Spiritual Discernment

Spiritual Discernment ~ Episode 100

Spiritual Discernment | The gift of spiritual discernment is one we all need! It allows us to see the truth to avoid darkness and to be ready for what is in store for those who love the Lord. | #podcast #christianpodcast #spiritualgifts #UCPNThe gift of spiritual discernment is one we all need! It allows us to see the truth to avoid darkness and to be ready for what is in store for those who love the Lord!

Welcome to AFMWG – this is a milestone episode for me – 100! When I began this podcast I had a handful of listeners and I believed the Lord wanted me to continue, even if I could fit all of you in my living room! However, as this show has grown in the number of listeners I am blessed by the power of God and some of you have given me feedback on what this show means to you – thank-you. If the Lord has helped me to help one person then this show has been worth it.

How do you connect to me? Via social media – we have a FB group for this network, look for the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network. You can also comment on our website at AFewMinutesWithGodPodcast.com – each show has it’s own post where we are open for comments.

And, please share this podcast with a friend to keep us growing and give me a star rating on your favorite podcast app. Thank you again for being a listener.

Thanks to our sponsor OvercomerMovie.com

I was chatting with some moms that were talking about seeing a miraculous manifestation. Some thought it looked evil, others thought it was a miracle, a sign from God. Friends, in this case, we need discernment. Why did God perform miracles? He did this to increase the faith of those who saw Him do this, it is to increase our own personal faith. The importance of the gift of discernment could take up the next ten episodes of A Few Minutes With God Podcast! The gift of discernment keeps us from evil. Discernment allows us to see right and wrong, it allows us to recognize a sign that is not from God.

Back when I was learning about the gifts of the Holy Spirit the one gift I didn’t want was anything that had to do with discerning evil. I was young in my missionary walk with the Lord, in other words, I believed I loved the Lord and followed Him, but it was a personal journey – I would never consider doing a podcast or ever talking about anything religious in any sense of the word! Why didn’t I want the gift? Because I was afraid of evil. When we are strong in the Lord there is no need to fear. My mother use to say the devil was the size of an ant and the Lord the size of the entire world, and she is right! Jesus has already won the battle, and he has been victorious so what do we need to fear?

Holy Spirit Podcast here

There was an instance in my life when I met a person and I could sense evil. Don’t ask me how, I could, and it made me shudder. I warned one of my son’s about this person because he had to work closely with her on a ranch and he was very kind and could easily be swayed. Some things happened that caused him to feel the intuition I had was right and he came to me to talk about it, it turned out leaving a job was the best way to deal with the situation.

This “feeling” or “intuition” or gift has happened to me time and time again. It is something you can pray for and ask the Lord to give us and you will find it is one of the biggest blessings!

Starting with 1 Kings 3:11 when God said to Solomon that he didn’t ask for riches, or for the life of his enemies but for discernment to know what is right all the way to 1 Corinthians 12:10 discernment has been sought after by followers.

Proverbs 16:21 – The wise of heart is esteemed for discernment, and pleasing speech gains a reputation for learning.

1 John 5:20 – 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. He is the true God and eternal life.

In 1 Corinthians the gifts of the Holy Spirit are layed out and especially in 10 we read, “…to another mighty deeds; to another prophecy; to another discernment of spirits; to another varieties of tongues; to another interpretation of tongues.”

To grow in the gifts of discernment we need to pray for the help of the Holy Spirit, ask for the spiritual gifts of knowledge and understanding, and continue to read and study the Scriptures. Get connected to a church, and be sure to keep your eyes on Christ.

Friends, these gifts strengthen us in our walk with the Lord!

Let’s Pray For the Gift of Spiritual Discernment

Dear Father, I ask for an infilling of Your Holy Spirit, please give me the gift of discernment, please help me on my spiritual journey and I ask for the following prayer intentions… Father if it is in your will please answer my prayers, and I pray this in Jesus Name. Amen.

Gifts of the Holy Spirit

Gifts of the Holy Spirit | The gifts of the Holy Spirit are real and free and available to all. At Pentecost, the disciples were able to speak in different languages and those who heard them understood. | #podcast #christianpodcast #holyspiritGifts of the Holy Spirit Episode 99

The gifts of the Holy Spirit are real and free and available to all. At Pentecost, the disciples were able to speak in different languages and those who heard them understood. The disciples were taught by the Holy Spirit in other ways as well, by reminding them what Jesus had taught them. Remember, they learned from the Lord but often did not understand what he meant. (John 14:26) We even read passages where Mary buried things in her heart. And Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart. Luke 2:19

The Holy Spirit allowed them to remember and bring God’s word with them wherever they went and any time they wanted it, it was available to them to use as they became missionaries for the Lord. I once read an analogy of how the information we have today available to us at a push of a button via our cell phones is similar to what the apostles must have felt when they had access to the gifts of the spirit.

Starting with 1 Kings 3:11 when God said to Solomon that he didn’t ask for riches, or for the life of his enemies but for discernment to know what is right all the way to 1 Corinthians 12:10 discernment has been sought after by followers.

Proverbs 16:21 – The wise of heart is esteemed for discernment, and pleasing speech gains a reputation for learning.

1 John 5:20 – 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. He is the true God and eternal life.

What is impactful is the following verse in 1 Corinthians 1:10 – “…to another mighty deeds; to another prophecy; to another discernment of spirits; to another varieties of tongues; to another interpretation of tongues. ”

Holy Spirit Podcast here

Please read all of 1 Corinthians 12 –

The overall purpose was to teach the believers that when they were pagans they were attracted to the way of the idols and that it was difficult to resist sin. god sent us the Holy Spirit so that we could use these gifts, which are many to be steadfast, to have wisdom and discernment.

1 Corinthians 12, verse four talks about the different spiritual gifts but the same Spirit.

Gifts of the Holy Spirit
Wisdom
Understanding
Counsel
Fortitude
Knowledge
Piety
Fear of the Lord

Wisdom is considered the first and the greatest of the gifts.

Understanding helps us to realize the importance of God as the Almighty, opens our eyes to the spiritual and allows us to read and understand Scripture

Fortitude has to do with courage, and also endurance

Knowledge: The gift of knowledge allows one, as far as is humanly possible, to see things from God’s perspective. It “allows us to perceive the greatness of God and his love for his creatures” through creation.[24]

Piety is the awe of God and the understanding of our own weaknesses – this virtue can be overused in the sense of condemning others and become judgemental.

Fear of the Lord is an understanding of the awesomeness of Almighty God.

 

Raising Great Kids In One Easy Lesson

Raising Great Kids | We want to raise great kids that we are proud of, let’s face it isn’t that hard, or is it? In today’s podcast, we discuss raising great kids and how it really can be done in one easy lesson! | #podcast #christianfamilies #greatkids #parenting #UCPNRaising Great Kids In One Easy Lesson! Episode 16

We want to raise great kids that we are proud of, let’s face it isn’t that hard, or is it? In today’s podcast, we discuss raising great kids and how it really can be done in one easy lesson!

Thanks to today’s sponsor – OvercomerMovie – don’t miss the family-friendly handout on the website.

I’ve parented since 1980 when my first child was born. If you do the math you can see it is quite a few years. My five children are all different, and my eight grandchildren have the same trait, they are unique. So what do parents do with all of these different little personalities God has gifted them with?

From my experience with my own children, teaching other children and speaking to hundreds of parents of children it is one of two things with everything in between. We spoil them, we are harsh disciplinarians or we fall somewhere right of center, or left of center, or the worse, in the center.

Raising Great Kids by Example

In a nutshell, if you want to raise great kids it takes modeling good behavior and dealing with bad behavior. I believe that God created man to be good, his Creation (read Genesis) was all about seeing that what He created was good. Sure we are tempted and sure our kids tend to protect self over others, but if we believe our kids have goodness in them, that is helpful!

We must model the behavior and encourage our children to do the same. We want our children to have honorable values, be respectful, love God, and be happy.

The problems begin to happen when we don’t correct behavior that is not acceptable. I think one of the biggest issues is when kids lie. I know for some of us lying is the ultimate sin and we can’t handle it when our kids are less than truthful. But what about us? Do we lie? Do we always tell our kids the truth?

The erosion begins when our kids hear things (and our kids have great hearing when they want to!) and they begin to lie.

Have you ever caught your child in a lie and they vehemently argue that you are wrong? (Story about being a kid and this happening to me.) It was a God moment in my life.

Issues with Raising Great Kids May Stem From:

  1. Uncorrected behavior
  2. Making excuses for our kids
  3. Being too understanding

Our kids will soon learn that they can get away bad behavior and that my friends is why we see kids that are brats, we especially see this in other people’s children!

Take a hard look, and look within:

  1. Can your children handle disappointment?
  2. How do your kids do when you discipline them?
  3. Is your child me focused?
  4. Does your child blame others?
  5. Does your child take responsibility or apologize?

Look at yourself:

  1. Do you deal with lies for example when they happen?
  2. Do you have a clear cut disciplinary procedure?
  3. Do you make excuses for misbehavior to yourself or others?
  4. Do you blame others?
  5. Do you expect your child to make restitution?

If your children are little that is the best time to begin teaching our children the difference between right and wrong. We should never discipline in anger. Our kids need to realize we love them but we will not put up with bad behavior. Yes, talk to your children but be sure there is a punishment that will deter future problems. I usually pray when I am at a loss of what to do! Prayer has helped me tremendously in dealing with situations that I felt were out of my control or I felt the usual discipline wasn’t going to work.

The idea of discipline is to get better results, so if the results are not changing you need a change!

You cannot raise great kids alone, it takes being on your knees and understanding that ultimately God is in charge! God gave us these blessings and He handpicked YOU as the perfect parent for your child, whether you believe this or not you are the perfect parent. We all make mistakes but each day is a new day!

 

 

Promises To Abraham

Promises To Abraham | When we read Genesis we learn, soon after the fall that all is not lost. We have hope in the promises to Abraham, from God. All is not lost and we know that through Abraham came the lineage to David and through David the lineage to Joseph and in essence to Jesus. | #podcast #homeschoolpodcastPromises To Abraham – Episode 98

When we read Genesis we learn, soon after the fall that all is not lost. We have hope in the promises to Abraham, from God. All is not lost and we know that through Abraham came the lineage to David and through David the lineage to Joseph and in essence to Jesus.

We learn so many things, yet one fact remains, Abraham (Abram) doubted. It resonates with me and it should resonate with all of us that we as a fallen people can not possibly understand the mind of God. God entrusts man to carry on His will and man in turns often fails. Even those who are considered by scripture to be righteous.

Promises to Abraham:

  1. Fear not (echoes what the angel Gabriel told Mary – “Fear not…”)
  2. The Word of God came to Abram
  3. A servant would not be his heir but his own flesh and blood.
  4. “Look up at the sky and count the stars—if indeed you can count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” (Genesis 15:5)
  5. Genesis 15:18 “To your descendants I give this land, from the Wadi of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates.”
  6. God’s promise and blessings were to be upon Isaac who would be blessed with a huge lineage as well. (Isaac’s name would be changed to Israel and the Twelve Tribes of Israel was his heritage.)

God’s Promises To Abraham

God’s promises to Abraham still come even though Abram did not wait! While it is difficult for us to understand this since our ways are so different now, it was acceptable back then to take on other “wives.” Sarai his wife told him to sleep with her slave, Hagar and Abram agreed.
God protected Hagar because she carried the son of Abraham. The angel appeared to her in the desert and told her she would name her son Ishmael.

This is one of the hardest things for me to read, that Abram who heard directly from God did not wait upon the Lord. Friends, how often do we do this? Not wait even though we know we should? This is something to meditate upon and journal. The entire section of the Bible that deals with Abraham and his life is filled with mishap, sometimes lies and always forgiveness from God.

The promises to Abraham include Abraham’s request, God agreed to bless Ishmael He would be the father of twelve rulers and he agreed to make him into a great nation.
But God’s covenant was for Abraham and the blessings would ultimately fall upon Isaac (Israel).

We learn about God’s ways as He “cleans” house by destroying Sodom and Gomorrah.

God’s judgment is always rooted in truth and righteousness.

The key in these scriptures for me is to wait upon the Lord. Remembering that His time is not our time.

Mary Mother of Jesus

Mary Mother of Jesus | Mary, Mother of Jesus is known throughout humanity, nations and time. We can learn so much from her! Most Christians know her name and read about her in the Bible. | #podcast #christianpodcast #MadonnaMary Mother of Jesus – Episode 97

Mary, Mother of Jesus is known throughout humanity, nations and time. We can learn so much from her! Most Christians know her name and read about her in the Bible. She receives a staring role in the New Testament that begins with humble roots, becomes elevated by her, “Yes,” to the Angel, Gabrielle – the spokesperson for Almighty God and culminates in the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Thanks to our sponsor, Bridgestone Academy.  Learn more information at HomeschoolAcademy.com

Why are we discussing Mary – as I record this it isn’t anywhere near Christmas when people consider Mary’s part in redemption history as they set out a Nativity scene perhaps to commemorate the birth of Christ. Yet, I believe that Mary is more than that and we need to take a closer look. She is a kindred spirit. She suffered as we suffer, she felt compassion, loved, trusted God and she is our example.

Mary is known by many names, she is known as Mary Mother of Jesus, she is known as the Virgin Mary, as Theotokos in Greek  -Mary Mother of Jesus or in Easter Christianity and the Latin translation is Mother of God or God’bearer

Yet, while the Bible talks so little of Mary. We know her by her attributes:

  • She was a willing servant
  • She trusted God
  • Mary Obeyed God’s call
  • Mary had great suffering in her life

Can you imagine being a poor girl and learning that you were chosen by God for a great task? As a young Jewish girl, Mary must have learned as all the children did that they were awaiting a Messiah, a Savior to free them from Roman rule. She learned the Old Testament and she must have known about Isaiah and the prediction that a young virgin would bear a son, and he would be named Emmanuel which means God with us. Read all of Isiah 7 but the verse I will read to you is at follows and begins in verse 10-15

Emmanuel – God is With Us: Isiah 7: 10-15

When Mary was approached by the angel she didn’t say – “I’m sorry you’ve got the wrong person, didn’t you take a wrong turn at a castle somewhere?” No – she said, “Let it be done to me according to your Word.” She said yes.

How often do we feel like God asks us to do something and we are conflicted. As I’ve shared with you its happened to me often. Yet, Mary was from a poor and humble family. Luke 1:38

The Infancy Narrative is in the Scriptures and you can read the entire verses in Luke 1:1-50 read this in your Bible and think about the words and what they mean. How can you apply this to your life? Luke 1:26-45 especially announces the birth of Jesus to Mary by the angel Gabriel. He was sent by God, and Mary humble servant said, “Yes.” She then visited her cousin Elizabeth. She was unselfish. And the visit turned out to be a blessing when Elizabeth greeted Mary. “Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.” (Luke 1:42)

Mary Filled with the Holy Spirit: Responded with, “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my savior.” Luke 1:46-47  Mary needed a Savior, and her son was the Savior.

For many of us these verses are so familiar and if they are not for you – go back and revisit them, take your time, journal about them. While they are often read around Christmastime, it is so important we take time now to study them now.

God sent His Son for us – and God picked a humble lady. Now, Joseph’s lineage we read is from the house of David with a direct lineage to Abraham, this is very important and not the topic of today’s podcast. However, know that because of prophecy and the fulfillment of prophecy

First known miracle -wedding feast of Cana – do what he tells you.
Mary reminds us that Jesus serves our needs – but we must be obedient to Him.

She was present in the days before Pentecost and she was there at the foot of the cross

A woman of great courage and self-giving – went to visit Elizabeth to help her!

Isaiah 7:14 speaks of the Virgin Mother of Emmanuel
“Virgin-Mother of Emmanuel”: “Therefore, the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and His name shall be called Emmanuel.”

Emmanuel means God with us

The child – Jesus, would be a

Luke 1:46-49 – My soul magnifies the Lord …

Greatest of all saints – chosen by God, prepared by God to be the mother of his son – His divinity at the Council of Nicea was determined by defining his mother. Was Jesus half man and half God – God his human form from May and his Divinity from God or was he fully man and God – all as one?
Mary was called Mother of God –

Mary was immaculate by an act of God at the time she was conceived so that she would be sinless and therefore a worthy vessel

God gave Mary so many wonderful attributes of Grace
She is the symbol of hope, obedience, and pointing us constantly to her son – do what he tells you. Her life is a witness to the Glory of Jesus

Is Mary Mother of Jesus a Kindred Spirit?

Image Attribution:
Giovanni Battista Salvi da Sassoferrato [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Giovanni Battista Salvi da Sassoferrato – http://www.bridgemanartondemand.com/art/104827/The_Madonna_in_Sorrow

Mindful Kids

Mindful Kids Being present for your kids and having mindful kids is the topic of today's podcast. The last episode of One More Child Podcast we discussed mindfulness and being present. | #podcast #christianpodcastMindful Kids – Teaching Kids To Be Present Episode 15

Being present for your kids and having mindful kids is the topic of today’s podcast. The last episode of One More Child Podcast we discussed mindfulness and being present.

Thanks to our sponsor, Media Angels, Inc. check out the latest book One More Child on Amazon, to receive a free chapter check out MediaAngels.com for more information.

*Please note: the education system has hijacked the term mindfulness to make it into an new age propaganda, filling kids heads with nonsense, asking kids to “empty their minds,” so the system can fill it with the negative (to a Christian, anyway.) This show focuses on the now – with God, as a Christian. It is in no way linked to anything not of God, as God created our minds and God is in this present moment.

God made us different in the sense of likes and dislikes, personality and how we demonstrate our love for each other. So many things in our lives are distracting and our focus is on our phones, the things on our to-do list and what we need to do tomorrow. We miss the details of today.

Look around when you go out to dinner. People are on their phones instead of talking to each other. No one is talking or laughing or discussing the events of the day.

Mindful Kids Know:

  1. You are there for them now.
  2. We care (show it instead of just using words).
  3. To be present. Do not judge or criticize.
  4. Learn to appreciate the now.

Our kids remember things differently than we do as adults. When my children get in trouble I often ask them if they know why they are in trouble. Many times they do not know or the reason they say the wrong reason. This is one of those areas you can work through and help them to understand the real reason.

We should teach our kids to live each day as if it is our last. Do this exercise with your kids.

What would you do if this was your last day?

  1. What would you do or say?
  2. Don’t worry about the future.
  3. Enjoy each thing – taste, drink and enjoy the sights around you.
  4. Appreciate your environment.
  5. Focus on each other.
  6. Appreciate the moment.
  7. Realize God is in this present moment.

 

Model Christian

Model Christian | Being a model Christian requires responsibility, but what does a model Christian look like? Is it someone who talks the talk or walks the walk. As a Christian, you can no longer act like a heathen and there is a standard to uphold – or is there? | #podcast #christianpodcast Model Christian Episode 97

Being a model Christian requires responsibility, but what does a model Christian look like? Is it someone who talks the talk or walks the walk. As a Christian, you can no longer act like a heathen and there is a standard to uphold – or is there?

Thanks to our sponsor, Media Angels, Inc. check out the latest book One More Child on Amazon, to receive a free chapter check out MediaAngels.com for more information.

Some believe that becoming a Christian requires a statement of faith – and acceptance of the Lord in a prayer, a declaration, perhaps an altar call they believe it is a one-time thing that is forever and there is never anything you can do after that that alters that commitment if it is done willingly and with an open heart. Others believe that the model Christian is someone who honors the church teachings, receiving the sacraments of Baptism, Communion, and Confirmation. Of frequent confessions and attending church on Sunday. Some think it is a combination of the two and others may think just being good is the way to be a model Christian.

So many people who have been held in high esteem – those who are pastors or tele-evangelists have fallen in horrible ways – those who believed they had the answers were left shocked and hurting. Friends, we can never place our hope in man – no matter how eloquently he/or she speaks, We read about failings each and every day,  whether it is about financial sin or sexual sin – it is a betrayal not only in their own life but in those whom they serve.

Our hope is only in God. The model Christian examples are given so beautifully in the story of the first person to die for his faith.

We learn in the scriptures that being a model Christian has a price, we can no longer be the same. Being a disciple means living a life that models Christ, that is selfless, generous, charitable to our neighbors, some have even suffered for their faith and were put to death. There are places even today where those who are Christians are killed in the same way as in the time of the apostles. The first martyr we read about is Stephen. He was sharing the truth – what it meant to be a model Christian – but his words infuriated the Sanhedrin –just like when Jesus shared the truth and the teaching was too hard for them to believe.

Read and study all of Acts 7:29-70.

As he was dying he echoed the words of Christ – he cried, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit,”

Jesus said in Luke 23:46  Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit”; and when he had said this he breathed his last.

He also said “Lord do not hold this sin against them” an echo of the Lord who said,

(Acts 7:60) and in Luke 23:34  Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.”

Stephen paid the price of being a model Christian – he did not back down and say, “Oh, sorry, didn’t mean to offend you, just forget everything I said and have a nice day.”

Instead, Stephen is a true model of anyone who wants to follow Christ, who wants to be one with the Lord – who wants to know that we pay a price by being a Christian. Just think of what it is like today if you believe as I do that life begins at conception – you will be shouted down for being pro-life. You will be called all kinds of vile names, you will be accused of being narrow-minded and a stupid. What price do we pay to do what is right?

Christians are still the majority but we have been silenced and until recently have not stood up for ourselves but this is no longer true. We have been shut out and shunned but we are now called in a greater way in a world of darkness to stand up for our faith, our beliefs and for our Christ. Revelations 22:12 states, Whatever the price we pay, we are assured in the end to receive recompense according to our deeds. Behold, I am coming soon. I bring with me the recompense I will give to each according to his deeds.

We pray –

Dear Lord Jesus, come, please come. We are at a time when evil is considered good and good evil and I know it is much the same as in your day the time you walked the earth. We as Christians need model Christians as examples to us – we need saints of today that will encourage us to be all that we can be and to be fearless to stand up for our beliefs and call evil – evil and good – good. Lord fill us with your Holy Spirit so that we can have the grace to do what is right. Dear Lord, we ask for the following prayer requests… please hear our prayers and answer them if it is in your perfect will and we pray this in your precious Name, Amen.

 

 

 

Mindfulness – Being In The Present Moment

Mindfulness | By a God-incident, I recently stumbled upon an audio book on mindfulness, being in the present moment. It spoke to me in a way that I can not describe. | #podcast #christianpodcastMindfulness – Being In The Present Moment – Episode 14

By a God-incident, I recently stumbled upon an audio book on mindfulness, being in the present moment. It spoke to me in a way that I can not describe. Parts of the book had cautioned that we might not be happy with what we were hearing, but truthfully I was praising God for the God-incidence in the ability to hear something I craved.

Thanks to our sponsor, Media Angels, Inc. check out the latest book One More Child on Amazon, to receive a free chapter check out MediaAngels.com for more information.

When we are not mindful:

  1. Info overload: We are overcome by so much information in our lives and being in the moment is something most people struggle with, myself included
  2. Restless sleep When it was quiet my racing mind caused my thoughts to become scattered. In this podcast we will discuss Are you one of those people who are exhausted but can’t sleep because your mind is racing?
  3. Arriving at a destination when you had no idea how you got there.
  4. Praying and not remembering what you were saying.
  5. Talking to someone and not sure what is being said.

Our minds seem to have a life of their own and we are overcome with thoughts many that are negative in our lives. Mindfulness allows you to be in the moment and I will share with you how important this is for anyone who professes Christianity.

Why am I sharing this with you?

  1. It can make you really understand yourself.
  2. It is not psycho mumbo jumbo – it makes sense in that we are trusting God.
  3. It can change your life by not allowing negativity (yourself or others towards you) from affecting you or letting it rule your life.
  4. It can help you to corral overwhelming thoughts
  5. It can make you happier!

Sounds like a win-win!

Mindfulness is a psychological term for what is truthfully a Christian principle.

  1. The Lord lives forever
  2. God is here in this present moment.
  3. God was not created.
  4. God is eternal.
  5. Grace abounds where God is – and He is now – He is here.

Simple right?

Some basic tenants of mindfulness is to be in the present moment without judgment or criticism.

Movie – Percy Jackson – ate the lotus flower and didn’t realize how much time has gone by –

Our lives are wasted by negative thoughts. What is going to happen today, tomorrow, twenty years from now? This happened to me when I learned my oldest was learning delayed I couldn’t imagine what his life would be like with a handicap and NOW I know that I worried for no reason. All that  I imagined was false.

Being mindful is taking charge of harmful thoughts and realizing that what MIGHT come also might not come. Does this mean we never think or plan – absolutely not! Of course, we do, however, we must realize the reality that our thoughts do not define who we are.

  • Just for today realize that God is here, now. It is a grace-filled moment!
  • If you have trouble sleeping because your mind is racing, get up – get a drink of water, go to the restroom – lay back down, and pray. Thank God for the time to pray for someone else. Sometimes that little bit of movement helps.
  • When you feel like you are in a situation (thoughts overwhelming you or life) breathe. Recently – share DMV story –
  • Realize you are NOT your thoughts –if there are negative thoughts

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Presence of God

Presence of God | For a Christian the presence of God is an amazing feeling and even without that feeling we have faith that God is with us always. How we understand God’s presence? We will look at the Scriptures for clarification during this episode. | #podcast #christianpodcast #christianPresence of God – Episode 96

For a Christian, the presence of God is an amazing feeling and even without that feeling, we have faith that God is with us always. How do we understand God’s presence? We will look at the Scriptures for clarification during this episode.

Thanks to our sponsor, Media Angels, Inc. check out the latest book One More Child on Amazon, to receive a free chapter check out MediaAngels.com for more information.

The ascension of our Lord is talked about in the Scriptures and often we don’t give it more than a passing thought. Yes, Jesus lived, died and rose from the dead, yes Jesus ascended into heaven after forty days – yet this was the first time after the birth of Jesus that the presence of our Lord was no longer physically present. His apostles felt what we feel today – we can’t just turn around and say, “Lord, what do we do?”

We have spent our entire life in this way. Each one of us has a different story about how we came to learn about God. Maybe you chanced on listening to this podcast and you don’t really know God or believe if He even exists. Maybe you learned about God from your parents and are not sure He is real enough to you – maybe you believe but still, have many questions.

Each of us didn’t know God at one time of our lives – we all began one day at a time, one Bible story or Scripture verse or someone sharing the God news about God that really loved Him and wanted to share what God had done in their life. Faith is a gift if you have faith never discount it or consider it unimportant – you have faith because God has called you by name. You grow in your faith because you take the time to pray, spend time with God in quiet, read the Bible, go to church, surround yourself with Christian readings, or podcasts. You grow your faith by believing but also by doing something about your belief.

Think about this – our lives even those who are not Christians surround two major Biblical events. Christmas (the birth of Christ) and Easter (the resurrection of Christ). Even if the world has tried to secularize these holidays (Winter Break, Spring Break, etc.) we Christians really understand the meaning and significance. Our lives have been impacted by these events and especially the ascension of Christ into heaven.

I’d love for you to Read Acts 1 yourself – especially Acts 1: 1:12

The power of the Holy Spirit was poured on the apostles in order for them to be given the strength to be witnesses at a time that being a Christian was a death sentence – but I love this part when the Angels – two men in white garments questioned the apostles and said, “Why are you looking at the sky?” – in other words, get going you have work to do!

They carried on their mission. Do we carry on our missions in the same way – do we make haste as those in the scriptures do to share the words of everlasting life? They were like us – men and women living their lives, eating, sleeping trying to make the best of things. They had the one advantage over us – they had witnessed Christ in their midst!

Yet, we are just like them in many ways. We have our doubts, our trials, our problems that bog us down daily. But we also have hope and without hope, the human condition is doomed. We have hope for a better tomorrow, hope that everything will work out fine, hope that God is with us today – He is here in this present grace-filled moment to give us encouragement and the blessings to face even our harshest challenges. We are called in our baptism to be the witnesses of Christ’s love and providence. We are in a time that shuns all that is holy – a time where evil is called good and good evil. Now, friends, it is our time to be that light for a hurting world.

Call To Action:

  1. Spend time in prayer and quiet with the Lord.
  2. Seek the Word of God – fill yourself up with the wonderful words of the Bible each and every day.
  3. Ask the Lord how He wants to use you each day. Is there someone lonely that needs a smile or a helping hand? All little things are mighty if they are done with a spirit of love and humility for God.

Some people just look at things as in the “what is in it for me,” and never try to look at how they can bless others. Maybe your burdens are too heavy right now to care for others – but if that is the case, that my friends is how the Lord is using you – to minister to your needs or those of your family. Selfishness is never a right but it can be changed and it happens slowly and with purpose.

Sometimes we get complacent, God doesn’t need me He has so many others so much more capable (friends, this is what goes through my head when I get ready to sit down and podcast). Why am I doing this – I am no one – why me Lord, why me? And, the answer I get is that He asked and I said yes.

What are you saying yes to? Have you prayed and said, Lord how can I help, or are you standing around looking up into the sky and wondering where are you, Lord?

He is here. He is now. This my dear friends is a grace-filled moment… understand it and believe.

Dear Lord, I thank you for all that you did during your time on earth so that your actions, your words, your miracles, and even your death and resurrection could be read about so many years later. I thank you for the gift of faith, for ascending into heaven so that through not only Baptism of water but also of the Holy Spirit we can be filled with the grace to share the good news with others. Dear Lord, I ask you today how you would use me, please Lord help me to understand your will for me and the ways I can let others know more about your goodness and mercy. Dear Lord, I pray for the following intentions … please hear my prayers and help me in the answers, and I pray this in Jesus Name. Amen.

Faith, Family And Holy Spirit

Faith & Family | When my faith in the Lord grew I knew I was a new creation, but I didn't realize the effect of faith and family as a life-changing event. In this episode, I will share how my faith in the Lord caused my husband and I to grow from trusting ourselves to trusting God. | #Podcast #christianpodcast #faithandfamily Faith and Family Episode 13

When my faith in the Lord grew I knew I was a new creation, but I didn’t realize the effect of faith and family as a life-changing event. In this episode, I will share how my faith in the Lord caused my husband and I to grow from trusting ourselves to trusting God.

Sponsor:

I often recommend that people keep a prayer diary for many reasons, but one of the biggest is to see your spiritual growth. We did all the right things as a family. We went to church together, we prayed before meals, we prayed each evening before bedtime. We attended religious retreats and went to spiritual teachings at Church. We thought we were on the right track in our lives and with God.

I loved the Lord – I had followed Him my entire life – but I soon realized as my faith grew that I was following Him on my terms. Wow. That was a time to sit back and to re-evaluate my life.

It came after becoming aware of the workings of the Holy Spirit not only in the time of the apostles when Jesus said that the Holy Spirit would teach them all things. But also today in our lives today. (A friend shared this with me – she said I could kneel beside my bed and ask for an infilling of the Holy Spirit!)

(John 14:26) But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.

God had other plans for me – and I was invited to hear a friend’s teaching on one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. I soon remembered reading in the Bible the gifts of the Holy Spirit which are: wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord. This teaching was called a Life in the Spirit Seminar.

I wanted all of the gifts! I wanted the Lord to come into my life and guide me as He did the apostles. My heart was ready and so was I! The Lord surrounded me with committed Christians in my homeschool friends and in my extended friends that I met through Church. We were invited to a Bible Study and guess what we studied? Acts of the Apostles. All of these things combined changed my life.

I was more understanding as a parent, more loving and kind. I was calmer and my husband noticed a change in me, as well as my parents who lived nearby. In fact, my parents were so amazed at the change they saw in me and then my husband they wanted to learn more so they attended a Life in the Spirit Seminar to learn more about the Holy Spirit and soon joined a Charismatic Prayer Group.

Faith is contagious when you share the good news and share your faith not so much with words but with actions. When I wrote my book I thought my story was about the decision my husband and I made to extend our family size, but as I continued to write the book and the pieces came together, I realized it was a story about my growth in faith and the outcome of this faith in our decision to have more children. I know I’ve said this before on this podcast that I can’t imagine life without my youngest three children.

The fabric of our lives are known by the Lord, but not by us – we can’t predict our futures, and for that, I am truly thankful. We – you and I get to explore our lives as we live them each day. Praise God that we opened our hearts to more of God’s love – that we believed the Gospel message that the Holy Spirit was instrumental in changing our hearts!

Holy Spirit

Holy Spirit | The Holy Spirit is one of the greatest gifts from God! All we have to do is look at the Gospels and rejoice that God did not leave us alone, He sent His Spirit to be with us always. | #christianpodcast #podcast #faithinGodThe Holy Spirit – A Gift From God – Episode 95

The Holy Spirit is one of the greatest gifts from God! All we have to do is look at the Gospels and rejoice that God did not leave us alone, He sent His Spirit to be with us always.

Jesus promises the apostles that the Holy Spirit will not only guide them but teach them everything they need to know about what they should do. (John 14:26) But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.

There were so many questions the new Christians had at the time. Some of them were life-altering. It is the same with us as Christians. What is acceptible for us to do, and what appears to be a gray area? This is an age-old question and one that even the most committed Christians will argue about. Is it okay to drink if it is socially? Should you go to church – or can you just pray at home? Do you need to go to confession or can you just pray and ask the Lord to forgive you? Some of these answers are specifically found in the Bible and we are blessed that we have this available to us. It is after all thousands of years since our Lord died and rose from the dead to give us everlasting life.

Jesus gave the disciples strict instructions, to preach the Good news to all nations. He did not explain how the Gentiles should live their lives. At the time that these questions came up it was about 50AD and it had been about twenty years since the Lord’s resurrection when he sent them the Holy Spirit to guide them. Yet they were meeting to decide what to do and make the right decisions. They decided the Gentiles needed to follow limited Jewish laws.

The Holy Spirit guides our church today – when men fail – those in leadership it is because they have forgotten the Gospel message. They have failed to take it to their hearts and ask the Lord in every circumstance, big and small. Recently a megachurch suffered a scandal due to mismanagement of funds among other accusations. It is always newsworthy and always disheartening when these things happen. Often there are coverups – those who bring accusations are falsely punished, excommunicated and worse. Their reputations are ruined and they face legal consequences. All of this could be avoided by following the simple instruction from the Lord in Matthew 28:19, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”

Why do we forget about the Holy Spirit? Because we are distracted by our schedules, by the things of this world, by those who do not mean nearly as much to our eternal life as the Lord. How can we make disciples of all nations when we can’t even manage our own household? Friends, we must rely on the infilling of the Holy Spirit and ask Him to come into our lives today. To live within us and to guide us!

What are the gifts of the Holy Spirit? They are wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord.

True story – how the Lord lead me to the Charismatic renewal within the Catholic Church. You can pray for an infilling today!

Dear Lord, we praise you for this time together to think about you and to worship you – we thank you for your gift of the Holy Spirit the third person of the Trinity. Come Holy Spirit Come and fill the hearts of the faithful! Dear Lord, I ask you to allow those listening today to understand the power of the Holy Spirit and how it can help them in their life. Give them the gifts of wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord. Dear Lord help us to realize that the Holy Spirit is here to guide us and to help us in our daily walk with you. If we have a need or a worry allow the Holy Spirit to fill our heart and guide us. Allow us to test all spirits that they are holy and righteous and do not allow us to be deceived by the evil one. Dear Jesus, thank you for listening and please hear and answer the following prayer requests:

We pray this in Jesus precious Name, Amen.

Vasectomy Reversal Reality

Vasectomy Reversal Reality | Open to life was a term I never heard of before but that became the outcome when the vasectomy reversal reality hit. | #podcast #christianpodcast #vasectomyreversalVasectomy Reversal Reality – Episode

Open to life was a term I never heard of before but that became the outcome when the vasectomy reversal reality hit. Being open to life described our openness to more children in our family as well as a realization that life is precious and that means all life. The born and the unborn. Children are considered a blessing–or they should be considered a blessing!

Thanks to our sponsor Media Angels and the book, One More Child – download a free chapter at MediaAngels.com

In my book, One More Child there are nine chapters that signify each month of pregnancy. One focuses specifically on the event leading us to a vasectomy reversal as well as the reality that came with it.

Life isn’t easy – it is messy. There are things that happen each and every day that challenge even the most faithful. And this is what happened in my life. I go into this more in my book, but suffice it to say that I was not always open to more children. In fact, my husband and I made the decision to have a vasectomy – but later, after I believe my eyes were open to the love and providence of what God has in store for my life, my husband had a Vasectomy reversal.

A vasectomy seems to be a much easier choice for most families than a vasectomy reversal. One gets praise and wide approval while the other is looked upon with disdain. Even the doctor who was scheduled to do the procedure wasn’t in favor! Friends, if you are a parent I get it – we are tired, we have so much going on in our lives, and kids are expensive! So, why do it? In our case, it was a decision of obedience. We felt that the Lord was leading us in this direction. We wanted to be open to whatever God had for our lives and that included in our ability to have children.

Vasectomy Reversal Reality vs. Myths

Reality vs. Myth #1 

Most families can afford a vasectomy but not a vasectomy reversal. While this is true to some extent there is much that can be said with research! We priced the reversal and found that it was going to cost over $10K including travel. That meant leaving our family and telling our extended family, our babysitters, something we were not prepared to do! It ended up costing us a little under 2K with a local doctor only two hours away. Some people have lowered the cost by offering to pay cash.

Reality vs. Myth #2

Recovery is long. It depends on the person, but our situation had my husband back at work after the weekend. He is owner of a construction company and ordered not to lift anything heavy – which he did not, but his recovery was relatively quick.

Reality vs. Myth #3 

Vasectomy reversals don’t always work. While this is true for some, it was not in our case. Even though it had been ten years, we have three more children. We do have one friend whose reversal was unsuccessful, however, they experienced great peace of mind after the procedure was completed, and that is true success. One more thing – for us, it worked rather quickly. I was pregnant with months of the procedure. For others, it may take a full year or longer.

Reality vs. Myth #4

Vasectomy Reversals are required as a Christian. This is an untruth. My situation is a long story – which lead me to a book for others who struggle as I did. However, I do not believe if you had a vasectomy you must have a vasectomy reversal. It is between you and God and your pastor. Most Christian pastors have opted for vasectomies in their own life. As a Catholic, it is not permitted, and therefore confession and speaking to your pastor is important. If you believe God is leading you to a vasectomy reversal, speak to your spouse!

Vasectomy reversal to us meant to encourage more kids. I realize that a big family is expensive, but I have watched our own situation with five children and the downturn of the economy. How was I going to pay for college for my youngest three? The Lord provided for the youngest two who opted for a college with a scholarship! (Thanks to Jean Burk with CollegePrepGenius.com/podcast – listen in if you want to learn more).

Big families allow us to become less focused on self-centered activities. We had to think before we headed out to eat, or took a vacation. It wasn’t easy grocery shopping with all the kids, and even with two older and three younger, it was still a challenge. It meant trading in my car for a conversion van and then an SUV. It meant sacrifice. The things of this world – those worldly things are short lived. However love and family are forever or for as long as we are on this earth.

Yes – love and family may mean a sacrifice to some, but not to me. And, if you consider it a sacrifice is short lived. Kids grow up so quickly and when they are gone, you will miss them! I tell parents all the time to hug your babies!

The decision to be open to life opened up questions from complete strangers. Some of our friends who pushed how we had the big age span between our two oldest children and our three youngest also shared their desire for more children and opted for a vasectomy reversal as well.  I pray that my story is an inspiration and not a condemnation. I also pray that the Lord leads you to peace, not matter what your decision. Until we meet again.

