, heaviness and all JOY Busters. I want to experience your rest, your peace and your JOY.” Isaiah 61: 3 says,  you want to give me “the oil of JOY” for sadness, mourning or heaviness.

Responses to Joy Busters

How do you respond to JOY Busters? What do you use to fight off your JOY Busters? Check all that apply.  __ angry outbursts, __ complacency, __ avoidance or withdrawal __ complaints, __ partying or drinking to excess, __ overindulgence, __ criticism, __ striving after possessions, __ gossip/ slander, __ envy, __ negative thoughts, __ profane talk, __ promiscuity, __ quarrels, __ sleeplessness, __ unforgiveness, __ bitterness, or __ fretting.  Paul tells us that the ONLY way to conquer the negative JOY-busting responses he calls “works of the flesh” is to “LIVE by the Holy Spirit” (Galatians 5: 16-26), so we must call on the Holy Spirit for His help.

Develop an Action Plan

Fr. Timothy Gallagher in The Discernment of Spirits: An Ignatian Guide for Everyday Living (2018) says each person needs an action plan to reject troubles of the heart. We all experience times of spiritual consolation where we feel connected with God and sense joy and peace. Also, we all experience spiritual desolation when we allow the enemy to oppress us with troubles of the heart that take our JOY. Fr. Gallagher recommends three steps which are related to JOY:  (1) BE AWARE—Notice what is happening in your inner spiritual experiences- the stirrings of your heart and thoughts. (2) UNDERSTAND—Reflect on the stirrings of your heart and recognize what’s of God and what’s not. Ask yourself, “What is the desolation or JOY Buster responses that contributed to my loss of JOY? (For example, angry outbursts, over-indulgence, jealousy, etc., will lead to avoidance, gossip, profane talk, etc.). (3) TAKE ACTION—Accept and live according to what is of God. Reject and remove what you recognize is not from God. Call upon the Holy Spirit for help to reverse direction and stop the JOY Busters.

 TIP: Three QUICK Actions to Defeat JOY Busting

You can take three simple actions to stop  JOY Busting that leads to spiraling down into further negativity. These actions can be summarized with the acronym TIP: THANKSGIVING, IMAGERY, and PERSISTENCE.  (1) Offer THANKSGIVING – Immediately turn to Jesus with genuine thanksgiving for something related to your JOY Buster. (2) IMAGINE – Use Holy Imagination and picture Jesus with arms outstretched. You give him your JOY Buster. (3) PERSIST – Persist in remembering  the JOY (or pleasurable, peaceful, happy, loving, fun) emotions or feelings.  Stay in the JOY of that thanksgiving for one minute to reset your brain neurons to JOY. Close with a Praise to GOD. Finally, consider getting a prayer partner to pray for more JOY for each other and to defeat JOY Busting.

You can download a Bookmark to help you Defeat JOY Busters from Podcast #6 at my website: WRAPYourselfinJOY.com.

Check out more podcasts here!

Find the WRAP Yourself in JOY book by clicking here.

Episode #5 – Praising and Thanking for JOY

Are you praising and thanking for JOY or a "petition addict" when it comes to prayer? You are not alone if your prayer is mostly asking God for his help, but there is good reason to convert your prayer to praising Joy. Today, you will learn how to expand your prayer life with praise and thanksgiving so that you enjoy God too. There is a huge connection between JOY and offering praise and thanksgiving to God.#podcast

Podcast #5 – Praising and Thanking for JOY

Are you praising and thanking for JOY or are you a “petition addict” when it comes to prayer? You are not alone if your prayer is mostly asking God for his help, but there is good reason to convert your prayer to praising Joy. Today, you will learn how to expand your prayer life with praise and thanksgiving so that you enjoy God too. There is a huge connection between JOY and offering praise and thanksgiving to God.