Overcoming Religious Persecution

Religious Persecution | Who would have thought that religious persecution would come to the shores of America? We know about persecution happening to all faiths in foreign lands, but on our soil? | #podcast #christianpodcastOvercoming Religious Persecution – Episode 94

Who would have thought that religious persecution would come to the shores of America? We know about persecution happening to all faiths in foreign lands, but on our soil? In this episode, we take a brief look at the persecution of the church in the first century and how our hope rests in Christ. He has Risen!

Thanks to our sponsor Media Angels and the book, One More Child – download a free chapter at MediaAngels.com

When we read the scriptures after the death of Jesus we learn that the Jews who believed in Christ and ultimately were called, “Christians” were persecuted in ways we can’t even imagine. Religious persecution came in the form of abuse, verbal and physical. It came in the shunning of people, in crowds shouting, and so much more. Yet every time we read about the religious persecution we are given a sign of hope and reassurance that only comes from the Holy Spirit. While the church thrived in these early years it was in the midst of adversity.

When Christianity broke away from Judaism the religious and state authorities targeted these believers on both sides. Paul and Barnabas were expelled from Antioch in Pisidia and this was a form of religious persecution. You can read the full version in Acts 12:25-13:52.

Barnabas and Saul Are Sent Off On A Mission For God:

  1. Barnabas and Saul finished their mission and returned to Jerusalem
  2. While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.
  3. After they fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off.

Religious Persecution In Antioch:

  • On the Sabbath they entered the synagogue and read from the Law and the Prophets, the leaders of the synagogue sent word to them, saying, “Brothers, if you have a word of exhortation for the people, please speak.” 
  • Standing up, Paul read the Scriptures and then rebuked them.

As we know the people asked for a King and he gave them Saul from the tribe of Benjamin, who ruled for 40 years – and as we know the scriptures talk about how Saul and his failures and that of his sons – then David became King, and verse 22 states:

And it continues – Jesus brought us the message of salvation and the people of Jerusalem and their rules condemned him which was a fulfillment of the prophets – they had no crime to try him with – yet they crucified Him anyway.

The Answer to Religious Persecution: 

The answer to religious persecution is the example Paul and Barnabas gave us – they were filled with joy and the Holy Spirit. They were not angry or resentful, they did not fear and despair. Why? Because God was with them and in them.

We know that true joy – the kind that surpasses all understanding comes from the one true God!

The Romans did not offer their citizens religious liberties and Christians would be killed for rejecting the pagan faith of the Romans. And this is happening on our own shores today. If you want to stand up for your faith you will be persecuted. It has become more difficult to take a religious exemption for your beliefs.

Religious Persecution Today:

The liberties of Christians have been attacked worldwide, but now on our own shores. Turn on the news and you can hear this on a daily basis 24/7. If you are a conservative you are narrow-minded, bigoted or worse. Many Christian speakers have been run off of college campuses, they are not allowed to present an opposing view in a place where we should be able to express our differences. Political parties are at each other’s throats. Our rights to claim religious exemptions are being thwarted. Did you know that it is extremely difficult to get a religious exemption – but you can get a medical exemption?

But friends – we have hope! We should not worry or fear. Just like Paul and Barnabas whose lives were on the line, they trusted in the providence of God. John 10:28 – I give them eternal life and they shall never perish! That is what I pray for us.

Dear Lord – you gave us a wonderful example with the holy men and women who preached the good news. You promised not to abandon us, you promised to provide, you promised to give us eternal life. I am grateful Lord for your providence, for your protection and for your Word that remains with us in the Holy Scriptures. Thank you that we have The Bible to read, to learn from and to enjoy. I ask you, Lord, to protect our religious freedoms and our human rights – of the born and unborn. I ask you to watch over us – our families – and our friends. I ask you, Lord, to hear the prayers we pray today … please Lord provide for all we pray for, and I pray this in Jesus Name, Amen.

 

Family Size Struggles

Family Size Struggles | Family size is something you discuss at different times in your life. And, if you have other struggles in your life it may add additional pressure to your decisions. | #podcast #homeschoolpodcastFamily Size Struggles Episode 11

Family size is something you discuss at different times in your life. And, if you have other struggles in your life it may add additional pressure to your decisions. Have you struggled with family size? In this episode, we delve into this topic with faith as our foundation.

Thanks to our sponsor Media Angels and the book, One More Child – download a free chapter at MediaAngels.com

Topics to consider when discussing family size:

  1. Families struggle over family size.
  2. Family dynamics are considered.
  3. Added pressure from well-meaning family or friends.
  4. Harmful effects of birth control on women. Dr. Janet Smith
  5. Seek outside counsel – pro-life doctor and clergy.

Take responsibility for your decisions about family size. Our faith grows to a point where we want to honor God in everything we do, every decision and every way we can in our lives. We are always under God’s will, but God gives us free will to make our own choices.

 

 

Worthy of Blessings

Worthy of Praise | Are you worthy of blessings? Blessings come to us in different ways and in this episode we will look at the blessings we receive as well as the cost. | #podcast #christianpodcastWorthy of Blessings? Episode 93

Are you worthy of blessings? Blessings come to us in different ways and in this episode we will look at the blessings we receive as well as the cost.

Thanks to our sponsor Media Angels and the book, One More Child – download a free chapter at MediaAngels.com

In the book of Revelations 5:12 we read the phrase many of us are familiar with, “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches, wisdom and strength, honor and glory and blessings.” I don’t think any of us would argue that Christ is worthy of these blessings. He suffered and died to bring us salvation and this sacrifice has withstood the test of time, The Holy Bible is the most read book in the world.

Who do we consider worthy of blessings in today’s world? Is it someone who has accumulated wealth, someone who is famous or someone we admire for something great they have accomplished? Worthiness is in the eye of those who consider it important. Yet in the time after the Resurrection, we learn that worthiness meant something totally different.

Peter had denied Jesus three times! He was a man that walked with the Lord for many years, who watched him teach, perform miracles and at at the table with him. Yet, this was also a man who did something dishonorable, and he was even warned about it by our Lord – then became a changed man. This change came when he was forgiven.

We read that after the resurrection, the apostles went back to their old way of life and while fishing they noticed a man on the shore — the man asked them if they had caught any fish and they said no. SO he instructed them to throw down their nets yet again (similar to when he first called them to be his apostles). They had fished all night and when morning came they were asked …

Worthy of Blessings

John 21: 1-7

Peter became a new man – he was forgiven! We have hope friends! But with this hope comes the fear and we feel it today. Unborn babies are in even more danger than before with new laws being enacted. Believers who stand up for the rights of the unborn are ridiculed and condemned. Recently a lawmaker did a live stream video of him harassing a lady praying at the sidewalk of an abortion clinic. She was praying for the unborn baby who was about to lose their life – and this man was calling her horrible names and telling her how evil she was.

If you stand for the truth – for the Lord you will be worthy of blessings but also at a price.

When the apostles began to do as Jesus asked they were harassed.

It meant that if you preached in the name of the Lord, you would be condemned by the Sanhedrin – as Jesus was and it was considered an honor.

Read all of Acts from about Acts 5:20-41 -this is where the apostles were captured for preaching and put in jail – when the guards went to get them they found the jail still locked and the men preaching to the crowds.

They rejoiced because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name!

Are we worthy of blessings? Yes, if we are willing to pay the price.

Let’s pray!

Dear Lord God, you are worthy of all praise, all glory, and all honor. I thank you, Lord, for what you have done for me in my life. I love you Lord and I ask that you help me in my faith journey, show me the ways you want me to feed your lambs and tend your sheep. Help me in my process of worthiness and I ask that you walk alongside me each and every day. Make my path straight and righteous Lord! I ask Lord that you hear my prayers for the following people and needs … I praise you, my God, that you hear all of my prayers and answer them as I need them to be answered and I pray this in your Name – Amen.

 

Parenting Under Trial

Parenting Under Trial | Parenting under trial happens to most at some time or another. Parenting, in general, is a skill not for the faint at heart, but when you add a child with some developmentally delayed or ill child the answers can be elusive. | #podcast #christianpodcastParenting Under Trial – Episode 10

Parenting under trial happens to most at some time or another. Parenting, in general, is a skill not for the faint at heart, but when you add a child with some developmentally delayed or ill child the answers can be elusive.

Thanks to our sponsor Media Angels and the book, One More Child – download a free chapter at MediaAngels.com

Parenting Differently
My husband and I were raised totally opposite and our parenting skills also reflected this in so many ways. I am the disciplinarian and if you are the one in your family then you know you are typically the “fall guy” while the other parent seems to get away without any of the blame.

I am the doer, the researcher, the let’s try this and see if it works because we have a problem. My husband, on the other hand, was oblivious there was even a problem. Having a special son took major patience, something I found myself extremely short on — and my husband had this in droves. he was so patient, so kind, so encouraging. I expected my son to listen to instructions yet wondered at how much he really understood.

Parenting Under Trial

  1. Keeping God around just for emergencies.
  2. Expecting more from our spouse than we are willing to give.
  3. Thinking you know more than your spouse.
  4. Quoting an article or book as an authority.
  5. Undermining your spouse’s discipline.

Parenting with Grace

  1. Pray – pray – pray. Prayer is the answer for everything. Put your children under God’s authority. He will provide.
  2. Parent together discuss first what you would like to do together before you approach your child. Yes, this takes planning.
  3. Realize your spouse does have an opinion and listen. If you disagree explain why with grace and love.
  4. Educate yourself, and share the information you find helpful only if your spouse wants to hear it – or read it himself.
  5. If you disagree with your spouse’s method of parenting or discipline, discuss it later -not in front of the children.

Parenting is a team effort and my husband always says that kids are gamblers. They will take the chance to push the limits

 

Blind Faith vs. Real Faith

Blind Faith vs. Real Faith | Blind faith is not what is required of us. We should question and wonder in our walk with the Lord, but truthfully while we believe without seeing, it is far from blind faith.  #podcast #christianpodcastBlind Faith vs. Real Faith: Episode 92

Blind faith is not what is required of us. We should question and wonder in our walk with the Lord, but truthfully while we believe without seeing, it is far from blind faith. In this episode, we will think back to the time of the Ressurection of Our Lord and what we can learn from the scriptures that can be applied to our lives.

Thanks to our sponsor Media Angels and the book, One More Child – download a free chapter at MediaAngels.com

Jesus did not call us to blind faith – because he has opened our eyes!

Luke 21-24:

When I think about those who doubted I think about doubting Thomas. I wonder, would I have been any better? I hope the answer is YES!

In John 20:24-29 we read about the way that Jesus appeared to Thomas.

Are we the blessed who have not seen and yet believe? This is something to think about to journal about and to really consider when we look at our lives. In this podcast, I ask a lot of you! And, I’m so happy for all of you who listen, because this is a lesson for us all!

There were many signs and miracles that happened after Jesus rose – and we learn more and more as the story unfolds.

Because of the witness of the faith of the twelve so many people were converted into believers.

In Acts 5: 1-14 we read a tragic story of those who followed but on their terms. They followed half-heartedly and allowed greed to get in the way of blind faith. They wanted to believe, but on their terms, like many of us!

Our faith should grow every day, if we are not going forward we are not just stagnating we are regressing. We see the works of the Lord all around us if we look – even though Jesus rose over two thousand years ago we see the witness of this faith. We see it in the men, women, and children that go to church each week. We see it in those who honor the Lord in their dress and their speech. Who proclaim Jesus and give him all the glory and the honor on the sports field.

We are the people who witness now. How can we do this?

  1. Smile – that goes a long way in letting strangers know we have something special.
  2. Praise God in conversation. Give God the glory. (I share a story about my husband here.)
  3. Tell others what God has done for you, in your life.
  4. Ask others to share their story – I’d love to hear yours!
  5. Tell people the good news – if you see someone is depressed who seems to be without hope ask them about their faith, invite them to church.

Remember to be able to witness we must first, fill up! Are you filled to overflowing with the love of Christ? We are the witnesses as believers. As we gather in prayer, as we gather as a faith community, as we share what the Lord has done for us.

Be sure to spend time this week in prayer and with your journal in recording how your faith has sustained you.

Let’s pray:

We will pray in the Trinity – in the Name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

Dear Lord, we thank you for giving us faith – the faith that believes without seeing. Oh, how I would have loved to be with you and talk to you when you lived upon the earth, but Lord, I know that you are more present now, through the Holy Spirit and the graces your death and resurrection have purchased for us sinners. I am so blessed Lord that you opened my eyes to the Christian faith and that you are so ready to deepen my faith if I just ask! Please help me to be a Christian witness to others for your glory, Lord! And, Father God thank you for your love in sending your Son and the Spirit – please hear our prayers … I praise you my God for all you have done and for all you will do in my life, and I pray this in the name of the Almighty God. Amen!

 

Marriage Under Trial

Marriage Under Fire | Marriage under trial happens each day. This can be due to finances, or family issues such as health and in these cases, the pressure just becomes even more difficult. In this episode, we learn the true test is not what you think.| #podcast #christianpodcastMarriage Under Trial – A True Test of Love: Episode 9

Marriage under trial happens each day. This can be due to finances, or family issues such as health and in these cases, the pressure just becomes even more difficult. In this episode, we learn the true test is not what you think.

Thanks to our sponsor Media Angels and the book, One More Child – download a free chapter at MediaAngels.com

True love can be fleeting or it can last a lifetime. When we meet and fall in love our world seems to change. Our mood lifts, we are happy, and everything is more in life become easy or at least more manageable. Yet there are so many things that can rob our peace and the main one in most marriages is problems with the children. Even the best marriages struggle with different parenting styles or even different opinions on what is important.

Yet I learned the hard way that if I didn’t have open communication with my spouse and patience with my children then there would be a very hard road ahead. I am not a marriage authority, nor have I written any books on the topic, but I can tell you that after being married for almost forty years, I can tell you a thing or two about what works and what does not!

We made some horrible decisions in our marriage that I am not happy about and one of them is deciding on a vasectomy. We thought it would make our life easier and in the long run, we realized it was something we needed to change. There will be a future podcast on this topic.

My husband had ideas that I went along with for the sake of peace. Several were marriage retreats. We attended a marriage encounter, for “good marriages,” and a Cursillo retreat for a deepening of our faith. My husband attended one weekend and I attended the next. This was wonderful in many ways, yet it took me many years to see the fruits.

Marriage Under Trial

  1. Forgetting to put God first in your life, your spouse second in your life – above kids or work.
  2. Thinking you are always right and it is everyone else’s fault.
  3. Holding grudges and failing to forgive.
  4. Not respecting the other person.
  5. Forgetting the romance.

Marriage with Grace

  1. Putting God first in your life, spouse second.
  2. Remembering that you are not in this alone. It is a partnership.
  3. Realizing love means sacrifice.
  4. Forgiveness is key
  5. Dating and rekindling your relationship. Respect your spouse!

Marriage is under attack on a daily basis and we need to pray for the grace to continue on, and to persevere.

The Resurrection

Resurrection | The ressurction is life changing. We know that as Christians our life changed the minute Jesus rose from the dead. This was such a surprise to his apostles! | #podcast #homeschoolpodcastThe Resurrection Life Changing For Christians Episode 91

The resurrection is life changing. We know that as Christians our life changed the minute Jesus rose from the dead. This was such a surprise to his apostles! They didn’t really understand what that meant, but do we? In this episode, we will explore the meaning of the resurrection and how it impacts our lives.

Thanks to our sponsor, Media Angels, Inc. and the book One More Child available for a limited time with bonuses. You can purchase it on Kindle or Print form on Amazon.

We are currently living in a time when I dread turning on the news. When I listen I feel like this entire world has gone off the deep end. It is so depressing and often the truth is that people have lost their faith. Maybe they never had faith, to begin with! As a Christian, we can be assured that the real story for us doesn’t take place until our life here ends and that friends is the joyous news! The resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ changes everything – the resurrection is life changing!

Resurrection is Life Changing!

John 20: 1-10 explained finding the tomb empty.

Can you imagine being in their shoes! Where was He? Where did He go?

Recently I did a series of podcasts on prayer – the prayers that appear to go unanswered and the prayers Jesus always answers. But at times we feel the way the apostles did – we feel lost without our Shephard. Our Shepard is with us always and this proof of the empty tomb that was guarded by the way by the Roman guards! The guards ran away, they knew they were in trouble.

Jesus defeated death.

Jesus lives today.

Paul tells the Colossians in verse 3:1 to seek what is above. Paul tells the Corinthians to throw out the old yeast and bake a fresh batch of dough. Jesus is the new yeast and we are the dough! We are reborn in Christ – through our commitment and through our Baptism of water and the spirit. This is our hope. We can use this message and allow it to bless us and to change our lives. How can our lives change?

  1. Seek what is above. Colossians 3:1 Mystical Death and Resurrection. If then you were raised with Christ, seek what is above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. We are so worn down with what is happening today – when I began this episode I talked about that – we worry about politics, about money, about our kids – we worry without any provocation! Yet we know that Jesus opened the gates of heaven and this life is temporary – we are to look at the things above and if we do and keep our eyes focused we will be so much happier! I promise.
  2. What about 1 Corinthians 5:7 – Clear out the old yeast, so that you may become a fresh batch of dough, inasmuch as you are unleavened. For our paschal lamb, Christ has been sacrificed. We are to grow in Christ. If we have old yeast the bread will not rise, it will not grow and change it will never be nourishing to our bodies and our souls. Jesus Christ died so that we could have life – we hear that in church often. We must allow the Lord to work in us – and like the bread the kind the raises anyway, you have to punch it down a time or two so that it rises light and fluffy – and sometimes we too are knocked down so that we can rise again.

Do not lose hope! Jesus Christ is risen and we celebrate this each and every day!

Dear Lord Jesus, we thank you for being our paschal lamb, for your sacrifice which opened for us the gates of heaven where we hope to be joyful with you at the end of time. I ask you, Lord, to send your Holy Spirit upon us to open our eyes so that we can look upward, and not dwell on the things that get us down. I thank you, Lord, for the new yeast that will allow us to grow and change and become a new creation in You! I ask a blessing on all those who are listening to this broadcast, for their families, their friends, that you infill them with the joy that surpasses all understanding. We praise you, Lord! And please Lord, hear our prayers as we ask for these specific things:  … we thank you for all you provide for us and pray this in Jesus, Name. Amen.

God Provides In Our Grief

God Provides | God provides in the midst of our grief. In this episode I give you some real life examples but also ways you can see the hand of God in your life, when you don't think he is here. #podcast #christianpodcastGod Provides In Our Grief

God provides in the midst of our grief. In this episode, I give you some real-life examples but also ways you can see the hand of God in your life when you don’t think he is here.

Thanks to our sponsor Media Angels, Inc. – visit the website at MediaAngels.com

When I learned my son would have struggles all of his life my heart broke and yet I had a husband and a young daughter who needed me, plus my son. When I began the process of contacting doctors and learning to what the next steps were in my son’s remediation it began at the hospital where he received occupational therapy and speech therapy.

My days, every day, revolved around the hospital – three days a week sitting and waiting. And that is where I met a friend, a kindred spirit who was also there for remediation for her daughter. Somehow we connected and spoke and became friends. God sent me friends someone who would understand me, who knew what I was going through and who could be there to encourage me.

God Provides Friends:

We had different ideas about how we would proceed after this first step, she decided to send her daughter to a full-time school for the deaf, while I decided to homeschool. Homeschooling was not something I considered lightly – as a certified teacher after spending years in education classes I never imagined I’d go this route. Obviously, God provided as I successfully homeschooled my son through high school. My network of homeschool friends were amazing, strong Christian women who made me think about my faith, what I really believed and how I would approach our differences in doctrine. Yet, we agreed on one fundamental point and that was salvation through Christ. I will be forever thankful for these ladies and their loving hearts!

It was also at this time that my mother gave me the book, Humane Vitae an encyclical written by the Pope Paul VI. It was written in 1968 and while I read it in the late 90’s today it is considered a prophetic book. It talked about the effect of birth control on people and how this would lead to other things such as promiscuity among families, euthanasia and more. Now we know that one of the leading cause for people who have abortions is a form of birth control or failed birth control. Again, it was prophetic in that birth control did change our culture and the rise of divorce and infidelity is now considered rampant.

God provides for us time and time again, yet when we are in the middle of our grief we can’t often see this help. In retrospect, I can see it so clearly now! I can see the times he lifted me up through the phone calls from a friend who said they were thinking about me, for the friendships he provided and for the love of my husband and support of my family.

God Provides! If you are in the middle of a difficult time in your life I recommend the following:

  • Do not make any major decisions.
  • Pray when you feel at your lowest – even a brief, “Dear God, help me!” is sufficient. God knows.
  • Do not worry about things you can not control. God has this.
  • Look at the small things, each and every day and chose to see the good.
  • Surround yourself with positive people, if this is not in real life – do it with us on Facebook – we are there to support you.

Please realize that our prayers are not always answered in the way that we want or wish they would be answered. I have struggled with this for years and that brings anger and unrest during a time when the situation requires my complete focus. I believe it is the enemies way of getting our eyes off of what is important. I have had many prayers answered and many prayers answered in ways I least expected not always in a way that I wanted! (podcast you may want to listen to here on prayers God answers — and prayers unanswered.)

 

 

Unplanned

Unplanned | My life was going well until something unplanned happened. Life keeps twisting and turning. In this episode, we discuss how we as Christians can stand together when life happens. | #christianpodcast #podcast Unplanned ~ Episode 7

My life was going well until something unplanned happened. Life keeps twisting and turning. In this episode, we discuss how we as Christians can stand together when life happens.

The movie unplanned has had a ripple effect upon the general population both for and against. It is the turn of the conservative media to take ownership of the ability of a well-told story to change hearts. Especially in this case when the movie depicts a true story.

In this film, it is the true story of a young woman, Abby Johnson becomes a clinic director of Planned Parenthood and is vehement about her stance on abortion. She is asked to assist during an abortion and what she sees changes her life forever.

How did this young woman come to the decision that abortion on demand was every woman’s right was such a proponent that she took a job as the clinic director?  We base our decisions on life experiences and for the young, those experiences are limited to what we are told or what we experience.

We are a product of our education and the forces behind education today are fighting for the minds of our children. In my book, “One More Child,” I discuss the decisions I made based upon preconceived notions and ones that were drilled into me as a product of the 1970s. It was a time of freedom from the shackles of the past. Women were equal to men if not better and our decisions should be based on “what feels good,” vs. what is good for our souls.

The decision for my husband and I was not abortion, it was a vasectomy to limit the size of our family. Just like abortion is common so is birth control. And, again I ask — how did we get here? Our story ended happily in that we had, “one more child,” and two more after that as we decided that a vasectomy was not what God intended for our family. A child is not unplanned it the eyes of God.

The silent majority is silent. But no more. This movie has peeled back a layer of what has been kept under wraps for way too long. And there is another layer of truth that the actress in the feature film learned that her mother almost aborted her! She didn’t learn this until she had accepted the role and was on set. Her mother called to chat and ask what she was doing and when she shared she was on set and staring in a role, and the topic of the movie her mother began crying. She told her then that she had a previous abortion and when she was pregnant again went to the clinic to have an abortion but couldn’t go through with the second.

 

‘Unplanned’ Actress Ashley Bratcher Learns Dark Secret: ‘I Was Almost Aborted’

What is an amazing turn of events and one I would call a “God incident.” With God, there are no accidents. There is nothing unplanned.

We as Christians and people of faith cannot be silent any longer. How do we do this?

  1. Pray – pray – pray for an end to abortion (shared a prayer on the podcast)
  2. Support pro-life films.
  3. Vote for pro-life politicians.
  4. Stand at pro-life marches, rallies and at abortion clinics in prayer.
  5. Sign petitions and support pro-life organizations.

It only takes one person and that person is you! We have the ability to change the world, one person, beginning with yourself at a time.

Prayers God Answers

Prayers God Answered | We know God can do anything, and he can answer each and every prayer that we ask. In this podcast, we discuss the prayers God answers and will answer all the time! | #podcast #christianpodcast #GodanswersprayersPrayers God Answers ~ Episode 90

We know God can do anything, and he can answer each and every prayer that we ask. In this podcast, we discuss the prayers God answers and will answer all the time!

Thanks to our sponsor, Media Angels, Inc. and the books available:

One More Child  — and A Few Minutes with God 

Like any good father, God has our best interests in mind. When we pray many times it is self-serving, and minor such as; God, help me find a close parking space or Lord help me eat healthily. Our prayers can be urgent, God, help my friend who has cancer, and help those who are lost and don’t know you. These are all good prayers. The first, while self-serving show trust in the Lord to ask Him for everything because we know that every good thing comes from God. It also is important to keep God in our thoughts and what better way than prayer.

The problem comes — not in the praying but in unanswered prayers when we feel that God does not hear us and He will not answer. When we look at the grand scheme of things, God has answered the most important prayers and that is in giving us life, a world to live in and loved ones that make our life complete.

There are important prayers we pray but there are some prayers that are always answered. And, I’m not being presumptuous. God answers them because it is for our own good.

Here are the prayers He answers:

Faith:

If we pray for faith, or for more faith God will give it to us. Faith is what completes our lives, makes it full and makes it worth living. Faith gives us hope, it gives us joy and it gives us an outlook that there is more than what we can see, hear and touch. Faith gives us the belief that God is the Creator and we are the created. God has an everlasting place for us that will never end and we prepare for this place while each and every day. Faith lets us know there is more.

Salvation:

If we pray for salvation it will be a prayer that is answered. First, we pray for faith, because without faith, we can not have salvation. Jesus came, sent by the Father to live, die and rise from the dead to break the bond of sin and open the gates of heaven so that we can have everlasting life. Salvation is what Jesus gives us and we can accept this for free.

Forgiveness:

God will give us the grace of forgiveness if we pray to Him for this specific grace. He will give us the grace to forgive others who have hurt us. Just as we forgive He too will forgive. The Lord’s prayer states: “Forgive us as we forgive those who have trespassed against us.”

More of You Lord:

If we pray to the Lord for Him to give us more of Him – to reveal Himself to us more fully He will answer this prayer. We long for communion with God to know Him better, but we can not even imagine how much more the Lord wants this for us. If we ask God to let us learn more about Him, to learn to love Him more, to spend more time with Him–He will answer this prayer.

Prayer for Guidance:

If we pray to the Lord to help us and guide us He will!

Psalm 25:4-5 –  James 1:5 – John 16:13

Prayer for Perseverance:

Pray to the Lord for the prayer to persevere, to continue on to keep going when we can’t do it any longer. We pray this prayer when we are at the end of our rope–when we really need help. I’ve prayed this prayer and each time God comes through. I was leaving for a trip and had so much to do. I had my book launch another podcast to prepare that was brand new.

Prayer to Share The Good News With Others:

Pray to the Lord to help you share the Gospel and salvation, through Christ with others. The Lord will give you the opportunities and the words you should use. This is a prayer the Lord will answer. God commissioned the apostles to go forth and make disciples of all nations. Matthew 28:18-20

These prayers as you can see are all other serving – not self-serving. They are things that will increase our relationship with the Lord and with our relationship, we can serve Him better.

Friends pray for these specific things, for faith, salvation, forgiveness, relationship with the Lord, guidance, perseverance, and sharing the Gospel – and I pray this in Jesus Name, Amen.

 

Handling Devastating News

Handling Devastating News | In life, at some point we must deal with handling devastating news - in this episode, I share moments from life and lessons I learned and the hope we all have that today's devasting news is our future praise report! | #christianpodcast #podcastHandling Devastating News – Episode 6

In life, at some point we must deal with handling devastating news – in this episode, I share moments from life and lessons I learned and the hope we all have that today’s devasting news is our future praise report!

I had a boy and a girl – and people, well-meaning kept telling me I shouldn’t have any more children. Everyone has an opinion and they were willing to share it with me. On top of this, my son was not progressing developmentally. I had a background in education with an emphasis in early childhood education and I was interested in playing educational types of games with my children.

Share points about Neal

Slower at walking, smiling, he seemed to understand but in slow motion – everything took longer. When my daughter was born, my once compliant child didn’t want to go to bed. My husband was a saint and came to help. He was very strong-willed and disobedient. Only years later would we really question how much he understood of what we said? His speech was delayed.

Testing – had blood work done at the result of my pediatrician

Told the devasting news that my son had Mosaicism – not life-threatening, praise God but still life-altering. I didn’t have the advice I will now share with you – and this is so important for anyone receiving information that is hard to process.

Tips for handling devasting news.

  1. Take a deep breath, panic is not an option.
  2. God is in this present moment. Not the past and not the future.
  3. Take the time to process the information and ask questions.
  4. Anxiety may come, and tears, allow yourself to grieve.
  5. Turn to prayer – the Name Jesus is powerful.
  6. Surround yourself with loved ones.

List of things NOT to do when handling devasting news:

  1. Decisions. Don’t make rash decisions.
  2. Get good counsel but double check your options.
  3. No major decisions especially if they are life-changing.
  4. Do not turn to drugs or alcohol

I didn’t have this information so soon after we had the results of my son’s diagnosis I went to my regular women’s health appointment where I shared with my doctor the news. He immediately recommended that my husband get a vasectomy. Skipped bc discussion because he knew I didn’t want to be on the drug.

We got counsel – spoke to a visiting pastor giving a retreat and he advised us that this was a good option. It wasn’t.

The good news is while we did go ahead with the procedure and then years later had it reversed, the subject of my book One More Child, I learned that we are ultimately responsible for our decisions and if we get bad advice we need to check with others.

I had three more children that wouldn’t be here if I had allowed the devasting news to shatter my world and rule my life. How many of you have allowed the things that happen in your life to define you? We talk about the things that we have in medical terms. You are not what you have, it is a symptom!

We have one life to live and I plan to live mine to the fullest, to spend each day praising God and all He has done in my life. My son has lived a great life. He is happy, adjusted and he has owned several vehicles and currently drives an SUV and has a job that he likes in the construction industry. He has a healthy bank account and while he still lives at home, it is his choice for now. He has lived in his own place for a time. And I know he can support himself.

I am not a super parent, I am a parent who takes one day at a time. Please share with me ways you have been able to overcome your devastating news and perhaps tips that will help us all!

 

 

 

 

 

Unanswered Prayers

Unanswered Prayer | What happens when we pray and we feel our prayers have been unanswered. In this episode, we tackle the topic of unanswered prayers and what we can do as Christians to hope! | #podcast #homeschoolpodcastUnanswered Prayers – Episode 89

What happens when we pray and we feel our prayers have been unanswered. In this episode, we tackle the topic of unanswered prayers and what we can do as Christians to hope!

Thanks to our sponsor, Media Angels, Inc. and the books available:

One More Child  — and A Few Minutes with God 

How many times have you prayed for something and feel like God doesn’t answer your prayers? Recently I’ve been praying and praying and I’ve been surrendering to the Lord, but my mind just won’t stop. Like a spoiled child, I keep asking, “Why?” I feel that there must be something blocking this prayer request.

I’ve come to learn some things that I will reveal to you and this is one of those hard self-teaching moments. Truthfully, many times when I share a podcast about a particular topic I feel that I am talking to myself.

The first thing is we can not do anything to make God greater than He is — we try in our limited words to say things like, “I give you all the glory and the honor.” But nothing we give God changes Him – it changes us.

God gives and we receive. It is a pure gift. My next podcast is on all the prayers that God will answer! However, we need to understand specific truths first.

Truth #1 – God can do anything.

If God wanted to answer our prayers immediately he could. He is God! God created the world, he parted the Red Sea, Jesus healed the blind, he brought the dead back to life – he can answer our measly prayers.

Ephesians 3:20-Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us,

Corinthians 9:8 – And God is able to make all grace abound to you so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed;

Matthew 7:7 – Prayer and Ask, and it will be given to you; [b]seek, and you will find; [c]knock, and it will be opened to you.

Jesus promised, “The Father will give you whatever you ask in my name” (John 15:16, 16:23)

So, what’s the deal? Keep listening and you will learn what I did as well as working on a better way to pray – not that it means God will answer but that you can rest assured that your unanswered prayers are being heard!

Truth #2 – God doesn’t need to do what I say.

This hit me hard. What? God does hear my prayers – I know He does, and He is a loving God, and He can answer them if He wants to, but He doesn’t have to do it my way. I felt like a little kid as if I was stopping my feet and demanding that He hear and answer – and then when there was no answer I wanted to know why. Sound familiar? If you have a child you know exactly what I mean.

SO what do I do next?

Truth # 3 – Motives

We should look at our motivation in prayer. Was I asking for something that was selfish? Was it self serving? For example, Lord let me win the lottery, or Lord let me do pass a test that I didn’t study for. We ask for something that could be missing for our prayers. We need to pray for things that are a priority. What is it that you really need and look at your motives for this prayer. Without faith we are lost and when we change how we pray it is amazing.  Read Hebrews 11:6 – Jesus leads a man with a child who is possessed to prioritize his prayers for faith overhealing.

“Whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive if you have faith.” Matthew 21:22 – faith. That is so important in all of our lives.

Lord, allow me to have more faith even if I have unanswered prayers. We should pray with a clear conscience and Deuteronomy 1:43-45 explains this well. If our conscience is guilty we should confess and get this taken care of, and I don’t need to explain why. We may need spiritual healing and we should ask our pastors for help!

Acts 28:27. and read Jer. 15:18-19

Truth #4 – Forgiveness.

What is your heart telling you? Are you holding grudges against other people, are you forgiving others from our heart? Before praying we should ask the Lord if there is anyone we need to forgive. Matthew 11:5 – “Whenever you stand praying, forgive if you have anything against anyone so that your Father who is in heaven will also forgive you your transgressions.”

When we pray are we holding anything against anyone if so we must forgive them. I’ve done several podcasts on forgiveness.

Forgiveness — and Asking for Forgiveness

Yes – we should ask ourselves if we are in sin, a great sin we need to know that these need to be taken care of before we can expect God to answer our prayers.

Truth #5 – We should pray without ceasing and always hope.

Do I keep asking God for my unanswered prayer? Why not – if our motivation is good and if we in good standing with the Lord, we pray and we should not stop praying. Especially if you’ve asked yourself the questions about motivation and forgiveness.

 Please let me caution you, there is no magic formula. There isn’t any guarantee however, we have faith, we must have faith, we must pray for faith. We must ask the Lord for the words to use in prayer. The Lord will help us! We must have hope friends, without hopes we cannot be live.

Let’s pray.
Dear Lord we ask for additional help for our unanswered prayers – we know you hear us – we know you can answer all of our prayers, we know you want what is best for us – but, Lord we are still hurting and still in need of your answers. Lord, please give me the words to pray, not only now for those who are listening but also in the future for when I ask for a particular answer to prayer. Lord help me, help me to look at my motives, I want purity of motives Lord – I want to honestly ask in my prayer. God if my motives are not pure, please show me and allow me to see this, please bring to mind people I need to forgive. I want what you want Lord, and I don’t know what that is but you know. Please give me hope to know that you will hear and answer! Dear Lord, I pray for the following: ……….. and I ask that if it is in your perfect will that you answer my prayers but either way Lord, I want to be obedient to your will. I thank you, Lord, for my unanswered prayers because I will thank you and praise you in all things. I also ask Lord that you give me faith, that you fill me to overflowing with your hope and the peace that surpasses all understanding and I pray this in Jesus Name, Amen!

 

Marriage With Children

Marriage and Children | I didn’t dream of marriage with children in the sense of planning for this day, yet when it came I was open and excited to the possibilities. Marriage Tips | #podcast #christianpodcast #marriageMarriage with Children – Happily Ever After Episode 5

I didn’t dream of marriage with children in the sense of planning for this day, yet when it came I was open and excited to the possibilities. Many of you listening are married – and perhaps some of you are considering marriage. Each of us has a different story and I’m sure it is unique to your situation.

Sometimes our expectations are not what we hope, and sometimes they are greater than anything we could possibly dream. In my case, it was the latter. This man that God brought into my life was amazing in every way. I was undeserving and truly blessed at the same time.

If I learned anything from the situation it is to trust but also to take action. I want to talk more about this in upcoming podcasts – but let me say here to fulfill God’s plans for us we have to make an effort and sometimes get out of our comfort zone and take action.

As I shared in the least episode I was lonely – yet I turned to God. My final thought in prayer was that if the Lord wanted me single all my life I would accept it. And, this admission and surrender gave me great peace?

Surrender To God

Have you ever surrendered a situation to God and felt the same peace? The peace that surpasses all understanding? It is wonderful! I urge you to try it.

Co-habitation is an epidemic. Living together was not an option for us – nor would I have agreed and I know my parents would have been totally against it – I’m happy in my case that it did not come up – and ladies if you are urged to “live together” or sleep with someone to prove you love them, I would say stand up for yourself and say no.

Yet before the marriage, I made a decision I have since regretted – and at the encouragement of a friend I went to an OBGYN since I had not previously been and he advised me to use birth control. I had no idea going into this appointment that I would ever use BC but it made sense. His reasoning was, “You don’t want to get pregnant immediately, you want to see how this marriage goes.”

Birth Control

Friends, I did not question him – I did not pray about it, I did not seek Jeff’s input I just did what the doctor said.

Of course, once we were married I shared this information with my husband and he was unhappy with the decision. I didn’t consider the Catholic church teachings. Before Jeff asked me to get off of birth control I read a very short book that my mother gave me. She was a reader of anything religious and she shared a book, Humane Vitae – this book summarized the teaching in 1968 by then Pope Paul VI that reemphasized the Church’s constant teaching that it was always wrong to use contraception in any manner to prevent children from coming into existence.

What few people realize is that up to 1930, all Protestant denominations agreed to condemn contraception as sinful. However, in 1930 at the Lambeth Conference, the Anglican church, was under social pressure to change their stance and they did. They said it would be allowed in some circumstances. Yet soon they allowed contraception across the board. Now all Protestant denominations have followed, and today, the Catholic Church alone stands by the historic Christian position on contraception.

At first, I was upset with the church’s teaching … why was the Catholic church the only one to make this decision, and not change their stance like all of the other Christian faiths? But then I agreed with my husband. I also listened to a talk by Dr. Janet Smith – her talk was eye-opening for me and I was shocked at her findings on the effects of birth control on women and wondered why this wasn’t common knowledge. Friends, we didn’t have the internet then and we could not find the information readily.

Contraception: Why Not – Link Here

Birth Control – Why

Myths about living together: Living Together – Why or Why Not

When I gave up on bc I felt free – and soon became pregnant with my first. I used this as a perfect reason to stay at home and raise my son, and then two years later (exactly another Christmas Eve baby) my daughter.

Friends I was living my dream, my happily ever after with a man I truly loved and I was so happy to wake up each morning and see him and I couldn’t wait until he got home each and every day. He was equally happy and it was a gift from God because this relationship that we had would be tested. My husband is a rock and I pray this for my children to have a strong spouse. One who will stand beside and support you in every way.

Life isn’t perfect and in my case, that imperfection soon was evident in my son’s delays. For those of you who struggle with special children, the next podcast is for you!

One more thing – marriage isn’t perfect. Mine takes a bunch of work on both sides. Yes, I love my husband but he and I are two different personalities —extreme in a sense. Where he is laid back and easy going to a fault. He loves to procrastinate, “Why do today what you can do tomorrow,” and I love to get it done, now. I’m strong willed, I want my own way, and I am tenacious! Our first year was touch and go and many of our arguments stemmed from immaturity on my part. Thankfully, the Lord was there in our lives. We attended church as a family and we prayed and we looked at our lives in the sense of growth and change. Which turned out to be good because I had an inclination that Neal was delayed but didn’t know the severity until later. And that my friends are a time when I really had to cry out to God for help.

We face challenges in life – sometimes they are more difficult than other times. We have to hold on to God as a life-line, but how can you if you do not have a deep relationship with Him? In my life, my relationship can be best described as an ebb and flow of the tides … sometimes it was strong and unwavering and other times it seemed to take a back seat to more pressing needs.

My promise to you is that when you follow God – all in, He will not fail you. He may not answer your prayers exactly as you hoped. But, believe me when I say the way He answers them are perfect in every way.

Easter Blessings

Easter Blessings | The peace of the Lord is always with us, especially for those who believe but what about Easter blessings, why is that a special time? | #christianpodcast Easter Blessings Episode 88

The peace of the Lord is always with us, especially for those who believe but what about Easter blessings, why is that a special time?

On Easter, we celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord and Savior! He is risen is the cry – and we are so blessed at the thought that Jesus Christ who was sent by the Father, lived, died for our sins and rose from the dead to break the bond of sin for us all.
His was the ultimate sacrifice and on this day, Easter we celebrate it in a fuller way.
Reflection

“On entering the tomb, they saw a young man in a white robe seated on the right-hand side, and they were struck with amazement. But he said to them, ‘There is no need for alarm. You are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified: he has risen, he is not here. See, here is the place where they laid him. But you must go and tell his disciples and Peter. He is going before you to Galilee it is there you will see him, just as he told you.’”

Mark 16: 5–8

And Luke 24 – 1-12  – The Resurrection of Jesus

 

Loneliness

Loneliness | Loneliness hits when we least expect it - solutions that work. | #podcast #christianpodcastLoneliness  – Episode 4

Loneliness hit me just as I realized, “I’m now an adult.” In this episode, I share some life lessons I learned along the way to adulthood and how we are never alone.

After graduation, I returned to my home town and while my parents were truly loving, and they had the best intentions for me. My dad, however, took the entire, “Italian father,” job literally and stepped in with the acceptance of my first job. I wanted a job teaching elementary school but the job my dad accepted was in middle school – in fact, the one I had attended as a kid when we first moved to town.

God, however, knew what He was allowing and it turned out to be a perfect fit for me. Yet one thing stood in the way of my happiness with my life, and that of a teacher, loneliness.

Loneliness is an Epidemic

The statistics for loneliness are astronomical and it tends to lead to depression. Have you ever felt lonely in the midst of a busy life? I had a wonderful family surrounding me, a bustling Italian restaurant I could escape to if needed with plenty of customers who knew me since I had lived in town since middle school. Yet I felt out of place. I was finally an adult with a piece of paper that said I earned a degree and I had a job, a good job.

The problem was my relationship with the Lord and that was the first thing that needed fixing. Loneliness for me was real and without the grace from God, I would have been lost. It was an interior sense that there was more, that God had someone for me but if He decided to wait then I was fine with waiting or never having anyone if that was God’s will.

I was thankful to a college friend who gave me what I call the True Love Prayer – I’ll read an excerpt to you now…

It was after truly praying and believing that God was in control and surrendering my will to His that I found my loneliness lift. I was no longer focused within, I was focused on others. Giving of ourselves is one way to combat loneliness. I gave to my class and I enjoyed my students. They were wonderful!

2 Corinthians 4:17

While I know I was not alone in feeling loneliness I realize to that it will come and go as I age. However, at this time I believe that it was in letting go that God worked out the details of my life and brought what would turn out to be the love of my life into town – a boy I knew from my college days who lived two hours away. God took care of it!

Now that my kids are grown and the youngest two are in college I’ve felt that loneliness again. During the day instead of the 100+ demands on my time and attention, I found myself wandering around the house wondering, and thinking, and yes feeling lonely! Just think I run a business, and help my husband with his business and still write and speak – can you imagine if I really didn’t have anything to do?

Loneliness is a state of mind and I think the enemy likes to use it against us!

If only we (I) could release more and trust in Him. Can you do that in your own life? Trust? Let go of loneliness? Allow God to work in your life as He has worked countless times in mine? I am learning to do that each and every day. God has this – I trust and I believe!

 

Total Surrender

Total Surrender | Total surrender is easy, right? Well, as a Christian, it should be easier, in theory at least. In this podcast, we will discuss a way that is helpful to let go and let God. | #podcast #christianpodcastTotal Surrender – Episode 87

Total surrender is easy, right? Well, as a Christian, it should be easier, in theory at least. In this podcast, we will discuss a way that is helpful to let go and let God.

Thanks to our sponsor – MediaAngels.com

How can we give God a total surrender of our concerns, worries, and problems if we do not trust? This is a question I’ve had time to reflect upon lately and I am not happy to say that after thinking about it, I’ve come been helped by certain realizations I’ll share with you. One is that we sometimes use God only in the sense of need – when we need him we pull him off that figurative shelf.

While this sounds sacrilegious we have all done it from time to time. Think about it – when all is going well do we cry out to God. No, because there is no need, but when we need him, we “cry out,” and wonder why He does not appear to answer. So we resort to that very human element in our lives worry.

Surrender it is not weakness it is a necessity. It is the only way we can survive in a world that wants to bring us down. Sometimes we just can not change our life circumstances – they are what they are. We have to pray – Lord, you take care of it for me, because I can not. I recently prayed, “Lord I pray a blessing on this person because you love them and I can not love them right now.”

Believe me, it helps!

I asked myself these questions and invite you to do so as well:

  1. Is there something that will change if you worry?
  2. Is there something you can do about the situation you worry about?
  3. By insisting in prayer to God that he changes the outcome to the one you want, are you convinced He will hear and answer your prayer the way you want Him to?

Truthfully that last one is what hit me. I wanted to know why God was not answering my prayer and it was for someone else. I found out that I could not control the situation (I’m sure you’ve already figured that one out) and while I could pray — and I am positive the prayer was heard, the outcome was not what I hoped for. The good news, it was not a life and death situation.

Sometimes what we love the most is what is taken away from us in order that we turn to Him. I’m talking about a career, an achievement, or something that is more on the superficial human level here. My husband always said, “God gets my attention when I don’t have much work.” He is self-employed and our work is steady only by the grace of God – to Him we give all the glory.

Is God getting your attention, and instead of total trust we worry?

Giving Up Worry – Total Trust

I decided this year for Lent (the season of 40 days before Easter) to fast from worry. For the most part, it has worked. Whenever I began to feel worried I gave it to the Lord, I realized very quickly that I could have a life that was calmer and focused on what matters and that is God’s will over mine. I’m sure you’ve all memorized Proverbs 3:5-6 and if not you should commit it to memory:

Proverbs 3:5-6

Total surrender takes:

  1. A decision – I will totally surrender to you, Lord.
  2. A recommitment daily if not minute-by-minute to total surrender.
  3. A realization and acceptance of a different outcome than what we hope for.
  4. A peace – knowledge that God IS always there for us.
  5. The belief that God will give us the grace we need to do this!

Let’s pray with expectant hearts!

Dear Lord, total surrender to you is an absolutely freeing idea and I pray that you give me the grace to surrender all of my problems, my concerns for those in my family, for myself, for those who are struggling. I place all of the issues I have into your very capable hands. You Lord know all things and I know you have my best interests at heart. You care is for my salvation Lord, and I pray a total trust in you. Jesus, I trust in You! Dear Lord, help me especially to surrender the following prayer intentions: (family, friends, work, home, etc.) Lord, I know that you hear me and I especially pray for the grace that comes from the Holy Spirit to shower upon me and bring me that peace that surpasses all understanding. And, I pray this in the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Survival

Survival | When I think of the word survival I think of the term, “Survival of the fittest.” We survive life’s curves in different ways. #podcast #christianpodcast #faithSurvival — Episode 3

When I think of the word survival I think of the term, “Survival of the fittest.” We survive life’s curves in different ways. We look at things during different lenses and I hope after the last podcast you are looking at your family roots with a focus on the positive. In this episode, we will look at the ways we survive with ideas on helping you cope, have hope and yes even have joy out of the process.

Before we get started … can you please share this podcast with a friend, and give me a star rating on your favorite podcast app – here we are in our third episode and I completely forgot to ask you previously. Amazing that I teach people to podcast and can’t follow a simple outline myself!

I believe we learn our survival skills as a kid. I know I did. Kids are resilient and I believe our survival stems from this very fact. Kids can bounce back from life changes so much easier than we can. When we get to be adults the silliest things set us off or throw us off like for me it was scheduling my kids —  The things that drove me nuts was juggling the schedules of three kids that play sports all at the same time in different places, yet this didn’t faze my kids at all because they knew I’d figure it out.

Our kids survive life’s changes because they know we have their best interests in mind. The adults will take care of it – what happens when we become adults who handles it for us now?

As a kid, I moved from my loving home with my parents and grandmother to a home far away leaving my grandmother behind. It is a tragic story of family drama. My grandmother didn’t want us to leave but the extended family got in the way. Of course, they had her best interests in mind…yet it backfired.

I have no idea what my parents were thinking as they packed up a car, with a trailer and moved me and my two little brothers from Long Island, New York and all the way to Toronto Canada. Both are in heaven so I can’t even ask them.

I think my parents were fearless. Can you imagine packing up three kids and moving across the continent in a few days? I can’t. We are planners, aren’t we? We are worried about taking a vacation or even going on a day trip. I have friends who decided to sell their house and become full-time RV’ers and it took them three years to plan for this lifestyle change, and rightly so!

I was very upset with my parents and very young. I was entering the fourth grade when we moved and they took me out of public school and placed me in a very strict Catholic school. No, I didn’t have the mean nuns. Our nuns were nice and we even had regular teachers.

I knew my parents cared about me but it wasn’t my friends I was sad to leave; it was my grandmother. I didn’t even care that we went to Canada. It was a pretty awesome place to live especially if you liked snow and what kid didn’t.

My parents knew they could work hard and had an amazing skill set. They didn’t mind being self-employed and were not afraid to take any job to pay the bills. They also had a small nest egg, or I assume they did because we bought a house at the top of a horseshoe subdivision on a hill. My mother was a fabulous seamstress, a great cook yet her baking was by “eye” and it was either great or not. My father was a handyman and a seamstress. All self-taught. Canada was a blessing to my family, my parents did very well sewing custom clothing for a wealthy crowd. My mother and father made my clothes well into college.

In fact on the rare occasion that my mother took me shopping, she would turn the seams inside out first. Mom taught me that to determine how long the outside would last you had to look at the inside first. A good life lesson!

Three years later they did it again. This time I didn’t care about moving from Canada to Florida. Across the continent, we went! We drove around the town of Winter Haven, (My mother said anything that had heaven in the name had to be wonderful), until my parents found first a house they wanted to buy and then a business. A fried chicken place – I mean what else would an Italian family buy?

Seriously. I’m astounded. Of course, they quickly added Italian sides like spaghetti. Two pieces of chicken, a side of pasta and garlic bread. The combo platter. I created custom signs, I loved art and was a bit embarrassed that they traded out the fries for pasta, but the customers were delighted. They soon outgrew their little place – and when the pizza place owner next door forced the building owner to not renew their rental contract it was understandable.

My mother prayed and prayed for a solution. I remember her going to talk to the priest because the other owner was Catholic as well. My mother prayed for God’s will. Nothing worked until they looked across the street. Well, not exactly across but at 2:00 – over there. I’m pointing but you can’t see me! There it was. A stand-alone building in need of remodeling. Hmm, anyone know a handyman? They purchased the building and remodeled and business was wonderful. They grew so big my dad had to remodel again, later while I attended college.

My parents made friends with one of the owners of the major league baseball team, the Red Sox that use to train down the street and we had a stream of winter visitors and famous players at the restaurant.

One door was closed and another opened for them!

It was a life tragedy for my parents. They had to move their thriving business. How could they survive and provide for their family? Yet, God provided. Not only that but grew their business tremendously! And guess what? They could now offer pizza on the menu because there were no lease restrictions!

Where do you get that will – that determination – that drive to survive? It comes from need. The need begins when we are kids and then develops as we get older and into adulthood. The urge to eat, sleep and provide for our families is very real and I believe it is instilled in us, this survival instinct.

Where do you get your survival instincts from? Have you thought about it? Is it due to the example of your parents or is it from someone who you admire?

I think it also is based upon what we think is important.

Ask yourself these questions:

  1. What has happened in the past to hone your survival skills?
  2. How do you survive life tragedies?
  3. What is your example in surviving in the midst of adversity?

I know what happened in my life – through moving I had to learn to let go, yet we are created to bond to others, our family or friends.

 

Take Jesus With You

Take Jesus With You | Is Jesus with you each and every day? Learn how to notice God in your life | #podcast #christianpodcast Take Jesus With You – Episode 86

Many times people feel alone and forgotten but you can take Jesus with you each and every day. In this episode, we are reminded that God is always with us until the end of time. We are not alone!

So, how do you take Jesus with you and why is this a strange concept to so many? We learned as children that Jesus is always with us – we are told in the Scriptures after Jesus resurrected that the disciples were asked to go to the mountain in Galilee where they found the Lord – and he instructed them before he went to heaven. This is known as the “great commission.”

Matthew 28:16-20

  1. The eleven went to find Jesus
  2. Some doubted
  3. The great commission – make disciples of all nations
  4. The Trinity: Baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit
  5. Teach them to obey
  6. …I am with you always, to the very end of the age

Jesus is with us … always … to the very end of the age…

We should be shouting and rejoicing in the streets – hallelujah the Lord is with us – He is here – He is always beside us. OR… if we are not sure of our relationship with God it may be a little bit intimidating.

Each of us has a different relationship with the Lord. We worship in our own way. Some in private, other’s in the community, some lifting their hands and worshipping in song and others on their knees in the privacy of a church chapel or home. Yet we should work on our communication with the Lord.

Is Jesus with you each and every day? Is he right

Dear Jesus, thank you for always being with me, until the end of time – thank you for giving me the grace to believe you are here – that you are with me. I repent of any way I have not allowed you to work in my life, anything I have done that is not pleasing. I ask you, Lord, to come into my life in a renewed way – to see your hand in the little things in my life, to honor my prayers and to go with me, wherever I go. I praise you and I thank you, Lord! Thank you for answering the prayers that I ask of you now…

You are the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords and I give you all the honor and praise as the one true God and I pray this in Jesus Name – Amen!

Family Roots

Family Roots | Have you studied your family roots? We all have a history we are either proud of or want to shove back in the closet. In today’s episode, I’ll share how we can use our heritage to our advantage and bring healing out of situations that truthfully should make us cry! | #podcast #christianpodcast #faithFamily Roots – Episode Two

Have you studied your family roots? We all have a history we are either proud of or want to shove back in the closet. In today’s episode, I’ll share how we can use our heritage to our advantage and bring healing out of situations that truthfully should make us cry!

In my book, One More Child I write what I believe to be a truth – “We don’t get to choose our parents, something my kids probably lament in private!” They did get a kick out of that line – when our kids are little they adore us and write us “I love you, mommy,” notes. When they get older we can be embarrassing or you hear the line, “Moooommmm” at the end of anything I ask.

My parents are now both deceased, and my life was not your average American kid story. While I was born into an Italian immigrant family in New York City, I had no idea I was different until I entered school.

Has that happened to any of you? Your background, morals, truths that were taught by your parents just were, because they said? Then you wake up to find out, wow, things are different out there.

I go into more details about my upbringing in my book, yet in this podcast, I want to focus on our roots.

What are your roots? Have you looked back, and I’m not talking about a DNA test or a family tree history. While those may be interesting it tells you the ancestry parts of your story but not the full picture. Your family tree doesn’t tell you what is important to you. It doesn’t tell you how your upbringing, your family, your parents or lack of good parental influence colors your life decisions. It doesn’t explain the hurt you feel.

Our roots have a way of explaining a lot. I want to challenge you to look back on your upbringing like I did, but not with sad eyes but with eyes that see the good. We didn’t have money growing up but I didn’t know it. We didn’t live in the best neighborhoods or eat the right food. We didn’t even have friends (or very few) outside of our family circle. My best friends were my two cousins, both guys, Sal and Joe. We grew up in the same apartment complex. When we played, we played together.

In fact, my mother was divorced, something that is forbidden in an Italian Catholic family. It wasn’t her choice. My father left. But it left a big hole in her life and you can imagine it had a rippling effect not only on me but our extended family.

Do loving people, who love the Lord get abandoned. Yes. Sometimes through no fault of their own. These things remain a mystery in families that won’t talk about the issues that bother them, they are swept under the carpet.

But if you ask me to describe my family to you and my upbringing I would say it was loving, loud, and after God family was the most important thing and it was happy. Can you do that? Look back upon your family with rose-colored glasses and see the good?

It is a matter of our survival to focus on the good, the happiness, the joy. Even if it is a relative, a neighbor, a teacher who brought you that joy. In curriculum series, I published I had a co-author, Jill. I loved Jill. She was a boisterous evangelical Christian and I was a cradle Catholic and we agreed to disagree on several faith-related discussions but not on the things that mattered the most of which we agreed, our faith in Jesus Christ as Savior. She had a horrible relationship with her father, and when she found God she said she could not equate a loving God as a “Father” because her idea of the word Father was skewed. Yet, when she realized they were two separate entities and forgave her earthly father, she was able to move on and embrace the love and joy from her spiritual father.

That is true joy friend. When we can leave those icky things in our past behind and move forward. Maybe you are not at a place where you can do this – but you can. I have faith that you can. Maybe not this second but soon.

Here are some practical steps to get you started.

  1. Look at your roots. What do you see?
  2. If you see hardships, acknowledge those but look for the good.
  3. If you are stuck on the icky stuff pray to God to forgive. Only through forgiveness – can we move on.
  4. Future – look at the future with hope.
  5. Let go! Joy comes from releasing things that are upsetting to God and letting go.

This is a ton of work to get you started and believe me it doesn’t happen overnight. It took me many years to grow in faith and that was a process and afterward, it took me another five years to write my book.

Why do we delay in letting things go, in allowing God to work in our lives? If you have the answer, please let me know! We all make mistakes and in the next episode, we will discuss survival – the way we regroup and survive difficult things.

Maybe you can’t do any of the five things I’ve listed. Fine. Make up your own list. If you are struggling and hurting there is only one way out and that is to look for the root cause.

A quick side note here. Taking responsibility. In my case, my distress was because of a decision I made, not lightly but along with my husband. I had to take responsibility and own it to move on.

Bad things happen to good people. And…

Good people do not need to let those bad things define them.

We are responsible for ourselves for our decisions and for our own feelings. If we allow ourselves to stay in a self-pity party for very long it begins to define us – we look at other people and see their lives as perfect. We begin to compare ourselves to others and guess what? We think we fall short – everyone else’s life is so much better than ours, right?

Wrong.

There is no perfect life. Believe me, I know. Just think of any friends you’ve gotten to know whose life you thought were perfect. I usually walk away happy that is not my life and thanking God that He has given me what I can handle with His help!

Can you do it? Can you look at your roots, your past and not allow it to define who you are?

Yes, I’m Italian. Yes, I grew up in a faith-filled Catholic family but we were more cafeteria Catholic that true Catholic – selecting and choosing what we wanted to follow. Yes, I watched as my family practice the fine art of guilt – making others feel guilty when they didn’t want to visit or eat the food prepared. It was subtle but oh so effective technique – and the drama! There was always drama.

I let these roots define me for way too long! Take the good, get rid of the bad. Learn from past mistakes. I’m not into guilt or drama. But it was a process. When my parents retired in a community thirty minutes away, I would feel guilty if I was within ten miles of my parent’s home and didn’t go to visit. Even after my mother died I began to fill guilt that I hadn’t visited enough. Why didn’t I go see her more? My husband reminded me of all the times we visited all the meals, of all the family celebrations. My parents actually baked homemade pizza for lunch and brought it fresh and hot to my house for the kids. Retirement was an extension of the Italian Restaurant they owned in Winter Haven, Florida. They just changed the menu and fed the neighbors and family that lived nearby.

When my cousin wanted to take his wife on a getaway (the same cousin whose mother, my aunt lived in their home and his wife made welcoming) and he wanted to visit my area in Florida I told him that while I’d love to see him – this was a surprise for his wife who lived near family and it was okay—he didn’t need to come to visit. Needless to say, he was delighted and shocked.

In the past, there would have been all types of drama told about being so close and not coming over for dinner. Every. Night.

Growing up anyone who walked into our house was greeted with the same words. Hello. Welcome. And, you look hungry. How do you look hungry?!

Friends, let it go. If you come to my house I’ll say, “Hello, welcome,” and then proceed to forget to offer you even a glass of water. The glasses are in the drawer near the water cooler help yourself!

Please connect with me on social media, I want to meet you, and for us to get to know each other. The information and details are on the podcast page at One More Child Podcast.com – or if you are not on social media please share your comments and questions with me at Felice@MediaAngels.com.

I pray God’s blessings upon you and your family. Until next we meet

 

Power of Family Prayer

Power of Prayer | I recently attended a prayer breakfast where I heard an amazing testimony to the power of family prayers. The prayers of a family or friends for a particular person are so powerful. In this episode, I want to share with you some of what I learned and the power of prayers for your family. | #podcast #christianpodcastThe Power of Family Prayers – Episode 85

I recently attended a prayer breakfast where I heard an amazing testimony to the power of family prayers. The prayers of a family or friends for a particular person are so powerful. In this episode, I want to share with you some of what I learned and the power of prayers for your family.

Family prayer is so important – we don’t realize the impact. We can unite as a community to pray for someone, we pray in the gap for those who may be struggling with their faith OR for those who need our prayer:

Jesus Prays for His Disciples – The Power of Family Prayer

John 6:26

  • I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours ((John 6:9).
  • All I have is yours and all you have is mine (John 6:10).
  • While I was with them I protected them (John 6:12).
  • I kept them safe by that name you gave me. (John 6:12). (The name? Jesus Christ.)

God knows what we need and He is what we need! Think about that. We are worried, concerned and we allow these feelings to overcome us to the point that we can’t function. I understand, life is a struggle and guess what – we hold this inside and don’t want anyone else to know. We continue on as if everything is okay.

And, to make matters worse? The enemy uses this to torment us and keep us bound to a place where can’t escape on our own. Friends, the only person who can set you free is the Lord. He is the one who knows all of our needs – all of our wants and keeps everything in perspective for us.

When we rely on Him for everything we will be victorious. One of the ways to get out of our own problems is to pray for others. Not in a way that has us tied up in knots with worry but in a way that releases the situation to God.

I keep learning and growing along with all of you on my journey of faith. I decided that the time before Lent I would give up worry. It was eating me inside and I was so concerned about things I could do nothing about – yes, I prayed and I stood in the gap, but instead of releasing things to God for Him, in His wisdom and mercy to take care of… I was concerned He wouldn’t answer, or that He would answer but not how I wanted Him to answer.

Instead every time I was tempted (do you hear that word, “tempted” it is true – we are tempted) so, when I was tempted to worry I said, “into your hands Lord I place this situation.” And left it there! Is it easy? No way, but I have faith.

In Exodus 3:1-15 we read about Moses and the burning bush – one verse really stood out for me. The Lord God told Moses he was … “the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob.” And, He went on —The Lord said, “I have witnessed the affliction of my people in Egypt and have heard their cry of complaint against their slave drivers, so I know well what they are suffering.”

God knows what we are suffering and what our friends and family are suffering. I spoke to a friend who is praying for her friends who are suicidal or have children who are suicidal. Another friend’s daughter was given a dire diagnosis of no hope after cancer treatment. We can stand in the gap, we can pray. One friend was so moved about another friend’s situation she took a calendar and started a prayer chain with each of us taking one day to pray for this person.

God hears the prayers of the family. The family can be blood-related but the family of God is interrelated. We, those of us listening to this podcast – we are family, we are the family of God. No matter what your faith journey if you are starting out or you are a committed Christian we all have people to pray for. I received a text as I was preparing this talk for a friend’s daughter who is having her first baby – she is on the way to the hospital so we pray!

Are you connected to others who pray? For those of you on Facebook we have a large group of prayer warriors – you can join us there, or email me at Felice (at) MediaAngels.com and I will add your prayer request https://www.facebook.com/AFewMinutesWithGod/

 

Remember – God knows our needs – he took the Israelites out of Egypt, and that was a miracle and He had not sent His Son, Jesus Christ at that point! Now the Lord has lived, died and is resurrected! He is here for us and we need to trust.

Jesus, I trust in you and I pray for those listening to this episode. You hear their prayers just like you heard the prayers of the people in Egypt who were under slavery. Lord we are under the slavery of sins such as anger, a feeling of injustice, pride, hate, impatience and all those little sins we think are minor and not important. I ask your forgiveness of these sins and I say right now, that I am sorry for the way I have sinned against you in Word, in thought, and in deed. I ask you, Lord, to fill me with Your Holy Spirit, to wash away those feelings I have and to allow me to focus on what is good and right. Dear Lord, you know my needs – and I know you are what I need. I ask you, Lord, to hear my prayers especially for myself and those I now pray for ….

I praise You Jesus for this time to give you all the glory and all the honor that you deserve, and I thank you for the hope you give me each day, and I pray all this in Jesus Name, Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

Invitation To Hope

Invitation To Hope | Do you need an invitation to hope? Well I did, and I’m convinced that everyone has a story to tell. #podcast #christianpodcastInvitation To Hope – Introduction Episode One

Do you need an invitation to hope? Well, I did and I’m convinced that everyone has a story to tell. Every single one of us struggles yet we don’t want anyone to know about it. We want to paint a rosy picture and let everyone know we are living the dream. My life was just that way; I was struggling on the inside yet smiling on the outside. There is hope and joy in life and I am here to share this message with you.

I will discuss real concerns that you have as a woman, as a mom or someone who is learning and growing in their faith. I want you to know you are not alone. This podcast is meant to support, encourage and to give you hope! Some of you are stay-at-home moms some of you at our work at home moms and some of you work outside of the home, yet we all have common struggles. Anyone who tells you that life is great all the time is not being truthful. Life has struggles, this is not heaven, and I often have to remind myself of this very fact. Happily ever after does happen in real life but it happens not necessarily in the way you think.

You might think this is a strange name for a podcast – One More Child – but it has impact and meaning. Once I was open to God’s will in my life, in everything–even being open to having one more child, I felt as if my eyes were opened to the truth. I could no longer compartmentalize my beliefs and my life. I also found that my daily life struggles were manageable because I was not doing it alone.

In this series of podcasts, we will discuss so many topics that affect our happiness. And you will see a reoccurring theme one of trust, of truth and of focus. Can you use more of that in your life? I know I can!

As I record this episode I am just beginning to share my book with the public, it is a story about faith and redemption, and how my last three children are a miracle story. I thought God might bless me with a third child, but he decided I needed a fourth and a fifth as well! My God is abundantly gracious.

In this series for the One More Child Podcast, I’m going to discuss different topics that relate to openness to children, family, faith, and relationships – I also want to encourage you to find joy and hope no matter what your life’s situation may be.

So who am I? My name is Felice Gerwitz, and I have been online in some capacity since 1999 representing the company I created and founded Media Angels. I’ve been writing and publishing for over 24 years.

When I started, there were no podcasts, no online forums or even social media as we know it today. But I am so happy we have these things so I can connect with all of you!

Now that my five children are grown up, with my two youngest currently in college, I find myself at a crossroads. I wrote a book that I felt compelled to write through the urging of the Lord, in writing this book I found that I had much more to say than the 100 pages of the book, so since I am no stranger to podcasts, I decided, “Why not?”

I know this podcast would have helped me as someone who was struggling, as someone who  had no one to talk to about private issues — well let me amend that, I had plenty of people I could talk to but no one I wanted to tell my story to nor was I open to any solutions at that time. I held a secret in my heart that was eating away at the very fiber of who I was as a woman as a mom and as a wife. Sometimes there are things you just can’t share with anyone. And this feeling was something I couldn’t even share with my husband even though if you had asked me I would say we were very close.

I don’t want this podcast to be a one-way conversation. I want you to join me with questions and perhaps as a guest on this podcast if you are open to this idea. If not, I totally get it! No one believes I am shy—no one. But truthfully I’m a private person that the Lord has stretched and taken me out of my comfort zone. Has that ever happened to you? We grow when we are stretched and believe me I have grown and continue to grow in my relationship with the Lord.

At one time I believed that if I shared my secret I would admit my inadequacies and I was not in a place spiritually to do this. My walk with the Lord was one-sided—I followed Him on my terms. You may wonder about my secret what was it that had me in turmoil? It was regret. Regret over a decision that thousands of people make each day and that is to limit the size of their family with a surgical procedure. For us, it was a vasectomy.

Once my faith grew and I began to understand what it truly meant to be a Christian in the full sense of the word, I began to regret the decision. My husband was also feeling the same way but he didn’t tell me either until years later.

If this story didn’t have a happy conclusion I wouldn’t be sharing this right now! I know the wonderful outcome could only happen by the grace of God – His mercy and His love for me. My last three children wouldn’t be here unless we had a change of heart, and I can’t tell you what a blessing they have been. Has it been easy? No – but can you tell me one thing in your life that has been worthwhile that is super easy?

What I want to share in future podcasts is that God does answer prayers and His answers are so much more glorious than anything you or I can imagine – and believe me, I have a very vivid imagination! God poured out His grace on me, my husband and my family and I can’t wait to share the good news with you!

One thing you can be sure of … there will be no pretense in these episodes. I have learned so much and I’m happy to share helpful solutions and encourage you along your journey in life if I truly have lived it — and my heart’s desire is to share the wonderful and amazing hope that comes only my relationship with the one true God! And, you know what? IT is available to all of you.

Welcome my friend. If you are a long-time friend and listener of my other podcasts I thank you in advance for coming over to yet another podcast I host and your loving support. You know who you are. If you are a new listener, I hope to meet you and for you to become a friend. My hope is that you will join me on social media so we can have a chance to connect, meet and get to know each other. The information is on the podcast page at One More Child Podcast.com – or if you are not on social media please share your comments and questions with me at Felice@MediaAngels.com.

I’m excited about this new journey the Lord has me on …and I pray it is a hundred-fold blessing to all of you. Until next we meet…

 

 

Judgmental Christians

Judgmental Christians | In a world that has gone astray the last thing we need is judgmental Christians getting in the way of the goodness that is truly God. | #podcast #homeschoolpodcastJudgmental Christians

In a world that has gone astray the last thing we need is judgmental Christians getting in the way of the goodness that is truly God. In this episode we are going to take a hard look at ourselves and ways we can improve upon our nature to forgive and repent for pointing the finger at others when the finger should be directed at ourselves.

In the last few podcasts, we’ve listened as the Lord taught us first in the Beatitudes about how we should live and then in the verse about turning the other cheek and going above and beyond what is expected of us by normal situations. Today we are going to look at ourselves and the tendency we have of blaming others and not taking the blame that most squarely falls on our own shoulders.

Friends I am talking to myself here and don’t want you to see this episode of pointing fingers at you!

Luke 6:43-45 New International Version we read about A Tree and Its Fruit

What we produce depends upon what is in our heart – and that is unfortunately typically hidden from the world until something sets us off. I have to admit that I am not happy with my younger self. I was quick to follow Jesus in all things but then believed I had to correct all those around me. I was involved in a Bible Study focused on the Book of Corinthians and I was so excited with what I was learning. At a meeting with my CPA who had been Baptist but now was not practicing I was attempting to find out how to get her back to her faith.

I realized that not everyone was going to lead a life that was pleasing to me. When another friends’ marriage was ruined by infidelity on her husband’s part she went off what I would consider the “deep end” and began to live a life of promiscuity herself. It was retaliation on the hurt she felt by betrayal and the way she reacted was just the same. I thought it was my job to point out these issues and became self-righteous. After all, I told myself I was concerned for their souls. What if they died in a state of sin?

I looked at these friends and thought I am not doing anything remotely wrong in comparison, but judging them was wrong. “Every tree is known by its own fruit.” And my fruit was tainted. We think we are being compassionate but we are not.

In our family, we fall into this same trap. Whether it is an extended family member or someone in your immediate family. Yes, we want to help our children but at some point it is time to release them to God and allow the Lord to work in their lives.

Just for clarification – Being judgmental is putting someone else down to elevate ourselves – to make ourselves feel like we are holier and better than they in a spiritual sense. That is why it is sinful. Being helpful, loving guiding is not the same. As much as it pains me to admit I was judgmental in the bad sense of the word. And, I want to praise God that I finally “grew” out of it – and it was a spiritual immaturity that leads me down that path.

Can we pray for those that we feel are going down the wrong path? Absolutely… we can storm heaven for them. However, always reprimanding, nagging and chiding them for incorrect behavior is going to push them further away.

Matthew 7:5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

How are we doing? What does our life look like to those around us? Are we showing good fruit while we are harboring unforgiveness and condemnation toward others inside?

A splinter or a branch or maybe an entire plank can be blocking all the goodness in our lives and the ability for the Lord to work within us.

I know that when I prayed blessings on those who hurt me (I have podcasts on forgiveness and if you haven’t listened go to AfewminuteswithGodPodcast.com to find them), I was set free.

When someone who bothers you or you have judged comes to mind, pray a blessing upon them. Ask the Lord to bless them beyond measure and leave it at that. Do you think you love these friends or relatives more than the Lord does? No, not at all.

Now, what if someone asks you for help or asks your opinion on a matter that might be sinful? That is different, then it is advisable to pray to the Holy Spirit first for an infilling of His wisdom and help and then pray with the person first and then listen.

I want to warn you about being too scrupulous. Sometimes we are so focused on the outer trappings that we forget what is inside. That does not mean we need to lower our principles.

Recently dress has become more and more suggestive on television. My husband and I love to watch some of the cooking shows. We had to change the channel recently because the show host had a very low cut dress on – totally unnecessary. We will see more and more of this I am sure and it is time for us to take control and turn the channel and perhaps turn off the television.

I’m not suggesting you lower your own morals but in this episode, I pray it has given you food for thought. I’d like you to journal about the following questions or take them to prayer.

  1. Have I been judgmental of someone recently?
  2. Did I do it out of compassion or to show I knew more and was superior in my faith?
  3. Did I share my beliefs with this person in a harsh way?
  4. Did I condemn their actions?
  5. Did I pray with them?

Looking at ourselves:

  1. How am I living my life according to the gospels?
  2. Are there places that I need to improve?
  3. How can I forgive those that hurt me?
  4. What is in my life that is a flaw and fault that I need to change?
  5. How do I plan on making amends to those I have hurt?

Take some time and go through these questions, pray, ask God to forgive you and pray a blessing on those you have hurt! And watch the miracles happen.

Let’s pray:

Dear Jesus I thank you for the hard life lessons we must learn to be new creations. If we do not grow and change for the better, we cannot develop into the people you want us to be. Please help me to show good fruit that is from the heart, increase my heart with love especially for those who have hurt me. Help me to pray an abundance of blessings upon those who have hurt me. Help me to stop condemning or judging others and allow me to focus on myself and my family and allow me to be the best example of your love to them. Dear Lord, I pray specifically for the following intentions … I ask a blessing upon those I pray for and I ask you to hear and answer my prayers. Come Holy Spirit, infill me with your love and goodness and I pray this in Jesus Name, Amen.

 

 

Challenges For Christians

Challenges for Christians | I don’t need to tell you that as a Christian we are in peril. There are many challenges for Christians to overcome each day. | #podcast #christianpodcast Challenges For Christians Episode 83

I don’t need to tell you that as a Christian we are in peril. There are many challenges for Christians to overcome each day. We are a persecuted people worldwide but currently, in our own world, the things we held dear are slowly being eroded.

In the scriptures, Jesus challenges us again and again that following Him is not an easy road but it is one that is eternal. In the last episode, we read the Sermon on the Mount and how the Lord challenged us in the beatitudes. Today we are going to read about a further challenge that seems so applicable to our world today.

In the Scriptures, Jesus challenges us that it is not enough to be his disciples and to be blessed when we are persecuted but then we must turn the other cheek. I want to read the Scripture and have you process this and what it means for our lives because I feel the Lord has revealed something special in this passage and I will use it in my life. If you believe He wants you to use it in your lives as well then I invite you to think and pray.

Challenges For Christians

Matthew 5:38-40 New International Version (NIV) — Eye for Eye

This lesson from our Lord and Savior was to show us that the Kingdom of God does not operate as our world operates. Jesus characterized unfailing truth, mercy, forgiveness of sinners, and finally sacrificial love by his dying on the cross.

We are told to go above and beyond what is expected – but this verse does not mean we sit there and be abused. Not at all – we do not put ourselves in danger by allowing someone to hurt us. That would be against all that is good and holy. This verse shows us that in a world of mediocracy, of doing the least amount, of caring only about ourselves to the detriment of others we are to be a light in a hurting world. Recently on the news, I saw a story of a man who walked five or ten miles to work and had to get up super early to get there and was always on time. Someone saw this and purchased him a car so that he could drive instead. This is an example of what the Lord is showing us. The news received national attention and the donor was hailed as a “good Samaritan,” synonymous with the Scriptures intent.

Jesus is the one who challenges – and there will always be challenges for Christians

What Jesus says to us in the Scripture is that we should not retaliate – we should forgive, we should in essence “turn the other cheek.” The world expects us to retaliate, in fact, it is instinctive. We want to get back to insult, to hate. All of these things make the enemy rejoice while good suffers. So many people are held in bondage of guilt and unforgiveness and it will eat away at your health and eventually your soul if you let it.

Jesus is the perfect example of silence before his accuser when he was sentenced to death on the cross. We all know he could summon the angels of heaven or freed Himself with just one word but he did not. As I share this message we approach the Lenten season. It is a time of reflection, the 40 days before Easter. Friends, even if you are not Catholic, spend this time in prayer before the Lord daily and pray. Think about how the Lord did not avenge His death, instead He used it to set us free and what a heavy price. Something we should be grateful for and rejoice!

In the Old Testament, we see a similar example of acting counter culture with the sparing of Saul’s life by David. Even though Saul wanted to kill David, David showed that God was in charge of his life. And, Saul had been chosen by God.

We are told to be merciful as God is merciful. Jesus isn’t only teaching He is showing us a glimpse of himself and His mission. Where there was hatred Jesus came to bring us love. We are called to imitate Christ. Can we do that in our daily lives? Can we be a gateway of love and joy to those in our families, to those we encounter every day, to the random person on the street?

As Christians, we can show that when we are slandered and persecuted that we will pray for them. I once ended a conversation with someone that was pro-abortion that I would pray for them. They were taken aback. We should not say it in a way that is condescending but in a way that is heartfelt!

God does not call everyone but those He calls He equips. He has given us all the tools we need by the power of the Holy Spirit, by the grace from on high, by His words in Scripture. We have everything we need and yet we fall short. We must pray to be the light and to bring the light of Jesus to others and that should be our goal as we approach the 40 days of Lent.

Let’s Pray!

Lord, I want to imitate You, your goodness, your mercy, and your forgiveness but I fall short. I cannot do this on my own. I need the Father. I need You, Jesus. I need the Holy Spirit. I need help! Please, Lord, hear my prayers and help me in this time of persecution to place you first. If I put you first I know that everything else will work out. I put all of my trust in you, Jesus. Help me to be a light for a hurting world. Help me to forgive those who have hurt me. Help me to let go of the things that I have carried for many days, weeks or even years. I give all of my needs to you and I am free in the precious Name of Jesus. You died so that our sins could be forgiven and I praise Your Name!