Praising and Glorifying God Completes Your JOY

In praising God, we surrender everything to Him and proclaim that He is God, and we are NOT. He has everything in our lives under control, and even when we do not see it, we can trust Him. You can offer Him your discouragement, despair and mourning and in turn, receive His oil of JOY and the garment of praise.

C.S. Lewis, a Christian apologist and writer, known for books like Mere Christianity and The Chronicles of Narnia series points out the connection JOY with praise:

“We delight to praise what we enjoy because the praise not merely expresses but completes the enjoyment; It is frustrating to have discovered a new author and not to be able to tell anyone how good he is; to come suddenly at the turn of the road, to a mountain valley of unexpected grandeur and then to have to keep silent or to hear a good joke and find no one to share it with. Fully to enjoy is to glorify. In commanding us to glorify Him [praise Him], God is inviting us to enjoy Him” (Reflections on the Psalms).

Even Pope Francis tells us to “NOT be formal Christians, prisoners of formality” but instead to express our joy of being Christians (Homily, January 28, 2020).

Jesus Wants You Give You a Life of Praise and JOY

Jesus wants to give you a life of praise, like a piece of clothing, in exchange for discouragement, despair, or mourning that wraps you now.  In Luke 4, Jesus said he was fulfilling Isaiah 61: 3: “The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me…He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives, to release darkness for prisoners,” and in Isaiah 61: 3, continues, “to provide the oil of JOY instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of discouragement.” God can give you the oil of JOY for mourning.  If you need some soothing spiritual balm for your wound and a garment of praise that comes with the oil of JOY, go to Him with Praise and Thanksgiving.

Surrender: He is God, and You are NOT

In praising God, we surrender everything to Him and proclaim that He is God, and we are NOT. He has everything in our lives under control and even when we do not see it, we can trust Him. In the hardships of life, we can praise our God and he will comfort us with deep calming JOY.

Praise and Thanksgiving are Different Forms of Prayer

Thanksgiving offers gratitude for what God has done for you, whereas praise exalts God’s character.   Praise “recognizes most immediately that God is God.” Prayers of praise are entirely disinterested in self  and  laud  him. They give  him glory for his own sake, “quite beyond what he has done, but simply because HE IS” (CCC #2639).   Prayers of thanksgiving express our gratefulness to God and are to be offered in all circumstances. For example, 1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18 tells us: “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing,  give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (NRSV). The Psalms tell us how to praise God, and we can praise God with the Psalms. You could start with Psalms 150, 145, 105, 100,  or 95.   Also, try praising God’s attributes and  using the Titles of Jesus.

You can download Bookmarks with Praises from Podcast #5 at my website: WRAPYourselfinJOY.com.  They will help you add praise to your prayer life.

 Check out more podcasts here!

Find the WRAP Yourself in JOY book by clicking here.

Podcast #4 – WRAP-ing JOY

WRAP-ing JOY

Today we are WRAP-ing JOY. How would you like to feel wrapped in JOY? Have you ever wanted to hear God speak to YOU? You can! We will discuss the JOY you can experience from a two-way conversation with your Heavenly Father. You will learn the WRAP method for interactive prayer, how to avoid being a talkaholic in prayer, the four-stages for prayer, and the best way to REST in God’s Love and receive His JOY.God Yearns for a Relationship with You.

WRAP NOT RAP

It’s not RAP music – it’s the  W R A P way to JOY. WRAP is an acronym for a way to hear God speak to you – it will help you listen to Him. The Catechism of the Catholic Church (#2562) defines prayer as: a covenant relationship between God and Man -humans.  Inherent in any relationship is two -way conversation. So God wants a personal relationship with you and that involves two-way communication. There is nothing more joyful than hearing God speak to you in Scripture, but it may mean surrendering your “talkaholism.”

The JOY Benefit of Reading and Praying with Scripture

Happy as used in Psalm 1 does not refer to the short-term happiness found in passing circumstances. The Hebrew word ASRAI used in the original Hebrew language of the Old Testament and translated as “happy” or “blessed” really means—a deep spiritual joy from being with God and the pleasures from that relationship—it’s a deep enrichment and it involves praying with Scripture.