Thank you for hearing my prayers for answering my prayers and for being ever faithful. Thank-you for this time to dwell on your words, to place them in my heart and to learn from your lessons even though it is many years later it still makes sense. Dear Lord, please listen as I pray for the following intentions… thank-you for hearing and answering my prayers. Dear Jesus I ask a special blessing on all of the listeners of this podcast, I ask that you bless them 100-fold for their faithfulness in listening and studying your Word in Holy Scripture and I pray this in Jesus Name. Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jesus Calls

Jesus Calls Us To Transformation | In Christ not only are we transformed and made into a “new creation” but the entire world is transformed! | #podcast #christianpodcastJesus Calls Us To Change — Transformation In Christ ~ Episode 82

In Christ not only are we transformed and made into a “new creation” but the entire world is transformed! I’ve done another podcast on Christian Transformation, and the link for that is here. However, in this podcast, I want to think about the charge, the call to action in the Beatitudes. In the different books of the Bible, the author had a specific inspired message by the Holy Spirit directed to the children of God. As Christians with access to the entire text, we see that there is a difference between Luke’s version of the Beatitudes and Matthew’s version. In Luke’s, it is not the poor in spirit who inherit the kingdom of God, but the actual poor. It is not those who hunger for righteousness who will be satisfied but those who are actually hungry. And it goes on to the rich. Not only is there an admonishment to the rich but the words, “Woe to you who are rich…woe to you who are filled now.” (Luke 6:24-25)

Jesus Calls Us To Change

I want to read both versions, the Beatitudes in Luke and in Matthew. Here you will hear how Jesus calls us to change. Allow the words to touch you and focus on what the Lord wants you to do about it. Let me just say that as a young and immature Christian I looked at the Beatitudes and said – okay, well there is no chance for me to even get into heaven because there were verses like Blessed are the poor in Spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven… I didn’t feel that I was poor in spirit, I didn’t understand what this meant. Friends,  pray to the Holy Spirit – like I will before I read these to you that you will be blessed to understand what the Lord wants you to understand.

Dear Lord, I praise you and thank you and I ask for an infilling of the Holy Spirit that you can help us to discern your calling and your will in our lives.

Matthew 5:1-11

Luke’s version 6: 17-49

The requirements of the kingdom of God is different than those that we look at in our current world, our society, even our homes. It is a call to change. To become a new creation. In Baptism we are made new, our sins are washed away by the cleansing waters of the Holy Spirit, but we also die with Christ. In the death and resurrection of our Lord and Savior, we receive the promises…the promise of eternal life for those who believe.

Jeremiah 17:8

We can be assured that we are transformed in Christ by the power of His being – we are believers and as believers in the Word of God that is infallible, we know without a doubt that we are on the path that leads to heaven because we believe.

Believing has its own set of requirements and not to get denominational here – but know that just believing is not enough. No, you can’t earn your way to heaven but we are called to disciple others to share the good news. If we as believers keep our thoughts to ourselves we will continue to have a world that is sharply divided where good is called evil and evil is called good.

Let’s look at the right of an infant to get help after birth if it was due to a failed abortion – that was ruled against recently by our government. We the people need to stand up and take note of every person who voted against affirming the right to live. Friends this is satanic worship – it is worshiping the god of death and destruction. This is a sacrifice a human sacrifice to evil. Please pray for our world, pray for yourselves and pray that you are transformed by Christ with the Father and the Holy Spirit to minister to a hurting world.

Jesus Calls Us

Let’s pray –

Dear Lord Jesus we live in a time that breaks my heart, a time when good is not revered when life, as we know it, has changed for the worse. Please Lord, help us, fill us with your Holy Spirit – help us to do what is right and live a life that gives glory to you every single day. We do not want to do anything Lord but we need your help and direction. Thank you for all you have given us, thank you once again for the gift of faith. I ask for the gift of discernment and I ask that you fill me with the ability to share the good news of the gospel with others. Bring me people that I can minister to, Lord. I pray specifically for the following intentions…

Thank you, Jesus, for hearing my prayers and for answering them, and I pray this in Jesus precious Name. Amen!

 

Chosen People

Chosen People | The Israelites were God's chosen people. Why would he pick Israel? | #podcast #christianpodcastChosen People Episode 81

The Israelites were God’s chosen people. Why would he pick Israel? The Scripture explains this well beginning in Abraham when he was promised that his descendants would be as many as the stars in the sky and sand on the seashore.

Genesis 22:16-17

By Myself I have sworn, declares the LORD, that because you have done this and have not withheld your only son, I will surely bless you, and I will multiply your descendants like the stars in the sky and the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will possess the gates of their enemies.

These descendants are the Israelites. But God has called many people throughout the years and they have been what we would consider less than stellar. Why would God choose Isaiah a man who admits to being unclean? Why would God select Peter, who was stubborn, sinful and fishermen of all things! He also inevitably denied Jesus three times. Yet God chose these people among so many others to play very important roles in our salvation history. Look at Paul. He persecuted the Christians as “Saul” until the Lord called him out of darkness to serve Him.

God uses miracles when he calls these men. Peter’s empty nets are filled with fish and though I’m sure he felt unworthy yet he accepts the call. The same with Saul, he is blinded and hears a voice that says, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”

Here is the Scripture in Acts 9:-1-7

Paul recognizes that it was not due to his own virtue that he was called but by the grace of God that made him worthy. Only God’s grace can cause these men to say, “here I am Lord,” and they left all they had and followed Him.

We must recognize God’s call for us today. How is God calling you? I’ve asked you this many times in past podcasts. I’ve challenged you to spend time in quiet with God to listen to his small voice.

In the quiet, we hear the Lord and he calls each of us today as His chosen people.

Dear Lord thank you for calling me, I am here Lord and I come to do your will. Please help me to understand your will for me today. Please help me to chose you each and every time over all of the other things I could be doing. Please help me to focus on the work you have for me and please give me the grace to do this work because I can do nothing alone. Personally, I thank you for the ability to create this podcast and for all of the people who listen to this show. Please bless them Lord and give them the desires of their hearts. Dear Lord, we pause now to ask you for the following needs:

Thank you, Lord for hearing our prayers and answering them and I pray this in Jesus Precious Name, Amen.

Faith Under Pressure

Faith Under Pressure | In today's world, our faith is under pressure. There are so many things pulling on our time. | #podcast #ChristianPodcastFaith Under Pressure ~ Episode 80

In today’s world, our faith is under pressure. There are so many things pulling on our time. We are bombarded with the news, the things happening in our day to day work, the pressure of home and family. Everywhere we look we just can’t catch our breath until the next onslaught of issues comes barreling into us. It doesn’t have to be this way, and in this episode, we take a look at our faith and the pressure of the world, and the good news? God is victorious!

In the Scriptures, we read about the fate of the prophets. The prophets by definition are rejected. Whenever the Lord asked a prophet to give the people a warning most of the warnings fell on deaf ears. The people thought they didn’t need to change, they thought they were doing fine. Jeremiah told the people of Judah that they must repent on their infidelity or God would destroy their temple. They responded by threatening to put Jeremiah in jail.

In the Gospels, Jesus also faces similar opposition. He was not what the hometown people expected. They knew him and his family. They possibly watched him grow up. They rejected his teaching and drove him out of town. Jesus was able to bear all of this – and I can’t imagine how it felt to him to be rejected by those He loves. Saint Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 13:7 Love bears all things –It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Because of God’s love, he served the people and continues to serve us each day. What do we give him back? Our faith and when we are under pressure whether it is from family, pain, illness or from things we can not help, our faith can be tested. We are able to bare all things only by the grace of God only by the help we get in every day of prayer and time with God. We need to be shored up to be infilled and to be created more in His image than our own. Our faith survives when we die to self, putting others first. When we look at things as black and white that is when the filters of this world tend to come crashing in and threatened to overwhelm us.

Put on the armor of Christ daily, rely on God and even the hardest day can be victorious because as we all know – God has already won the battle.

Dear Lord Jesus, I praise you for all you have done for me in my life. I thank you ahead of time for listening to my pleas and calls in prayer. Dear Lord, I ask that you help me when my faith is under pressure and ask that you fill me with your Holy Spirit to overflowing so that I can withstand all the evil that happens daily.  I need your help Lord each and every day. I ask that you listen to my prayers for the following needs:

Thank-you Lord for all of your blessings, thank you for all of your answered prayers to come and those of you have already answered and I pray this in Jesus Name, Amen.

 

 

God Given Gifts

God Given Gifts| God is amazing and he has given you a present. Your God given gifts are something you can discover. #podcast #christianpodcastGod Given Gifts Episode 79

God is amazing and he has given you a present. Your God given gifts are something you can discover. In today’s episode, I share a personal story about how God used my son, who the world would consider a struggling learner. He did me a favor this week that just blew me away and I give all the glory to God!

Thanks to our sponsor, BrightIdeasPress.

Today I share a heartfelt story about the amazing God we serve. I’ve been sick, fever, flu for about a week and yesterday I realized the neatly packaged boxes, fixed with goodies for my two college, out-of-state students sat waiting for the homebaked goodies I never made! I couldn’t make them too early and then last week I planned to mail it on Friday for a sure delivery by Thursday. Since I was so upset about this failure, I asked my oldest son, Neal, if he’d go shopping for two Valentine’s cards for me. I wanted one that was to a daughter and one to a son. I’ve asked Neal in the past under emergencies to shop for me because he has this gift!

Well, he purchased them and today I finally had the energy to quickly whip up some baked good. As they were baking I took the cards out and almost started to cry! They were perfect. Both were delicately wrapped in plastic, were not ridiculously expensive as we all know cards can be, and had amazing words! I share what each said on the air.

If I had sent my husband the results would be far from similar. These cards were heartfelt and described how I felt about my children. I asked him how long it took him to select the cards and he said fifteen minutes! God has given him a gift. God gives each of us special gifts. And we tell our son this over and over again.

  • Do you know what your gifts are?
  • Do you use the gifts that God has given you?
  • Do you help others identify their gifts?

If we work under the gifts of the Holy Spirit it is amazing how God will bless these efforts. All grace, all power, all glory goes to God. This is the son we were so concerned about for so many years. I am thanking God once again for His mercy, His grace and His providence for my family. I pray this story inspires you. If felt it was a story God wanted you to hear.

Dear Lord, we praise you and we thank you. I want to shout from the rooftop for the entire world to hear that you are the Lord of Lords, the King of Kings, The Bright Morning Star, The Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. You are worthy my God of all praise. I know you hear all our prayers even those in the depth of our heart. You can answer them anytime so we ask you once again for our own personal intentions. Thank you, God, that your words and promises are true and I pray this in Jesus Precious Name. Amen.

 

 

Abortion And Sacrifice

Abortion | Abortion has taken on a new meaning. What happened to love? In our world, it seems that love is no longer a factor in so many people's life.  #podcast #christianpodcastAbortion and Sacrifice Episode 78

Abortion has taken on a new meaning. What happened to love? In our world, it seems that love is no longer a factor in so many people’s life. The recent news has shown the sin of abortion toward the unborn. We as Christians need to wake up and take a stand and I see the root cause of this is an issue of sin, yes–but a lack of love.

Thanks to our sponsor The Christian Standard Bible. You can find more information at CSBible.com. Our sponsors help us tremendously by providing the needed funding to bring you this show as well as others on the Ultimate Christian Podcast Network for free. Again, check out CSBible.com for more information.

Recently I heard a riveting talk by a Jewish convert to Catholicism, Roy Schoeman, a graduate of MIT and Harvard Business School. He had an amazing conversion experience which he details in his book, “Salvation is from the Jews.” The topic of his talk wasn’t about conversion it was about the occult and some religions outside of Christianity and Catholicism. The details were remarkable, and I urge you to check out his website.

In his talk, he covered many things but what struck me are what he termed the sins the cry out to heaven for vengeance, or “the sins that cry out to heaven.”

Sins That Cry Out To Heaven

  1. Murder of a child by the parent, (or the killing among families)
  2. The sin of the “sodomites.”
  3. Slavery and marginalization of people
  4. Taking advantage of people and defrauding

 

What struck me the most was the first one, the murder of a child by the parent. He gave an example in scripture about the war between Israel and the Moab. 2 Kings 3. The Israelites were winning the battle, and . as they were in retreat, the King of Moab realized they were loosing. Listen as I read this passage:

King of Moab Sacrifices His Son to satan (god of Moab) ~ 2Kings 2: 26-27

When the king of Moab realized that he was losing the battle, he took seven hundred swordsmen with him and tried to force his way through the enemy lines and escape to the king of Syria,[c] but he failed. 27 So he took his oldest son, who was to succeed him as king, and offered him on the city wall as a sacrifice to the god of Moab. The Israelites were terrified[d] and so they drew back from the city and returned to their own country.

The king offered up his son to the god of Moab. Who is this god of Moab? It is the devil. He offered his son to satan. Why is this important? Because love is a powerful thing. If he loved his son, and I am sure that he did, giving up his son was a huge sacrifice. However, love was not enough. The power of evil was stronger because of the sacrifice of the son to the god. The decision of this king was for himself. He was selfish. He wanted to win. He wanted something he desired more than he wanted his son to live. So he sacrificed his son to a god. A god that we think, “well this god does not exist,” but the entity he sacrificed his son to was satan.

King kills his son and wins.

The connection between the king slaughtering his son and abortion hit me. We all know about abortion, and if you are listening to this podcast, my educated guess is that you agree abortion on demand is evil. However, I never thought of abortion in terms of the fact that a mother is killing her child in the same way as the sacrifice of the king of Moab. Think about it. If abortion is evil – and it results in death, the death of an innocent child, therefore the sacrifice of a child for the selfish reasons of the mother, whatever that might be is, in essence, a sacrifice to satan.

Our speaker explained that evil has power. And we can see that in the sacrifice by the King of Moab which turned around the war. There have been so many abortions, and that has fueled the hate in the hearts of those at the top of government the governor just signed a law reaffirming that a woman can have an abortion all the way up to birth. Another governor from Virginia in a radio interview explained they were hoping to pass a similar bill. The evil side has power. The speaker further explained that satan does not want people to think he exists. You can see that as well.

Where is Love?

Love of the human race is ultimately replaced by love of self. I won’t go into all the terminology used to spin abortion in a good light – we know it is false. It has nothing to do with women’s reproductive rights and everything to do with satanic sacrifice and worship. I can see that clearly. As a mother of five and two miscarriages, I know the power of love. The love of a mother, the love a mother has for her child.

The love of a mother should be sacrificial. If our children are hurting, we will do anything and everything we can for that child. We would lay down our lives for our children. But that is not what I see today. I see women who are hurting and confused pushed into abortions by those they think love them. If they are truly loved would they consider harming their own child?

Abortion is Murder of a Child

Abortion is murder, but now it has another face, it is a ritualistic sacrifice to the evil one. Friends, we can no longer sit back and allow the politicians and the court of the public to make decisions for us. We must pray as we’ve never prayed before and plead to heaven as a reminder that this is the number one sin that cries out to heaven for vengeance.

I keep thinking this is a nightmare and that I will wake up and find out it is a horrible dream, but day after day I hear the relentless chatter on the news that everyone is up in arms because 80% of the population is against late-term abortions. What about 80% against all abortions? How can any abortion be okay? I know how I felt when I lost a child in a miscarriage. What is the mental cost of a woman who has an abortion and later realizes she has killed her child? There are recovery groups of those who have had an abortion. One group Silent No More link helps women and men who are suffering from the effects of their decision.

Another point made by the pastor, Father Cooney after the talk is that these human sacrifices do have strength in making evil stronger. And, the church, Christians as a whole are lacking in faith. Our churches are full, but the faith of the average person sitting in the pew is in need of a revival. Maybe, friends, this is our revival. It is time we do something in the form first of prayer, and second in fasting. Fasting and prayer is a secret weapon of Christians that is not utilized. I have a special friend who I know has amazing results when she prays and fasts. It works!

Pray ~ Pray ~ Pray

We need to pray not only for an end of abortion but for the Lord to infill mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters with love. The love that comes from God. The love that will change hearts. If our world was filled with love if we could get along with each other, if we were focused on the task of following the Lord’s will for our lives we would not have this nightmare in our time.

So, friends, we have a job ahead of us, we have to pray as we’ve never prayed before. I am asking you to join me in asking the Lord for a miracle.

Dear Lord, I praise you like never before. You are the Almighty One, The King of Kings, the Lord of Lords. My God I worship you as the true God, the Alpha, and the Omega, the beginning and the end. Lord, I thank you for life, I thank you for each of the children you have given me and I lift them up to you by name. I thank you for my family, my extended family and all those loving people you have put in my life. I ask you, Lord, to hear our prayers. I know you are victorious and the battle over evil has been won, and I claim that in the precious Name of Jesus. I ask that you protect our country and our world and please stop this insidious call for abortion on demand. I ask you, Lord, to fill us with your love, fill us to overflowing because true loves cast out all fear and we should not be fearful but put on the armor of Christ to defeat the evil one. We can do nothing without you, Lord, this I know. So I ask that you empower those with real power to combat this on the local, state and national level. That you infill us, your prayer warriors with direction and instruction to join the Army of Christ. And, I pray this in Jesus’ precious Name. Amen.

to join the Army of Christ. And, I pray this in Jesus’ precious Name. Amen.

Second Chances

Second Chance | Is there a time for second chances? Of course, there is and we see that again and again in the Scriptures. #podcast #christianpodcastSecond Chances Episode 77

Is there a time for second chances? Of course, there is and we see that again and again in the Scriptures. We find the opportunities in our own lives to try for a second time. We are close to the New Year as I record this episode and one of the traditions is making a New Year’s Resolution. For years, I’m not afraid to admit I would not do it because I was afraid of failure. If you don’t make a resolution, a plan, and attempt to change then guess what? There is no failure. Or is there?

Well, just the simple act of not doing anything in truth is failure. We must strive to make gains each day, to grow in our faith, in our relationships and be present for those around us. When we make a plan or a resolution to change our behavior or bad habits we are trying to become a better person not just for ourselves but for those who surround us.

The Bible is a wonderful example to use for ourselves to see the way that we were redeemed throughout Scriptures. Much importance is put on Moses and freeing the Israelites from oppression, and we know the story, the Israelites at first could not leave behind the idols and we learn that not only did Moses go up to the mountain of Mt.Sinai to receive the 10 Commandments from God, but he went up twice! How often have you said, well if I were the people of Israel I would have been so happy to leave Egypt that I would want to change.

Habits. We get into bad habits and we have the hardest time letting them go. So, the people of Israel wandered in the desert for 40 years until they were shown the promised land. This was definitely a trial by fire. Yet, they were God’s chosen people.

Did you ever wonder what happened once they were in the promised land? You can read about it in Nehemiah Chapter 7 and then 8 – in this passage it tells us that Ezra the scribe was asked to bring out the book of the law of Moses “which the Lord had given to Israel,” and he read it from the town square in the presence of men and women, some who were specifically named in the Scriptures. Read Ezra 8:5-6

The people were so overwhelmed by the Word that they prostrated themselves on the ground. This was an opportunity for the people of Jerusalem to change their ways.

How different of a reception to the 10 Commandments to the people who had wandered and their descendants! Radically different. When we suffer we learn don’t we. We don’t want to make the same mistakes. The people of Israel had just returned after generations in exile so living according to the law would be something they were interested in that they bowed and worshiped the Lord with their faces on the ground. It was now an opportunity to change their lives and those of their descendants for the better.

In Isaiah 61:1 we also hear a call for freedom from captivity.

What captivity? What is darkness for prisoners? What are you captive to? What is the darkness that makes you feels as if you are a prisoner? It can be something simple from a bad habit, biting your nails, or eating the wrong foods that cause sickness or even telling lies, bad jokes, or gossip. Or it can be serious, and addiction that needs help.

God is a healer. He has brought us the good news to the oppressed and to bind the brokenhearted.

We often face rejection. From those nearest to us, those we love, our friends, neighbors – but Jesus too was rejected in his own home town as he was reading from Isaiah.

Luke 4:16-20 (read)

It was the beginning of his ministry – Jesus gave them a new opportunity, a new beginning a new life in essence. While many in his town rejected it we have a choice.

It is a free will choice. Will you be set free by the power of Jesus Christ? Will you let go of past hurts, of those you can’t forgive of all the ways you keep thinking about the way people have hurt you. Friends, we need to let it go. Life is not fair and we only get one life to live so how do you chose to live your life?

Let’s pray. Jesus, I chose you – I choose you every single time. I am thankful Lord and I give you all the praise. Thank you for coming for us, thank you for setting us free from oppression and from slavery. I chose yes Lord. I chose to follow your ways, to follow the ten commandments to being a new year, and a year acceptable to the Lord, or in the Lord’s favor. I ask Lord for the following need that is pressing on my heart and mind… Thank you Lord for your miracles and I know you can work miracles in my life as well. I thank you no matter what the outcome and I pray this in Jesus Name, Amen.

 

Christian Marriage and God

Christian Marriage | Every Christian marriage has its ups and downs and when you think about marriage as a Christian it is important to look at the scriptures! #podcast #christianpodcastMarriage and God Episode 76

Every Christian marriage has its ups and downs and when you think about marriage as a Christian it is important to look at the scriptures! In this episode, we will explore the Bible and look at the example of the marriage at Cana as well as all the places where God shows up in every day in our lives.

Thanks to our sponsor CSBible.com

Christian Standard Bible #csbible

In changing water into wine at the wedding feast at Cana we look at it so many years later as the first time we see the Lord, Jesus performs a miracle. But in the gospel of John, he does not refer to it as a miracle, he calls it a sign. It was a sign that was performed in order to reveal God’s presence in human history. What does this sign reveal? It reveals so many things personally to me. First, Jesus performed the miracle because his mother, Mary asked. I often wonder, did Mary realize this was a first in human history? Did she realize that in asking her Son to bless the water and in turn create wine that was the best the guests had tasted that it was the beginning of His public ministry? Did Jesus previously perform miracles at home with just Joseph and Mary as a witness? There are so many questions that are left unanswered.

I believe that Mary was given Divine grace, first in her ability to say yes to the angel, Gabrielle so many years ago. Then, in the way to raise Jesus. The only glimpse we are given into his childhood is when He is lost for three days and Mary and Joseph had to return to the temple and when they did, they found him among the elders teaching. Was this a time that Mary and Joseph had an argument? The men and women did not travel together so they both possibly thought the other had Jesus and then somehow learned he was not among them.

How did this family deal with adversity with the Savior of the world in their care?

This leads us to our own families and the conflicts that often arise. There is no one marriage manual that explains the differences between men and women so well that we understand our spouse completely. There is no manual to read before entering into a marriage that will solve all of your marriage issues because marriage is fluid. It changes. I am definitely not the same person I was when I said, “I do,” many, many years ago. That person was used to getting her own way and compromise consisted of my husband saying he was sorry and next time he’d do it my way! Okay, I wasn’t that horrible but you get the picture.

Marriage changes us and if we focus on God as a couple it will help us get through all of the tough times to come. Thankfully, we committed on our wedding day before God and our friends and family to put God first. If you have not committed your marriage to God consider doing that today! If you are not married remember the importance of this covenant with each other. We read about covenants in Scripture.

  1. Isaiah uses wedding imagery (Isaiah 62:4-5) … “as a bridegroom rejoices in his bride,” and the metaphor of marriage, “makes your land his spouse,” which describes God’s relationship with the land, no… with us, with humanity. God is united with humanity as we are united with a spouse in marriage. Scriptures often use words that we understand to describe that which we can not possibly understand.
  2. A covenant and a bond is created various times throughout scripture. In Cana, Jesus transforms the water into wine. The water was used for ceremonial washings and the wine was used by the guests to celebrate the wedding. Again, common day symbols for an understanding at that time.
  3. Wine is again used at the Last Supper, where it becomes His blood on the cross. Jesus drinks from the cup at the Last Supper, but on the cross, He says, “Father if it is possible let this cup pass me by.” It was not possible and Jesus embraced the cross and His death. The cup of our salvation. Jesus is the bridegroom sent by God to humanity, which is His bride.

Just as Jesus lived life with challenges as God and as man, we too are called to live our lives as men and women.

We expect nations to get along and often cannot get along in our own families. These Scriptures show us the price paid for our salvation. We join in marriage as a covenant and a symbol to God and to the outward world of a promise. How does that promise get so messed up in our daily lives? Well, one is that we face so many pressures the minute we wake up!

Ask yourself and journal about the following:

  1. What is the covenant you’ve made with your spouse? (If you are not married what is the covenant with God?)
  2. How are you living a life that is pleasing to God?
  3. If you live a life that is pleasing to God how will that help you in your marriage?
  4. Thanking God each day for the gifts of life and all of the things that happen in your life is the first step to a long and happy marriage. Can you begin this today?
  5. God is love, does that translate into your married life?
  6. Looking at the word sacrifice is there any way you can sacrifice in your life or in your marriage more than God sacrificed for you?
  7. Can you begin to put God first in your life?
  8. Can you put your spouse and their needs above yours and after God?
  9. What does dying to self mean to you?
  10. Name one thing you can change beginning today?

Love is a sacrifice. The two cannot be taken apart. We believe that love conquers all things and it does to a certain extent but until I learned to die to self, which is one of those very hard life lessons, things did not get better. We serve a selfish God. He wants all of us, not the leftover self we give him for two seconds before we fall asleep at night.

If we want a wonderful marriage we must have a wonderful covenant with God. Begin today.

Dear Lord, I praise you for all things even those things I’d rather not be happy about in my life. I know that all things are known by You, still Lord I want to ask you specifically for ___________. Lord allow me to pray for those nearest to me daily. Let me be a prayer warrior for them, please call to mind instances when I should pray for them. Dear Lord, I praise You and I thank-you. You are the King of Kings and Lord of Lords and I am honored to serve such a mighty God. I thank you ahead of time for all the answered prayers and I pray this in Jesus Name, Amen.

Christian Transformation

Christian Transformation | Have you had a Christian transformation in your life? God sent His only Son so that we might live an abundant life and in this podcast, we will explore Christian transformation and look at the ways that we can apply this to our life. #podcasat #christianpodcastChristian Transformation – Episode 75

Have you had a Christian transformation in your life? God sent His only Son so that we might live an abundant life and in this podcast, we will explore Christian transformation and look at the ways that we can apply this to our life.

We witness the power of God’s love in the Bible. If you have not made it a habit to read Scripture every day be sure to add it to your list!

You can listen to my last podcast Prayer and Routines here.

We all have some type of life transformation but it might not be in the spiritual sense. It might be weight loss or gain. It might be an addition or loss in your family. Transformation can cause us heartache but when we are transformed by the power of God’s word it can be life-altering.

When we read about the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River we are astounded once again by God’s love. Jesus is an example of becoming poor to make us rich. John himself said he was not worthy to even tie his sandal, yet Jesus asked to be baptized.

God’s love is transforming, read: Isaiah 40:1-10 … We read, “A voice of one calling: In the wilderness prepare the way for the Lordmake straight in the desert a highway for our God. 

This is a foreshadowing – a prophecy about the coming of John, the voice calling in the wilderness, and it was written when the Israelites were living in exile. 

At times we can relate to the Israelites. In this time we live of divisive politics where right is wrong and wrong is right. We are dismayed if we watch the news for any length of time and find ourselves frustrated no matter what side you are on. We hold on to this promise to the Israelites that the God of Isaiah is also our God and He knows what we struggle with on a daily basis.

In Acts, Peter speaks in the house of Cornelius, the first Gentile convert. He says, “God shows no partiality.” Now we learn that the God of the Israelites is the God of all and the Christian community is being formed among believers. (Acts 10:34)

Paul also writes to Titus that through Baptism and the Holy Spirit, we can become heirs in hope of eternal life (Titus 3:..-10) and I’d love for you to pull out your Bibles and read this directly, it is as if God is speaking to us today.

Isn’t that amazing? We lived in malice and envy being hated and hating one another … but with the KINDNESS and love of God our Savior appeared. And, friends that is what we must live for, we have Christian transformation when we focus on the fact that he saved us not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy.

This is true transformation. Trusting in God. Knowing that we are justified by grace and we have the hope of eternal life. Who else gives us this hope? Our family. No. The people we work with. No. The friends we surround ourselves with. No. The only person who gives us eternal hope is the same one who died on the cross, for our sins, so that we can have this promise.

John promises that Jesus would baptize with the Holy Spirit and with fire. This baptism after the life, death and resurrection of Christ set into the motion the baptism of the Holy Spirit upon the disciplines and in a sense to us, and this baptism of fire is what is transforming in our lives.

The Holy Spirit was sent to transform us. The Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity. One God, three persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. This God we serve is an amazing God and ready to help us in our daily trials. If we have been baptized we have transformative power of the Holy Spirit within us and for that we should shout, Halleluiah and praise the Lord! God is within us and we only need to ask for His saving grace in our life.

Do we realize that we as believers and followers of Christ can pray for a deeper infilling of the Holy Spirit in our lives? Do you want to see true transformation, then try this tonight at the foot of your bed, or anytime you want the true restorative help of God in your life…

Dear Lord, I come to you sinful and sorrowful and I ask first that you forgive me of the sins I have committed today … I ask that you bless me with your restorative love and infill me with the Holy Spirit. Bring me to a deeper union with you, my God. Help me to see you in everything. Help me to be thankful each day no matter what the circumstance. I thank you for your promise of everlasting life and a true transformation that only comes with belief in Christ. I praise you and I thank you, my God. Thank you for giving me your Holy Spirit, thank-you for deepening my love for you, thank-you for infilling me to overflowing with the grace to do Your will each day, and I praise you in Jesus Name, Amen.

Routines and Prayer

routines and prayers | When life throws you a curve falling back on routines and prayer are helpful for a Christian. #podcast #christianpodcastRoutines and Prayer For Christians

When life throws you a curve falling back on routines and prayer are helpful for a Christian. In this episode, we will focus on making the most of your daily routines to include prayer.

With the holidays ending there is still so much on my to-do list it seems to be never-ending. In fact, I’ve stopped making the lists because I felt like I spent half of my time just adding most of it to the next day. During this time I realized one thing that helped me tremendously and that was my daily prayer routines, and that is what I’d like to encourage you to do as I believe it will be helpful.

What is the difference between routines and habits? I believe they are both similar. A routine is actually the “doing” of a habit. There are many lists out there for good Christians to follow and I find most of them overwhelming. Keeping your routines simple give the opportunity for growth, which is my goal. My husband often says if you are not growing in your relationship with the Lord then you are not stagnant, you are actually going backward. While you may not agree with this philosophy for me it gives me pause to think.

Some people overanalyze and I am one of those people. When things go right, I tend to go with the flow but when they don’t then I’m ready to figure out the why behind it. During the busy holiday season and even afterward, I felt further and further behind with my prayer time and Bible time until I realized that it really wasn’t true and with some of the routines I had in place, I was actually on autopilot which allowed me to make the most of my time with the Lord as well as time with my family.

What are your goals as a Christian?

  1. Time for prayer
  2. Time for reading the Bible
  3. Time to grow in my relationship with the Lord
  4. Time to look at my life and make changes
  5. Time to share my faith
  6. Time for family and friends

Your goals can be different than mine but look at how you are spending your time growing in your faith and the things you’d like to change. As always start small and add to the list, and give yourself a break. When things don’t go as planned don’t get down! What are the constants in your life and are there ways to improve upon them, if not go to the next item on your list.

My goals have changed as I have grown in the Lord and as I’ve shared in previous podcasts for me the quiet time and just listening was and to a certain extent now the hardest obstacles in my life. The only place I come the closest to listening to the Lord is at church. There is something about church that gives me time to focus on the Lord and just close my eyes and listen.

Please know that I have felt a closeness to the Lord in different degrees all of my life thus far, and like the waves on the beach that closeness at times has ebbed and flowed. There are times I’d pray and only hear silence. I believe it is in those times of silence that the Lord teaches us to be disciples and allows us that quiet to do an inner reflection. It also takes discipline to be quiet before the Lord and for many of us–myself included that discipline is needed. It takes all our strength to persevere, but please, please do not give up!

It may mean we have to repent before the Lord. Ask the Lord if there is something we need to ask forgiveness for. For me often it was stress and not relying on or trusting in Him. I’ve had to ask the Lord’s forgiveness for my lack of trust. Do I know, intellectually that the Lord is in charge of everything and that He has it all under control? Of course! Yet it is difficult for us to trust without holding back.

Do you have a place to pray? Where is your place? Do you have a prayer chair? A prayer corner?

Talk about the lady who prayed and even asked God about what plants she should plant…

So, the focus today is on routine, habits and growing in your faith. Pick one thing today to focus on and begin now.

Let’s Pray:

Dear Lord, I thank you for giving me a sense and a heart for loving You and wanting to be in Your presence. Thank you for giving me the gift of faith and for allowing it to grow each day. I ask that You help me with the daily routines, and allow me the time to follow them in order to spend time with You not only in prayer and petition but time in silence. It is in the silence that I learn discipline and to be a disciple. In the silence, I learn what it is about myself that needs to be changed. Lord, is there something that I need to repent and ask forgiveness for? Is there something I am lacking? It is in the asking that we are freed and I ask this Lord in Your precious name. Dear Lord please help me in my prayer routines and to create good habits in me. I also ask for the following intentions …  thank-you my God for always being here for me. And, I pray this in Jesus, Precious Name. Amen.

New Year And Faith

New Year and Faith | Try these things to jump start the new year. #podcast #christianpodcastNew Year and Faith

Beginning the new year with joy and a plan of focusing on increasing our walk with the Lord in the best way possible is the topic of today’s podcast. A simplified approach is the best for busy people, and here are some pointers to help you.

  1. Rejoice in the Lord always – Phillipains 4:4
  2. Gratitude – 1 Thessalonians 5 — Be thankful for the small things and the big things be grateful for the faith
  3. Focus – on one thing — what is the one thing you can do to increase your faith? Your prayer life?
  4. Begin anew. Something you were doing but stopped? Journaling? Reading the Bible? Praising God each day?
  5. Attitude recheck. Are you upset or depressed? Give it to the Lord  — Philippians 4:6-7
A prayer to help you in the new year:

Dear Lord Jesus, I love you very much and I thank you for the simple message today to refocus and renew my love for you, for all things that are good and holy and let the rest drop away. I ask that you infill me with your Holy Spirit, that you give me the wisdom for the things I should do as well as those things I should not do. I ask that you bless those who I pray for now ….

Dear Lord thank you for the gift of faith and the opportunity to praise and rejoice in your goodness. I ask you to bless us as we prepare for a brand new year and give us the fortitude to do your will. I pray this in Jesus Name. Amen.

Home and Promise

Hope and Promise |The joy of the Lord is almost among us and we wait in hope and promise! In this episode, we celebrate the coming of Jesus in a new way. |#podcast #christianpodcast #christianHope and Promise Episode 72

The joy of the Lord is almost among us and we wait in hope and promise! In this episode, we celebrate the coming of Jesus in a new way.

Thanks to our sponsor Media Angels, Inc. You can find books and products on MediaAngels.com as well as on Amazon. I highly recommend getting a copy of One More Child when the book releases as well as A Few Minutes with God or the Truth Seekers Mystery Series for your children.

The hope and promise that Jesus gives us in the here and now – and it happens each and every day. We could not have hope without a cross and resurrection, something my pastor reminded me of the other night when he came for dinner.

He made an interesting comment. He said, there is talk of joy and thanksgiving but people forget the heavy price that came for that joy and thanksgiving to take place. That price was the sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ.

That price is also the fact that our Lord became man.

We pay the price each day. In those little and big dramas in our life. In our frustrations. In our inability to cope or to get along with others. In dealing with members of our family or in suffering the loss of loved ones.

That price comes at a heavy cost in our lives as well. Yet, there is hope.

We miss these little gems if we are not careful to see them. As we seek the coming of the Christ Child at Christmas, the death and Resurrection at Easter and the waiting for the second coming of our Lord we can have joyful anticipation. The promise is real.

We sing, “Oh Come, O Come, Emmanuel,” and I love that name! It means, “God with us.” It makes my heart sing because I know that God is already here. He is with me each and every day.

Zephaniah 3:17 NIV  — “The Lord your God is with you…”

Zephaniah 3:17 New American Bible states, “The LORD, your God, is in your midst, a mighty savior, Who will rejoice over you with gladness, and renew you in his love, Who will sing joyfully because of you.”

The Lord God is in our midst and a might savior – is among you.

Isaiah 12:6 – “Shout with exultation, City of Zion, for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel!”

The Lord is near Philippians 4:5)

As Baptized Christians we have already received the Holy Spirit – God is already with us, so we should witness to God’s presence and how can we do this?

  1. SMILE – that costs you nothing
  2. Find time to spend with the Lord! If we are filled up with the love of God it will spill out to others.
  3. Treat others with kindness
  4. Treat others fairly
  5. Be content with what we have!

Friends we live in a hurting world and as my pastor says, without the cross we can have no resurrection but I find that so many people are focused on themselves and their situations that it is almost impossible for them to pick up their heads and look at others.

Giving of yourself costs nothing. It costs a smile, a hug, patience at the store or while driving. It is a small cost for what the Lord has done for us.

How can we bring the joy of Christmas to others? By having the Lord in our hearts. That is the absolute best gift you can give anyone, the gift of faith.

Let’s pray.

Dear Lord today we pray for all that you offer in the promise of Christmas – all of the blessings, all of the joy that comes from your love for all of us. I ask that you translate this joy into our hearts, into the hearts of our loved ones and especially for those who struggle at this time of the year. True joy. Everlasting joy. Eternal joy. Only comes from you. As the Lord and Savior, as Emmanuel, God with us you can infuse in our hearts this joy that surpasses all understanding. I ask for an infilling of your most Holy Spirit to overflow in my life. I ask that you hear the prayers and petitions I set before you … I praise you my God and I am humbled and awed that you ask me to be your servant. That you chose me – each one of US that is listening today. You have called us by name and you are here in our midst. Thank you Lord for the greatest gift of all – the gift of faith and salvation. I praise you and ask a blessing on all those listening and all those we pray for … thank-you, my God. I pray this in Jesus, Name. Alleluia, Alleluia.

Christian Preparation

Christian Preparation | Prepare the way of the Lord, that is the cry for Christian preparation. | #podcast #homeschoolpodcast #podcastChristian Preparation Episode 71

Prepare the way of the Lord, that is the cry for Christian preparation. The early Jews and Gentiles did not understand nor did they have the wonderful ability to read about God in the Bible. We do! In this episode, we will study what it means to prepare and to await the coming of our Lord.

Thanks to our sponsor Media Angels, Inc. You can find books and products on MediaAngels.com as well as on Amazon. I highly recommend getting a copy of One More Child when the book releases as well as A Few Minutes with God or the Truth Seekers Mystery Series for your children.

If you listen to my podcasts in order then you learned in the last one about the beginning of the Christmas season with the start of Advent. Today we talk about waiting in preparation but also understanding that the ministry of God was not an easy one. John the Baptist announced the coming of Jesus after his time in the desert. We are in a time of freedom from sin and a time of forgiveness through repentance. In Isaiah, we read, “A voice of one calling; In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord…” The voice of John the Baptist in the desert asks us to prepare the way for the Lord – we are to make our paths straight in the desert a highway of God.

Friends, what is cluttering your life? What is standing in the way of God? What is the roadblock or the bump in the road that is difficult for you to navigate around? Is there one? Give yourself some time to reflect. If you are keeping a daily journal think about this, and be honest with yourself. Whatever that obstacle, whatever that problem, nothing is too big or our GOD. Our God is there for us and as Christians we must prepare.

You know I love the idea of accepting God as my personal Savior but that is just the beginning. It is not the end. Christian preparation is an everyday thing.

Reflect upon these points:

  1. What are your last thoughts before you go to bed at night?
  2. What do you think about when you wake up in the morning?
  3. Do you think about God during the day?
  4. Do you thank God during the day?
  5. Do you feel joy in your heart when you think about God?

Reflections are not to make us feel bad or inadequate, they are to give us an idea of where we are going or what needs work. As I shared these points with you I know there are two areas where I need major work.

Christian preparation means praying before we go to sleep and trusting in the goodness and providence of God for our needs. Notice I said needs and not necessarily wants, although the Lord hears these as well.

I for one want to answer the calling of John in the desert to prepare the way of the Lord.

I do this by listening to Christian music – I did a podcast and I’ll put the link in the show notes about Christian music I love that is uplifting. At Christmas time I love to listen to Michael W. Smith’s classic albums of Christmas. What better way to prepare than to sing in glory to God.

Praising God in song will bring you joy. Another way to have joy is to forgive. Who is it that you need to forgive. If you say no one that means you have not given yourself time to think! I promise you we all have to forgive someone and often the person you need to forgive the most is yourself!

Dear Jesus … give us a servants heart and allow us to embrace all that you have in store for us this Christmas season. I want to know you – to love you and to serve you all the days of my life. Starting this very moment Lord, I want to be known as a follower of Christ. I will not compromise truth which you have laid out in the Holy Bible, which you have passed on in the word to generations of faithful men and women and which you showed by example when you lived on this earth. Dear Lord let me keep my eyes focused on you — not on the fleeting things of this world that get me off track. I want to praise you Lord in joy and in song. Thank you for coming as a tiny baby to a poor family – thank you for living a life that was an example of kindness, love, and compassion, thank you for dying on the cross and rising – to give us new life. Dear Lord, I bring you my prayers and needs and lay them before your feet… and I pray this in Jesus, Name. Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

.

 

Advent

Advent | When we celebrate Advent, we are waiting for the coming of the Lord. Advent means coming in Latin. | #podcast #homeschoolpodcast #homeschoolAdvent Episode 70

Do you realize we are always waiting? When we celebrate Advent, we are waiting for the coming of the Lord. Advent means coming in Latin. In this episode, we will explore the hope we find at Christmas time and how this hope can translate our lives for the better.

Thanks to our sponsor Media Angels, Inc. You can find books and products on MediaAngels.com as well as on Amazon. I highly recommend getting a copy of One More Child when the book releases as well as A Few Minutes with God or the Truth Seekers Mystery Series for your children.

We are always waiting for something! If things are difficult in your life you wait for them to get better. We wait for a new opportunity, a new job, a new house or car. We wait and wait and often we find that our happiness hinges on this waiting and what the waiting will bring. The things of this world are fleeting. And while we realize that with head knowledge our hearts beg to differ.

During the time before Christmas we have many distractions but essentially they can be distilled down to two points.

  1. We get caught up in the materialist theme of Christmas… decorations, presents, and food
  2. Or we can focus on the true meaning of Christmas — That Almighty God, the Creator of the Universe gave us His only begotten son, allowed His Son to live among a humble man and woman, Joseph and Mary… living the life of a poor carpenter, so that we could have Salvation.

In the weeks before Christmas, we can be in hopeful waiting and anticipation for the coming of Jesus into the world. The four Sundays and weeks of Advent allow us to prepare and remember that Jesus is the reason for the season.

My family celebrates with prayer every evening. We light the four candles of the Advent wreath, one each week to symbolize the days of anticipation. The wreath has three purple candles and one pink, for the third week. The wreath is a circle of evergreen branches laid flat to symbolize eternal life. On Christmas day a fifth white candle is lit, representing Christ.

Each evening we pray, by reading different Scriptures and lifting up people in prayer and petition to the Lord. At the end, we celebrate the day by thanking God for one or more things that happened.

Advent is a time of expectant waiting and preparation. But we don’t have to throw out all of the traditional celebrations. I know of people who are good and committed Christians who decided that Christmas is essentially a pagan holiday and refuse to put up a tree or exchange gifts. I respect each person and how they wish to celebrate, however, for us it is the melding of two worlds without compromising our faith in God.

God comes first – Christmas is the celebration of the Nativity of Jesus but it also reminds us of the second coming. When we celebrate the past, the birth of Jesus we look forward to the future, the coming of Christ to judge the living and the dead. We must be vigilant and not allow the anxieties of daily life to distract us.

In Luke 21:34 we read:

“Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you suddenly like a trap.

This also relates to Christmas time – we can celebrate the season without becoming all consumed in the celebration and preparation that we forget all about God.

This also reminds us to keep anxiety at a minimum, remember the podcast a few episodes ago where I relayed the important information about where to find God. We find Him today – we focus on today. We don’t worry about the past and allow it to cause us anxiety or grief and we don’t worry about the future where things may or may not turn out the way we fear! Fear and anxiety are not what the Lord wants for our life!

1 Thessalonians 3:7-13  – In verse 12 it says, “May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you.”

If the Lord increases our love for others as we prepare for the coming of the Lord, we cannot help but rejoice. This love of God will flow out to others and they will say, “What is different about you.”

This waiting and expecting can be a time of great joy no matter what is happening in your life. By taking out eyes off of ourselves and placing them on the joy of the Lord, we can only grow in strength and wisdom to fight the good fight.

I pray as we begin our prayers for this Advent season that it becomes the best one ever!

Dear Lord Jesus, I love you very much and I thank you for coming into this world to save us! I thank you for giving us these days of preparation to place you deeper and deeper into our hearts so that we can reflect the love you have for us and bring others joy as a result. Lord help us to overcome our anxieties and worry and I place all my needs, especially this specific need for which I pray into your most capable hands ……. Thank-you Lord for hearing my prayers and petitions and for granting me the desires of my heart. Thank you, Lord, thank you for all you do in my life and for all the graces you give me each day to combat the evil one! I pray for the joy that surpasses all understanding today and always, Amen!

Fishers of Men

Fishers of Men | What does it mean to be fishers of men? It means first hearing the Word of the Lord and placing it in our hearts. Only in that way can we follow.| #podcast #christianpodcast #fishersofmenFishers of Men

We want to be fishers of men because, for me, the ideal is to be used for the Lord’s work. In this episode, we will discuss how we can hear the Lord’s calling in the words of the Scriptures and how He can lead us to share the good news!

Thanks to our sponsor, Media Angels, Inc., and the book – A Few Minutes with God and Truth Seekers Mystery Series.

What does it mean to be fishers of men? It means first hearing the Word of the Lord and placing it in our hearts. Only in that way can we follow.

In the Book of Romans, we read that while we can confess with our mouth that Jesus is Lord — we must also believe in our hearts. Let’s read Romans 10: 9-18 together.

This is such great news because we hear many things:

  1. We must believe.
  2. No one who believes will be put to shame
  3. The Lord is Lord of all
  4. For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved

But, just as important for all of us is what we have been learning and practicing in this series of podcasts and that is listening. The Scripture further goes on to say, “…And how can they believe in him of whom they have not heard?” Without spending time with the Lord we can’t come to know him. “…But not everyone has heeded the good news; for Isaiah says, Lord, who has believed what was heard from us.”

How can we share the good news without instilling it in our hearts and living our lives as if we believe? This is totally by the grace of God but a grace He can most definitely give to us. If we have heard the good news and the love the Lord has placed in our hearts for Him, we will not be able to contain the joy.

As I record this podcast we are approaching the Christmas season and it is definitely a time of great joy and great sorrow. Sorrow for those we have lost, for those we are estranged from and for all the regrets that seem to plague us. It is also a time of great joy not for what we will find under the tree on Christmas day but we are a joyful people because of the good news… we have heard the Lord and we are following Him. God’s words give us life. god’s words are true, enduring they last forever. God’s words are more precious than gold.

In Matthew 4:18-22 we read about Jesus as he meets his disciples.

In this Gospel we are delighted as we learn that the men, simple by the world’s standards are drawn to Jesus and leave all that they know, their livelihood, their family to follow him. How likely are we to drop everything and follow Jesus as these men did.

Sometimes I think that the simple in worldly ways are truthfully the people of God. They do not need to think, they act. And, I’m sure that the Lord provided His grace but they out of a simple act of obedience said yes. It was not the most traveled road. Conversely, it was a hard road to travel because we know the ending. One died at his own hands (Judas), one lived to an old age in exile, (John) and the remainder were martyred for their faith.

While our lives may not be easy we can learn so much from these men. Friends, as we approach each day, let’s pray that the Lord chooses us to be fishers of men.

Dear Lord, I praise you that your Word is true, blessed and refreshing to our souls. I thank you for allowing us to join you, to come alongside you to share Your good news with others. I want to be a fisher of men, I want to proclaim the good news to all who will listen, to the ends of the earth, but you Lord have the perfect plan for my life. As I sit here and pray along with those listening, I ask that you hear our petitions for all of those that we pray for… Dear Lord hear our prayers and grant us the grace we need to go on each day. I thank-you today Lord for all the blessings you have provided for my life and those I love. And, I pray this in Jesus Name, Amen.

Something Out of Nothing

Something Out of Nothing | Only God can create something out of nothing – He did this in the Creation of the World and he does this all the time when He blesses. | #podcast #christian podcast #miraclesSomething out of Nothing — AFMWG – 67

Only God can create something out of nothing – He did this in the Creation of the World and he does this all the time when He blesses. In this episode, we will discuss how God rightly deserves our Thanksgiving!

Our sponsor — Heirloom Audios. Lasting value and spiritual benefits — Christian history – audio adventures. Movies for the Minds CD Sets  GiveTheAdventure.com

How many times do you give thanks each day? Blessings are something out of nothing. We can see the blessings in our lives but where do they come from? How do they come to be? It is from the Lord – but we don’t visibly see him.

I describe the effects of the Lord in our lives to the wind – and I’m sure I’ve used this analogy before. We feel the effects of the wind but we don’t see it. In the following examples, we will see how the Lord blesses His people and how those who are the ones he is blessing realize this and give him all the glory! This is a wonderful example for us.

King Solomon dedicates the Lord’s temple which was one of his greatest accomplishments. This temple was vast and greater than anything the people at the time have ever seen. But, Solomon’s dedication was thanksgiving to the Lord with prayers to God to bless the people. He thanked God for keeping all the promises God had made to the chosen people through Moses.

I Kings 8:22-23

Saint Paul also thanks God for the grace upon the people of Corinth. 1 Corinthians 1:3-6 — Thanksgiving for the Corinthians.

Paul realizes that in Christ the Corinthians are “enriched in every way.” And one of the most beautiful praises to God is from Mary – in Luke 1:46-50 It is called the Magnificat.

How wonderful that even the Mother of our Lord realized when she said, “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord. — Praise be the Lord!

Dear Lord Jesus – thank you for reminding us that truly something does come from nothing if you are the one behind all of the goodness in our lives. In the midst of wonderful things Lord let us remember that you are the one who is the ultimate source of all that is good, that is wonderful that is deserving of our thanksgiving. Lord help us to be thankful not only during seasons such as Thanksgiving or Christmas but also all the times in between. We praise you Lord and ask you to grant us the following: ——————- Thanks so much Lord for every good thing and I ask you to bless my family, to keep us in your loving care and for answering our prayers. In Jesus Name. Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Faith & Generosity

Faith and Generosity | Can you give as the widow gave her last mite? | #podcast #christianpodcast #christian teaching

Faith and Generosity Episode 67

In our world, we have an abundance and sometimes we become complacent, in today’s episode we will discuss our attitude toward all things including the meaning of true generosity that comes from the heart.

Our sponsor — Heirloom Audios. Lasting value and spiritual benefits — Christian history – audio adventures CD Sets  GiveTheAdventure.com

In our world of overflow, there are times when an abundance makes us complacent. Many of us know where our next meal will come from. We don’t have to worry that there will not be enough food, praise God. Some years back there was an economic setback that made us evaluate our purchasing and I had to eliminate all the extras like bottled water, paper plates, and we used paper towels very sparingly. The clothes went out on a line and we only used the dryer in emergencies or rainy days. These hard times caused us to think and be frugal and 4 out of my 5 children are very frugal because of it.

In Scripture, we read about the widow and her son who had no money. 1 Kings 17:12

Can you imagine? Someone asks you to share your food and you have to say “When we have eaten it, we shall die” – yet she shares the last of her food with the prophet and God blesses her generosity. Can you imagine being in her situation? What would you do?

There are many who need our help and I am blessed to be in a church that does a good job of collecting money for what they call the St. Vincent DePaul society that gives to the poor. One Sunday at Mass the VP came and asked not for money but for volunteers! I am praying to join them at some point to help.

Sometimes you can’t give money but you can give your time.

We read of a similar situation but this time in the Widow’s mite – in Mark 12:44 we read — They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.”  The widow gives her whole livelihood at the temple of the Lord. She gives not just the extra that she had, but everything she had. In this way, it is an example to us to give our first fruits or our best to the Lord. Again, if not in money then in time.

The ultimate of giving and generosity is Jesus. He is faithful to the Father – on the cross He says, Father, Your will not mine.  He gives his life to save humankind – but just not everyone else – US – he died to save us. You and me. In Hebrews 9:26 we read, “therwise Christ would have had to suffer many times since the creation of the world. But he has appeared once for all at the culmination of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself.

— “Once for all he has taken away sin by His sacrifice.

We must be a beacon a light for others we must show our faith and generosity not because we believe or are kind but because we allow the light of the Lord to shine through us and how can he? If we are not spending time with him we will have a harder time.

Remember – to spend time with God daily – every day. Spend time talking to Him, writing in your journal make it the first thing you do not the last when you are exhausted and can’t give him your best.

Dear Lord Jesus, I praise you and I thank you – I appreciate all you have done for me, all the ways you have shown me that you care all the ways you have provided for me and my family. Dear Lord, I ask you to help us to give out of our abundance whether it is our gifts or talents. I love you Lord and I ask that you bless each one of us – and that you hear the prayers that are the most pressing on our hearts …………………………….. Lord, I know that you hear our prayers and I ask that you answer them, and I pray this in Jesus Name. Amen.

 

 

Thanking God

Thanking God When Things Happen Not Matter What Happens- Episode 66

Thanking God is difficult when things don’t work out the way we want. And this goes against everything in our human nature. I believe in God, but even science shows us that we are built for self-protection. It is what psychologists call the fight or flight mechanism. When we feel something hot we immediately pull our hand away, when we feel threatened we instinctively back up—so in this podcast we are going to discuss Thanking God in all things – which even means when things go wrong, when bad things happen and when we can’t do one more thing because there is a crushing weight upon us!

I recently heard an amazing speaker and she was full of energy, God’s love flowed out of her and she was truly anointed as she spoke – and she gave us that exact challenge. This lady is no stranger to adversity. Her son who recently came home from the service after many tours of duty in dangerous countries died in a one-car auto accident close to their home. He was her only son. Then not too long afterward her husband died after being diagnosed with an incurable illness and then he was gone. She speaks internationally, has her own television show, radio show, and many, many books and Bible studies. She travels the world proclaiming God’s love and joy. And yet she is no stranger to tragedy, not once but twice in her immediate family.

This lady told us that we had to thank God for everything. Thank God for cancer. Thank God for illness. Thank God for whatever it is that you don’t want to be thankful about!

Think about this. How can we be thankful when we do not feel thankful?

Similar to the podcast I did some time back on Forgiveness (link here) when we do thank God for everything – even the bad things what we ARE doing is an act of obedience.

But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15

Will you serve the Lord? If so at what cost? To some, the cost is to high.

Here is how I look at it – You can NOT outgive the Lord. In otherwords, if you help a stranger or if you do something nice for someone else, whatever that is… as little as letting someone in ahead of you in traffic or allowing the person with one item to go ahead in the grocery store, holding the door for someone else, all these are acts of kindness – then watch what happens in your life – the unexpected…(say something about motivation)

Maybe you are thinking – but I don’t do anything for anyone else, I don’t go out much I don’t see others – how can I give?

God does not look at what you do – he looks at your heart, and your motivation. IF you are only doing acts of kindness for something back, it is for yourself that you do these things. If you give freely without restraint or strings you are giving to the Lord.

Walk in obedience to all that the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live and prosper and prolong your days in the land that you will possess. Deuteronomy 5:33

Thanking God even in the midst of hardship and adversity FOR THAT PROBLEM is an act of obedience.

So David went up in obedience to the word that Gad had spoken in the name of the Lord. 1 Chronicles 21:19

Blessed are all who fear the Lord, who walk in obedience to him. Psalm 128:1

How can we outgive the Lord – you can’t … I remember one time thinking that I wished the Lord would use me for evangelization. But I was a stay at home, homeschool mom. How was I going to do this? I couldn’t!

So, you know what happened? God sent people to me. Literally. The guy who sprayed for bugs. The plumber. The door-to-door salesperson. The lady at the grocery store.

We listen to people, ask how they are doing – how did you get into this job? How long have you lived here (I live in Florida so people here typically moved from somewhere else.) and it was amazing, I’d get their life stories. Some even said no one even asked how they were doing and treated them as if they were invisible!

Let’s pray.

Dear Lord, we thank you for everything that is happening in our lives. We thank you for ____________ each of us has a special need Lord and you know our hearts. But you also know everything that happens in our lives – you are aware of it Lord and in your permissive will it is allowed to happen. Lord, I ask you for the spirit of obedience that you take away any obstacles in our lives that are holding us back. That you increase our love for you, that you fill us with every good thing so that we can be used by You to minister to others. By our obedience in the good and the bad make us an example of your love. We praise you and we give you all the glory, all the honor and all that is worthy of your praise. And, I thank you Lord! In Jesus Name, Amen.

 

 

Jesus Calling

Jesus Calling | Is Jesus calling you? | #podcast #christianpodcast #jesus #faithJesus Calling Episode 65

Is Jesus calling you? We all know the answer but maybe you are not aware of the ways He calls to you each day. In this episode, Felice shares how she missed all the times that Jesus was calling her and some tips that might be helpful for you in your daily life.

A Few Minutes with God – available on Amazon.

Friends, we live in a very heated political climate right now. There is no longer a right or wrong there is an only “my way or the highway,” approach to discussions. We just can’t avoid it and at best the allure to be conformational and prove our point sometimes gets ahead of us. Yet, is this how Jesus is calling you to respond.

We don’t understand God ways and even discussing him on this podcast makes me feel so inadequate. We face a daily challenge of living our lives and living them with Christian virtue. How will others see Christ if they can not see Him in us, especially if they know we are Christians.

I have a son who loves to wear Christian t-shirts. He also tends to be a hot-head and he is easily provoked by his siblings. I’ve often reminded him when we are heading out to an event or dinner that he is responsible for the words on his shirt. People will judge him in a harsher light if they see that he is over-reacting to a sibling instead of showing Christ’s compassion to them. (Especially if he is wearing a t-shirt that says, “Jesus saves,” or “God is love.”

If you need a devotional I recommend a wonderful little book by the title Jesus Calling and I highly recommend this as a gift for a loved one and a perfect gift for a high school student, or one leaving for college life. This book is filled with short thought-provoking readings taking less than five minutes to read with some wonderful Scripture references.

When you read the Bible or a devotional, listen. Look. Watch. Each day.

How does the Lord call to us each day? Is it to help a child? To prepare a meal? To smile at an elderly person in church or the grocery store? Is it to let someone ahead of you in line, or to help someone to unload their grocery cart?

How does the Lord call us each day? Is it in that still small voice? It is in a way that speaks comfort to our soul that could be in turmoil? If we spend time with the Lord, in His word, in prayer, in a quiet church we can soak up the comfort that only comes from God. We can offload our burdens to Him and His capable and loving heart. We can feel His arms around us and place our head on His shoulder like a child.

Do we have faith like a child? Do we really believe? Is God who He says He is there for us each and every day in the now, the right now? If He is and we believe then we should follow His call. Jesus does not ask much. We should offer Him our love and our obedience not because He needs either – God the Father, Jesus the Son and the Holy Spirit need nothing from us. Nothing. However, because of His love, we should want to be the best Christian follower we can be.

He calls us each and every day. He calls us in the good times. He calls us in the bad times. He calls us in the sunshine. He calls us in the rain. He calls us all of the time.

This verse in 1 Kings shows us the power of the Lord:

1 Kings 19 – 9-13 —  the Lord speaking to Elijah

We may not be blessed to hear the voice of the Lord our God as Elijah did – but we can hear His small still voice. Remember, a few minutes with God each and every day. Close your eyes and be present to Him.

Even if you do not feel anything or hear anything interiorly you know without a shadow of a doubt that HE IS HERE. The Lord is with you all the time. We learned as children that God is everywhere if He is everywhere and you are somewhere He is with you!

Dear Friends let’s pray.

Lord I, want to follow you, and I want to hear your call for me. Jesus I, know you call me each day and I miss those little signs. Please open my eyes to your calling each day. Open my eyes to the ways I should be present for my family, relatives and those in my life – those people you have surrounded me with. Nothing is an accident with You Lord you know every thing that happens in our lives. Nothing is a surprise. I ask Lord that you give me the grace to know You better, to hear your small still voice, to be present when I should be and to know the difference between busy work and work for the Kingdom of God. Help me to align my priorities to keep my focus on You and to do every good thing for the glory of God! And, I pray this in Jesus precious Name. Amen.

God in the Present Moment

God in the Present Moment | Where can you find God? | #podcast #christianpodcastPresent Moment Episode 64

God is in the Present Moment is an amazing concept and one I absolutely love. If you have listened to the other podcasters on this network you will see this is a topic many like to speak about. I’ve included some links to the other podcasts for you to enjoy on the topic of God in the present moment.

Recently, I was blessed recently to hear a wonderful Christian speaker, and she shared this very important insight in a unique way that I absolutely loved because it made so much sense to me.

I want to share this with you as well – but first I’d like to thank my sponsor, Media Angels, Inc. Please check out the books A Few Minutes with God and the soon to be released, One More Child. These will be available on Amazon and make great Christmas gifts.

Is God in the present moment?

God was there before all things began. God was not made he always was. He is beyond all that we can comprehend and using out words to describe him falls short.

God is everywhere – he is the light of the world and he knows all.

God will always be – even if the world or universe no longer exists, God will always be.

So, yes. God is in the present moment.

Which brings me to the important insight. And it centers around worry. I think sometimes we just can’t help it. We are concerned, we worry, we think.

We worry about the past. The things that we did. The problems we have. The tormenting ideas that just won’t go away. These are the could of, would of, should of …

We worry about the future. The what if’s – the tormenting ideas of problems that are not even happening yet. These ideas keep us up at night.

But we must remember in

Isaiah 43: 18-19

“Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.

God doesn’t want us to dwell in the past, so many times there is nothing we can do and all the thoughts that we think about makes us sad or angry. We must rely on God in this present moment.

The insight explained the truth that God is not in the past – nor the future – he is in the here and now. God protects us, He is our refuge, He is our rock. In the present, He is here for us–because the present is our reality, the here and the now.

In 2 Corinthians 5:17 – “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, He is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold the new has come.”

We are a new creation in Christ. He has washed us clean. We must rely on and trust in Him. In the now.

If we really think about this friends it is freeing. The worry in the past or the future is giving into the weakness we have of concern that is not something that God can protect us from as they haven’t happened yet and more than likely if we are honest, won’t happen.

When my struggling learners were little and I was homeschooling I worried all the time that they wouldn’t be self-sufficient or they could not go to college or … whatever, fill in the blank. If it was a dire thought – I thought it~ I use to think, “If I can just get my son to 18 things will be so much easier.” I was wishing for the future instead of enjoying the now. I can tell you in hindsight everything worked out so much better than I hoped!

The same thing now with my two youngest in college in different states. They are far away. I have to trust the now – that God has them under His special mantle of protection. And, I pray that things turn out so much better than I can imagine!

Let’s pray –

Dear Lord, I pray for the here and now – where You are in this Present Moment. This is so important and it is difficult for me, I am fallible and I am weak. Please help me, Lord, to rely on You for all things. To carry me when I am weak, to watch out for me, for my loved ones and those in need of Your strong presence. Thank you, Lord, for directing me, for keeping me in your care. Dear Lord help me keep you in my focus and for the all the mercy and blessings you can give me. I pray this in Jesus, Name. Amen.

 

 

 

Mother Theresa’s Quotes

quotes from mother TheresaMother Theresa Quotes Episode 63

Have you read quotes from Mother Theresa? When my children were little we read about Mother Theresa’s life because she was, in essence, a living Saint. She went to Calcutta in India and helped the poor. But what made her remarkable among other things is that she didn’t just look at helping the poor, but the dying. One of the first people she rescued was a man lying in the gutter with maggots and in flit. She said that the Lord gave her the courage to pick him up – and she felt if she had not felt that urging and followed through she would not be able to continue her mission of helping others and eventually starting her own order of nuns.

We all carry our own burdens in life as did Mother Theresa, but we found out after she died that she felt she wasn’t hearing from God as she continued her journey like she did at the beginning.

As Mother Theresa didn’t stop her mission, her faith – even if she did not feel it the way she had as a younger nun did continue or she would have stopped her work!  Faith is a gift from God. We are all called but many do not hear.

In Matthew 28:20 Jesus said…

“…and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Just because we don’t hear the Lord or feel God’s presence, that does not mean you don’t have faith.

I thought I would share with you some of Mother Theresa’s quotes. If you can write them in your journal and think about the ones that speak to you!

Peace begins with a smile.

Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.

Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier.

We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.

Intense love does not measure, it just gives.

Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.

Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.

The hunger for love is much more difficult to remove than the hunger for bread.”

If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one.

Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.

I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love.

We shall never know all the good that a simple smile can do.

 Love cannot remain by itself – it has no meaning. Love has to be put into action, and that action is service.

The most terrible poverty is loneliness and the feeling of being unloved.

If you judge people, you have no time to love them.

And the last two I want to leave you with…

What can you do to promote world peace? Go home and love your family.

I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.

Dear Lord, please help me to be the best I can be in this life. Please fill me with your Holy Spirit so that I can be filled with your Love. I love you Lord, Jesus and I want to follow you each day and serve those in need—even if it is just my family. Please help me to take that first step and guide the rest and I pray for my intentions and those listening …. Please Lord grant us the prayers of our heart, and I pray this in Jesus Name. Amen.

Relationships Key To Happiness

relationships Key To Happy Relationships Episode–62

The key to happiness? It features your relationships. I didn’t make this up or even read about it online but I did happen upon this thought over a conversation with our pastor at dinner a few weeks ago. We are blessed to have an amazing associate pastor and he is full of Irish humor and wisdom. He is also one of the most widely read men I know. He has a firm grasp of what is happening today as well as historically and of course theologically.

Father Toner recently discussed many topics and one surrounded relationships. It was one of those tangents that came up that blew me away and I asked him to explain. One of the things he talks about is how limited we are in our vocabulary to describe and understand God. One of his gems is that we should pray, “God I love You as You know yourself to Be.”

Think about that!

He also discussed how our Relationships are directly related to our relationship with God. Here are the three keys.

  1. Relationship with God
  2. Relationship with self
  3. Relationship with others

First, our relationship with God must be solid. You must do what… if you said, Spend a Few Minutes with God – the name of this podcast I say, wonderful! Yes! You must spend time with God to have a relationship. Pray, Sing and then wait. Listen. Be still.

Even as a Catholic I have accepted God as my personal savior. The prayer which you can search of online, and I am sure I have spoken about it in earlier podcasts. The scripture sited the most is John 3 where Nicodemus Visits Jesus and they discuss what it means to be born of water and the spirit. Read John 3 it is wonderful.

Basically, you are saying to the Lord,

  1. Acknowledge sinfulness
  2. Acknowledge the need for forgiveness
  3. A belief that Jesus lived and died for our sins
  4. Agreement to turn away from sin and accept Jesus as our Savior
  5. Promise the Lord to commit to him and ask for an infilling of the Holy Spirit
  6. To help me be the kind of person He wants me to be
  7. And thanking the Lord in Jesus Name, Amen.

A one-time prayer is not the key, the key is a relationship with God and understanding the importance of His saving grace in our lives. The Lord wants us joyous and spirit filled with His love. How can we love others if we do not first love God the source of all love?

Corinthians – The Gift of Love

The second key is the love of self.

Yes, I know this sounds narcissistic – but bear with me. So many people are unhappy and do not understand where their unhappiness comes from. One key indicator is how they think about themselves.

  1. Do we acknowledge we are a sinner?
  2. Do we forgive ourselves for past sins?
  3. Do we realize that if we have asked for forgiveness – for us Catholics that means confessions – that we are, by the grace of God we are forgiven.
  4. Do we realize that God made us in His image – and that has importance?
  5. Do we realize God knows the numbers of hairs on your head and held you in his palm before you were born?

We are special friends – God does not make junk. We, if we are Christians and believe are redeemed by the power of the Lamb of God who laid down his life – once and for all for our sins. Not multi times – once. That is all it took.

Just as an aside for those who are listening and are not Catholic – we believe at the Mass we are reliving that one event – the one time that Jesus died at Calvary. We are doing what the Scripture says – “Do this in Memory of Me.” When we receive communion.

We realize friends that we must love the Lord and have a relationship – before we can move on and love ourselves.

And last – love others. This love is an outgrowth of the love flowing through us from the Father, being at peace with ourselves and understanding the having a servants heart an doing for others is a gift.

What about those we can’t love? Pray to God to love them. I have this situation in my own life and the Lord created an amazing healing.

Friends relationships are not easy – we live in a broken world. However, I pray that this helps you to begin to study about ways we can love God and have a relationship with Him, ways we must love and forgive ourselves and ways to love others as God leads us.

I pray that the Lord touches your heart and encourages you by faith and His grace to seek Him in a relationship, to have a relationship with ourselves where we are comfortable with who we are and help us to pour into others in a relationship built upon love, grace, and compassion. And, Lord I pray for those listening that you bless them and hear their prayers …. And I pray this in Jesus Name. Amen

 

The Armor of God

The Armor of God Episode 61

Putting on the armor of God we can fight anything because the battle is not ours. We keep thinking that the battle we are facing is of this world – it is not. We are not in heaven  — I know that is not a news flash, but it is true and we need to remind ourselves … when things go wrong we get upset. Especially those things we cannot control.

We are helping to promote this film to combat teen suicide. It is free along with the resources. Unseen Film –  UnseenFilm.org

The Bible tells us we are fighting a daily battle and it goes on to say, it is not against flesh and blood. Flesh and blood signifies humans. So if not human, then what? The power of darkness leads us to believe it is the fallen angels, those who turned their backs to God at the beginning of time. These enemies get the best of us from time to time.

Want to know how?

  1. Hopelessness
  2. Loneliness
  3. Sadness
  4. Depression
  5. Anger

But God has given us the tools in Scripture and his Church. We have pastors who we can go to for help if needed.

Anyone who plays sports and especially football can attest to the saying that the best defense is a good offense. The same with our spiritual lives. Do you give God time to fill you up? Do you have your few minutes with God.? Are you totally concentrating on Him or does your mind wander? It is human nature to have a mind that wanders but if your mind wanders in those things that upset you it is time for that good offense.

Read Ephesians 6:10-18 – The Armor of God

 The questions is …Whose plan are you going to follow??

Armor of God

  1. The armor – this is a garment that clothes us and keeps us from attack – like God’s Word
  2. Belt of Truth — where does truth lie? In our mind, in what we perceive to be right but unless you are grounded in Christ – who is pure holiness, love and truth we can be deceived, we must strive to honor truth. Psalm 86:11 – Teach me Your way, O Lord; I will walk in Your truth; Unite my heart to fear Your name.
  3. Breastplate of Righteousness – The breastplate covers our heart – without love we are nothing. If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body [a]to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.
  4. Shoes fitted with the Gospel of Peace from the good news — we put on our shoes to go out, and in this case to be ready for battle and walk toward the place where the Lord leads us!
  5. Shield of Fath – to quench the darts of the wicked one – our shield defends us and our armor, and it moves no matter where we are being attacked. Fire makes me think of hell – and with the lord giving us the power to defend, we should rejoice.
  6. Helmet of Salvation – is a shield against temptation and a downward spiral – it is a fact that we must put our hope in Christ – we know that Salvation is through Jesus Christ and we belong to Him as Christians! 1 Thessalonians 5:8 -But since we are of the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet, the hope of salvation.
  7. Sword of the Spirit –the sword is the word of God – we are told in Hebrews 4:12 – For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. Our defense against any hopelessness, loneliness, sadness, depression, anger is God’s Word. Read the Bible, listen to praise and worship music! Trust that the Lord will be there for you.
  8. Prayer – our best defense – Pray in the spirit at all times stay alert…

Let’s pray…

Dear Father God, you have given us all the weapons we need to combat the evil one and to protect us and we have them in the Armor of God that you gave us. You gave us the tools we need to live a life that is pleasing to you, that brings us out of sorrow and into joy. We know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you are there for us – your Word is sharper than any two-edged sword. You have given us the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, shoes fitted with the Gospel of Peace and good news, the shield of faith the helmet of salvation and the sword of the spirit! And we thank you for the gift of prayer and we thank you for all you do, we lift up our prayers and petitions to you Lord, please grant us the desires of our heart. I pray this in Jesus Name. Amen.


Special Thanks to Our Network Sponsor – Unseen

 

After finding his grandson Owen preparing to end his own life, Alexander takes him along on an errand. As the day unfolds, Owen learns new information about his grandfather’s past and unlocks the secret to facing his own future.

Click Here to Download the Film for Free and get Resources for Your Family


Peace of Living God’s Will

peace of living God's will | The peace of living God's will is easy with these tips. | #podcast #christianpodcast #catholicpodcast #peaceofLivingGod'swillThe Peace of  Living God’s Will Episode 20

The peace of living God’s will can be found in so many aspects of our life. A number of years back when I was stationed at the Franciscan University of Steubenville, I was serving as the Director of Christian Renewal and overseeing two small households in the Renewal Center.

Visit the movie we are helping to promote, Unseen Film – it deals with the very real problem of suicide in our culture. The movie is free to watch and download on your computer.

Peace of Living God’s Will can be found in duty.

One of the women in the women’s household was a very capable women leader whose name is Sr. Ann Shields. She is now a part of the Sisterhood in Ann Arbor, Michigan and serves in the Ralph Martin Ministries. Sr. Ann was asked by Fr. Michael Scanlan to pick up women at the Pittsburgh Airport, whose name was Mother Theresa of Calcutta. A  benefactor at the University, a personal friend of Mother Theresa, asked her if she would come to the Graduation and receive the Poverello Medal. A medal of honor in the spirit of the poor man of Assisi, Francis. It is a medal given each year to a person who has made major contributions to the service of the poor. Sr. Ann herself has in public told this story.

The peace of living God’s will is available for everyone. 

Everything went well at the airport and they were on their way back to the University and crossing over the bridge from Weirton, West Virginia to Steubenville, Ohio. At that time all the steel mills were producing at full tilt, and the Ohio Valley was saturated with heavy air pollution. It seems that Sr. Ann was a little embarrassed and mentioned how unjust it was to pour out all this air pollution on the community. Mother Theresa response was something like, I really wouldn’t know because God hasn’t called or asked me to take responsibility for that!

When we are looking to discern and know God’s practical will in our lives we very much need to know two things:

  1. First, the goal of knowing God’s will is to give greater honor and glory to God.
  2. The second is to know what God has given me responsibility for in my life and what he has not!

In a tumultuous time in society when many individuals take self-appointed responsibility for many things and make negative judgments almost about everything, those of us who are concerned about discerning God’s practical will in our lives need to refrain from that thinking and behavior,  “Through the mercy of God offer your bodies as a spiritual sacrifice, pleasing to God, your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed in the renewal of your minds, so that you know God’s will, what is good, pleasing, and perfect.”, see Rom. 12: 1-3.

There are many things big and little that we need to consult the Lord about! The big things: vocation, who should be my friends, who do I want to spend the rest of my life with? What is the vision and goals of our family life, what educational opportunities should we seek for our children?

Do we want to homeschool the children? job, what career path should I choose, professional training, where I live, what kind of car should I buy, finances, when should I retire etc. Little daily things, yet very important: What are my priorities? Spending time with the kids, frequent prayer time, vacation, amount of sports activities for the kids, support relationships, exercise, nutrition, special time with my husband or wife, etc. There are many choices of an ongoing nature which we will need to make as time moves forward. However, the fundamental underlying reality is this: If I do not have a continual personal relationship with God in which I daily walk in communication, how is it possible to do discernment and know God’s personal will in my life?

The servant of the Lord needs to try and keep watch over his actions, interior as well as exterior, always being careful and working toward and maintaining “purity of heart.” One should seek to maintain peace of mind and heart, in attempting to always know the gracious will of God, saying within oneself: “Oh Lord what do you will me to do now? Will it please you if I do this or that? For the Lord himself speaks through interior inspiration to a person’s heart, “saying do this or leave that undone. When one feels that the Lord wills or permits him to do anything, one should speak in this way, the Lord does this in me and through me. But if one perceives that this particular thing does not please the Lord, he should immediately deny himself or herself and should leave the thing undone, however small it may seem, see Blosius the Venerable, Magnificat, vol. 20, n. 3, May 2018, pp. 369-370.

The peace of living God’s will depends on our attitude. It is good if we have an open and peaceful attitude in seeking God’s will in our daily life. It is important to be willing to choose what God wants even if it is not what I want. A loving heart desires above all to please the Lord, and listen carefully to God’s guidance and direction. When we choose in faith what God wants, we may feel drawn to an option and we just know with a peaceful certitude this is what God wants. You will feel it when it happens! Some articles on discerning God’s will mention two states of the inner person: consolation and desolation. I actually think it is a little more involved than that.

Peace of living God’s will is sometimes hidden.

I find it useful to identify three states of the inner life or soul: revelation, consolation, and desolation.

Why is that? Because we are speaking about a beautiful dynamic relationship where the Lord and the person are working together to seek and discover the truth of God’s will in very practical circumstances.

  1. Revelation is knowing how to receive and understand all the tender and merciful ways in which God communicates with a person. This requires a personal knowledge and loving relationship with the Lord.
  2. The consolation is the second state. This would consist of an inner peace where the soul experiences the blessing of the Lord. You know it when you feel it!
  3. The third state is a desolation, which can be characterized by a certain sadness, a lack of the experience of heavenly love and grace, spiritual dryness. Sometimes a feeling of a spiritual emptiness and disturbance. It is good to peacefully be attentive as to what state of spiritual experience one is going through. Sometimes there can be a subtle shifting back and forth.

The important thing is to look for a consistency. If desolation seems to be around too long ask the Lord to remove what is causing this gentle sometimes painful darkness. Sometimes it is the Lord who is allowing it because he wants us to grow in trusting him in faith no matter what! The inner action of these three spiritual feeling states is a normal way the person relates to the inner mystery of grace and the action of the Lord and the Spirit in the inner person. For example, discerning the will of God in relationship to deciding to leave one job and take another.

Be patient and look for recurring patterns. Consolation and desolation are a normal part of the spiritual life, and in fact, they come and go interiorly all the time. Our decisions and choices are not just based on feelings but on revealed and reasonable truth communicated to us by the Lord. And seeking the good advice of others. The good Lord does speak to our interior being and to our mind. These states of our human beingness are very useful in discerning God’s practical will for our life. When God reveals his will we just know it. He built us as humans to be in a knowing relationship with him. If we need further confirmation about our decision about what job the Lord wants us to take, we may turn to a more analytical approach.