 

Are You Listening?

When you truly listen to God, it is joyful! God is faithful. You can trust Him. He is always patient with you. He invites you to listen and respond. Rev. Mark Thibodeaux in the Armchair Mystic describes four stages of prayer. (See the personal survey for your reflection at my website Wrapyourselfinjoy.com or in my book WRAP Yourself in JOY). The four stages are: 1) Talking at God, 2) Talking to God, 3) Listening to God speak to your heart –through reading & praying Scripture, and 4) Resting in God’s presence, enjoying His company.

 

When You Read the Bible, God Speaks to You

God wants to speak to your needs and even offers you healing for your many issues.  Why not give Him the opportunity?

  • St. Augustine says: “Your prayer is your word addressed to God. When you read the Bible, God speaks to you; when you pray, you speak to God.” (Ennarratio in Ps 85:7: CCL 39, 1177).

 

  • St. Basil the Great says: “The Holy Spirit composed the Scriptures so that in them, as in a pharmacy open to all souls, we might each of us be able to find the medicine suited to our own particular illness…” ( Spidlik, T., & Drake, P. (1993). Drinking from the Hidden Fountain: A Patristic Breviary, Liturgical Press).

 

WRAP Yourself in Scripture

WRAP is an acronym for a method of praying and reflecting on Scripture with journaling, a simplified form of Lectio Divina—”where the Word of God is so read and meditated on that it becomes prayer” (CCC #1177).  It’s from our book WRAP Yourself In Scripture (Karen & Lawrence Dwyer, IPF Publications, 2011, 2018) which explains the WRAP method in detail.  A WRAP prayer ends with resting in God’s Presence & receiving His JOY, His Love, and His Strength.

*You can download a Bookmark of the WRAP method from Podcast #4 at Wrapyourselfinjoy.com.

For more JOY today, please join Podcast #4 – WRAP-ing JOY or more WRAP Yourself in JOY Podcasts by clicking here .

Find the WRAP Yourself in JOY book by clicking here.

Episode #3 – Awakening JOY & Telling Yourself the Truth

Awakening JOY

Did you know God sings over you? Are you awakening to more JOY in your life?

One way it starts is by recognizing that all of creation is joyful. God likes to celebrate more than you ever imagined. He rejoices over creation and He loves to sing over you.

Today, you will see yourself wrapped in God’s loving arms and tell yourself five more truths about JOY. These spiritual truths have the power to change your thoughts and actions. Please join the podcast to awaken more joy in your life and find out what God is singing over YOU.

The Truth about God

The truth is we serve a very JOY-filled God who wants to share His JOY with us.  Have you ever heard of the old or new To TELL the TRUTH game show? Sometimes, we believe lies about God and about heaven and about JOY. One of them is that God is a GRUMP and if we follow him, we are destined for grumpiness too or a life lacking joy and fun. THAT is NOT the truth. So today we look to the Bible to Tell us the TRUTH  about God and JOY.

God’s Takes Pleasure in Creation and Sings Over You

The Scriptures are full of examples about God who rejoices in His creation.

  • In Genesis 1, we read, God paused after each day of creation “And God saw that it was good.” But, after He created humans in his image, He paused and enjoyed the entire creation. He said, “it was VERY GOOD.”
  • In Psalm 147: 10-11, we read: “The LORD takes delight and pleasure in those who fear  (at awe and worship Him,) in those who hope in his steadfast love.”
  • In Zephaniah 3:17, we read.“The Lord, your God, is in your midst, a Mighty Savior– he will rejoice over you with gladness, he will renew you in his love; he will exult over you with loud singing  as on a day of festival. NRSVCE

God is singing over you. Today, you will ask God what He is singing.

God Celebrates

One of the most profound examples of God celebrating His children is in the story of the Prodigal Son told by Jesus in Luke 15:16-25+. Here God tells us that He is a God who likes to celebrate and even runs to meet us with love when we come home to Him. He celebrates our return.