An analytical approach should be used when it is helpful, or when you are seeking confirmation of decisions you want to make because you believe this is what God’s will in now in this particular situation. I am leaving my superintendent position in Lake Andes, and I am going to accept the offer I have received for the same position in Plankinton. All my prayer, advice, and considerations have pointed significantly to make this change. I see it as God’s will for me and my family at this time in my life.

The pay is about the same, this, is where my family has lived for years, and I feel called to serve the folks in that surrounding community. And besides that, I will have more time to take care of the cattle that I have on my property. However, I want to be sure, and I don’t want to hurt the folks in Lake Andes, they have been good to me, and very supportive of my family. This decision is going to help me and my family give greater glory to God. Tonight my wife and I have set aside a couple of hours to do this discernment, and seek to give greater glory to God in our service here, but again I want to be sure this is what God’s will is for me and my family at this time.

Some say that when you are evaluating the strengths and weakness of a situation, and we are going to use the pros and cons analytical method, It is good to write the pros first and then the cons. However, when we are doing discernment, we are seeking first the glory of God and serving him faithfully, we may want to write the cons first and then the pros. The following is a suggested method which has worked for us in determining God’s will in other situations. We did this a number of years back when we moved from Chicago to Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Boy! It worked for us like a charm; we had no doubt about our move here. Tonight we will get the kids settled and retire to the study, and each spends about 15 or 20 minutes thanking and praising the Lord for all the good he has brought into our lives.

With the Bible and notebook in hand, we will seek first the Word inviting the Lord to give us any Scriptures which may assist us in seeking his glory and his will. Then we will write down together the cons, and list everything, no matter how small they are when they come to us. And we will turn the paper over and list all the pros. In these situations sometimes the will of the Lord is confirmed quickly, and his glory becomes very evident.

Then we will have a peaceful and relatively short discussion about what the Lord showed to both of us. When we have done this in other instances his will becomes very clear in a short period of time. We pull together all the specific aspects which give us a clear unified vision for our family, and the specific choices we may need to make. If for some reason the certainty we are seeking does not materialize we will let the discernment sit for a day or so, and then come back and do it again. However, only in a few instances have we needed to do it a second time. In the end, we could confirm what we believed to be God’s glory and will for us in the next leg of the journey of being missionary disciples in God’s call and will for this season of our lives.

This method is a good one to use in periods of tranquility when our hearts are at peace and free from disturbing feelings or passions, which may influence our choices or decisions. The pros and cons should be spiritually based and not centered on personal preferences such as financial conditions or levels of comfort. After we make the list of items there are two ways to arrive at choices or decisions. In a spirit of prayer, we place before ourselves the options. We seek honestly and clearly what the Lord wants, without any attachments or hidden motives. We then humbly ask the Lord to move us toward the option(s) which will bring him the most glory. Then after considering each pro and con, we make our choice at the right time and then ask the Lord to confirm our choices with a gift of peace; assuring the Lord of our love for him and a deep desire to do his will.

Various Considerations:

When we have several goods and equally positive options, marriage or religious life God gives us the freedom to choose. For example, if we are discerning between these two equally good options, God will give us the freedom to choose which one is most in our heart. Whatever the choice and decision one makes, he will bless it with abundant grace and all that we need to gain our salvation. “But store up treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor decay destroys, nor thieves break in and steal, for where your treasure is, there also will your heart be.” “Not everyone who says Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven.”, see Mt. 6:20-21; 7: 21-22

As I said before consolations and desolations can be experienced for no apparent reason. When both are spiritually in consolation and desolation and you are looking to make a right choice, pray about your desired choice. Look for a pattern to see if it is consistent, then present your choice to God in prayer. Sometimes you may see clearly how God is giving you direction, and it may teach you more about engaging in consultation with the Lord.

God doesn’t get upset when we make mistakes, this is usually rather frequent. The point is to keep seeking God’s will. Most decisions are changeable or reversible. Much of our choices depends deeply on trusting in the Lord and his Providence, and his loving intervention in our life, which in our society today is very difficult for us. If you are having trouble discerning a direction, wait and continue to pray. The Lord will show you the way.

There are specific principles for discerning God’s will. The choice and action I am considering: Is this going to bring me closer to the Lord and advance God’s plan for my life, and for those for whom I may have significant responsibility. My vocational choices are important because it becomes the context for the practical decisions of practicing God’s will in my daily life. There are many goods, which of these are going to bring greater glory to God? The importance of prayer cannot be overemphasized. It surrenders our own will to the to the action of God’s loving will. It eliminates from our lives the things that would hinder union with God, and strengthen our desire that all the good things we do shall be done for his honor and glory.

Two important attitudes: What seems to be the best way of these possible goods for me to give greater glory to God? How am I going to serve God and constantly seek his glory in my life and his practical will in my life, or in the life and well-being of my family? The second one is to want to do what God’s wants in my life because I know and trust the Lord has the greatest good for me and my family in doing his will in the practical areas of our lives.

May we pray!

Since we desire to be in communion with you Father in your Son Jesus, we pray for the gifts of the Holy Spirit to operate in our personal lives and to be active in us as we make the choices and decision’s which are most pleasing to you. We deeply thank you for your love and care in our lives and relationships. We especially thank you for the spiritual gifts of wisdom, understanding, and discernment. And we pray for abundant peace in our minds and hearts as we move forward to serve and build the Kingdom of God in our world, but most especially in our personal situations. We ask you to be with us constantly in all our efforts to please you and to love our brothers and sisters. We pray this prayer in the name of our glorious risen Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.


Special Thanks to Our Network Sponsor – Unseen

 

After finding his grandson Owen preparing to end his own life, Alexander takes him along on an errand. As the day unfolds, Owen learns new information about his grandfather’s past and unlocks the secret to facing his own future.

Click Here to Download the Film for Free and get Resources for Your Family


Is Self Blame Harmful

Self Blame | Self blame is harmful and may be damaging for the soul. #christianpodcast #podcast #self-blameBlame Harmful for Our Soul Episode 60

Is blame harmful to our soul? I believe it is; recently reconnected with a friend who has basically had her life fall apart due to things beyond her control. However, she is stuck in the pattern of blaming herself. She has fallen into depression and has a host of medical issues, and now her faith is hanging in jeopardy.

We are promoting the film during suicide prevention week – the movie Unseen. It is free with information to help.

Blame Harmful For Our Soul

We all have stories – things happen in our life that are beyond our control or if they are within our control we cannot deal with or cope in a way to figure out a solution that is workable. We are all sinners but by the grace of God we can continue onward – and the point of this podcast is the fact that self-blame is actually studied in modern day psychology.

Wikipedia has a definition of self-blame that I will read, and you can find more on their website.

So – if psychology has identified it is really a behavior that has important ramifications!

People turn to faith and the blame – and that often is on the enemy –

Is the devil to blame for our sin and suffering?

We have an example of Adam and Eve in the garden Genesis 3 – The Fall

So Adam blamed the woman and Eve blamed the serpent – but no one admitted to their own guilt. People often blame the devil in order to remove their own crushing guilt, justify their actions, or responsibility. What we forget it that we can learn so much through our suffering —  and the things God wants to teach us.

Listen – satan is a liar and a deceiver — Satan instigated the temptation, but Eve responded with negative volition, unbelief, and disobedience, and Adam failed to stay true to his responsibility as the leader in his family.

But this brings me back to the issue of blame – can we truly blame ourselves for not stepping in to change events or facts – to make things right or better? Sure – and it is natural to put blame on ourselves and take responsibility for it – but it is often time to move on! Regardless of the source of a temptation ,it is up to our own free will to make a decision that is right or wrong. The Lord allows it.

However – God gave us the tools to defeat the enemy – the subject of my next podcast!

Yes – the enemy causes havoc in or world but St. Paul gives warns us – the battle is not with flesh and blood

Ephesians 6: 12: For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.

Evil is a direct result of our fallen world and the enemy – we know the source of all evil – however so much of our suffering is due to our own self-induced blame.

Friends – we must break the cyle of self blame!

  1. Identify the source. Yes, it may be yourself.
  2. Blame is not healthy and can lead to so many problems – emotionally and medically
  3. Identify the issue and move on. We need to memorize the Bible as a help – when the thoughts of blame surface in our minds we must “resist the devil and he will flee from us”… how? By putting on the armor of God. God’s word can combat any evil – even that of self blame.

But be aware.

  1. Not every evil is a direct result of the enemy.
  2. Not all suffering is a product of our own sin – think Job here.
  3. We cannot carry the burden alone.
  4. Examine your conscience – go to your pastor, if you are Catholic go to a good priest – is there a spiritual lesson you are missing?

I’m not one to typically freak out by something I read online but this came across my search and if you want to see lies – listen to this lie about how wonderful the devil is.

No! I rebuke that! God is victorious – Christianity is the answer against anguish and sin. You must realize that if you can not overcome the cycle of self-blame you may need help.

How much power do we really think we have? God is God and victorious in all things.

Blame is a tool to keep us down and we can be victorious through Jesus Christ – and how do we know this? Because Jesus Christ was born, lived, died, was buried and ROSE on the 3rd day – He opened the gates of heaven for you and for me, and we can be victorious by living a life praising God!

Dear Lord Jesus, I pray for those who are hurting today – for those who do not have hope – for those who feel like the awful things that happen in their lives are their fault – they have incredible self-blame, Lord and can’t see a way past this. Dear Lord I ask that you help them to overcome the blame to look at You and Only You for the help they need to let go of this – to confess this blame and place it at the foot of Your precious cross – you died for us Lord but best of all You rose from the dead so we could have a NEW life with you in eternity – I pray a a healing on those who have been hurt by the sins of others especially those close to them in life. Those they should have trusted but who betrayed them. I pray for a healing and for closure and for the blame to go away in Your Precious Name, Jesus. Amen.

 


Special Thanks to Our Network Sponsor – Unseen

 

After finding his grandson Owen preparing to end his own life, Alexander takes him along on an errand. As the day unfolds, Owen learns new information about his grandfather’s past and unlocks the secret to facing his own future.

Click Here to Download the Film for Free and get Resources for Your Family


 

Joy In Living God’s Will

Joy In Living God's Will | The joy in living God's will can be found with these steps. #christian #christianpodcast #podcast #catholicJoy in Living In God’s Will Episode 19

The joy in living God’s will is right before us and we often miss it in our daily lives. Before we look at the practical tools of discerning God’s will in a given situation, I think it can be useful to develop an awareness or atmosphere of worldliness in contemporary society.

Visit the movie we are helping to promote, Unseen Film – it deals with the very real problem of suicide in our culture. The movie is free to watch and download on your computer.

A list of worldly practices or issues which project a negative spirit of worldliness. Within the context of our affluent society, some of us may carry a deep-seated attitude of entitlement. It could go something like this: When I want something I need to get it! I deserve it, and I want it Now! And I should be able to do whatever it takes to get it. After all,  we live in a land of freedom and I should be able to get what I want when I want it, even if some people are inconvenienced a little by my action. Why should I sacrifice and serve others? After all, it takes everything I have,  and I am too busy to spend time worrying about other people’s situations. Some of my friends think I am narcissistic because I always look to my needs first.

The Joy in Living God’s Will escapes so many! Here are some real examples:

We live in an anxious worrisome stress filled society, and some of us are so busy because we have so many things and projects to accomplish. Down deep inside I feel that unless I do all these things I won’t feel happy. A teacher who cares for me asked me the other day why my sense of self-worth is so low! When I get down I just go to the store and buy something. My husband makes plenty of money, and I just feel so compelled to buy so many things. I love nice things and my family always encouraged me to frequently spend and buy many things. My husband kids me about being so compulsively materialistic.

The other day uncle John and aunt Maureen showed up from the coast. What a huge expensive camper they have; they just spend months traveling all over the place. We were having a beer last night and John told me that his pastor was disappointed when he refused to undertake some church responsibilities for mercy work. He said I told him,“I can’t take on those services and still enjoy my recreational pursuits.

Thanks for picking me up Pete. Boy, I need a good workout! Harriet blew up at me last night. She said that she was fed up with my incessant worrisome attention about little details about my life. She said I am so perfectionistic about little details in my life, that I never spend quality time with the two boys, which, in her mind is much more important than the little things I get involved in. Boy, my friends at the club are reality irritated at the pastor. He gave a homily where he mentioned that this country is so addicted to sports that it has reached the point where it has become a false god, or at least obsessive idol worship.

My kids feel that they need to participate in all the sports at school. Do you realize how hectic that is for our family? When I try to limit it, they cry and complain that other kids parents let them do this, and they fear they will be rejected and pushed out of the circle of popularity. Sports is a good thing and has many positive features in its activities. However, it seems that in this country it has become an inordinate preoccupation. All year long some go from one sport to another. It becomes the main manner of socializing, and for some, it has become a necessary escape from the pain of modern life, and the distressing conflicts in contemporary society. It can lead to a significant disorder in the relationships and the well-being of family life. It seems for some it has reached the level of an idol or false god. For some, it has replaced the priority of worship of God on the Lord’s Day, and the good of rest and being with those we love the most.

The joy in living God’s will can be found with several keys:

Here is a key way of determining where I find the temptations to give in to the negative spirit of the world in my daily life: Where are my excessive and inordinate attachments in my life? Is it food, sex, physical exercise, excessive need for comfort and protection, compulsive need to be loved and accepted by others, hidden seeking of approval from others, inordinate fear of rejection, power and control over others, inordinate personal relationships, excessive use of I phones, androids, iPads and other technologies,  workaholism, inordinate need to accomplish, acquiring excessive possessions, living a life of  false pretensions and undealt with addictions, erroneous religious practice and attachment to rigid religious structure without highlighting a personal love and knowledge of God,  etc.

All of these things can contribute to or be containers of a spirit of worldliness. And these challenges directly pertains to knowing and following God’s will in my daily life.  Returning to the preparation Jesus gave to his disciples at the Last Supper. Just as Jesus prepared and pre-planned for his disciples by way of sending them the Holy Spirit, who will teach them all truth and give to them the strength to be the chosen, called, committed, and faithful against the spirit of the world.

And to ensure the disciples that they will have all that is needed to fulfill their mission as they establish the Kingdom of God on earth. They will be empowered with the Spirit and given the wisdom, gifts, and skills the active dynamic presence of Jesus in the world. No small task!

The preplanning of Jesus includes us. We are humbled and privileged to participate in the same empowerment and gifts which sustained the Apostles. Therefore, we are called daily to do the will of God as active agents in renewing the life of the Gospel in the Church, in our families, and in all the situations of our human life, all the decisions, choices, and behaviors.

The joy in living God’s will is shown at the wedding feast of Cana.

It is one thing to hear this taught or preached, but it is another thing to learn how to do it! What is the next step in this process to make doing the will of God a practical thing in our life? It seems we should cut to the chase in this matter. Early in the ministry of Jesus Mary tells the servants to do what Jesus tells them. They did and the water was changed into wine at the wedding feast of Cana.

Therefore, this gives us the basic principle of action, do what Jesus tells us! How do I know what he is telling me? There are some things about doing the will of God which are not hard to understand. But how do I know it is the will of God?  What is it like to listen to the Lord and discern what to do? It seems to me it is easy to make mistakes in this attempt, that possibility makes me nervous. How do I know it is the Lord who is speaking to me? I have always tended to rely on myself in making decisions rather than on God. I was brought up that way. Sometimes I know what God wants, but when and how should I put it into action? There are many questions for sure, let’s get started to try and get as much clarity in this matter as possible.

As we begin the practical considerations of doing God’s will, it is good to remember that the principle of grace always invites us to make good changes in our life. It is a known principle in the life of grace that God gives sufficient grace for whatever he asks us to do.  In view of the original sin of humankind, both personal and social, we tend to our sin and weakness and discover that to do the good is always a struggle. This encounter with the world, the flesh, and the devil the early Church Fathers called spiritual warfare. The psalmist reminds us that our call is to surrender to God and he will do everything for us.

May we turn from evil, learn to do God’s will; the Lord will strengthen us if we obey him. “ If you trust in the Lord and do good, then you will live in the land and be secure. If you find your delight in the Lord he will grant your heart’s desire…commit your life to the Lord, trust in him and he will act so that your justice breaks forth like the light, your cause like the noonday sun. Be still before the Lord and wait in patience…Then turn away from evil and do good and you shall have a home forever; for the Lord loves justice and will never forsake his friends”, see Psalm 37: 3-7a.

The areas in our life where it is relatively easy to know God’s will: All Christians know where to go and what to do to find and know what is God’s will and where it is revealed for them. Every Christian needs to be born again from above by water and the Holy Spirit. This experience initiates us into what we know to be life and union with God unto salvation. God reveals himself in a special way through the Old Testament Covenant to the Israelite People. God revealed the natural law as the way he wanted humankind to live. The Old Testament Covenant given to a special people is called the Ten Commandments. Jesus makes it very clear that he did not come to set aside the Old Testament Covenant, but he came to bring it to fulfillment in the New Testament Covenant in his very person through faith in him. The New Testament reveals what Jesus taught and did in his ministry, And his wonderful life culminated in the Paschal Mystery; his Passion, Death, Resurrection, and Ascension, and confirmed by the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. Here in lies the vast majority of God’s will for all the Christian People. In our present day and age, it is manifested in various churches and communities. If you really want to know God’s will for your life pray and read the Word of God,  both the Old and New Testament. And become very familiar with the authentic teaching of the Christian community within which you were baptized and have made the necessary commitments. Given this reality which is a good thing! It does not completely answer the day by day practical discernment in one’s daily life.

Need patience and good discernment to do God’s will:   “Be patient, therefore brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains. You too must be patient, make your hearts firm…”, see Ja. 5: 7-9. God wants happiness for all. Yet there is the uncertainty of life, its complete dependence on God, and the necessity of submitting to God’s will to help us know and do God’s will and what is right, you have no idea what your life will be like tomorrow. In terms of what we are going to do, “If the Lord wills we shall do this or that,” this is the condition we should employ to qualify all our plans.

It is part of the personal vision of our life, which we should consider before making choices and decisions for all our plans. In many ways, it is not that difficult to know God’s will in a given set of circumstances. The important thing is to be prayerfully seeking it. The grace of discernment each Christian receives in baptism and in the actual graces that one has because of their personal relationship with the Lord. These gifts are tremendously helpful in knowing practically what God’s will is in a given situation. The charism of the discernment of spirits aids us in knowing if a desire for a particular action is coming from a selfish part of me, or is a deception or temptation from the evil one, or is coming from an inspiration from God, specifically the Holy Spirit.

“Beloved, do not trust every spirit but put the spirits to a test to see if they belong to God because many false prophets have appeared in the world. This is how you can recognize God’s Spirit: every spirit that acknowledges Jesus Christ come in the flesh belongs to God, while every spirit that fails to acknowledge him does not belong to God. Such is the spirit of the antichrist which, as you have heard, is to come; in fact, it is in the world already”, see 1 Jn. 4:1-3.

Now here is the “kicker” and presents quite a challenge for one from time to time. Let me give an example here: In the last five years, I have moved every four or five months to a year to different locations eight times. In every one of those situations, by praying and discerning the circumstances I pretty easily received a sense of what the Lord’s will was. However, there are three aspects necessary to know and carry out the will of the Lord in practical ways. The first is to have a moral certitude, a relative certitude or knowledge of what the Lord wants. The second is to know when to put something into action, and the third is how to go about doing it.

For the most part, after embracing the physical and emotional challenge, being in my later years of life, I knew pretty much what the Lord wanted. Because I tend to look to the future a great deal, I would naturally expect a flexible time frame in regard to action. I would usually get a sense that it was time for a partial action. I thought I would hear, or get a sense that the Lord wanted me to pack, it is time to pack! Yes. In over half of the cases I would spend the next two or three months taking items out of storage containers that I needed to use. I really made mistakes in knowing when to move to action. The how is usually a little easier to handle because things in that realm tend to eventually come together. I would say my track record in doing all three aspects of doing the Lord’s will consistently and accurately is not perfect.

Its okay to make mistakes, it doesn’t make the Lord unhappy, but it is personally humiliating, significantly inconvenient, and sometimes costly. The more we practice discernment in knowing and doing God’s will, the better we get at it. The main problem seems to be to learn how to listen to the Lord’s various means of communicating to us.

And by all means, it is important to consult other qualified people about the matter, especially those who are qualified to give good advice and spiritual discernment, at least in important decisions. Also, we need to learn how to let the Lord lead, and then as a humble disciple to follow behind. The Lord will lead and show us what to do if we are patient and give him a chance. “In waiting and in calm is your salvation, in quiet and trust your strength lies.”, see Isaiah 30: 15. A really important thing to keep in mind is that the circumstances of one’s life are a significant way the Lord communicates his will. When we seek and ask him He will give us guidance and direction in regard to the practical doing of God’s will in the practical arena of our reality.

It really is a matter of listening, discerning, and obediently acting in trust and faith. May we return to the wedding feast of Cana. “They have no wine!” This statement was really hard for Mary, the Mother of Jesus. On one hand, she was full of compassionate love for the young married couple who were running out of wine. A huge embarrassment!  On another level, she knew in her heart discernment that it was time for Jesus to begin his short ministry. It met for her stepping on to the road which would lead to his death. Jesus may have thought to himself, I never do anything unless the Father is working. Jesus says, “woman what is this to you and to me? My hour (his journey to his death and resurrection) has not yet come? Maybe in her heart, she said to the Father, “Oh no Father, please, not now!” Yes, Mary Now! Discerning and knowing what the Father wanted:  Mary told the servants, do whatever he tells you! Jesus knew then, this is the will of my Father, and he told the servants to fill up the water jars with water, go and give them to the chief steward. And the water became wine initiating the will of the Father, the beginning of the final years of Jesus historical life on earth.

And the chief steward said this is amazing most guests give the best wine to their guests first, and after the cheaper wine later. But you have saved the best wine until now! God’s will always does it better than our mere human initiative. In this incident, Jesus knew the will of the Father. In Mary’s question, he discerned the time, now! And he knew it and he did it. It is time for me to begin my hour, the short journey on the road to Calvary, and the accomplishment of salvation for humankind! Knowledge, discernment, and action because of the will of the Father, see Jn. 2:1-11. I would very much like to point out that this discernment process was right in the middle of a marriage situation. It wasn’t in a church basement preparing for a catechetical program. Although that also would be a wonderful time to use a practical discernment process.

Discernment is always easier if we have experienced some degree of spiritual renewal and empowerment by the Spirit. In addition to the overall context mentioned above, discernment of God’s will for my life becomes real when it happens within the context of my vocational life. What is the vocation I choose that specifies the journey of my life unto salvation? In this context the discernment of God’s will in my choices and decisions becomes a frequent occurrence; it is helpful if I grow in mature self-knowledge, and learn the method. If I am living a life of prayer, and always strive to hear the voice of the Lord. I will naturally and supernaturally grow mature in knowing, hearing, discerning, and doing the will of God in my life.

May We Pray!

Father, we thank you for the beautiful gift of your merciful love. It is important to us that we know you will, hear your voice, and do what you ask. You have called us at this time in the Church and world to be the disciples and servants of your Son Jesus. Just as you equipped you Son, Jesus with everything that he needed to do your will. We humbly ask you, your weak and humble servants, to live out your will in our life and in the life of my family. Banish fear, laziness, and pride from our lives. And grant to us the gifts which will bring love, joy, and truth to our brothers and sisters. We confidently beseech you these requests in and through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. Amen.


Special Thanks to Our Network Sponsor – Unseen

 

After finding his grandson Owen preparing to end his own life, Alexander takes him along on an errand. As the day unfolds, Owen learns new information about his grandfather’s past and unlocks the secret to facing his own future.

Click Here to Download the Film for Free and get Resources for Your Family


Book of Proverbs 1:1-7

Book of Proverbs 1:1-7 | Read the book of Proverbs 1:1-7 and listen to today’s broadcast for some tips on reading, studying and listening to God’s word, and applying it to your life and helping others. #podcast #christianpodcast #proverbsBook of Proverbs 1:1-7  Episode 59

Read the book of Proverbs 1:1-7 and listen to today’s broadcast for some tips on reading, studying and listening to God’s word, and applying it to your life and helping others.

Thanks to our sponsor the UnseenFilm.org

When we study God’s word remember:

  1. Bible time is between me and God. The Lord wrote the Bible just for me!
  2. Pray to the Lord and ask Him to reveal to you what He wants you to get out of this study.
  3. If the Bible is only a benefit to you-you can’t share it with others.
  4. Therefore, we must live by example. Character is caught not taught – and we can work toward a common goal, whether it is as an individual, or within a family or study group.
  5. We can share the good news with others! We can bring the Gospel message to others!
  6. The Lord answers prayers. Believe it!

The Book of Proverbs is a wonderful example of how to live our lives. 
Read Proverbs 1:1-7

After you read and re-read Proverbs 1:1-7 ask yourself these questions. If you have a journal you may want to write the answers in your journal and think before answering.

  1. What do you think about the book of Proverbs? Is there a passage that stood out for you? Why?
  2. How can I live the message in the book of Proverbs? How can I make this impact my life for the better?
  3. Ask the Lord what He wants you to learn. Listen as you read the passage. Close your eyes and listen.
  4. Can God speak to you? Yes! He speaks to us in the Word, in prayer, in thoughts on things that happen in our lives. How is He speaking to you?
  5. Ask God how you can serve Him. It might not be right now – we may need some infilling of the Holy Spirit in order to go out and serve, but be listening, learning and ready. He will provide.
  6. Do you spend time with God? If not –make a plan to do this.
  7. What does impacting someone else’s life mean to you? How can you do this with love and grace?
  8. How can we read and share the Bible with others?
  9. Making an impact means leaving anger, disappointment and past hurts behind. Only in love can we share.
  10. In order to receive what you crave you have to show it first. If you want to show compassion you must be compassionate. Respect? You must be respectful. What do you want __________ and how can you show it to others, first?

Special Thanks to Our Network Sponsor – Unseen

 

After finding his grandson Owen preparing to end his own life, Alexander takes him along on an errand. As the day unfolds, Owen learns new information about his grandfather’s past and unlocks the secret to facing his own future.

Click Here to Download the Film for Free and get Resources for Your Family


Spiritual Blindness

spiritual blindness | spiritual blindness is something we must be aware of and avoid. #spiritualblindness #podcast #christianpodcastSpiritual Blindness

Spiritual blindness is mentioned in the Bible. In this episode, we discuss the ways we all suffer from spiritual blindness at times, we miss the little things and worse, sometimes we don’t see the obvious.

Thanks to our sponsor the UnseenFilm.org

Scripture of the blind man – he was born blind and was at the gates of the Synagogue for so many years begging. Jesus took pity upon him and healed his eyes. This caused many problems among the Pharisees. They had to admit that Jesus was indeed the prophet and the Son of God – who He proclaimed to be, but instead, they found excuses.

Do we struggle to see the obvious because that may mean we must change? For those of us who follow Christ, we have an obligation. We must follow Him with all our hearts and not pick and choose.

t wasn’t enough that this man born blind, with no eyes – new eyes were created out of paste made by Jesus and yet the focus on the Pharisees was only that it was done on the Sabbath. The doctor’s of the law should have been so impressed that a man born blind could see – what a miracle!

Do we do this in our lives? Do we miss the miracle because of something that takes our focus away?

We have more fear of men and society than we have of God. We are afraid to stand up for what we believe, we stand still and listen to people who slander the Lord in profanity or sick jokes. How often I’ve had to change the television station because of inappropriate commercials – even while watching sports.

It not real – it’s okay – no, it isn’t okay.

When we fear God it shouldn’t be because we fear what He will do to us – God doesn’t condemn anyone to hell – the soul does it … when a soul is so against God it will not repent, it will not say to God I’m sorry – refuses to do that, even at death, they turn away from God when they see him after life. They can’t accept it or stand it. They turn away from all eternity.

The Pharisees were of the verge of doing this. They were so adamant that Jesus was not the Son of God – they had no knowledge of Jesus. They believed the Messiah would be a military leader who would deliver them from Rome and give them, thPharisee’ses power.

Even faced with the fact of a blind man who now could see they Pharisees did not want to see anyone who was healed because it would require them to change their opinion. The blind man stood up to them, and challenged them. “God does listen to men who are devout and does His will.”

This blind man knew more than the Pharisees—he experienced God’s love in a personal way through the healing power of Jesus. He was blind for so many years and he was never healed. He didn’t know who Jesus was before this encounter but he knelt down and believed.

Jesus came into the world so that those without sight may seen – and those with sight were blind to Him. People today are the same we are either for Him or against Him. We either believe that Jesus came as God/Man – suffered, died and rose from the dead on His own – we either believe it or it is mocked.

We either believe Jesus is in our midst – He will always be with us or we despair. We must believe and hold tight. We must ask ourselves are we like the Pharisees who are afraid to stand up for Jesus. There are many who half believe and that makes for confusion and people who are lukewarm in their faith.

This is a time with so many horrible things happening in our world that we must rely upon the Lord to sustain us with the power of His love.

We can lose our faith by asking the wrong people the right questions. They don’t know the answer but we believe them instead of going to the Scriptures and a spiritual counsel such as a pastor.

How do your eyes come to be open? You know what is right and stick to what is right. Righteousness will bring you peace, love and joy. We are called for holiness. We are called to follow the Lord to go to church.

This miracle shows us how much the Lord loves us in a personal way. He took a direct interest in this man, so much so that He gave him a wonderful gift of his eyesight. He was blind but now could see, and we should pray that He allows us to see the love He has for us!

We should pray that the Lord can give us a deep realization of His love for us – to instill His love into your heart! God thought of us before time began, He knew you and loved you and He knew when you would come to be. Understanding this truth—we can sustain all things. If we know that one truth everything else can fall into place. If you are loved by Jesus, what else matters? Everything in life will come to an end… power of man will end … only the love of God sustains all time.

 


Special Thanks to Our Network Sponsor – Unseen

 

After finding his grandson Owen preparing to end his own life, Alexander takes him along on an errand. As the day unfolds, Owen learns new information about his grandfather’s past and unlocks the secret to facing his own future.

Click Here to Download the Film for Free and get Resources for Your Family


God’s Will While Living The Gospel

God's Will While Living The Gospel | Finding God's will in our lives is found when looking at the Gospels. #podcast #christianpodcast #catholic #findingGodsWillGod’s Will While Living The Gospel Podcast 18

How can we find God’s will while living the gospel? Often when a member of a family receives a threatening or fatal medical diagnosis. The tendency in this situation, especially for the individual, is to devote themselves to putting everything in order.  They may update their will, re-deed their property, even preplan their funeral. All of this is to ensure that their loved ones are well taken care of once they are gone.

Visit the movie we are helping to promote, Unseen Film – it deals with the very real problem of suicide in our culture. The movie is free to watch and download on your computer.

Finding God’s will while living The Gospel can be seen in the last supper.

At the Last Supper Jesus does the same with his disciples. In his preplanning to physically leave them, he tells them the following things to remember and do: He tells them to remain in him, if they don’t they will not produce fruit because apart from him they can do nothing. If they remain in him they can ask for what they want and it will be done for them. If they keep the commandments they will remain in his love, especially the great commandment of loving God and loving one another. He tells them that they are his friends and he has given them everything the Father has given him…

“I speak this in the world so that they may share my joy completely. I gave them the word and the world hated them.” Then he tells them the world is going to hate them because they do not belong to the world. “because they do not belong to the world any more than I belong to the world. I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. Consecrate them in the truth. Your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, so I sent them into the world. And I consecrate myself for them, so that they may be consecrated in truth”, see Jn. 17: 11-19.

God’s will while living the Gospel…

God’s will while living the Gospel shows up in the consecration in this scripture means being set aside for the purposes of being a sacrificial love offering through suffering and death. Hatred here means to resist, plot against, persecute and kill. And they will do this because they do not know him or the Father. The world will hate them without cause. When this happens they will remember that he prepared them and told them that this would happen. However, he will send them the Holy Spirit and he will guide them and teach them all truth. He told them to take courage because he has conquered the world. They are told by him to remain committed, courageous,  and merciful in the face of adversity, struggle, trial, suffering, and persecution. In this consecration, for the sake of the truth of the Gospel, his disciples will discover the will of the Father.

I was speaking to a close friend a short while ago and he, reflecting on the state of the world at the present time, referring to the mayhem in our post-modern world, he said that the world has become a very dangerous place to live. Many people undoubtedly are perceiving these same realities.

The question one may hear occasionally is, why is God allowing these things to take place? How does this situation reflect on the consideration of God’s will in our daily life? When we look at the world around us and take the time to reflect on the beautiful and wonderful world of creation, we can’t help to be deeply moved by the glorious wonder of God’s creating love. And the truth that we partner with God in the unfolding of his creative love.

How many gifts the good Lord has given us. We all have received many tremendous blessings both spiritual and temporal. Just in the recent years the many new discoveries in medicine and the rapid development of modern technologies. Original, personal, and social sin has deeply marred the beautiful world of creation which is an expression of God’s gracious love for us. This is the world of reality in which we live.

To counteract the broken reality of sin in the world, God’s plan is fulfilled in his beloved Son, Jesus, our Lord, and Savior. “We know that no one begotten by God commits sin, rather, God protects the one begotten by him, and so the evil one cannot touch him. We know that we belong to God, While the whole world is under the evil one. We know too, that the Son of God has come and has given us discernment to recognize the One who is true. And we are in the One who is true, for we are in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life”, see I Jn, 5: 18-20.

“Have no love for the world, nor the things that the world affords. If anyone loves the world, the Father’s love has no place in him, for nothing that the world affords comes from the Father. Carnal allurements, enticement for the eye, the life of empty show—all these are from the world. And the world with its seductions is passing away but the man who does God’s will endures forever”, see 1 Jn. 2:15.

What does it mean to leave go of the worldliness of modern reality and do God’s will in all things, especially and primarily in my daily life? If we give up our worldly way of life and begin to follow the ways of the Holy Spirit we surrender our own isolated way of life, our own isolated determination of our human life.

We then take on the supernatural likeness of Christ and imitate the life of Christ, living a life in the Holy Spirit who lives in us and is united to us. Then our nature is transformed so that we are no longer merely human beings, but also sons and daughters of the Father, spiritual human beings by reason of the share we have received in the divine nature. This makes us all one in the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

We are one in mind and holiness, we are one through our communion in the sacred flesh of Christ and our sharing in the one Holy Spirit, see St. Cyril of Alexandria, Liturgy of the Hours, vol II, p. 873.

It is easily seen in the Scripture, that the Spirit changes those in whom he comes to dwell. He so transforms them that they begin to live a completely new kind of life.

“As we behold the glory of the Lord with unveiled faces, that glory, which comes from the Lord who is the Spirit, transforms us all into his own likeness, from one degree of glory to another. 2 Cor. 3: 18.  And where the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom.”

What does it mean to leave the world of modern reality and seriously look to change some things in our modern and post-modern life? The goal is being free from “the negative spirit of this world”, as we live our good and wonderful human life in this material world created in God’s love. The key goal is the seeking and doing the will of God.

It is probably one of the most ignored and neglected understanding of the truth of God’s will in our Christian growth. “Through the mercy of God, offer your bodies as a spiritual sacrifice pleasing to the Lord. Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed in the renewal of your mind, in order to know what is good, pleasing, and perfect.”, see Rom. 12: 1-3 How can we know God’s will in our lives, if we don’t directly relate to attitudes, choices, decisions, behaviors, in the practical situations of our daily life?

“Just as the truth is in Jesus, “that you should put away the old self of the former way of life, corrupted through deceitful desires, and be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and put on the new self, created in God’s way in righteousness and holiness of truth”, see Eph. 4: 21-24.  A fresh new spiritual way of thinking! Do we run the risk of mistaken opinions, disagreement’s, and criticism from others? Absolutely! Nevertheless, we really need to cut to the chase here. Can we identify the attitudes and the system of negative values which characterize modern thinking and acting? Which things are opposed to the revelation of God and his most precious will for those he loves?

For the sake of honoring God and loving our brothers and sisters, we should humbly try! The first step in this attempt is to identify some of the idols, false gods, and then look at some of the attitudes and behaviors which are antithetical or hostile to God and his will. And follow and obey what he wants for the nations of the world, and specifically for family life in the Church, and for each individual living in the world of our time.

Of course, it would be impossible to cover everything that may need to be mentioned, but I will attempt to identify some things that may stimulate some specific considerations for us. It would also be helpful if you think about some things that may easily come to you which I won’t be mentioning. These things may point out some areas in your own life which may need some attention in regard to, leaving the world. The Lord may give you some wisdom and understanding in growing in spiritual freedom as you attempt to do the Fathers will in your life, and in the lives for whom you may have some responsibility.

Identifying some idols and false gods in our society: St. Pope John Paul II came to the United States a decent number of times even before he became Pope. He really loved the American people and recognized the potential for American Christians to make a tremendous impact on the international scene in terms of proclaiming the Gospel and living by those values. One time a group of Americans were complaining about all the bad stuff on TV, and asked what should we do? His simple answer was, turn it off. He also took the time to warn American Christians that democracy without a religious base could easily become a new Totalitarianism, which he knew well because of his personal experience in the European situations.

These situations characterized a negative philosophical nihilism, a meaningless and emptiness of life without God, violent destruction of peoples, and two world wars. The leaders of this movement abandoned God and designed new false gods of atheistic humanism and abusive murderous control of individuals. As we today in this country remove God and his values from the American scene, we become victims by tolerating violent destructive behavior and obliterating the dignity and value of God-given human life. A recent article about the toxic destruction of being exposed to third degree of smoking which means living in places where people have smoked for years.

The theory is that individuals living there now are absorbing the toxic poison through their skin. Have we, with little thought bought into our societal values a destructive secular humanism, because we just absorb these attitudes and beliefs, as God’s will is ignored in society and in the media? The commercials on television and movies in a very charming manner promote or present a way of life on TV, which highlights the negative values of unbridled materialism, compulsive buying and spending, liberal sexual behavior, immodest dress and behavior, and programs that foster violence, indecency, killing, materialism, indecent exposure, and paranormal forms of the occult etc.

Ingesting these attitudes unconsciously over a period of time actually changes our way of thinking and our value system. It gets us used to ignoring God and his commandments and not feeling guilty about it as we give in to an inordinate and quiet toleration of all things in society. Do we allow our children to have unsupervised access to watch whatever they want, by having televisions in their rooms? And carry their iPhone computers and TV’s all day long and into the night? Democracy without God leads to bondage and the loss of the dignity of the human person. We see many forms and degrees of destructive behavior very evident in the life of our beloved young people. Many feeling lost and abandoned by others, and open to do destructive things to themselves and in some cases to others.

May We Pray!

Dear Lord grant us the grace to love you with our whole heart, mind, and soul. In love and truth, we seek to know and do your will. Help us, oh merciful Lord to leave the “negative spirit of the world” which fosters destructive behavior and darkness of mind. Give us a Spirit-led discernment of the worldliness of modern life, that we may have the light of your Father and the Holy Spirit unfolding your will in our lives. And grant us purity of heart to do your loving will for ourselves and our brothers and sisters for whom you have asked us to serve. In Jesus Name, we pray! Amen.

 


Special Thanks to Our Network Sponsor – Unseen

 

After finding his grandson Owen preparing to end his own life, Alexander takes him along on an errand. As the day unfolds, Owen learns new information about his grandfather’s past and unlocks the secret to facing his own future.

Click Here to Download the Film for Free and get Resources for Your Family


Light of the Lord

Light of the Lord | The light of the Lord is my strength and my hope. If we keep our eyes on the Lord only then can we know that there is more to life than what we see here on earth! #christianpodcast #podcast Light of the Lord Episode 57

The light of the Lord is my strength and my hope. If we keep our eyes on the Lord only then can we know that there is more to life than what we see here on earth!

As I share this I think about the song, “This Little Light of Mine.” It is a song that causes us to first smile, and then sing it loudly and of course clap. It is a child’s song and while some may think it is silly I think it is joyous and causes you and others to have joy as they sing the verses.

Thanks to our sponsor Media Angels, Inc. – Try the book A Few Minutes with GodA Few Minutes with God | #ChristianBook #faith

“This little light of mine, I’m gonna make it shine.

The verses go on to say don’t let Satan take it away and don’t hide it under a bushel. God’s light is made to give us hope and we should share it with others, right? But how can we share what we don’t have?

Light of the Lord … light is God calling us out of darkness.

Matthew 5:16

Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.

Our light comes from God. The goodness that we show others, the things we do for others, for our family for our friends, for those less fortunate than ourselves. These are the things that happen to those who love the Lord and wait for Him to lead.

Have you heard the saying the “frozen chosen?” It basically means those of us that are given the good news and don’t act upon it. No one could distinguish us from anyone else on the street.

This doesn’t mean you need to go to everyone on the street and proclaim the good news but it does mean we handle our crosses with grace. We can judge by the fruit. Are we demonstrating good fruit in our day to day walk with the Lord or bad fruit? I love the analogy of the fruit tree because the fruit comes from a tree that is healthy, that has the right nutrients and a good and sound foundation – the roots. The fruit takes time to grow, it happens after all the conditions are right and on its own, it cannot reach full maturation or ripeness.

The Father is our foundation, our rock our root. Our words – our fruit – our actions reveal our character.

Matthew12: 33-37 – read on the podcast.

Our faith comes from our relationship with God. We cannot remain the same, similar to the frozen chosen condition. We are chosen by the very nature of being a Christian. It was a calling from God to become a Christian and our free will allows us to make a decision to say yes – to say yes to our faith.

If we are not moving forward in our walk with the Lord – if we are not allowing the light of God to shine through, we are preventing the work that the Lord has for us to go forward.

Matthew 5:13-15

“…You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.”

Letting your light shine means you are being counter-culture. In a world that is a go with the flow mentality we are to stand up for what is right and God – not to ourselves but to God. Being pro-life and anti-abortion is an example of this.

Letting your light shine means being a light to the people around you and allowing your love for God to show.

Letting your light shine means to give all the glory to God who is the source of goodness.

Letting your light shine means clearing it out from time to time of the gunk that builds up over time, and dulls that light. If there are ways we are sinful or knowingly are allowing ourselves to be tempted. Ask the Lord for forgiveness and allow Him to clear out the gunk and return the full light.

Let’s pray —

Dear Lord, I ask that you allow me to be open so that You may shine through me. Let me be your hands, your mouth, your feet — allow me to touch those that need you the most, bringing them the good news that Jesus lives, Alleluiah! I am nothing without you Lord – and I seek to be all you have for me. I do not know what will happen in the future, tomorrow, or even today – this minute but I surrender it all into your very capable hands. Dear Lord allow me to be less of me and more of you. I know I will be happier if I can listen and learn. I ask that you bless those who are listening today with every good thing – I pray for the intentions of those who are suffering and I pray the joy that surpasses all understanding and the light of the Lord that only comes from You into everyone’s heart. I pray this in Jesus Name, Amen.

Scripture Reflections

Scripture Reflections | Scripture reflections should be a normal part of our study of the Bible. When we read the Bible it is more than just a book, it is the inspired and infallible word of Almighty God. How can you get the most out of reading your Bible, and do you have a personal agenda when you read? #christianpodcast #readingbible #podcastScripture Reflections 56

Scripture reflections should be a normal part of our study of the Bible. When we read the Bible it is more than just a book, it is the inspired and infallible word of Almighty God. How can you get the most out of reading your Bible, and do you have a personal agenda when you read? Do you go back to those tired and true Scriptures, reading and re-reading the same ones? Do you play Bible roulette where you “test” the Lord and pray for a particular thing and then open the Bible to see if God has answered you in His Word? Or are you willing to listen, to be drawn to the Bible and read through a particular book of the Bible stopping and reflecting?

There are many Scripture reflections already completed for you – these can be short Bible verse that has an accompanying story either a true account or a fictionalized account that gives you an understanding of the main points of the verse. These are great especially if you want a daily reading that is short for each day. I really like these for the children. Some of our favorite books were geared to specific things the children liked for example sports. My son’s favorite was one that had a sports theme. My daughter liked the shorter books that really pointed to the main emphasis of the Scripture in a heartfelt manner, Jesus Calling.

Thanks to our sponsor Media Angels, Inc. – Try the book A Few Minutes with GodA Few Minutes with God | #ChristianBook #faith

Scripture reflections should be part of what we do each and every time we read the Word. Scripture is one way to get to know God better, to interact with the Holy Spirit because we should pray to the Holy Spirit to open our minds, our hearts, our eyes and our ears to what the Lord is teaching us during our reading.

When reading the Bible here are my top ten points.

  1. Pray first. Ask the Lord into your heart. Pray for forgiveness for anyone who has hurt you or you have a hard time forgiving and focus on repentance.
  2. Ask the Holy Spirit to give you the wisdom to understand the Bible verses you read or at the very least to teach you something you can apply to your life.
  3. Try for consistency – each and every day plan to read.
  4. Use a highlighter – or underline the verses that jump out at you. There are special highlighter pencils you can use on your Bible that won’t bleed through.
  5. Write in your Bible – there isn’t much room, but sometimes a special note will help you in the future when you read this passage again.
  6. Write a Scripture verse that moves you – or you feel is important.
  7. Close your eyes and listen … is God speaking to you? Write what you feel.
  8. Don’t jump around if you can help it. Try to read through a book of the Bible – you can begin in Genesis, in Proverbs. Or the book of Luke.
  9. Keep track. Keep a list of the books you are reading.
  10. Share with others. It helps me to remember and often gives me more insights when I share what I’ve read with my family or a friend.

Let’s pray –

Dear Lord, I ask you for an understanding of Your Word as I read the Holy Bible. I pray for direction on where to start, and for the ability to be impacted so that I want to change my life for the better as I read and learn more about You. Please fill me with your Holy Spirit, give me wisdom, understanding and the fortitude to read the Bible each and every day. I ask for inspiration as I journal about what I read and the ability to clearly express what I learn with others. I pray that the Bible becomes my resource and guide to learning more and growing in my faith and love of you, and I pray this in the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

Seeing God Every Day

seeing God everyday | There is more than seeing with our eyes, it is in seeing God every day in our hearts. #christianpodcast #podcast #ChristianfaithSeeing God Every Day Episode 55

There is more than seeing with our eyes, it is in seeing God every day in our hearts. I believe you can in the wonderful world He created as well as those “God-incidences” instead of co-incidents that happen in our lives.

There are so many concepts about our Creator that it would take a lifetime of discussion to scratch the surface of the awe that He has created all around us. If we really believe in God, we know that He is always with us. Seeing God is more so with our hearts and our desires to know Him in a closer and deeper way, rather than physically seeing Him!

You may also enjoy this podcast here.

 

Thanks to our sponsor Media Angels, Inc.

 

Seeing God Every Day in the Scriptures:

1 John 4:12-16– No one has seen God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us. By this, we know that we abide in Him and He in us because He has given us of His Spirit. We have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son to be the Savior of the world. …

Thanks to our sponsor Media Angels, Inc. – Try the book A Few Minutes with GodA Few Minutes with God | #ChristianBook #faith

No one has seen God the Father – and in Exodus 3, we read that as well. This is the passage about God appearing and the effect it had on Moses. God appeared to Moses in the burning bush.

Have you thought about the ways we fear looking for God – similar to the way Moses feared actually “seeing” God.?Friends, our day will be so much richer if we have a relationship with God. So many days we walk around with the burdens of the world on our shoulders. We are stressed, we are worried and there seems no way good out of a current situation.

Instead, try this:

  1. Make a habit of talking to God all day long. Maybe not aloud, but privately. We can make it a prayer, or talk to the Lord about the things that bother you. Some people do this in a journal. If you do journal this way, be sure to thank God. If you are only journaling your problems without any solutions this won’t help you if you are sad or disappointed.
  2. What are your deepest wants and desires? Pray about this, yet remember when you do pray that the Lord knows every thought, word, and deed. You don’t need to list out all the things if you’ve asked for them in prayer. Surprisingly the Lord will bless one or more of your requests, keep your eyes open so you don’t miss it!
  3. Be mindful of His answers. We are often our own worst enemies. Some situations are just out of our control, for example, a bad decision someone you love has made. These situations can bog us down with the coulda, shoulda, woulda and we may blame ourselves. God hears our prayers, just know His answer may be different than the one you pray for and seek.
  4. God’s perfect will –or providence. Are we open to God’s will in our lives? I’ve done podcasts on this topic before and I still struggle with this in my own life. Are we obedient children or willful and obstinate? Take a look at your life, can you see God’s hand?
  5. Kisses from the Lord come in all shapes and sizes. We can see God in the beauty of our loved ones, old an young… in the grandeur of the sunsets and the cloud formations, or in a field of beautiful flowers, or the love of a puppy. The greatest things in life cannot be purchased. Have you ever considered that? You can’t buy a sunset, or the ocean, or the clouds, or the sun in the sky. These amazing gifts are all around us and each day God shows His grandeur and glory in the rising of the sun in the morning and the setting of the sun in the evening.

 

Let’s pray for eyes that see

 

Dear Lord I praise you for all the beauty you’ve provided us in this world. All the grandeur of your mountains, oceans and sky. The planet you’ve given us to cherish as well as all those things that money can’t buy. I ask you to open my eyes to see you in all the little things, to hear you and your will in my life. Lord don’t let me be closed by depression or the things I have no control of in my life. Lord I give you my life each and every day and ask you to make it pleasing to you. I ask you to hear the prayers, the ones most close to our hearts and I pray this is Jesus Name. Amen.

Surrender God’s Gift

Surrender | Is surrender God's gift to us or some type of hoax for those who are weak? For those of us that want answers in prayer, it seems that surrendering to God’s will is not something we can do easily. #christianpodcast #podcast Surrender God’s Gift Episode 54

Is surrender God’s gift to us or some type of hoax for those who are weak? For those of us that want answers in prayer, it seems that surrendering to God’s will is not something we can do easily. This is something that takes more than a passing faith. People are in different stages of their faith journey and surrender takes maturity.

Thanks to our sponsor, Media Angels, Inc. the publisher of the book, A Few Minutes with God. Purchase the book or eBook on Amazon.

You may also like these podcasts:

Daily Spiritual Growth – here

Path to Spiritual Freedom – here

Surrender means trust and it means our faith is at that next level of complete and unapologetic understanding that God knows best. I remember a faithful nun who had built a television network of religious broadcasts all while she was a cloistered nun. She received special permission to enter the world outside of her convent while she did the Lord’s will. The most amazing aspect of this situation other than the very successful network EWTN (Eternal Word Television Network) was the fact that this nun was crippled in her walk.

Surrender is God’s gift! 

The Lord had healed her as a young lady of a crippling disease, only later in life for her to have another ailment. When people questioned her faith or the fact that if she had “more faith” she could ask God to heal her, she said and believed that this was God’s will for her at this time. She had indeed surrendered her life to God. Later on, in her old age, the Lord did heal her completely and it was for another undertaking, that of building a much larger church for which she traveled home and abroad to find the perfect pieces for this church which was totally financed by the donations of five wealthy families.

She, Mother Angelica was a perfect example of what it meant to surrender and she did it with humor on her weekly telecasts. Friends this is grace that is given to each one of us by God. This is the grace to surrender to our circumstances and situations which is such an example to believers and unbelievers at the same time!

The reason surrender is a gift to us is because allowing ourselves to give the giver means we can never outgive. Think about it. God gives us everything. Our very breath, our lives, our essence. And by giving God your free will – in essence, the gift you cherish the most, you are gifting God a beautiful part of who you are!

1 Chronicles 29:5

When we are weak He is strong

This should be a huge sign that resides on the wall of each and every home!

Why is surrender God’s gift to us?

God loves you.

He will always be with you.

Yet it is difficult to surrender. We must surrender more than just our mind – it is a total surrender of heart body and soul! We can be reconciled to God by the saving grace of the life, death, and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.

We can’t surrender just one part of us – we must surrender all that we have. This happens over time by studying the Bible, spending time in prayer with God, journaling and listening to the Lord. Living in this world we are separated from God. We will not be fully united until we die in a state that allows, by the grace of God for us to enter heaven and be in a full union with Him the epitome of total surrender.

In this world we are limited and yet we can accomplish much through Christ that strengthens us.

1 Corinthians 13:2-3

If I have the gift of prophecy and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.

Surrender is a gift from God – it is the ultimate gift we can give to God as well.

Can you say yes to the Lord, I surrender to you Lord no matter what your situation in life?

  1. Surrender your insecurities
  2. Surrender your sadness
  3. Surrender your loneliness
  4. Surrender your understanding
  5. Surrender all the things you can not surrender

Let’s pray:

Dear Lord only by spending time with you in prayer, in the study of Your Word in the Holy Scriptures, in the ability to understand your wisdom for our lives – only then can we learn to surrender. Lord, I give you my heart, my body and my soul, Lord I give you all of me not just part. I pray that you open my heart to understanding more of the Word as I read it, allow me to hear your small still voice in the Holy Scriptures, send me people who love you and will affirm and encourage me to dig deeper and learn more and give more of myself to you. I praise you and I thank you for all you have done for me and my life – and I pray for those in need of prayer … and I ask that you comfort them, and I pray this in Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Christian Music – Praising God

Christian Music | Christian music praising God can bring us so much comfort and peace. #Christianmusic #podcast #praisingGodChristian Music Praising God – Episode 53

Christian music praising God can bring us so much comfort and peace. But, What is it about Christian music and worship that go hand in hand? Music raises us up out of our grief, or melancholy and allows us to enjoy a closer relationship with God. In this podcast, we discuss how music can help us in our daily struggles and bring joy into our hearts.

Be sure to subscribe to this podcast – use your phone, tablet podcast app to follow this show and please share this show with a friend. You can email or use the social media buttons on the website.

Sometimes I feel that I am stating the obvious, I don’t think any of you will find it surprising that music can be uplifting or put you in a better mood, or take you out of depressing thoughts, however, it is always a good reminder to myself and to you that we should surround out thoughts with those that praise the Lord.

Praising God in words and in song is only a benefit to ourselves. There is nothing we can do to make God any greater than He already is – our God is amazing and strong and mighty and powerful. Our God is everlasting and never changing. When we pray or we worship God in song we are the ones who benefit and this is a wonderful thing!

The Scriptures are filled with song and praising using music. King David is the one who comes to mind and is the most associated with song, singing that was pleasing to God.

2 Chronicles 7:6

The priests stood at their posts, and the Levites also, with the instruments of music to the Lord, which King David had made for giving praise to the Lord—“for His lovingkindness is everlasting”—whenever he gave praise by their means, while the priests on the other side blew trumpets; and all Israel was standing.

So many people are struggling daily and music has a way of lightening our spirits. I love to listen to music when I’m driving and I have a playlist on my phone of a mix of uplifting and worship music. Musical tastes vary which is why I won’t share my playlist with you in particular but there are several songs that make me smile and sing along, loudly! I can’t imagine what people think especially if I am parked at a red light singing about God’s goodness forever, or The River by Jordan Feliz –  “I know a place where we can go to lay the troubles down eating your soul, I know a place where mercy flows – take the stains make you whiter than snow…”

These lyrics speak to me and when I am down there is no way I can stay down. I have hope that is in Christ that no matter what today brings he is walking alongside me.

There are so many ways to incorporate music into your day, and it depends on your preference of course, but I look for music that is:

  1. Uplifting
  2. Heartfelt
  3. Speaks to my situation
  4. Praises God’s Name – highest prayer
  5. All-encompassing – getting lost in the hope that is available to all of us

Remember along with prayer and reading the Bible music can add a wonderful element of encouragement to us in our daily lives.

Songs that are very close to the Scriptures can help us

Here are a few of my Favorite songs please go the AFMWG podcast and look for Christian Music praising God podcast and leave me your favorite songs if they are not on this list.5Asa

  • The River: Jordan Feliz
  • The Proof of Your Love – for King & Country
  • Who You Say I Am – Hillsong Worship
  • Shoulders – for King & Country
  • Thrive – Casting Crowns
  • Impossible – Building 429
  • Life is Beautiful – The Afters
  • Greater — Mercy Me
  • How Sweet the Sound – Citizen’s Way
  • Because He Lives – Matt Maher
  • Born Again – NewsBoys
  • God’s Not Dead – NewsBoys
  • Resurrection Power – Chris Tomlin

Scripture songs with allow us to praise God using the words from the Holy Bible are so encouraging and help us to not only learn the Bible verses but make them part of our hearts. There is hope and victory in Jesus and He answers us sometimes through song, to remind us constantly that His word is true and fair! He has redeemed us by his death and resurrection and we can rejoice by singing praises to Him in thanksgiving which allows us to put our cares aside as we shout to the Lord.

Remember, God is there He is with us and we can pray and rejoice and sometimes in song! Don’t forget to listen to music that lifts us up to the Lord.

Dear Heavenly Father, I thank you for the opportunity to praise you in thought, word, prayer and deed – and also in praise in music. Thank you for giving us all the resources to combat the enemy of depression and keep our minds on you, Oh, Lord. In you, we give you the praise and the honor that you deserve. In praising you allow it to dispel the darkness that plagues us the worry and give us the compassion we need as we struggle. Thank you Lord for giving us the help we need just when we need it, and I pray for all of the intentions of those listening today – and I thank you for answered prayer. Amen

Special Thanks to Our Network Sponsor – Well Planned Gal

Rebecca from the Well Planned Gal understands the challenges of working within a budget, managing multiple children, and trying to keep up with a variety of information. That is why she created popular planner bundles!

Combine organizational tools with year long encouragement by bundling Well Planned Day planners with the popular Family Magazine. For a limited time, Save 30% with one of her  popular planner bundles. Each bundle contains 2 planner products with a one-year subscription to Family Magazine.  

Click Here to Go to Well Planned Gal

Growing Spiritually Serving Others

Be sure to subscribe to this podcast or listen to this here – online. You can download this talk on your computer or you can listen on your phone. Share this podcast with a friend.

rsspodcast itunespodcast

growing spiritually serving othersTools for Growing Spiritually Serving Others

Episode #17

In this episode, we will explore ways to grow spiritually and serving others.

Show Notes: Tools for Growth in Serving Others

In the First Letter of John, the writer speaks of the anointing we who are baptized have from Christ. “But you have the anointing that comes from the holy one, and you have knowledge…As for you, the anointing that you received from him remains in you, so that you do not need anyone to teach you. But his anointing teaches you everything and is true and not false, just as it taught you, remain in him.” (1 Jn.2: 20-27)

The “anointing” referred to here is the gift of the Holy Spirit given to the baptized, source of wisdom and understanding. The Jerusalem Catechizes, presented in the Liturgy on the Octave of Easter Friday also speaks about the anointing with the Holy Spirit.

“When we were baptized into Christ and clothed ourselves in him, we were transformed into the likeness of the Son of God. Having destined us to be his adopted sons and daughters, God gave us a likeness to Christ in his glory, and living as we do in communion with Christ, God’s anointed, we ourselves are rightly called “the anointed ones.” When he said: Do not touch my anointed ones, God was speaking of us…But we too have been anointed with oil, and by this anointing, we have entered into fellowship with Christ and have received a share in his life.

This year we are now in the midst of celebrating the great season of the Pascal Mystery. It is the heart and core of the life and power of our Christian life. As Pope Benedict XVI proclaimed, during the Vatican Council II,  the Paschal Mystery is the heart and center of the Council’s teaching, and as such is the heart and core of a Christian’s life. How should we view this very clear teaching in relationship to the Church’s Grace of Renewal? In the spiritual renewal movements, the approach is usually a seminar which prepares one to be prayed for “a new empowerment of the Holy Spirit.” There is plenty of evidence of the wonderful things that happen for a person who has had this experience, and if one feels drawn in that direction of renewal, seeking to receive an empowerment of the Holy Spirit, a new special grace of spiritual refreshment, I highly encourage it.

However, I am proposing a different approach to a similar reality, which I have called the spiritual experience of the Church’s Grace of Renewal and Reform. The basic scriptural reference that I suggest is the Easter Sunday night experience of the disciples gathered in the upper room, recorded in St. John’s Gospel (Jn.20: 19-23). The heart and core of this approach is the full gamut of the Paschal Mystery, which includes the sending of the Spirit by the Father and Jesus. Certainly, we would need a preparation program including a series of teachings. The prayer of spiritual anointing and commissioning at its conclusion could be termed, the Baptism of the Spirit in the Paschal Mystery. The starting point of the threefold empowerment of the Resurrection, the Cross, and the Spirit would be the experience of the Glorified Risen Lord and Savior. It would also certainly include the empowerment of the Spirit and the Spiritual Gifts.

It is with this understanding in which I am presenting four opportunities to provide for others some tools for growth. In a previous reflective teaching, I presented some tools that focused on spiritual growth for individuals. Now in this teaching, I want to present a few tools that focus on group opportunities for others who may be seeking a relational program that is ongoing and growth producing in holiness of life. This reflective podcast teaching is going to concentrate on four opportunities which the podcast sponsors or supports for serving the spiritual growth of other brothers and sisters. In outreach, to others, this teaching is going to review the possibilities of serving a person or a group of individuals, who may want to be in relationship with others for the ways and means of spiritual growth and/or service to others. These four opportunities are ways of doing Evangelization.

The first tool which we want to consider is Power Focused Intercession. This means of growth, healing, and empowerment for others is looked at in some of the other podcast presentations. (The Path to Spiritual Freedom) Some of us may feel a real disconnect when we pray for others, or In the “Universal Prayers of the Faithful,” when it is hard to connect with the petitions. So we may settle for a dry cerebral or a disconnected prayer. We don’t seem to have a dynamic connection with the individual or group we are praying for.

This doesn’t mean that our intellectual prayer recitations for others are not blessed by God, they are! But what we want to try and do is proclaim and promote that we can have a connected grace-filled experience when we pray for others, which comes from our hearts and is experientially based. Where real change and miraculous results in the lives for whom we pray are happening.

Recognizing that in this approach we are exercising the beautiful truth that we are members of the Mystical Body of Christ, and Jesus wants to give to us an invitation to join him in ministering a powerful happening in grace for the benefit of others. The key is in knowing how to connect up with the powerful working of the glorified Lord’s grace for the specific needs of an individual or group.

The simple formula: I am sorry for all the hard, painful, and difficult things that have happened to you. I take limitless responsibility for all that has happened to you! Please forgive me. I love you. Thank you. Now before we are tempted to begin a rationalization that finds some difficulties, let’s take a look at how this formula is prayed in a direct union with the Lord himself.

We are members of the Mystical Body of Christ, by virtue of our water Baptism. We are in a dynamic personal relationship with the glorified Lord Jesus and one another. We are all the Body of Christ. This truth is the foundational truth in which we begin our intercession for another person or group.

The night of the Resurrection the glorified Jesus, who had already ascended to the right hand of the Father appears and says, Peace be with you! (Shalom!) It is done! I have accomplished it all! It is over and done with! Jesus gives the disciples and us the full experience of the Paschal Mystery. He breathes on them and says: “Receive the Holy Spirit…”, and commissions them to do also with others what he has accomplished and gives to them, and he will do it in them! In Romans chapter 8 it says, that both Jesus and the Spirit do intercession for us.

When we express our sorrow for the person we are praying for, we immediately leave our mere human desire and place ourselves in the heavenly plane; in total union with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We have just entered the supernatural realm. We then picture the person or group we are praying for and we enter into union with our glorified Lord and all that this means in light of that event, the Lord does the actual intercession, reparation, atonement prayer in which we are with him for he has accomplished it all!

So when we take limitless responsibility we are doing so in union with the Lord. So we should never take on the negative or destructive attitudes of the one we are praying for. So as we say, “please forgive me” it is the Lord who is acting in power. When we say I love you we are doing so truly with our human ability but now joined with the love of the Lord for that person. In this is the power we have of sharing in a miraculous power of love to change and heal another human being. And when we say “I thank You” we are “divinely” acting to affirm and identify the full purpose in which God has created that person.

This prayer of “power focused prayer” is a ministry and mystery of Love! When this procedure is a Spirit-led Experience and performed primarily with the heart, one will actually feel the powerful presence of the Lord working in a mysterious manner. Now, this is so good! When one does this prayer of cleansing, the individual will also feel the cleansing and healing going on in oneself. Therefore, while we are doing this mission of love for another person, the Lord is doing a work of tender healing and cleansing in the one praying. “Two sides of the same coin” The way to really learn the experiential truth of all this is by practice, practice, practice! The more we do this the more we are drawn into the power and the more we experience the cleansing power in our own life.

Unbound Ministry: An approach to healing and deliverance that fits well in Catholic Life: The approach to healing and deliverance which seems to fit best in the ambient of the Catholic Church is the ministry developed by Neal and Janet Lozano entitled “Unbound Ministry.”

It follows a similar approach to the general basics of praying with individuals for healing and deliverance. However, its uniqueness consists in the fact that the ministry operates from a position of “non-confrontational deliverance,” and the recipient of the ministry does the renunciation and takes personal authority of the specific aspects of personal evil. It uses common sense and the exercise of practical wisdom, which does not permit one to fight with evil spirits, but ministers truth in love to the recipient. In short, it is a ministry of evangelization, which provides deliverance from personal evil, and also aids the recipient in receiving spiritual healing and the gift of genuine freedom. Essentially it involves the “five keys to spiritual freedom”:

  1. The first key is to stand in the experience and truth of faith and practice life-giving repentance.
  2. The second key involves forgiveness: seeking forgiveness from God, forgiving others, and forgiving oneself. It also means giving forgiveness to others in all situations of life where I have been hurt or offended. The follow through in this key is after forgiveness then let things go and surrender them to the Lord, the icing on the cake is praying for those who have sinned against and hurt me. The fourfold features of completed forgiveness. Because all four are exercised it brings closure in the process of forgiveness.
  3. The third key is the acknowledging and renouncing in the name of Jesus, the identified attitudes and the spirits of darkness, which have been oppressing, harassing and working in one’s life.
  4. The fourth key is taking authority in the name of Jesus over these entities and commanding them to leave.
  5. The fifth key is finally praying with the recipient for the Father’s love and blessing. This blessing confers grace for the recipient in which they experience that they are a beloved son or daughter of the Father, and they are especially loved by God.

Fire Groups: A source for helping people make changes in their life, and living the Christ-Life.

Fire by its very nature has the ability to make changes in things. However, it is primarily used symbolically in Scripture. One may recall Moses seeing the bush on fire but not burning up; representing God’s awesome holiness. It purifies one from the dross of sin. It illuminates the mind and enables one to see what is pleasing to God. In the human person, the symbol of fire illuminates the mind, energies of the will, and gives strength to the soul. In relationship to personal holiness, it inflames us with love.

In the recent past in this country FIRE was used as an acronym to identify changing ones life and living a new life in Christ. At this time it is useful to identify a flexible small group opportunity that meets occasionally to help one another grow more deeply in the Lord.

A salient feature in a small fire group is this:

F stands for Faith; I stands for all the forms of Intercession. R stands for life-giving Repentance. E stands for Evangelization and doing mercy work. These four topics are joined as one, and they represent a process of opportunities for growing in Christian maturity. So FIRE represents a small group fellowship. These groups could be made available to those who are interested. These groups would be useful for spiritual growth, formation, and transformation

Merciful Christian Fellowship Groups: Fields of Compassion.

I served at Franciscan University of Steubenville from 1968 until 1990. In those years the Friars, members of the faculty, students, and members of the lay community worked together to develop spiritual renewal. Individuals at that time were trying to grow in holiness and serve others to grow in holiness and human maturity. Many were talking about “eating right” and losing weight and bemoaning the frustration of consistent failures in their sincere attempts. Someone mentioned about a group program started in the Boston area that claimed to be very successful in achieving the goal of weight loss. It was called, “Diet, Discipline, and Discipleship.”

Some decided to research and then provide the opportunity for those who desired to develop this approach of small groups, where individuals kept track, openly reported results and failures, and were held weekly accountable. The results were amazing! Individuals lost weight easily and consistently. The success of this communal relational endeavor was quite impressive. One of the lessons of this group centered accomplishment was the huge success that happened when individuals quit trying on one’s own and joined in a group effort.

The Church in this country is just beginning to appreciate the value of small fellowship groups developed to aid one in growing in Christian holiness and maturity. “Evangelizing Catholic Culture” Podcast will eventually be providing two types of small group fellowships for the purpose of growth and support in the Christian life. The first one is FIRE Growth Groups mentioned above, and the second one is Merciful Christian Fellowship Groups. The Merciful Christian Fellowship Groups are designed to help individuals grow in living a committed Gospel form of life. The MCFG’s are designed to provide a flexible formation experience as a modern penitent, to assist individuals to grow and share one’s faith, and training to do some type of evangelization or mercy service. Who may want to take a look at this opportunity?

  1. Anyone who has a personal relationship with Jesus, and feels called to deepen their skills in prayer and outreach to others.
  2. Anyone who wants to grow in the use of the spiritual gifts and qualities of mercy by practicing the spiritual and corporal works of mercy.
  3. Anyone who enjoys prayer and desires personal transformation, and formation in the life of grace.
  4. Anyone who wants to grow more comfortable and skilled in sharing their personal faith story.

May We Pray!

Lord, we trust in your abundant Mercy and ask that you would fill our hearts with the desire to grow in holiness. May the Holy Spirit move us to become aflame with a desire to bring your love and mercy to those we serve. As missionary disciples give us a willingness to reach out to those who are suffering and struggling to live a happy life in this post-modern world. Let the joy of the Gospel and our humble acts of mercy bring your goodness and love to others. We ask this prayer of our Father who is ever ready to lead us more deeply into a union with Jesus Christ, his beloved Son. Amen,

 

 

Overcome Daily Struggles

Overcome Daily Struggles | Does it seem that there is always a new daily struggle to overcome? Do you need help to overcome daily struggles? #christian #podcast #overcomestrugglesOvercome Daily Struggles Episode 52

Is it time to overcome daily struggles? Does it seem that there is always a new daily struggle to overcome? Sometimes the pile gets overwhelming and then we fall under the strain. In this episode of A Few Minutes With God Podcast, we’ll discuss scripture verses that will help as well as the hope that is in store for those who believe.

When I think about ways to overcome daily struggles I remember a book I read years ago I read a book to the kids Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. It was published in 1972 and even won a series of literary prizes for children’s literature. The reason? It resounded with the old and young alike. We always have to deal with everyday life and some days are harder than others. Each day we struggle. Each day we fall, each day we do things we are not proud of doing. How do we stand up under the crushing weight that is on our shoulders? It is not easy.

Overcome Daily Struggles

I thought that this was the week that would do me in! There was no way I could overcome my daily struggles. This week has been one of the hardest weeks. Actually the last two weeks. I’ve had ups and downs in my life in dealing with situations out of my control. And I truly think those are the hardest. Those are the ones where we have to throw up our hands and ask the Lord to help us. Recently one of my children was waiting for room assignments in a college dorm and instead of the private room she requested she’ll be sharing one big room with two other girls. She also had a hard time signing up for classes as a transfer upperclassman. Things happen, they are stressful but we make do. My other son twisted his ankle while training, and he is playing a college sport on scholarship – so the stress is that he would heal in time to keep training. Then two days later another son fell off a ladder at work and had to be transported to the hospital by ambulance. One daily struggle then another, then another. We sometimes wonder when it will stop?

The enemy likes nothing better than to kick us when we are down. To remind us of all the bad things happening in our lives while glossing over all the good that comes out of our struggles. Realize that when we struggle we can suffer real pain. It can come first in the sense of worry, anxiety, stress, tears, anger and then translate into physical ailments such as a stomach ache, headaches, or restlessness and insomnia. Anxiety can lead to depression and yet there is hope.

Scriptures Show Us How To Overcome Daily Struggles

Things will get better. One reason? Because we are promised this in scripture. We have to look no further than the book of Job.

Job 14: 14 “If a man dies, will he live again? All the days of my struggle I will wait Until my change comes.

A change will come. It can come in the form of others praying with us, understanding our needs and standing up for us in times when we need help. It can come in the form of relief — a change in the situation and a need that comes from the struggle. Sometimes we become so self-sufficient, we are our own worse enemies. We don’t want to ask for help because we don’t want anyone to know what we are going through. Just ask. Friends are there for you in so many different ways!

Trials and struggles can help us to grow stronger. We know that if the Lord denied the cross there would be no resurrection. James 1:2 states -Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials…

That is a hard verse to read if you are in the midst of struggling. Joy in the midst of trials? Only with God’s grace and only with the help of Almighty God.

What does Ephesians say about ways to overcome daily struggles?

Ephesians 6:12 “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.”

Our struggles and our daily walk is not done alone. Remember, you are not invincible and you don’t have to carry the burden yourself. If you are on social media on Facebook I have a page for prayers – you can post them here and I will get a notification to pray. You don’t have to be specific – just saying, “I need prayers,” is good enough. A community of believers can be helpful in times when your struggle.

Recently when my son had to go to the hospital after a fall at work I messaged and posted on several private groups asking people to pray. The prayers came pouring in. He was released from the hospital and all was fine – but of course, before we knew if everything was going to be alright it was filed under the classification of “Oh no!” and the stress level was high!

Psalm 34:18 states The Lord is close to the broken-hearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.”

Thank-you Lord for being close to us when we are broken-hearted. For making crooked lines straight. For helping us in knowing that You hear our prayers.

Psalm 23:4 — Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

No matter what you are going through, no matter how horrible or how sad, the “valley of the shadow of death” in our lives we are told to fear no evil because God is with us and He will comfort us. That my friends is the real key. Understanding that we don’t walk alone.

Let’s Pray for help for help to Overcome Daily Struggles:

Jesus, we trust in you – we trust in your providence for us each and every day. We ask you to bless and keep us safe, for our loved ones to be surrounded by your love and your protection. We ask that you help us daily to know that you are there and that you hear our prayers. Please Lord hear us as we pray for these intentions… and thank you Lord ahead of time for hearing us! In Jesus Name, Amen.

Daily Spiritual Growth Tools

Be sure to subscribe to this podcast or listen to this here – online. You can download this talk on your computer or you can listen on your phone. Share this podcast with a friend.

rsspodcast itunespodcast

Daily Spiritual Growth ToolsDaily Spiritual Growth Tools

Episode 16

 

Some tools for Daily Spiritual Growth

“Acquire a fresh, spiritual way of thinking. You must put on that new man created in God’s image, whose justice and holiness is born of truth. (Ephesians 4: 23-24) Over the last 50 years or so I have met a good number of sincere and well-meaning people who genuinely desire to grow and mature as a Christian. A high percentage of these individuals have experienced significant times of profound graces of conversion, but for various reasons seemed unable to follow through with the necessary activity to grow in the gift of living life in the kingdom of God.

In Luke’s Gospel Jesus is traveling from town to town preaching and proclaiming the good news of the Kingdom of God. Many had come from the surrounding town’s and a large crowd had gathered. Jesus spoke in a parable: “A sower went out to sow his seed. And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path and was trampled, and the birds of the sky ate it up. Some seed fell on rocky ground, and when it grew, it withered for lack of moisture. Some seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew with it and choked it. And some seed fell on good soil, and when it grew, it produced fruit a hundredfold. After he said this, he called out “Whoever has ears to hear, ought to hear.”

Later, when his disciples asked Jesus about the parable, he said to them.” This is the meaning of the parable: “The seed is the word of God, Those on the path are the ones who have heard, but the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts that they may not believe and be saved. Those on rocky ground, are those who when they hear, receive the word with joy, but they have no root; they believe only for a time and fall away in time of trial. As for the seed that fell among thorns, they are the ones who have heard, but as they go along, they are choked by the anxieties and riches and pleasures of life, and they fail to produce mature fruit. But as for the seed that fell on rich soil, they are the ones who, when they have heard the word, embrace it with a generous and good heart, bear fruit through perseverance…take care then how you hear. To anyone who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he seems to have will be taken away.” (Lk. 8: 4-18)  

Living faithfully the way of life I have committed myself to live as a Christian. For some this will be living a “Catholic Way of Life”, for others it will be living according to the requirements of the Denomination or Christian group to which I belong. These commitments are fulfilled specifically in light of the permanent vocation which I have chosen for my personal life. The Christian life is not the life of “a lone ranger”, but a life in community. As I grow in faithfulness to these commitments, I receive an abundance of opportunities to grow in holiness and maturity.

The development of a frequent or daily personal prayer time. Please review the podcast reflection entitled, “A Frequent Personal Prayer Time”. The goal of the Christian is not just to have a frequent personal prayer time. The goal is to live a life of prayer. The key to this reality is to have an ever growing personal relationship of love with Jesus. For the Christian, this experience is lived in relationship with the Father who draws us to live in Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit. There are many written materials for practical advice designed to establish this objective.

A frequent reading for prayerful study of The Word of God. Almost all the Church Fathers and current writers in the Christian life give strong encouragement for a frequent reading of Scripture, both the Old and New Testament. Our life lived in a Holistic Contemplative Spiritual Journey bears abundant fruit, in light of the fact that each one of us is called to be holy as our Heavenly Father is Holy. Our beloved Father calls each of his children to be formed as sons and daughters by the Holy Gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ. The method that best accomplishes this objective is called “Lectio Divina”. In this practice, one takes a short Biblical story or selection from Scripture, reads it slowly and meditatively, and then spends a period of time in conversation, communication, and the experience of communion with our Lord. Realizing it essentially involves being in the presence of the Lord, and listening to how and what he speaks to us!

Designing a Spiritual Growth Plan for my life. The Spiritual Growth Plan is a flexible tool which assists one in growing in the spiritual life and aids in the development of personal maturity. This plan relates to keeping my priorities in good order. For example, I may be spending an inordinate amount of time, on say point number five which is serving in building the Kingdom of the Lord or church work. However, I may be spending very little time with my children. A spiritual plan helps me become aware of this neglect and aids me in making the necessary adjustment in my priorities. The key issue that I may want to ask myself is this, am I generally experiencing a balance in my growth in holiness, my responsibilities, and human maturity? The aim here is to develop a flexible, adjustable, plan that fits my situation, and which I frequently and honestly evaluate. It is important in designing a spiritual growth plan that I am very specific, direct, honest, and patient with myself. I realize that I can keep this personal plan private if I choose.

A Model

Is my relationship with God, my number one priority, in a good place at this time in my life? Do I have a decent prayer time identified in my schedule? Do I frequently use Scripture, and open to use other meaningful devotions? Am I disciplined in my life, and practice the responsible virtue of “self-control”; avoiding inordinate excesses?

Are my personal relationships going well? Am I faithful to my church commitments? Do I spend the right amount of time with my key relationships? Do I participate in a bi-weekly or monthly small group which is supportive and life-giving? Is my work and service relationships in a good place, and in a consistent balance?  Am I free from frequent negative or sinful communication with others? Am I wise in choosing good friends who are supportive of me in my way of life?

Am I willing to do the necessary study, using all the contemporary technologies at hand, which will joyfully and peacefully assist my personal growth, and demonstrate a generous service and cooperation with others?

Am I avoiding spiritual narcissism (excessive preoccupation with spiritual matters) by concentrating on good solid communication at work, in my professional life, service projects, and ministry?