Heaven Rejoices

Not only does God celebrate, but so does all of heaven. When a person turns back to God from a life or time away from His presence, Jesus says in Luke 15: 10, that even the ANGELS are joyful: “10 Just so, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” WOW! If you have been away from God, you can ask forgiveness for your sins, turn around and come home to God. Heaven rejoices over YOU when you do.

JOY Declarations & Truths

If you have believed lies that God does not love you or want to give you his love and joy—or that God is Old and GRUMPY, then now is the time to change your thinking. The truth is 1) God is with YOU, 2) The Lord God is YOUR Mighty Savior, 3) The Lord offers YOU calm, peace and restoration daily, 4) The Lord renews YOU in His love,  and 5) The Lord sings over YOU with celebrating love every day.

Thank you, Lord, for celebrating each person. You sing over them with love. Please open their ears to hear the song you are singing. Holy Spirit, awaken more JOY in each one today…

You can download a Bookmark of JOY Declaration & Celebration Truths from podcast #3 at wrapyourselfinjoy.com.

Find more shows from Wrap Yourself with Joy by clicking here!
Find the WRAP Yourself in JOY book by clicking here.

Episode #2 – Defining JOY & 4 Tips for Increasing JOY

Defining JOY

Episode #2: Would you like to have a Niagara Falls of JOY in your life?  Have ever wondered if lasting Joy is attainable?  Today we will discuss a definition for true and lasting JOY plus 4 Tips for increasing JOY in your life. You will discover how to launch yourself in prayer with the 5-Minute More Joy Prayer Guide. You can experience more JOY and you will radiate God’s JOY everywhere you go. Please join the podcast today.

A Niagara Falls of Love & JOY

Today we will discover that God has a Niagara Falls of Love & JOY for each of us. Msgr. John Esseff of Scranton, PA often develops this “Niagara Falls of Love” principle while teaching and leading retreats. He says that sometimes we come to our Heavenly Father— a Niagara Falls of Love, and we hold out only a teaspoon to catch it. When in fact, God desires to give us great waterfalls of His Love and JOY. So what does this mean you? We must increase our capacity to receive MORE JOY.

Join me today as we throw away our spoons and instead, stretch our arms to receive more Love and JOY from our generous God.  

Many Ways to Define JOY

There are many ways to define JOY. We started with the following:

  • Pope John Paul II said, “People are made for happiness. Christ has the answer But he asks us to trust him. True joy is a victory- Christ holds the secret of this victory” (World Youth Day, Opening Address, 2002).
  • Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI defined JOY as being aware of God’s presence and friendship every day: “Seek joy in the Lord: for joy is the fruit of faith. It is being aware of his presence and friendship every day: ‘the Lord is near!’ (Phil 4:5). Turn your eyes to him often. He gave his life for you on the cross because HE LOVES YOU” (World Youth Day, 2012).
  • Pope Francis has defined Joy often. He says: “Is it to be happy? No, it’s not the same. To be happy is good. Joy is something more, something which does not depend on external motivations or on passing issues. It’s a gift from the Lord. Joy fills us from within. And this joy is the certainty that Jesus is with us, the Father is with us, and it’s to be searched for and shared continuously… It’s the joy that even in the crosses and the sufferings of this life, when it might be expressed in a different way, it’s having peace and the certainty that Jesus accompanies us. He is with us” (Homily, 2013-5-10, Casa Santa Marta).
  • Billy Graham wrote: “You can receive Christ into your heart, and he can bring joy and a thrill and glory such as you have never known if you give your life to Him” (Breakfast with Billy Graham: 120 Daily Readings, 2003).

After covering other definitions, I offer you what I consider to be a true and lasting definition for joy based on recommendations from these and many others. Most importantly, you will see that true JOY  involves mind, body, soul and spirit AND is Trinitarian.