Am I generous in serving others by sharing my faith, doing mercy work, and choosing good projects according to my gifts and talents? Am I also willing to do service which will stretch me in ways in which I feel uncomfortable when I am asked?

Again being reasonable is the key: Do I take the time for exercise, recreation, good opportunities with others? Am I responsible to take good care of my health, nutritional eating is the modern way of fasting, get the necessary rest, and take the “down time” when I need it and do I enjoy my social opportunities and vacations times?

Community and Interconnection. This consideration involves the gift and sacredness of being human. When God created me as a human he gifted me with the joy of intimacy, the happiness of sharing, and the pain of sacrificial love. These values embody the second great commandment: Love in action is the continuous discernment between truth and compassion. Speaking the truth without compassion is not love, even if I call it that. It ends up as possible violence. Acting compassionately without truth is not love, even if I call it that. It ends up as enabling, allowing others to continue their own destructive patterns. Each life situation will ask me to discern what kind of action I must take in order to do the most loving thing—and my action will not be without personal cost. When in doubt, I must err on the side of compassion. (Matthew 12: 1-8; James 2: 13 – Mercy triumphs over judgment). (Fr. Bernie Tickerhoof)

May We Pray!

Lord, I pray that you would give me the resolve and strength to design a spiritual growth plan that is a simple, flexible, concise and effective. I desire to use everything which will help me grow in Christian holiness and equip with the means to generously serve those you have brought into my life. I know Jesus, that holiness is wholeness, and I ask you with the help of the Holy Spirit to inspire me to move forward in a sincere and generous effort to become the best servant of mercy that I can be. I pray this prayer in your name, Jesus. Amen.

 

 

 

 

Christian Discipleship

Christian DiscipleshipWhat is Christian Discipleship? Podcast 51

Christian discipleship comes in all stages. Is discipleship what you are or what you do? What does it mean to go out and proclaim to all nations that God does exist? How can we be disciples while still leading a life as a single man or woman, as a married couple, as a mom, dad, grandparent? In this podcast, we will look at the practical application of being a disciple and ways to make it happen, even if only in our own homes.

Thanks to our sponsor – the Well Planned Gal and the Bible Planner!

What is a true disciple? The answer to that question may be different for each one of us. A disciple is someone who follows the Lord’s path for their life, who brings others to Christ and whose mission is to live a life that is holy. However, how do I make this work in my life?

When I think of the disciples I think of the original twelve and immediately I am in awe as I contemplate what it would mean to walk with Jesus — can you imagine? Walking with the Lord and learning from Him as he teaches can happen today, and the way we do this is by reading the Bible, and one verse we will discuss today is the book of Matthew.

The meaning of discipleship can be found in Matthew 10:24-33

There is so much information is contained in these words. I wonder how many of the disciples asked Jesus question after question after he spoke. One of my favorite verses is this, Matthew 10:30 “But the very hairs of your head are numbered.” Can you imagine that the Lord knows the numbers of hair on our heads? This is not a God that is far away, or uninvolved in our lives. No! This is a God who is very much aware of us on a personal level. How can we not want to serve a God such as this? One who realizes that we struggle against those who hurt us, one who says that even if our body is harmed, our soul will remain unharmed because we belong to Him.

Matthew 5:16

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

Do you belong to the Almighty God, the Father? The Son? And the Holy Spirit? Do you offer your day to God? Do you ask Him how you can best serve?

As disciples of Christ in our own home, we can lead by example, preach without words. How much better for us to show by reading the Bible to our children or reading our Bible in front of our children instead of telling them to do something they don’t see us doing.

We are not all lead to be missionaries, to preach in foreign lands — but some are definitely called. They may decide to become a clergy, a priest, a nun, a pastor of a Protestant denomination or to go on the mission field. For others, we may be lead to donate money toward this cause through our church or a group or organization.

Being a disciple is so much more than believing it is showing through actions. Think about how you can serve the Lord the best. Ask Him into your life if you have not already and ask Him how you can best serve.

Sharing Christian Faith

Be sure to subscribe to this podcast or listen to this here – online. You can download this talk on your computer or you can listen on your phone. Share this podcast with a friend.

rsspodcast itunespodcast

sharing christian faithSharing Christian Faith

Episode 15

Practical Ways for Sharing One’s Faith

Sharing Christian faith isn’t always easy. There are a number of ways to do evangelization. One could participate in a program for preparing individuals to practice evangelization such as Christ-Life or Alpha. It is also possible to go through a training program in order to do “street evangelization” or one-on-one personal evangelization. Even some of the current ministries of healing focus on doing evangelization.

How does sharing your Christian faith work in your life?

However, this presentation is concerned with doing evangelization using the method of personal faith sharing in small groups, which can also be applied to personal relationship based evangelization. Therefore, we need to know what specific content of our personal witness and the method that we use when we are sharing.

For example, several years ago two piolets were flying a commercial plane from somewhere on the east coast to the Minneapolis airport. They flew 150 miles past the airport and were immediately fired. How did this happen? The newspaper reported after the inquiry, that they were joking with one another and messing with their personal computers. They missed the vector, a signal that comes from the airport of destination to the airplane that guides the plane to the right airport. When we do evangelization or faith-sharing in small groups we need to know what approach we use, and what content we should share in order to make this opportunity effective and fruitful for the recipient(s) for whom one is giving their personal witness.

From the viewpoint of sharing one’s faith in a small group, it important to understand that if we are going to share our personal faith we need to personally experience what we believe, live it, and understand what we are about to share. It is also important to be attentive to where the others in the group are coming from. Our first consideration is to try and make sure that we have a balanced understanding of the model of Church within which we will approach the sharing of the Good News of the Gospel. In reflecting on this matter in my own life I did a little study of the models of the Church, a book written by Cardinal Avery Dulles, a well know Jesuit theologian who died several years ago.

I specifically consulted a summary of these models of the Church written by Chris Castaldo in regard to the expanded edition written in  2002. This section of the recording may be a little heavy, so listening to this part several times may be a good idea. Since we are currently moving in the Church from the position of seeing evangelization to be giving a good example only to doing various forms of faith sharing and personally witnessing to the Resurrection of Jesus, we need to consider the various models of viewing the Church, some are more conducive to personal evangelization and faith sharing than others.

The first model, Church as Institution, defines the Church primarily in terms of its visible structures, especially the rights and powers of its officers. It is called a hierarchical form of Church government and emphasizes its nature as a visible and palpable community. As instruments of God’s sacraments, the priesthood opens and shuts the valves of divine grace, and is rooted in the apostolic life passed down by Christ’s disciples. The strength of the institutional model is in its public, visible manifestations of solidarity. It presents a tangible communion of faith. The weakness of this model is that it may become rigid, doctrinaire, and conformist. Cardinal Dulles explains that this model must not be primarily because of its nature; structures are subordinate to persons and life.

The church as Mystical Communion: According to this model, the church consists of faithful men and women who are bound together by their participation in God’s Spirit through the living glorified Christ. The nature of this unity is not institutional but “Spirit-filled”, communal, and personal. The goal of this model is a spiritual or supernatural one. The church aims to lead its members into communion with the divine. It is a communion of persons, primarily interior but also expressed by external bonds of creed, worship, and ecclesiastical fellowship. The bond of unity, in this model, consists of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, through the external bonds are also important.

The Church as Sacrament: This model brings the others closer together, retaining structure while also promoting dynamic spiritual life. Accordingly, the church as a sacrament is a sign and transmitter of God’s grace to the world. As an embodiment of the grace that it signifies, the Church exists as the presence of God to the nations. Another important element of this model highlights and affirms that the sacraments are communal realities and not individual transactions. Nobody baptizes, absolves, or anoints himself. It is unthinkable for the Eucharist to be celebrated in solitude. The reality of grace corresponds to human nature and is relational. A man comes into the world as a member of a family, a race, a people. He comes to maturity through an encounter with others. Sacraments, therefore have a relational nature. They take place in the mutual interaction that invites the people to achieve a spiritual breakthrough that they could not achieve in isolation. A sacrament, therefore, is a socially constituted or communal symbol of the presence of grace coming to fulfillment. This is the strength of this model. The weakness is that it has little warranty in Scripture and in the early tradition of the Church, and could lead to a sterile practice and almost an isolated and narcissistic form of contemplation by a few.

The Church as Herald: The herald model related to the proclamation. The herald model differs from the others in that it makes the ‘word’ primary and the ‘sacrament’ secondary. It sees the Church as gathered and formed by the word of God. The mission of the Church is to proclaim that which it has heard, believed, and been commissioned to proclaim. This model looks upon the Church as a herald—one who received an official message from the commission to pass it on. The heart of this model of Church is the activity of calling its members to renewal and reform. The strength of this model is its emphasis on the message of the gospel and the pursuit of the Great Commission (evangelization). Its weakness is that it can often be devoid of incarnational service (mercy work). This can result in appearing merely as ideas without tangible reality. This is especially obvious when it focuses too exclusively on the witness to the neglect of action. It may become too reluctant to give human effort to establish a better human society in this life.

The Church as Servant: The servant model asserts that the Church should consider itself a part of the total human family, sharing the same concerns as the rest of men. Following in the footsteps of Jesus our Lord, the Suffering Servant. The Church announces the coming of the Kingdom not only in word, through preaching, and proclamation, but more particularly in work, in her ministry of reconciliation, of binding up wounds, suffering service, or healing. The Lord was the man for others, and so must the Church be the community for others. The weakness of the servant model is that it can get so caught up in “this world activity” that is would compromise the biblical deposit of faith which Christians are called to guard. I recall a Sister who was preparing about 20 young enthusiastic college girls for a mission trip. After a great deal of training, she said to them, now we must look at the Christian motivation behind all this, and they said, “what do we need to do that for”?

Integrating the models: Each model offers insights and positive contributions to our understanding of the Church. When the most genuinely biblical qualities are preserved from each model and integrated together, we realize a more balanced vision of the Church. Each of them (the five models) brings out certain and important qualities. The institutional model makes it clear that the Church must be a structured community and it must remain the kind of community Christ founded. Such a community would have to include a pastoral office equipped with authority to preside over the worship of the community as such to prescribe the limits of tolerable dissent, and to represent the community in an official way. The mystical community model is evident that the Church must be united to God by grace and that in the strength of that grace its members must be lovingly united to one another. The sacramental model brings home the idea that the Church in its most visible aspects—especially in its community prayer and worship—be a sign of the continuing vitality of the grace of Christ and for the hope of the redemption that he promises. The proclaiming model points out the necessity for the Church to continue to herald the Gospel and to move men to put their faith in Jesus as Lord and Savior. The servant model points up the urgency of making the Church contribute to the transformation of the secular life of man, and of impregnating human society as a whole with the values of the Kingdom of God. The sacramental model is the most comprehensive because of its ease in integrating the best elements in the other four models. The goal here is to experience a balancing integration of all five models in order that various groups, big and small, become communities of disciples of Jesus inspired with a missionary spirit.

Here is a little test:  A number of years ago I participated in an evangelization training program. After three days of class and group discussions, the members of the program were divided up into units of two. We were sent to a local mall and moved in different directions. It was directed by the leaders that we should respectfully approach individuals and attempt to share our personal faith with them; hoping that we learned some things that they taught us in our sessions. I have to admit that I was feeling a bit nervous and hesitant. I was with an older woman who had an outgoing personality. We both entered the section of the mall where there were seats for people to sit around. On one bench there was an older man sitting by himself. In a moment the well-intentioned woman went over to him and sat down beside him. She introduced herself and then launched into a series of questions about his faith. These questions were aimed at his specific denomination and his attendance and participation at church. I could sense that he was a little non-pulsed, after a few moments he turned to her and said, “ Lady, I don’t know you, and you don’t know me, let’s just leave it at that! What model of church was my colleague coming from in her good intention to share her faith?

May We Pray!

Father, we experience a tremendous blessing from you in giving us the gift of you Son, Jesus. In your Word, Father you led your Son Jesus to found the Community of Believers call the Church. This gift to us is a great means for Salvation. It is in ecclesial communities in which we find great love of you and your Son. For those of us praying on the above reflection may we deeply appreciate the abundant graces which you bring about by the work of the Holy Spirit in all our Christian communities, where you are glorified and the name of your Son Jesus is know as our Lord and Savior. Amen.

 

 

 

Only One Life

only one lifeOnly One Life Podcast #50

Either you are happy you only get one life or you are ready for a “Do-Over!” In this episode of A Few Minutes with God Podcast we explore the fact that people tend to wish their current life away for something other than what they have. Are you happy in the moment or does your happiness tend to focus on what is just out of your reach?

Living life in the present moment sounds like something out of a soap opera or novel. In stories, things seem to turn out happy or at least have a satisfying ending. In the commercial sense, if a story fails to deliver whether it is entertainment, special effects, or a memorable main character, it is considered a flop. Only one life is all we have — it is the content of songs, it is the name of books by various authors, and I am by far not the only person who has contemplated this subject.

But we only have one life.

I’ve met so many people who are unhappy or dissatisfied with life, and truthfully I’ve had periods of time in my life where I wanted to spend it in bed, hoping the day would just end.

Yet, I’ve realized, this is it — this is the only life I will ever have, so the way I live my life, the decisions I make, the day-to-day interactions I have all can be impactful. Not only for my own life but for those I meet. This realization is something we should consider when our feet hit the ground each day. Are you ready to take the world on or are you cowering under the sheets and want the day to end?

Ask yourself these questions:

  1. Are you ready to embrace the day no matter what happens?
  2. Do you greet those you see with a smile?
  3. Are you aware of your surroundings?
  4. Do you see those around you in need?
  5. Do you hope to be remembered for who you are or what you do?

How do you change if the answer to any of those questions is something you don’t want to face or acknowledge? The first step is to be prayerful, grounded in the Scriptures and a love of God.

Recently I spoke to a friend who shared that the reason people embrace 100% of a what a self-help or how-to book teaches is that they are not grounded in what God teaches. — think, “how to parent,” or “how to have a wonderful marriage.” Sometimes these books or trends take the world by storm and everyone is chatting about the latest-greatest. They try these methods or techniques and find it failing dismally! Why? Because it is not one size fits all — or even most.

As we live our lives, I hope that we glorify Almighty God and give Him the praise He deserves. We only have this one chance to get it right and that is not something we can do well or consistently or well on our own. We can only keep our eyes focused on what is most important and pray that the rest works itself out!

When I hear about the issues and problems in other people’s lives I’m often amazed at the ways that they cope. Either they completely turn their backs to God, they become indifferent, or they turn to God for their strength. In a nutshell that is how I want to live my life, to rely upon the Lord for my strength to combat each issue that happens day-to-day.

And I fail. Miserably.

In those times when I feel that I’ve failed, there is only one thing to do. To pray. To ask for forgiveness. To read the Scriptures.

1 Thessalonians 3:2 … and we sent Timothy, our brother and God’s fellow worker in the gospel of Christ, to strengthen and encourage you as to your faith. 

Psalm 81:1 — Sing for joy to God our strength; Shout joyfully to the God of Jacob.

Exodus 15:2 The Lord is my strength and song, And He has become my salvation; This is my God, and I will praise Him;
My father’s God, and I will extol Him.

The Lord is truly my strength. I could not continue a day without prayer, without asking the Lord to help me, without asking for the intercession necessary to do what needs to be done each day! It is important that we feel the hope that is in Christ that no matter what we are up against, we can pray to the Lord and He will hear us. Our prayers do not go on deaf ears. We must continue to persevere and continue onward.

Obstacles will happen every day – as the saying goes, we can count on two things, death and taxes. Well, we can also count on the things that will go wrong each day. But again – the idea of only having one life to live is having a great impact on me and I hope with you as well.

We only have one life to live how do you want to live it?

  1. What is your legacy?
  2. What do you want to be remembered for? What you did? Or who you loved?
  3. Where do you want to go when you die? (Yes, we have a choice.)

I want to encourage you to become equipped — to be ready for those times when all you can do is shout, “Dear Lord, help me!” And the way to become equipped is to draw from your faith–if you don’t have faith, ask the Lord for an infilling of His Holy Spirit upon you, and we will pray specifically for this in just a few minutes. We each have, all of us, the opportunity each day to encourage those around us, to smile at those we meet, to share the good news with each other. We need to stop and think, is this something that I should do or is this something that God would be proud of me for doing? The idea here is to go to the Lord in prayer for things we want to do or think we should do.

Additionally planning your day is important. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve felt let down by the day I’ve spent. We need to focus forward. Focus on the

 

Power Focused Prayer

Be sure to subscribe to this podcast or listen to this here – online. You can download this talk on your computer or you can listen on your phone. Share this podcast with a friend.

rsspodcast itunespodcast

power focused prayerPower Focused Prayer

Episode 14

Part One — podcast here

Power focused prayer brings everything in relationship to forgiveness to complete freedom. I want to repeat the summary of this approach which was in The Fire of Forgiveness One. This process leads to complete freedom in relation to forgiveness:

1) A sincere and honest decision and appropriate action to exercise heartfelt forgiveness, 2) Willing to receive the necessary ministry that surfaces surrounding the forgiveness situation

3) Letting go and surrendering all the negative elements involved in the forgiveness itself, and those things that have surfaced around the forgiveness

4) power prayer for the individual(s) who caused the problem. All four of these aspects need to be pursued in order to allow forgiveness let us experience complete freedom.

Some things to think about generated by the content of what I just presented: After going through each step of the process check to see if the negative attitudes and hurts are gone. The memories may still be there, but they have lost the power to hurt or wound. The memories may gradually fade naturally away over time. Be open to understanding that the forgiveness process may need more than one episode of forgiving prayer. Also, consider that the process may happen by uncovering subsequent levels.

This could be the case in long-standing abuse or hurts by others. In some situations, the thought of betrayal or of the wounds “triggers” unhealed hurts, attitudes, and wounds in other areas of the person. For example, the thought of the current event brings up other deep negative feelings; say of self-pity. Self-pity is a subtle form of self-hatred or self- rejection. The feelings of self-pity anesthetizes our pain and it makes us feel good so we indulge in self-pity. Maybe we have a problem with anger that makes us feel vengeful or victimized, so we compulsively want to get back at the one who hurt us. These real issues may not necessarily be directly related to forgiveness.

Therefore, we may need some simple deliverance or healing in adjacent areas so that our freedom from forgiveness can take hold. And power focused prayer for those who have hurt us can bring freedom in our heart by some self-healing prayer. Also, some of us by our upbringing and training may have a struggle with anxious perfectionism, for which there may be a need for some spiritual ministry or pastoral attention beyond the forgiveness process because these painful issues are deeply rooted in our human personhood, they may automatically surface significant other areas which need healing.

If you want God to know that you are hungry, know that another is hungry. If you hope for mercy, show mercy. If you look for kindness, show kindness. If you want to receive, give. Let this be the pattern for all when they practice mercy: show mercy to others in the same way, with the same generosity, with the same promptness, as you want others to show mercy to you. Therefore, let prayer, penitential sacrifice, and mercy be one single plea to God on our behalf, one speech in our defense, a threefold united prayer in our favor. With this offering of sacrifice, the Lord will receive it as an offering, for this kind of a sacrifice to God is a broken wounded spirit; God does not despise a bruised and humbled heart. (St. Peter Chrysologus, Liturgical Prayer, Vol. 2, pgs. 231-232; penitential sacrifice replaces the word fasting.)

Offer yourself to God, make him an oblation of your penitential sacrifice, so that you may be a pure offering, a holy sacrifice, a living victim, remaining your own and at the same time made over to God, “I urge you brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God, your spiritual worship. Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect.” (Rom. 12: 1-3)

A suggested approach for complete freedom through forgiveness:  I mentioned above four steps necessary in order for a person to experience complete spiritual freedom in relation to significant forgiveness. I would like to present a suggestion which would be connected to the fourth step, which is, power-focused prayer for individuals I have forgiven. This approach can easily be used for praying for others for atonement, forgiveness, reparation, intercession. I use the term “power focused” because it has remarkable results in bringing about change in the lives of those we pray for. It is a procedure for cleansing, healing, mercy, and conversion. I am going to present a simple formula, and then I will give further commentary on the specifics.

First, we place ourselves in the presence of the Divine Merciful Love of God. Then we picture the person or group we want to pray or do intercession for. Even though I am praying for a particular person we directly address this formula to the presence of the Divine in my prayer for a particular person or group.  And we say, I am very sorry for all the hard, painful, and difficult things that have happened to you in this particular situation and in your whole life. At this point you have just stepped up into CELP, the compassionate evoking love power of the Divine, thus God’s love becomes the primary and proactive power in this process of forgiveness. I take complete concern and total responsibility for everything you have experienced   

This doesn’t mean that you take on any guilt or negative experiences of the person you are praying for; it simply means that you have become one with the Divine power of the prayer. I sincerely ask you to please forgive me!  This action brings the healing power of the Lord to the recipient of the prayer, and secondarily, but really to you as well. I love you very much, and I thank you for everything.

When you pray this prayer, you become a conduit for the Divine power of the Father, Son, and Spirit to act in the recipient’s life, and yours as well. This procedure should be a Spirit-led experience done with your heart, primarily open for inspiration, rather than your mind. You have placed yourself in the Divine Connection so now the powerful love of the Father, Son, and  Holy Spirit is intimately and proactively present to the person or group you are praying for. When you say “I love you” you are bringing and sharing the infinite love of God for the person you are praying for. When you pray “Thank You” you are grateful for the unique and special person that God has created them to be in this new creation.

MAY WE PRAY!

O Lord spur us on to desire and possess a more abundant life through the healing gift of mercy, and being rich in mercy you constantly offer pardon and call we sinners on to trust in your forgiveness alone. You have never turned away from us, and though time and time again we have broken your covenant, you have bound the human family to yourself through Jesus your Son, our Savior, and Redeemer, with a new bond of love so tight that it can never be undone.

Even now, in “the Grace of the Present Moment,” this time of grace and reconciliation, and as each one of us turns back to your, you grant us hope and freedom in Christ Jesus, and a desire to be of service to all, as we entrust ourselves more fully to the Holy Spirit, and so filled with love and wonder, we extol the power of you merciful and healing love, and proclaim to others the joy of salvation which comes from you!. We pray this prayer in the power of the Cross and the glory of the Resurrection in Jesus name. Amen.

Next Level Faith

next level faithNext Level Faith — Episode 49

Next level faith takes work. Next level faith takes time. Taking your walk with the Lord to the next level will be the best time you’ve ever invested in your life — I promise!

Sponsors – Thanks so much – Well Planned Day Prayer Planner

Taking Your Faith To A New Level Show Notes:

Many people are unhappy but not willing to do anything to change their lives for the better. Change takes hard work and a willingness to do the hard things. Whether it is taking more time for prayer or more time to read the Bible or time to go to church.

Are you ready to dig deeper into your faith? Are you ready to take it to a new level?  I pray you are because today we are talking about this very thing.

First of all, faith is a gift that is given to us — yet we have to nurture our faith in a way that allows it to grow. Ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Am I happy where I am in my journey with Christ?
  2. Do I feel that I am at peace?
  3. Can I minister to others as God leads?
  4. Do I spend time with God each day?

Why dig deeper into our faith? Faith gives us hope.

2 Corinthians 5:6-7

Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: For we walk by faith, not by sight:

Hebrews 11:1 —  Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

Digging deeper and going to the next level faith grants us the ability to love more deeply.

1 Corinthians 13: 2

If I have the gift of prophecy and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.

Often we are not happy in our circumstances due to things we can not change. Right now give those things over to the Lord — take them off of your shoulders and give them to God. Life throws us curves and at times we walk around in circles.

In previous podcasts, we’ve discussed expectant faith, here   and Faith as a gift here but have do you believe that is meant for you. I many times, and I’m guilty of this as well, I think that the Bible refers to others and it is not for me. But that is not true.

Why do you think there are so many self-help websites and books? Because we are a hurting people and unfortunately many people follow the wrong advice and get off the path toward God into a self-focused enlightenment that is not at all in line with Christianity.

Delving into our faith does take self-awareness to leave behind those things that keep us from a deeper walk and a next level of faith. It does not mean we are to be so self-focused that we concentrate on making ourselves mini-gods. There is only one God and He is the Almighty. His message is not for all because it isn’t the path most traveled, it is the path least traveled yet the only path that leads us to true happiness.

Digging into the next level faith means we will spend more time in prayer, spend more time reading the scriptures and if we do, we won’t be able to watch things that are not appropriate. It always astounds me when I hear of Christian women who read filthy novels. I could not stomach to read that type of thing – not because I think I am more holy –not at all, but because my conscience won’t allow it!

My goal today is not to teach you how to go to the next level of your faith but to invite you to pray about going deeper. These prayers, my friends are the ones that seem to get answered. The scriptures are filled with God’s love and His desire for us to live a life that is deeper and holy. Does that mean we are giving up many things to follow Christ? Some would answer yes, but I’d say, “No!” I think we are getting the better deal.

Let’s pray.

Dear Lord, I praise you for the ability to pray and thank you for giving us the Holy Bible that is filled with words about faith, As it reads in 2 Corinthians — “… For we walk by faith, not by sight” I pray that you give me the desire to dig deeper in my faith walk, to desire a next level faith in You. That all I do and say gives You glory and honor. You have given me the gift of life and I thank You for this gift. Not everything in my life is perfect — far from it, but I do hold on to the promises You’ve made to those who love you. Thank you, Lord for every good thing in my life and I pray a special blessing on all those listening that you increase their faith, today and always. Amen.

Fire For Forgiveness

Be sure to subscribe to this podcast or listen to this here – online. You can download this talk on your computer or you can listen on your phone. Share this podcast with a friend.

rsspodcast itunespodcast

fire of forgivenssThe Fire of Forgiveness

You may not think about the “fire of forgiveness when you think about this Scripture. When Azariah stood up in the fire and prayed aloud: “For your name sake, O Lord, do not deliver us up forever, or make void your covenant. Do not take away your mercy from us…For we are reduced, O Lord, beyond any other nation, brought low everywhere in the world this day because of our sins. But with a contrite heart and humble spirit let us be received, so let our sacrifice be in your presence today as we follow you unreservedly, for those who trust in you cannot be put to shame. And now we follow you with our whole heart, and we fear you and we pray to you. Do not let us be put to shame, but deal with us in your kindness and mercy. Deliver us by your wonders, and bring glory to your name, O Lord” (Daniel 3: 25, the prayer in the fiery furnace)

Today we are going to talk about compassion evoking love power as a primary gift of forgiveness and healing is given by the Lord to the Church. The key of receiving many transforming favors from the Lord is centered in “wholehearted forgiveness”. We see this directly taught by Jesus in the parable of the unjust steward: Peter asks Jesus how often, seven times, should I forgive, Jesus responds: not seven times, but seventy-seven times. Jesus then proceeds to tell the parable of the unjust servant who had been forgiven by his master a huge amount, because he pleaded for mercy. Then he went out and met a servant who owed him a much less amount, which the unjust servant would not forgive. He took his fellow servants possessions and had the servant and his family put in prison. His fellow servants told their master about this, and he called in the servant for whom he forgave a huge amount. The master said to him, “You wicked servant, I forgave you your entire debt because you begged me to. Should you not have had pity on your fellow servant, as I had pity on you.” Then in anger, his master handed him over to the torturers until he should pay back the whole debt. So will my heavenly Father do to you, unless each of you forgives your brother from your heart. (Mt. 18: 21-35)

“Reproduce good fruit as evidence of your repentance…I am baptizing you with water for repentance…Even now the ax lies at the root of the trees. Therefore, every tree that does not bear good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the FIRE. 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 with the Holy Spirit and FIRE.” In contrast to John’s baptism in water for repentance, Jesus baptizes with the Holy Spirit and fire. By early Christians, the ‘holy Spirit and fire was understood as the outpouring of the Spirit of Pentecost, but according to John, the Spirit and fire are relating to the purifying and refining characteristics of the Spirit and fire poured out at Pentecost. (Lk. 3:16-19)

In the biblical story of the Golden Café which the Israelites made out of all their golden jewelry, symbolizing their sin, worldly revelry, and idol worship, Moses infused all of it in the fire and melted it down, put it in water and made the Israelites drink it as a reparation and purifying punishment for their disobedience and sensual revelry.(Exodus 32: 1-20)

In his mercy the Lord bestows compassion and the purifying fire of the Spirit when he forgives our sin, “for we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, deluded, slaves to various desires and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful ourselves and hating one another. But when the kindness and generous love of God our Savior appeared, not because of any righteous deeds we had done but because of his mercy, he saved us through the bath of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit.” (Titus 3: 3-5) The tongues of the purifying and transforming fire of Pentecost comes upon us when we receive his divine mercy and compassion in forgiveness.

Forgiveness is not always an easy thing! The purifying fire of repentance and forgiveness burns.   Frequently we try to forgive because it is what the scriptures call for, and it is the right thing to do. Sometimes our forgiveness can be very cerebral or superficial. There are times when we say, “I forgive you” when we really don’t mean it, or we are taken by surprise by the hurt of another and haven’t had time to process the incident and thus are not really ready to forgive. Or it is a long-standing wound that runs deep in us and a simple ‘I forgive you’ doesn’t do the job. Therefore, often we don’t truly forgive the offenses of others from our hearts. We don’t forgive the entire debt of another’s words or actions that have been hurtful and wounding. We merely tolerate them. Or we let them accumulate and accrue with interest. It is possible to allow unresolved resentments to fill our scorecard until we can’t stand it anymore, and it surfaces in us in some painful or ugly ways within us. The statement of Jesus, that we have to forgive others from our heart, requires us to erase the full measure of the hurt, pain, loss, or betrayal that others have caused us. This requires our dedication or commitment to reach out and extend a liberating mercy and compassion to others and ourselves, whether it is the first offense or the result of many longstanding and accumulated hurts.

Because we live in an imperfect, sometimes dangerous and sinful world, very few people escape the reality of receiving, intentionally and many times unintentionally, the wounds and hurts from others in the various stages of human development from conception to adulthood. Added to this is the reality of our personal sins and mistakes we make in life. Sometimes we are more vulnerable than we realize. No matter in what manner we come to the understanding of God’s merciful goodness and his deep personal love for each one of us, we automatically desire to respond to the Lord’s initiatives as fully as we can. So when we respond to some degree, we experience the wonderful working of the grace and power of God’s love actively present in our life. The scriptures clearly reveal a personal commitment to Jesus Christ activates for those who are baptized in water, an experiential knowledge that the Father in Jesus through the Spirit dwells proactively within our very being. “Do you not know that you are temples of the Holy Spirit.”; and “God is love and he who abides in love abides in God and God in him.”

This basic and fundamental reality sets us on a dynamic path for holiness and human maturity; the narrow way Jesus speaks about in the Gospel. As we begin praying more the Spirit of God begins to gently show us areas of unforgiveness in many relationships and situations in our life. This process can go way back to the time of conception. Life-giving repentance in the Holy Spirit actively leads us to forgiveness of those who have hurt us in the past and even now in the present. And as we forgive others we begin to feel some freedom from various types of darkness and oppression. We are also led to ask the Lord to forgive us for the hurts or harm we have done to others. And most importantly we are called to forgive ourselves. This process of transformation can have many aspects and levels in the Christian growth of our human personhood.

First of all, it is important to consciously realize that the Lord with his compassionate love and mercy is the initiator and sustainer of the gift of forgiveness that leads us to spiritual freedom. It is good to remember that forgiveness is a big benefit to me, and by no means lets the person who has wounded me off the hook. Forgiveness is not the same as reconciliation. We may never be reconciled with the other person, yet we may experience God’s gift of freedom in our self. When we do forgiveness we should try and stand in the living faith, and in the active power and presence of Jesus. The life-giving Spirit-filled repentance and forgiveness is an experience of the Father’s merciful love in our lives. Forgiveness is a process experienced at various levels of our human development, sometimes with the person, we have forgiven before. My personal action of forgiveness is the Mercy of Jesus in action. My personal exercise of forgiveness, as a servant of mercy, is practicing the spiritual and sometimes corporal works of mercy. Forgiveness is at the heart of Divine Mercy.

How do we bring forgiveness to full completion and freedom? In an attempt to do forgiveness in our heart there are various reasons to consider why individuals do not complete their repentance and forgiveness, and as a result, they do not experience the complete freedom of forgiveness. In the first instance, a person may recognize ones unforgiveness or sin, and make a sincere decision to repent by confessing it to the Lord or another authentic person who is able to receive it. And then stop there; they may not check to see if they need healing or deliverance for those hurts which surround the wounded situation or sin. Even when they do this they may still not complete the process of forgiveness by not performing the actions which are going to really give them the closure they are looking for. This next phase of the forgiveness process to completion has two parts. After genuine and substantial forgiveness, and receiving the necessary healing or counsel, it is important to leave go or surrender the negative experience and the hurting event. Some individuals do not want to let go of their hurts and wounds, and as a result, they do not experience total freedom, and painful memories keep coming back. the second and final part leading to complete freedom is power centered praying for the person(s) who have hurt us, not just a superficial prayer which doesn’t penetrate and change the situation. But power centered prayer which brings everything to the freedom of completion. This is especially true in longstanding abuse, hurts, or wounds in the relationships which were the occasion for the unforgiveness. Here is a summary of this forgiveness process leading to peaceful complete freedom: 1) sincere and honest decision and appropriate action to exercise heartfelt forgiveness, 2) receiving the necessary counseling, healing, or deliverance surrounding the situation, 3) letting go and surrendering all the negative elements involved, and 4) power centered prayer for the individual(s) who caused the problem. All four of these aspects need to be pursued in order to allow forgiveness to bring complete spiritual freedom.

May We Pray!

Our Lord spurs us on to desire and possess a more abundant life through the healing gift of mercy, and being rich in mercy you constantly offer pardon and call we sinners on to trust in your forgiveness alone. You have never turned away from us, and through time and time again we have broken your covenant, you have bound the human family to yourself through Jesus your Son, our Savior, and Redeemer, with a new bond of love so tight that it can never be undone. Even now in “the Grace of the Present Moment,” this time of grace and reconciliation, and as each one of us turns back to you, you grant us hope and freedom in Christ Jesus, and a desire to be of service to all, as we entrust ourselves more fully to the Holy Spirit, and so filled with love and wonder, we extol the power of your merciful and healing love, and proclaim to others the joy of salvation which comes from you! We pray this prayer in the power of the Cross and the glory of the Resurrection in Jesus name. Amen.

Faith Crisis

faith crisisFaith Crisis  –Episode 48

Why is there such a faith crisis these days? Have all of the believers left or have they decided that fighting for their faith and their beliefs is just too hard? In this podcast, we explore the importance of handing down our faith to our children and those we mentor as well as the crisis that plagues the church today.

Thanks to our sponsor the Well Planned Gal – Prayer Journal

I’m astounded when I hear story after story from teary parents whose children have left the faith of their youth behind. These children know right from wrong, they understand what it means to be brought up with the truth and yet, as young adults they decide that they would rather do it their way. Their way includes calling into question all that things they previously believed.

Early on in my parenting journey, I heard a wise pastor say, “It is important that the faith – your faith parents that you pass on to your children becomes their faith at some point.”

Is our faith just that. Ours? Have we failed to pass down the truth of Christ to our kids or have they been weakened by the “ways of the world” and decided that what we said, what we preached, what we shared is just not so.

Either God is real or He is not. There is no in-between.

I think there is a disconnect. Many church teachings have become watered down and a permissive attitude prevails. God is loving. God is kind. God is forgiving.

Yes. Yes and Yes. God is all of these things. But, God is also just judge.

Friends, I’ve seen miracles. I have been blessed to witness people being healed. It is not something I asked for or even desired. It is something the Lord allowed in my life. I have asked the Lord for years to use me to evangelize, but I didn’t become a theologian or scholar. This desire, I believe was placed in me through my years of praying, witnessing and studying God’s word.

Anyone who spends time with God … and I don’t just mean in church… will realize He is there for us. How do we know that God’s word is real? That Jesus was born, lived, died and resurrected from the dead? How do we know that there is really sin and that God came to give us the keys to His kingdom? How do we know that God is the same yesterday, today and in the future?

The only way to know is for God to reveal this to us – in a personal way.

Luke 16:20-31 New American Standard Bible

Sadly, no matter what you tell your children, your friends, your acquaintances if they are not open to God’s message they won’t hear it.

How do you know if someone is having a faith crisis?

  1. They start questioning everything.
  2. They say, “There must be more to life than this.”
  3. You begin to question life after death. The end becomes real.
  4. Black and white becomes grey and yellow – what was clear previously no longer seems clear.

A faith crisis can be overcome.

  1. You have to realize you have a crisis.
  2. You have to be willing to take the time in prayer and study.
  3. You have to look at the options.

John 6:67-70 Peter’s Confession of Faith

So Jesus said to the twelve, “You do not want to go away also, do you?” Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life. We have believed and have come to know that You are the Holy One of God.”  Jesus answered them, “Did I Myself not choose you, the twelve, and yet one of you is a devil?”

Peter realized that God was the answer – the truth and that all that is good comes from Him, including eternal life. However one of the 12 – Judas who as Jesus said, he chose himself would reject Him.

God has given us free choice. We have the ability to decide for or against Him. There is no in-between – however we are on a journey.

I pray that this journey is one that you are prepared for and that you can bring as many people as you can alongside you to the heavenly reward that has been promised for those who love and serve the Lord.

Let us pray.

Dear Lord, there are many who have hearts that are full of sorrow, from loss or from hurt. I pray that you fill their hearts overflowing with you love and your goodness. That you help them to seek you, you are the truth, the way and the life, Lord. Please open the eyes and the hearts of those who are in a state of sin and do not realize it, let them be anointed with the ability to see – please send yoru Holy Spirit to open their eye to the truth and I ask through our prayers and intercession that you not only hear our prayers but you help us in ways that we can minister to others. I pray a blessing on those listening today that you give them an abundance of grace to combat the wicked one and to do battle for you. I pray this in Jesus, precious Name. Amen.

Five Keys To Personal Freedom

Be sure to subscribe to this podcast or listen to this here – online. You can download this talk on your computer or you can listen on your phone. Share this podcast with a friend.

rsspodcast itunespodcast

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

Be sure to subscribe to this podcast or listen to this here – online. You can download this talk on your computer or you can listen on your phone. Share this podcast with a friend.

rsspodcast itunespodcast

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.

Be sure to subscribe to this podcast or listen to this here – online. You can download this talk on your computer or you can listen on your phone. Share this podcast with a friend.

rsspodcast itunespodcast

 

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

Be sure to subscribe to this podcast or listen to this here – online. You can download this talk on your computer or you can listen on your phone. Share this podcast with a friend.

rsspodcast itunespodcast

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

Be sure to subscribe to this podcast or listen to this here – online. You can download this talk on your computer or you can listen on your phone. Share this podcast with a friend.

rsspodcast itunespodcast

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.

Please share this episode with a friend! As always thanks for your star rating on iTunes, and please follow me!

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

Be sure to subscribe to this podcast or listen to this here – online. You can download this talk on your computer or you can listen on your phone. Share this podcast with a friend.

rsspodcast itunespodcast

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

Be sure to subscribe to this podcast or listen to this here – online. You can download this talk on your computer or you can listen on your phone. Share this podcast with a friend.

rsspodcast itunespodcast

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

Special Thanks to our Network Sponsor!


Living in the Grace of The Present Moment

living in the grace of the present moment

Be sure to subscribe to this podcast or listen to this here – online. You can download this talk on your computer or you can listen on your phone. Share this podcast with a friend.

rsspodcast itunespodcast

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.