The More JOY Prayer Guide

Finally, you will learn The More JOY Prayer Guide which includes Four Tips for Increasing JOY.  What if you knew that 5 minutes per day could change your JOY levels? There is help for you and it is called the More JOY Prayer Guide. You can start with just five minutes of personal prayer daily and easily remember the prayer with these four words: 1) ASK, 2) RECEIVE, 3) THANK & 4) SCRIPTURE (WRAP Yourself in JOY, 2022, Dwyer).

You can download the guide as The More JOY Prayer Guide Bookmark from podcast #2 at wrapyourselfinjoy.com.

Find more shows from Wrap Yourself with Joy by clicking here!

Find the WRAP Yourself in JOY book by clicking here.

Episode #1 – Searching for JOY

Do you need more JOY in your life? The advertisers think you do! JOY has become the focus of many ad campaigns -- from vacuum cleaners to automobiles to chewing gum. But there is more to JOY than the fleeting nature of acquiring things with transitory happiness. Join us today as we search for how to be filled with true and lasting JOY every day. #podcast

Searching for JOY

Are you searching for more JOY in your life? The advertisers think you do!  JOY has become the focus of many ad campaigns — from vacuum cleaners to automobiles to chewing gum. But there is more to JOY than the fleeting nature of acquiring things with transitory happiness. Join us today as we search for how to be filled with true and lasting JOY every day.

Let’s begin by asking ourselves what comes to mind when we think of JOY? Why do we need more JOY? The world is searching for JOY. So why are YOU searching for JOY?

We are made to search for JOY.

  • John Paul II said, God made us for JOY.
  • Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI said, a yearning for JOY lurks within the heart of every man and woman…our hearts seek for a perfect, full, and lasting JOY.
  • Pope Francis even tells us we should seek for JOY. But he warns, not in a selfish way that leaves us old and wrinkled, with faces like pickled peppers, unable to transmit the JOY of a beautiful life. Instead, he said we must seek for JOY because it’s a gift from the Lord, it fills us from within. And this JOY is the certainty that Jesus is with us, the Father is with us, and it’s to be searched for and shared continuously.

What does JOY mean to you?

How would you describe it? If I asked you to list a few words about JOY, would you say giggles, gladness, eating delicious food, watching a basketball game or a volleyball game, especially where your team is winning, hugging babies, eating wonderful food or having coffee with a friend? How you experience JOY is unique to your life, because JOY can be experienced in many ways. Your JOYs are perfect for you. When it comes to JOY, all of us have one thing in common we want and need more JOY in our lives. So let’s start with the Bible and see what the Bible says about JOY.

  • In John 15: 9-11, Jesus says he wants to share his JOY with YOU, As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you. Abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love. Just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in his love. I have said these things to you so that my JOY may be in you and that your JOY may be complete. (NRSVCE ).
  • In Psalm 16: 11, God the Father wants to give YOU His Joy too:  You (Lord God) show me the path of life. In your presence there is fullness of JOY; in your right hand (at his strength and power) are pleasures forevermore. (NRSVCE )
  • In Galatians 5: 22-25, the third member of the Trinity–The Holy Spirit wants more joy for YOU:   The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control… If we live by the Spirit, let us also be guided by the Spirit. 

Prayer Declarations

The prayer declarations with these verses that I shared in this podcast are available as free bookmarks on my website: Wrapyourselfinjoy.com.  Why not download a bookmark with the scriptures and take it with you everywhere you go? You can speak these words aloud and thank God (the Father, Son and Holy Spirit) with each one. On my website, you can also learn more about my books and connect with me.

Final Prayer

God, our Father, we love you. Thank you for bestowing such great love on each of us and giving us joy in your presence. I pray they receive more of the fullness your joy today….

Come back next week as we journey to find joy in life. It’s more than simply finding happiness.

Find more shows from WRAP Yourself in JOY by clicking here!

Buy the book WRAP Yourself in JOY by clicking here.

Find more books by Karen on JOY by clicking here.